Silver clouds and the sweet smell of a light spring rain, hallmarks of a very Irish day in Boston when I headed up this past Monday. The train swayed with that classic sound of metal against metal heralding my way into South Station. From there I took a quick ride on the red line to the Andrew stop. Boston’s South End. And tucked away amid the industrial ambiance, GrandTen Distillery.
Oak barrels stand like sentries in the cozy bar area. Foosball tables, shuffleboard, sofas and video game controllers pepper the room as an invitation to stay awhile. Personally I was greeted by the smiley face and wagging tail of Ivy, the distillery’s dog, I'm not sure if everyone gets that same honor.
Founded in 2011 by Matt Nuernberger, along side his cousin, with a fifty gallon Adolf Adrian still (That’s the gorgeous copper steampunk-looking machine pictured.) currently in use today. High quality spirits have been pumped out of what had once been a key iron works foundry ever since. There’s no shortage of pride in their products, production, or even Boston itself here. While some of the raw materials have to be imported for their whiskey, a local twist is put onto it and bottled by hand on site. In fact, many of their products are touched by local resources before being put together with care at 383 Dorchester Ave. Chipotle peppers grown in Deerfield go into the Fire Puncher, Cape Cod cranberries for the incredibly honest tasting Massachusetts Cranberry Liqueur. Wild New England yeast for the Medford Rum. Local orchards produce the apples in North County Apple Brandy. The point is, GrandTen is still small enough that you can taste the hands-on reality of what they create here.
Matt was kind enough to talk me through a tasting of some of what the distillery has to offer. I’m a whisky fanboy and I have yet to find a whisky under fifty years old that is as smooth and balanced as their South Boston Irish Whisky. Personally I have never been a gin guy, but the Wire Works American Gin may have changed that for me. In many ways this gin is their flagship product, perfectly balanced among the juniper/floral/citrus/spice notes.
There’s two other bookends that I’ll leave you with from the tasting. On the sweeter side is Amandine, a soft almond liqueur that uses both crushed almonds during distillation and whole ones during the resting processes. This one is delightfully light and sweet without being obnoxiously so. And at the opposite end, we come to GrandTen’s vodka, Fire Puncher. Intense at times, but truly dynamic. Made with those Deerfield grown chipotles and hickory smoke bubbled through just before the bottling process. You won’t find anything else like it. On a personal note, everyone should know I’m a complete baby when it comes to spicy things. So if you ever bump into me at the bar, I will not be going toe-to-toe with you over a bottle of Fire Puncher.
Coming up GrandTen has Medford Rum back in stock and will be releasing an overproofed rum called New Medford Rum (formerly named Rare Bird). I highly recommend checking out their products page, click here for everything they currently produce which is readily available in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. Click here to find the store/bar nearest you.
They are open for cocktails at 383 Dorchester Ave in Boston’s South End Thursday through Sunday. Guests are invited to play foosball and other games on Sunday evenings as well!
For any and all information about GrandTen Distillery check out their website or follow their social:
@GrandTen on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram
Drink safely and thanks for reading!
+ Colin Carlton
Colin is a local author and freelance writer.
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Photo Credits: All photos courtesy of Colin, except for paper, pen, and coffee cup.