Whiskey Review: Westward Bridgeport Kingpin Ale Whiskey

, | May 27, 2022

Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by Westward Whiskey. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review.

Bridgeport was one of the original craft breweries in Portland’s Brewery Blocks, opening in 1982. As such they had a strong impact on the Oregon craft breweries that followed. And then, in the 2017 wave of brewery closures, they closed their doors as well. 

This bottle keeps a bit of the brewery alive. The first instinct upon seeing this bottle would lead one to think the expression was finished in a beer barrel from the brewery. This expression takes a very different tact, however. The distillers at Westward worked with Bridgeport brewers on the recipe for the whiskey itself.

The idea was to use the Kingpin recipe to make a similar flavor profile of whiskey. Kingpin was a red ale, with the characteristic malty notes found in red ales (good thing Westward just happens to specialize in single malt whiskey). In addition to the standard malted barley, the team added malted rye as well. 

Westward Whiskey, of course, is made by House Spirits distillery, a leader in the Portland distilling scene. Whiskey was always the ideal for the distillery, but had to wait for the profits from Aviation Gin (sold in 2016) and Krogstad aquavit to enable production. The distillery was able to start whiskey distillation in 2014, with a focus on single malt whiskies and unique cask finishing. 

This is a bottle I’ll be holding onto for a while, because we won’t see its like again. It’s a bit of Portland history, brought to us from the tradition of Portland’s own Westward Whiskey. I remember Bridgeport fondly, and regretted to hear of its closure. I went in for their last night, and their vibrant atmosphere didn’t fade even until the last moment. I added their patch to my denim vest, Portland hipster style, and think of them when I wear it. Now I’ll think of them with this whiskey as well.

Westward Bridgeport Kingpin Ale Whiskey review

Westward American Two Malts Bridgeport Brewing Co. (image via Westward Whiskey)

Tasting Notes: Westward American Two Malts Bridgeport Brewing Co.

Vital Stats: 90 proof, 45% ABV, single barrel, 750ml, 

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Appearance: Amber with an orange-y gold hue and a green tint, almost copper. Scattered quick legs.

Nose: Marshmallow-y sweetness gives into strong green apple aroma, evolving into a sour candy note.

Palate: Medium in texture. It starts off with a bit of that candied apple from the nose. Very quickly that leads into breakfast cereal notes, particularly Honey Nut Cheerios. It then both dries and richens into grain notes of oat and bran. A few drops of water both soften the grain element, and cream the texture. 

3.5

Summary

I think the concept of this bottle and the execution are very interesting, and I appreciate the spirit of the endeavor. I think it comes across as a balanced spirit and it does taste good, but ultimately it wasn’t my personal favorite. The maltiness and the strong cereal grain presence overshadowed any more delicate flavors that may have been lingering – then again, that was the point of the expression.

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Talia Gragg

Talia is part of the Portland service industry community, and an alumna of the Multnomah Whiskey Library. She’s an avid spirit and cocktail enthusiast, and likes to experience them both academically and recreationally. When not sipping whiskey she’s a ceramic artist and lover of travel.