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Thursday, June 27, 2013

New Beer Friday, New Whiskey Edition (June 28)

By Chris Siciliano

Every once in awhile something new and exciting arrives at Siciliano's that is not beer and yet deserves our attention nonetheless. Case in point, our new staffer Josh Swift, who Steve Siciliano, the bossman, introduced in a blog post earlier this week (read it by clicking here).

Case in point again, Balcones Distilling, which, judging by the following description, is a whisky producer after our own hearts.
"Just five years ago, Balcones was little more than an idea fueled by a ruthless drive to create something new, something genuine, something worthwhile - a Texas whisky tradition. It all started with an old welding shop under a bridge. We hammered and welded our own stills, and sawed and nailed on that little shack to build the distillery that we use to this day. Since then, we have released seven unique spirits of which we are very proud and won 40 national and international awards from the world's top judges and critics. We don't just make whisky in Texas. We make Texas whisky" (source).
Not bad, eh? Keep reading to see the specific Balcones whiskys which we are now proud to carry. And, of course, for the beer-minded out there, there is something here for you as well.

New (and Returning) Beer to Siciliano's

  • Goose Island 25th Anniversary ESB, $1.69/12oz - "Brewed as a collaboration between Goose Island Brewmaster Brett Porter, Senior Brewer Keith Gabbett, Pub Brewmaster Nick Barron and Alumni Brewmaster Greg Hall. Deep mahogany color, rich fruit aroma with notes of lilac, big malt body with touches of roast and a dry, crisp finish" (source).
  • Dogfish Head Theobroma, $14.39/22oz - "This beer is based on chemical analysis of pottery fragments found in Honduras which revealed the earliest known alcoholic chocolate drink used by early civilization to toast special occasions. the discovery of this beverage pushed back the earliest use of cocoa for human consumption more than 500 years to 1200 BC. As per the analysis, Dogfish head’s Theobroma (food of the gods) is brewed with Aztec cocoa powder and cocoa nibs, honey, chilies, and annatto (fragrant tree seeds)" (source).
  • Rogue Voodoo Doughnut Maple Bacon, $14.39/22oz - "Rogue Ales has collided with Voodoo Doughnut to create Bacon Maple Ale! This unique artisan creation contains a baker’s dozen number of ingredients including bacon and maple syrup from one of Voodoo’s signature doughnuts" (source).
  • Anderson Valley Wild Turkey Bourbon Barrel Stout, $10.79/22oz - "Complexity. Aged for three months in Wild Turkey Bourbon barrels, this luxurious stout has a deep ebony hue and a beautiful mahogany head. The woody, vanilla-like notes imparted by the barrels mingle with aromas of fresh baked bread, toffee, and espresso and envelop the rich chocolate and roasted barley flavors with a fine bourbon character. Our exclusive partnership with Wild Turkey gives Anderson Valley a world class, consistent source of barrelage, allowing our brewers to explore new frontiers in barrel-aged craft beer" (source).
  • Arbor Demetrius Barrel Aged Sour Double IPA, $17.49/22oz - "Arbor Brewing Company is proud to offer this exclusive, limited-edition, hand-packaged and bottle-conditioned ale in the Belgian Aged Pale tradition. Our interpretation of this rare Belgian stye was created by aging our Larry Hoppe Double IPA for six months in gueuze-innoculated oak casks and then bottle conditioning for a minimum of two months. The result is a unique ale with a bright golden hue, moderate carbonation, and a burst of complex fruity, spicy, sweet-tart, and earthy flavors, with a quenching acidity in the finish. As with most bottle-conditioned ales, there may be a thin layer of sediment on the bottom of the bottle. For best results, uncork slowly and decant gently into a glass without disturbing the sediment" (source).
  • J.K. Scrumpy's Farmhouse Summer, $7.99/22oz - "J.K. Scrumpy first started making hard cider in the 1850's, and they've been using the same apples from the same orchards ever since. This natural, USDA Certified Organic cider is the real thing, offering up crisp apple flavors, and maintaining a moderately sweet profile that makes it sweet year 'round" (source).
  • Wychwood Ginger Beard, $5.49/17oz - "Back off it’s Ginger Beard, he’s a fiery character and his beer is no different. This amber ale is infused with fiery root ginger to deliver a spicy finish with a bit of bite" (source).

New Spirits

  • Balcones Baby Blue, $44.68/750ml - "Baby Blue is a unique corn whisky made from atole, a roasted blue corn meal. Baby Blue isn’t bourbon nor white lightning. It has the freshness and verve of traditional corn whisky but with a refined complexity. The result is a round nuttiness and roasty overtones with a smooth finish. Baby Blue was the first Texas whisky on the market since prohibition, and is the only craft-made whisky to have received a 5-star rating from F. Paul Pacult’s Spirit Journal other than Balcones '1' Texas Single Malt" (source).
  • Balcones Brimstone, $44.68/750ml - "Purification through fire—a Texas oak fire, that is. Rather than using Scottish peat smoke, this one-of-a-kind whisky is smoked with sun-baked Texas scrub oak using our own secret process. The result is a whisky full of fresh youthful corn and light fruit notes married with a bold smokiness. Brimstone is the world‘s first wood smoked whisky ... a Texas campfire in a bottle" (source).
  • Balcones Texas Single Malt, $63.16/750ml - "A unique style of malt whisky—Texas made, Texas proud. Balcones Texas Malt Whisky is born of hundreds of years of distilling tradition transformed by a deep sense of place. Mellow notes of sauteed pears and ripe fruit mixed with a lingering toasty malt character. We are very excited that this whisky which we have worked so hard to produce is finally ready to release. We hope you enjoy it" (source).

Wisdom of the Week

The radish farmer points the way with a radish;
the brewer points the way with his beard.


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