How Great Beer Helped Westward Make Its Portland Whiskey

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Rewind through the production of a single malt whiskey—walking backward from bottle to barrel to pot still, reversing through the distillation process and back to the fermentation tanks—and what you have is essentially beer. Single malt whiskeys all rise from a starter of barley and water fermented, with an assist from yeast, into a low-alcohol “wash” that is then distilled into a barley-based spirit. Tweak this process by adding hops and skipping the distillation, and you’d have something recognizable as a lager or ale.

None of this information is required to enjoy single malt whiskey, of course, but it’s helpful for understanding why the makers of Westward Whiskey in Portland, Ore.,—almost all of whom have spent time working in Oregon’s prolific brewing…

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