Review: Deschutes Brewery The Abyss Aged Stout 2015 Edition and Red Chair NWPA (2015)

Two major winter seasonals from Bend, Oregon-based Deschutes are here, including the new Abyss aged Imperial Stout and Red Chair, Deschutes’ northwestern spin on an IPA. Thoughts follow. Deschutes Brewery The Abyss Aged Stout 2015 Edition – For the 10th installment of The Abyss, there are no major recipe changes — although the beer has seen…

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Review: 2014 Gran Passione Rosso Veneto IGT

A blend of 60% merlot and 40% corvina, this is a deep purple, wholly opaque wine with a pungency that you’ll find from wines like this — “apassimento” wines that are made from dried grapes, common in northern Italy. (Think Amarone, but on a much simpler scale.) The initial rush of fruit and florals — think…

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Review: Amador Whiskey Double Barreled Bourbon

Trinchero is a major force in California winemaking — and it’s on the rise as an artisan spirits producer, too, with its Amador Whiskey Co. label. Amador County is a sleepy Northern California region best known for its production of zinfandel wines. For its first whiskey release, Amador produced their own hop-flavored whiskey in conjunction…

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Review: Wines of Cycles Gladiator, 2014 Vintage

If you’ve ever been in a California supermarket, you’ve probably seen Cycles Gladiator on the wine shelves. Oddly, I’d never tried it even after years and years of seeing its Art Nouveau-inspired labels, turned off by its rock bottom pricing. The brand has changed hands in recent years, moving from giant Constellation to a new…

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Tasting Report: Wines of Raymond Vineyards, 2016 Releases

I’d visited Raymond Vineyards many years ago and thought I knew all about this winery. But that was before the French bon vivant Jean-Charles Boisset purchased the place and turned it into a little slice of Vegas in otherwise sleepy Napa Valley. If you’ve never been to Raymond, it’s time to take a visit —…

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Review: Owl’s Brew Tea-Infused Mixers

Tea and booze? They mix, and surprisingly well — in fact, if you look at any number of classic punch recipes, you’ll see that tea is a popular ingredient. Owl’s Brew is a line of various bottled teas designed as cocktail mixers, each with a flavor or sweetener added (sometimes minor, sometimes a lot). The…

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Review: Booker’s Bourbon “Booker’s Bluegrass” 2016-01

Booker’s Bourbon is on a tear of small batch releases, with six limited editions arriving in 2015. The first release in this line for 2016 is here: Booker’s Bluegrass batch. Says Beam’s Fred Noe: “The first batch of Bookers [sic] for 2016 is made up of barrels that were stored in 7 different rack houses. 61%…

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Review: Peak Organic Holiday Saison

A late December arrival makes for a late February review, but you can still find this holiday release on shelves if you look for a bit. This is a light saison designed for winter consumption — an unusual combination in the world of holiday brews. It offers a malty and fruity combo up front that…

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