Spirit Tastings in Mammoth Lakes

Jul 13, 2021

Mammoth Lakes is home to two craft distilleries. Devils Creek Distillery, located in the town’s industrial district and Shelter Distilling, in The Village at Mammoth, offer individual connoisseurs and groups interested in a new and unique activity to seek out in the Eastern Sierra. Both locations offer spirit tastings and Shelter also offers lunch and dinner.

Devils Creek Distillery

Founded in 2017 by the Mendel family, Devils Creek Distillery is a multi-generational artisan distillery committed to barrel-aged spirits. John and Luan Mendel and son Clayton manage day-to-day operations, while other family members work on social media and research new products. Clayton, who runs the production side of the business, “has a strict reverence for the whiskey craft,” and utilizes traditional methods when producing and barreling their spirits. Devotees of the spirit will find their products most closely resemble American whiskey, especially Kentucky whiskey.

The Tasting Room at Devils Creek Distillery

Devils Creek Distillery’s tasting room offers views to their production area. Designed with a combination of brick, wood, and metal and warmed by a wood fire stove in the corner, Devils Creek is open and inviting, reflecting the industrial location where their craft spirits are produced. The tasting room is open on Friday and Saturday from 2:30-5:30 pm and by appointment. Tastings are $7/person, and individuals and groups are welcome. Tours of the production facility are also available. To schedule a group tour and tasting or private event call 760-279-3670 or email info@devilscreekdistillery.com.

Shop for Devils Creek Distillery Spirits

Devils Creek White Mountain Rum is barrel-aged in charred American oak barrels, then finished in used Zinfandel barrels from the Williams Selyem winery in Healdsburg, California. Clayton treats the rum like a bourbon by allowing barrel aging to finish the spirits rather than adding spices or caramel back into it. A 100 proof spirit, White Mountain Rum is delicate on the palate and an excellent sipping rum. Its time on American oak adds a hint of vanilla on top of traditional Caribbean molasses undertones.

Devils Creek California Bourbon Whiskey is a “high rye” Kentucky style bourbon aged for 12 months in 30-gallon charred new oak barrels. In keeping with traditional methods, this bourbon is bottled at cask strength (92 proof), which makes it perfect for drinking neat or using in the distillery’s signature Smokejumper cocktail, their take on a Manhattan.

Since 2017 Devils Creek has been barreling a number of unique whiskeys including bourbon, rye, and corn whiskey for future release. Visit their website at devilscreekdistillery.com for more information, and stop by their tasting room to enjoy this original, independent, artisan distillery.

Shelter Distilling

Shelter Distilling is a “purpose-driven distillery that passionately creates innovative, progressive spirits through methods that mirror the grandiose nature of the Eastern Sierra.” Shelter’s trio of owners all have roots in the community of Mammoth Lakes. Karl Anderson and Jason Senior were in charge of brewing at Mammoth Brewing Co. and their third owner, Matt Hammer, is a professionally retired snowboarder who along with his wife, Gracie, opened Black Velvet Coffee, a craft coffee roaster, espresso bar, and wine bar in Mammoth in 2008.

The Tasting Room and Restaurant at Shelter Distilling

Located in The Village at Mammoth, their wide-open location incorporates views of their mash tuns and grain mill, a CARL copper still system from Stuttgart, Germany. The modern, sleek bar is adjacent to their space for spirit tastings as well as tables for enjoying their lunch to dinner tapas and locally-sourced menu.

Shelter Distilling’s craft beer and spirits are available in limited, small batches and highlight their interest in innovative, expressive spirits that highlight the flavors and taste of the Eastern Sierra. Customers can enjoy flights of cider and limited craft beer, as well as taking them home in growlers.

Shop for Shelter Spirits

The wives of all three of the owners are avid gin drinkers and their passion for the spirit became the muse for over four types of gins currently available. Customers can enjoy barrel-aged Gin the First (100 proof) aged for five months in a used single malt whiskey barrel and infused with orange peel, handpicked pinyon pine, and vanilla. Gin the Second (80 proof) offers malted barley and rye-based juniper-forward London dry gin with heather flowers and handpicked sage. Gin the Third (80 proof) includes wheat heavy mash bill that gives way to mild juniper notes, heavy floral flavors of rose, lavender, vanilla, anise, and cucumber.

In addition to gin, Shelter offers other innovative spirits including vodka, whiskey, and rum. Their menu of craft cocktails is expansive and adventurous. With names like Minaret Mule, Eastside Retreat, and The Leaf Peeper, the cocktails reflect the taste and spirit of the High Sierra. Along with crafted beers and ciders, Shelter offers craft sodas made in-house and a menu of tapas, sandwiches, and pizzas offered every day.

Shelter opens 11 am-11 pm Sunday-Thursday and 11 am-1 am Friday and Saturday. (Kitchen opens 12-9 pm every day.) Individuals and groups are welcome for tastings and can email info@shelterdistilling.com for more information.

Charlotte Kaufman

Charlotte Kaufman grew up in Alaska and started traveling internationally at the age of 16. A sailor since 2005, she and her family were part of a dramatic at-sea rescue in the spring of 2014 while en route to the South Pacific. She has just completed a memoir about the experience and is seeking to…

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