A very worthy competitor to the best Calvados, in our opinion. We crush and ferment the whole apple, using Golden Delicious apples grown in the Yakima Valley, and distill. Following the customs of the Calvados makers of Normandy, the high proof apple spirit is aged in old Cognac barrels, made of Limousin oak, for at least eight years. The result is a beautiful amber brandy, with a remarkable amount of apple in the nose, but with the sophistication and complexity gained from all those years in oak. This has a lot of appeal to the traditional brandy drinker as well, as its color and barrel aged qualities are more familiar.
|Clear Creek Distillery’s origins
Steve McCarthy started Clear Creek Distillery in 1985 because he wanted to find the best use for the fruit from the McCarthy family’s orchard. During his travels in Europe he became acquainted with a number of traditional European spirits, among them an eau de vie made from Williams Pear. Steve knew that with the wonderful fruit we grow in the Pacific Northwest he could make brandy just as good as that he had tried in Europe; that is the origin of Clear Creek Distillery. The name Clear Creek comes from the creek that runs through the pear orchard in Parkdale, Oregon.
What we do
A genuine artisan distillery reflects the best of the natural and agricultural resources of its region. Clear Creek Distillery has succeeded in doing this, making world-class eau de vie and grappa since 1985. At Clear Creek we have married European traditional brandy-making techniques with the finest fruit from Oregon orchards to produce fruit eaux de vie, grappas, and wine brandy. We use the traditional European pot still along with techniques learned in Alsace and Switzerland. No colors or flavors are ever added to our brandies. The distinctive “nose”, or initial smell of the brandy in a snifter, is the result of careful fermentation and distillation of perfectly ripe fruit. You will taste only the clear and fiery essence of the pacific Northwests finest fruits.
We also make an Oregon version of an Islay Scotch, McCarthy’s Oregon Single Malt Whiskey distilled from a fermented mash of peat-malted Scottish barley.
We continue the tradition of using the best Northwest fruit and berries in our seven recently developed liqueurs. We start with brandy that we distill, macerate lots of fruit in it, and lightly sweeten.
Steve McCarthy, founder
Founder Steve McCarthy and his brandies are internationally and nationally known and respected, served in the world’s best restaurants and appreciated by connoisseurs everywhere. “In Oregon, Steve McCarthy’s Clear Creek Distillery is producing what many experts feel to be the best fruit brandies…ever made in the U.S.” (The New York Times Magazine, Dec 8, 1991). Steve McCarthy received Bon Appetit’s American Food & Entertaining Award “Wine and Spirit Professional of the Year” (September 2001). His spirits continue to be called, “the most extraordinary eaux-de-vie in America, indeed, in the world.” (The Wine Bible, by Karen MacNeil, 2001) while he is said to “set new standards among the world’s smaller distilleries.” (Jim Murray’s Whiskey Bible, 2004).