Standing next to the shiny copper still at Top of the Hill’s microdistillery in Chapel Hill, proprietor Scott Maitland easily links his newest venture to his well-known microbrewery down Franklin Street. “I think of this wheat whiskey like a porter,” he said. Maitland’s whiskey is made with organic wheat, as opposed to corn and barley, reviving a rare style much like the campaign years ago to save the porter beer style in Britain.
Top of the Hill is bringing together its new line of Topo small-batch spirits with its craft beers Sunday at the Bootleggers Banquet. The dinner celebrates the 80th anniversary of the end of Prohibition and debuts two new beers: the “Old 96” pale ale and an imperial stout aged in whiskey barrels.
The pale ale uses 96 percent locally sourced ingredients thanks to North Carolina-grown grains from Riverbend Malt House in Asheville. Top of the Hill’s brewery is one of many local craft brewers, including Fullsteam in Durham and Aviator in Fuquay-Varina, to start incorporating Riverbend into their beers. Read this week's full Pintful beer column here.