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Four Kings Rye Launches Collaborative Rye Whiskey

By Kristine Sherred in Food on Jun 25, 2015 10:00PM

Four Kings Rye Whiskey Release (Photo: Binny's Beverage Depot)

Last year, four of the Midwest's celebrated distilleries joined together in a feat of friendship and experimentation to create a most unusual bourbon whiskey blend. The idea was so well received that they opted to go at it again, this time forging a Four Kings rye featuring aged distillate from Corsair Artisan, Few Spirits, Journeyman Distillery, and Mississippi River Distilling Co.

Each distillery offered their house rye whiskey (MRDC's Cody Road, Journeyman's Featherbone, and Few Rye), except the offbeat fellows at Corsair, who bestowed two experimental 15-gallon barrels of rye. The US requires that rye whiskey contain at least 51% rye distilled at no higher than 160 proof and aged in new charred oak barrels. Corsair's batch adds a hint of malted rye to the mix of corn, wheat, barley and rye highlighted in the other barrels.

Master Distiller Ryan Burchett of MRDC says the inaugural 2014 bottling prepared them well for 2015's vintage. Now fans of the distillery and craft whiskey as a whole understand the concept and are more willing to jump for the bottle.

The blend yielded only 700-some bottles, but unlike last year, Four Kings Rye ($49.99) will be available at Binny's and at select retailers throughout the region, predominantly in Chicago. Luckily, tentative drinkers can also sip a single serving at bars and restaurants, a first-time offering this year.

Binny's Lincoln Park (1720 N. Marcey St.) hosts the official launch party tonight in open house fashion from 6 to 8 p.m. and Delilah's (2771 N. Lincoln Ave.) hosts the after-party starting at 9 p.m., where the distillers will be on hand to talk and taste.

This collaboration shows great promise for the future of craft distilling. The distillers are already brainstorming a new release for 2016, perhaps the underdog of the American whisky movement— a single malt.