Review: Magic Hat TFG IPA

No bottles for Magic Hat’s latest IPA: It’s available only in cans or on draft. This is a fairly straightforward recipe, using Pale, Victory, Cara, and Carapils Malt, plus oats, and it’s spiked with Magnum, Nugget, Simcoe, Amarillo, and Cascade Hops. The results are a killer little IPA. It’s not overwhelming with pine or oil-heavy citrus — nor is…

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Tasting Report: WhiskyFest San Francisco 2017

San Francisco’s WhiskyFest seemed as popular as ever this year, kicked off with the stampede to the Pappy Van Winkle booth that always marks the start of the show. As always, there was plenty to enjoy at this year’s event — both new expressions and classic old friends ready for tasting. Here’s a full rundown…

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Review: 2015 Talbott Chardonnay Kali Hart

A classic California chardonnay, Talbott’s latest offers a hefty roasted-meat profile, giving its honey-apple core a bit of a beefy texture. Ample vanilla and oak notes take the wine to its natural conclusion, which is round and buttery, fading away with more of those meaty notes — but also a hint of flamed banana and…

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Review: Buffalo Trace Antique Collection 2017 Edition

Alright whiskey fans, it’s time to get cracking to see if you can turn up a bottle or two of Buffalo Trace’s annual Antique Collection, which (aside from Pappy Van Winkle) represents the rarests of its rarities. This year’s releases represent some clear departures from previous editions — but also shapes up as one of…

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Review: 2015 Justin Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles

Justin’s 2015 cab shows just how far you can go with a $25 wine, that you needn’t resort to massive amounts of doctoring and additives to create a palatable bottling. The wine is lush with plums and currants, with a squeeze of blackberry jam, winding from there into notes of fresh-baked cinnamon rolls, lavender, and…

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Review: Bushmills Single Malt Irish Whiskey 21 Years Old

If you haven’t already noticed, whiskey prices are going up across the board, particularly for older single malts. The record for a single bottle price at auction exceeded six figures just last year (a Yamazaki from Japan, no less), and there’s still no sign we’ve hit the ceiling. Even readily available older single malts, like…

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Book Review: Tasting Beer

Randy Mosher’s been drinking beer for longer than most of us have been alive, and with the second edition of Tasting Beer, he revamps his intense and intensive guide to the way it should be consumed. Note that this is a book for the professional, or at least for the wannabe professional. If you really want…

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The Whiskey Hype Train: Expectations vs. Quality

Working at a whisky festival the other day, I was very fortunate to be able to try Pappy Van Winkle 20 and 23 year old for the first time. I think it’s reasonable to say that these bottles are pretty “hyped,” with tales of huge sums of money being exchanged, second mortgages being taken out,…

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