Not sure how I missed posting this, but I found Fantôme Del Rey when Shelton Brothers came back to North Carolina. I actually had this back in December and it was delicious. I do see some of the reviews online are mixed so it may have some definite bottle variability and Fantôme is known to have some QC issues from time to time. Regardless the beers always are interesting and that makes it one of my favorite breweries. It is difficult to express just how happy I am to see their beers back in our market. If you spot this one, give it a whirl, most of the reviews are positive so the probability of purchasing a bottle without issues is high.
Last year before and during Shot Show in Vegas all the rage was the Remington R51. After all the troubles owners had and a recall today you rarely hear anything about the pistol. I have to admit I was quite excited when it was first announced, but it turns out to be longer than first reported and that gave it the first black eye. Then it had problems and was recalled and was almost down for the count. I happened to see one pop into Slickguns for a nanosecond, but now the post has gone MIA. Word from Shot 2015 is Remington has figured everything out and the gun is now ready to roll. I guess time will tell if this firearm is destined to be forgotten or can rebound and live up to the original buzz. My guess is it will slide into obscurity…
So I confess, I noticed there was a Untappd badge for the beer and bought a bottle to badge up. After a little research and popping the top I am sure glad I did. The beer was first brewed in 2006 and shelved less than a year later. Last year Founders decided to brew Black Rye again and it hit the streets this year. At 7.5% ABV and 75 IBUs the beer is no slouch, with plenty of hop presence and hidden alcohol which makes it so darn smooth.
So fast forward to last night when I was having dinner with a coworker. He saw the Black Rye tap and asked what it was, so I just described it as a black IPA instead of getting into the entire rye bit. He settled in on one, and then another, and yet a third. You would have thought the man had never had beer before and it was his holy grail. I don’t know if you will feel the same way about the beer that he did, but you definitely should find a bottle and give it a whirl. It’s good stuff!
If you happen to be a Blanton’s Bourbon fan you have no doubt noticed the stoppers are slightly different. What you may not have noticed is each stopper has a letter in the back hoof of the horse and there are eight stoppers which ultimately spell out Blanton’s and depict various stages of the horse in motion. I kinda like that, you can drink the Bourbon, collect the stoppers, and eventually have a horse race while learning to spell. 😉
I am beginning to worry as I see all the new breweries coming to market in North Carolina. Not that their beer won’t be stellar, that the growth will lead to insufficient supplies of malt and hops which will ultimately end in the demise of some breweries. New hop farms are not popping up anywhere close to the rate at which new breweries are opening their doors. Farmers aren’t dropping their current crop to switch to barley. What does this mean for the consumer? I see rising prices as the end result and breweries trying to beg, borrow, and steal ingredients. All it takes is one hop warehouse fire or a natural occurrence such as too much rain or a hailstorm and the next thing you know hops triple in price and malt doubles. The larger breweries have contracts in place to be sure they can sustain their production, but the small brewery is in the same boat as a homebrewer just trying to find enough ingredients to keep the taps flowing. The smart money right now is tap-room sales for a new startup brewery. All the profit stays in-house and if ingredient costs escalate no one will blink when the price of that pint goes from $3.50 to $4. Now if you are out and about and the local startup is already $6 and bumps to $6.50-$7 unless you are loyal fan you’ll look for a less expensive alternative.
I’m glad to see the brewing industry booming, but I’m a little worried how long it will be before the bubble bursts.
Well that is what happened when Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense organized their 384 local members in Charlotte to protest open carry in Harris Teeter Stores. The group of ten chopped up their loyalty cards in the parking lot, of course I don’t think the kids had loyalty cards and best I can tell from the photos about two cards were destroyed and placed into a ziplock bag, presumably to be given to the store manager to show their displeasure.
The best quote was, “We’ll come back if the store is safe.” Safe how exactly? I presume they mean if no one is legally carrying a gun. That would mean anyone who was carrying a gun would be illegal and IMHO that illegal act would be unsafe. Maybe what they really wanted was them to put out more signs telling you the floor is slick after they mop. Yeah, that’s it, I fully understand now. Moms Demand Action to avoid slippery floors.
WSOC covered the non-event as did The Charlotte Observer. I suspect they had more media at the event than participants. I guess they did get almost 3% of their chapter out on a Saturday. When you demand action you may need to beg for participation as well. We had a similar non-incident occur near my home at Staples. Nobody came and the news reported it anyway. Sounds like no news is good news.
I’ve not posted on Elijah Craig yet for the blog. When most people think of it they think of the 12-year-old 94 proof with the white label. It’s an affordable fifth always coming in less than $30 and is a nice glass of Bourbon to boot. While it won’t blow your socks off, you will not be disappointed if you buy a bottle and pour a glass. I prefer it with an ice-cube to tone down the proof just a little, but it’s a fine pour all by itself.
Recently I ran into the Elijah Craig Small Batch Barrel Proof and must say it is a pretty tasty glass of Bourbon. Even with a proof of over 130 the Bourbon is smooth with some leather and pepper spice notes and a backbone of caramel and didn’t need an ice-cube to be smooth and tasty. I believe this one is also aged for 12 years and my mission will be to find a bottle.
Moving on to the older vintages of Elijah Craig I recently saw a 23-year-old on the shelf for close to two bills. I passed due to the price point. At one of the areas best Bourbon bars recently they had the 21 year and the 23 year on the top shelf so I decided to do a little side by side comparison.
The 21 year was fusel alcohol and while it had a nice smooth flavor the alcohol in the nose was headache in a glass. I probably would have enjoyed it more had I added some water or ice, but wanted the experience of trying it neat. What that let me know is this was not the Bourbon for me.
Moving on to the EC 23 it was a vegetal mess. Keep in mind this is the Bourbon which is more than 2 bills. To put that in perspective that would be almost $8 per ounce. I don’t know which barrel this came from, but I do know it had no business ending up in my glass. Had I purchased an entire bottle of this I would be very, very disappointed.
Having recently had a 22 year Lost Prophet, and the 21 and 23 Elijah Craig what I am left with is the realization I do not appreciate Bourbons past the 20 year mark. They become overly smooth and devoid of character and any off flavors are highlighted and not in a good way. My suggestion for those who have found my notes to mirror your own would be to skip the older Bourbons in favor of those a little younger.
Ran across this video of people trying moonshine for the first time. I gotta be honest, plain old moonshine has a flavor which churns my stomach so I avoid the white stuff no matter what. Some places make white liquor, but I don’t try them unless I have to. Let’s just call it a bad experience back in the day and leave it at that. Some things time just won’t heal.
They do hit on the spiced versions and generally those with fruit or spice I can stomach. I’ll bet if that one guy did share it with his grandmother she would drink him under the table. 😉
I mentioned the Taurus Curve in December and it appears it will soon be on the market. I did receive a voice mail from Taurus which indicated the release date was slated for the first quarter of 2015. I still think it looks ugly, but in a cool kinda way. 😉
The video below goes over some of the features and the more I see, the more I like it.
If you follow the blog you may have seen my comments on the previous releases in the Orphan Barrel series from Diageo. Barterhouse was the first release followed by Old Blowhard and Rhetoric. The latest and greatest release is Lost Prophet. I was chatting up the clerk at an ABC store not long ago and they indicated the store got three bottles and they went fast selling for $120 each. I knew the Orphan Barrel was slated to release something new so I went online and my first hit was a review where the author indicated it was better than Pappy 23 and Elijah Craig 23. Now I’ve never had the Pappy, yet, but I have had the Elijah Craig and in my honest opinion it wouldn’t take much to beat it since it really was a disappointment, especially considering the price of admission. A half pour of the EC23 was like $20 and I expected my socks to be blown across the room instead of receiving a glass of fusel alcohol. (Note to self – post on the Elijah Craig Bourbons – EC, EC Barrel Proof Small Batch, EC21, and EC23.)
Lost Prophet is a 22-year-old Bourbon from Stizel-Weller and it really isn’t bad at all. The problem, if you want to call it one, is this one is a bit too smooth and the character is on the low side. Sure there was leather and spice present with a nice caramel attribute and subtle wood aspects, but I wouldn’t shell out $120 for a fifth of low character. I’m glad I tried it, but I’m also glad I didn’t take a bottle home. It might be fun to pull out with friends on special occasions and tell the story of how it was made in 1991 and the entire Orphan Barrel background, but at $4.68 per ounce it would be a pricey beverage to have on hand to the hacienda. I’m not saying it wasn’t good, but it wasn’t 3X the Bourbon that Colonel EH Taylor Small Batch is and so I’m gonna pass on putting a bottle on the shelf.