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The Stone Vertical Epic & Stone Double Bastard Ale

Stone Vertical Epic 101010 300x235 The Stone Vertical Epic & Stone Double Bastard AleCourtesy of Local Dark Bars

By Brandon Gould

So, Vertical Epic is new to me but it is a phenomenon I will gladly get behind. It is genius marketing with a kick.  I’ll start by saying that the alcohol content is 9.5%.(the kick).  So stone has been putting out these different versions of Vertical Epic since soon after the turn of the century.  Each one is brewed a little differently and is meant to be opened on a specific date  and is released one year, one month, and one day later from the previous.   The next will be on November 11th 2011, 11-11-11. (the Marketing)

The 10-10-10 is a Belgian-style trippel brewed with dried chamomile flowers, triticale and Belgian amber candy sugar. The most present and unique flavors though are the locally grown Muscat, gewurraminer and sauvignon blanc grapes.  This version of the V.E. is fruity, sweet, and packs a punch.  We highly recommended to purchase and save till open date, 12-12-12.  Till then also buy a couple to have now to help reduce the temptation of opening the others 

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arrogantbastard stone brewing 258x300 The Stone Vertical Epic & Stone Double Bastard AleStone Double Bastard

This spin off of Stone Breweries Arrogant Bastard is another beer that you’re not worthy of drinking.  At 11.2% you won’t know what hits you and its great taste you won’t appreciate.  Double Bastards beautiful dark color will immediately intimidate you so take that first impression and buy the fizzy yellow beer that suits your mediocre personality.

Cheers!

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The Wine Chronicles: How to Taste Wine

Wine3 12372991 300x200 The Wine Chronicles: How to Taste WineTasting Wine for Beginners:  The Look, the Swirl, the Scent and the Taste

By Tim Rodgers

Many of us know that we enjoy a glass of wine.  The complicated part is that many of us don’t know why we enjoy this particular brand & style over others.  “This wine is a little too sweet, this wine taste too much like pepper, this wine tastes a little like vinegar…”  Believe it or not, to fully appreciate the wine you are drinking, there is a method to the madness of actually tasting a particular wine.

It helps to pour your wine into a very clear glass so that the color and clarity of the wine can be appreciated but also a glass big enough that you can swirl the wine around to release the aromas.  Releasing the aromas helps enhance the wine tasting experience.  Essentially, there are four basic components to wine tasting.

Wine 12948951 300x199 The Wine Chronicles: How to Taste WineFirst is the look.  After all, we all initially eat and drink with our eyes, so the look of the wine is very important.  Holding your glass by the stem (as not to get smudges, fingerprints, or spinach & artichoke dip on the glass) put it up against a white background with a good amount of natural light.  In red wines, the color should be brilliant and clear.  White wines should appear limpid and bright.  Older wines should have a less intense color than newer wines, and wines made in cooler regions would have less vivid colors than those made in warmer regions.  Basically, any cloudiness or discoloration in your wine indicates some sort of defect in the wine making process.

Second is the swirl.  Does this make you look pretentious and snobby?  Yes, but swirling the wine around in your glass helps introduce oxygen into the wine which releases key aromas.  With a fairly newer wine, you should swirl it a little more vigorously as opposed to an older wine that should be swirled with a little more care.

Next is the smell.  Don’t be afraid. Stick your schnoz deep into the glass.  This is where you can allow your imagination run wild.  Take deep whiffs of the wine a couple of times if you have to.  Your sense of smell is greater than your sense of taste.  The olfactory memory is one of the strongest memories we have and plays in important role in your own perception of the wine.  Wine experts of course have a list of specific terms and vocabulary for wine tastes, but WhiskeyGoldmine does not play by anybody’s rules, so go wild.  If you think you smell hints of bubble gum, then roll with it baby and tell the chino and sweater vest wearing yuppies Muffy and Biff that there is some bubble gum in their wine.  It happens.

white wine glasses 111 300x225 The Wine Chronicles: How to Taste WineFinally, is the taste.  Take a swig of wine and fill your mouth about half way.  Swish the wine around in your mouth. (don’t gargle) By doing so, you are releasing yet more aromas and finally tasting the wine.  This process is also known as chewing.  Next you can either spit out the wine or swallow.  I think if you are an avid reader of WhiskeyGoldmine, you know we stand on this issue.

Pay attention to how the wine tastes as you drink it.  Is there an aftertaste?  Does it linger? If the aftertaste is too hot, then the alcohol content is probably too high or it is out of balance.  How is the mouth feel?  Is it refreshing and light?  Dry and bitter?  All of these tastes have their own importance and there is a reason to enjoy it all.  Like all things in life, a good wine is about harmony and balance.  The wine should be full with flavor with a nice balance of all of the elements of fruit, tannin, and acid.

Tell Muffy and Biff I said wadup.  Cheers!

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The March Madness Beer Champion: Founders Breakfast Stout!

founders breakfaststout 111111 The March Madness Beer Champion: Founders Breakfast Stout!2011March Madness Beer Champion Founders Breakfast Stout

By Team Goldmine

From starting with 500 beers to 64 to 1 final champion, Founders Breakfast Stout has won the March Madness Beer Championship Bracket tournament for Whiskey Goldmine.  Almost getting knocked out in the Final Four to Pliny the Elder Double IPA, Founders Breakfast Stout emerged to challenge Stone IPA for the March Madness Championship.  Although close, Founders Breakfast Stout won the championship convincingly.  This is not the first contest that Founders has won for Whiskey Goldmine and probably won’t be the last.  The beers in the March Madness Beer Championship were judged on style, flavor, taste and finish by an esteemed panel of tasters.  Our tasters included multiple sommeliers, award winning chefs, craft beer professionals and craft beer enthusiasts.  There has been a lot of controversy behind the scenes of Whiskey Goldmine throughout the tournament and even some back and forth fighting during the Final Four.  But hey, real champions rise to the occasion no matter the odds.  The will be more on the Breakfast Stout in the coming days.

Whiskey Goldmine would like to congratulate our 2011 Champion, Founders Breakfast Stout.  Clearly this is the most prestigious award in modern history.  Move over Nobel and Oscar, this is the Whiskey Goldmine. 

For more on the Founders Breakfast Stout Click the Link Here! 

The March Madness Beer Championship Bracket

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The Templeton Small Batch Rye Whiskey

templeton rye whiskey 166x300 The Templeton Small Batch Rye Whiskey A Prohibition Whiskey & Al Capone’s Whiskey of Choice

During prohibition when alcohol was banned, Templeton Rye grew in legend.  Still made from the original recipe in charred new oak barrels, not only was Templeton Rye Al Capone’s whiskey of choice, it was a major piece of his bootlegging empire. In order to be called a rye, there needs to be a rye quantity of 51% in the sour mash. Templeton Rye however uses a 90% rye based mash and a 25% backset. Meaning, 25% of each mash is derived from the previous mash and so on. Each batch of rye whiskey is connected to the next.

The Templeton Rye Review and Flavor:

At first scent, the rye has a light bourbon hint with a deep scent of grain. The taste is a little sweet, but smooth with a good bite. The flavor of grain is a major statement with a rye and corn taste. Sometimes a dry and sour aftertaste, the is a all-around spicy finish. The Templeton Rye is full bodied, smooth, sweet, and the deep malt and grain grows on you with every sip. Templeton Rye just gets better and better each time we sip it. Wait, let me confirm. Yup!

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March Madness Beer Championship Game: Founders Imperial Breakfast Stout VS. Stone IPA

STONE IPA 238x300 March Madness Beer Championship Game: Founders Imperial Breakfast Stout VS. Stone IPABeer Bracket March Madness Tournament Championship Game

By Team Goldmine

It’s been a grueling battle of serious beer drinking by team Goldmine.  But hey, that’s what we do best, drink.  The Final Four pit some big dogs against each other and Stone IPA laid the smack down on Ayinger Celebrator Dopplebock.  Founders Breakfast Stout and Pliny the Elder went into overtime and the Founders Breakfast Stout shooting guard hit a runner in the lane at the buzzer in a classic March Madness ending.  Yup, the scoring was that close and it could have gone either way.  Real champions rise to the occasion and now Stone IPA and Founders Breakfast Stout square off for our March Madness Beer Championship!  The beers are judged on style, color, taste, flavor, finish and aftertaste and The Founders Breakfast Stout and Stone IPA will go head to head in the 2011 March Madness Beer Championship game.  Who will take home beers biggest prize?  Yup, I just said it, the biggest prize in all of beer.  Clearly it’s this tournament.  Click the link below to see the March Madness Beer Championship Bracket.

founders breakfaststout 11111 March Madness Beer Championship Game: Founders Imperial Breakfast Stout VS. Stone IPA

 

2011 March Madness Championship Game

 

 

 

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The Avery Dugana Double IPA, Smuttynose IPA, & Oskar Blues Gubna Imperial IPA

Avery Gubna Double IPA 300x300 The Avery Dugana Double IPA, Smuttynose IPA, & Oskar Blues Gubna Imperial IPABy Matt Goldstein & Pat Smith

During a weekend of absolute debauchery in Atlantic City with all you can eat and drink comps, ringside seats at the fight, hot rocks at the craps table and insidious bar hopping and the March Madness Beer Championship, we unselfishly took the time out to review a few beers.  The Avery Dugna Double IPA and Oskar Blues Gubna Imperial IPA certainly have an interesting take on America’s top craft beer style. 

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The Avery Dugna Double IPA

The Dugna Double IPA is made with Chinook, Centennial and Columbus hops and malted with Two-row barley, dark aromatic and caramel malts.  The Avery philosophy behind creating this beer was “unity of bitterness, hop flavor and aroma.”  Well, that philosophy certainly hit the mark.  This complex and refined double IPA is gold in color and has a strong bitterness character with a solid grapefruit flavor.  Dry and bitter with a good hop flavor with a good bite, the Dugna is a solid all around IPA.  The Avery Dugna Double IPA is a must try!  For food pairing, Avery eating creamy, cheesy dishes such as pasta carbonara, fettucini alfredo or pepperoni pizza.   OG: 1.076  ABV: 8.5%  IBUs: 93

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oskar blues gubna imperial ipa 300x137 The Avery Dugana Double IPA, Smuttynose IPA, & Oskar Blues Gubna Imperial IPAOskar Blues Gubna Imperial IPA

Made with German Dark Munich Malt, Rye Malt and North American 2-row barley, the Gubna Imperial IPA is an absolute wild taste for an IPA.  Hopped once with Summit Hops, the Gubna is sweet, malty, with notes of honey and a thick mouth feel.  Again, this is a wild and awesome taste for an IPA.  The Gubna is a thick sweet and oily beer.  Oskar Blues does it again and again.  10% ABV, 100 IBUs

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smuttynose ipa 281x300 The Avery Dugana Double IPA, Smuttynose IPA, & Oskar Blues Gubna Imperial IPASmuttynose Finestkind IPA

The Smuttynose Finestkind IPA won gold medal at the GABF in 2004 for the best American beer.  Craft beer  has changed a lot over the last few years but the Smuttynose IPA is still solid.  Dry hopped and unfiltered, the Smuttynose IPA has a solid grapefruit flavor and is sweet with great bite.  It’s dry and full flavored with a great finish and notes of malts, and bitter hops.  6.5% ABV, 65 IBUs 

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The Reposado Tequila Flight: Correlejo Reposado, Hornitos Reposado & Casa Noble Reposado Tequilas

casa noble tequila  300x153 The Reposado Tequila Flight: Correlejo Reposado, Hornitos Reposado & Casa Noble Reposado TequilasFlights of Tequila at Cantina Feliz

By Matt Goldstein

Legend has it that before the Hispanic era, in what is now known as Jalisco, a group of Indians were looking for shelter from a storm and hid in an area full of Blue Agave.  By the hand of the Mayan God Mayahuel, a flash hit the maguey bush and it began burning for hours.  When Tlaloc the Rain God finally put out the fire, the aroma coming from the maguey bush was very enticing.  When one Indian tasted the plant, he passed it around to the others and the Agave plant and tequila became one of the most important treasures to the tribes of pre-Hispanic Mexico.   —The Tequila Correlejo web site. 

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Corralejo reposado tequila 240x300 The Reposado Tequila Flight: Correlejo Reposado, Hornitos Reposado & Casa Noble Reposado TequilasCorrelejo Reposado Tequila

Aged for 4 months in three different types of cask barrel; French Oak, American Oak and White Oak, this unique three cask reposado tequila has won double gold medals twice and three separate gold medals in international spirit competitions.  The Correlejo Reposado has a scent of sweet caramel with a thick mellow sweet flavor.  This tequila has a great mouth feel, and dry complexity and aftertaste.   Correlejo is a solid reposado tequila.

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Hornitos Reposado Tequila

The Hornitos Reposado is unique in that it is aged in large barrels and rarely touches the wood for a reposado tequila leaving it light in color.  Mostly, the flavor of the oak and wood that liquors are aged in provide much of the character.  Surprisingly, the Hornitos Reposado has a good oak flavor.  With sweet notes and hints of oak the Hornitos has good mouth feel with a salty finish.   

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casa noble reposado single barrel 180x300 The Reposado Tequila Flight: Correlejo Reposado, Hornitos Reposado & Casa Noble Reposado TequilasCasa Noble Reposado Tequila

The Casa Noble Reposado is aged for 364 days in new but lightly charred French White Oak Barrels.  364 days is the maximum time a tequila can be aged to be labeled a reposado.  It’s also much more expensive to age as there are investment and storing costs, along with the angels’ share, the amount of liquor that evaporates from the barrel overtime.  The longer it ages, the less you have.   The Casa Noble Reposado Tequila is smooth, sweet with a thick mouth feel and great vanilla flavor.  This is an excellent reposado with a great smooth finish. 

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The Anejo Tequila Flight: Don Julio Anejo, El Tesoro Anejo & Tres Generaciones Anejo Tequila

don julio anejo tequila The Anejo Tequila Flight: Don Julio Anejo, El Tesoro Anejo & Tres Generaciones Anejo TequilaFlights of Tequila at Cantina Feliz  

By Matt Goldstein

At Cantina Feliz there are 8 different tequila flights available and about 50 different tequilas to choose from.  So of course we went right for the Anejo Tequila flight with Don Julio, El Tesoro and Tres Generaciones.   Check out the brief history of these three tequilas and a taste test review.  The Reposado Tequila Flight review featuring Correlejo, Hornitos and Casa Noble is coming soon as well as a Cantina Feliz restaurant review. 

Chef Tim Spinner previously worked with Iron Chef Jose Garces at Stephen Starr’s El Vez and then at Garces’ first restaurant, Amada. Spinner also helped Garces open Distrito and served as chef de cuisine. Spinner’s business partner and high school buddy, Brian Sirhal, served as beverage director at Garces’ Distrito and as general manager at Cantina Feliz. 

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donjulioanejo 242x300 The Anejo Tequila Flight: Don Julio Anejo, El Tesoro Anejo & Tres Generaciones Anejo TequilaDon Julio Anejo Tequila

Established in 1942 by Don Julio, this tequila is made with 100% blue agave.  Matured in American White Oak Barrels for 18 months, the Don Julio Anejo Tequila is light and golden in color.  With a vanilla scent and sweet flavor, well rounded and tangy, this Anejo has a great bite.  There is a complex and charming finish with a sweet aftertaste.  This is an excellent Anejo. 

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El Tesoro Anejo Tequila

Made with 100% agave and the winner of 9 gold medals in international spirit competitions, the El Tesoro Anejo Tequila is handmade and aged two to three years in oak barrels.  Founded by Don Felipe, the El Tesoro Tequila is a family recipe dating back to the early 1800’s and the current La Atena distillery was founded in 1937.  The El Teroso scent is complex and the flavor is spicy, dry and tasty.  Also having sweet and buttery notes with hints of nuts, oak and wood, the El Tesoro Anejo is a unique and flavorful tequila.    

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tres generaciones tequila anejo reposado plata 300x119 The Anejo Tequila Flight: Don Julio Anejo, El Tesoro Anejo & Tres Generaciones Anejo TequilaTres Generaciones Anejo Tequila

Made with 100% blue agave and aged in toasted American Oak Barrels for 12 months, Tres Generaciones Anejo Tequila is triple distilled.  Tres Generaciones has also partnered with the Golden Boy Oscar De La Hoya.  This anejo is sweet, spicy and full flavored with a solid bite.  Having good notes of oak and a lot character in the finish, the Tres Generacions Anejo Tequila is smooth and well balanced; very solid. 

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Cigar City Brewing’s Hunahpulooza

cigar city hunahpu humble 300x188 Cigar City Brewings HunahpuloozaCourtesy of Billy’s Beer Blog

By Bill Zavorskas

It was a spectacular day this past Saturday when the Mr. Beery’s Magic Bus Tour departed to Cigar City Brewing in Tampa for Hunahpu’s Day. Our mission: to drink great beer, enjoy the festivities, and of course to claim our trophy – the 2011 release of Cigar City Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout (Cigar City Brewing; Tampa, FL; Russian Imperial Stout; ABV: 11.5).

Upon arriving, we all took advantage of the festive atmosphere, which included live music and a tasty variety of cuisine, from local area restaurants, to compliment the beer. Creativity was the word of the day for beer, from Cigar City’s own Pilot Series Barleywine to some outstanding home brews like the Pinellas Urban Brewers Guild’s amazing Russian Imperial Stout and Special Hoperations’ superb Smoked Jalapeno Ale. There was an extensive lineup of guest brews on tap as well, including the highly regarded Funky Buddah Maple Bacon Coffee Porter (The Funky Buddah Lounge & Brewery; Boca Raton, FL; Porter; ABV: 6.3), which unfortunately kicked right before we arrived. But in the end, there was only one beer that mattered – Hunahpu.

bill zavorskas billys beer blog 300x253 Cigar City Brewings HunahpuloozaCreated from their Marshall Zhukov’s Imperial Stout, and aged on pasilla and ancho peppers as well as vanilla, cinnamon and cocoa nibs, Hunahpu is definitely something special. This imperial stout pours a jet black color, with big notes of expresso and sweet dark chocolate balanced by roasted malt, vanilla beans, and peppery spices. The flavors tend to be even more accentuated in the 2011 brewing than in 2010, with the vanilla beans and peppery spices really coming through to balance the sweet chocolate notes. I had a chance to speak with head brewer Wayne Wambles, and he had wanted to improve upon last year’s offering. Needless to say he’s succeeded, which is saying something considering that the 2010 Hunahpu is considered to be one of the world’s best beers.

CCB made bottles of Hunahpu available to the first 750 guests, with a four bottle limit per person. I was glad to be a part of this afternoon, and to take home my own supply of this incomparable stout.

Lastly, I’d like to give thanks to Cigar City Brewing for hosting this great event, Mark for arranging the Mr. Beery’s Magic Bus Tour, Sam for being a hip chaperone to our merry band of beer geeks, Gemma for staying behind to secure our purchases of Hunahpu, and my pal Brad, for riding shotgun with me and filming the day’s events for our video blog. Once the mad genius has finished editing, I’ll attach the video feed to this blog. Cheers!

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The Cruzan 9 Spiced Rum, Blended with St. Croix Rainwater

Cruzan 9 years aged spiced rum The Cruzan 9 Spiced Rum, Blended with St. Croix RainwaterBlended with St. Croix Rainwater and 9 Spices, Aged in Oak Barrels

By Matt Goldstein

Distilled on St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands since 1760, Cruzan rum is made and extracted from the islands famed sugar cane.  Developed in a very fast fermentation process in order to avoid wild yeast strains and unwanted bacteria, the rum is then put through a unique five column distillation process to reach a specific level of purity.  After being blended with St. Croix rainwater and 9 different spices, the rum is then aged for in oak barrels.  The 9 spices are as follows:  allspice, vanilla, cinnamon, pepper, ginger, nutmeg, clove, mace, and juniper berry.      

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The Cruzan 9 Spiced Rum Review and Flavor:

The scent is complex yet somewhat sweet, very much like a good cognac.  The flavor is sweet and spicy, with hints of vanilla and sugar cane.  Dry, slightly bitter, and Navan vanilla cognac esque,  Cruzan 9 Spiced Rum has a beautiful sweet finish and spicy vanilla aftertaste.  This is an excellent rum enjoyed neat.  There is no ice needed for this composition of beautifully aged and spiced rum.  We highly recommend Cruzan 9 Years Aged Spiced Rum.  If you like Navan Vanilla Cognac by Grand Marnier, you will love the Cruzan 9 Year Spiced Rum.  The Cruzan is actually less sweet, more refined, more complex and a much better overall spirit than Navan.  It’s a must try!       

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