Pennsylvania's distilling history has always been dominated by rye whiskies. Now, thanks to a visit to a New York distillery, that is changing slightly.
Several years ago, Pennsylvania resident Anthony Brichta paid a visit to the Kings County Distillery in Brooklyn. What he saw encouraged him to get into the world of craft distilling, and he and his uncle, John Rowe, created County Seat Spirits in a former truck assembling plant in Allentown, PA, about 95 miles west of Brooklyn.
Rather than producing a rye whiskey, aged or otherwise, as their first product, they decided to create a wheat-heavy, no-rye whiskey they call Hidden Copper Bourbon. It was distilled from a mash of Pennsylvania corn, Pennsylvania wheat, and malted barley, then was aged for about a year in small, 15-gallon new charred white oak barrels.
The mash containing more than 50% corn, and the barrels being what they are, satisfied the legal requirements for calling the whiskey a bourbon. Even the bottles are made in Pennsylvania.
Hidden Copper Bourbon is bottled at 90 proof (45% abv), and priced at $40 for a 750ml bottle.
The name? The distillers say it is in honor of the historic hiding of the Liberty Bell. On September 23 of that year, the Pennsylvania State House Bell -- which we know as the Liberty Bell -- was taken down to prevent it from being melted down by the British for weapons use during the Revolutionary War. It was hidden in the basement of the Zion Reformed Church in Allentown, and returned to Philadelphia the following June.