Warfield Distillery & Brewery: Ketchum’s newest Main Street fixture
Bringing Craft Beer & Spirits To Life In Downtown Ketchum
Warfield Distillery & Brewery, Ketchum’s newest Main Street fixture, has been open for business for just over two years, but the dream behind it has been around a lot longer than that.
Co-Founders Alex Buck & Ben Bradley share a long held passion for the art and social significance of booze. “I love how the role beer and spirits play in our social fabric,” says Bradley. “When we celebrate, when we visit an old friend, and really anytime we come together, sharing a pint or a dram is a part of those rituals. And creating beers and spirits that become that part of people’s moments, there’s something really cool about that.”
A rarity in today’s craft beer boom, Warfield has committed to using only organic malt and whole leaf hops. “With so few ingredients going into a beer, there’s no reason not to use the absolute best ingredients we can get our hands on,” says Buck. “ The two brewers add that the depth and nuance in hop flavor and aroma can only be achieved with whole leaf hops.
Their commitment to quality ingredients extends into their distilling as well. Their unique and coveted gin, No Return, is born of organic botanicals with an emphasis on those native to the Northern Rockies. Warfield’s whiskey blends local, organic malts to create a whiskey in the Irish and Scottish tradition. “Most folks are making bourbons, using new oak barrels of varying sizes,” says Bradley. “We’re using only full-sized, ex-bourbon barrels in the tradition of Irish and Scotch whiskeys. These barrels impart a far more delicate flavor and lead to a more mellow spirit.”
Of course the question everyone has: when will the whiskey be ready? Buck offers some insight on the whiskey’s aging. “We’re toying with the idea of a small local release of just one barrel around Christmas time. The whiskey would be a touch under two years old, and we want to make sure the maturity is there before we commit to offering it.”
Visitors of the Warfield will discover that the commitment to quality is present in every aspect of the project. Chef Sean Temple sources over 90% of the menu’s proteins and produce from local Idaho farms, keeping the menu of reimagined pub fare fresh and seasonal. Justin Hockemeyer’s inventive cocktails offer something for every taste. And the building itself exudes a timeless, cozy pub vibe.
The size and scope of the undertaking that is The Warfield is unique in Ketchum and certainly daunting for the two founders. But they don’t seem to mind the pressure. “Sometimes when we step back and realize the size of this project, it can be overwhelming,” says Bradley. But when we pour someone a pint or a cocktail and share our passion, we remember the simplicity of our mission: make tasty booze.”