Review: Hangar 24 Oktoberfest, Polycot, and Essence

The seasonals from Hangar 24 just do not stop coming. Here’s three more for summer and fall. Hangar 24 Oktoberfest Fall Lager – Can Oktoberfest be upon us already? This classic Oktoberfest-style brew is malty with plenty of chewy caramel to go around. Very light baking spice notes — think gingerbread — interact with the…

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Review: Pau Maui Hawaiian Vodka

It’s hard not to fall in love with something made in Hawaii. Macadamia nuts. Hula girls. All the good stuff comes from these cool little islands. So does vodka. Pau isn’t the first vodka I’ve had that’s made in Hawaii, but it is the first I’ve encountered that’s made from Hawaiian pineapples. Blended with Hawaiian…

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Review: Aga Vie Esprit D’Agave

What is it about the French and tequila? First Given blends tequila with lime juice and grape juice in Cognac, France, and now there’s Aga Vie, a commingling of blanco tequila and Cognac that have been (re-)distilled together into one oddball spirit. (This distillation removes whatever color is left behind, namely from the Cognac.) Describing…

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Review: Wines of Domaines Paul Mas, 2011 Vintage

Domaines Paul Mas hails from France’s Languedoc region, the largest winemaking region in the world, where a nearly infinite variety of wines can be found. Languedoc wines are also often very inexpensive, as the price tags on the three wines tasted below will confirm. 2011 Paul Mas Estate Pinot Noir Saint Hilaire Vineyard – The…

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Review: Canadian Mist Flavors – Peach, Cinnamon, Maple

Canadian Mist is well known for its very affordable, basic blended whisky, so it makes sense that it would leap into the flavored whisky business along with so many others. CM arrives with a whole new line of ultra-cheap flavored spirits (“Canadian Mist” is actually hard to find on the label), each of which blends…

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Review: 2010 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon Calistoga

Another solid and wholly drinkable Cab from Montelena, one of California’s grande dames of Napa Cabernet. This newly released 2010 bottling is surprisingly ready to go, full of juicy black currants, tea leaf, a touch of chocolate, and plenty of fruit. All the ripe berries are classic characteristics of Montelena, but as with the 2009,…

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Review: Deadhead Rum

No getting around this crazy bottle: It’s in the form of a shrunken head, complete with (real) twine sealing shut the eyes and mouth. (Don’t worry, in actuality it’s just a plastic shell around a glass bottle.) Inside the skull you’ll find six-year-old rum sourced from Mexico (near Veracruz). This is a very, very sweet…

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Review: Papa’s Pilar Blonde Rum and Dark Rum

“Inspired by Ernest Hemingway,” the new Papa’s Pilar Rum brand is a blend of rums from, well, just about everywhere. Casks are sourced from the Caribbean, Central America, and the U.S.A., blended up solera style in Bourbon and Port casks, then finished in Spanish sherry casks. The rum is available in “dark” and “blonde” varieties,…

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