Tweeddale blend was first distilled in 1820 in Coldstream Scotland, just a few minutes from the border of England. Having been shut down during WWII, the Tweeddale Blend was reborn in 2009. The first batch was produced in 2010 and we were lucky enough to get a taste of Batch 2, bottled in June of 2011. Batch two is made up of single grain whisky aged for more than 15 years sherry cask. Seven of the eight single malts are from the same casks as batch 1 but a year older, from 12 years old to 21 years old. A blend of aged single grain whisky and eight individually selected aged single malt whiskies with a high malt content (50% grain, 50% malt), the Tweeddale blend is non chill filtered in keeping with the tradition of the original blend. Bottled at about 46% ABV, the 12 years aged Tweedale Batch 2 is a solid scotch whisky. With a thick gold color, the Tweeddale 12 Year is very smooth with a syrupy, fruity flavor with an oak and wood mouth feel. Sweet, smooth and warm this full bodied and balanced blend with a solid, light and refreshing smokiness. This is a solid scotch whisky and we definitely recommend it.
Tasting Notes from Tweeddale:
Batch Two (First bottled June 2011, available now)
Nose -mellow, sherry, toffee.
Palate -rich, full yet delicately flavoured
Finish -rounded, with hints of spice.
Just as every batch was slightly different when my Great Grandfather produced it over 70 years ago, my 2nd batch of The Tweeddale Blend is 12 year old.
Distilled and matured in Ross-Shire, the Glenmorangie 18 Years Old Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky is considered “Extremely Rare.” Once it has spent fifteen years maturing in American white oak bourbon casks, approximately 30% if the whisky is transferred into Spanish Oloroso casks to spend a further three years maturing. Most scotches are aged for the majority of their maturation in bourbon casks because bourbon casks are only used once, usually aging bourbon in Kentucky for about 3-6 years. Then, the bourbon cask is shipped to Scotland to create single malts and blended scotch whiskies.
In the north of Scotland in the Highlands, the Glenmorangie distillery sits on the shores of Dornach Firth. Since 1843, Glenmorangie has been distilling single malt Scotch whisky and the 18 year is the magnum opus of this long, rich, critically acclaimed and award winning single malt distillery. Like many coastal distilleries in Scotland, the salty ocean water air gives the single malt much of its character.
Winning gold gest in Class at the 2011 International Wine & Spirits Competition, the double gold medal for single malts at 2010 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, best Highland Malt at the 2009 World Whiskies Awards, and gold best in class for Highland Malt at the International Wine & Spirit Competition, the Glenmorangie Extremely Rare 18 Years Old has proven it’s stature in double blind taste tests again and again. Glenmorangie was also named distillery of the year in 2011 at the IWSC after taking 5 gold best in class awards.
Tasting Notes for the Glenmorangie 18 Year Single Malt Scotch Whisky:
With a light gold color, slightly sweet in flavor, this whisky is a complex and crisp single malt. Slightly dry towards the finish with a good, thick mouth feel, there are hints of honey, malt smoke and oak. This is a beautiful whisky and we are lucky enough to have the pleasure to have tasted it multiple times. We highly recommend this single malt but there is a steep price tag, about $100.00.
For a whisky of this age this expression has maintained, thanks to our delicate floral spirit and fine Oloroso casks, an incredible degree of vibrancy where the raisiny sweetness of the sherry has been toned down by the nuttiness of the American oak.
Rich, rounded and sweet with dried fruits and a complex floral fragrance.
The taste is balanced between honey, malt and flowery scents. Dates and figs emerge in the background with a hint of wood smoke.
The finish is long and enticing with the sweetness of dried fruit and subtle dryness of Oloroso nuttiness.
The Westmalle Trappist Dubbel Belgian Ale is made by Trappist Monks at the Westmalle Abbey Monastery in Belgium. An Abbey is a Catholic Monastery and Trappist is the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance, a Roman Catholic Religious Order. According to Westmalle, out of all the beers in the world, only seven of them can use the name ‘Trappist’: Achel, Chimay, La Trappe, Orval, Rochefort, Westvleteren and Westmalle, all of which have an “Authentic Trappist Product” logo. A Trappist beer is only given this name if the beer is brewed within the walls of a Trappist abbey, by the monks themselves or under their supervision. The brewery must be controlled by the monastery and be monastic in its business. The profit from the beer and cheese making is only for the modest livelihood of the Monks and the up keep of the abbey. Having brewed beer since 1837, there are three beers brewed at the Westmalle Trappist Abbey, the Westmalle Dubbel or double, the Westmalle Trippel, and the Westmalle Extra.
For a Belgian Ale the Westmalle Dubbel is actually pretty mild and balanced. Many Belgian Ales can be extremely strong in alcohol and yeast, but the Westmalle Dubbel is subtle in both. A dark, reddish-brown with a secondary fermentation in the bottle the Dubbel is subtle enough for the malts to shine through the yeast and 7% ABV. With flavors of fruit, toffee, chocolate and coffee, the Westmalle Dubbel is complex but not overbearing and could be considered a session beer when comparing it to other heavy Trappiste beers. The Westmalle Dubbel is simply one our favorite beers and absolutely recommend it.
If you love a well balanced craft IPA and Pale Ale, but still love the high malt content of a German Dopplebock, the Yakima Glory marries both brewing styles in one of the best craft beers in the world, the Victory Brewing Yakima Glory Ale. With imported German Malts and Four Whole Flour Yakima Valley Hops, the Yakima Glory has an ABV of 8.7%. The Victory Yakima Glory comes with one of our highest craft ale recommendations.
“The tenacious grip of big, juicy hop aroma and character slides smoothly into rich, dark malts. This heavyweight battle between fresh, Yakima Valley hops and dark, roasted malts is resolved harmoniously as the flavors merge to deliver complex satisfaction with a warming edge. Bask in the “glory” of the bright and brassy hops!”
When the Whiskey Goldmine releases our Top 10 Single Malt Scotch list in the next few weeks, the Macallan Cask Strength is destined for the top 5. This single malt is a flat out masterpiece. The Macallan Cask Strength is aged for a minimum of 10 years in Spanish Oak casks, handcrafted and seasoned by Sherry in Jerez. The Macallan cask strength is bottled straight from the barrel without chill filtration or adding any water, as opposed to what is normally done in almost all scotches, not to mention all whiskeys. The genius of this whisky is just that, it’s just the single malt Scotch whisky in its natural state making the statement in your glass. One could search their entire lives looking for a 10 years aged single malt with this much complexity and undoubtedly come up short.
The color is a deep red, almost a mahogany. The flavor and mouth feel are a complex and sweet syrup, with beautiful notes of wood. With hints of vanilla, fruits, spices and oak, the flavor, mouth feel, and finish is just on another level than other premium single malts. Almost like a pancake meeting maple syrup for the first time, no other premium single malt is this rich and complex.
Perhaps the craziest attribute of the Macallan Cask Strength is just that, its strength. There is no water added and the whisky is bottled straight from the barrel, 58.5% ABV, 117 proof. Yet, with the strong character of the cask strength is still an exceptionally smooth and beautiful whisky. Compared to other premium single malts, the Balvenie 15 year Single Barrel is 47,8%, the Talisker 10 year is 45.8%, Highland Park 12 year is 43%, and the Oban 14 year is 43%. That would mean that the Macallan Cask Strength has almost a 35% higher ABV than Highland Park and Oban.
This Macallan Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch comes with our highest recommendation. This is perhaps the most exception single malt we’ve ever tasted and in its price range and maturation, one will find it extremely difficult to match.
The fall season brings out the best and worst of craft beer, with many brewers trying to put pumpkin pie in a bottle. Sometimes too sweet, sometimes too trendy, but one fall craft beer continues to reign at the top, the Southern Tier Pumpking. Southern Tier Brewing in New York is one of the most recognized and awarded craft brewing companies in the country. The seasonal Southern Tier Pumpking is an ode to Púca, a creature of Celtic folklore, who is both feared and respected by those who believe in it. Púca is said to waylay travelers throughout the night, tossing them on its back, and providing them the ride of their lives, from whichthey return forever changed! Brewed in the spirit of All Hallows Eve, a time of year when spirits can make contact with the physical world and when magic is most potent. Pour Pumking into a goblet and allow it’s alluring spirit to overflow. As spicy aromas present themselves, let its deep copper color entrance you as your journey into this mystical brew has just begun. As the first drops touch your tongue a magical spell will bewitch your taste buds making it difficult to escape. This beer is brewed with pagan spirit yet should be enjoyed responsibly.
8.6% abv • 12.7ºL • Imperial Pumpkin Ale • 22 oz / 1/2 keg / 1/6 keg
Philadelphia’s iconic indie radio station WXPN, located at the far left of the dial at 88.5 FM, has been a musical haven for emerging and local musicians as well as heritage artists for decades. A member-supported station based out of the University of Pennsylvania, WXPN has been a pioneer in the non-commercial radio station world, bringing an eclectic mix of the best music to the airways without pressure to conform to commercial radio conventions from corporate underwriters.
This freedom from corporate rule is showcased beautifully in WXPN’s nationally syndicated program Live at the World Café. Started with seed money from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in 1991 and distributed by NPR since 2005, the two-hour daily show has featured over 4,000 performances and interviews over the last twenty years. There aren’t many shows you can tune in to and find in-depth interviews and performances by the likes of Leonard Cohen, Joan Armatrading, Tom Waits, and Joe Strummer — actually, there are no other places, we checked – and twenty years of this thoughtful programming is what the folks at the Philadelphia Brewing Company thought worthy of honoring this month with a special limited edition brew.
The Broadcaster Brown Ale, PBC’s tribute to the 20th anniversary of Live at the World Café, and its host David Dye, is a malty, hoppy, crisp brown ale with excellent balance. Very flavorful with a bitter crispness, made with German malts, this is a solid brown ale.
Alcohol Content: 5.0 abv
Color: Deep Ruby-Brown
Hops: Bravo, Centenial, Cascase
Dry Hops: Amarillo, Cascade
Malts: Two-row Pilsner, Dark Munich, CaraMunich, Carafa , Oats
Oktoberfest Beers: A 200 Year German Brewing Tradition
By Team Goldmine
The German Tradition of Oktoberfest started in Munich Germany in 1810 to celebrate the marriage of the Crown Prince of Bavaria. An Oktoberfest beer, or Marzen style lager is brewed in March and stored cold through the spring and summer, and finally tapped in October. Compared to a regular German style lager, the Oktoberfest bier is brewed with more malts and higher alcohol content in order to survive the long spring/summer storage. One of our favorite styles, the Oktoberfest Marzen Lager is usually darker, full bodied, with more flavor than a traditional lager. Below is a list of the Top 10 Oktoberfest beers of 2011!
1. Spaten Oktoberfest Marzen- -Germany. 5.9% ABV
Crisp, well balanced, excellent head, natural amber color, balance is subtle in rich malts & bitters. Crisp pleasant finish. Our 2011 Oktoberfest Champion!
2. Hacker Pschorr Original Oktoberfest—Germany. 5.80% ABV
Golden Brown color, great wheat aroma, smooth but crisp, excellent mouthfeel interesting malt tones, tastes of malts and notes of honey. Finish is slightly flat.
3. Paulaner Oktoberfest Marzen—Germany. 6.00% ABV
Pours a rich copper color, perfect carbonation settles to rich head. Bitter, malty, complex and dry. Achieves perfect balance of maltiness & bitterness.
Great for being out of a can! Settles to a cloudy light orange/amber color with a rich head that sticks to glass. Out of the American Oktoberfest brews, this is the quintessential German Oktoberfest style.
5. Ayinger Oktoberfest Marzen—Germany. 5.80% ABV
Malty, Crisp, Dry with Light Hops. Hints of Coffee and very well balanced. Our 2010 Oktoberfest champion.
6. Stoudts Oktoberfest—Pennsylvania. 5.00% ABV
Pours a dark copper cloudy cover with light head and toffee malt notes. Sweet, citrusy and malty. More noticeable hoppiness than others, smooth finish & balance.
7. Great Lakes Oktoberfest –Ohio. 6.5% ABV
Made with Harrington 2 Row Malts and Hallertau U.S. German style Hops, here is another flat out stud from Great Lakes. This brewery has the lock on lagers.
8. Hofbrau Oktoberfestbier—Germany. 6.30% ABV
Robust, crisp, sweet and dry. Made with ale yeasts and ours an unusually light golden color. Frothy head, light on the malt characteristics, but the wheat bitter balance is nice.
9. Flying Dog Dogtoberfest Marzen—Maryland 5.30% ABV
Made with German Perle and Hallertau Malts, and brewed with 100% German ingredients. A medium and solid crisp lager.
10. Flying Fish Oktoberfish—New Jersey 5.50% ABV
Pours an orange to light copper with thin carbonation. Malty, crips, with a sour aftertaste. Flavor dissapates rather quickly. Hints of coffee in the malts. Finishes crisp.
11. Victory Festbier—Pennsylvania. 5.60% ABV
12. Becks Oktoberfest—Germany. 5.00% ABV
13. Sam Adams Oktoberfest—Massachusetts. 5.30% ABV
14. Saranac Oktoberfest—New York. 5.40% ABV
15. Brooklyn Oktoberfest–New York. 5.50% ABV.
Oktoberfest officially begins on September 18 and goes through the first weekend of October. This year the traditional German brewers did what they due best, taking 4 of the top 5 spots in our 2011 rankings. Our esteemed panel consisted of 5 judges, one being a craft beer sommelier. Please note: these rankings are based upon the beers available in the Pennsylvania and New Jersey area. We searched 7-8 locations and tasted every Oktoberfest beer available.
The Colossus of Rhodes is known as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. And an American strong ale from the Baltimore area brewery DuClaw is a wonder of the extreme beer world. DuClaw Colossus (DuClaw Brewing Co.; Bel Air, MD; American Strong Ale; ABV: 21.0) is a beer of gigantic proportions. This dark amber ale immerses you right off the bat with big notes of sweet caramel in both the aromatic nose and initial taste. The candy like feel is complimented by apple, cinnamon spices, and honey with a hint of piny hops at the end.
Since Colossus is aged like a wine or brandy to allow its flavors to mature and alcohol to mellow, the alcohol content is deceptively hidden and there’s no burn at the finish that’s characteristic of other ales in its weight class.
For many years I have considered Samuel Adams Utopias to be the best extreme beer of 20% or more, but the wonderfully complex and silky smooth Colossus can definitely give this acclaimed ale a run for its money.
Had a chance to try another exceptional beer from Colorado brewery Oskar Blues while having dinner at Libby’s. An Imperial red ale, it features the hoppy character of an Imperial IPA with the smoothness of an amber ale.
Oskar Blues G’Knight:
(Oskar Blues Grill & Brewery; Lyon, CO; Imperial Red Ale; ABV: 8.7) is named for the late Gordon Knight, a fire-fighting helicopter pilot and local brewer who helped found the Colorado breweries Twisted Pine, Wolf Tongue, and Estes Park during the 1990s. Knight was killed in the line of duty in 2002. The beer in fact was originally named Gordon Knight, but was renamed after a trademark infringement suit filed by Gordon Biersch Brewery (sic).
The dry hopped G’Knight is a fitting tribute to Knight, with a deep amber color and hearty notes of citrus and piny hops complimented by sweet caramel malt and honey. G’Knight is a very satisfying and well balanced ale, and the alcohol content of nearly 9% is nicely toned down. It paired well with the Crispy Soft Shell Crab Po Boy that I had as the main course.
My friend Jack and I hit Shamrock Pub last night to check out several beers that were featured during Monday’s Harpoon Tiny Tap Takeover. I’ve been a fan of the Boston based brewery for some time, so it was a great opportunity to try some offerings that aren’t normally seen in the SRQ area.
Harpoon Belgian Pale Ale; Harpoon Brewery; Boston, MA; Belgian Pale Ale; ABV: 5.8. This Belgian pale ale (beer on right in left hand side picture) is brewed and conditioned according to the brewery’s IPA specifications, but is also fermented with Belgian golden ale yeast. Golden amber in color, it has subtle notes of Belgian spices and caramel malt backed by Amarillo hops with a crisp clean finish. The floral character of this ale balances nicely with the Belgian influence from the yeast and spices.
Harpoon Rich & Dan’s Rye IPA; Harpoon Brewery; Boston, MA; India Pale Ale; ABV: 6.9). This beer (beer on left in left hand side picture), is #37 in the brewery’s 100 Barrel Series. A blend of a rye beer and an IPA, Rich & Dan’s Rye IPA pours a light copper color, with notes of rye and citrus fruit such as grapefruit up front, complimented by caramel, peppery spices, and piny hops on the back end. Quite smooth throughout with a dry finish.
Harpoon Munich Dark; Harpoon Brewery; Boston, MA; Munich Dunkel Lager; ABV: 5.6. Brewed with Harpoon’s house ale yeast, this dunkel is inspired by a centuries’ old Bavarian recipe. Dark brown in color, it has ample notes of sweet caramel malt and yeast balanced by chocolate, molasses, and dark fruit with a smoky bitterness at the finish. A fine example of this beer style.
Harpoon Leviathan Imperial Rye; Harpoon Brewery; Boston, MA; Rye Beer; ABV: 8.9. My favorite of the four on tap. From Harpoon’s Leviathan Series, this superb imperial rye beer is black burgundy in color with appreciable notes of spicy rye and breaded malt complimented by caramel, sweet honey, and grassy hops with a noticeable hint of alcohol in the backbone. As silky smooth as it is complex, Leviathan Imperial Rye has an almost barley wine like character to it.
We chatted with owner Derek Anderson for a bit, and he had a nice surprise for us by putting Evil Twin Yin (Evil Twin Brewing; Valby, Denmark; Russian Imperial Stout; ABV: 10.0) on tap. On tap recently at Willards Tap House in Largo, Shamrock is the first pub that I’ve seen to have it here locally. Evil Twin derives its name from Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø, who founded the brewery and happens to be the twin brother of Mikkeller founder Mikkel Jarnit-Bjergsø. Yin is jet black in color, with substantial notes of sweet chocolate and roasted malt balanced by dark fruit and a hint of smokiness on the back end. There’s a boozy character to Yin from the considerable alcohol presence, but it blends in nicely with the rich, full-bodied texture of this delicious imperial stout. Looking forward to trying Evil Twin Yang (Evil Twin Brewing; Valby, Denmark, Imperial India Pale Ale; ABV: 10.0) sometime in the future.