This past Friday I took a little jolly with the rest of the Ryan’s Taters gang to Treaty Oak Distilling over in Dripping Springs, TX to help pick a barrel for Ryan’s Liquor. I actually just reviewed the Ghost Hill bourbon a couple weeks ago and if you’re really into boring reads you can check that out here!
We arrived just after lunch and the grounds were pretty impressive - huge area of land complete with a full service restaurant, tasting room, bottle room (WHERE YOU BUY THINGS AND DRINK DELICIOUS BOOZE), huge outdoor bar, a 1950s semi that was converted into a stage for live music, 6 giant smoke pits, copious parking and most importantly - the on-site distillery and rick houses. When we arrived we were greeted by Rob and Morgan who informed us it was EMPLOYEES EAT THEIR FACES OFF DAY - I mean not like literally eat people’s faces off. That would be one hell of an HR program. On Fridays they put out a nice spread for their employees from the restaurant and we were asked to please eat our faces off. We did. It was a hell of a sampling from their menu and we got to munch their meats from the smoke pits - more on that later.
While we were eating they said, “Oh why don’t y’all go grab beer, cocktails, whatever - on us.” Um wat? These people are beyond generous and I don’t deserve this level of generosity - I’m a simpleton serf. This was ALL before we even got into sampling the eight barrels chosen for us that day. Their old fashioned is wildly good and I may have had a couple of those before we kicked off the tasting.
After we got done over eating and drinking great booze we began to go through the eight samples pulled for us. We did the typical swirl, sniff, taste, comment and make grandiose comments about perceived notes and differences between each one. That’s what barrel picking is all about. I bet the people that do this day in and day out rate each group’s pompousness and clown on them endlessly. After the fourth barrel Rob and Morgan were like, “Let’s take a break and go see the site - oh and we’ll drink other cool shit.” Um okay, bro and sister.
We went off on a tour and checked out all of the places I mentioned earlier. We got a kickass tour of the distilling area and a first hand look at a guy dropping a barrel LMAO! One of the coolest things though is we got to see some of their experimental barrels and things they were messing around with. Now when I say got to see I mean we got to taste literally anything they could physically reach. We tried gin, rum, rye, bourbon and all of those things finished in other things. It was amazing. The best thing though, by far, was trying their barrel #1 - a 9 year old bourbon which was all their distillate. I do NOT say this lightly - this was the best Texas bourbon I have ever had. Bar none. I tried everything in my power to get that barrel but they have integrity and passion for what they do and they made the wise decision to not make it available. That’s why I love these folks.
After our amazing tour wrapped up we headed back to try the remaining samples. We picked the best one out of the group and then decided to grab some more food (we a bunch of drunk tubbies). While deciding what to order they went ahead and brought us their cheese and meat plate because for some reason they wanted to be super nice to us. It was amazing - I love charcuterie and you should too. While perusing the menu Rob asked if we wanted to see their smoke pits and of course we all ran out of the building like horny school girls. Their setup was pretty amazing and what came off was even better. I got the turkey and brisket - fell apart and was some of the best bbq I’ve had in a while. Even now I’m thinking of it and drooling on myself.
One final amazing moment happened - one of the bartenders walked over and we were discussing the dump bucket and how there are people on this earth that drink the remains. Welp, said bartender said, “How bout a giant whiskey sour with what’s left?” Vom. But he did it and we drank it and I’m not proud of it. What I’m mostly not proud about is I really liked it. So I probably have the plague but that’s ok.
I can’t articulate properly how welcoming, awesome and professional Treaty Oak and their staff were to us. That was the best overall experience I’ve had picking a barrel and I will definitely be going back with my family. The grounds are dog and kid friendly - there were plenty of both while we were there. To the Treaty Oak family - thank you.
The barrel we chose will be in Houston soon and we really think you all will really enjoy it. As always if you want one holler at ya boy and I’ll take care of you.