Review: Newcastle Summer Ale

Don’t look at the label and taste this one blind: Newcastle’s new, limited edition Summer Ale has no resemblance to its better-known, Browner big brother at all. This golden lager is instead a moderately-to-heavily hopped version of a standard ale, refreshing but bracing with its bitterness. There’s a surprising amount of sweetness in the finish…

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Review: Beefeater London Dry Gin Summer Edition

Take standard Beefeater and add hints of elderflower, blackcurrant, and hibiscus flower and you’ve got Beefeater’s limited-release Summer Edition gin. At least that’s what it says on the bottle. In my mouth, this tastes an awful lot like standard gin to me, with juniper top notes — always big in Beefeater — still dominating the…

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2009 Boxed Wine Review: Silver Birch Sauvignon Blanc and Folonari Pinot Grigio

Eventually the boxed wines stack up here at Drinkhacker HQ, and as much as we like the way they work as iPhone stands, eventually we have to do our duty and review them. Here are thoughts on two new boxed wines, both in 3-liter containers. 2009 Silver Birch Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand – Actually…

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Review: UV Coconut Vodka

You aren’t imagining things: UV Coconut is white. Not clear in a white bottle. It’s white. Like milk. It’s actually the first white vodka, a naturally-flavored spirit sweetened (considerably) with sugar cane, distilled four times, and left in a murky/milky color for you to figure out how exactly to present it. The utility is obvious:…

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Book Review: The Sommelier Prep Course

Need to bone up on the wines of Greece and Hungary? Can’t keep straight the various styles of Madeira? Desire a greater understanding of the production of various ciders? You need The Sommelier Prep Course: An Introduction to the Wines, Beers, and Spirits of the World. As the name might imply, wine is the focus…

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Review: Old Crow Reserve Bourbon

I get that the words “Old Crow” and “Reserve” don’t immediately make sense together. Though it was the first ever sour mash whiskey, dates back to the 1830s, and counts U.S. Grant among its famous drinkers, it’s still a budget brand, sold by the handle for $10 or less, a simply bourbon that gets the…

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Review: 2007 Kimmel Merlot Mendocino

A bit of an alcohol bomb at 14.5 percent abv, Kimmel’s Mendocino wine is pretty brassy for a humble Merlot. As you sample it, it speaks of juxtapositions and paradoxes: A buzzy rush of booze is balanced by fresh raspberry and blueberry notes. Cedar wood is offset by a distinct note of cloves and a…

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Review: Deschutes Brewery Hop in the Dark Cascadian Dark Ale

Do you like bitter beer? You’ll love Deschutes’ Hop in the Dark! With 75 IBUs, Hop in the Dark, part of the semi-experimental Bond Street Series from Deschutes, isn’t actually obscenely bitter — nor is it even Deschutes’ most bitter beer — but the near-black color indicated by the name perhaps fools the mind into…

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