Editor’s Note: For the third year running I was a judge at the annual Texas Whiskey Festival, an event designed to showcase the best in Texas whiskey, be it distilled in state or brought in from somewhere else and bottled there. Festival officials were kind enough to cover my lodging costs – what follows is a description of the winners from festival co-founder Jake Clements.
Saturday, March 7th we held the 3rd Annual Texas Whiskey Festival. It was an incredible night of music, food, whiskey, and fellowship!
Before the festival, three judges from various backgrounds in whiskey rated 42 whiskeys. The competition is a blind judging. The judges assess each whiskey based on smell, taste, and finish on a scale of 100.
The judges include the founder of the Whiskey Wash, GM of Seven Grand Austin and the Bar Manager of the Jack Allen’s restaurants.
Our requirement is that all the whiskey entered in the competition is available to the general public. We want people to have the ability to buy these fantastic whiskeys.
Here are the best Texas Whiskeys of 2020!
Grain to Glass Bourbon
- Garrison Brothers 2020 Small Batch Bourbon
- Ironroot Republic Harbinger
- Treaty Oak Ghost Hill Bourbon
Bottled in Texas Bourbon
- Kooper Family Whiskey Sweetheart of the Rodeo
- Milam & Greene Triple Cask Bourbon
- Iron Wolf Ranch and Distillery Select Bourbon
Grain to Glass Rye
- Tahwahkaro Malted Rye
- Balcones Texas Rye 100
- Ranger Creek .44 Rye
Bottled in Texas Rye
- Kooper Family Whiskey Rye
- Treaty Oak Red Handed Rye
- Milam & Greened Rye Finished in Port Casks
Grain to Glass Single Malt
- Spirit of Texas Pfluger Single Malt
- Andalusia Whiskey Co. Stryker
- Balcones Texas ‘1’ Single Malt
Grain to Glass Other
- Lone Elm
- True Blue 100
- Dripping Springs Distilling Republic Whiskey
Bottled in Texas Other
- Austonian Whiskey
- Texas Ranger
- Rebecca Creek Whiskey
Of course, as with most competitions, the opinions of the judges don’t always match what consumers like. To give the people their say, we have a people’s choice award.
Peoples Choice Award
- Iron Wolf Ranch and Distillery
- Austin Craft Spirits (Austin 101)
- Lone Elm
It is an exciting time for Texas whiskey. There are new distilleries aging products and established distilleries exploring locally sourced grains. We have seen a variety of distilleries release whiskey finished in different casks. We look forward to what the future will bring.
Nino Kilgore-Marchetti is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Whiskey Wash, an award winning whiskey lifestyle website dedicated to informing and entertaining consumers about whisk(e)y on a global level. As a whisk(e)y journalist, expert and judge he has written about the subject extensively, been interviewed in various media outlets and...