Features

Notes from a WWII POW

My Grandfather’s War

GP writer Bryan Campbell's grandfather became a prisoner of war during WWII's Battle of the Bulge. He was imprisoned for just over four months. Here is a glimpse of his experience from his personal journal, 70 years to the day of his capture.

Don't Call It Napa 2.0

New York’s Finger Lakes Wine Finds Its Way

At long last, New York's Finger Lakes wine region is gaining recognition, both nationally and abroad. Can the community preserve its identity in the face of looming challenges?

The Pros and Cons of Abandoning Europe's Hiking Hut System

Hiking the Alps, Sans Huts

Dan had mentioned his novel idea before our summer trip to Switzerland: we’d go backpacking, in the Alps -- no huts. Bring your sleeping bags and bivy sacks, he said. Brilliant, I thought.

A Scotland Travel Guide

The Right to Roam: Day 2

Welcome to our sprawling travel journal of Scotland's environmental, cultural and culinary riches. Over the next two weeks we'll be sharing our collection of 50 essays, videos, anecdotes, photo essays, travel guides, recipes, poetry and tall tales gathered during one hell of a trip. Day Two features two searches in Glasgow: one for great craft beer, and one for a mythical nightlife scene.

A Scotland Travel Guide

The Right to Roam

Welcome to our sprawling travel journal of Scotland's environmental, cultural and culinary riches. Over the next two weeks we'll be sharing our collection of 50 essays, videos, anecdotes, photo essays, travel guides, recipes, poetry and tall tales gathered during one hell of a trip. The journey begins now.

The search for answers around Bourbon's resurrection

Why is Bourbon Booming?

We've been making a lot of noise lately about our shitshow of an adventure in Kentucky. We got a team of three together, flew to Kentucky, ate great food, drank at the local bars, sometimes too much, interviewed the new and the old of bourbon -- politicians, brewers, drinkers -- you name it, we tried do it.

Canada Hops on the Craft Bandwagon

Learning from the Small-Batch Bourbon Boom

Forty Creek's John K. Hall tells the tale of how American bourbon showed Canadian whiskey the way from counterfeit hooch to finely crafted whiskey.

A Video Tour of the Process from 12 Bourbon Distilleries

How Bourbon is Made

We toured 12 distilleries in a five-day blitz, asking everyone we met to walk us through the bourbon-making process. Here, you'll find all of the steps that go into making America's unique take on whiskey.

Single barrel bourbon explained

Hand Selecting Barrels with Chris Morris of Woodford Reserve

“For liquor stores, whiskey bars, restaurants -- having a private barrel label is basically their way of saying ‘This is how we like our whiskey.’” Tom Fischer, the founder of BourbonBlog and a frequent judge at many spirits and cocktail competitions, told me over the phone after we got back from Kentucky. “So it allows them to put that bottle on a shelf and say, you know, ‘This is something we went to Kentucky and we picked up. This is how we like our whiskey, but it may not always be how you like it.’” We shadowed Seattle-based Duke's Chowder House as they selected their own personal barrel of Woodford Reserve Double Oaked.

Gleaning the Importance of the Family Tree

Buffalo Trace’s Hunt for the Perfect Bourbon

"Buffalo Trace is already making the bourbons of the future”, said our guide Freddy Johnson. It sounded bold until we stopped to think about it. Whiskey has to age before it can qualify as bourbon, so technically, every distiller is making “the bourbons of the future” today. Still, after we spent an afternoon learning about the company’s quest to make the world’s perfect bourbon, his phrasing seemed prophetic.

Demystifying A Legend

The Complete Guide to Pappy Van Winkle

I'd say that Pappy Van Winkle is a brand that needs no introduction, except that it does. The truth is that most people don’t know anything about “Pappy”, other than that it’s supposed to be the best of its kind. So let’s set the record straight by getting a couple of basic facts out of the way.

How a next-generation master distiller helped relight the stills

Willett’s Long Path Back to Bourbon

Willett Master Distiller Drew Kulsveen doesn't have time for bullshit. It's not something he has to tell anyone. The message shoots from his eyes like a railgun. Even at a relatively young age, it's clear he's heard it all before. He talks like someone who’s lost years listening to others dribble on, and worked hard to eradicate the behavior in himself; his speech is terse, verging on curt. You can't blame him for him ignoring the noise. A lot rides on his shoulders. He and his family worked for years to rebuild the family distillery, which reopened in 2012, and now he's determined to prove a point.

Inside Louisville's Copper & Kings Distillery

Making Brandy in Bourbon Country

A stack of freshly painted neon orange and black shipping containers stand in stark contrast to the red brick warehouse aesthetic of East Washington Street in the Butchertown area of Louisville, like a shiny new Google campus in the middle of a housing project. The large steel rectangles are the first of many signs that the Copper & Kings distillery is anything but traditional.

A Roaming Journal of America's Spirit

5 Days on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail

Bourbon is booming, but only decades ago, it was on a path toward failure. This was most evident in the 1980s, at the height of vodka and big hair, when distilleries in the Bluegrass State were shuttering their doors. They simply couldn’t give bottles away, the same bottles that just a generation before were lining executive conference rooms and hotel bars throughout America. It was by definition an all-American drink, and it was quickly fading. But then in the mid-2000s, distillers realized the atmosphere was changing. Bourbon started coming back. Fast. This explosion, which continues to grow to this day, raises plenty of questions. What's fueling the bourbon boom? Is it going to burst, like tech and housing? Are some bottles really worth $5,000, and more importantly, who’s buying them? What makes a bourbon good? The best way to get to the bottom of this was to head to the Bluegrass State, where 95 percent of the world's bourbon is made, equipped with a few cameras, some notebooks and clean livers for five days on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail -- a triangle of distillery tours throughout the state with endpoints at Louisville, Lexington and Bardstown — for many early mornings and late nights drinking and talking with some of the foremost professionals in booze. We came back with five days of fear and loathing on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.

How to Spite the Elements

Getting Down with Canada Goose

A look inside the manufacturing process of the heartiest outerwear on earth, proudly made in Toronto, Canada.

Riding Levi’s King Ridge Gran Fondo

The Climb, the Coast and 103 Miles to Burn

On a hundred-mile ride, you learn something new about every twenty. Matthew Ankeny reflects on the highs and lows of the biggest century in Sonoma.

Best Choices, Filtered and Purified

A Pro’s Guide to Water Treatment in the Wild

Outdoor survivalists often teach the rough rule of three’s: humans can only survive three minutes without oxygen, three hours without proper shelter (given extreme conditions), and three days without water. H2O is the most suspect of the bunch. We asked an expert to explain the to main methods of treatment, filtration and purification, and recommend the proper gear for staying hydrated in the wild.

Common Sense, the better part of Valor

G-Force and Terror On an Air Racing Ride Along

Already strapped in, with a stranger tightening my parachute, it becomes jarringly clear Red Bull race planes don’t have ejection seats. “In the event of an emergency, the canopy flies open, and I’ll be yelling ‘Bail! Bail! Bail!’” instructs François Le Vot, my French aerobatic pilot.

Elevation: 49 Feet, Speed: 230 MPH

Racing in the Sky

Twenty-five minutes outside the Strip, set in Nevada's stark desert, the Las Vegas Motor Speedway lacks its city's famed opulence -- but today, not its verve. A fresh energy runs throughout the massive 131,000-seat complex, though no NASCAR racers throttle up around the 1.5-mile asphalt track. Instead of staring down, everyone in the grandstands looks to the sky. The loudspeaker booms: Number 9 Lamb. You’re cleared to enter the track. Smoke on. As the plane swoops down from the sky, the crowd descends into a provocative hush. "Smoke on" is the green flag of air racing.

Logic Need Not Apply

God Bless the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

225 kilometers an hour? It’s 0.62, right? Why the hell can’t I figure it into miles? So 124 plus like 14 or 16 or...shit-shit-shit time to brake. Turns out mental math is a lot more difficult when solved howling down the main straight at Summit Point Motorsports Park in the most powerful sedan ever made.

Steel frames, gravel roads and good wine? Per favore.

Photo Essay: Classic Bikes and Tuscan Vistas at L’Eroica

The scenery is just one of the things that’s made L’Eroica one of the greatest organized rides in the world since Giancarlo Brocci founded it 30 years ago to help preserve the strada bianche, or white sand and gravel roads of Tuscany.

Home in the Heavens

A Cabin in the Skies

Tantalus Hut has no power or running water. But by backcountry standards, it's still a luxurious pad. Situated in the Tantalus Range of British Columbia, the hut is an ideal base camp for the adventurous and daring who want to take aim at mountain peaks.

Seeking The Gods' Delight

Photo Essay: Heli-Hiking British Columbia’s Tantalus Range

As far as recreation goes, heli-hiking is expensive. But it's also a means for everyday folk to access remote, sometimes impossible-to-reach parts of the world -- like the peaks of the Tantalus Range in British Columbia -- in a four-minute helicopter ride, instead of a four-day slog. It's only when you see the other side of the ridge that you realize you'd never tasted a wild berry or truly seen the color blue (reserved only for the types of lakes hidden in the mountains).

A Study in the Finer Points of Drinking

The Perfect Bar Cart

Alcohol remains an enduring motif in the great American narrative. That’s probably because those that wrote it drank, and drank well — epitomized by the enduring symbol of the most sophisticated of drinking cultures: the bar cart. What follows is just one interpretation of how the home bar should look and taste. Like with all things great, a great bar cart is a long term investment and requires time to develop. It’s not necessary to stock everything; ours is listed simply to help guide those starting from scratch in the finer points of home drinking. Click, learn and imbibe well.

Read Them and Eat

The 25 Best Restaurants in America

This year, like last year, we did our fair share of dining. We hunted for barbecue in Texas, ate all the burgers in L.A. and went inside the new American supper club. We found that, like television, restaurants are in the best form they’ve ever been. These are 25 of our favorite restaurants in America, chosen by our editors and writers across the country for their newness, their hospitality and the quality of their food — though not always in that order.

An e-bike with a brain

The Bicycle Wheel, Reinvented

With the highly anticipated Copenhagen Wheel, from MIT-born Superpedestrian seeks to improve urban biking. In an increasingly crowded e-bike market, it might be the most successful attempt so far.

Valhalla, I Am Coming

Unrelenting Weather and Endless Beauty in Iceland

Iceland exists as if out of the mind of a science fiction writer -- not in the futuristic sense, but as some timeless place, where the elements that created the earth meet the people who harness its power. It is perhaps the most exotic place on Earth. And it’s only a five-hour flight from Manhattan.

The Everest of Sailing

The Boats, Crew and Route of the Around-the-World Volvo Ocean Race

In the past decade, the Volvo Ocean Race has seen boats dismasted and sunk, sailors break bones and lose teeth -- and in one tragedy, a Dutch crew member washed overboard and was killed. It’s no wonder the race is called the “Everest of sailing”. Here's a primer on the latest edition Volvo Ocean Race, beginning October 11, 2014.

Northern Roads Afar

1000 Miles of British Columbia on 2 Wheels

A fork in the road. Rarely in life does the metaphorical appear in such literal form. Yet there it was, and there we were. Twelve dust-covered motorcyclists on a journey through British Columbia’s beautiful northern interior, faced squarely with two paths and three options: left, right or turn around. This is where the riding stopped and the adventure began.

Levi Leipheimer's 10 Favorite Routes

Cycling California Wine Country with a Local Pro

Levi Leipheimer is a diviner of pain and suffering par excellence -- a bike race organizer. We asked him to cull his dark arts and assemble 10 rides in the scenic, relaxing and overall pleasant area that is Northern California's wine country. Enjoy responsibly.

Four Generations of the Mazda MX-5 Miata

The Evolution of the Mazda MX-5 Miata

It's said that driving a slow car fast is one of the greatest automotive thrills, especially when it's a lightweight, rear-wheel-drive roadster with a rigid chassis, slick manual transmission, phenomenal balance and perfectly-weighted steering -- a car like the Mazda Miata. With the latest generation just released, it's about time we explored the past, present and future of the world's most popular roadster.

Let's Get Cookin'

The Complete Guide to Camp Stoves

The best way to decide which stove you need is not by referring to a standard “best of” list, but instead considering where you fit in amid a wide range of stoves designed with specific types of campers and trips in mind. The best stove for brewing a cup of coffee won’t be the same one you bring on a road trip to Yellowstone to feed a family of four. The ideal, one-size-fits-all camp stove is still far off, so consider your own specific flame-based needs and parse our guide.

The history and fundamentals of a burgeoning extreme sport

Primer: The Winds and Waves of Kiteboarding

Sailors rely on wind. Surfers need waves. The best kiteboarders require both. We've put together a beginner's guide to the exciting, fast-growing sport.

Long Rifle of the Air Age

The 60-Year History of the B-52 Stratofortress

When General Nathan Twining, chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force from 1953 to 1957, called the Boeing B-52 “the long rifle of the air age” shortly after it entered service on June 29, 1955, no one imagined that the eight-engine, 390,000-pound bomber would still be operational 60 years later.

Your checklist for a beefy LA lunch

On the Burger Trail in Los Angeles

The city of Los Angeles is known for Hollywood stars, sprawling traffic...and gourmet burgers. Yes, that sandwich concoction that first appeared in the late 1800s has become a staple in the City of Angels. There are the obvious picks like Umami, Father's Office, Apple Pan and of course In-N-Out; but a quick Yelp search for "burger" reveals almost 6,000 places to sit and enjoy ground meat on a bun. We spent a week seeking some of the lesser known but equally (arguably more) loved options.

How the West was won

Cycling Skyward: Conquering the West’s Toughest Climbs

One month after he set out from King's Beach, CA, on a 5,000-mile bike tour of America, GP contributor Will Eginton stood on top of the Continental Divide at Logan Pass in Glacier National Park and reflected on the mountains he'd climbed.

Father of the modern SUV, for better or worse

The History of the Jeep Wagoneer, the First Sport Utility Vehicle

You can't build a successful SUV today without incorporating comforts like leather and DVD players alongside trail-dominating suspension and chunky all-terrain tires. If any car proved this formula was a successful one, it was the car that did it first: the Jeep Wagoneer.