Humboldt County, California is home to the world’s tallest trees, long stretches of undeveloped coastlines and pristine rivers. It’s also home to Humboldt Distillery, a small batch distillery founded by a fifth generation Humboldt native that’s just as passionate about craft spirits as he is about his city.
Humboldt Distillery was founded in 2012 by Abe Stevens. His trajectory to distillery owner was anything but standard. Working for years in R&D at a pharmaceutical company, as a real estate investor and playing tournament poker, Abe’s interest in distilling grew gradually throughout the years. Once his daughter was born, he knew it was time to put roots down in Humboldt County and start something new.
Inspired by the distillery’s gorgeous location, Humboldt Distillery sources all of its water from the ancient watersheds in the redwood forests for its organic, award-winning craft spirits. Humboldt’s Finest is a specialty spirit with a unique botanical aromatic character from locally grown Cannabis Sativa. The spirit is 100% THC-free and legal in all 50 states.
Humboldt’s Finest (80 proof)
Visual: Clear and faintly green.
Nose: Medium herbal, resinous funk. It smells like fresh bud that has been diffused with alcohol.
Taste: The flavor is less forward, but still retains that distinctive herbal tang. Somewhat akin to the hoppiness of an IPA. A bitterness creeps forward over a few minutes which coats the palate with a grassy flavor.
Finish: Long and somewhat tannic and bitter.
Overall: It’s quite interesting and well worth exploring for use in cocktails. I wouldn’t necessarily drink this straight, but in a cocktail with an herbal bent, this will work quite well.
GSN Rating: B+
Humboldt Distillery’s Vodka is a sugarcane-based organic vodka that is USDA Certified Organic. No glycerin, sweeteners, citric acid or other additives are used. The vodka is a Non-GMO & Gluten-free limited edition. And in case you’re wondering, no it is not crab flavored.
Humboldt’s Limited Edition Vodka (80 proof)
Nose: Fresh, mineral laden, bright. A lot of high notes, with a touch of marshmallow and fresh black pepper.
Taste: Smooth entry with a definite creamy, marshmallow flavor akin to what you might find in a white rum. No surprise there. Medium body with a tinge of spice at the fade.
Finish: Fairly long for a vodka. This has a memorable and almost chewy finish.
Overall: We’ve been enjoying this one at the GSN offices for several days. It’s a winner whether served neat, on a rock, in a Kangaroo Martini or a Bloody Mary.
GSN Rating: A-
For more information go to: Humboldt Distillery
Curl up by the fireside and take in the view of Bucks County’s beautiful countryside as you sip this cozy winter warmer! Spiced with vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, orange and honey, this 6.5% beer is smooth and sweet with a malty finish that will keep you toasty this season.
Brewed by Vault Brewing Company and Newtown Brewing Company, “Warm and Fuzzy in Bucks County,” is the third release in the Bucks County Ale Trail collaboration series. The Bucks County Ale Trail releases a limited edition brew seasonally in collaboration with the breweries. These Bucks County-inspired brews are easy to sip and delicious to the last drop.
“Warm and Fuzzy in Bucks County” (which pairs perfectly with Vault’s Duck Apple Pizza) is now available on draft and in 16 oz. cans at Newtown Brewing Company in Newtown and the Vault Brewing Company brewpub and taproom in Yardley.
The Bucks County Ale Trail is made up of the 20+ breweries in Bucks County. Visit any Bucks County brewery or the Bucks County Visitor Center in Bensalem or Quakertown to pick up a printed passport or get your free digital passport online. Check-in digitally or get your passport stamped at 5 or more breweries to get a FREE Bucks County Ale Trail T-Shirt! For more information on the Bucks County Ale Trail, go to VisitBucksCounty.com/AleTrail.
The Peerless family’s very first bourbon went into a barrel in 1889. They have since revived the craft in their own state-of-the-art distillery, where they use the finest ingredients. The Peerless family believes that patience builds character and fine Bourbon can never be rushed. All under one roof, the select Kentucky Peerless grains are milled, cooked, fermented, double-distilled, and barreled as Bourbon & Rye.
Peerless Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey (109.6 proof)
Visual: Dark orange.
Nose: Lovely rye spice lain over rich and deep oak stave. You swear that you could take a bite out of this, it is so compact.
Taste: High spirited rye amidst a powerhouse of well aged distillate. All tempered with a gentle sweetness that softens the blow. Really almost a dessert in the glass.
Finish: Longingly sweet and spicy.
Overall: This my friends, is a truly great rye whiskey. A bottle of this for mint juleps, Sazeracs and Boulevardiers and you will be in heaven.
GSN Rating: A+
For more information go to: Kentucky Peerless
Kilbeggan Distilling Company continues to revive Irish whiskey history and tradition with the limited-edition release of Kilbeggan Single Pot Still, a mixed mash whiskey featuring oats, which were used at Kilbeggan Distillery in the 19th century. Pot Still whiskey is significant, as it is the traditional and distinctive style of Irish whiskey that was first produced in Ireland.
Featuring a unique mash of malted barley, raw barley and 2.5 percent oats, the whiskey was inspired by recipes used at Kilbeggan Distillery through the late 1800s. In those times, oats were grown across the Midlands Region of Ireland and were commonly used by distillers like the Locke family at Kilbeggan for filtration purposes. The grain also imparts a unique flavor and creamy texture not typically found in Irish whiskey.
Double distilled to 86 proof in Kilbeggan’s old copper pot stills – one of which is the world’s oldest working whiskey pot still today – the new spirit is the second limited release to be 100 percent distilled and matured at Kilbeggan Distillery since its restoration in 2010. It follows the release of Kilbeggan Small Batch Rye, another groundbreaking release and the first modern Irish whiskey of record to feature such a high quantity of rye within its mash.
Kilbeggan Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey (86 proof)
Visual: Pale gold.
Nose: Fulsome and rich with malt aroma. Slightly fruity, and with a well appointed oaky cask nose.
Taste: Quite flavorful and again, somewhat fruity. There is a burnt caramel edge that adds a bit of spice and tang. As the flavor lingers, there is the slightest hint of oatcake.
Finish: Long and smooth, with a soft and dry finish.
Overall: Very nice and a welcome addition to the every growing Irish category.
GSN Rating: A-
For more information go to: Kilbeggan Whiskey
Cafe Agave is a blend of 100% Arabica, Colombian cold brewed coffee, wine, agave sweetener, real dairy cream and other natural flavors. Each single-serve can is equivalent to a ½ cup of brewed coffee and one glass of wine.
Cafe Agave Spiked Cold Brew is packaged into sleek 6.3 oz cans available in both singles and 4-packs. Cafe Agave can be sold anywhere beer and wine are sold, as opposed to spirit-based RTD beverages. Available in four flavors:
- Espresso Shot – blended espresso brew made from dark roast Arabica coffee, real dairy cream and agave sweetener
- Caffe Mocha – flavors of mocha and pure cocoa blended with dark roast Arabica coffee
- Salted Caramel – classic flavors of natural sea salt and caramel blended with dark roast Arabica coffee
- Vanilla Cinnamon – vanilla and toasted cinnamon blended with dark roast Arabica coffee
“Cafe Agave is a ready to drink coffee cocktail for all occasions. And unlike the emerging lower abv coffee-beer segment, our spiked coffee is great by itself or mixed. At 12.5% abv, it can be served straight up, as an espresso martini or as the base of many great cocktails,” said Ami-Lynn Bakshi, Co-Founder of Cafe Agave.
Cafe Agave Spiked Cold Brew Coffee (12.5% ABV)
Each of these flavors works well in spite of my initial reservations about mixing wine and coffee. The wine adds a touch of fruity sweetness, but doesn’t overwhelm the palate. These are shelf stable, but taste best over ice rather than straight out of the can. My personal favorites are the Caffe Mocha and the Salted Caramel, but each has its merits. Ideally, these make for a great boozy brunch treat, since the caffeine will give you a lift, while the wine relaxes you and adds to the fun.
GSN Rating: B+
For more information go to: Cafe Agave
Whisk(e)y is such a ubiquitous spirit that it is hard to imagine cocktail culture without it. Think of all the iconic drinks from the Old-Fashioned to the Manhattan to the Sazerac to the Penicillin. And there are nearly as many countries known for their own particular take on the “water of life”. Scotland, Ireland, Canada, America, Japan are just the major epicenters of distillation. Then, you’ve got a variety of styles. Single malt, single grain, blended, unaged, aged in a plethora of different wood barrels. It is truly amazing.
So, on this day, toast with a glass of your favorite either neat, straight up, on the rocks, or mixed into a cocktail. Without whiskey, our lives would be lacking a little joy.
The Editorial Staff