Review: Bak’s Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka

What the heck is bison grass? It’s grass that, well, bison eat, at least in Poland. And what’s good for the buffalo is also curiously delicious for vodka fans: Zubrówka (pronounced zoo-BROV-ka), also known as bison grass vodka, is now being reintroduced to America after 30 years of being banned, much like Absinthe, due to…

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Review: Hook & Ladder Golden Ale, Backdraft Brown, and Lighter

Across the northeastern U.S. you’ll find bars serving Hook & Ladder beer, products brewed by a company with roots in the firefighting biz: The founders are two brothers, one of whom is a volunteer fireman. The beers aren’t widely distributed west of Virginia, but if you should find one, you’re in for a treat. I…

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Review: 2006 Beringer Chardonnay California Collection

One doesn’t expect much from a bottle of wine that costs six bucks, but Beringer turns out a pretty drinkable product with this new bottling. Beringer’s Chardonnay “California Collection” is distinguished by a distinct lack of oakiness. Instead, it’s rich with apple fruit, displaying both a nice acidity and a little buttery roundness on the…

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Review: 2006 Willamette Valley Vineyards Pinot Noir

Of all Pinot Noir wines, Oregon Pinots might be the most prototypical “new world” examples of the grape. The earthiness — even skunkiness — of French Burgundies is absent in most Oregon Pinots, at least at reasonable price levels. The fruit takes center stage here, not the terroir. Willamette Valley Vineyards’ newly released 2006 Pinot…

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Review: Pendleton Canadian Whisky 10 Years Old (2008)

Got a sweet tooth? Have I got a whiskey for you. Pendleton’s Canadian blended whisky (they spell it without the E) is aged for 10 years in barrels and bottled at 80 proof. Oddly, it is made from Oregon water and bottled in Oregon, to boot… yet it’s a Canadian whisky. Go figure. Sip #1…

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Review: Turi Vodka

Türi is Estonia’s only vodka exported to the U.S. For that, it’s got some novelty cred. But I’m not entirely sure it’s worth the $20 a bottle it costs… if you can find it at all. Türi is another rye-based vodka, but it isn’t the flavor that immediately hits you: Türi is especially thick and…

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Review: Pravda Vodka

Regularly marketed as ultra-luxe and advertised as besting every major brand in vodka tastings, Pravda is a Polish spirit, distilled five times from rye and bottled at 80 proof. It shares a lot of the characteristics of other rye vodkas, but Pravda is smoother than most and bears a stronger citrus flavor up front that…

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Review: Jose Cuervo Platino Tequila

From the biggest name in the tequila business comes an ultra-premium bottling, Jose Cuervo Platino, a silver tequila that’s priced to the skies. Made using the innermost part of the agave, the piña, the tequila is meant to evoke agave in the extreme. And it certainly does. While it’s impressively smooth, it packs quite the…

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