Stephen Allison

Stephen Allison holds Certified Sommelier, Certified Cicerone, and WSET Level 3 Award in Sake distinctions and is a former Sommelier with the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company.

Review: Tyku Sake – Junmai and Junmai Ginjo (2021)

By Stephen Allison | October 27, 2021 |

It’s been seven years since we last reviewed Tyku’s (no longer Ty Ku) line of sake, and it’s high time for a refresh. Tyku, made by Nara prefecture’s Umenoyada Brewery, is one of the largest and easiest to find brands of premium-grade sake in the United States. While Umenoyada is well known for their sweet…

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Review: 2020 Sokol Blosser Evolution Chardonnay and Big Time Red (in Boxes)

By Stephen Allison | October 22, 2021 |

Boxed wine is a fantastic concept, but it’s something that I very rarely buy. That’s a shame, because bag-in-box packaging does offer and advantage or two over glass outside of sheer value, including the fact that the wine will last for a month once opened. But boxed wine’s biggest problem remains significant: The juice inside…

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Review: Novo Fogo Silver Cachaca Bar Strength

By Stephen Allison | August 30, 2021 |

It’s been seven years since we reviewed the core lineup from Cachaca from Novo Fogo. Back then we praised the Silver’s nose of tropical and citrus fruit, with cedar, mushroom, and fuel-like aromas. Today, we have an update on the spirit dubbed the “Bar Strength.” As the name suggests this variant is targeted for on-premise…

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Review: R6 Distillery Single Malt Whiskey

By Stephen Allison | August 27, 2021 |

Hit the American whiskey section of any bottle shop and try to find something that isn’t a rye or bourbon. While there are plenty of great choices, seeing the same two categories dominate shelf space can feel monotonous. R6 Distillery in El Segundo, California must have came to the same conclusion, as they have released…

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Review: Straightaway Cocktails

By Stephen Allison | May 25, 2021 |

Straightaway Cocktails, from Portland, Oregon, is a newcomer to the ready-to-drink space. While they have been around only since the end of 2018, Straightaway has rapidly expanded with three product lines currently offered. While Accompani amaro and Spritz flavored wine spritzers deserve their own write-ups, today we’ll focus on the core collection of six bottled…

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Review: Hopworks Urban Brewery Juicy Bear, Giggle Nuggets, and Ace of Clubs

By Stephen Allison | March 23, 2021 |

Trying Cascade Brewing’s excellent sour in January left me thirsty for more Portland beers. This month we have line-up of IPAs from the hop savants at Hopworks Urban Brewery. Let’s see if these three can stand out in a crowded field. Hopworks Urban Brewery Juicy Bear IPA is the lightest in color of the three,…

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Review: Cascade Brewing Contemporary Fashion

By Stephen Allison | January 29, 2021 |

Cascade Brewing, located in Portland, Oregon, is not a typical brewery. The first detail to clue you in is a look at their line-up of beers: not one IPA. Heck, not even an amber ale, stout or lager in sight. In fact, I’m hard pressed to find a single beer that neatly falls into one…

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Book Review: The Japanese Sake Bible

By Stephen Allison | November 14, 2020 |

Sake has been on the rise with champagne cellar master collaborations and delivery services. There is also a growing number books to build upon the foundations set by John Gauntner’s The Sake Handbook and Sake Confidential. The latest book is The Japanese Sake Bible by Brian Ashcraft. The title reminds me of Karen MacNeil’s The…

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Review: Petal Sparkling Botanical Blend Mixers

By Stephen Allison | January 4, 2020 |

Who doesn’t love a good Gin & Tonic, Vodka Soda, or Dark & Stormy? While premium sodas from Fever Tree and Top Note have elevated the classics, perhaps there’s room for a newcomer to offer original flavors that taste just as great when mixed with a spirit as they do on their own. Enter Petal,…

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Review: Budweiser Reserve Black Lager

By Stephen Allison | November 9, 2019 |

Budweiser has been on a roll lately with their excellent Reserve series. Recently Drinkhacker was sent their well-reviewed Harvest Reserve Fall Lager. Their latest, the Reserve Black Lager, is their second collaboration with Jim Beam. Like the Reserve Copper Lager, the Reserve Black Lager sees a period of aging on previously used Jim Beam staves…

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