Fruit beers have long been the redheaded stepchildren of the beer world. But now American brewers are using more complex bases — stouts, brown ales, rye ales and barleywines among others — and taking cues from the Belgians, those oldest of fruit beer brewers, to harness the nation’s harvest, from pumpkins to pluots. These are the best fruit beers of their labor.
Beware of the dark side
We review Highland Park’s latest edition to their core lineup of single malts, Dark Origins, which is defined by a high percentage of double first fill sherry casks and a peatiness yet unheard of from the brand.
The Cider Comes of Age
Like beer and wine, some of the best ciders are aged in oak to give them structure and complexity. These five are the cream of the crop.
Pat's Backcountry Beverages Supplies Passable Camp Beer and Excellent Soda
Leave it to an Alaskan to invent a new way to drink alcohol outdoors. Pat Tatera, the founder of Pat’s Backcountry Beverages, developed a system for carrying concentrated forms of both alcohol and soda into the wild for hikers to make their own carbonated beverages in minutes with the help of stream water and small carbonation pouches.
Some very old wine indeed
Taylor Fladgate, one of the council of elders in the Port world, released a 50-year-old tawny port in 2014. In honor of our other stories about Portugal, we raised a glass of it.
Vin from the bargain bin
You and Andrew Jackson walk into a wine store. Read on to find out what you come out with.
Four Award-Winning Whiskies
On a recent visit to Aberlour distillery smack dab in the middle of the famed Speyside region, our task at hand was to gain an appreciation for the distiller’s unique malting, mashing, blending and maturation processes, and of course, the tasting.
Highly Alcoholic, Highly Worthwhile
After years of global vilification and false stigma, absinthe is making a comeback. We tasted six new American versions.
The Best Reason to Drink
Not only is Salute American Vodka made in the U.S., one dollar for every bottle sold is donated to a charity benefitting American military veterans. But this is beside the point: the vodka could sell on taste alone, especially at around $20 a bottle.
American Beer Meets Irish Whiskey
Among the fastest growing trends named by brewers at the American Craft Beer Festival was barrel aging, so it’s no surprise that the world’s largest Irish whiskey producer, Jameson, is constantly approached by craft brewers looking for used barrels. Despite this, not once in Jameson’s 234 years of distilling whiskey had the company loaned their barrels to a U.S. company. Well, not until this year, when they gave KelSo Beer Co. founder Kelly Taylor ten barrels to use for an aged IPA.
Extra Extra Anejo
For the past 18 years, agave-mogul Enrique Fonseca Cerda has been aging the world’s oldest tequila. We headed down to the NoMad, Manhattan, for a taste.
‘Tis the season for lazy Saturdays, day hikes and easy drinking saisons, session IPAs and pale ales. Put some fire to that charcoal and crack open a cold one — one of these six would be fine.
Peaty and Proud of it
Laphroaig’s 18 year old is divisive for more than its bold flavor profile — it replaced the beloved 15 year in 2009. We give it a try.
Not Your Great Great Great Grandfather's Ale
We try Tej, an Ethiopian honey wine brought to the United States by gypsy brewer and recipe reviver Lost Tribes Beverage.
A Visit to Tel Aviv's Beer Bazaar
Not far from where Jesus converted water to wine, Israeli craft brewers are trying their hand at beer. GP editor Jeremy Berger tippled quite a few and came away with a good set of recommendations.
¿Qué te gustaría tomar?
Oh, you were planning on taking a few shots? Celebrate the Fifth of May with these five tequila cocktails instead.
Vodka has recently undergone a renaissance, thanks in part to distillers from around the world who take advantage of native ingredients and traditional distilling methods to put their own unique twists on the drink. These seven from around the globe offer a unique range of flavors and styles.
Tequila with a Certain Je Ne Sais Quoi
1800 Milenio represents a departure from the traditional tequila aging process: instead of white oak, 1800 lets the Milenio spend five years in French oak Cognac barrels. Is it a victorious marriage? Si. Or is it oui?
Sampling the Core Expressions
Learning about the process of whisky-making is one reason to take a distillery tour, but we all know that the real name of the game is the post-tour tasting. Any day spent sampling a range of whiskies is a special one in our books. Throw in the chance to try 25-, 30- and 40-year-old expressions, and you’ve got a once in a lifetime drinking experience.
Finding 'the best whisky in the world' on the Scottish Island of Orkney
Highland Park has officially been making whisky in Kirkwall since 1798. The distillery requires no introduction for rabid fans of single malt. F. Paul Pacult, known as one of America’s foremost experts on spirits, heralded the 25 year old expression as the “Best Spirit in the World” in 2013; it’s an honor he’s also bestowed on the 18 year old twice before. For more casual imbibers, noting Highland Park’s relationship as the sister distillery to The Macallan generates a good number of nods. Our managing Editor Ben Bowers took the journey to the northern Scottish islands of Orkney to learn first hand how some of the world’s finest single malt is made.
Two Experts, Three Cellars, and a Lot of Big Beers
In our own beer cellar, we’ve got a couple bottles of Brooklyn Black Ops, a Firestone Walker Parabola and a Perennial Abraxus — all great beers, but we could use a few additions. For some new suggestions, as well as some tips on beer aging, we contacted our friends at The Cannibal NYC, who run extensive cellaring collections, both personally and professionally.
The Quest for Affordable Pappy
At night, when bourbon connoisseurs go to bed, many dream of Pappy Van Winkle, a line of three exquisite bourbons (15, 20 and 23 years old, all of them colloquially referred to as “Pappy”) distilled and bottled by the Sazerac Company at the Buffalo Trace Distillery. Much of Pappy’s legend comes from its high demand: when it’s released, liquor stores dust off month-long waiting lists to decide who gets a bottle.
At the end of last year, Bourbonr Blog made headlines in the liquor community by posting a recipe for “Poor Man’s Pappy,” a mix of two mid-range W.L. Weller whiskies that they claim, while not being able to emulate Pappy Van Winkle completely, “comes close.” But does the recipe hold up? With $50, a postal scale and a mason jar, we decided to find out for ourselves.
We Test 10 Huge Imperial IPAs
Over the past 20 years, the way to make a double IPA (otherwise known as DIPA or “imperial IPA”) hasn’t really changed: roughly double the ingredients that would go into a normal IPA and you get a double IPA. As the weather changes, more and more stores begin cellaring their heavy winter stouts and replacing them with these hop- and malt-forward beasts. For those looking to expand their palates, doubles offer the citrus hop and bready malt flavors of regular IPAs, but amplified, and with plenty more complexity to spare. We tasted ten of our favorites.
Cream of the Cropless
A fair amount of people in this country drink gluten-free by necessity, and that’s not even counting those who do it by choice. But when you tinker with malt, one of the four main ingredients in beer and the one that activates the autoimmune response in those with celiac disease, does the resulting product still taste like beer? And if so, how does it hold up against more traditional counterparts? To find out, we put ten gluten-free beers to a blind taste test.
Because their flavor profiles range from hearty to downright bacon-filled savoriness, Rauchbiers — especially smoked porters — are the perfect winter beer, sipped alone or paired with charred meats. Crack one of these five in your living room in front of a roaring fire; if you don’t have a fireplace, it won’t be hard to imagine one.
Worth another look
Wiser’s is one of the oldest brands in the Great White North, having started life in 1857. While its ownership has changed hands several times, its reputation for quality among the locals has typically remained strong. Wiser’s 18, also sold as Wiser’s Very Old, is a premium offering worth a try for any drinker interested in tasting some of the best Canada has to offer at a reasonable price.
An American Road Trip for a Great American Beer
From the Archives: On November 9th, we asked K.B. Gould and Henry Phillips to make a fall pilgrimage to the Alchemist Brewery in Waterbury, Vermont. The closing of the brewery’s retail operation loomed just days away. The two accepted their assignment: visit the home of Heady Topper, one of the highest-rated beers in the world, to pay homage to its brewmasters, enjoy a taste and a tour and scrounge a rare case. This is the chronicle of their trip.
60, 61, 75, 90, 120, Floor
Though Dogfish Head currently produces 33 beers, 65 percent of their sales come from their five “continuously hopped” IPAs — the 60, Sixty-One, 75, 90 and 120 Minute. We tasted them all, in numerical order, and learned much more about Dogfish Head, and craft beer in general, than we expected.
A Dram of Tam
Founded in 1923, Cutty Sark originally made a name for itself by offering an accessibly priced blended cocktail Scotch. By the 1960s, Cutty Sark produced the best-selling Scotch whisky in the United States; then it disappeared. In 2010, The Edrington Group bought Cutty with hopes of reviving the dying brand. The brand’s new line now consists of six whiskies, three of which are available in the United States.
Limited Release, 13-Year-Old Straight Rye Whiskey
Drinking alone gets a bad rap, but there’s having a drink alone and then there’s really drinking alone, getting after it, sitting on a creaky chair the garage with a case of Keystone and no real plans to speak of except to power through it. Be careful with that. But in the first scenario a man reaches beneath his desk around 6:00 p.m., puts The Best of Dean Martin on the phonograph, starts nodding to the music, and pours himself a measure of something good and strong. During a recent six o’clock hour we opened up a bottle of Lock Stock & Barrel ($118) straight rye whiskey — and it’s just about as smooth and rich as Dino’s voice.