upland-sour-ales-beerpulse“Making great example beers” was a quote from Doug Dayhoff of Upland Brewing Co. that both stuck and was entirely accurate. Good Spirits News was fortunate enough to speak with both Doug, the owner, and the head brewer Caleb Staton of Upland Brewing Co. based in Bloomington, Indiana on a recent stop in Syracuse, NY.

Upland’s beer selection includes a portfolio of beers that may seem contemporary to a lot of craft breweries such as pale ales, IPA’s, wheat ales, and many others that flush out a breweries selection. Where they truly shine however is their attentiveness and ingenuity when it comes to sours. Both Doug and Caleb were generous enough to allow Good Spirits News to sample some of their wares that they are introducing to NY in a widespread tour to establish themselves in a new market.

Doug Dayhoff

Doug Dayhoff

We tried three unique beers ranging from a relatively young 4 month sour to an 8-12 month Oud Bruin style ale. The first of the three was titled “Iridescent” and although the color was a hazy golden apricot, the title works well for the nature of the flavors that the glass carried. The blend of apricot and ginger come through easily and balance each other well. There is a slight dry wood character from the barrel aging that follows through on the back palate to compliment the initial tart acidity. As a young sour on draft it was very carbonated and had a great sharp mouthfeel. A relatively low ABV beer at about 5% this would pair very well with something fresh like sushi where the ginger in the brew could really enhance the pairing. A fantastic young sour and one that Caleb would recommend for those looking into the ever-growing sours market as a possible first attempt at something unique and delicious. Final Rating 4.25/5

Caleb Staton

Caleb Staton

The second sour we tried was titled “Aronia” and is an 8-month aged sour imbued with the relatively uncommon American berry titled the “Chokeberry”, although this beer will do the opposite of what the berry might suggest. With a deep ruby like color and relative clearness, the aroma matches it perfectly. A tart almost wine like character carries softly with each sip. It is a fairly dry ale due to the aging, and the oak barrel does the acidity justice once more. It plays well with the tart berry and balances the beer as a whole. A smoothly balanced flavor profile does this beer justice and for an experienced sour drinker it should be a treat. With the ABV content around 6.5-7% it’s definitely palatable and most enjoyed when sipping. Final Rating 4.25/5

Upland's Sour Facility

Upland’s Sour Facility

The final beer we were lucky enough to sample is titled “Darken” a spiced sour brown ale very much influenced by the Oud Bruin category of beer, but with enough to separate it from others. A different malt bill gives a slight rich sweetness that gives a cohesive undertone to the souring agents that make this beer truly delicious. Brewed with a wide variety of spices including grains of paradise, anise, ginger, coriander, black pepper, as well as a host of others the flavor is amazingly balanced with no spice standing out too far above the rest. The sour character works incredibly well with the malt and wood character that gives a triad of equally enjoyable parts. This beer is aged anywhere from 8-12 months and has a strong ABV of 8.5-9% although it doesn’t carry any “booze like qualities”. This beer is excellently crafted and is a fantastic sour to try for anyone who enjoys sours, browns, or wood aged beers. Final Rating 4.75/5

Through each of their friendly personalities, both Doug and Caleb’s passion for sours stood out from the beginning of our interview, and shone brightest through the product they distribute. Upland Brewing Co sources local ingredients and stays organic whenever possible, and this only enhances the quality they bring to the beer market. Welcome to New York, we hope you stay.

For more information go to: Upland Beer

Review by Kieran Jerome Matthew for Good Spirits News


Owners Amanda & Nick Swift were tired of investing long hours in service of someone else’s vision. So, they searched the world over for the best ingredients, tools, and techniques to bring authentic Scottish whisky making traditions home to Texas. The distillery was founded in 2012, but their research and travels began years before.

They traveled to Scotland, Ireland, Japan, and hit the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. They visited distilleries, breweries, vineyards, and cooperages. They collaborated with Portuguese still makers, Spanish bodegas, and the people of Dripping Springs, Texas. With no hired staff, Nick and Amanda created this spirit themselves, everything from the distilling to the actual bottling.

Swift Single Malt is twice-distilled in the Swift’s Dripping Springs facility from 100% Scottish malted barley, with tight cuts taken off of hand-hammered copper pot stills from Portugal to fine tune the spirit by taste. Modeled after a traditional Speyside Scotch, Swift Single Malt is made with water that is controlled (down to the molecular level) to match the composition of Scotland’s water, and is never chill-filtered. Instead the Swifts rely on maintaining flavor using its malt, and by aging each batch in Kentucky Bourbon barrels, which were hand selected by the Swifts on the Bourbon Trail, and finished in Oloroso sherry casks straight from the bodega in Spain, surprisingly the only casks being put to use for whiskey in the States. Each barrel and cask is coopered in-house by Nick using only sustainable methods. From the casks, Swift Single Malt is hand bottled and labeled by the couple.

Swift Single Malt (86 proof)
Visual: Bright gold.
Nose: Malty and sweet with some cinnamon notes. Somewhat shy and reclusive, a bit of branch water draws out the expression.
Taste: Akin to a Speyside region Highland Scotch or even a pot still Irish whiskey, this is very smooth and goes down easy. I can only imagine that this would benefit from a few more years in oak, and then finished in the sherry casks.  The sweetness obviously comes from the sherry, but only a tinge.  Fine as is, but I’d love to see a 4-5 year old expression.
Finish: Medium-short, with malty, semi-maple notes leading to a dry, clean finish.
Overall: Quite potable, with a youngish character that would only benefit from a few more years under its belt.  A pleasant, and surprisingly European styled American whiskey.
GSN Rating: B+

For more information go to: Swift Distillery


GSN Review: HyperChiller


The HyperChiller is the invention of Nick Anusbigian, an iced coffee lover, who tried making ice coffee at home with cold brew and pour over ice recipes. After deciding neither of these methods were convenient or easy, he went back to spending time and money everyday buying ice coffee from the coffee shop.

As Nick said, “I came up with the HyperChiller when my wife, Julie, got me a Keurig for Christmas in 2014. This came out of my frustration, which I know many of you share, of trying to make great iced coffee quickly at home.”

After experimenting with prototypes and developing a detailed specification he took to Kickstarter to fund the production of the first run of HyperChiller. Since then the product has taken off, with tens of thousands of HyperChiller sold around the world and with coverage in Oprah Magazine, Ask Men, Maxim, Uncrate and other press outlets.

But, this is not just for coffee, it can also chill wine, spirits and cocktails very quickly.  Just be aware that if you do make a cocktail, you’ll have to add water to account for the usual 20% dilution when shaking or stirring a drink with ice.  Unless of course, you like really string cocktails.

HyperChiller Review: We tried this around the office this week with coffee, wine and whiskey.  It works as advertised and does it well.  The set up of the system is super easy and needs only to be done once  month to keep things fresh.  The only drawback is that it takes 12 hours to bring the Hyperchiller to the desired temperature. So, if using with freshly brewed coffee, you’re only going to get one serving every 12 hours.  That being said, it works much better with room temperature liquids like wine and spirits, liqueurs, or juices. Just pop it back in the freezer for a few hours and it is ready to go again. The design is well done and it’s a handy item to have on hand in the freezer if you are an iced coffee fanatic or if someone stops by unexpectedly for a glass of wine and you don’t happen to have a bottle chilling in the refrigerator. GSN Rating: B+

For more information go to: HyperChiller


Union Horse Distilling was initially launched as Dark Horse Distilling in 2010, but was forced to change their name due to a trademark dispute between the distillery and the E&J Gallo Winery. Since the name change, the distillery, located in Lenexa, Kansas has released both Reunion Straight Rye as well as Reserve Straight Bourbon in addition to their un-aged Long Shot White Whiskey and Rider Vodka.

Reunion Straight Rye is a handcrafted small batch 100% rye distilled using Union Horse’s sour mash recipe and is listed as having been aged up to 5 years, representing some of the earliest barrels laid down by the distillery, although no age statement is available on the bottle.

With a focus on locally sourced grain and a family owned business, Union Horse is faithful to the spirit of a family owned American small business.

Reunion Barrel Strength Rye Whiskey (112.3 proof)
Visual: Dark orange-brown.
Nose: A perfect balance of spice and sweet char.  This smells like you’re stepping into a rickhouse. Full of character and expectation.
Taste: A rush of intense rye that never fades, but opens up into a bloom of woody caramelization.  The grain flavor goes on and on with teasing notes of sweetness and rich smoked oak.  A wake up call to the taste buds.
Finish: As I mentioned, this goes on a long time.  It’s not just the barrel strength that imbues it with a strong character.  The flavor itself is memorable from the first sip and retains a presence long after you’ve finished your dram.
Overall: One of the best rye whiskies not only to come out of the mid-west, but one of the finest in the U.S. Seek this one out ASAP, you will not regret it.
GSN Rating: A+

For more information go to: Union Horse


1953_12Interestingly enough, the first printed recipe for the Margarita shows up in the December 1953 issue of Esquire magazine (pictured at left) Here’s what they had to say about it: Drink of the Month – “She’s from Mexico, Senores, and her name is the Margarita Cocktail–and she is lovely to look at, exciting and provocative.”

1 ounce tequila
Dash of Triple Sec
Juice of 1/2 lime or lemon

Pour over crushed ice, stir. Rub the rim of a stem glass with rind of lemon or lime, spin in salt–pour, and sip.

Anyone today would certainly recognize that recipe, albeit in a more definitive form (more Triple Sec, no lemon, and no crushed ice).

But, the origins of the Margarita go back much further, probably about 25 years earlier.  No one knows for sure who created the drink, but my favorite theory about the name is that it was originally called a Tequila Daisy.  The Spanish word for daisy is Margarita, and a Tequila Daisy was basically a Margarita (tequila, orange liqueur, sour mix).  In any case, it has become one of the top 10 cocktails of all time.

Here are some modern versions crafted just in time for your celebration:

GildedHareThe Gilded Hare (Courtesy of Matt Grippo at Blackbird in San Francisco)
1.5oz Suerte Blanco Tequila
.5oz Gonzales Byass Amontillado Sherry
.5oz Cinnamon Syrup
.5 Grapefruit
.5 Lime
5 Drops of Bittermens Hellfire Shrub
This winter influenced margarita is a tad complex. Suerte Blanco tequila, amontillado sherry, lime, grapefruit, cinnamon and habanero. Big bright tequila flavors up front and a warm lingering finish of spice and wood with just enough kick to warm your mouth without the burn.

image012 Lemon Basil Margarita (Courtesy of Cointreau)
1 1/2 oz. Blanco Tequila
1 oz. Cointreau
1/2 oz. Lemon Juice
1/2 oz. Lime Juice
3 basil Leaves
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass and add ice. Shake and strain over ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with basil and lemon wheel.

drinkCRUZ Citrus Margarita (Courtesy of CRUZ Tequila)
2 parts CRUZ Silver Tequila
¾ parts agave nectar
1 lime squeezed
½ lemon squeezed
½ orange squeezed
1-2 parts filtered water
A couple sprigs of mint
Shake all ingredients with ice and strain over fresh ice. Garnish with a mint sprig.

image001Cucumber Lavender Margarita (Courtesy Tortilla Republic, West Hollywood)
2 oz. Casa Noble Organic Tequila (or other 100% agave silver tequila)
2-3 ½ Inch Cucumber Slices, muddled
1.5 oz. Fresh Squeeze Lime Juice
0.75 oz. Lavender-Infused Simple Syrup
(soak 4-5 sprigs of lavender in simple syrup for 2-3 days, or purchased at Farmers’ markets and specialty grocers). Shake. Pour into a 12.5 oz. glass on rocks. Garnish with cucumber and fresh lavender blossoms.

image006The Milagro Blood Orange Margarita (Courtesy of Milagro Tequila)
1 ½ parts Milagro Silver Tequila
¾ part Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur
1 part Fresh Lime Juice
¾ part agave nectar
Pour all ingredients in a Boston Shaker with ice. Shake and strain over fresh ice in a salt-rimmed rocks glass. Garnish with orange and lime wheels.

image003StrawBeerita (Courtesy of Licor 43)
3 oz. chilled beer, lighter-style lager
1 oz. Licor 43
1 oz. tequila
1/2 oz. lime juice
3 Strawberries
Directions: Cut strawberries and a few lime slices and muddle in a shaker. Add tequila, Licor 43, lime juice and ice and shake. Pour mixture into a margarita glass and top with beer. Garnish with a strawberry slice and lime wedge.


A lovely little cocktail that hits the spot every time.  First appearing in print in Harry Craddock’s 1930 cocktail guide The Savoy Cocktail Book, this is most obviously a variation on the classic Sidecar cocktail.  By substituting Chartreuse for triple sec and adding a dash of aromatic bitters, it adds a layer of complexity which transforms the drink into something three-dimensional.  I love the occasional Sidecar, but really they are pretty dull on the taste buds.

If you don’t happen to have Chartreuese Jaune on hand, you can try the green (vert) version, but only use about a third of an ounce instead of the full half ounce. Otherwise things will be out of balance.

My first impression of this cocktail was of apricots with a nose of pineapple. Interesting considering neither is in the recipe.

Champs-Élysées Cocktail
1oz brandy
0.5oz yellow chartreuse
0.5oz lemon juice
1 tsp simple syrup
1 dash angostura bitters

Shake with ice and strain into chilled cocktail glass.

c9b29f44-8d0e-4d67-8a95-1eb17483c764What is Cane Camp? 

Cane Camp is a cultural immersion program set against the vibrant backdrop of Puerto Rico. Over the course of the program, you can expect to learn the ins and outs of rum production and craft brewing, and experience the rich history of this beautiful island. While beverage production will take center stage at Cane Camp, expect a strong focus on conservation, climate and environmental issues. We will be visiting the diminishing Bio-Bay, exploring the intricacies of responsible rum production and experience a snapshot of the current state of the environment in Puerto Rico.

744476db-52c2-4567-a89b-431bc0ec046aHow do I apply?

Follow this link to complete the Cane Camp 2017 application:

0808b8ca-d19c-43aa-8c71-5f02f111c6c0Please keep in mind that there are only 50 spots available for this experience and applications close at 11:59 EST on February 23rd, so make sure you take the time to carefully consider and fill out each field of the application. We read these blind (that means we can’t see your name or bar) and base all of our decisions on the creativity and care you put into your responses.


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