Just for fun, let’s get local and let’s get weird for a moment. Here in Twin Cities, we have a great fish and chips/Irish pub food place called The Anchor Fish & Chips. We also have a fine place called Bent Brewstillery which, as you might guess, is a taproom, craft brewery and craft distillery all rolled into one. Apparently, one evening (or it could have been one morning, what the hell, you never know with these fish & chips and brewstillery types) a meeting of these two seemingly disparate minds came together and hatched a plot to collaborate on some fairly unique booze.
Bent Brewstillery took a boatload of Anchors’ high quality potato peelings, fermented them in a wash with a little molasses, and distilled it all into an Irish Poitín. Poitín, meaning “little pot” in Gaelic and pronounced pot’-cheen, is basically Irish moonshine. It’s a white spirit historically illicitly distilled from that all-important tuber, the potato. Before the “craft” distilling movement began, Poitín had pretty much been relegated to a minor cultural curiosity outside of Ireland, and perhaps even inside. With the advent of the craft distilling and smaller distilleries looking back at more obscure forms of hooch, it’s made a small comeback. Now, admittedly, I don’t know Poitín from Shinola. The only other Poitín I’ve tried was some fairly jagged, shattering stuff purchased at Bunratty Castle near Limirick, but I thought a local mash-up as odd-sounding, yet oddly logical as this was worth a try. Luckily, my friend Bill came through with a bit Bent Anchor’s Irish-Style Poitín.
The Nose: Hot. A little sweet, and a little sour. Along with some earthy, faintly potato-esque moments, there’s a bit of light brown sugar, and a faint hint of teriyaki(?!). If you ever had the inclination to barely wash a raw, un-peeled potato, sprinkle some powdered sugar on it…and then take a big bite, this would seem to be along those lines.
The Palate: Hot…but actually not debilitatingly so. This is surprisingly smooth. Lots of confectioners sugar, little to none of the faint sourness from the nose, and a nice subtle nod to the tubers that made this tick.
The Finish: Fast. More powdered sugar with gentle burnt sugars lingering the longest.
Thoughts: I don’t really have any reference point for this kind of thing. I didn’t know I needed a new way to enjoy potatoes, but I guess now I’ve got one. Bent Anchor Irish-Style Poitín was certainly fun to try, and I suppose I was pleasantly surprised at how drinkable it actually is. While the flavor profile leans much more towards sugared notes, there are enough hints of those potato peelings to keep things interesting. Definitely an entertaining collaboration from some good local folks.