Catoctin Creek Organic Roundstone Rye Whisky

Two months ago, we had the pleasure of talking about whiskey on the radio. For a whole hour we and our two fellow guests fielded questions from the well-prepared host, and some interesting listeners… One of whom told us his mother used to treat his colds and sicknesses by feeding him a mixture of whiskey, honey, hot water, lemon, Marmite and cod liver oil.

Anyhoo, one of our fellow guests was Becky Harris, the distiller at Catoctin Creek.  A chemical engineer by training, she aptly described whiskey-making as an art employing science.  She also shared with us samples—the most tasty of which was Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye.

This 100% rye is USDA certified organic.  And it is a unique spirit.  At a whiskey tasting party we attended a year ago, three ryes were set out and this one was preferred by most tipplers. That is because most ryes tend to be peppery, which makes them a bit intense for many drinkers.  Roundstone Rye (80 proof), meanwhile, is oily of body, and slightly sour. It offers up notes of caramel, butterscotch, and barrel.  With a little water this whiskey takes on a creamy texture.  We are glad to have the acquaintance of this spirit, and its maker.  (Rating ****)

To learn more about it or acquire a bottle, surf to


J.K Scrumpy Farmhouse Organic Hard Cider

This was a fun find — a hard cider that is not treacly sweet. This USDA certified organic hard cider produced by Alamar Orchards of Flushing, Michigan.

It was not cheap — Whole Foods charged over $5 for a 22 ounce bottle. But, it was very pleasant — mild apple flavor, a slightly creamy texture, and low on fizz. The name is also rather cute — “scrumpy,” as you may know, was a name given to cider a couple hundred years ago. And the J.K.? That stands for “Jim Koan,” the head of Alamar Orchards, or as Koan jokes, “Jim and Karen, if you ask my wife.” (Rating ****)

To learn more about J.K. Scrumpy Farmhouse Organic Hard Cider, surf to Distributors of J.K. Scrumpy are listed at


Peak Organic Brewing Company Amber Ale and Espresso Amber Ale

We came cross these ales while shopping in a Whole Foods grocery store in Washington, DC this past weekend. A nice young chap from Peak brewing was offering samples of three of his company’s beers. We tried the Nut Brown Ale, but it was a bit too cool for us to get a good read on it. However, we liked the other two beers so much that we want to try the Nut Brown ale again, though at the right temperature.

The Amber Ale is copper-colored, sports a lean head and mid-sized body, and it offers a bit of sweetness before showing a toasty close. Quite pleasant, and just right for spring or autumn sipping. (Rating ***3/4)   The Amber Espresso Ale was terrific — the same beer with a mild, espresso zing seamlessly embedded in it.  Very deftly executed. Wow. (Rating ****1/2)

We are thrilled to see that somebody finally has managed to land both USDA organic certification and produce good beers.

You can read a bit more about Peak Organic Brewing Company’s brews at To see if our retailer can sell you these beers, click here.