Tasting Report: WhiskyFest San Francisco 2018

Another WhiskyFest is in the books, and although the lines for iconic bottles like Pappy van Winkle, Macallan No. 3 and No. 4, and Glenfiddich 30 Years Old (which those in the queue were surprised to find was not actually on hand when they got to the front of the line) were long, on the…

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Book Review: Beer Hacks

Approaching anything in 2018 with the word “hack” in it (present URL excepted) is grounds for a raised eyebrow and a healthy dose of skepticism. The term has been transformed into a catch-all susceptible to excessive usage, or blatant misuse. While Ben Robinson’s Beer Hacks comes close to toeing the line a few times, it does…

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Review: Hell’s Half Acre 1885 Vodka

Panther City Distillery, in Fort Worth, Texas, is the home of a single product, and it’s not what you’re expecting, which is whiskey. These guys are making vodka, called Hell’s Half Acre 1885, and it only gets stranger from there. Hell’s Half Acre 1885 is made not from corn, wheat, or potato, but rather from cassava…

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Review: Top Note Mixers – Indian Tonic Water, Bitter Lemon, and Ginger Beer

If you hang around high-end cocktail bars, you’re probably familiar with Top Note, a brand of high-end mixers that launched in 2014. Launched by a Mary Pellettieri, a Goose Island brewing veteran, the fittingly-named brand is all natural and authentic — and generally quite restrained. While it was launched as only a tonic water, it…

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Review: Chivas Regal Mizunara

If you’ve spent any time in travel retail (or Asia) lately, you might have encountered the Chivas Regal bottle in the turquoise packaging: Chivas Regal Mizunara, “the world’s first Scotch whisky to be partially finished in Japanese Mizunara oak casks.” Now this special edition is coming to general release in the U.S. There’s a lot…

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Review: 2014 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon Calistoga

Montelena‘s 2014 Estate Cabernet is a wine still being made in the bottle. Montelena Cabernet is classically designed to age for a few years before opening, and this 2014 bottling is no exception, being a bit standoffish at the present. An aggressive nose of tobacco leaf and leather dominates the up-front, then intense notes of…

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Review: Laird’s Straight Apple Brandy Bottled in Bond

The bottled in bond trend — which specifies that a spirit must be distilled in a single season, aged for at least four years, and bottled at 100 proof — has made its way to apple brandy. Laird’s is the latest brand to jump on the train, relaunching a bonded version of its iconic applejack…

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Review: Iron Hill Brewery Crusher and Pumpkin Ale

Iron Hill Brewery, based in Wilmington, Delaware, seems to be crushing it, now operating three brewpubs in the area while selling canned versions of its products regionally. Iron Hill beer is hard to find outside of the immediate region, but we were lucky to receive a care package with two of its latest releases. Wilmingtonians, take…

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