Whiskey Hollow — stick with me, you’re gonna LOVE this stuff


Valley View, TX.  Population 759.  Sitting on I-35 in North Texas, not far from the Oklahoma border, there’s not much around.  A Dairy Queen, feed mill, and Subway sammiches round out the notable businesses seen from the interstate.  From the highway, there is nothing drawing you in to stop other than a bathroom break.  Living in the North TX area my whole life, I’ve stopped at that Dairy Queen once to use the restroom and order a chocolate chip blizzard with strawberries.  

The last place in the world I would have imagined a distillery to pop up would be friggin’ Valley View.  It’s not immediately near the Red River, it is cattle country, no bars, and four churches.  But lo’ and behold, as I sat one morning googling away in my recliner to find new distilleries in Texas, this tiny multi-horse town was one of the very first hits.  Valley View.  You’ve got to be kidding?  Hell, even the town of Sanger down the road bests it because they have a Babe’s.  


Whiskey Hollow.  Nice and simple name.  But what caught my attention on their website was the distillation method; “Whiskey Hollow Distillery is a Craft Distiller in Valley View, Texas that has been making spirits for generations. We make Bourbon, Whiskey, Rum and Moonshine the old fashioned way, using what is known as a “double thumper” process. This makes our spirits some of the smoothest on the planet.”.  WTF is a double thumper? Two rabbits?  Thumper was a cool bunny in Bambi, but I don’t think he got boozy.  Of course I threw a notebook in my backpack and drove north.  To Valley View I go!

Photo courtesy of the Valley View Chamber of Commerce

As you can see from the pic above, I wasn’t exaggerating.  This place is itty bitty.  There are homes in Southlake bigger than this.  When I pulled into the town square (ha!) there were a few cars – ok – pickup trucks around.  I’ve gotta admit, it was surprising to see there was a little winery/wine bar there on the square.  This town is starting to put its big britches on!  It’s good to see more of these small towns attempting to bring in visitors, likely taking queues from other successful Texas historic towns like Grapevine and Fredericksburg. Find your niche and they will come.  It seems Valley View’s niche may very well be some damned fine alcohol.

In an old brick former bank building on the south end of the square, Whiskey Hollow has been producing spirit for about three years and open for business on the square for about a year and a half.



When you enter the building, the entire establishment is before you.  Nothing to hide, nothing causing a question to their credibility.  To your left is a wall of American white oak barrels silently doing their job.  To your right is a bar.  Directly in front of you, beyond the immediate seating area and past the brightly colored lineup of flavored moonshine, are two large oak barrels hooked up to a condenser on a tall table.  You can see the meticulously hand-made copper pot still in the back, but it’s the barrels that first catch your eye.  What the hell are those?  Two huge aging casks shoved in the middle of the distillation process?  It doesn’t make immediate sense to anyone who’s been on a couple of distillery tours.  But ta daaa!, those are Whiskey Hollow’s prized double thumpers.  More on that in a bit.


When I arrived I was one of three patrons.  Another couple was wrapping up a moonshine tasting with one of the staff.  When they left, the young man came over to greet me.  He was very pleasant and provided a quick overview of the place and then invited me to sit down at the lacquered wooden bar to enjoy a taste or two.  On the offer are Whiskey Hollow’s 151 Moonshine (whew!), Silver and Gold Rum, Texas White “shootin’” Whiskey that is an homage to the Texas barkeeps of the 1800’s, Cinnamon Whiskey, and then the prize, the king of the lineup, Master Select Texas Gold (bourbon).

This particular trip I sought out the white whiskey and the bourbon.  As I pulled out my notebook, readying myself to take down impressions of their unaged white whiskey, luck was on my side and the owner/master distiller walked in from his lunch break.  Les Beasley immediately reminded me of my father.  As I was now the only patron there, Les came over to say hi.  He is a friendly man with silver-white hair and an engaging smile.

I told him I had just discovered Whiskey Hollow that morning and had to drive up to find out what the hell a double thumper was and why it was so unique.  Bada bing, bada boom, the interview began!  


Les and his family, his ancestors, have been here a long time, as lines of his family came to the American shores in the 1600’s.  His father’s line were associated with the Republic of Texas.  His mother’s family helped found Branson, MO.  His family has been around distilling longer than most.  To be specific, he’s got a pedigree of distilling.  In his own words, “distilling is the signature of a life’s work and ancestry”.  He takes his science and art seriously and I’m glad to share a bit of that with you now.

This man is truly passionate about what he does and the product he bottles.  His grandfather walked with him out in the woods and taught him how to select white oak trees — how sturdy and well grown the tree should be, looking for 16” diameter trunks.  How to cut the tree so as not to damage the future oak staves, how to saw them properly and cure them.  So when he sought out a cooperage, he knew exactly what he was looking for to reach his preferred flavor profile.  He sources his water from a spring well on his own land and oversees custom grain production to supply his mash bill.  Les is a perfectionist with a science degree — not a new distiller simply trying to figure out what tastes good, knowing nothing of water and wood and char and chemistry, and hop on the ever-growing whiskey industry bandwagon.  He knows what is best for his bottles and he knows exactly how to get there.  He built the still, the thumpers, the condenser, the coils, all of it.

Now after talking of family and history and trees, we finally got around to the double thumpers.  Let me preface that during our chat, Les became so excited and happy to share his story with me that I’m 100% positive I didn’t catch it all.  But his passion was infectious so I was not about to slow him down.  Besides, it’s a good excuse to go back and visit with him again.


The thumper method was invented in the 1600’s in the Caribbean for rum production.  This is a slow, slow process.  It becomes even slower when two thumpers (oak barrels, remember?) are used.  You see, thumper production is a refining process, a second distillation stage.  It’s not just heating the mash in the copper still and then condensing.  It’s a purification process that takes an understanding of water molecules and heat.  The process uses whiskey steam from the still to boil the ‘hearts’ cut in the charred oak thumpers FOUR TIMES.  Yes, I text-yelled.  Because it’s FOUR TIMES, y’all.  Now, I’ve not tested this personally, but Les states that the double thumper method he uses (and he’s the only one doing it legally in the U.S.) creates such a pure spirit, that if you drink way more than you should, you will not have a hangover the next morning.  

The thumper kegs can contain spring water, mash, and/or tails (lower proof distillate) and it is much cooler than the incoming condensed alcohol from the pot still.  This is what makes the process complex with an infinite number of possibilities to the final distillate.  And the meeting of cold and hot causes a noticeably violent reaction in the kegs.  They literally shake and thump violently on the table causing vibrations to reach other areas of the room!

I pinky swear that it makes more sense when you talk with Les.  And I also pinky swear that the resulting amber liquid you find in your glass will be some of the strongest, smoothest, most complex tasting bourbon you could ever find.   It’s so unique that only a day previous to my visit, an extremely well known and respected bourbon distiller from Kentucky had paid Les a visit.  They were also in the midst of finalizing a distributor.  Folks, Whiskey Hollow is about to take off and you’re going to want some.

When I went back to the bar after talking and touring with Les, he provided a healthy pour of his Texas Gold.  Let me be clear, the contents are aptly named — this stuff is amazing!  This is a prize worth paying the $150 price tag for, and no one would blame you if you kept it all to yourself.  It’s also a luxury worth an attempt at bumping your reputation with your boss’s boss as a gift.  You will win points.  For those not close to the North Texas area, be patient, this is one producer that will continue to grow and will have a much wider distribution.



  • Sweet charred oak
  • Floral
  • Sweet earth, like grass with a hint of cinnamon


  • Smooth with a cleansing burn
  • Soft caramel from the char — kettle corn
  • Oak and a touch of leather
  • Black pepper and some fresh sweet red pepper


  • Long and dry with sweetness that playfully comes in and out
  • More oak, manly man oak
Photo courtesy of Whiskey Hollow’s website

Come to Valley View and let them pour you a dram directly from an aging barrel, you will not be disappointed.

**UPDATE**  Whiskey Hollow was recently chosen by the Gaylord Texan as best bourbon in Texas!  See?  Told ya they were awesome  🙂

Slainte mhath!


Bottoms up!

7 Comments Add yours

  1. LisaW says:

    This makes me want to make a trip to Texas!! Love these old/new places!!


  2. Jim Baker says:

    Actually most of the water come from the water treatment plant, and the rest comes from sparklets. The grain is bought by the pallet, and the whiskey itself is overpriced for a barrel aged bourbon (only 6 months). I’ve personally heard the words “Best bourbon in Texas” come from the owners mouth, but that’s hard to believe when the people that gave the original stamp are chefs at a hotel, not by any means a connoisseur. And the only other review done for this place has been taken down due to the possibility of telling the hard truth. The bourbon is not bad for a $50 price tag, but $150 is a long stretch to pay and listen to a guy boast about how good it is.


    1. Hi Jim, I certainly appreciate the feedback. Though I myself do not claim to be a connoisseur, perhaps not the chefs, either, I cannot say the data you mention is what I have gathered. Either way, I do believe this is a good product as because in the end, it’s all about individual taste and what we’re willing to pay to be happy. I do thank you for your input, though!


    2. Les Beasley says:

      Hi Jim,
      Les Beasley here. The guy you said is full of BS. Sorry for what I have done to you for you to feel the need to send out hostile and false information here. To clarify your claims. Water source I would love to see those pictures of me filling my trucks water tanks because it will only be of me filling out of my deep water well spigot at my place in the country. I have personally filled every tank since the beginning and hauled it to Valley View for Mash in. Yes- We wash out the still and thumpers with city water but never mash in with it. It just goes to show you really do not know anything about the whiskey process. City water has chlorine in which will kill any yeast if you mash in with it – da. It is an impossibility to mash in with city water without a massive pretreatment filter system in place. Guess what – not one water treating system is on the place. Sparklets water – that’s a good one. I buy a bunch of Sparkletts, distilled water. It’s the best out there (my opinion). Ever heard of cut water for whiskey and spirits. By federal law all spirits bottled must be within a very close % of what proof is on the label. Every spirit has to be cut with distilled or other water to match the label for whatever spirit is bottled. For me I age my cut water (Sparkletts distilled) for my bourbon about a month or 2 in the oak. If it is setting ready to bottle at 112 proof, sparkles H2O is added to get close to 110. Bourbon has to go in the barrel at 125 proof but can be legally distilled to 160 proof measured @ 60 degrees. Question is how do you take 156 proof green bourbon to 125 proof so it can be barreled? You cut it with water until it is 125 proof! Mashing in? Man, If I used 100% Sparklets water to mash in I would go broke. It would cost me about $1200 per 1200-gal mash in just for water… it’s expensive but it is great water. Grain Source – Blake Fortenberry local farmer and his son’s , his phone # 940 389 5323 – to verify, grows about 30% of my grain for my Bourbon. The grain coming in on pallets – absolutely – how else is it going to get here??? Outside of local farmers 58% to sometimes 88% comes from one FDA approved and compliant local grain mill – custom sources and grinds my corn and grain – Tony’s mill – his phone # 940-759-2241 to verify. I personally haul it from there. My single malt I use comes from a malting company worldwide known for quality malt since the 1800s – Briess- Aging – another fake news misstatement from you. If you read on my Bourbon label it say’s aged at least 6 months (Federal statement requirement mandated by TTB for label approval) I wanted to put aged until ready. Nope – not good enough for TTB. That text was TTB required for my label. My bourbon is not aged 6 months like you stated. Learn to read a little closer before you start false and defamatory statements. FYI – I do not even crack the barrel for about a year to see how it is doing. My so called – Best Bourbon in Texas Statement – is a misleading statement by you – I stated a comment in a press release about my Bourbon. That statement was a joint agreement press release from all the executive Chefs at The Marriott’s Gaylord Texan. Just so you know who these guys are… Marriott ranks (I was told) them as the #1 executive Chef team in the world of around 6500 Marriott’s. Its not just some hotel – wow-do some research first! Chef J’s guys in food alone serves between $80M to $136M in food alone. Oh, by the way it was not a contest – they came to me and purchased a $35,000 barrel and just ordered more whiskey from me. Make no mistake If it was crap whiskey he would have lost his job for spending 35K on it. You say he is not a connoisseur. What a misstatement, his life is based on making right choices in everything food and drink, served to hundreds of thousands of people yearly. I was honored by Jay to come speak to some executives of one of the nation’s largest retailers about my bourbon whiskey about 2 weeks ago. In the whiskey room was also served a $2800 bottle of King Louie. Each time I go I am honored to be asked opinions on many whiskeys he has or thinking about serving. He is most definitely one of the best whiskey experts in the country I have seen. Marriott pays them to visit distilleries around the country and bring back what they think is the best. He told me of a special visit to a Distillery in Kentucky who is making a custom barrel for them. Contrary, another big-name distillery they walked out of. They know their food, whiskies and wines.
      The review web site you mentioned – was a joke of a review filled with lies and misinformation from a girls opinion tasting whiskey in a rundown laundry room of all places. I’m sure the dirty socks and the great aroma of a laundry room is the best place to judge a whiskey properly. The owner of the site took it down because of the false information and hate filled review. It came from a person never been here or even talked to me. I just do not get the hatred people put in writing about whiskey sometimes. Pretty bad when a self-acclaimed whiskey expert can’t even legally define what a single malt Whisky is, not Whiskey. Scotland versus US standards – Hmmm. Wonder what the difference is??? All downhill from there. Thanks to the site owner for doing the right thing!
      You say I have no awards. They are displayed and hanging on my bottles for all to see. – But the best awards I truly cherish are when my customers taste it and then buy a bottle. For me that is hundreds of treasured gold medals for me and my staff. There is no better complement than that. We are now on Bourbon barrel # 11 since we bottled #1 24 months ago. That is approximately 2700 bottles of $150 bourbon out the door. To date – you and the California girl are the only complainers I know of. I can’t please everyone but I try.
      Outside independent professional Judges – Gold Medal – Just received Best Bourbon 2018 – 50 Best Competition – By invitation only – New York City.
      Bronze medal (top 3) 2017 Berlin Germany International Spirits Competition – 400 plus entries.
      My 151 moonshine which is my unaged bourbon mash distilled to a high proof and other whiskies has won several medals. Silver medal – Berlin International Spirits Competition. 2 from the 100% industry highly respected American Distilling Institute (ADI).
      The ADI has my spirits certified as 100% craft distilled.
      Bottom line is this, there is enough hatred in this world. Why write hateful and false information about an old man trying to do his best in making a whiskey some others enjoy? In your opinion you do not like my whiskey – that’s fine – enough said. But understand some people do really like it. Please just do not be so hateful about it. Make no mistake about it, you have published in a public forum false and defamatory information about me and my company. My attorneys would love to have a round with you in court. I beg you to end this here without any more hatred towards me or my company. It appears to me you were nothing more than a spy seeking to do harm and twisted the information gathered. My opinion. Do not know why but you were seeking to publicly state false information that can financially harm me and my company. I will end this with an old saying – Don’t get in a pissing match with a pissed off skunk… both will come out stinking and pissed off even more. I have no idea why you have a vendetta against a 62 year old man trying to master his love for making whiskey – That is all I am doing. since 2013 I have dumped all profits an then some back into my distillery to make it better. My wife gave me my first paycheck 2 weeks ago. a whopping $200 which I spent most all of it of it buying lunches for my employees. Even took a picture of it. I am blessed to love what I do. Sorry you hate me and my Whiskey. I truly apologize for any offense and harm you feel I have done to you.

      To all – if Jim has sent you these so-called evidence pictures please forward them to me at LesBeas2@gmail.com Something is bad wrong here for him to say that he has pictures of me sourcing from a public water supply for mashing in. I promise all my mash in water is 100% from my deep well at my place I use also for my personal drinking water – Local well drillers call it the sweet zone, and it is.
      Les Beasley – builder and distiller of Whiskey Hollow.


  3. Jim Baker says:

    I can send you pics of where he gets the water and grain, or you can trust the bs from the horses mouth. Either way I was just trying to provide you with the facts, not different opinions as the ones we have about the bourbon.


    1. Stephen says:

      Yes, the malted barley comes on a pallet. However, it does come from a small craft maltster in Wisconsin and is a premium malt. $150 is a bit steep for the bourbon but it is a fine hand crafted product and the only one in the US produced via double thumper still. I don’t know if I would say it is the “Best Bourbon in Texas” but it’s pretty damned good.

      I’m guessing when the author of this post said “[Les] oversees custom grain production to supply his mash bill” he wasn’t talking about the pallets of malt barley you saw. He was most likely talking about the corn Whiskey Hollow uses. Malt grade barley doesn’t grow very well in Texas. As for the water, I can’t speak to that.


  4. Moose says:

    I can personally attest to the quality of water and the whiskey coming out of the barrel being worth every penny it it is priced at. Blows Garrison Brothers out of the water and Garrison Brothers is a force to be reckoned with.


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