Malty Monday Monitor for August 25, 2014


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

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Mark Gillespie of WhiskyCast Accepts the ALS #IceBucketChallenge

For more information about ALS, the #IceBucketChallenge, or to make a donation, click here to visit the official ALS Association website.

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Goodnight Brew

Goodnight Brew: “Pitcher Book” for Beer Lovers Taps September 2014

Goodnight Brew: A Parody for Beer People, will be available from Bailiwick Press, bookstores, gifts shops, and Amazon in early September.

A spoof of the beloved children’s book Goodnight Moon, Goodnight Brew is a full-color “pitcher book” for grown-ups. In the charming story, the brewery employees—including three little otters (in charge of the water), a wort hog, and a hops wildebeest—introduce us to the brewing equipment, ingredients, and styles of beer. Join this fanciful crew as they close down for the evening and say goodnight to the brew kettle, barley and yeast, hops and mash, saison, porter, IPA, and much more.

Befuddled about beer ingredients?  Puzzled about the brew process?  Can’t remember the difference between an ale and a lager? Don’t miss the brew infographics that follow the story!

Goodnight Brew has already captured the attention of brewing experts and beer enthusiasts alike:

“This is the perfect nightcap.” — Pete Limbach, Carnival Technician, New Belgium Brewing Company

“In the music world, a cover song is only worth recording if it can top the original. Goodnight Brew brings that same attitude to the classic children’s book. After reading you’ll wonder why anybody ever bothered with that moon business. The perfect gift for the baby-toting beer geek.”— Patrick Dawson, author of Vintage Beers

“A perfect piece of joy and beer-musement!” — Michael Bussmann, Social Networking Nerd, New Belgium Brewing Company

“Goodnight Brew is a curious hybrid—like a smoked IPA or stout brewed with strawberries—that entertains and informs. With the wit and authority you’d expect from a bedtime story about beer, this crazy book leaves you dreaming of hops and barley while inspiring you to get to the nearest brewery and thank the creators for their hard work.” — Will Siss, beer columnist and blogger at beersnobwrites.com

“This book easily brings out a smile and the desire to meet a hops wildebeest in his natural brewery habitat.” — John Holl, editor of All About Beer Magazine and author of The American Craft Beer Cookbook.

“Goodnight Brew is completely adorable. More breweries would do well to operate with such fancy. But most impressive is the amount of quality word-play without resorting to a single hop-based pun.” — Michael Kiser, Good Beer Hunting

Karla “Ann E. Briated” Oceanak is the nom de brew of the author of the beloved Aldo Zelnick Comic Novel Series for young readers. She has been a writer and editor for more than 20 years and speaks on children’s literacy. Allie Ogg is an illustrator, potter, and fine artist. She also works at Equinox Brewing. They both live in Fort Collins, Colorado.

For more information, visit www.bailiwickpress.com.

Goodnight Brew, written by Karla “Ann E. Briated” Oceanak, illustrated by Allie Ogg, ISBN 978-1-934649-50-3, published by Bailiwick Press, distributed by Legato Publishers Group, an affiliate of Publishers Group West, available October 2014, $16.95 USA / $18.50 Canada, humor, hardcover, 32 pages, 10” x 8.5”, color illustrations.

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Voting Now Open for Icons of Whisky America 2015

Icons of WhiskyNominations have now closed for Icons of Whisky America 2015, and Whisky Magazine would like to thank you for taking the time to identify the finest companies and individuals in the whiskey industry. We now invite you to vote online for the best of these retailers, producers, distributors and importers by visiting http://www.iconsofwhisky.com/vote. You will have the chance to vote for your top three nominees in any category according to the guidelines below:

Retailers may vote for nominees in the following categories:

  • Producer awards  (e.g. Whisky Distiller, American Whiskey Ambassador)
  • Distributor & importer awards (e.g. Whisky Distributor)

Producers may vote for:

  • Retail awards (e.g. Whisky Retailer – Single Outlet)
  • Distributor & importer awards

Distributor and importers may vote for:

  • Producer awards
  • Retail awards

Journalists may vote for nominees in all categories

Please visit http://www.iconsofwhisky.com/vote by Thursday 28th August 2014 to vote for the very best in the industry – it will take less than two minutes to complete.

Once voting is closed and finalised, the winners of the Icons of Whisky America 2015 will be announced and presented in Bardstown, Kentucky in conjunction with the Kentucky Bourbon Festival and the Bourbon Hall of Fame on Wednesday 17th September 2014.

We very much look forward to receiving your vote.

Best wishes,

Rupert Wheeler

Whisky Magazine
Managing Editor

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Iron Hill Brewery’s “The Great Imperial Pumpkin Ale” Launches on 9/5/2014!

IHTheGreatImperialPumpkinWILMINGTON, DE – On Friday, 9/5/2014, beginning at 5 p.m., all 10 regional Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant locations will celebrate the end of summer and the beginning of a new season with the annual release of both The Great Imperial Pumpkin Ale and Classic Pumpkin Ale.  Iron Hill’s award-winning Pumpkin Ale will be available on draught at all 10 locations through Halloween (Friday, October 31), and pumpkin lovers will be able to take home The Great Imperial Pumpkin Ale in cork-finished 750 mL bottles for a limited time.

“I can’t think of a style of beer that we do here at Iron Hill that evokes such pomp and circumstance.  This is a release that our fans mark down on their calendars months and months in advance,”  saysDirector of Brewing Operations Mark Edelson.  “Pumpkin Ale is also one of our favorite beers to make, too, with its spicy and bold flavors – it really tastes like pumpkin pie in a glass – and we look forward to pouring our award-winning pumpkin ales throughout the season.”

Iron Hill’s Pumpkin Ale is a medium-bodied, copper-colored ale with malt-y sweetness and a balancing bitterness.  It is spiced with traditional pumpkin pie spices and vanilla, in lieu of finishing hops, for intensely seasonal flavor.  The Great Imperial Pumpkin Ale is a hearty autumnal beer brewed each year with more than 200 pounds of pumpkins, as well as pumpkin pie spices, molasses and Belgian candi sugar, giving it a rich flavor and heady aroma, evocative of wool sweaters, crisp evenings by the fire and all things fall.  Throughout the season, the beer will be sold as a Bottled Reserve, Iron Hill’s line of cork-finished 750 ml bottles, for $19.50.  The Great Imperial Pumpkin Ale’s collectible bottles feature a custom-designed label from local artist Jeff Schaller, inspired by the beloved comic strip Peanuts. 

Highlighted events will include:

  • September 6, 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. – Iron Hill Maple Shade will host its annual Welcome, Great Pumpkin party by pouring pints and tulips of Pumpkin Ale, The Great Imperial Pumpkin Ale, Cinderella’s Carriage, Bourbon Imperial Pumpkin Ale, Bourbon Cindy
  • September 13, 12 noon until 6 p.m. – Iron Hill Wilmington will host a multi-tap event with five different styles of pumpkin beer:  Pumpkin Ale, Charlie Pumpkin Brown, Great Pumpkin Stout, Pumpkin Weiss, Ichabod Imperial Pumpkin Ale
  • September 19, 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. – Iron Hill Voorhees will celebrate the rite of fall by paying tribute to Cinderella’s Carriage, a Belgian-style pumpkin ale spiced with cinnamon, clove, allspice and nutmeg
  • September 20, 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. – Iron Hill North Wales will host its Pumpkinfest party by pouring pints and tulips of Pumpkin Ale, Ichabod Imperial Pumpkin Ale, Pumpkin Weiss, Bourbon Pumpkin Ale, Imperial Pumpkin Ale, Pumpkin Spiced Porter
  • September 20, 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. – Iron Hill Phoenixville will welcome pumpkin lovers back with Welcome to Pumpkinville!, a multi-tap event featuring Imperial Pumpkin Ale, Pumpkin Ale, Cask Conditioned Pumpkin Ale, Vanilla Pumpkin Ale, Pumpkin Weiss, Great Pumpkin Stout

Founded by home brewers Kevin Finn and Mark Edelson and restaurateur Kevin Davies in Newark, DE in 1996, Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant has blossomed from one restaurant and brewery to 10 locations across the mid-Atlantic, with an 11th location, in Ardmore, PA scheduled to open in the coming year.  Each restaurant is dedicated to producing and serving top-quality hand-crafted beers and cuisine in a warm and hospitable setting, and all are open seven days a week for lunch and dinner.

Locations include:  Newark, DE (147 East Main Street, 302-266-9000);  Wilmington, DE (620 Justison Street, 302-472-2739);  Media, PA (30 East State Street, 610-627-9000);  West Chester, PA (3 West Gay Street, 610-738-9600);  North Wales, PA (1460 Bethlehem Pike, 267-708-2000);  Phoenixville, PA (130 East Bridge Street, 610-983-9333);  Lancaster, PA (781 Harrisburg Pike, 717-291-9800);  Maple Shade, NJ (124 East Kings Highway, 856-273-0300); Voorhees, NJ (13107 Town Center Boulevard, 856-545-9009);  and Chestnut Hill, PA (8400 Germantown Avenue, 215-948-5600).

For more information about Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant, or to make a reservation at any of their locations, please visit www.ironhillbrewery.com, follow them on Twitter (@ironhillbrewery) and like them on Facebook.

Beer Review – Sierra Nevada Rain Check Spiced Stout


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During most summers, our little corner of the blogosphere is dedicated to finding those warm weather friendly beers that we usually crave when the mercury starts to rise, but this summer hasn’t  been like most summers. Weather-wise, we couldn’t ask for much better. With very few days over 90, and very little rain and humidity, this has been one of the most pleasant summers that I can remember (I know, I know. It’s not over yet!).

Given the unusually cool temperatures, I thought tonight would be the perfect time to try Sierra Nevada’s Rain Check, a beer that they brewed to celebrate the opening of their new Mills River, NC brewery, and one that is only available in western North Carolina and a couple of other nearby states. In case you’re wondering how I managed to get my hands on a bottle, full credit goes to our good friend The Alemonger. He picked up a couple of these along with a plethora of other North Carolina craft beers during his most recent family vacation to Asheville, NC this past July.

Before we get to my review, here is what Sierra Nevada has to say about their Rain Check Spiced Stout:

Mills River, NC—June 9, 2014—Sierra Nevada is celebrating the official start of brewing at its new Mills River, North Carolina, facility with the release of Rain Check Spiced Stout, a specialty beer brewed for western North Carolina and several surrounding states. Rain Check was inspired by the tropical flavors often found in other favorite foul-weather drinks—fresh ginger, brown sugar, molasses, and tangy lime.

As is usually the case, a high quality beer is at its best when you let it sit for a bit after taking it out of the fridge. I drank this beer, which has a hefty ABV of 8.9%, over the course of 90 minutes, and it definitely improved as it warmed up. When I took that first still chilly sip, it was difficult to pick up the more subtle flavors that went into the brewing of this beer. While I could definitely taste the dark roasted malt, there was no sign of that “fresh ginger” or “tangy lime”. Time was definitely on this beer’s side! While I never really got those “tangy lime” notes, the ginger was definitely there during those last few, almost room temperature sips, and it left me with a soothing and lightly spiced tingle that helped to counterbalance the dark, roasted malt flavors. Overall, I really enjoyed this beer and would definitely recommend that you give it a try. Think of it as a Sierra Nevada Narwahl, but with a little something extra added to the mix.

Food Review – Beef Brisket Two Different Ways


Beef_Guide_BrisketShank

Image courtesy of Food Republic.

 “The house smelled of brisket and bourbon, that’s the music I grew up on.” – Billy Crystal

Ahhhh, the lowly brisket. No really, look where it’s located on the cow in the above illustration. Just above the front legs and just below the shoulders. Those are some hard working muscles right there, and if you try to cook it like a Porterhouse or a Rib Eye, what you’re gonna get is the food equivalent of shoe leather. There’s no delicious fatty marbling to make this a tender cut that can be waved over a fire and thrown onto a plate within a matter of minutes. What you need to make a brisket something worthy of carnal lust is time, and plenty of it. In the hands of someone that knows what they’re doing, a well prepared brisket is moist, juicy, flavorful, and so so tender. This post is about two places in Philadelphia that are making some lust worthy beef brisket…

Brisket #1: Italian Style Baked Brisket by DiNic’s Roast Pork and Beef in the Reading Terminal Market

If you know anything about Philly food, then you know that the Roast Pork and Broccoli Rabe sandwich at DiNic’s was voted the 2012 Best Sandwich in America by Adam Richman of the Travel Channel. While that sandwich is worthy of the praise, their Italian Style Baked Brisket is no slouch either. Tender beef brisket seasoned with Italian herbs and spices, slow roasted, and hand carved, then stuffed into a soft crusty loaf of bread atop hand sliced Sharp Provolone and dressed with sweet, roasted bell peppers. When you take that first bite, the words “Oh my f’in god that’s good!” will most likely escape your lips. I’ve had the Meg Ryan “When Harry Met Sally” beef brisket sandwich at Katz’s Deli. That was a very good sandwich (though kind of expensive at around $18!), but this one blows it out of the water. Filming that beef brisket scene at DiNic’s would have resulted in an NC-17 rating. Of this I have no doubt!

Brisket #2: Brisket by Cheu Noodle Bar

Cheu Noodle Bar has been open for a little over a year, but up until a few weeks ago, I had never set foot in the place. After hearing and reading so much about their unique food offerings, I just had to see what all the fuss is about, and since this is a post about Beef Brisket, you already know what I ordered off of their menu. As you can see in the above photo, Cheu Noodle Bar’s Beef Brisket is served as part of a ramen noodle dish. The melt in your mouth beef brisket, cool and crunchy kimchee, firm and chewy ramen noodles, moist and flavorful matzo ball, and lightly spiced sesame chili broth combined to create a multi textured and truly delicious eating experience.  I will definitely be going back to explore their menu even further, especially since there’s a “hand torn lamb neck” dish on the menu that has me incredibly intrigued!

Two Lost Spirits Ruminate on Rum and the Legendario Amberlita


Hunter S Thompson Quote

A few words of wisdom by the great Hunter S Thompson, author of The Rum Diary

On a weird Friday night recently, G-LO and I ventured into a few rums and babbled endlessly. It’s what we do. We find it very therapeutic, and it saves us $60 each on professional help. We’re cheap sumbitches when it comes to paying for therapy, but we’re very generous when it comes to sharing booze and our meandering therapy sessions.  Pour yourself a drink and enjoy the ride…

AK: Ok, we ready? So, we’re going off the whisky rails here a bit tonight and trying some rum or rhum or vrum. I made the last one up.

G-LO: I wouldn’t say completely off the rails. Rerouted is more like it.

AK: You’re the AMTRAK guy. Rerouted it is. Derailed ain’t so hot a term these days.

G-LO: True true. Especially when the product on board is something from Dow Chemical.  Rerouted it is. So, where do we begin?

AK: Speaking of chemicals…This first one, Senor G-LO, has to come with a little story, and you know me well enough to know that there’s no such thing as a little story.

G-LO: This is where you say, “Buckle up, G-LO! It’s gonna be a bumpy ride!”.

AK: No seat belts on AMTRAK, I’m afraid. This first one comes via our friend Lee. After that I can’t get too detailed except it made a very circuitous route into our hands.

G-LO: Serpentine Shell! Serpentine!

AK: Think The Godfather, Part II and a small island nation about to be overthrown in a coup. Getting the picture? Or should I say, comprende?

G-LO: You broke my heart KROUSE! YOU BROKE MY HEART! Don’t worry. I’ll spare you the kiss on the mouth. No offense.

AK: And I’ll avoid any fishing trips on a small boat on Lake Tahoe. This little beauty is called Legendario, Elixir de Cuba. At least that’s what my high school Spanish tells me.

G-LO: I just filled my glass.

AK: Es muy bonita, no?

G-LO: Here we go again with the beautiful Amber! How do you say Amber in Espanol?

AK: Amberlita, if you must know. The bottle has a big 7 near the screw top. Maybe aged siete years? We really should do some research. Or not. I like the color but it looks like dark rum. Nothing too special, unlike mi Amberlita.

G-LO: Actually, it could be a dead ringer for The Stagg too. Amberlita is quite clingy and leggy.

AK: The bottle is all in Spanish. Makes no sense to me. Don’t they have Google Translate for booze bottles? Only 34% ABV. Wonder if that makes it leggy.

G-LO: FYI, Mrs. G-LO just walked by for a second, took a look at the screen, then walked away shaking her head.

AK: The 13 year old here is fascinated by this, i.e., she won’t leave me alone.

G-LO: Hello, 13 YO KROUSE!

13 YO: Hi, Uncle G-LO.

G-LO: Awwww…..

AK: I always have to remind myself what rum is. Molasses, which is as a gross a thing ever concocted. Who comes up with these cockamamy ideas?

G-LO: Good question. A bunch of liquor starved colonists?

AK: Slave traders! I’m smelling…the rum that is.

G-LO: Gonna nose Amberlita!

AK: I need to say right now, I’m 100% against slavery. Had to be said since there’s an ugly rumor being spread. She does have a good nose, and this smells very light too.

G-LO: It has an intriguing nose for sure. Sweet yet herbal infused. Reminds me of a vermouth but without the bitterness. What’s your stance on child labor laws, i.e. putting your kids to work around the house?

AK: Totally for child labor for offspring. Problem here is that my labor is unionized and have a cushy contract.

G-LO: I understand. Same here. I try to rule with an iron fist, but then it gets smelted.

AK: Need to be Union Busters!! Unions are tough to crack. Lots of picketing in the form of TV watching here. When I first had Legendario a few years ago, I was struck by the softness.

G-LO: You’re saying Amber’s been slacking at the gym? No burning of the nose hairs with this one.

AK: 34% has a lot to do with that. “Elixir” makes me think that this is more of liqueur, but what do I know?

G-LO: I’m with ya there. After dinner. On ice perhaps. Alongside a Creme Caramel. Aha! That’s what it smells like. The thin sugar syrup at the bottom of a flan. Love that stuff!

AK: Ice. That’s how I’ve had this before on a warm day outside in a patio chair. Never had it sans ice I think. I’m tasting, Tio G-LO.

G-LO: Let’s try it as is, then add a cube. Ohhh, that’s thick and syrupy! You sure it’s not a rum liqueur?

AK: How would I know? Elixir de Cuba. What does that mean? Wait! El poquito print on the label says “Punch au Rhum”. What’s that mean?

G-LO: So many questions. So few answers.

AK: Si, es verdad.

G-LO: This has to be some sort of liqueur. I really like it, but man is it syrupy sweet.

AK: I’m going to Havana!

G-LO: By way of Mexico? Or are you gonna pull a Diana Nyad?

AK: Either way is better than via the USSR but more jellyfish stings, Comrade G-LO.

G-LO: Da. Da.

AK: Wow! Sweet, sugary, and thick. No wonder I can drink a lot of this.

G-LO: Pour this baby on some pancakes. Leaves quite a coating of sugar on my lips and tongue.

AK: Really heavy in my mouth. No maple but pancake syrup like.

G-LO: I say again, definitely more of a liqueur. A really, really good liqueur. Lemme get a cube of ice.

AK: I told the same to Lee way back when when I saw “elixir”. But we keep calling it rum. Cube is dropped.

G-LO: Where’s Dick Clark when you need him?

AK: Kissing Kathy Griffin? Oh, wait. Never mind. Look how it seems gelatinous with the ice?! Mucho bizarro!

G-LO: You’re right. Amber bulked up. Moving slow.

AK: If it wasn’t brown, I’d say it looked like our fish tank. Needs cleaning.

G-LO: Maybe your fish are pulling a Finding Nemo. Is there a pebble stuck in the filter? KROUSE BAIT, HUHAHA!

AK: Thanks, Gil. Ahhh, this is what I remember. Yum. It almost tastes hotter with the ice. Sweet but more burn.

G-LO: I think I liked it better neat. KROUSE BAIT HUHAHA! Final thoughts before we hit the rocket fuel?

AK: The smell is even softer, barely a finish but I still like it with the ice. I like the burn. Ahhh, Amberlita.

G-LO: Adding ice kills the nose for me. Overall, I really liked this stuff. I’d have this in lieu of or alongside a dessert any day of the week. This and vanilla ice cream would be magical.

AK: I like how the King of BoozyShakes thinks! It’s pretty sweet and I’ve really liked just drinking it mid-day with thoughts of the Bay of Pigs and guerrilla warfare in mind. Viva la revolucion!

G-LO: Bay of Pigs! Sounds like a Cuban luau.

AK: Round 2?

G-LO: Yes! Let’s move on.

AK: So this one is Lost Spirits, Navy Style Rum, Oak Matured, Cask Strength, and…wait for it…55%! Lost Spirits is near and dear to me if for no other reason than I think it’s how Allison Patel and I met a few years ago on her blog. She had a post defending the creativity and ingenuity in craft distilling while Lost Spirits was getting hammered on social media for trying something new.

G-LO: Ah yes. You mentioned this before. Looks like Amber went Auburn on color.

AK: Lost Spirits is in Central California and is a small operation that also makes peated whiskey! Some people hate it, some people love it. Personally, I’m in the latter group.

G-LO: That peated whisky sample you sent me was freaky delicious.

AK: Amber’s hair color is like the weather in Chicago. You don’t like, just wait 5 minutes.

G-LO: They say that about the weather in Vermont too.

AK: By the way, the bottle label art is spectacular.

G-LO: On their website right now. Very cool indeed! Reminds me of an old school Tuscan wine label.

AK: And the back label states in caps “DOES NOT CONTAIN COLORING ADDITIVES”. It says that twice just so we’re clear and get the point. The real deal from the oak and molasses.

G-LO: It really is! This is no strawberry blonde! Very Christina Hendricks. Va-va-va-voom!

AK: Wow. That’s a big nose smell, I tell you. Big noses run in my family, by the way. Unlike Amber, no leggy girl here.

G-LO: Yowza! I singed a nose hair. MEDIC! Thin and spindly legs on this one.

AK: I think the smell knocked out an adnoid. Better call an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor on Monday.

G-LO: I know a few good ones. I can get you in. What time is good for you?

AK: Mornings are good. After pilates.

G-LO: 9AM?

AK: 9AM works. Starbucks for a Chai and I’ll be right there with my sinuses in a doggy bag. I love the color of this. So rich and dark.

G-LO: It’s got some crazy intense aromas too. Deep dark molasses with clove and maybe some salted caramel.

AK: It’s like a good peated Scotch. I almost don’t need to taste it, the smell is deep and intense. Love it.

G-LO: Ha! I was gonna say that there’s some decay in there. Sweet, delicious decay.

AK: I’m going to love smelling the glass afterwards.

G-LO: Aren’t there laws against that type of behavior? Wait. Deja vu alert!

AK: It’s Cali baby! We do what we do. Bryan Davis is one of those kooky engineering types and this is one of his concoctions. Read one his interviews and it’s like Chemistry all over again and I’m staring at Amber at a bunsen burner across the classroom while some professor is balancing equations or something, and I’m lost on two subjects. I’m scared but I’m tasting this one. And, yes, I’m sitting down.

G-LO: I’m going in too.

AK: Yowza!

G-LO: Hey! That’s my line!

AK: I only steal from the best.

G-LO: Kowabunga! That’s some weird stuff. It burns! It burns! Nowhere near as syrupy. Kinda oily.

AK: My eyes burn but I cannot look away. Charry. Is that a word? Coffee, sharp, maybe spicy, cinnamon. Big! Huge!

G-LO: I called Merriam-Webster via my Ouija board. Charry is now a word. Look it up.

AK: I want the new Ouija Board 6 when it comes out. No pancakes for this rum. Maybe a Delta IV rocket if it needs the tank filled up.

G-LO: Definitely packs a wallop! Speaking of Ouija boards and Auburn. Remember Tawny Kitaen?

AK: Do I? Debbie in Bachelor Party with Tom Hanks!! Classic ’80s flick. “Not that I’m complaining, but I usually don’t like my filth this clean!” Love that line. Tawny married an angel. Actually, a California Angel pitcher. Ended badly.

G-LO: Of course it did. Doesn’t it always end badly when it comes to celebrity marriages? Tawny Kitaen and Kelly LeBrock defined the ’80s.

AK: Indeed though I’d add Molly Ringwald in a weird triumvirate. If I add Ally Sheedy, it isn’t a triumvirate, is it?

G-LO: Ah yes. Sixteen Candles was Molly’s finest hour. The best of that genre, i.e. the John Hughes teen comedy.

AK: So, what the hell is navy rum, Commodore? For a 55 percenter, I’m shocked how about the burn time or lack of. Sort of like Nomex underwear in auto racing.

G-LO: It doesn’t really singe my tongue. I get the heat effect AFTER I swallow. No clue what a Navy Rum is, Commodore Schmidlapp. This stuff is intense! Not sweet at all. More like burnt sugar, chili peppers, cinnamon, and clove.

AK: I’m enlisting if this is part of the rations.

G-LO: You already have the rum. Skip the enlisting.

AK: Good idea. I’m bad at painting, especially boats.

G-LO: Do you think the Lost Spirits guy and Chip Tate from Balcones know each other?

AK: Don’t know if Chip and Bryan know each other but that would be an interesting meeting of the minds. Texas and California spirits mad scientists. Balcones has a rum too. Boy, do I want to try that baby. Texas has a navy I can join, right?

G-LO: Certainly! They gotta a big chunk of that state bordering on the Gulf of Mexico.

AK: This has a bit of traditional rum sweetness but not much. I like Pussers Navy Rum too, the “Royal British Navy rum” for eons or so they say in the West Indies, and on the bottle. Nothing fancy. That’s much sweeter.

G-LO: The flavors on this one won’t let go! I don’t get the decay till the very end. Also a touch of salinity. Sal for short. Nice guy. Makes a mean broccoli rabe and cheese stromboli.

AK: Maybe Sal for Salinas, where Lost Spirits is?

G-LO: Genius!

AK: I love the finish. And the Finnish. No ice for this one.

G-LO: No ice. No water.

AK: And even a great smelling glass as I expected.

G-LO: The verdict?

AK: Really good. What I know about rum could fit in a peanut shell, but I really like the heavy, big, charry taste of this one.

G-LO: I concur. That was a fun dram! What’s amazing is that it starts off kinda slow and then WHAM!, it gets really intense and flavorful. I feel like Jake LaMotta against Sugar Ray Robinson.

AK: Very. I bet water would bring out a bit more which is kind of scary.

G-LO: “You didn’t get me down, Ray!”

AK: Ready for #3, Mr. Punching Bag?

G-LO: That’s Sir Pugilist to you. I’m ready! 68%???

AK: Fire department on speed dial?

G-LO: Baking Soda at the ready. That puts out fires right?

AK: Gasoline too. This beast is the “other” Lost Spirits rum. Same labeling aside from a few color changes and that 68% Alcohol by Volume thing. Minor detail.

G-LO: Yeah. Just a wee bit darker and only 23.6% stronger. No big thang!

AK: Thank you, Mr. Math. Big jump. We started at 34% an hour ago. We’ve doubled our output!!

G-LO: No. We doubled our input. I dunno what you’re doing with this stuff, but I’m drinking it!

AK: I’m all about production. Sorry about that. I need to turn the lights off, put on Dark Side of the Moon and stare at the label. Trippy, dude, very trippy.

G-LO: Hello? Hello? Hello? Is there anybody in there? Just nod if you can hear me. Is there anybody at home?

AK: Just me and Syd Barrett.

G-LO: This looks like cherry wood stained furniture.

AK: The same on the nose for me but the cilia deep inside have died and left no forwarding address. Definitely more red. Goes well with our cabinets.

G-LO: Agreed. Similar aromas but 23.6% more intense. I just checked out their website and they say they made this with bananas. The power of suggestion! Now I smell really intense Bananas Foster. Extra brown sugar. Extra char on the bananas.

AK: Inhale it very slowly and you can actually hear your brain cells scream. I get burnt cinnamon like when I make challah French toast and sprinkle some on of the slices in the pan and miss, then it fries in the oil. Maybe burned butterscotch, and I mean burned.

G-LO: Hang on. Bravo is on in the background. Woman talking about her OB appointment. Must change the channel! AHHHHH!

AK: Good idea. If I start retaining water, I’ll blame you.

G-LO: Go ahead. Everybody else does. Ok. There’s a Bond special on BBC America. YAY! Nice notes by the way. I can’t dispute any of it.

AK: Good. I’m pretty shaken and not stirred right about now anyway.

G-LO: My frontal cortex is pretty shaken up right now. In a good way, thankfully.

AK: I had one of those an hour ago. Ahoy! I’m going in.

G-LO: It’s like they scraped the bottom of the pot still and threw it in the barrel with the distillate. It’s that intense smelling.

AK: Burnt Amber. Nothing to do with rum. Just like saying that.

G-LO: Burnt Sienna? I like saying that better. Ends in a vowel. Vowels are sexy.

AK: E-I-E-I-O.

G-LO: Umami. Lotsa vowels.

AK: Burnt sienna is my favorite crayon too. I’m pro-vowel, anti-consonant. New Word Order.

G-LO: That’s your love of Hawaii talking.

AK: Mahalo.

G-LO: Mele Kalikimaka to you.

AK: OMG! Enamel peeling off teeth.

G-LO: Your teeth still have enamel? Lucky guy!

AK: The did have enamel. Very dry. That’s unexpected. But it’s a dry heat.

G-LO: Took the words right outta my mouth. VERY dry!

AK: ENT then dentist; busy Monday morning coming up.

G-LO: I dunno. I think a periodontist is gonna be needed after this.

AK: Not oily at all to me. Pretty clean, and shockingly short. Think 55% was longer.

G-LO: Spot on again! This is vapory. Just don’t try to gulp it. That’s when the burn kicks in.

AK: 55 didn’t effect my cheeks like this one. Mostly burned tongue with 55. 68 is a cheek warmer.

G-LO: I’m amazed that it doesn’t really burn when it hits your tongue.

AK: No gulpies with this one.

G-LO: There will be no shots of this stuff. Though a pickle back might work.

AK: I’m going for another, then a splash of water. I have the bottle so I can reload.

G-LO: I’m letting it sit on my tongue and the heat just builds slowly.

AK: I did that on the first sip. Just count in your head. One Bar Rafaeli. Two Bar Rafaeli. Hey, two Bar Rafaelis. That would be something!

G-LO: Charred sugar. Smoky chili peppers. Burnt cinnamon. Clove. Salt.

AK: Burned marshmallow that’s fallen in the ashes.

G-LO: Hmm. That I don’t get. Marshmallows have that powdered sugar thing underneath. I’m going back to that flan syrup.

AK: The saltiness is surprising. Talisker-ish.

G-LO: The Isle of Skye beckons!

AK: I beckon Ione Skye oddly enough. Never returns by beckons.

G-LO: Say Anything. Great stuff!

AK: “I don’t want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don’t want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don’t want to do that.”

G-LO: If you drink it REALLY slowly, this rum is really enjoyable at full strength.

AK: I know Lost Spirits uses sea water is some of their production. Wonder if any got into this. If you don’t drink it slowly, you might as well call the Bonasera the Undertaker.

G-LO: Godfather references again? It’s like kicking a dead horse’s head with you. Next time you put a horse out to stud, find a horse ranch out in the country. I’m gonna start calling you Hyman Roth. Personally, I’m quite Fredo-like.

AK: Hey now, Seabiscuit. I play the room that I’m booked in. I want to type the Hyman Roth coughing tic sound so bad! Beyond my limited abilities. Two drops of water and more wow! Spiced apple, burnt pie crust.

G-LO: Smarty Jones. He was a local pony. That cough would have annoyed the crap outta me! No wonder Michael had him killed. Frankie Five Angels was right about that guy. So, I should add some ague fria to the 68?

AK: I did and more stuff came out. Interestingly, the glass hardly smells.

G-LO: You’re a sand bagging son of a bitch! “I don’t do tasting notes!” he says. I added the water. Definitely fruitier. But just to be different, I’m going with poached pear. Bastard

AK: I got less fruit more sweet, sweetie.

G-LO: Who you calling “sweetie”, Sugar? Niceties and lovie dovie talk aside, I’m really liking this Lost Spirits stuff. Weird and wonderful!

AK: The burnt Granny Smith apple of my eye.

G-LO: Granny Smith? Nope. Fuji. No tartness on my end, though I’m kinda tart-like under the right circumstances.

AK: Yep, Fuji! I think that was really what Allison and I were talking about even before we tried it any Lost Spirits stuff. There really is a unique, craziness here.

G-LO: Again, very much like Balcones. But different. Weirder. Game changing stuff. Rum, but not rum.

AK: Yep. I like that. We get caught up in the big old names. Great stuff coming from little guys. Makes you dizzy trying to get your head around it.

G-LO: I know you’re not a beer drinker, but craft distilling has a lot in common with craft brewing. It’s like their both saying, “This is the traditional way it’s done, and this is the traditional way it tastes. That’s great, but we’re gonna change it up a bit. Screw with your expectations.”

AK: I can definitely appreciate that. Takes a creative type like a chef to play with flavors in the right balance to come up with something new and good. And they piss people off, which speaks volumes to me.

G-LO: Which is not to say that I don’t enjoy the old guard. I really do. There’s a reason those people have been in business for decades. They know what they’re doing and can achieve consistency.

AK: Me too but there’s more than one way to skin a cat, make whiskey or rum, or burn my tongue. Small batch says it all. Today’s Lost Spirits 55% won’t be the same as next year’s model, and that’s ok. Consistency like that is for for Coke, Pepsi and Glenlivet.

G-LO: I’m with ya! I enjoy experiencing something different, especially when it’s as good as this stuff. Thanks again for sharing! I would totally buy a bottle for myself.

AK: No problema. From Cuba to Salinas in a few hours. The Rum Express!

G-LO: It’s like we boarded an SR-71 Blackbird for this tasting!

AK: Thanks again, Mr.Yaeger

G-LO: Anytime Hombre! A weird, wonderful, and boozy trip.

Beer Review – DC Brau The Corruption™ India Pale


DC Brau The Corruption IPA

 

In an earlier post, I had referenced a trip I took to Kunda Beverage in King of Prussia to stock up for Beer Friday at work. At Kunda, we were able to pick up a mixed case of IPAs. We had the IPA from Avery, the IPA & a Half from the Tommyknocker Brewery, the Madra Allta from the Lavery Brewing Company and The Corruption™ from DC Brau Brewing. This review centers on DC Brau’s The Corruption™. DC Brau Brewing Company is the brainchild of Brandon Skall and Jeff Hancock who found an appalling lack of local beer on the shelves in DC. They currently run out six different beers as well as some seasonals.

Here is what DC Brau has to say about The Corruption™:

The Corruption™ IPA is DC Brau’s take on a Pacific Northwest IPA. Brewed with Pale 2 row, C-10, Honey and Victory malts. Exclusively hopped with 40 lbs of Columbus hops per brew to ring in at 80 IBU. “The Corruption” comes in at 6.5% ABV. This beer straddle’s the line between IPA and Imperial IPA and has a supportive malty backbone with an assertive hop presence that smacks your mouth with a dank, resinous bitterness followed by pleasant aromas of pine sap and burnt spruce.

I found the beer to be…

  • Appearance: Clear orange with lots of foam.
  • Aroma: A bit sweet, some apricots and a good bit of hops.
  • Taste: Lightly carbonated with a fair amount of front end sugars followed by hops and a bitter finish.
  • ABV: 6.5%

We had tried another DC Brau and I was unimpressed. The Corruption™, an East Coast take on a Northwest IPA was a decidedly different experience. I would still give the nod to the West Coast but this was a very respectable effort.

40 Financial Analysts Walk Into a Bar…


 

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We talk a lot, maybe too much about the #whiskyfabric (don’t forget the hashtag), that internet sensational connection between people from all walks of life bound loosely or tightly by a love of our favorite spirit. The term takes a beating sometimes in the ether of social media for being trite or cutesy or not serious. And arguably in social media where life is boiled down to 140 characters, endless dissertations, malicious rants, and pithy one-liners, there may be a fair amount of truth to what the whiskyfabric is or isn’t. On a very hot, parching summer night a few days ago in the mid-cities area of Los Angeles, I saw what the whiskyfabric is, at least to me.

Whisky Guy Rob

Through a few odd coincidences and a fair amount of planning, Rob Gard (@WhiskyGuyRob) and I hosted a tasting of Irish whiskey for the Chartered Financial Analysts Society, CFALA (Los Angeles chapter, thank you). Terms like derivatives, futures, and junk bonds were spoken so often, I felt like we had morphed onto the Squawk Box set at CNBC. Cramer!! But no, we were comfortably nestled into a historic LA drink spot, Tom Bergin’s Tavern – an Irish pub from a seemingly different era. Bergin’s is like many neighborhood bars where everyone knows your name. In fact, if you believe the lore, the horseshoe-shaped bar and colorful regulars were the inspiration for the long-running teewee series, Cheers. Maybe that can’t be substantiated here but any good tavern is built on a little myth and lot of conversation. It is no myth that some of Hollywood’s greatest called Tom Bergin’s their watering hole. Today, in the midst of a renaissance of sorts, it’s a great gathering place with personable bartenders and staff, a fine spirits list, and a really large antler rack from something prehistoric called an Irish deer.

Forty financial analysts walk into a bar. Sure sounds like the beginning of a joke but in reality it was the start of an amazing five-course tasting menu paired with Irish whiskey for a group that was more than excited to learn a bit, and drink a tad more. Owner Derek Schreck and general manager Jordan Delp pulled out all of the stops to make this night a wonderful bit of must-see-whiskey.  And with Rob Gard on board, these folks were going to learn more than they bargained for. Rob usually works solo but took me on as an unknown Wookie who learned more than a bit from the Jedi Master of Whisky. This group really wanted to learn, eat, taste, and have fun, and not necessarily in that order, not the least of whom was one of the organizers, Shawn Tsai (the “s” is silent, shhhh). Shawn is a ball of fire who probably dreams in P&L’s and spreadsheets. She’s a bit of a Bergin’s regular herself and self-described foodie, and all through the planning process she expressed a desire to explore whisky more, and if all goes well, may become a peat freak before long.

In the midst of the evening that started late due to traffic from the Executive Branch, the CFA’s were treated to Rob reading selections from his book, “Distilling Rob – Manly Lies and Whisky Truths”, which imparts his literary view of the whisky making and man making processes, while giving a first hand account of working in the Islay Scotch distillery, Bruichladdich. The treating continued with a range of whiskey from the three major Irish distilleries, including Tullamore Dew 10, the peated Connemara Single Malt, Redbreast 12, Bushmills 10, and Jameson Black Barrel, paired with oysters, scallops, smoked salmon, pork tenderloin, and vanilla bread pudding, respectively. Jordan gave us historical highlights to Tom Bergin’s and explained each dish before we partook. I left the pairing notes to Rob and happily helped answer the array of fine questions from the brainy finance folks. The questions ran the gamut from “is older better” to “what do you think of whiskey rocks” to “what’s your favorite” (the impossible Sophie’s Choice of drams). We took turns informing and answering. All the while I kept thinking how thoroughly engrossed the group was in the subject matter, and how much fun they were having. Sure, these are smart people who could explain Libor rates and why Jamie Dimon chooses the socks he wears but why so fascinated in whiskey?

Whisky Tasting Attendees

Of course there’s a “hot” element to whiskey these days. That’s easily part of it. Some saw investment opportunities. Some were women (gasp!) proving what we already know and illuminated by many others like Rob, whiskey is very feminine, and women coming into the whisky world is only natural. And it’s alcohol! Woohoo! The great binder on a hot afternoon after a long day in the office observing foreign currencies, stock tickers, and the price of tea in China. Among this group were Trader Joe’s booze shoppers and Mission Liquor’s ones too. Long time Scotchheads and wine lovers as well. A cast of thousands in 40 chairs in this old Hollywood tavern.

But there was one gentleman who was the most curious. He sat at a center table, right up front a few feet from Rob and I with those Irish deer antlers looking down on us from over the fireplace. Occasionally we approached a few people and asked what flavors they were getting, or what they liked about a certain whiskey. This man was the most interesting of sorts when he said, in essence, that he never had whiskey before and doesn’t drink alcohol. Well, if that didn’t beat all, hands down! We think of newbies usually as ones who’ve “graduated” from some lesser plane to a more “mature” next step, whatever the category is: cars, food, spirits, pet food. But this gentleman went full throttle from most likely water, ice tea or diet soda TO Irish whiskey.

Get your pencils, I feel a theory coming on. Might be a song.  No, it’s definitely a theory: Whisky promotes community. It just does. Ok, it’s not a complicated theory; put your pencil down. Ever pour a dram with some non-whisky drinking friends over? It’s like a bug to a light. The glass, the bottle, the spirit in each is magnetic. Even the word whiskey is mesmerizing. There’s that whole “e” thing. It draws people together into a new Venn diagram intersection; a new community really.

This gentleman, already part of a community of like financial professionals which more than likely knew their way around an alcoholic beverage, decided to hop on the stagecoach to see what all the fuss was about. He was stepping out of his norm and into something he’d never done before, right into the middle of our Tom Bergin’s Irish whiskey Venn union. Of course, it’s arguable that it had nothing to do with whiskey per se, that this gent wanted just to be out on the town a bit and wanted to try something different like that new Thai place that opened or that fusion sushi-Mediterranean-taco-waffle truck that everyone is talking about. Is whiskey just the flavor of the month? It wouldn’t seem so since it’s been a community builder for eons. But it does seem to have a curious way of bringing people together for conversation, laughter, food and learning. And in this one financial analyst’s case, into a community of folks both new and old to the whiskey world. Did he like all the whiskey and food? The jury may still be out on that but it really doesn’t matter.

Forty financial analysts walk into a bar and one tried whiskey for the first time with a host of new and old friends. That’s a pretty good evening and what the #whiskyfabric is all about.

_____________________________________________

Many thanks to the fine folks at Tom Bergin’s Old Horseshoe Tavern & Thoroughbred Club; Derek Schreck; Jordan Del;, the mystery chef;, co-chairs Shawn Tsai, CFA & Michael Triedl, CFA; the CFALA; Rob Gard; and the letter “C” for making this wonderful evening of fun community building through whiskey and food possible.

Beer Review – Porterhouse Oyster Stout


Porterhouse Brewing Oyster Stout

The other day, with the various urchins out-and-about, as good parents, we settled onto The Barthenon to keep a watchful eye on the kiddies. Naturally, as it got a bit hotter outdoors, I needed a little liquid refreshment to keep me from being overcome on such a warm day (I am quite delicate; like a rare orchid). I ventured to the beer fridge and opted for the bottle of oyster stout that my daughter had selected in the beer aisle at Roger Wilco (okay, so having my daughter pick out my beer might nullify my earlier comment about being a good parent).

In any event, I had wandered into Roger Wilco and let my daughter fill out my mixed six. One of the bottles was the uniquely colored and interestingly capped bottle of oyster stout from The Porterhouse Brewing Company. The bottle had an almost iridescent color to the label and the cap had a pull ring that was reminiscent of a hand grenade or perhaps one of the old Schaefer cans that my dad would throw back in the ’70s. As my prior posts would indicate, I am a sucker for packaging and I loves me a good stout.

The Porterhouse Brewing Company began as a bar importing the best beers from Belgium, migrated to a full- fledged brewpub and now produces about a ten beers (stouts, ales and lagers) as well as a couple of seasonals and specialty brews. Before we get to my review, here is what Porterhouse has to say about their Oyster Stout:

Rapidly becoming our best selling stout. A superbly balanced brew, smooth and rounded without being bland. More sweetness derived from fresh oysters shucked into the conditioning tank, what a way to go!
But of course not suitable for vegetarians. .

I found the beer to be…

  • Appearance: Black and ruby tinged with lots of foam and good lacing.
  • Aroma: A little bit of salt (like the seashore) with a heavily roasted aroma that was more coffee than chocolate.
  • Taste: Just like it smells with very little bitterness (for all of the coffee aroma) and a short finish.
  • ABV:5.2%

I found this to be a bit flat. It wasn’t the best stout but it was very interesting with a nice flavor profile. It was a good Irish Stout with the added complexity of the sea brought on by the oysters. More importantly, it was very easy drinking, refreshing and it left me wishing my daughter had picked out two bottles.