downloadVermont’s Magic Hat Brewing has re-launched its limited edition holiday brew Feast of Fools. A raspberry stout featuring notes of cocoa and dark chocolate, Feast of Fools will be available in 22-ounce bottles, as well as on draft at select accounts across the U.S. for the first time this year. The holiday entry will be joined by Magic Hat’s returning Vinyl entry, which is billed as an amber-hued lager, and Winter Mingle, a new seasonal stout featuring notes of vanilla. Both Vinyl and Winter Mingle will be available in 12-pack and 24-pack formats of Magic Hat’s Winterland variety pack, available at select grocery stores nationwide.

download (1)Irvine, California-based importer G.K. Skaggs is launching San Miguel Pale Pilsen on draft in the U.S. market. The 5%-abv pale, golden lager will see an initial U.S. draft release in California, Nevada and Hawaii in late 2015 into 2016. Last November, G.K. Skaggs extended San Miguel Pale Pilsen’s availability in the U.S. with a new 22-ounce bottle format to the on-premise, convenience and retail channels.

download (2)New Belgium Brewing has introduced two new year-round “gluten-reduced” ales, Glütiny Golden Ale and Glütiny Pale Ale, both of which retail at around $10 a six-pack.The Golden Ale is 5.2% abv and brewed with Nugget, Goldings and Cascade hops (and dry-hopped with Cascade), while the Pale Ale (6% abv) includes Equinox, Chinook, Cascade and Crystal hops. For both beers, New Belgium’s brewers used an enzyme to break down the proteins that trigger a reaction from gluten-sensitive consumers.

download (3)Missouri’s Schlafly Beer has added a new brew to its Ibex Series of experimental and limited release offerings. An apricot Berliner Weisse, the newcomer is called Eleventh Labor and was made with 62 pounds of apricots per barrel and brewed with Schlafly’s sour house yeast culture. The 4.2% abv brew is rolling out across Schlafly’s distribution territory in the Midwest and East Coast regions in 750-ml. bottles and a small amount of draft.

download (4)Pabst Brewing Co. is re-launching classic beer label Ballantine Burton Ale as a limited edition seasonal. First brewed by New Jersey-based P. Ballantine & Sons Brewing Co. in the 1930s, Ballantine Burton Ale was typically aged in American oak for up to 20 years, with P. Ballantine & Sons gifting the beer—which was never made publicly available—to select individuals. Pabst is rolling out a recreated version of the 11.3%-abv brew this month through December in select Northeastern markets, available in six-packs and on draft. The launch follows Pabst’s revival of Ballantine IPA, which originated in 1878, late last year.

download (5)Illinois-based Small Town Brewery is following up on its fast-growing Not Your Father’s Root Beer brand with a national launch of Not Your Father’s Ginger Ale, a 5.9% abv ginger ale. The new entry is a “gruit-inspired botanical beer brewed with ginger,” according to Small Town, which is rolling the product out to about 40 states next week through distributor Pabst Brewing, with nationwide coverage expected by February. Gruit (German for “herbs”) beers are bittered and flavored with roots, spices, flowers and berries rather than hops. The company recommends that Not Your Father’s Ginger Ale—packaged in six-packs of bottles and cans ($10.99)—be served chilled over ice or in ginger cocktails like the Moscow Mule and Dark & Stormy.

download (6)Chico, California-based Sierra Nevada Brewing Company is adding to its year-round lineup with the launch of gose-style ale Otra Vez early next year. The new beer is brewed with local produce like prickly pear cactus and grapefruits and comes in at 4.5% abv. Beginning January 2016, Otra Vez will be available throughout the company’s nationwide distribution footprint in 12-ounce cans and bottles and on draft. Sierra Nevada’s core beers include Pale Ale, Torpedo, Hop Hunter IPA, Nooner Pilsner, Kellerweis, Porter and Stout, as well as seasonal, specialty and limited releases. In addition to its Chico operation, Sierra Nevada operates a second brewery in Mills River, North Carolina.

All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily



The Trinity Pack includes all three of Teeling Whiskey’s non-aged portfolio – ideal for whiskey lovers and those who aren’t sure which is their favourite tipple but would love to sample them all over the festive season. The gift set contains the Teeling Irish Whiskey Single Grain, Teeling Irish Whiskey Small Batch and the Teeling Whiskey Single Malt. Each is bottled at 46% abv and non-chill filtered.  The Single Grain is aged in ex-California Cabernet Sauvignon barrels.  The Small Batch is aged for over six months in ex-rum barrels.  The Single Malt is a blend of whiskies up to 23 years old that have been aged in a variety of wine casks including Sherry, Port, Madiera, White Burgundy and Cabernet Sauvignon.

You can read our previous review of Teeling Small Batch.

Teeling Single Grain (92 proof)
Visual: Mild gold.
Nose: Lush, intoxicating malt dominated by high, sweet, fruity notes.
Taste: A hearty smooth and toasty mid-range is bookended by spicy, high peccadilloes and low, woody solidarity.  Happily, the aging in cab Sauv barrels hasn’t changed the overall character of the whiskey, but just widened its spectrum.
Finish: Medium long, with an ultra dry, sherry-like finish.
Overall: An ethereal whiskey which grows on you with each sip.  Best buy a 750ml bottle, as the 50ml will just satisfy one person for one night.
GSN Rating: A-

Teeling Single Malt (92 proof)
Visual: Silvery-gold.
Nose: Rich, intense wine-laden malt.  You can swim in it. In a word, the quintessence of the Irish craft.
Taste: Quite sweet at first, but then it tempers down into a solid malt-driven, pot still charactered whiskey.  Despite the various barrel flavor infusions, the sheer age of the whiskies used keep things in check.  The wine notes serve to fame the overall friendly and upbeat malt distillate.
Finish: Medium long with the almost effervescent champagne notes coming through at the end.
Overall: Despite the unusual casks used, this is a very solid, recognizable Irish whiskey.  I’d definitely order a double of this with a side of branch water at any bar where it is available.  Just different enough to keep me guessing.
GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Teeling Whiskey

I0009408_Boomsma_Cloosterbitter_SellSheet_0815The Winebow Group has added Cloosterbitter, a new herbal bitter brand, to its Craft + Estate portfolio. Produced by Dutch genever distiller Boomsma, Cloosterbitter is based on a 15th century recipe, and is made with a blend of 17 herbs. The 40%-abv entry is currently available nationwide, retailing at $25 a 750-ml.

Wicked-Dolphin-Gold-Reserve-Rum-Bottle-Shot-292x680Cape Coral, Florida’s Wicked Dolphin Distillery has extended its namesake rum range with a new Gold Reserve entry. Aged in Bourbon barrels for three years, Wicked Dolphin Gold Reserve is produced using two different fermentation styles, featuring both Florida sugarcane and Florida molasses. The 40%-abv entry is priced at $32.99 a 750-ml., and currently available throughout Florida and the southeastern U.S. via Republic National Distributing Co.

All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily

downloadSan Leandro, California’s 21st Amendment Brewery is re-releasing its Marooned On Hog Island oyster stout after a three-year hiatus. Created in collaboration with California oyster purveyors Hog Island Oyster Co., Marooned On Hog Island is brewed with Magnum and Willamette hops, Crystal, Carafa, Chocolate and rolled oats malts and 200 pounds of oyster shells. The 7.9%-abv entry will be available starting November 13across 21st Amendment’s 24-market footprint for a limited time.

download (1)Connecticut’s Charter Oak Brewing is introducing a new cellar-aged version of its Lights Out Stout, shipping the first bottles in December. Part of Charter Oak’s new one-off Limited Release program—which will debut a new beer in 22-ounce bottles and on draft every 60-80 days—the aged Lights Out Stout offering has been rested in bottle for one year, and is at 9.1% abv.

download (2)Narragansett Beer is introducing Big Mamie Indestructable American Pale Ale, a new offering. The release commemorates the 50th anniversary of the maritime museum Battleship Cove at Fall River, Massachusetts, where the World War II war ship USS Massachusetts—known as Big Mamie—is still docked. A 4.5% abv pale ale, the new entry will be available through the winter in six-packs of 16-ounce cans across Narragansett’s distribution footprint, retailing at $8.99-$9.99.

download (3)Boston Beer has debuted the 2015 edition of its Samuel Adams Utopias barrel-aged beer. Brewed in small batches, this year’s Utopias vintage was blended with previous vintages going back to 1992, then finished in a mix of barrels—including Cognac, Armagnac, Port, Madeira and others—at the Samuel Adams Boston Brewery. At 28% abv, it’s suggested to be served as a two-ounce pour in a snifter glass at room temperature. 10,000 bottles were produced, retailing at $199 apiece at select specialty beer and liquor stores.

download (4)Escondido, California-based Stone Brewing Co. has partnered with Missouri’s 4 Hands Brewing Co. and Washington’s Bale Breaker Brewing Co. to create Sorry Not Sorry IPA. A 9.3%-abv imperial IPA, the collaborative entry is brewed with Warrior, Simcoe and Mosaic hops, as well as a pair of experimental hop varieties—HBC 342 and HBC 344—and pureed peaches. Sorry Not Sorry IPA will be available for a limited time in 22-ounce bottles and on draft across 42 U.S. markets.

download (5)San Francisco’s Speakeasy Ales & Lagers is bringing back its Scarface Imperial Stout with the re-launch of its original recipe and the debut of a special barrel-aged edition. The original version of Scarface Imperial Stout is made with a blend of grains and Columbus and Magnum hops, while the Barrel-Aged Scarface Imperial Stout is matured for over a year in Bourbon barrels, and can be consumed immediately or cellared for several years. Both 9.5%-abv entries will be sold across a 13-market footprint by the end of November, available in 22-ounce bottles and on draft.

All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Review: Aura Glass

Aura-Glass-wijnAura Glass is a rotating goblet that aerates your wine with the touch of a finger. Unlike any other wine glass, Aura Glass pivots on a stainless steel ball, which blends the beverage’s aromas and flavors. As an example, Aura glass makes it easy to aerate a glass of wine without the need for a separate decanter or device.

After testing the glass out with different levels of liquid, I discovered that five ounces or less is ideal in terms of getting the glass to make several revolutions.  Also of import is that the surface on which it rests must be level and smooth.

Pros: Holding the glass in the hand feels good, like a snifter without a foot.  But, you also feel more careful when setting it down. Visually, the glass is intriguing and a great conversation piece.  I found myself rotating the glass around quite a bit as I socialized.  I can imagine a table with several of these glasses all spinning at the same time.  Kind of like a show where someone keeps a number of plates spinning.

Cons: It doesn’t aerate wine as well as a hearty swirl in a stemmed glass.  Storage is a bit of an issue as you need to place it upside-down and it has a large “footprint”.  Kids will want to play with this glass at dinner.

Overall, it is a fun piece of glassware that will create a festive atmosphere.

GSN Rating: B+

For more information go to: Aura Glass


Makar (Scots for poet) Glasgow Gin is produced in small batches in a copper pot still affectionately named Annie. A total of eight botanicals are used with juniper berries being the predominant character.

Makar Glasgow Gin (86 proof)
Visual: Clear.
Nose: Fresh, lively juniper with a healthy dose of coriander and citrus peel.  Mouth watering and quite traditional.
Taste: A bit rough with a dark, minerality which conflicts with the botanicals.  They seem lost in the heaviness of the distillate.
Finish: Dry.  A slight bitterness and graininess in the mouth feel.  More pepper in the back of the throat than any lasting impression of juniper.
Overall: Sadly, I was disappointed in this gin.  It seems a bit rough around the edges and more of a beginner’s craft spirit than one which hits the mark.
GSN Rating: B-

For more information go to: Glasgow Distillery


Woodford Reserve is turning back the clock with the 2015 iteration of their famed Master’s Collection: 1838 Style White Corn. Conceptualized by respected industry veteran Master Distiller Chris Morris, this release celebrates both Woodford Reserve’s modern approach to bourbon, and the craftsmanship of its storied past.

Drawing from original production records, Morris developed and brought to life a recipe that might have been used by renowned Master Distiller James Christopher Crow and distillery owner Oscar Pepper during their visionary work in the mid-1800s. The 1838 Style White Corn release is both inspired by, and pays tribute to, the techniques developed by Pepper and Crow which have become some of the most well-known and commonly used throughout the industry today. The use of white corn instead of traditional yellow corn complements additional grains within the spirit, including the rye and malt, allowing those characteristics to create a sharper-tasting whiskey.

Woodford Reserve 1838 Style White Corn (90.4 proof)
Visual: Golden yellow-brown.
Nose: Hearty rye accented spice bomb.  Very direct, intense baked cornbread with cracked black pepper.
Taste: Surprisingly light and genteel.  A lot of flavor in a refined package.  The overall effect is one of tanned moccasin leather and rye toast.  This sums up what I think of when I want an Autumnal bourbon that stays away from the sweeter side of whiskey.
Finish: Medium long with a curious peppermint note that creeps in towards the end.  If this bourbon wasn’t in the $100 per bottle price range, I’d be highly tempted to use it in an authentic mint julep.
Overall: Yum.  Another winner from Woodford Reserve.
GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Woodford Reserve


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