Review: Goose Island Islay Scotch Barrel Imperial Stout

Goose Island is well known for its Bourbon County barrel-aged line, but there are several other beers in their Barrel House offerings that don’t touch a bourbon barrel. One of those is this: Islay Scotch Barrel Imperial Stout. This beer is aged in barrels from Scotland’s Ardbeg Distillery, which uses malt peated to between 50 and…

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Tasting Report: Madeira Wine 2018

It’s been two years since we took a deep dive into Madeira, but recently representatives from this unique, fortified, island-grown wine style arrived in San Francisco with their latest wares in tow. This includes some classic brands and one new one — a cooperative of all-female winemakers called CAF being the first new winemaking operation…

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Review: 2015 Lucas & Lewellen Pinot Noir Estate Vineyard Santa Barbara County

We reviewed several of Lucas & Lewellen’s Santa Barbara wines earlier in the year, but this bottling, an affordable estate pinot noir, was late to the game. Heavily extracted on the nose, the wine feels like it could attack the palate as a fruit bomb — only it doesn’t. In place of fruit you’ll encounter…

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Review: Eastside Distilling Hue-Hue Coffee Rum

We’ve long known Portland, Oregon’s Eastside Distilling for its rum and whiskey products, but Hue-Hue Coffee Rum… this is something unexpected. Hue-Hue, pronounced “way way,” is a silver rum blended with Arabica coffee that’s cold-brewed from fair-trade, single-origin beans grown at the Finca El Paternal Estate in Huehuetenango, Guatemala (hence the name). A small amount…

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Review: Wines of Mark Ryan Winery, 2018 Releases

We’ve covered Mark Ryan’s wines a few times in the past. Today’s review looks at the Washington-based operation’s mainstream releases — chardonnay, merlot, and cabernet — from 2018’s bottlings. 2017 Mark Ryan Winery Chardonnay Olson Vineyard Yakima Valley – About as California as it gets, only it’s from Washington. Oak and buttery vanilla blend to…

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Review: Harpoon Dunkin’ Coffee Porter

Beer and non-booze brand mashups have been working overtime lately, with brews like New Belgium’s Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ale standing as curiosities for the masses to gawk at. The latest entry is a beer from Boston’s Harpoon and Dunkin’ (nee Dunkin’ Donuts), which brings together “two of America’s iconic beverage brands” by…

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Review: Dubonnet Rouge (2018 Reformulation)

Dubonnet is a French aperitif — an aromatized wine similar to vermouth — that’s been around for 170 years. If you look at the back bar of most dives, you’ll see a dusty bottle of Dubonnet that’s been sitting around for nearly that long. Even though Queen Elizabeth II claims Dubonnet as her tipple of…

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Review: Fistful of Bourbon

Contrary to popular opinion, bourbon does not have to come from Kentucky. When it comes from Scotland, though, that’s when things get weird. In all seriousness, Fistful of Bourbon is actually a U.S. product, but it’s the brainchild of William Grant & Sons, best known as the owner of Glenfiddich and Balvenie. The product is…

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