Bar Review: Third Rail, San Francisco

Here’s a cute idea: A bar that specializes in custom cocktails… and bespoke jerky. Third Rail, in San Francisco’s Dogpatch region, is a cozy little joint where you can get a small beer, shot, and a bit of jerky all for 10 bucks during happy hour. This seemed like the most popular choice among the post-work…

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Tasting Report: Wines of Duckhorn, 2015 Releases

Noted California winery Duckhorn has become quite an empire of late, with operations under a number of brand names spanning all over California and stretching up to Washington state. The winery recently put together a tasting of virtually every wine it has now in current release, almost all of which we sampled — poured by…

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Review: Starr Hill Reviver Red IPA, Bandstand Barleywine, and Little Red Roostarr (2015)

Starr Hill keeps cranking them out. Here’s a look at three limited and seasonal releases for spring 2015. Starr Hill Reviver Red IPA – A hybrid, amber-hued IPA, this is a great example of how blending beer styles can turn out well. Up front, the brew offers semi-sweet notes driven by malty caramel and chocolate…

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Review: 8 Poliakov Flavored Vodkas

Poliakov may look and sound Russian, but this is a French product (from the same company that distributes Label 5 Scotch), and it’s a big, low-cost seller in that country. Little is known about its production except for a vague “triple distilled” label. While there is a straight, unflavored version, we only received a passel…

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Recipe: 2015 Kentucky Derby Cocktails

We all know that the official, real deal drink of the Derby is the Mint Julep. Any suggestion otherwise borders on blasphemy within the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and is most likely met with reluctance elsewhere. Realizing full well that not everyone digs bourbon-based drinks, here are a few alternative cocktail recipes for your consideration…. aaaaaand…

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Review: Piehole Flavored Whiskeys

Piehole is arguably the most maligned name in spirits today. Named in honor of a common insult, designed with labels that feature buxom farmer’s daughters, and a member of what is probably the most reviled category of spirits on the market — flavored whiskey — that’s three strikes before the bottle’s even open. Piehole is…

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Review: 2013 Kalfu Chardonnay and Pinot Noir

Kalfu is a new Chilean wine brand hailing from the Leyda Yalley on the country’s coast. Here’s a look at two of the winery’s inaugural releases. 2013 Kalfu “Kuda” Chardonnay Unoaked Leyda Valley Chile – Engaging, tastes expensive. Quite neutral, apple notes on the nose, with light creme brulee, kumquat, and some light tropical character on…

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Review: Manhattan Moonshine

Moonshine connotes hillbillies cooking up corn in a crude oil drum still tucked away in the woods, high-test hooch bottled in a ceramic jug. And then there’s Manhattan Moonshine, made “using a unique blend of four premium New York grains [including rye, spelt, and oats — but not corn] and innovative, modern production methods,” bottled in an…

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