Recently, after using a product from Uncle Ike’s, it occurred to me that nobody has reviewed microbooze in an article for a pot blog yet, and that it was my patriotic duty to be the first to do so. So after downloading craft distillery information from the Washington State Liquor Board’s frequently requested lists page (marijuana sales activity is on there too) I got busy!

I don’t drink anything stronger than beer and it would be impossible to rate and review all 109 Washington distilleries and all of their products, so I picked five, because their names sounded interesting. Our “winners.” Sometimes, being random like that is just the way the Ike blog rolls.

We all know that marijuana is safer than alcohol, and that alcohol kills lots of people and marijuana has killed nobody – unless you count people who combined marijuana with alcohol. Still, if one can’t enjoy life with a favorite beverage or three, what kind of life is that? We here at the Ike blog support the American love of booze. Hell, we have a liquor store right across from our world headquarters, and there’s a bar next door.

Grown-ups like to do things that are unhealthy, like quaff distilled beverages, and have done so for a long time. Italy in the 12th century: they were making hard liquor. China was too, and brandy became commonplace among the German aristocracy by 1450 or so.

The term “craft distillery” is exciting. Sales of crappy American lagers like Budweiser and Coors have plummeted as people discover the pleasures of craft beer. Seattle’s own craft brewery Elysian Brewing was just sold to Anheuser-Busch InBev, a Belgian conglomerate. Craft distilleries are not that huge of a thing yet, but the trend is growing as consumers tire of the generic, uninspiring corporate stuff. Some distilleries might get get the chance to get bought out or grow huge, but – just like in the Washington marijuana business, there is a LOT of competition in the microbooze space right now. Only so many store shelves, and too many products.

Note to self: Begin drinking hard liquor and spend the Summer testing every single product from all 109 Washington craft distilleries, starting with the Top Five:

1. Blind Pig Spirits products include Blind Pig Apple Pie Shine, which they claim “tastes like it just came out of grandma’s oven on Thanksgiving day,” and a “single malt vodka produced with malted barley.”

“Washington State has adopted new laws with the past few years which is resulting in dozens of new distilleries around our state. We plan to capitalize on our unique experience to firmly establish Blind Pig Spirits at the forefront of this new phenomenon.”

2. Fremont Mischief has a tasting room, and their logo has devil horns and an angel’s halo. Their Workers NO.9 Vodka is “vodka for the working man.” A portion of the proceeds go to The Washington State Council of Fire Fighters Benevolent Fund. Made with only Winter wheat and water. Sounds crisp and delicious – I am imagining myself sitting near an ice cold glacial stream right now, smoking a joint and eating a mango. Oh. Wait. Back to the list.

3. Chuckanut Bay distillery “is the platonic love-child of Matt Howell and Kelly Andrews, two guys who love Bellingham and are passionate about hand-crafted quality spirits.” They use Skagit Valley Yukon gold potatoes for their potato vodka, which is made “Bellingham style.” Their Chuckanut Bay Wheat Vodka uses Washington grown Winter wheat, of course. Chuckanut’s Old Busker Coffee Liqueur might be a good alternative to Kahlua, which is made by the French conglomerate Pernod.

4. Sandstone Distillery of Tenino also uses Washington grown grains. Their Stone Carver Black Gin is laced with licorice. Sandstone uses “pure, fresh water” drawn from a well on their property.

5. 2 Loons Distillery of Loon Lake, Washington (near Spokane) makes a vodka called Blackberry Loon Lightning. They only sell out of their tasting room right now, which is lunacy.

So there you have it. It feels good to have survived this particular booze adventure without having to travel anywhere or actually drink any booze. Thank you, Internet! And thank you, Uncle Ike, for helping to provide an alternative to hard liquor!