A DENVER DISTILLERY QUIETLY CRAFTS SOME OF THE BEST WHISKEYS IN THE U.S.
PHOTO COURTESY OF LAWS WHISKEY HOUSE
NOBODY DENIES THE FACT that Kentucky is the mother church of American bourbon, but it only takes a few sips of Laws Whiskey House whiskeys to realize these quirky, spicy, complex spirits speak fluent Colorado.
When Alan Laws opened his grain-to-glass distillery in Denver in 2011, he chose an independent, thoroughly local approach using the four “mother grains”—corn, rye, wheat and barley—to produce bourbon whiskey with a more balanced flavor.
Laws sources rare heirloom grain varieties from two Colorado family farms and water from Eldorado Springs. From the beginning, it was a conscious effort to yield a true expression of the state’s terroir, the character imparted by the local soil, location and climate.
“We don’t feel like we’re competing with Kentucky,” says Crystal Barrios, Laws Whiskey tasting room manager. “We want to be known for creating true Colorado bourbon and rye whiskeys.”
Continuing to elevate its craft, the distillery produced Colorado’s first bonded bourbon and the first-ever bonded four-grain bourbon in the United States. For connoisseurs, the “bonded” designation is revered. Aged for over four years entirely in a federally bonded warehouse, these spirits merit slow sensory appreciation and reward the drinker with unexpected waves of flavor and aroma.
The distillery’s limited-production Bonded San Luis Valley Straight Rye, aged for six years in heavily charred barrels, earned a Best American Rye award at the 2020 World Whiskies Awards.
Until the new two-story tasting facility opens this spring, you can sip beautiful rarities—like the Highlands-worthy Henry Road Malt Whiskey—at Laws’ tasting room, aka “The Whiskey Chapel.” “It’s a great place to get the foundation of appreciating whiskey,” Barrios says. At Laws Whiskey House, learning is part of the mission—it’s not just a place mat with tasting notes. 1420 S. Acoma St., Denver, lawswhiskeyhouse.com