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: Heavensake Junmai Ginjo and Junmai Daiginjo

By Stephen Allison | October 14, 2019 |

Champagne and Sake are two beverages that you’d think wouldn’t have much in common, but Heavensake proves otherwise. Founded by Piper-Heidsieck cellar master, Regis Camus, Heavensake fuses Champagne’s art of blending, and penchant for marketing flair, with the Japanese craft of sake brewing. The result aims to solve one of sake’s biggest hurdles in the…

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How to Read a Sake Label Part 2: Honjozo and Junmai Explained

By Stephen Allison | September 9, 2019 |

In April, we featured an article decoding Ginjo to get you started on your sake journey. One takeaway is that Ginjo sake can be seen as a “new” style because the technology needed to brew it, most notably the machines that can polish rice below 70%, were not widely adopted until about forty years ago.…

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Review: Tippsy “Sake Box” Service and Shirataki Jozen Sakes

By Stephen Allison | August 20, 2019 |

We have long had online wine clubs and beer clubs, but sake? Tippsy, which launched in November 2018, is quickly positioning itself to be the US’s major online sake retailer and yes, online sake club. Is the quality of the service and sake worth the monthly cost? Drinkhacker was sent July’s box for a tasting.…

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Review: Budweiser Harvest Reserve Lager Fall 2019

By Stephen Allison | July 24, 2019 |

On July 11th, Budweiser introduced its new limited-edition Harvest Reserve lager. While the standard Bud is a blend of malt and rice, this new offering is 100% malt roasted longer for a richer flavor. Does it compare favorably to the standard Bud? Let’s taste and find out. To start with, the beer simply looks better.…

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Review: Pinhook Bourbon Country Cask Strength Bourbon 2018

By Stephen Allison | July 20, 2019 |

While Pinhook is based on young MGP distillate, it’s expanding fairly dramatically as it positions itself as an inexpensive alternative on the premius shelf. Its 90.5-proof “Bourbon Country” bottling is becoming popular, and now Pinhook has released its first cask strength version of the whiskey. Will it pull ahead of the competition? Let’s taste and…

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Review: Takasago and Toko Divine Droplets Junmai Daiginjo Sake

By Stephen Allison | May 22, 2019 |

Late last year I went shopping at one of the USA’s only sake specialty retailers, True Sake in San Francisco. When I mentioned that my favorite sake is Takasago’s Divine Droplets Junmai Daiginjo I was told some unpleasant news: 2018’s batch would be the last one. Devastated, I emailed importer Vine Connections looking for answers.…

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Review: Brooklyn Lager

By Stephen Allison | May 12, 2019 |

I am delighted to be reviewing a Brooklyn Brewery beer for two reasons. One, after more than thirty years in the business the brand is finally distributing in my home state of California. Second, master brewer Garrett Oliver is a little bit of a hero of mine. If it weren’t for his brilliant book The…

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Review: Hopsy SUB Compact Home Draft System

By Stephen Allison | May 1, 2019 |

Back in December of last year Drinkhacker covered the Hopsy Home Draft system, earning a respectable B+. The conclusion was that the machine was of high quality and succeeded in its mission of providing a beer-bar draft experience at home, however it was not without flaws. Now, only months later, Hopsy is proud to introduce its…

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Review: Schlafly Raspberry Hefeweizen

By Stephen Allison | April 30, 2019 |

Schafly Beer, Missouri’s largest independent craft brewery, is no stranger to experimentation. Their line-up includes unusual creations such as a Coconut Creme Ale and a Blonde Ale brewed with cocoa and coffee beans. With the Summer months fast approaching Schafly kindly provided a sample of their pink Raspberry Hefeweizen for review. Let’s dig in. Right…

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Review: Troegs Boysenberry Tart Ale

By Stephen Allison | April 17, 2019 |

Troegs Independent Brewing, founded in 1997 by Chris and John Trogner in Pennsylvania, has created something special with this new sour ale. As a sour brewed with lactobacillus, coriander, and sea salt, Boysenberry Tart Ale is made decidedly in the Gose style. Gose originated in the Middle Ages in the town of Goslar on the…

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