With the weather threatening to break soon and the cold temperatures waving goodbye, it's time to continue drinking great beer, but with more choices for your surroundings. To put it simply, it's time to drink outside. Stone Brewing, already known for fresh, fantastic IPAs, has a new offering this spring, Go To IPA. It's not only perfect for an outdoor drinking session, but is also ideal when you want to drink more than one. It packs all of the dry, bitter, hop flavors and aromas into a very manageable 4.5% ABV package — ensuring you won't have any trouble making it back to the fridge for another round.
Buffalo Trace continues to innovate with their Experimental Collection and the most recent release, Extended Stave Drying Time. The wood planks that make up a bourbon barrel are dried out in the open air for about six months before being turned into barrel planks. Stave drying plays an important role in the taste of the bourbon, so Buffalo Trace decided to experiment by allowing the staves for this spirit to dry out for about twice as long. The extended drying time bourbon is significantly aided by the extra time too, balancing the oak flavors that can sometimes dominate in an older bourbon. Snag both bottles and try them side by side with a friend for the full experience.
The Swedes may not be known for making great IPAs, but Nebuchadnezzar from Omnipollo is quickly changing those preconceptions. It's a double IPA that was originally a home brew recipe and due to demand has been scaled up to reach a wider audience. Within the beautiful bottle is a citrus forward IPA that weighs in at 8.5%, with some subtle but important Belgian yeasts to balance things out. It's won just about every 'best of' award in Sweden, and is now beginning to make its way to US shores.
The latest release from Compass Box is an extraordinary scotch whiskey that is both rare and mysterious. The General is a blend of a 33 year old batch, while the rest of the blend is made up of a batch with an unknown age statement. It's named after a Buster Keaton film from the 1920's and is limited to only, and exactly, 1,698 bottles. You won't feel like you're getting a bargain, but if the taste comes anywhere near the backstory, this whiskey will be a runaway hit.
A staple of the rising craft beer culture are release events for special beers, done once a year and many times at the brewery only. KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) from Founders Brewing might be the best of these releases, and you can find it outside of the brewery walls as well. KBS is an imperial stout brewed with an ungodly amount of chocolate and coffee, and then aged in bourbon barrels for a full year. The other bourbon barrel coffee stouts are imitators, while KBS is the innovator. Don't pass up a chance to try this highly acclaimed beer this spring.
Typically when you think of hookahs, you think of the ornately decorated pieces sitting outside your neighborhood hookah bar. With a stunning body made from anodized aluminum, brass, completely clear glass, and 3D printed parts, the IOOI Hookah is about as far removed from that scene as you can get. Created by award-winning designer Christian Zanzotti, this sleek smoking device is manufactured exclusively in Germany using automotive-quality production methods, and takes four weeks to make — so be prepared to wait once you've placed your order.
Already one of the best readily available bourbon's on the market, there isn't much that Booker's can do to improve on a high quality product. But it appears they have done just that with Booker's 25th Anniversary. This limited edition release ranges between 9-11 years old with an unfiltered proof strength ranging between 121-130, depending on the bottle you wind up with. Available in early March, the juice pays homage to its namesake, 6th Generation Beam Master Distiller, Booker Noe and is taken from the center-cut of Booker's favorite rack house.
There is something special about a fresh IPA from the West Coast, and there is something even more special about one from Beachwood Brewing. Melrose IPA is a fantastic representation of a true West Coast IPA, brimming with fresh, sticky, hop resins. The aromatic value alone fills your senses and the taste delivers as well, with loads of tropical fruit and more sticky hops. And it finishes as clean and refreshing as a dip in the surf of the Pacific Ocean.
With the bourbon whiskey market booming, there isn't a shortage of new labels hitting shelves looking to grab a slice of the growing pie. Some are easy to overlook, but there is no overlooking Old Blowhard from Orphan Barrel Whiskey. This brand new offering is 26-years-old and was found in old warehouses at the Stitzel-Weller facility in Louisville, a distillery best known as the original home of Pappy Van Winkle bourbons. It might not have the same demand as a bottle of Pappy, but Old Blowhard is already one of the best new releases of 2014.
In a world where double IPAs are now suddenly the norm, there are plenty that are being churned out that just don't measure up. But Hopothermia from Alaskan Brewing Company is not one that has trouble making the grade, and it's probably one of the best double IPA's you've never heard of. This year-round offering features some of the most floral hops around, giving off aromas like grapefruit and mango. It measures up taste-wise too, sweet and piney with a tough malty backbone that won't leave your palate suffering. You may not be in Alaska, but a couple of these should help get you through any winter night.
If spiciness is one of the reasons you enjoy rye whiskey, we think you'll get a kick out of High West Double Rye Whiskey. It's a blend of two ryes, one, a vibrant, feisty 2-year-old, and the other, a mellow, mature 16-year-old. They fuse beautifully, and despite the rye itself being a dominant flavor, it's elder partner in the blend mellows it out incredibly well. A standout in the burgeoning rye whiskey market.
Get your insulin shots ready, because Evil Twin Brewing has a brand new beer for those with a sweet tooth. Imperial Doughnut Break is the brainchild of Evil Twin head brewer Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø, who stuffed whole donuts into a keg of Imperial Biscotti Break and tapped it for a special event. It was so well received that they decided to team up with Westbrook Brewing to get it in 22oz bottles, and into your hands. It's a coffee doughnut porter, tips the scales at 11.5% ABV, and despite the description, isn't diabetes in a bottle. It's sweet, but balanced, making it a fine candidate for breakfast or dessert.