Review: Starr Hill Last Leaf and Basketcase

These seasonals are part of Starr Hill’s 2016 Fall Tour Pack along with Whiter Shade of Pale Ale and Northern Lights. Let’s sample the new brews. Starr Hill Last Leaf Maple Brown Ale – A brown ale brewed with real maple syrup. Definitely the best of both worlds here, a light brown sugary sweetness giving…

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Review: Charbay Double Aged Rum (2016)

This new and highly, highly expensive rum from Napa’s Charbay was distilled in 2005 from Hawaiian and Jamaican first-press sugar cane juice (not molasses), fermented with Champagne yeast, and distilled on Charbay’s pot-style Cognac still. It was aged in stainless steel for five years then put into French oak Chardonnay barrels for three more years.…

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Review: Wines of Lazy Creek Vineyards, 2016 Releases

Lazy Creek Vineyards, part of the Ferrari-Carano family of wines, is an Anderson Valley winery focused on pinot noir. Winemaker Christy Ackerman makes all of its wines as well as all of Ferrari’s pinots, and she invited a number of wine writers to sit in on an online tasting to sample the winery’s wares and…

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Review: Mount Gay XO Cask Strength Rum

As a celebration of 50 years of Barbados independence comes Mount Gay XO Cask Strength, its most luxe bottling to date. This is a limited edition, overproof expression of its existing Mount Gay XO bottling, which is itself a blend of rums 8 to 15 years old. This expression is a deep and brooding rum…

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Recipes: Thanksgiving Cocktails 2016

Once again, the Thanksgiving holiday is upon us. However, this year seems a bit more unusual for those of us accustomed to having our team serve as the butt end of football jokes: the Detroit Lions are sitting atop the NFC North in first place. Here are a few recipes we’ll be putting to good…

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Review: Del Maguey Wild Papalome and San Pablo Ameyaltepec Mezcal

Del Maguey hits this month with not one but two of its Single Village Mezcals – Wild Papalome and San Pablo Ameyaltepec. Let’s try both. Del Maguey Wild Papalome Mezcal – A 100% agave papalome bottling from the Mixteca Alta region. A definitively sweeter style of mezcal, its barbecue-smoke nose layers in notes of citrus…

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Review: Deschutes Brewery Jubelale Winter Ale 2016, The Dissident 2016, and Conflux Collage #2

Deschutes Brewery Jubelale Winter Ale 2016 – Jubelale is always the first taste of Christmas for me each year, and for 2016 the brewery’s winter ale seems particularly pleasing, a warming experience that builds on a malty base with gentle notes of raisin and fig, mulling spices, and vanilla. What Jubelale has in spades this year…

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Review: Whiskeys of Cedar Ridge – Iowa Bourbon, Wheat, Rye, Malted Rye, Single Malt

As the first distillery in the state since Prohibition, Iowa’s Cedar Ridge makes everything from gin to rum to apple brandy. Today we look at five of the company’s whiskeys (it makes at least eight), which are all distilled on site (not sourced) but which are bottled without age statements. Cedar Ridge makes heavy use of Iowa-grown corn…

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