Review: Booker’s Bourbon “Kathleen’s Batch” 2018-01

The first 2018 batch from Jim Beam’s Booker’s Bourbon is here: Kathleen’s Batch. Here’s the gist: The release of Booker’s “Kathleen’s Batch” marks a special and historic moment for the brand as the batch is named in honor of Kathleen DiBenedetto, who worked closely alongside Booker Noe as brand manager of the Small Batch Bourbon Collection, including Knob Creek Bourbon, Basil Hayden’s Bourbon, Baker’s Bourbon and…

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Review: 2017 Sonoma-Cutrer Rose of Pinot Noir Russian River Valley

The 2017 release of Sonoma-Cutrer’s rose of pinor noir is, as always, built to emulate a Provence-style wine, heavy with flowers and hints of strawberries, but remarkably dry on the finish. As with the 2016 release, I get touches of orange peel, though I don’t catch any of the brown sugar notes here like those…

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Review: Seven Stills of San Francisco Tomahawp Whiskey

Seven Stills of San Francisco continues its march of collaborative whiskeys with Tomahawp. It starts as a Double IPA (also called Tomahawp) brewed in collaboration with Alvarado Street Brewery. The whiskey takes the Tomahawp beer and ages it in new American oak. As Seven Stills notes, “We didn’t do anything post-distillation to the whiskey aside from…

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Review: Wines of Portlandia, 2018 Releases

Pity Portlandia the winery, which has to compete with Portlandia the TV show, at least until this final season ends. But Portlandia wine “was conceived well before the hit Fred Armisen show, a similar Oregonian whimsy can be detected on the quirky labels and in winemaker Damian Davis’s endearingly zany spirit,” or so they say. And it’s…

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Review: Los Amantes Mezcal Reposado

We reviewed Los Amantes Mezcal Joven way back in 2013 when mezcal wasn’t nearly as popular as it has become today. We were impressed then, so we were excited to sample the reposado offering. Like the joven, this Oaxacan mezcal is made by hand with the most traditional of methods. It’s crafted from 100% Espadin…

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Review: Deschutes Brewery Swivelhead Red (2018)

Deschutes’ winter-spring seasonal, the Bond Street Series Swivelhead Red, has undergone little change since its 2017 debut. The “India Style Red Ale” has a malty attack but a bitter undercarriage, but it’s ultimately the sweeter malt that wins out. While a classic piney character hits first, the body quickly finds some raisin notes, a pecan-like nuttiness,…

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Review: Midleton Dair Ghaelach Bluebell Forest Tree 1

Midleton’s experiments with wood continue with this whiskey, a blend of single pot still spirits each matured for 15 to 22 years in bourbon casks, then finished in barrels made from six ancient Irish oak trees harvested from the Bluebell Forest in County Kilkenny. Each tree gets its own barrel. This sample was drawn from…

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Highlights from the California Artisan Cheese Festival 2018

As the winter starts to thaw, a young man’s fancy turns to cheese. What could be better than an evening at the California Artisan Cheese Festival, particularly The Best Bite event, where cheese-centric foods are paraded alongside some of Marin and Sonoma County’s best beers, wines, and ciders. This year’s event had plenty to enjoy,…

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