If nerdliness is next to Godliness for brewers and distillers, Reno may now be the site of their most awe-inspiring temple.
The Mill Street Still & Brew is a triumph of brewhouse craftsmanship — and that’s just the building. Inside, an array of “precision beers” and cold-distilled vodka are produced with custom-crafted instrumentation, in steel tanks built to the specifications of a chemical engineer whose day job – oil and gas exploration – inspired their design.
“It’s such a beautiful place. I love showing it off,” said manager Andy Perkins, noting that he offers tours on the fourth Friday of each month.
Indeed, the equipment has a unique look. Mill street is outfitted with gleaming accoutrements fashioned by hand in a facility near the Geiger Grade. It was designed by Head Brewer and Distiller Will Whipple, who applied his knowledge of oil industry apparatus to brewing and distilling, Perkins said. The tools of those trades share some features.
Mill Street’s spacious tap room features more custom touches, including a dozen hand-crafted metal tap handles, seven of which are currently up and running with a partial assortment of the brewery’s Micron brand Beers.
Perkins estimates it will be two years until Mill Street is operating at full capacity. Meanwhile, New West Distributing of Sparks has picked up several of the Micron beers, including Honey Blond Ale, No Town Brown, Dayman Cove Hefeweizen, and Secret Cove Cervesa, a Mexican-style lager –- in 16-ounce cans.
Mill Street is boasting a distillation process used only in five other U.S. distilleries, says Perkins.
The distillery is producing 10 Torr Vodka. The brand is distinguished by its room temperature distillation, which averts harshness arising from the traditional process. Traditional distilling creates chemical reactions when heat is applied, according to Mill Street’s wesbite.
Whipple will shortly turn his attention from vodka to gin, using local botanicals, Perkins told GBN.
“We’re working on our gin recipe,” Perkins said. “We’ll have that gin hopefully in the next couple of months.”
Traditionally, gin is distilled at 170 degrees, Perkins told GBN, cooking the botanicals.
“With a vacuum distillation you’re not cooking them,” he said.
10 Torr will use cucumber, lemon, and other ingredients with a raw, fresh flavor, which he say the vacuum distillation will preserve. Later, Mill Street intends to explore vacuum distilling whiskeys, which is currently done only in Japan, Perkins says.
A formal grand opening is scheduled for September 9, but since June, the tap room has been operating Wednesday through Sunday.