Port Chester is one of our favorite places and is a short drive from nearly anywhere in Fairfield County. When you think about it, they’ve got it all: from barbecue, to pizza, to Peruvian, to Mexican, to pubs, to movies, to awesome markets, to The Cap, and just way too many other things to list. What it comes down to is this: if you can think of something that you want to eat or do, chances are you’ll be able to do it there.
Well, add one more thing to that list: visiting and drinking at a local distillery that’s all about local ingredients. That distillery, as you can probably guess from the title (so smart!) is Neversink Spirits. This distillery is now in full production and already has their brandy on store shelves for purchase along with select bars. In addition to their brandy, you can look forward to trying their bourbon, their gin, and a boatload of specialty brandy based on the season (pear brandy anyone?)
Let’s look a little deeper at Neversink Spirits now:
From the outside, it doesn’t seem like much is going on. Neversink is located in an office/industrial building located right across from bakeries that bake bread that get large distribution. To enter, you need to go around the right side of the building at 33 New Broad Street, walk down the ramp, then bow to the liquor gods before you enter the side door. Then, suddenly, you know that you’ve stumbled across something amazing when you see the bright, copper, shining tanks and equipment sparkling as the sun trickles in. And, in addition to their equipment, they have the capability of cold fermenting with jacketed tanks. This makes for a more flavorful spirit and who are we to argue with that?
As of now, the distillery is strictly in production mode, but that will soon change. Because they have a Farm Distillers Permit, they’ll have a tasting room where you can come by for tours and sip on some of their spirits. In addition, they’ll also have a carefully curated selection of NY farm distilled liquors there too for tasting and buying. Luckily, you won’t have to wait too long because they are planning on a late summer/early fall opening.
As we previously mentioned, Neversink will focus on brandy to start with. When Dan came by for a visit, he had the chance to try one of the first versions of the Neversink Apple Brandy (made from NY apples) that was twice distilled and came in at 100 proof. Since then it has been whittled down to 80 proof. You can find it at certain stores and pubs throughout NY, but both Yoni Rabino and Noah Braunstein (co-owners and childhood friends) are very selective about where their product goes. The main reason: they self distribute. So, if they take their spirits to a bar, they care about it, they see something in it, they know it will help to make their product shine, and they know that it’s appreciated. They shared that they were ecstatic that Wassail, the famous cider bar in NYC, wanted to have their brandy . . . and it’s actually there right now. As the guys continue to meet with success, you’ll also be able to find Neversink in Connecticut.
Another great spirit that Dan was able to try was their bourbon that came in at 114 proof . . . but you wouldn’t have known. It was an incredibly smooth bourbon that was highly drinkable. Both Yoni and Noah have lots of plans for the bourbon such as finishing it in apple brandy barrels. They will also be creating a gin that will come out before their bourbon that will be a mixture of their apple brandy and a wheat spirit amongst other ingredients.
Way down the road, they don’t rule out the possibility of making ciders, but they do have other plans for their brandy . . .
The CT Connection with Kent Falls Brewery aka The Food Cycle
We actually found out about Neversink Spirits from Barry Labendz of Kent Falls Brewery, the only farmhouse brewery in Connecticut. Well, turns out that there’s a beautiful orchard in the works at the Camps Road Farm there (owned by David Birnbaum), and guess what will happen with some of those apples? Yup, you got it: they’ll be making their way down to Port Chester to make some brandy. But, Noah and Yoni plan to create more artisan, limited, small batch versions that will be for sale with the CT apples. The exciting thing is that the partnership is a two way street because they’ll be sending over brandy and bourbon barrels to the brewery so that Brewmaster Derek Dellinger can age their beer and get in some deeper flavors. And this is where the idea for The Food Cycle comes from: it’s the trio of Camps Road Farm, Kent Falls Brewery, and Neversink Spirits with the quartet of Barry, David, Yoni, and Noah.
To say that we’re ready for the opening is a gross understatement. In the meantime, we’ll just have to wait and see . . . and maybe bum another preview to try what else they’ve been distilling . . . and then maybe bum a few more previews just to be sure, yeah, that’s what we’ll do.