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A. Overholt Monongahela Rye: A Revival of Pennsylvania Rye Whiskey

The spicy cousin of bourbon, rye offers a distinct flavor profile that’s both bold and complex. But rye whiskey’s history goes deeper than just being bourbon’s fiery sibling. Today, we’re diving into the world of A. Overholt Monongahela Rye, a brand steeped in American whiskey tradition and recently experiencing a resurgence. So, buckle up, rye enthusiasts and history buffs, because we’re about to explore a Pennsylvania rye revival with a taste of the 1800s!

Rye Rising: A Brief History of American Rye Whiskey

Before we delve into A. Overholt, let’s rewind a bit. Rye whiskey, believe it or not, was once the dominant spirit in America. Early colonists discovered that rye, a readily available grain, was perfect for crafting a warming spirit. In fact, Pennsylvania, particularly the Monongahela River Valley, became a hotbed for rye whiskey production in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The Monongahela Connection:

This region gets its name from the Monongahela River, a vital waterway that facilitated the transportation of rye grain and finished whiskey barrels. Distilleries sprung up along the riverbanks, including the Overholt Distillery founded by Abraham Overholt in 1810. Overholt’s rye whiskey, known for its bold and spicy character, became a local favorite and eventually a national name.

Rye’s Decline and Rise Again:

However, the 20th century brought a shift in American palates. Bourbon, with its sweeter corn mash bill, gained popularity. Prohibition further devastated the rye whiskey industry. By the mid-20th century, rye whiskey production had dwindled to a fraction of its former glory.

Thankfully, the past few decades have witnessed a resurgence of interest in rye whiskey. Consumers are rediscovering the unique flavors rye offers, and distilleries are reviving historic recipes. This brings us to A. Overholt Monongahela Rye, a testament to the enduring legacy of Pennsylvania rye whiskey.

A Sip of History: Unveiling A. Overholt Monongahela Rye

The Overholt Legacy:

A. Overholt Monongahela Rye pays homage to the brand’s founder, Abraham Overholt, and his commitment to Pennsylvania rye whiskey. This expression uses a traditional Monongahela Mash Bill, featuring 80% rye grain and 20% malted barley. This high rye content is what gives A. Overholt its signature kick.

The Beam Influence:

Today, A. Overholt is part of the Jim Beam portfolio. This partnership has allowed the brand to leverage Beam’s expertise and resources while staying true to its classic rye whiskey recipe. In fact, the whiskey is still distilled in Broad Ford, Pennsylvania, not far from the original Overholt Distillery.

Tasting Profile:

A. Overholt Monongahela Rye is a bold and spicy rye whiskey. On the nose, you’ll find aromas of brown sugar, clove, and hints of peppery spice. The taste is a full-bodied experience with notes of rye spice, caramel, and a touch of oak. The finish is long and warming, leaving a lingering peppery tingle.

Non-Chill Filtered:

One interesting thing to note is that A. Overholt Monongahela Rye is non-chill filtered. This means the whiskey is bottled at proof without being subjected to a filtration process that removes certain fatty acids. These fatty acids can contribute to a cloudy appearance at cold temperatures, but they also add a bit of texture and mouthfeel to the whiskey. So, if you see a little haze in your bottle, don’t worry – it’s just a sign that you’re getting the full, unadulterated flavor of the rye!


A. Overholt Monongahela Rye: Your Rye Whiskey Questions Answered

Q: Is A. Overholt Monongahela Rye a good rye whiskey for beginners?

A: This depends on your taste preferences. If you’re new to rye whiskey, the bold spice of A. Overholt might be a bit much at first. However, if you enjoy bolder flavors and are looking for a taste of American whiskey history, then A. Overholt is definitely worth trying.

Q: How does A. Overholt Monongahela Rye compare to other rye whiskeys?

A: Compared to some rye whiskeys that are more focused on floral and herbal notes, A. Overholt leans towards the bolder side of the spectrum, showcasing a peppery spice and a rich caramel sweetness. It’s a great starting point to explore the bolder end of the rye whiskey spectrum.

Q: What cocktails can I make with A. Overholt Monongahela Rye?

A: A. Overholt’s bold flavor profile makes it a fantastic choice for classic rye cocktails. Here are a few ideas:


Swap out the bourbon in your classic Manhattan recipe with A. Overholt for a spicier and more robust cocktail.


  • 2 oz. A. Overholt Monongahela Rye
  • 1 oz. Sweet Vermouth
  • 2 Dashes Angostura Bitters
  • Maraschino Cherry (for garnish)



  1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass filled with ice.
  2. Stir well and strain into a chilled coupe glass.
  3. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.


Old Fashioned:

This timeless cocktail takes on a whole new dimension with A. Overholt’s rye spice.


  • 2 oz. A. Overholt Monongahela Rye
  • ¼ oz. Simple Syrup
  • 2 Dashes Angostura Bitters
  • Orange Peel (for garnish)
  • Maraschino Cherry (for garnish)


  1. In a rocks glass, muddle a sugar cube (or add simple syrup) with the Angostura Bitters.
  2. Add your chosen rye and stir with ice to chill and dilute slightly.
  3. Express the oils from the orange peel by twisting it over the glass and then dropping it in.
  4. Garnish with the cherry.




This New Orleans classic gets a spicy kick with A. Overholt.


  • 2 oz. A. Overholt Monongahela Rye
  • ½ oz. Absinthe (rinse only)
  • ¼ oz. Simple Syrup
  • 2 Dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
  • Lemon Peel (for garnish)


  1. Rinse a chilled rocks glass with absinthe and discard the excess.
  2. Combine rye, simple syrup, and Peychaud’s Bitters in a mixing glass filled with ice.
  3. Stir well and strain into the absinthe-rinsed rocks glass.
  4. Garnish with a lemon peel expressed over the drink.

Beyond the Bottle: Exploring the Legacy of A. Overholt

A. Overholt Monongahela Rye isn’t just a bottle of whiskey; it’s a connection to American whiskey history. Here are a few ways to delve deeper into the brand’s legacy:

  • Visit the Distillery: While the original Overholt Distillery no longer operates, the Jim Beam American Stillhouse in Clermont, Kentucky offers tours and tastings that explore the history of the brand.
  • Explore the Monongahela River Valley: If you’re feeling adventurous, consider a trip to the Monongahela River Valley in Pennsylvania. This region boasts a rich distilling history, and you might even stumble upon some hidden gems in the form of local craft distilleries.

Conclusion: A Toast to Pennsylvania Rye’s Legacy

A. Overholt Monongahela Rye is more than just a delicious rye whiskey; it’s a testament to the enduring legacy of Pennsylvania rye whiskey. With its bold flavor profile and connection to American history, this rye whiskey offers a unique and rewarding drinking experience.

Have you tried A. Overholt Monongahela Rye? What are your thoughts on this Pennsylvania rye whiskey? Share your tasting notes and favorite rye cocktails in the comments below! Let’s keep the conversation flowing and explore the exciting world of American rye whiskey together.

Bonus Tip: With its bold flavor profile, A. Overholt Monongahela Rye can be a bit much for neat sipping, especially for rye whiskey beginners. Don’t be afraid to experiment with cocktails to discover how this rye shines in mixed drinks.

Disclaimer: Please enjoy rye whiskey responsibly. Always drink in moderation and never drink and drive.

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