Endless Beer: The Focal Banger

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If you know craft beer, you know the Alchemist out of Vermont. They brought us the famous Heady Topper and now this. The Focal Banger brings with it claims of superiority even over the Heady Topper. It is an American IPA with TONS of hops jammed into each pint-sized can. Thanks to a good friend, I was able to try a can of this out myself. Otherwise, take a trip up to New England and find out when they hand this stuff out. Here are our thoughts:

Tasting Notes

Aroma: Close your eyes and think of the senses of walking through a hop garden. That’s what this smells like – fresh hops surrounding you.

Appearance: The can says “Drink from the can!” so I have no idea.

Mouthfeel: CRISP. A very refreshing, clean, and crisp mouthfeel from start to finish.

Taste: HOPS. Then some more hops. Some sweet malts, and finally more hops. But these are flavorful hops. Juicy citrus hops lead the way, followed by pine and other earthy hop flavors. This is the hoppiest beer I’ve had without losing the integrity of the beer of tasting too bitter.

Overall: Find this beer! It’s true – this is better than Heady Topper. Focal Banger gives you everything you want in an IPA. It is crisp and refreshing, has fresh, juicy flavors, and tastes like the can is actually filled to the top with hops. Try it for yourself.

Endless Pairings

Cheese: Aged gouda with dried apricots, fig jam, and crackers.

Appetizer: Truffle fries.

Main Course: Fish tacos with a side of guacamole

Dessert: Key Lime Pie

Cigar: Gispert Toro

To-Drink List: Top 10 Whiskeys to Try Before You Die

We love food, we love beer, we love wine, we love booze. Of course, as we all grow up and mature, the kinds of beer, booze, and wine we enjoy tends to change. Now that we are all “adults,” it is important to know when it is and is not okay to bring a box of wine, a six-pack of Natty Light, or a bottle of Sailor Jerry. We got you covered on beer and cocktails. But what about the classic whiskey? That’s why we bring you our list of the top ten whiskeys to impress. Whether it is bourbon, single malt, or a blend, we have you covered. Enjoy – literally try them all.

 

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10. Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve

Knob Creek can be found in nearly any liquor store. This is a good starter for drinking whiskey straight. This is a smooth bourbon that goes down nice and easy!

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9. OOLA Discourse Three Shores Blended Whiskey

Many scoff at the thought of blended whiskey. However this is a blended whiskey that will turn anyone. The blend features some of the best whiskeys in the world in one bottle. This is a well balanced sweet, spicy, and smooth blend to get you started.

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8. Clyde May’s Bourbon

Impress your friends with this sweet bourbon. Don’t add water. Don’t add ice. Just pour it into the glass and drink it up.

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7. Angel’s Envy Rye

Now this stuff isn’t cheap, but well worth every penny. This stuff gives new meaning to rye whiskey with it finishing off in rum barrels. The spice of the rye meshes well with the sweetness of the rum barrels. YUM.

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6. Four Roses Single Barrel Bourbon

This award-winning bourbon packs a punch. Four Roses is a well-known brand amongst whiskey lovers, but the single barrel provides fruity undertones without losing the strength of a bourbon whiskey.

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5. Catskill Distilling Co. Rye

While this may be more difficult to find, it is well worth the search. Catskill Rye comes out of the Empire state with a complex flavor profile. Some find the description of “leather” as odd. However, the flavor comes out underneath other flavors such as caramel and vanilla finishing with smoky and spicy flavors (that “wood” description they provide).

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4. Basil Hayden Bourbon

At 80 proof, this bourbon goes down easy straight. Smooth flavors of spice and honey make it an enjoyable whiskey that is worth keeping in your liquor cabinet.

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3. Bulleit Rye 

You’ll find this one behind just about every bar you go to. Tend your own bar with this for anything from straight whiskey to mixed drinks. Or keep on dumping in Old Crow and not realizing that whiskey can taste good even in mixed drinks.

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2. Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon

This one has been around for quite a while. What does that mean? Well developed flavors through maturing in barrels and perfecting the cuts. With such great color to the bourbon and TONS of flavor – you can’t go wrong with Woodford Reserve.

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1. Teeling Irish Whiskey

Of course, we can’t leave out Irish whiskey! Like the Irish, Teeling packs a punch. In your face spice hits you first, along with a nicely balanced boozy flavor. Definitely not for the faint of heart, but if you are going to go with an Irish whiskey – start here.

Endless Beer: Manayunk Brewing Co’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Porter

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Think peanut butter shake. Do you taste that? The smooth and rich flavor of peanut butter? Mmmm, so good. Now, imagine that flavor in a can of beer. Manyunk Brewing Company, near Philadelphia, brings you the Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Porter. The brewery sought out to create a beer that brings the flavors of a porter along with in your face peanut butter (and a little chocolate). The question is – did they meet the mark? Check it out.

Tasting Notes

Aroma: Peanut butter throughout. A slight bitter note of coffee and chocolate, but overwhelmingly peanut butter.

Appearance: Dark dark brown – nearly black.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth, not much of an aftertaste, high carbonation.

Taste: Peanut butter, peanut butter, peanut butter. Taste starts with strong peanut butter flavor. Little chocolate flavor is there, but you do taste a hint of the porter in between the notes of peanut butter.

Overall: For the peanut butter lover, this is one of our favorite peanut butter flavored beers. It does not taste artificial, but as if you are eating freshly roasted peanut butter. I’d say it would ALMOST satisfy my craving for a Shake Shack peanut butter shake (that says a lot).

 

Endless Pairings

Cheese: Swiss with crustini, honey, and almond.

Appetizer: Spicy shrimp skewers.

Entree: BBQ Baby Back Ribs with mashed potatoes.

Dessert: Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

Cigar: Drew Estate Java

From the Beer Exchange: Uinta Rise and Pine Dark Ale

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The exchange selections continue! This selection is a unique winter beer brewed in an ode to the evergreens. Uinta sought out to create flavors that remind us all of the forest in the winter. Pine cones, snow-capped trees, and the crackling of a fire – sounds great, right? Check it out.

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Endless Beer: Stone Enjoy By 2/14/17

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“Built specifically not to last.” Stone has regularly released their freshest IPAs for us to enjoy WHILE STILL FRESH. February’s brew is “Enjoy by 2/14/2017” Chocolate and Coffee IPA. While many think of the citrus undertones of hops, the right hops can also be paired with flavors such as chocolate. Here’s what we thought…

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Winter Exchange Beer Selection: Shiner Winter Cheers

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I’m behind. Apparently I’m so well known for enjoying beer and booze that everyone decided to get me just that for Christmas. Not that I’m complaining – I have at least two cases of beer that are still waiting to be cracked open. I finally got to opening my winter exchange box and I’m starting to pick my favorites. Off to our first brew – the Shiner Winter Cheers. Shiner Winter Cheers is known as a class winter brew with powerful fruity notes. Here we go…cheers!

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