The Light, the Premium, and the Reserve. Three Sapporo Beers Reviewed!


Sapporo Beer

G-LO: So here’s the plan! You get the kids to go play in your yard and pester the wives, while I head inside to grab some glasses, my camera, and those Sapporo beers that we need to review. Sound good?

Limpd: That sounds perfect!

Five minutes later…

G-LO: Wait. Why are these kids still here? Go away boys! We have serious work to do here.

My boys burst into tears while Limpd’s boys just glare at me. They eventually go away…

Limpd: Nicely done G-LO, though I could have done without the crying. They sound just like you do when you’re having that last dram from a beloved bottle of whisky. Guess the apples didn’t fall far from the tree. Quit the lollygagging and pour me a beer, Sally!

G-LO: Sally? That’s Mrs. Sally to you, Dolores! Can we get started now?

Limpd: Just shut up and start pouring so that you can get your pretty picture taking out of the way. Let’s start with the Sapporo Light. I’m guessing we’re headed to Amstel country by way of Japan.

I open up the Sapporo Light, fill our glasses, and take a photo…

Sapporo Light

Limpd: Wow! Well that certainly smells like a light beer. It’s a little malty. I’m getting nothing else. Where the hell are the hops?

G-LO: It pains me to admit this, but your absolutely right. I’m getting nothing but malt in a sweet and yeasty smelling kinda way. The nose on this beer is boring me to tears. Are you bored too? You look bored.

Limpd: I am bored! Let’s move this along. I’m going in for a taste.

G-LO: Sorry. I jumped ahead and did that already. This beer reminds me of college. To be more specific, this reminds me of the 100 Days To Go party (countdown to graduation!) at Polo Bay (no longer there). It was a $20 open bar. And by “open”, I mean unlimited bottles of Coors Light. It was like drinking ice cold, fizzy, malted water. The Sapporo Light might be a wee bit better, but not by much.

Limpd:  Yeah. This isn’t very good. It’s a little doughy, but mostly just a whole lot of meh. By the way, those flowers over there look a little parched and in need of hydration. Do you mind if I pour the rest of my beer into that flower pot?

G-LO: Go right ahead. And while you’re at it, pour the rest of my beer in there too. While you’re doing that, I’ll set us up with some clean glasses for Sapporo round two.

Get more glasses. Fill them up. Take a photo…

Sapporo Premium BeerLimpd: Well that certainly looks a bit better. The Sapporo Premium has a bit of a darker color, but once again, no head retention. Whatcha getting on the nose Alistair?

G-LO: Agreed on the color. This one has a healthy-ish glow, unlike you, Sir Pasty Complexion. Definitely a bit more depth on the nose too. Think darker, richer maltiness. But what I really want to know is, where the hell are the hops?

Limpd: Listen up my Sicilian friend, Pasty and Irish go hand in hand, so quit stating the obvious. Anyway. The Sapporo Premium has a bit more going on when compared to the Light, but I’m still unimpressed. This one is a bit more doughy, but as you said, where the hell are the hops?

G-LO: Yeah. If the third one is as dull as these two, there’s a good chance that I might fall asleep in my beer. The flavors on this one aren’t much better than the Light. Very sweet and malty. Talk about a one dimensional beer! There is zero bitterness to balance it out. My tongue is getting all icky. Kinda like how it gets after munching on way too much candy.

Limpd: Thanks for that vision. I’d rather not have to hear about your icky tongue, but to tell you the truth, you’re right. Where’s the oomph? And why exactly is this called “Premium”? While it’s a little more full bodied than the Light, it’s not very interesting. Shall we water another plant?

G-LO: Yes yes! You water the plants and I’ll go get us some clean glasses.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Errr… I mean, get more glasses, pour, and snap another pic…

Sapporo Reserve Beer

Limpd: Crap! I forgot my color wheel. I swear this one is marginally darker than the other two. Hang on. Did you happen to see where these beers were brewed and bottled?

G-LO: Huh? Umm. No. I didn’t pay much attention. You mean they’re not brewed in Japan?

Limpd: Nope. Not even close. According to the tiny print on the bottom of the label, the Premium was brewed and bottled in Lacrosse, WI and the Reserve was brewed and bottled in Guelph, Ontario. Me thinks we need to do a bit of digging! Since you’re a wiz with that smartphone of yours, Google it!

G-LO: Will do Maestro! Gimme a minute…

32.5 seconds later…

Limpd: Speed it up G-LOsan! I haven’t got all night.

G-LO: Keep your shirt on Old Chub. Stupid autocorrect keeps changing Guelph to Gulf. Remind me to turn that off one of these days. So according to Wikipedia, the Encyclopedia Britannica of the 21st century, the Premium is brewed by City Brewing in La Crosse and the Reserve is brewed by Sleeman Breweries in Guelph.

Limpd: Interesting. Do they make any other beers at those breweries?

G-LO: Yeah. City Brewing in La Crosse also makes Red Stripe, Naragansett, Sam Adams, Milwaukee Light, and a few other beers, while Sleeman brews Stroh’s, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Old Milwaukee, and Schlitz for the Canadian market. Good to know that they’re using two top notch facilities to make this stuff.

Limpd: Glad to hear they spared no expense on the brewing of these beers. Stroh’s, Old Milwaukee, and Schlitz. That’s some quality stuff right there!

G-LO: Hey now! I have fond memories of Schlitz. Remind me to tell you the Schlitz pony bottles and Cheese Curls story one of these days. This one goes back to my high school days. Can we go back to the review now?

Limpd: Mmmm. Cheese curls. It’s no charcuterie and cheese plate, but I do love me some Cheese Curls! So this one is a bit darker than the other two, but other than that, it pretty much smells and tastes the same.

G-LO: I’m with ya! Yes, the malts are a bit deeper, but other than that, I don’t understand how the Reserve is any different from the Premium. Whatcha getting on the palate Buckaroo Banzai?

Limpd: I’m getting a whole lot of meh. This is some truly unremarkable and forgettable stuff. When you first mentioned that some Sapporo beer samples had arrived, I was hoping that this would be like a virtual trip to Japan for a high quality beer tasting, but instead what I got was a rerouted flight to La Crosse on the way to Peoria, IL. On the plus side, it looks like your flowers are perking up!

G-LO: Well said Limpd-san! I have nothing further to add.

Limpd: Really? Mr. Longwinded has nothing more to say? I’m flabbergasted! So what are we having next? I need something with a bit more oomph. Is it Whisky Time yet?

G-LO: It’s always Whisky Time! How about some Hakushu or Nikka for a bit of Japanese redemption in a glass?

Limpd: That sounds fantastic. Me likey Japanese whisky!

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Many thanks to Colangelo & Partners Public Relations for sending us these samples!

Crabbie’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer. An Alternative Summer Refresher?


Crabbie's Alcoholic Ginger Beer

While I have never ever mowed my lawn (I don’t even own a lawnmower!), I do understand the concept of a lawnmower beer. It’s boiling hot outside and you’re sweaty, parched, and in search of something cold and refreshing to quench the thirst that you developed from spending over an hour manicuring your precious greenery. Sure, you could grab a glass of water, or maybe even a Gator or Powerade, but since you’ve spent a healthy chunk of your spare time working on the lawn in addition to working hard all week at your day job, you deserve something refreshing AND soothing. An ice cold beer is the usual reward, but we live in a world that is full of choices. so why not mix it up a bit and try something different? So that’s exactly what I did a couple weeks ago, i.e. I decided to try something different and picked up a bottle of Crabbie’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer. Does this beverage qualify as a lawnmower beer alternative? That’s what we’re here to find out!

But before we get on with my review, here are a few words about this beverage taken directly from the Crabbie’s website:

It takes taste and imagination to create a drink so delicious that it stands the test of time. The roots of the distinctive Crabbie’s Original Alcoholic Ginger Beer stretch all the way back to the early nineteenth century. That’s when our pioneer John Crabbie set sail from the port of Leith, Edinburgh, in search of the finest spices and ingredients from far-off lands.

Crabbie’s Original Alcoholic Ginger Beer is carefully crafted from a recipe using ginger shipped from the Far East which is cold steeped for up to six weeks and then combined with four secret ingredients to produce its deep, deliciously spicy flavor.

Let’s get on with my impressions of this beverage…

  • Appearance: Pale gold with a slight orange tint.
  • Aroma: Very straightforward on the nose with lots of freshly grated ginger, honey or light brown sugar, and a hint of citrus.
  • Taste: Medium bodied with a slightly fizzy carbonation. Starts off slightly sweet with some cane sugar notes front and center. Ginger and citrus take over at the middle and carry you through to the finish where all of the flavors come together. Leaves you with a ginger spiced tingle on your tongue with some residual sugar and citrus that is slightly astringent.
  • ABV: 4.8%

If you like Gosling’s or Barrit’s Ginger Beer then I have no doubt that you will like this stuff. While the label says to enjoy this over ice with a slice of lime or lemon, I decided to make like Ed of the Dogs of Beer blog and tried it “as is” since I wanted to experience it at full strength. I really enjoyed it from start to finish and would definitely buy it again, though given it’s moderately sweet taste, it’s not something that I would drink all the time. I’m guessing that drinking it as the brewer suggested (on the rocks with a wedge of lemon or lime) will help to cut the sweetness and make this an even easier to drink summer refresher, and if you throw in a healthy dose of dark Rum, this stuff will make a seriously potent Dark N Stormy.

Thirsty Thursday Times for July 17, 2014


Below are a few of the more interesting press releases that landed in our inbox this week…

Booze Dancing Merchandise

Click the pic to visit the Pastrami Basket Shoppery!

“It’s just the booze dancing…” Gear Now Available on the Pastrami Basket Shoppery!

For the fourth anniversary of this here blog, we reached out to Jon of the Pastrami Basket blog and asked if he could do a bit of artwork for us. What he came up with is a literal interpretation of “It’s just the booze dancing…”. Personally, I love it!

Last Friday, Jon announced that some of his artwork would be available for purchase on Cafe Press in the form of pins, t-shirts, mugs, tile coasters, and a few other items. In addition to classics like Squidcago and Mogwai Dontcha, Jon’s merchandise offerings will also feature his “It’s just the booze dancing…” art work. We definitely see Squidcago coffee mugs and “It’s just the booze dancing…” pint glasses in our future!

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Papa's Pilar Rum

Celebrate National Daiquiri Day AND Hemingway’s Birthday with Papa’s Pilar Rum!

July 19th is National Daiquiri Day, and just two days later, Ernest Hemingway’s birthday. To celebrate, Papa’s Pilar Rum wants to teach us how to make the Classic Hemingway Daiquiri. Here’s the recipe for your drinking pleasure:

Hemingway Daiquiri

1.5 oz of Papa’s Pilar Blonde Rum
.75 oz of fresh lime juice
.5 oz of fresh grapefruit juice
1 tsp of Maraschino Liquor
1 tsp of granulated sugar

Directions: Shake until ice cold and serve in a cocktail glass

If you’d like to see how this cocktail is made, click here to visit the Papa’s Pilar Vimeo page.

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INTRODUCING HAN SHAN: THE SUCCESSFUL CANDIDATE FROM HUDSON WHISKEY’S “MAKING THE CUT” CHALLENGE

NEW YORK – July 7, 2014 – All hail the new Hudson brand ambassador! Actually, all hug the new Hudson brand ambassador- here at Hudson Whiskey, we’re all about love over laud. The amount of love for each hand-dipped bottle of whiskey, love for each local New York-sourced ingredient we use, and love for each member of our distillery is immeasurable, which brings us to Han Shan. We fell in love with his knowledge of the whiskey landscape, his enthusiasm for Hudson, but above of all, we fell in love with him! Which is why we’re thrilled to announce Mr. Han Shan as the new face of Hudson Whiskey.

To be honest, we fell in love with all of our delightful and charismatic candidates- “Making the Cut” was not a search for the pre-eminent mixologist or an encyclopedic spirits mind, but for the next member of the Hudson family. We took three finalists up to the Hudson distillery at Tuthilltown, New York and taught our prospective ambassadors what it is that makes whiskey “Hudson Whiskey”, why we source everything locally, and generally what it means to be part of the Hudson clan. In the end, while we’re excited to have three new friends, we found that Han was the full human embodiment of Hudson’s ideals and identity. Congratulations!

As the new face of Hudson, Han will circle the country, speaking with bartenders, restaurant owners, whiskey enthusiasts and journalists, hosting tastings, connecting with fans via social media and representing our brand in the national press.

“From sampling bourbon and rye straight from barrels in the rickhouse to exploring the dramatic mountain trails overlooking the distillery to late-night storytelling with the other candidates at the beautiful Hudson Valley farmhouse, Making the Cut was truly a beautiful, once-in-a-lifetime experience,” says Han of his time at the distillery. “I cannot fully express the level of my excitement to spread love for this wonderful whiskey, and for being graciously welcomed into the family.” Adds Gable Erenzo, co-founder, distiller, and former brand ambassador for Hudson: “When we started this project, I never dreamed that we would find someone as passionate and dynamic as Han. To be honest, I can’t help but see a bit of myself in him and I couldn’t imagine a more perfect friend to take over for me as ambassador.

For a full look at Han’s journey to spirits stardom, head to the Hudson Whiskey Making The Cut website; who knows, maybe you’ll discover a thing or two that might help you become the next member of our little family here at Tuthilltown. You can also keep an eye on our website to find out when Han might be coming to your town so you can say hello yourself- we’re sure he’d love to meet you!

Beer Review – Lavery Brewing Madra Allta IPA


 Lavery Madra Allta IPA

Minding my own business (as I usually do), I found myself a passenger in a vehicle back from a sales call. My chauffeur told me that we had run out of beer at work (gotta say, Beer Friday is pretty cool) and we had to stop at Kunda Beverage in King of Prussia to seek replenishment. Once again, not one to make a fuss (I mean really who am I to argue the point), we headed over to Kunda with a credit card and an empty trunk . At Kunda, we had a number of difficult decisions. First, in PA, we are forced to buy by a full case of beer. So, our investment must be something that is mutually appreciated by around a dozen fellers (not to be sexist but our female coworkers like spiked ice tea and/or gluten free beverages). And, we need to make sure that it is not too crafty (so, a big fat NO to DuClaw’s Sweet Baby Jesus).

We settled on a case of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (good for the masses) and a split case with four sixes of IPAs. We had the IPA from Avery, the IPA & a Half from the Tommyknocker Brewery, the Corruption from DC Brau Brewing and the Madra Allta from the Lavery Brewing Company. This review centers on Lavery’s Madra Allta. Lavery is a brewer from Erie, PA that was founded in 2009. They make about a dozen different beers and try to incorporate British, German and Belgian traditions into their brewing process

Here is what Lavery has to say about their Madra Allta:

Madra Allta is a classic India pale ale with a blend of Bravo and a NEW experimental American hop variety. Our IPA has a beautiful gold color with the unmistakable aroma and flavor of American hops. Hop-focused with light malt sweetness and a toasty dryness in the finish balances the high bitterness perfectly. An easy-drinking IPA awaits. Madra Allta, is the Gaelic word for ‘wolf’.

I found the beer to be…

  • Appearance: Deep cooper with a nice amount of tan foam and lots of lacing.
  • Aroma: Lots of malt with a little sweetness and a little hops.
  • Taste: Medium mouthfeel with a good bit of sweet dough followed by a lingering hoppy bitterness in the finish.
  • ABV: 6.4%

This was my first experience with Lavery and I was impressed. This might not have been a great IPA but it certainly was a good one. And, the fact that it comes in a can means I can enjoy this beer at the local cement pond. As summer approaches and I am looking for a quality, portable IPA, I will have to add the Lavery Madra Allta to the list.

Beer Review Poetry – Stone Saison


Stone Saison

When I took that first sip, I was somewhat surprised.

I reread the label and thought that Stone lied.

Though they called it Saison, to me it said Wit,

But when the chill subsided, I started to get it!

There goes that clove and that sharp coriander,

The flavors took hold, so that my mind didn’t wander.

It’s spicy at first, with soft fizzy bubbles.

After a couple of these, you’ll forget all your troubles.

As you approach the middle, it becomes quite dry,

With a peppery bite, that I just can’t deny.

The finish is crisp, with a lingering heat.

This beer screams for food, I need something to eat!

Some creamy blue cheese or some fine charcuterie.

Stone Saison is the right beer for me!

Beer Review – Terrapin Beer Company Maggie’s Peach Farmhouse Ale


Terrapin Maggie's Peach Farmhouse Ale

As we have progressed into summer and with my dabbling in blueberry beers over, I reached into the beer fridge and pulled out yet another fruited up beer, Maggie’s Peach Farmhouse Ale from Terrapin Beer Company. Now, I’m not sold on fruit beers. I have some that I liked  (the Samuel Smith Fruit Ales (raspberry and apricot) and a St. Louis Framboise) and some that weren’t so good (a couple of blueberry beers (the Bar Harbor comes to mind) and some of the Leinenkugels (including their Shandy, just undrinkable). But, I had never tried a peach infused beer and I had some success with other Terrapin Beers (the Hopsecutioner IPA, the Rye Squared and the Monk’s Revenge to name a few). Terrapin is a craft brewer in Athens, GA and has grown from rather simple beginnings to a 40,000 sq. foot brewing facility. Terrapin rolls out six year round beers, 4 seasonals and a bunch of “special project” and collaboration beers. Sadly, two of my favorites the Rye Squared and the Hop Karma (a brown IPA) have been retired.

Before we get to my review, here is what Terrapin has to say about the Maggie’s Peach:

This refreshing summer offering has all the flavor and aroma of a freshly picked peach (to the tune of 1,000 pounds per 100 barrel batch!) combined with the complexity of a well-executed farmhouse ale.  Some of you may remember Maggie’s older sister, Side Project Volume 7, one of Spike’s first forays into farmhouse ales. This newest version is just as lovely, should age just as well and has the uniquely GA flavor of fresh summer peaches!

I found the beer to be…

  • Appearance: Cloudy, golden honey with lots of foam.
  • Aroma: Grainy, doughy with lots of fresh fruit (maybe peaches) and baking spice.
  • Taste: Sweet, crisp and refreshing but with a little funk in the finish (almost like the fuzz on the peach skin).
  • ABV: 5.3%

This was another average fruit ale. As summer beers go, it certainly hit all of the qualities (crisp, refreshing, flavorful) but I’m still not altogether sold on the fruiting up of my beer. I think I would have rather had a Hopsecutioner.

Hey Kids, Let’s Put on a Japanese Whisky Tasting in the Barn!


Hakushu and Yoichi in BW

On Thursday night, 4th of July eve, G-LO and I got together for a tasting of two well respected Japanese whiskies. No, G-LO didn’t leave his tony mansion in the Northeast and, no, I didn’t leave my shoebox-by-the-shore in Southern California. We instead met halfway, so to speak, using the Information Superhighway which seems to be all the rage what with sky high gas prices, crazy airlines that charge for icky blankets, and our general frugality (read: cheapskatedness). Below is our super serious discussion — 3,000 miles apart, very late night for G-LO and kind of late for me — about Hakushu 18 and Nikka Yoichi 15.

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Hakushu 18

G-LO: I think we should start with the Hakushu. Have you tried these before?

AK: Only the Hakushu Heavily Peated at a bar with Lee. Something like $30 for a pour. Glad this one is “free”. I am poured and ready to go.

G-LO: Same here. Hakushu 18 to start.

AK: Hakushu 18 sounds like a motorcycle part.

G-LO: Yeah it does. A part for a high performance crotch rocket. I’m thinking a Hayabusa.

AK: Is that an engine part for my ’92 Toyota Celica? I miss that car. Black, sunroof, fast. Flew to Vegas in that baby. First kissed my wife in that car. Not so great for baby car seats or anyone over 6′ tall though.

G-LO: I’m sticking with the Hayabusa. Besides, I’m more of a Honda guy.

AK: It was a black car inside and out, and this Hakushu has no black in it at all. Love the color: golden brown, which is not exactly a chick magnet color in cars.

RAL---Brown-Shades

G-LO: Golden brown? You mean beige?

AK: Beige sounds so beige. This is prettier. Softer. It looks Japanese. Whatever the hell that means. Granted, my house’s interior is brown and browns. But this seems different. Not like the paint we agonized over for months about or the stain for the cabinets.

G-LO: Don’t start with the paint color talk. Getting PTSD from painting the dining room. This is a pretty color. That shade of brown that you get with a perfectly cooked piece of tempura.

Hakushu 18 in the Glass

AK: Tempura!! Yes! Loves me the tempura. Just not the shrimp. I like the carrot and yam. Yum. This definitely has the same golden color without the greasiness. Painting and whisky should never go together unless it means you’re ready to drink yourself into oblivion after the third coat in the bedroom.

G-LO: Third coat? Sounds like we have a similar painting style, i.e. too thin. Though thin and me aren’t exactly synonymous. Except for the hairline of course.

AK: If I’m not getting carpal tunnel syndrome pain and cramps, the paint job isn’t done yet.

G-LO: Primer and then two coats followed by a week of touch up. Seriously. We keep talking painting and I’m gonna start chugging! Focus!

AK: Where’s Bob Vila? This isn’t NPR? I’m really bad at this nosing business. But I just love to smell whisky. And my schnozz says there ain’t no turpentine or paint in this stuff!

G-LO: This stuff be fruity! No?

AK: I’m so used to scotch that when I come across something not from Scotland, it takes me a minute to adjust my kilt. Fruity, but don’t ask me which one. Maybe a little green apple?

G-LO: Speaking of kilts, do they have a Tilted Kilt out there?

AK: Not sure but I sadly experienced a Tilted Kilt in Orlando. I still want my tip back and two hours of my life back!

G-LO: That bad?

AK: Pretty bad. I was with four customers who invited me. Waitress couldn’t spell beer. Plenty o’ Crappy might be a better name for the joint.

AK: It really smells lovely. Light. I like that even though peated is my my thing.

G-LO: With ya on the apple. Lightly spiced no less. Can I go with Fuji Apple?

AK: Fuji works. Mt. Fuji is better. d’oh!! I’m going in.

photo_hakushu_09

G-LO: But of course. Since the Hakushu Distillery is at high altitude, Mt. Fuji apple it is!

AK: I’m still nosing which is a big reason why I love whisky. Slows me down which is good and bad.

G-LO: There’s a touch of tobacco in there. Really good tobacco. Cuban seed.

AK: I get that too. Thought coffee at first. But tobacco is better.

AK: Not sure what I’m getting on the first sip. Funny how some are a bit oily. None of that here. Which reminds me, I need to get my car in for an oil change. Every 5,000 miles per Toyota’s specs. Remember changing your own oil? Yuck!

G-LO: Changing oil? Never done it. I’m a subcontracting kinda guy. Never touched a lawnmower either.

AK: I grew up in a non-subcontracting house. Me and pop would change oil and points. Jews Who Change Oil. Go figure, boychick.

G-LO: The Alemonger would be horrified.

AK: And I mowed lawns. Way too many lawns. I come from a long line of DIY Jews. I’d never do it today. I won’t add memory to a computer anymore, though I used to. I’m more UDIY now.

G-LO: According to The Alemonger, power tools are the work of the Gentile. Then again, he thinks cheese is anti-Semitic. So, take what he says with a grain of salt.

AK: This stuff is so darn light but I get a bite too. 43.5%. Feels hotter than that on the finish. I love power tools, and love how the power builds up in them. Pulling the trigger slowly on a Black & Decker power drill is like this Hakushu.

G-LO: Ok, ok. I’m going in now. You’re right. Not oily at all. Starts off slow and then it builds. More of a nibble than a bite. And by the way, the Tilted Kilt’s whisky list is pretty pedestrian.

AK: I remember being highly underwhelmed by the booze list there and ordering a Barq’s Root Beer just to have something in my hand other than a gun which I would used to blow my brains out. Food was wholly unexceptional. Look at us!! We’re Yelp for Dummies!

G-LO: I can respect that. I would have ordered a beer. I always start with the beer menu when I go anywhere. There’s value there. I go beer, then cocktails, then wine. Whisky is for after dinner if I don’t care for the dessert menu.

AK: Very Moneyball of you. It’s all about on-base percentage. There’s a build up with this whisky. I like it. Not peated, right? Maybe that tobacco is giving me false smoke signals.

G-LO: Loved Moneyball! The book, not the movie. I’m all about looking for the sweet spot, i.e. getting the biggest bang for my buck. And yes, this whisky totally builds as you get to the finish. No clue what kind of barrels they use.

AK: The beauty of not being a cocktail/beer guy is no wasting time. Right to the whisky. I can’t stay up late so I need the good stuff sooner! That being said, I was with fellow whiskyfabricites Allison Patel and Rob Gard tonight at a fun little nouveau pizza joint in Venice, CA. They had Brenne on the menu! I had an Old Fashioned with Brenne. Enjoyed it immensely.

G-LO: Interesting. I like Brenne on it’s own. There are some great beers out there and some kick ass cocktails being made right now.

AK: Rob said if a cocktail has more than four ingredients, it’s too complicated and TAKES TOO LONG! Totally get that theory. And I’d add, too freakin’ expensive!

G-LO: I agree with Rob. That’s why I hate recipes.

AK: I love Brenne on its own too so this was different.

G-LO: It’s already easy drinking, so I wouldn’t want to water it down any.

AK: There was a cocktail called a Dommo. Mint, Yellow Chartreuse, lemon, ginger and bourbon. Rob had it made with Brenne instead of bourbon. It was five ingredients breaking the Rob Gard rule but well worth it. He invented a cocktail! Thomas Edison of Cocktails, that one is.

G-LO: Speaking of easy to drink, the Hayabusa 1800cc is way easy to drink. Though it’s more of a rolling start vs. a standing start. No wheel spin!

AK: I like the finish on the Hakushu. I definitely get the tobacco a bit more there.

G-LO: I need a touch more. In my glass I mean.

AK: What’s Hayabusa? I ain’t not brain surgeon. And NO touching! This is a family show!

G-LO: Sorry. Forgot you’re not a car guy or a motorcycle guy.

AK: It’s a car? I swear you were going to say it’s some Japanese liqueur distilled on the thighs of women from the Ginza.

G-LO: Watch your mouth! Who you calling a Ginza? Is it me or is this whisky perhaps a bit too subdued? The finish is the big reward for me. I’d probably like this more if I didn’t know the price AND if I wasn’t the one that bought it. It’s really good, but I prefer the Hakushu 12.

AK: I’m a peat freak so if I don’t taste dead vegetation from the Bronze Age then it falls into the Subdued or Subdude category.

G-LO: You’re very focused. Subdude. Nice one. Less of a dude?

AK: Us Single celled organisms are just that way. I barely respond to light. Unless it’s peated.

G-LO: You an Amoeba or more of a Paramecium? Ha! That’s about all I got outta junior year Biology. Biology would have been more fun if I went to a coed high school.

AK: Paramecium! $2.00! Get your Paramecium! One isn’t enough!

G-LO: What does Rob say about five syllable words?

AK: I’ll UNDENIABLY ask him. No wimins?! Graduate of Trappist Monk High School? Did you guys have a football team?

G-LO: Just one woman. Sister Leah. She was the football coach. And does ice count as one of the ingredients in his rule?

AK: Don’t know his Ice Ice Baby theory but we had a interesting convo with two friends of Allison’s from the LBC about the big fat monstrous ice cube trend. That’s Long Beach, CA, yeah boyyyyy!

G-LO: Love the monster ice cubes! Especially when they’re crystal clear. So sexy!

AK: I know Viking, Sub Zero, or some overpriced fridge company is making a freezer right now to make big old cubes that will bash you in the nose in the comfort of your own home while “the eggs are cooling, the butter’s getting hard, and the Jell-O’s jiggling” all for under $10k. Plus pretty blue lights when you open the door at 2:00 am searching for chocolate milk.

G-LO: I never paid attention to ice until my first $18 cocktail in NYC.

AK: I can’t afford to pay attention. It is interesting how they don’t water down drinks as you think they might.

G-LO: When a drink costs $18, I’m friggin paying attention! I was transfixed by the ice cubes.

AK: I had a cocktail a few nights ago with ROOT and the bartender used a big coffee ice cube whatever that is. This a level of fluid dynamics that is beyond me. It was dark as my soul but more like a venti drip.

G-LO: By the way, definitely getting that tobacco in the aftertaste. The finish is where this shines. What’s a venti drip?

AK: Some Starbucks thing that my wife orders. No COFFEE QUESTIONS! Do I look like Howard Schultz?! I like the finish too. I sleep through the middle of movies anyway. Soooo, did I ever tell you that I like sniffing “empty” whisky glasses? Well, ones that had whisky in them. It’s a thing I do. Don’t ask.

G-LO: Huh. Interesting. Lemme try that. I usually just go for a refill…That’s a great smelling glass!

AK: The glass is coated in the spirit. It’s not like when the fluid is in there.  It’s different somehow.

G-LO: A line from a cheesy western just popped into my head: Gimme a glass of whisky in a dirty glass! I’d drink whisky outta this glass for sure!

AK: Indeed! It’s like smelling a frying pan after you’ve cooked in it.

G-LO: A seasoned glass. How very green of us. The verdict on the Hakushu 18?

AK: Exactly! I like it but not sure I’d buy it. But I like the smell and the finish quite a bit. Don’t tell me the price. I don’t want to know.

G-LO: Ok. I won’t spill. I will say this, it was 2x the cost of the Hakushu 12, but not 2x as good by any stretch.

AK: I have no idea what that means but if Train A, traveling 70 miles per hour, leaves Buffalo heading toward Schenectady, 270 miles away, at the same time Train B, traveling 60 mph, leaves Buffalo heading toward Schenectady. When do the two trains meet?

G-LO: Ummm.

AK: Please show your work.

Nikka Yoichi 15

G-LO: Again with the PTSD. Nikka time, baby?

AK: This Yoichi 15 looks beautiful.

G-LO: It really does look pretty in the glass.

AK: At this point, Totie Fields would look good in that glass. Too soon?

G-LO: Who the hell is Totie Fields?

AK: I knew you were going to say that. Google her.

G-LO: Geez. Dead at 48 in ’78!

AK: I love the name amber. Works well for strippers and for whisky color. It says it all, though I have no idea what amber is but she way overcharged me last time. That was clearly NOT 10 minutes! Funny broad. Totie. Not Amber. One leg. Again, not Amber.

G-LO: You know, I’m 47. If I were Totie, I’d have 9 months left.

AK: So, keep drinking. You never know.

G-LO: Good point. That was a Limpd kinda thing to say, by the way.

AK: Too many actuarial tables for that guy. The Yoichi is more, what, medicine-y “on the nose” (air quotes!).

G-LO: Interesting. Like a butterscotch flavored Band-Aid?

AK: This is one that bugs me. It’s a smell I know but can’t nail. Like Amber. It’s going to drive me nuts. Oh, whyyy do I tryyy?!

G-LO: Cause it’s fun! And it keeps you from just doing shots. Think of it as a spiritual experience. It’s sweet, yet spicy and medicine-y too.

AK: Right! You are the Gandhi of Booze.  Must be the bald head and robe.

G-LO: Can I get Ben Kingsley to play me in my biopic? It’d be a really short movie though.

AK: You want Ben Kingsley. You’ll take F. Murray Abraham. You settle for G-LO. #castingproblems.

Nikka Yoichi 15 in the Glass

AK: There’s a sweet musty smell to it. Like a closet that hasn’t been opened in awhile and you find that old sweater from college with Amber’s phone number on a napkin in it.

G-LO: I’m not gonna ask the condition of that napkin. Nor do I wanna know what you had to pay to get that number.

AK: I think the napkin is in better shape than Amber.

G-LO: The power of suggestion is strong with you.

AK: It’s the Midi-Chlorian. I take supplements.

G-LO: Damn you and your five syllable words!

AK: Interesting Ar-tic-u-la-tion. Watch the movie, young Skywalker. These aren’t the five syllable words you looking for.

G-LO: These aren’t the five syllable words I’m looking for.

G-LO: Now I’m getting musty grapes or something like that. We got Band-Aids, butterscotch, musty grapes, and maybe some cinnamon? Whatever it is, I love how this smells.

AK: I was thinking cloves but maybe cinnamon.

G-LO: Whatever works for ya.

AK: Me too. I’m all about old Band-Aids.

G-LO: I’m goin’ in!

AK: Yes, yes, you’re already wet. Might as well. Bottom of my tongue is burning like a house of love! Yowza!!

G-LO: Mmmm. This is more to my liking! A touch of oiliness? This has much more body.

AK: Definitely oily. I’m coated like Kojak in the episode where they bust the boys on the waterfront. This feels heavier. Apples and oranges compared to the Hakushu. Denser. More dense. Densapaloozaful.

G-LO: Spiced apple for sure.

AK: I really get the cinnamon now.

G-LO: Dunno about the orange, though there might be a bit of orange zestiness to it. Lightly bitter oiliness that you get from an orange peel perhaps? All the rage with the craft cocktail community!

AK: Not sure about citrus. Bottom of the tongue is buzzing. Kind of weird. Maybe a little mint toothpaste on the gums. I need to see the dentist, by the way.

G-LO: Again? Sounds like our teeth come from the same gene pool. Remind me to tell you the gold crown story one day.

AK: Oh, I know zest. Years ago I used to make this rum based thing called Christmas Shrub.

G-LO: You’re more zippy than zesty. Just sayin’.

AK: Thank you very little. Infused white rum with zest of lemon and orange with cloves, cinnamon, and caramelized sugar. Reduced this junk all down and put in a bottle for a few weeks with more rum. Sweet and syrupy, and kick ass. Served warm or on the rocks. Zest was huge in the flavor.

G-LO: You’re such a fancy lad. The finish on this one is sooo good! This Nikka is fo’shizzle!

AK: I’m fo’shizzling once more.

G-LO: I wouldn’t say it blows the Hakushu outta the water, but I definitely like it more.

AK: The Yoichi is more complex. That smell is still bugging me. Like I’m forgetting to do something. Did I turn off the stove? Did I close the garage door?.  But there is more going on with this one.

G-LO: I think so too. Voluptuous?

AK: Thanks. You’re not so bad yourself. Come here often?

G-LO: Hello, Sailor!

AK: Hello, Larry.

G-LO: Hagman?

AK: Dead.

G-LO: Yep.

AK: Abe Vigoda. Not dead. Go figure.

G-LO: Go Fish too.

AK: Tessio. It’s the smart move; Tessio was always smarter. Think the finish is better on the Hakushu but the Yoichi is better overall.

G-LO: Clemenza was too busy worrying about dinner.

AK: Don’t forget the canolli!

G-LO: See? I respect that.

AK: And watch out for the kids when you’re backing out.

G-LO: Screw that. They need to watch out for me. Damn suburb kids.

AK: You and your Big Wheel.

G-LO: Never had one.

AK: We got mattresses to buy!

G-LO: I’d take this whisky to the mattresses with me. It’s comforting. And hypoallergenic?

AK: Yep. Second go around is better. Ask for it by name. Accept no substitutes.

G-LO: I think I understand what you mean about the finish. The Hakushu finish is fantastic, but overall, the Yoichi is more fun.

AK: Time for some glass sniffing which is legal is California. I would have bet your last dollar on the Hakushu being my favorite. I get sucked in by the name. I’m so juvenile. Or is it Jewvenile? Waa waa waaaa

G-LO: Where’s that instant rimshot link when you need it?

AK: Much better smelling empty glass. I could lay down with this one for awhile. I shall name her Amber. And it was good.

G-LO: Same here. I was expecting the same results. I like the Hakushu but LOVE the Yoichi. FYI, the Yoichi is a relative bargain. The ROK picked it up at Narita Duty Free.

AK: Agreed. The Nikka Amber, er, Yoichi, is the pick here.

G-LO: I think it was like $60. The US price is around $90 to $100, I believe.

AK: I’d fork out for the Yoichi which by the way, the 11 year old daughter pronounced far better than I. Two years of Japanese classes finally paid off.

G-LO: Yo-ee-chee? How hard is that?

AK: She’s in bed. I’ll have her call you. Japanese friends of our say she nails the pronunciation. I’m just happy to say tempura correctly and not get a burger served to me.

G-LO: Impressive. Well this was good fun and kinda weird. No?

AK: No. I mean Yes. No, I mean, yes, it was good and kinda weird. Big thanks to YOU, G-LO-san for the samples. May your Origami never be unfolded.

G-LO: I think we have a Star Wars Origami book around here somewhere. Gracias, AK-san!

AK: I need a Star Wars Origami Lego Book. Everything especially an A-Wing Interceptor Starfighter is Awesome!

G-LO: I have no idea what that means.

AK: Say goodnight, G-LO.

G-LO: Goodnight, G-LO.

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