Artisan handcrafted moonshine
People that say moonshine had its moment but it’s over have never had real moonshine. They are talking about the mass production crap that overwhelmed the market a few years ago when certain television shows became popular. Unfortunately, since no one is really from those areas and has never had the real thing, they did not know the difference. But this product has been popular for hundreds of years for a reason. It will NEVER go away. You should have a tasting sometime and you will discover that those products, all of which come from either a giant column still or a multiple distillation process, taste like vodka or everclear….NOT moonshine. It is sad, very very sad, but we can help. One low slow run, unlike almost anything on any shelves anywhere, produces a smooth and very flavorful product. Test it yourself. I will tell you my grandfather’s secret: you must taste the corn. This is how he got $100 a gallon in plastic milk jugs in the 80s, smooth like creamed corn. If you cannot taste the corn then you have an over-processed spirit that is not worthy of the name moonshine. Recently, we held a tasting of almost every single moonshine on the market, almost every one, and you could not taste the true grain in any of them. So, decide for yourself, but it is about time someone really represented the history, culture, and truth. As for your sales, if you explain this to people they will happily buy moonshine again. I promise. Welcome to Black Bear MountainShine…. artisan, handcrafted, all-Colorado, one-run moonshine. Unlike anything you have ever had. Have fun, that smooth organic flavor makes amazing craft cocktails.
The picture above does not do justice to the sexy black label with its shiny gold foil. A sharp presentation for a product that is defining a new category and brand. Long before all the television shows and confusion, there existed a spirit that no one in the cities had heard of. This product took the amazing smooth and flavorful moonshine spoken of above and rested it briefly in charred barrels (an average of about 6 months). Not a whiskey per se (although many prefer to call it an American Whiskey which is fine), and definitely not a bourbon or scotch; this product was lighter, unique, and we call it “RESERVE” shine. Of course, almost no one has heard of it, just like so few people have tasted real shine. We are proud to introduce it as a new category, unlike anything else on the market. MountainShine Reserve. Warm and golden, yet fragrant and smooth. Use it in cutting-edge artisan cocktails that no one else has ever had, with a product no one has ever had. Use it to replace any whiskey, and you will be surprised at how easily it fits in as a lighter smoother product that is not overwhelmed by wood or smoke. Or simply enjoy it neat and appreciate the combination of oak vanillins and Native American Corn. I know we sound serious, but it is because we are fighting a battle against so many folks who do not understand the depth of its history, but it is still made to enjoy and have fun. So please, enjoy!
Black Bear Rum
After we spent two years trying to nail down the intense recipe that recreates the beautiful artisan shine of our past and represents that glorious history, we were really due to have some fun. Just as our MountainShine honors our Blue Ridge Mountain past and Rocky Mountain future, so our Rum honors our Louisiana history and culture and is designed for Mardi Gras EVERY DAY! The story, like many others, involves a lucky turn of fate. One week we ran out of the organic non-GMO Ute Mountain Tribal Corn that forms the backbone of our MountainShine, and we had to wait for the next shipment to arrive. We never substitute or take short-cuts, so we had some down time on the equipment (which is never good). Not knowing when the shipment might arrive (it comes by old pick-up truck), we were discussing our great love for Louisiana and I was teaching a culinary class on Cajun Creole food. During the class, we were discussing the history of Cajuns and the Acadian exile from Maritime Canada. Many of these Cajuns ended up working in the thriving Louisiana Sugar Plantations. That’s when it hit me…we could use our down time to make rum! Soon it became a matter of cultural pride to create something with Molasses and Brown Sugar that used our one slow run technique and represented that history and culture. Just as all of our products, the Black Bear Rum is made completely by hand and in house with great care. One low slow distillation leaves more flavor than most rums manage to maintain, and a brief stay in charred oak barrels provides a light golden color and additional flavor.
Black Bear Vodka
Black Bear Distillery is known for being one of the only distilleries in the world to use a single low slow run for its distillation. We did not invent this, it is the standard procedure of the best moonshine in history, so we use this technique to recreate those deep flavors. However, as we make our runs we are left with tails that run 50-80 proof. Like the High Wines of some bourbon distilleries or the stripped liquor of others, this product has our unique flavor and yet is not high enough in proof to use. So, we collect these tails from all types of runs, including corn, grain, and sugar, into large tanks until we have enough for its own run. This second run product is extremely clean and high in proof and yet maintains some of our distinct flavor. When we proof it to the standard 80, the result is so smooth and pure that we simply had to bottle it. We are proud to introduce this vodka as it is not only fun, but really maintains very light, muted versions of our signature flavors. We are also able to offer it at a lower price than most of our products since it is run at such high proof and does not require aging. Welcome to Black Bear’s Colorado Vodka!
In a world where the definition of “craft” and even “local” have been stretched beyond recognition and mass production neutral grain spirits from halfway across the country are being called “in house”, we are proud to represent a truly local and ultra-artisan operation that cuts no corners and honors our culture and heritage. Here are some of our more dramatic craft elements.
True Grain to Glass Operation
Yellow, White, and Blue Corn from The Ute Mountain Tribe in Towaoc, CO is just the beginning of our dedication to all non-GMO, all natural Colorado small farms products from producers that we know personally. This includes other grains and honey from the Arkansas Valley Organic Growers Coop…all mixed with Rocky Mountain snow run-off water…you really can’t go wrong.
The majority of distilled grain products worldwide require at least a little malted barley. Scientifically, this involves the conversion of grain starches into sugars that the yeast can access to create alcohol. As an artisan grain-to-glass operation we always wanted to malt our own and have done so on occasion, but when we met Colorado Malters out of Alamosa it gave us an even better product. Done in state from single varietal heirloom grains, we source our barley, wheat, and rye from this amazing family and are proud to call them friends.
Sustainable and Green
Solar Panel and Generator provide power to grinder and pumps, the used grains go back to local farmers to feed livestock, and we even make cleaning products out of the heads that are normally thrown away. We are not there yet, but our goal is to eventually leave the grid entirely and function as a completely sustainable and green legacy producer.
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Missions and Charities
Besides the native grains and other local sourcing, we try to give back in every way possible. In this case, a wonderful group called Work Training Center in Chico, CA trains adults with disabilities, some of whom run the wood shop and make our beautiful handmade wooden gift boxes.
We are also dedicated to using other mission groups like Yobel Market in the gift shop.
American Made Still, Bottles, Labels, Wooden Corks. All materials made as local as possible.
tridentstills.com allamericancontainers.com hartlabel.com
I know that this is very hard for people on both sides to understand, but this distillery was created by God, and through it we honor Him. There are a half dozen charities and many individuals being helped through this work, including the great irony that all the corn purchases go to support the Native American Ute Mountain Tribe. We know it seems weird and we know it’s not popular to speak out in such a way, but we really don’t care. The truth is the truth, and God does what He wants. We thank Him.
Black Bear Distillery
10375 Ute Pass Ave
Green Mountain Falls, CO 80819
Victor Matthews, Founder : 719-964-2990
Bobby Jackson, Distillery Manager : 719-209-9850
Rhianna Matthews, Sales Team Leader : 719-217-8862
719-684-9648 719-964-2990 ChefMatthews@aol.com
What the Heck is Reserve Moonshine?
Welcome to the creation of a New Spirit Category. Of course, the first question is always, “isn’t that just whiskey”? And traditionally, it could be called whiskey; in fact, the TTB regulations still call it whiskey, BUT, that is because those regulations are a tad out of date and don’t even cover moonshine. So, this new idea is groundbreaking in three significant ways.
Unique product marketing.Jack Daniels is bourbon, but they want to be called something different so they use the charcoal filtering to distinguish the product as Tennessee Whiskey instead.Are there other bourbons that use charcoal?Yes.Is their recipe a bourbon recipe?Yes.Are there Tennessee bourbons?Yes.But, they are unique enough and have the right to call themselves something else.Unlike the vast majority of whiskey or bourbon, we distill only once, low and slow for maximum flavor.If the product profile is different enough from an accepted norm, it can be re-branded as something else.This product is definitely different enough in recipe, technique, and philosophy to warrant a new category.Reserve Moonshine.
Historical Perspective.Terms have become so convoluted these days that we really want to point back and respect history.Whiskey was always very grain-centric.Scotch and Irish are mostly malted barley, Canadian often uses wheat, and Bourbon usually has at least three different grains.Historically, moonshine was corn dominant, utilized sugar, and had little to no other grains.We call it shine, not whiskey.In addition, whiskey was aged and almost always golden brown while shine was clear.But, so was the original whiskey.Philosophically, we want people to think about this history, what happened in Ireland a thousand years ago, then Scotland, and then American Whiskey, rye based, then Bourbon; and realize historically, this product does not match any of those.It is Shine.
Flavor Profile and Purpose.Whiskey, especially the most famous ones like Scotch and Bourbon, are deeply aged and highly wood-forward.Good bottles are ten years old, up to fifty.This is not the goal of this product at all.We want something young, affordable, and drinkable. Meanwhile, moonshine is clear, never aged and although full of fresh corn flavor often harsh with a bite.We love that fresh corn base, but we want to take the edge off, so some minimal aging, always less than a year, designed not just to create wood flavors, but to remove the edge and provide more smoothness and complexity.In the end, we have a product that is not simple moonshine because it has been carefully aged, but does not have enough grain notes or oak vanillin to be honestly called a whiskey.More smooth and complex than shine, but lighter and more fresh than whiskey; what would you call that?What does the word “reserve” mean?It means the product spent some extra time in oak, in this case, any time at all.So, RESERVE MOONSHINE.
The ultimate goal is a product that can be sipped, easy going, but not so deep or rich that someone is afraid to mix it. We want a little more smoothness and complexity than a clear liquor normally has. Honestly, it is for bartenders, designed to give them a perfect mixing spirit, more than clear, but not so much that it cannot appear in their favorite craft recipes. Experiment, use it to replace anything, just to see what we mean. Make a julep, a margarita, a cosmo, a manhattan, a cuba libra, anything; but substitute this and just see how fun and creative life can be! Enjoy!
Classic and CRAFT COCKTAILS
Some Recommendations from our Bartenders
2 oz. MountainShine, squeeze half lime, .5 oz. simple syrup, 3 oz. ginger beer over ice in a copper cup. [Moonshine Mojitos and Moonshine Margaritas are also amazing!]
2.5 oz. Reserve Shine, 5 well-smashed mint leaves, 1 tbsp. agave nectar, splash of soda.
Shake it hard and serve like a Mint Julep Martini.
A reference to the bar where I first encountered the legendary Sazerac, this is our craft twist.
2 oz. Reserve Shine, 1 oz. lemon zest simple syrup, 2 dashes Pechaud’s bitters, shaken and served up in old fashion glass and finished with our homemade absinthe ice cube.
2 oz. Reserve Shine, 1 oz. high quality sweet vermouth, 3 dashes homemade bitters,
shaken and served up with sexy cherry (homemade if possible).
2 oz. MountainShine, 4 oz. V-8, dashes of tabasco to taste (I like 4), tsp. horseradish, 2 dashes Worcestershire, pinch of salt and pepper, serve over ice with lime wedge,
pickled green bean and okra, and stalk of celery.
Uncle Joe (Bobby’s Godfather)
2 oz. Reserve Shine, .5 oz Amaretto, over one solid rock chipped from carving ice.
A throwback to an old recipe, done as a modern craft cocktail.
1.5 oz. MountainShine, 3 oz. Cherry Juice, .5 oz. grenadine, cherry garnish
A reference to Van Gogh and artistic creation…this green madness will change your life,
just please don’t cut your ear off. 1.5 oz. MountainShine, 1 oz. Green Chartreuse, 1 oz. basil simple syrup, squeeze half lime, 1 oz. grapefruit, .5 oz. absinthe,
over crushed ice in tall glass with lime/basil garnish.
Cripple Creek Cosmo
2 oz. Black Bear Vodka, 2 oz. Clear Cranberry Cocktail, 1 oz. Goldslager, squeeze half lime,
Shake and Serve Up with plastic donkey garnish.
1.5 oz. MountainShine Reserve, 1.5 oz. Black Bear Rum, 3 oz. Orange Juice, 3 oz. Pineapple Juice, .5 oz. Grenadine, over crushed ice in tall hurricane glass with orange/cherry flag.
Green Mountain Martini
1.5 oz. Black Bear Vodka, 1 oz. Blue Curacao, 1 oz. Galliano,
Shake hard and serve up with green cherry garnish.
2 oz. Black Bear Rum, 2 oz. Ginger Beer, squeeze half lime, .5 oz. lime simple syrup,
.5 oz. pineapple juice, over crushed ice in tall glass with sugarcane stick garnish.
Like a Washington Apple, but with a local edge. 1.5 oz. MountainShine Reserve, 1 oz. Sour Apple Schnapps, 1 oz. Apple Juice, 1 oz. Clear Cranberry Juice.
A reference to the Norse End of the World…this Black Bear version of a Long Island Ice Tea will Hammer you worse than Thor. 1 oz. MountainShine, 1 oz. Black Bear Rum, 1 oz. Black Bear Vodka, 1 oz. Aquavit, and 1 oz. Triple Sec. Squeeze a little lemon with some Sprite and a splash of Coke and garnish with lemon.
It might mean Frangelico Tall, or it might Fairly Terrific, or even Fairy Tumbler, we’ll never tell. It is our version of a White Russian. 1.5 oz. Black Bear Vodka, 1 oz. Kahlua, 1 oz. Frangelico, 2 oz. half & half, shake hard over crushed ice in tall glass. Also works with ice cream as a relative of the Brandy Alexander.
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BLACK BEAR DISTILLERY