Bourbon is the American whiskey. A favorite in the world of drinks, with the most well-known local being to produce being Kentucky. If I may say, going to Kentucky on the Bourbon trail has become a rite of passage to those that have become of drinking age.
Today we sit down with Binyomin Terbelo, Owner and Distiller of Terebelo Bourbon, to discuss Bourbon and, in his words, “New York Bourbon” and why your next bottle must be Terebelo with your next distillery tour Terebelo Distillery.
So first, welcome Binyomin to Grog Studio. We know that you are pretty busy so thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to make time for us at Grog Magazine weekly. Sit down the coffee is still hot. The milk is kosher. I know that you are a Rabbi. Can you share with us some of your thoughts?
I always look to share my passion, so I am excited to be on weekly thank you, David, and thank you for your kind words and invitation to contribute, and of course, the “Cholov Yisrael” extra kosher milk was so kind of you.
I am intrigued by your project Grog Magazine. I love start-ups. I love when things are being done; differently. I wish you much success differently, and yes, I look forward to contributing weekly.
So Binyomin, please introduce yourself. I don’t think we have time for much more than that today. As you generously offered, we will be back next week for more.
Thanks, David. I will tell you about myself, and yes, I don’t think there will be enough time for more than that.
I grew up in Lakewood, N.J., in an Orthodox Jewish household. Some would use the term Ultra. Though I chose to avoid that as far as a child, I saw a loving and caring mom and dad giving their children their best, and frankly, they did.
At I think it was the age of sixteen, my Grandfather Seymour Terebelo from Detroit Purchased at a Garage a beer-making kit he gave to my cousin who lives in Detroit; when we went for a visit, I was intrigued.
Shopping about a year later, I stumbled upon a beer-making kit in Target by the clearance section at 75% off. I brought it to check out, where I was charged $2.50. I laughed which then told the sales rep that she was taking 75% off on top of 75% already deducted. I was then served a $10 bill, a lesson that I have learned, and yes, I have started working on a poker face. Seriously I am glad the price error was caught.
The beer in a Mr. Beer kit is quite simple to make; it contains syrup that you pour into a pot of water and boil. You are following instructions that are on the can. The issue I experienced at the time, I don’t know if it still exists, is the lack of kosher options besides a can limits the creativity. I love being able not to follow instructions. For a time, my slogan in life was I needed a framework that I could not follow. I love when there are instructions, and they are necessary for life. I view it as a framework to work with an example that I had later when I started creating my beer, the Holiday recipe called for six halved oranges. I like oranges. Can I add an extra one? What will the acids do to the sugar in the yeast? What the ramifications of such a decision will alter ever so slightly always fascinated me and is what drives me to this day.
I am getting ahead of myself, so I reached out to my cousin in Detroit, who guided me towards a “pro” kit, a five-gallon kit, and if I am correct, he was the one that weighed in on the expert opinion “don’t worry about purchasing ingredients because you are underage there is no alcohol here.” I convinced my cousin, Eli Steier, who was driving at the time, I think he was seventeen, to go me to a beer brewing store about a half-hour out of Lakewood, where they sold all the ingredients to make beer. It was an enthralling place to be. Not only that, they offered plenty of advice and experience. I discussed my plans with them and placed my order, that being the recipe I wanted them to put together for me from their leaflet of hundreds of beer recipes, and hesitatingly made my way to the counter.
I shouldn’t have been worried; no ID was asked for. I learned well. Later on, I knew they would sell me pounds of ground corn without asking too many questions when I started to moonshine. What a beautiful place the beer store was, the smells, the vibes as a child or better teenager; it was the feel of an adult. I did ask them why they don’t need ID. They retorted, do grocery stores ID if you buy grapes and yeast? We are not selling alcohol, just a recipe that can make.
Let’s move on; I made beer for several years while studying intensely in Yeshiva. Yeshiva is a term used for high school and University climaxing in the Mir Yershalyim. All the while a bug to create and at times creating beer and other alcoholic concoctions.
David, you have been called a Rabbi; are you ordained? Yes, I am ordained, and so I can carry the title Rabbi, I redid the sefer Sharei Yosher by one of the most prestigious Rabbi of pre-war Europe; we will get to that and his influence on how I distill and create, but we won’t have time for that today it’s an article within itself.
After graduating from the Mir, I moved back to Lakewood, where I enrolled in Beth Medrash Govoh to advance my Rabbinical studies.
When it all took off, I purchased a propane burner and started moonshining, but before I get to that, I would like to share the process of making Bourbon.
David, I think we are out of time. Can we pick up on that next week?
Sure Rabbi Terebelo, looking forward.
Same here. David, it was awesome being here; please drop the “Rabbi.”