Last month, I visited Witherspoon Distillery for the first time and met the owner, Quentin Witherspoon. As we chatted in the spacious cocktail bar area, dozens of locals and visitors were starting the distillery tour nearby. Quentin said the North Texas climate, oft-lamented for its unpredictable fluctuations, is ideal for barrel aging.
“Everyone talks about what makes an aged whiskey perfect,” he said. “It really has to do with exposure to oxygen, temperature variations and wood.”
The greater the temperature fluctuations, he added, the more opportunities there are for complex flavors within the charred American White Oak barrels to leach into the whiskey or bourbon.
Much of the distilling business is a waiting game. Witherspoon said he started aging whiskey several years ago. With the help of head distiller Chris Leurig, Witherspoon entered the market with rum. Award-winning malt whiskey followed along with bourbon in 2014. A year later, the distillery moved into its current space, a former Piggly Wiggly grocery store—which adds to its Texas charm.
Whether you order a $10 flight, (sampling Texas Straight Bourbon, cinnamon rum, single-malt whiskey or others) take the distillery tour, shop in the merchandise store or relax on the outdoor patio, you’ll soon be planning your return trip to this popular destination.
Just a short walk from Witherspoon Distillery is craft beer brewery that has helped develop the historic downtown area into the vibrant retail, dining and entertainment hotspot it is today. Previously called Cobra Brewing, Old Town Brewhouse opened in late 2013.
“When we started, there wasn’t much around us,” owner Bill Shaw said. “Now, with [the city’s] new plan, there are brand new condos that have gone up across the street. They’re also building another retail space. [City planners] are transforming Lewisville into more of a destination.”
Shaw and his team are always developing new brews to satisfy Old Town’s thousands of followers, but two beers stand out as fan favorites. Dawn of the Dank, an American Double IPA, weighs in at a boozy 12 percent ABV and has more citrusy flavors than piney, bitter notes that can be offputting to some palates. Another big seller, Best Mistake, is a rich stout made with fudge brownie mix.
Events are a big part of the draw at Old Town Brewhouse, and this fall offers several you won’t want to miss. A new happy hour special (Fridays from 5 to 7 p.m.) will provide beer fans a “special beer” that is only available during that time. Be on the lookout for Old Town’s events.
Witherspoon spirits are distributed across the Lone Star State. Old Town Brewhouse beers can be found in North Texas, Houston, and Amarillo. Both these businesses have received national attention and several awards for the fine products they make. Sipping a glass of Witherspoon whiskey or enjoying a frothy pint of Old Town’s IPA is a great way to experience what all the buzz is about. For the whole story and to really appreciate how these drinks are made, you’ll need to go to the source and see it for yourself.