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Month: April 2014

Urban Chestnut – Part I

This is part I of our Urban Chestnut review! Check back later this week for Part II

St. Louis is a great place for craft beers.  Maybe you most associate STL with Anheuser Busch, this would be a mistake.  Ok, Bud Light is fine, I don’t find any reason to be too much of a beer elitist, but St. Louis is becoming a pretty craft big beer town.  There’s a number of amazing craft breweries that are too often overlooked.  A relatively recent development in the STL beer scene is Urban Chestnut.  Urban Chestnut strikes this really interesting balance between “revolutionary” urban beers and “reverential” traditional beers.  This dialectic creates a good and diverse balance between beers.

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We tried four beers over all, here are our notes from the first two!

ErlKonig (Elf King) 8.3 ABV

Pour: Hazy, orange, beige foam, good head, from bottle, drink it out of a motherfucking stein

Nose: Yeast, cloves, spices

Palate: Grainy, boozy malt, wheat oranges or some kind of citrus

Mouthfeel: medium carbonation, somewhere between medium and heavy bodied

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A really nice beer. Goes well with pizza and probably everything else.  Also, the ABV is surprisingly high, you definitely get the start of a nice buzz after a bottle.  ErlKonig is part of the Urban Chestnut revolution series and I can definitely see why.  ErlKonig is a pretty cool twist on a weizen bock.

Pierre’s Wit 5.10 ABV 

Pour: small white head, Weizen glass, cloudy golden apricot color,

Nose: Coriander, dry wheat

Palate: Coriander, Citrus, Orange, Wheat

Mouthfeel: Dry, medium mouthfeel a little creamy.

Urban-Chestnut-Pierres-Wit-Wheat-AlePierre’s Wit, coming from the reverence side of Urban Chestnut, fits the bill perfectly for a Belgian Witbier.  The coriander was probably my favorite part of the beer.  I’m a sucker for coriander in beer.  For obvious reasons, Pierre’s Wit reminded me a lot of New Belgium’s Trippel.  Though, I think the biggest difference, and also why I like Pierre’s Wit better, is the creaminess and sweetness of the beer overall.

STORE COMING SOON

STORE COMING SOON

National Iced Coffee Day and Zacapa Rum

Alright, so yesterday was 4/20 and Easter.  I hope you found some easter eggs full of Cheetos and Hot Pockets.  Though, don’t get discouraged all of the celebration isn’t over!  Today isn’t just a regular insufferable monday.  It’s National Iced Coffee Day!  National Iced Coffee Day is one of the best, dumb, made up holidays marketeers have ever had the inspiration to invent.  National Iced Coffee Day isn’t one of those lame fake holidays like valentines day, it’s awesome because it celebrates one of the best achievements of humankind: iced coffee.

Iced coffee is great by itself, sure, but why just drink iced coffee?  It’s the perfect sort of drink to hide some booze in.  Coffee is mostly a morning drink, but that shouldn’t stop you from starting your day out with a cocktail…right…right?  Ok, well maybe not.  Regardless of when you decide to start your drinking, here’s a good recipe for national iced coffee day.

 

getting weird with coffee

getting weird with coffee

Guatemalan Iced Coffee

Ingredients:

1 1/2 ounces Zacapa Rum 23

3 1/2 ounces Guatemalan Coffee

1/2 ounce Demerara Sugar Syrup

Guatemalan Iced Coffee is by far one of the best cocktails containing coffee.  Maybe alcohol and coffee aren’t things you’ve thought of putting together our side of coffee with a little bailey’s, but you need to do this…what are you even waiting for? Alright, let me walk you through the cocktail.

Step 1:

Make some iced coffee.  You can make iced coffee in a number of ways.  Probably the most common is to just make coffee, and pour it over ice.  Though, that usually leaves you with kind of a gross and watered down cup of iced coffee.  I prefer a bit of a fancier method: Cold Brew.  Cold brew coffee is actually pretty simple, but it does require a bit of forethought.  For cold brew coffee, do the following.  Grind 1 3/4 cups of coffee (that’s right, grind it…don’t buy that nasty pre-ground crap.)  In a plastic pitcher mix the coffee grounds with 3 1/2 cups of filtered cold water.  Agitate the ground in the water with a spoon, put a lid on the pitcher, and let it sit in your fridge over night.

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In the morning, use cheese cloth or something like that to filter the coffee out from the grounds.  At this point, you can discard the grounds and you have some really delicious cold brewed coffee.  The cold brew is really concentrated and strong, so you want to be sure to mix it with something.  If you just want coffee, mix it with some ice, milk, and a little sugar or simple syrup.  Though, for our purposes we’re going to mix it with rum.

Step 2:

Measure out 1.5 ounces of Zacapa rum and a 1/2 ounce of demerara sugar syrup.  Then mix in 3/2 ounces of your cold brew.  Add a few ice cubes and you’re all set.

Step 3:

Drink a bunch of rum in the morning.

Coffee wise, we used Mississippi Mud Guatemalan.  While I highly suggest anything from Mississippi Mud, you could probably use a different coffee with different interesting results.  The great part about this cocktail is the way the rum plays off the flavor of the coffee.  With a different coffee, the interplay will be different.

Ok and finally, I need to sing the praises of Zacapa rum.  Zacapa 23 is a beautiful Guatemalan rum with a rich flavor and heritage.  In the cocktail, the Zacapa works really well with the coffee.  The Zacapa really brings out the smokey and chocolate flavors in the coffee itself.  Overall it makes a really killer drink.

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If you don’t even feel like drinking coffee, Zacapa 23 is amazing by itself.  It’s so sweet and rich you might even just drink it as a sort of desert.  Here are a few of our notes on Zacapa

Nose: Sweet, nutty (hazelnut maybe?), chocolate, smoke, cigar

Palate: Sweet, Toffee chocolate, honey, brown sugar

Finish: a little smoke lingering, and sweet finish.

Zacapa is a rum that I could drink again and again.  It’s a bit on the pricey side, but I think it’s worth it.  Treat yo self.

 

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Compass Box Whiskey | Part II

Hey internetz, are you ready for some whiskey that will blow the brain right out of your head? Great.  Hold on to your butt and read Part II of our Compass Box Whiskey Review.  If you haven’t already, read Part I.

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Just when I thought I had tried the best of Compass Box with Peat Monster, things get better with Spice Tree and Hedonism.  Spice Tree is a big fucking whiskey…and apparently the innovative barreling practices of Compass Box’s Whiskeymaker, John Glaser, were not appreciated by the Whiskey Police (SWA).

Okay, so, if you didn’t know there are definitely Whiskey police…well not police, but there is a governing body that determines a lot of whiskey rules.  This governing body is the Scotch Whisky Association (or SWA).  While Barreling Spice Tree, the whiskeymaker decided to try something new by putting flat oak staves into used whiskey barrels.  This doesn’t sound like too big a deal, but this is something no one has done before and, erring on the side of conservatism, the SWA threatened legal action.  SWA…what is wrong with you?

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Compass Box had to back down, who has the funds to combat the whiskey police in court? Not me…not anyone.  So Compass Box laid off the Spice Tree for a bit, but being the Whiskey Geniuses they are, they developed an alternative way to create a similar flavor profile to the original “illegal” Spice Tree.

Having never had the original, I can’t say much about that, but Spice Tree I did have was hella good. Here are some notes.

SpiceTree-Box-Bottle

Spice Tree

Blended malt scotch whiskey

46% ABV

Nose: oak, vanilla, alcohol

Palate: rich, vanilla, spices, caramel, lemon, malty

Finish: crazy spicy, lingering vanilla,

Spice Tree is a big whiskey, there’s a lot going on in this one.  The oak really comes through in the nose big time.  I definitely recommend just adding a drop of water to the glass as it really opens up the sweeter creamier notes of the whiskey.  I’d probably give this one a solid 4/5.

Alright, while not illegal or being cracked down on by whiskey Nazis…er…whiskey police… We also had the opportunity to try Compass Box Hedonism.  Hedonism doesn’t have a crazy story surrounding it, but in tasting it, you’ll see why.  No one, Nazi or otherwise, would ever try to ban something so fucking good.  

Hedonism-Box-Bottle

Hedonism 

Blended grain scotch whiskey

43% ABV

Nose:  Vanilla, oak, fruit

Palate: Vanilla, creamy, toffee, soft

Finish: Spice, warm, more toffee, smooth

5/5

Hedonism is smooth and creamy.  Really, more of a desert.  Compass Box themselves recommend it as an aperitif and I would tend to agree.  Sipping this after a meal is probably the best thing in the world.  Without a doubt, Hedonism is one of the most distinct whiskeys we’ve tried. 5/5

 

Compass Box Scotch Whiskey | Part I

Yesterday afternoon something monumental happened.  Like Moses stepping down off the mountain to deliver the commandments of God to the Israelites, USPS handed me a package with Compass Box Whiskey. In case you don’t know, Compass Box is a specialist Scotch Whiskey maker.  Compass Box promises to craft scotch whiskies that appeal to a variety of tastes and they certainly deliver on this promise.  In this review, we’re tackling two of Compass Box’s huge scotch whiskies: Peat Monster and Great King St.  Though, keep a sharp lookout in the coming days for Part II of this review!alcoholic-drinks-19-5

Peat Monster  

Peat Monster, obviously, is a peat whiskey.  A blended malt peat whiskey to be exact.  For the uninitiated, peat whiskey might not make a whole lot of sense.  Scotland is covered in what is called peat, what essentially boils down to a layer of soil made up of dead plant matter.  Ok, so now you’re thinking….yum, dirt whiskey. Nope, peat has an interesting historical use in Scotland.  Scotlanders would dig up and dry peat to use as fuel.  Dried peat works sort of like charcoal.  After drying, whiskey makers would use the peat to heat the stills.  Though, the smoky characteristics come from drying the malt used in the whiskey with the peat.

Compass Box Peat Monster

Compass Box Peat Monster

The variables of drying malt with peat result in a really complex scotch whiskey…and I mean really complex.  There’s so much going on in Peat Monster.  Here are some of our notes from a tasting.

The Peat Monster

46% ABV

Nose – smoky, leather, apple, grains, peat

Mouth feel: medium, a little syrupy.

Palate: peat, oak, leather, smoke, smoked meat

Finish: more oak, florals, fruit (maybe grape), malt, alcohol, dryness

Adding a few drops of water makes a huge difference.  All of the dry alcohol vanishes at the end and each sip is far more smooth.

Peat Monster is such an interesting whiskey.  It definitely takes a few sips to really get a feel for what it’s about and what exactly is going on in it, but it’s so worth it.  Drinking it neat is great, but intense.  I think adding a few drops of water really opens it up and makes it more enjoyable.  Peat Monster is a solid 5/5

Great King Street

The second scotch whiskey we tried from Compass Box is Great King St.  Great King St. is a blended scotch whiskey with some really interesting characteristics.  Compass Box includes the following about crafting a blended scotch whiskey

“Due to the preponderance of poorly made, inexpensive Blended Scotch whiskies on the market, many people assume any bottle of Scotch bearing the term ‘blended’ is somehow inferior. Not if you make it the way we do. “

Check out this cool infograph

Great King St. is Aged in three different casts American Oak, French Oak, Sherry Butts (hahah butts) and it definitely comes through in the nose and the taste.

gks

Great King Street

43% ABV

Nose: very sweet, cereal, citrus, apples, vanilla, candy, smores

Palate: full bodied, rich, fruit-driven, creamy

Finish: wine, fruit, spice

Great King St. is such a different Whiskey in comparison to the Peat Monster, but different in such a delicious way.  We give Great King St. a 4/5

Singing the Praises of the Lunch Beer

For too long, drinking during the day has been written off as something for alcoholics or just lazy assholes, but this just a myth.  Some of the hardest working people in history drank during the day.  There’s something fundamentally great about popping open a can or bottle of beer on your lunch hour.  Maybe, it’s a small act of rebellion–a nice fuck you to your boss–or you just want a beer in the middle of the day.  Drinking a beer over lunch is a trend that needs to resurface!  The lunch beer, as I’m calling it, has some cool historical roots.

Now, You probably have some douchey beer geek friend who’s always raving about a great “session beer.”  Essentially the lunch beer has it’s history tied up with the session beer.  So, what does the beer douche mean by session beer? something really specific.  Technically, the session beer is any beer that is 5 percent ABV or under.  What’s so special about a beer with 5 percent or lower ABV? You’re going to need about 1000 to get crunk.

Historically, the session beer was a fundamental part of the day for munitions workers in WWI Britain.  During the work day, there were several “sessions” or breaks for workers.  During these sessions workers would go and drink a session beer.  Sources say that the break in work would be from 11am-3pm and 7pm-11pm.  With this in mind, the reasoning for the lower ABV becomes obvious.  Workers wanted to go drink without getting totally trashed.  It’s interesting how labor really shaped (and it continues to) the drinking habits of workers.

Modern day lunch breaks are far shorter than the sessions of WWI, but there’s still enough time to knock back a session beer.  Drinking and then going back to work might be uncouth, but who gives a shit?  Historical precedent doesn’t make something ok, but in this case it seems alright.  So, let’s revive the lunch beer!  Order a beer with your lunch, or grab one out of the fridge at home during your break.

Tullamore Dew

Irish whiskey is great.  Here, I’m returning to one of the first whiskeys I had ever drank: Tullamore Dew.  Tullamore Dew is an inexpensive and easy to find Irish whiskey.  So, if you’re looking for something unique, this probably isn’t for you.

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Tullamore Dew is a straight forward Irish whiskey around 20 Dollars a bottle.  Tullamore is a solid bottle of whiskey.  It’s got a nice malty, golden color.  A lot of whiskey snobs wouldn’t even consider it, but it’s nice to just sip on.  On the nose, Tullamore starts with a fruity smell.  I’d say Banana, raisin, and of course a really strong alcohol smell.  Tullamore has a pretty distinct taste.  It’s a really sweet and smooth whiskey.  Far more straight forwardly sweet than Jameson.

I think comparing Tullamore and Jameson is pretty fair.  Both whiskey’s are Irish, triple distilled and in a similar price range, though Jameson is a tad more expensive.  The difference is markedly dissimilar. Jameson has a far more complex taste, probably due to how they age it.  Sure, Jameson has a smooth sweet taste, but it has a bit of spice underlying the sweet notes.

Tullamore Dew is the Mountain Dew of whiskey.  It’s inexpensive, common, sweet and straightforward.  It might not be top shelf and various whiskey snobs may overlook it, but it’s good.

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Because of this comparison, here’s a recipe for a great (pretty gross) cocktail I just made up: the TULLAMORE DOUBLE DEW

The Tullamore Double Dew Recipe

1.5 oz Mountain Dew

1.5 oz Tullamore Dew

Garnish: Fedora

Glass: Rocks

50c

 

A Triumphant Return

Hey there internets, how are you?  You might have noticed something missing from your life lately.  Maybe your wife left you, you lost your job, Obama is obamanating you…that all blows or whatever, but the most important change is that you haven’t been reading Boozeblogger.  Boozeblogger has been on a bit of a hiatus recently.  The Boozecrew ™ has been doing other stuff ya’ know?  But who cares. We’re back!

this is us

this is us

We’re breaking back onto the scene like a naked intruder ruining someone’s Ninja Warrior run…it’s a perfect metaphor really.  We’re back with a new Boozecrew, new booze, new reviews, new recipes and cocktail ideas.  Stick around for some balls to the wall ninja/drinking action.

 

 

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