I've already reviewed the now-famous Not Your Father's Root Beer (here), now here's a guest post from my friend and fellow beer lover Hunter Williams, to review Not Your Father's Ginger Ale:
Every Fall, my wife and I make our way up from the crowded streets of Los Angeles to the rustic mountain region known as Oak Glen. Only about an hour and a half directly east of downtown, the change in scenery is drastic as you drive up to Oak Glen's 4,700 foot elevation from the flat plain of San Bernardino County. Palm trees, scrub brush and desert give way to oak and pine on the windy mountain road, and you know you have arrived when you begin to see signs for apple orchards, cider mills, and seasonal harvest festivals.
If I could make one bourbon related wish come true, it would be to taste all the different blends and varieties side-by-side. While I'm waiting for that to happen... I did manage to do a double tasting of Bulleit and Four Roses. These are widely available bourbons that you can usually find in the $15-25 range (for the lower price, you'll have to wait for a sale), and both are quite drinkable. I'll write up my tasting notes at the end of this post, but first, a little about each bourbon:
One of my friends is already posting Facebook pictures of snow in his backyard. Meanwhile, I'm like Ron Swanson over here in my thick sweater. It's definitely going to be a booties and gloves surf day.
When you take your first sniff, it's like slicing open a sweet ruby red grapefruit. There's very little of the bitter, sharp citrus some of the stronger IPAs have. Accumulation reminds me of Peak Organic's softer, refreshing IPA style.
Sipping Accumulation is like crushing the pulpy sweet fibers of a fresh ruby red in your mouth. It is thirst quenching, and then some. The hops are softened and balanced by the wheat, leaving me both satisfied and wanting more as I reach the bottom of the glass.
Accumulation White India Pale Ale is yet another reason New Belgium is one of my favorite breweries. Even if you don't like IPAs, it's worth a try this holiday season. I'm guessing it won't be around past December. That leaves a two month window to get your fill. If I can brave these sub-70 temperatures and make it to the store, I'll be huddled up under a blanket sipping some here in L.A. I suggest you do the same.
Nose: Sweet ruby red grapefruit, hops.
Taste: Sweet ruby red grapefruit, hops softened by wheat and Belgian yeast.
Maybe it was the three story kangaroo billboard outside my dorm room while I was still underage (and attending a still-dry-campus). Maybe it was the month I spent in Australia touring as a tenor in the Men's Collegiate Choir/ #nerd. Maybe it's just my palate. Whatever it is, I LOVE [Yellow Tail] Cabernet.
It's Fall, and this year, that means it's time to jump on the pumpkin bandwagon with some pumpkin infused beer tastings. As time goes on, I hope to add to this list, but let's begin with two solid brews: Mendocino's Engine 45 Pumpkin Ale and Anderson Valley's Engine 45 Pumpkin Ale. Both are solidly pumpkin and have a similar lineup of the usual suspects when it comes to spices: Nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice. The main difference between these two is body and coloring. Fall Hornin is much darker and a little heavier, while Engine 45 is on the lighter side.
Mendocino Brewing Company Engine 45 Pumpkin Ale
Nose: Nutmeg, pumpkin and cinnamon over a buttery nose.
Taste: Just like it smells, but the emphasis is on the nutmeg. Fairly well balanced, this beer makes me crave a pumpkin pie. Still, it's easy to see why pumpkin flavored drinks are only popular for a season.
Anderson Valley Fall Hornin
Nose: Nutmeg, sour ale nose.
Taste: Darker, sour, caramel, with more pumpkin and more nutmeg than Engine 45. I find this one to be a little more balanced as well.
About the Breweries
Both breweries are located in Northern California. Mendocino Brewing Company was founded in 1983 in Mendocino County California. They are easily recognizable for their use of birds of prey on their labels (Engine 45 would be an exception). They distribute from coast to coast, also brewing at the Old Saratoga brewery in New York state.
Valley Brewing Company has been in existence since 1987, and with Mendocino, was one of the first 20 craft breweries in the country. Today, they are known for their high quality brews, including their Barl series of bourbon aged beers created in partnership with Wild Turkey Bourbon.
Give both of these beers a shot, and then let us know: What do you think? Should these breweries bring them back next year, or abandon the whole "pumpkin beer" project altogether? Or do you have a pumpkin beeer that you can't stop raving about? Review it below, so we can give it a try as well.
There's no such thing as a bad tripel, that's just a fact of life. So when I saw Left Coast Brewing Company's Asylum Tripel at P.F. Chang's on an outing with some of my fellow MBA students, there was no question as to what I would order. It didn't matter that I had never heard of this brewery before. A tripel, if you don't already know, refers to a strong pale ale, typically made with a yeast that originates in Belgium, and up to three times the normal amount of malt. For those more familiar with the darker Belgian dubbel's or quad's, you may be in for a surprise when you see the light colored liquid pouring into your glass. The tripel is in a family all its own.
Left Coast Brewing Company produces six regular brews, including Asylum, and four seasonals. They began brewing in 2004, and seem to be growing at a steady pace (not surprising after tasting this delicious tripel). If you ever happen to be in San Clemente on a Tuesday or Sunday, be sure to check out their Bend and Brew Yoga series in the park.
Left Coast Brewing Asylum Tripel
Asylum Tripel is an explosion of fruits and spices with a thirst-quenching creamy head that I can't recommend enough.
Nose: Whoa! Banana, tropical fruits
Taste: Banana nut bread, spices
Laphroaig is one of my favorite island whiskies. It's dense peaty nose and complex flavors transport me to the isle of Islay every time I pour myself a dram. Right now, Laphroaig is attempting to set a world record by having a global toast, so tune in!
From the Laphroaig website:
LAPHROAIG LIVE 2015 RETURNS HOME TO THE ISLAND OF ISLAY TO CELEBRATE 200 YEARS On Thursday 24th September at 8pm local time the ninth annual Laphroaig Live will broadcast live on the web from the island of IslayLaphroaig is this year celebrating 200 years and to mark this very special anniversary we are returning to the home of Laphroaig, the island of Islay to showcase four phenomenal whiskies as well as going behind the scenes at the distillery with Laphroaig’s very own distillery manager on this auspicious year John Campbell who will be joined by no less than five of the previous distillery managers! The first time they have all been together.
This year we will be tasting 4 very special expressions. The one off’ Laphroaig 15 YO – The official 200th Expression, Laphroaig Cairdeas 2015 (distilled using only the original small stills), Laphroaig 21 YO –Created for the Friends of Laphroaigs 21st Birthday and a unique Laphroaig 32 YO 100% sherry matured-A very rare, special expression.
Coming live from Laphroaig’s famous floor malting’s (one of only a handful left in the whisky industry), John Campbell and our five previous distillery managers will be joined by 2 experts Bernhard Schafer - Whisky journalist and Master of the Quiach, and Emma Andersson -Editor of Allt Om Whisky. Also joining Jon will be famous Scottish actor Sam Heughan - best known for his role in the series Outlander and Marcel van Gils – Author of the official 200th book about Laphroaig as well as many of our ‘Friends of Laphroaig’ from many countries around the World.
But our main audience, who will as always be posting in their questions to the panel live on the night – is our worldwide audience of Laphroaig lovers, including a live link to Laphroaig US whisky ambassador Simon Brooking who will be joined by 75 friends of Laphroaig via a live link from the New York.
To celebrate this special occasion, Laphroaig will be attempting to set a world record by encouraging the whole global audience to raise a toast to Laphroaig on their 200th anniversary!
I just got wind of a free offer from Heineken. Fill out a brief three question survey (have you ever tried Heineken? Do you know it's available in 193 countries?, etc), put in your mobile number, and voila! You'll receive a code redeemable at your local pub.
Get started by clicking this link.
Disclaimer: I'm passing this on to you because I like you. I don't receive anything from Heineken for posting this, but like my page/retweet this to show your gratefulness!
"How can a $10 whiskey be this good?" That was my first thought upon taking a sip of this golden nectar, which was quickly followed by a second: "Why have I never tried this before?" Dipping below $17 with any liquor is always a little questionable, whether it's whiskey, vodka, tequila or something else, but occasionally you find a gem. And Rebel Yell bourbon is in that category.
I've always enjoyed trying new things, whether it's a new type of food, a different wine, or just a place I've never visited before.