There are a lot of alcohol-related festivities in early autumn: Oktoberfest, fresh hop events, Washington Cider Week. Next week (October 2–7), lauded single-malt maker Westland Distillery is bringing back Peat Week, a celebration of their peated whiskeys, for the fourth year. Here’s why it might be worth the trip to Westland's SoDo distillery.
Peat-Focused Distillery Tours
All through Peat Week the SoDo tasting room will hold special, peat-centric tours. You might learn that while Westland’s current peated releases use malts imported Scotland, distillers there have been working with Skagit Valley Malting for the last few years to make true Washington-peated single-malt. Skagit Valley Malting has been getting peat from a bog out in Shelton and malting local barley with it. Westland will be distilling a new batch of this whiskey during Peat Week, though Westland’s director of marketing Steve Hawley says the first batches won’t be ready for a couple more years.
Mon, Oct 2
Washington has a thing for smoke—weed, salmon, and now whiskey. (Cue some jazz about gloomy weather and cozy fireside connotations.) Peat is essential moss that’s turned into charcoal, which is used to smoke the barley malt that the whiskeys are made from. If you want to know more, Peat Week kicks off with this symposium on Monday night, 7–10pm. Westland master distiller Matt Hofmann will speak with Allan Logan, the production manager at Bruichladdich, an Islay distillery that Hawley describes as “a kindred spirit to us, they buck traditional Scottish traditions at every turn and are rebels of the scotch world.” Snag a ticket quick though: last year’s peat talk was the first event to sell out.
Wed, Oct 4
A $60 ticket lets you judge a peated cocktail competition with four cocktails included in the ticket price. Bartenders hail from Bar Sue, the Barrel Thief, the Hideout, and Thackeray (which will also provide smoky food stuffs to pair).
Sat, Oct 7
Closing Night Party
Westland got the idea for Peat Week from similar Scottish festivals, where there’s a long tradition of throwing festivals for new bottlings, similar to Oktoberfest in Germany or Beaujolais Day in France. If you have a similar passion for peated whiskeys, the closing night party may be your best bet. Anyway, it’s a party; you’ve been to a party; they tend to be fun. You can pick up a bottle of the special 100 percent peated-malt special release. Radiator Whiskey is roasting whole pigs. So the next morning you can wake up with very, very smoky breath.
For more details and tickets, check out the antiquated circus themed Peat Week website.