Unusual Drinks (Part 1): Grand Teton Brewing Gose, Pisco Porton, La Caravedo Pisco, Fos Liqueur, and Stolen Smoked Rum

pisco-portonThere is something very satisfying about having a go-to drink. After a long day of work and kid care, a glass of whiskey is very welcome. The Kosar house bourbons include Four Roses Small BatchBuffalo Trace, Weller 12-year (and Special Reserve), and Woodford Reserve. Big bottles of Bulleit and Old Forester can be had for a song, and are oh-so worth it. My preferred Tennessee firewater is George Dickel — the 8-year, usually, and the 12-year if I feel like I’ve earned it.

And don’t get me started on the glories of gin. Plymouth martini’s, Beefeater gin and tonics… these are the drinks that make the gloaming bright. And we are in the golden age of gin.

Some days, however, I want something different, something that will throw a screwball at my palate and brain. So I roam, and crack open things that make my brain think “Whaaaat?” look or give me an unsettled, nervous feeling.

Starting this bibacious journey, I aim for something light — Gose (pronounced Goes-uh). This German-style of beer features can be hard to find in the U.S.A. It’s a strange brew, that is made with a lot of wheat and is both salty and tart. (Most beers tend toward the bitter side of the flavor spectrum, with America’s mega-IPA’s being the bitterest of them all.) Fortunately, Grand Teton Brewing of Idaho produces a delicious Gose. It is spiced with coriander, which tops off the riot of flavors.

Moving right along to the potent stuff, Pisco began pouring into America in the past decade. It is the South American cross between brandy and grappa. Like brandy, Pisco is wine distilled into spirit; like grappa, Pisco usually is not aged. Pisco Porton is very fine brand, that offers up slightly sweet and herbal heat. La Caravedo is another Pisco worth a look — it is lighter, dryer, and gentler than Porton.

Wandering further into white spirits, we come to Fos, a Greek liqueur made from the mastiha tree sap. This is one of the stranger drinks I have ever tasted, and I say that as a compliment. The nose is surreal — it smells like bark, and in the mouth the hooch has a light sweetness that is utterly dissonant from the aroma. A sip of Fos takes your taste into a whole new realm of possibility.

Closing out this trip into unusual drinks, we go dark. Flavored rums are plentiful these days, and Stolen Smoked Rum is a recent and wild addition to the bunch. Rum from the Caribbean (Trinidad?) is aged in whiskey casks, then injected with coffee, vanilla, and Moroccan fenugreek (a clover-like herb found in the Mediterranean, Middle East, and Indian subcontinent. That fenugreek is used to increase maternal milk supply and constipation is a confounding discovery). This liquor floods the mouth and head with intense flavors, the Arabica coffee notes being the most intense. Mixed with lime and ginger beer, it makes a robust Dark and Stormy.

Variety is the spice of life, and thanks to globalism and the dynamism of capitalism tipplers have more drinks to explore than ever.

(This post first appeared on the American Spectator.)

Share

Bamberg, Germany Has 9 Breweries and Only 70,000 Residents

Bamberg Germany wikiBamberg, Germany sounds like a great place to visit for beer lovers. It’s located in northern Bavaria, and has gorgeous buildings that date 700 years back. And 9 breweries. Beer served from wood casks? Yep, Bamberg has it, along with rare seasonal brews.

Learn more from Will Hawkes’ fine piece on Bamberg beers at https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/travel/bamberg-germany-a-city-of-just-70000-people-but-nine-breweries/2016/03/24/8aef46d0-eb9b-11e5-bc08-3e03a5b41910_story.html

Share

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day Right with Irish Drinks Old and New

Photo: Knockheen Hills
Photo: Knockeen Hills

Some years ago, I lived in New York and had two friends recently arrived from Ireland. Neither of them thought well of America’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities. Considering the tsunami of green garb and schlock, Siobhan asked bemusedly, “What does any of this have to do with Ireland?” Dermot was less generous. “If I see another f****** shamrock, I’m going to kill someone.” Neither wanted anything to do with the raucous Manhattan parade or hordes of sodden boys and girls with clovers painted on their cheeks.

That does not, however, mean one should hide inside and pretend it is not March 17. It is what it is, and one should embrace this spring-heralding holiday.

To this end, there are some very basic don’t and do’s for having a decent St. Patrick’s Day. Don’t affect an Irish accent. Don’t say “lassie” or, god forbid, “Begorrah.” Suppress the temptation to put on an emerald green plastic derby, or hang a cardboard cut-out Leprechaun on your wall or window. And, perhaps most critically of all, don’t get stupid drunk. It’s embarrassing. Continue reading “Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day Right with Irish Drinks Old and New”

Share

Tonight’s Tipple: Grand Teton Brewing Company Black Cauldron Imperial Stout

Source: AlcoholReviews.com
Source: AlcoholReviews.com

Grand Teton of Victor, Idaho makes terrific beers. This stout is another one of their “cellar reserves.” It serves up sweet chocolate and roasted notes. Black Cauldron is a really rich brew, a meal unto itself, and a real delight on a cool night. Anyone who enjoys big stouts (like Brooklyn Chocolate Stout and Mackeson XXX) will really dig this beer. (Rating: Excellent)

Read more about it at http://www.grandtetonbrewing.com/BCIS.html.

Share

Saranac Pale Ale

Source: Saranac.com
Source: Saranac.com

Editor’s note: We’re republishing this review from May 2003 because the old copy still gets so much reader traffic.

We really liked this ale. It was a beer that grabbed the happy middle ground between thin, mass produced lagers that are served ice cold and hearty microbrews and English ales that are poured at a little below room temperature.

We tasted Saranac Pale Ale from 12 ounce longnecks served bone cold. It was a incredibly refreshing, a real lip smacker after a warm day, but offered enough malts and hops to excite our palates. Well done. (Rating: Good)

See if our retailer can send you this brew by clicking here. Otherwise, for more information, surf to http://www.Saranac.com.

 

Share

Rogue Shakespeare Stout

Editor’s note: We’re republishing this review from April 2003 because the old copy still gets so much reader traffic.

Yummmmm. This black beer is made with Northwest Harrington Klages, Crystal 135-165 and Beeston Chocolate malts, Cascade hops, rolled oats, roasted barley…and water. It’s a tender, robust, delicious stout. Truly tasty, and nicely blending both sweet and bitter notes. Stout lovers are obliged to give this one a sip. (Rating: Very Good)

See if our retailer can send you this brew by surfing to BUY BEER. Otherwise, for more information, surf to http://www.Rogue.com.

 

Share