Saturday, November 22, 2014

Well, Texas remains a RED GOP state. Time to celebrate. Time to to regroup. Time to Rock and Rye.

Hochstadter’s Slow & Low Rock and Rye (42% ABV / 84 Proof, $28.99)  is made by macerating six year old straight rye whiskey with lemon, grapefruit, and orange peels, rock candy, honey, and horehound. The bright citrus of Slow & Low leaps out in the nose with the orange and lemon leading the pack. This citrus is well integrated with the rye note which reads both as spicy and slightly floral. The horehound gives the nose a subtle earthiness which helps bring all the other elements together. The entry is a lot less sweet and and a lot more spicy than we expected from a Rock and Rye

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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Busch Signature Copper Lager : "A pretty good beer... I believe I have found my new go to beer."

"Today I’m beer slumming. I was caught unprepared and far from a decent beer emporium. So I stopped by a neighborhood corner store and perused the single bottle selection. I didn’t want to go with a Bud Light, or Miller Lite as I’ve had those many times before. There were ample options of malt liquors including 40oz bottles, which I hadn’t seen since my college days. After 5 minutes of searching, which in that store full of regulars made me stick out like even more of a sore thumb, I decided I would have to settle for a Bud Light after all. Then I saw it, a Busch Signature Copper Lager. It’s a beer I have never tried before, it has a higher alcohol content than the other beers and most importantly for today was 20 cents cheaper. I grabbed it, paid with the $2 cash I had on hand which is quite rare and even got some change back. I now had a 25oz can of beer like substance to enjoy while sitting outside and reading a book, or as it turned out writing up this review." 

This is how Beer Blogger Brandon Fischer begins his blog post experience with the beer that I picked up this afternoon on the way home from the grocery store on a hot, dog day in Texas.

I had stopped at my local 7-11 to fill the gas tank, and decided to go inside because I was wanting to get a single can of Blue Moon Belgian White. I first tired this beer after the Obama Beer Summit at the White House: I liked it. In New Jersey last year I had it again in a chilled glass schooner with an Orange Slice, which actually improved the favor of the beer. And recently at one of the local Texas Democratic Fund raisers, I pulled a random can of beer out of a iced tub of mixed beers and rediscovered the pleasure of Blue Moon Belgian White beer on a hot Texas evening. But I was not having any luck finding anything but $10 six packs in bottles in stores. What I found in the beer cooler of my local 7-11 was a new cheap beer favorite.

Busch is what I associate with a very  bitter brew that my father favored in the Summers of my childhood, not something that I wanted to drink again. The Busch Signature Copper Lager  in a 24 oz. tall boy stuck out a like a gold tooth among all the blue and silver cans of Busch and Budweiser singles. Its orange/yellow  color reminded me of how Blue Moon looks in the glass, so I picked it up and a quart of whole milk that I forgot at the store earlier. I was bit surprised that it only cost $1.99 when it rang up.

At this point my  shared shopping experience for  Busch Signature Copper Lager diverges from that of Mr. Fischer. So, let me find a different blog reference. At the top of any Google search on beers is

BeerAdvocate (BA) "a global, grassroots network, powered by an independent community of beer enthusiasts and industry professionals who are dedicated to supporting and promoting beer. Based in Boston, BA was founded in 1996 by the Alström Brothers, Jason & Todd, who provide the site as a free resource to ...

Wake the masses to better beer options.
Give beer consumers a voice.
Empower them to learn, share, and advocate.
Rally to support the beer industry.
Put the Respect back into Beer.

"Respect Beer." is their motto.
Here is the collective wisdom of their contributor evaluations of Busch Signature Copper Lager

 Let me quote a fellow Texan off the list: wejohnsn Texas
3.55/5   rDev +12.3%
           Look: 4 | Smell: 3 | Taste: 3.5 | Feel: 3.75 | Overall: 4

Big surprise here. I had been looking for something between a mild IPA and a cheap lager. This is it. darker in color than expected and the taste was light enough to refresh but strong enough to wake up my taste buds. Poured into a 16 oz mixing glass from a can. $4.99 for a six pack and more alcohol than most cheap American lagers. tastes better than Budweiser, Miller and the value menu brews. looks like a beer instead of light straw stained water.

Good job with this one: at room temp tastes bland but cold it's really good!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Jameson vs Bushmills Irish Whiskey

Having tried both last week, and coming to conclusion I liked the taste of Bushmills better; I wondered what is the difference between the two? And, I found a great bit of whiskey history from Jeffrey Morgenthaler who writes on Bartending and Mixology from Portland, Maine on his blog "Ask Your Bartender" at the link below.
"My South Side Irish Chicago Dad always told me that Jameson was the Catholic whisky and that Bushmills was the whiskey made by “the damn Protestants”. Now this character I met at the bar is trying to tell me it’s the other way around. Help! Who do I believe, the man who raised me, or some drunk I met in a bar? You can see why I am confused."

I was wondering when someone would ask this question. The truth of the matter is, the age-old faux-pas of ordering Bushmills for fear of supporting English aggression and offending the Republic of Ireland is about as Irish as corned beef – which is to say, not very Irish at all but rather Irish-American (Sorry, kids, corned beef is a Jewish invention).

Anyway, both of your sources are wrong, but at least your father got the order right. The widely-accepted Irish-American version is that Jameson is Catholic whiskey and Bushmills is Protestant whiskey. But that’s merely based on geography: Bushmills is from Northern Ireland (a predominantly Protestant region) and Jameson is from Cork – Catholic country. Jameson was pretty much founded in 1780 when John Jameson – a Scottish guy – purchased the Bow Street Distillery, which at the time was one of the biggest distilleries in Ireland. Now, it’s important to note that the Scottish Reformation occurred in 1560, so odds are in favor of the founder of the Jameson distillery, being Scottish, was a damn Protestant. Bushmills, on the other hand, was officially licensed in 1608 by King James I (of Bible fame) and despite of its location deep in the heart of Protestant country (and this next bit is straight from my local Bushmills rep, so take it or leave it) has a Catholic as a master distiller. According to everyone I’ve spoken with on the subject, you only really find this debate in the States, where Irish-American support of the Republic can sometimes be blind and often fueled by the very product we’re speaking of. But none of it means much, anyway: both distilleries are owned by huge international entities: Jameson by French liquor conglomerate Pernod-Ricard, and Bushmills by the English firm Diageo. As for my preference, I tend to like the lighter Bushmills as it’s the first Irish whiskey I discovered years ago, and I’ve certainly enjoyed my share of Jameson from time to time. But my personal preference is Redbreast, a twelve-year pot still Irish whiskey produced at the Old Midleton Distillery and a real delight to sip while enjoying a late-night Irish breakfast of sausage, egg, pudding and soda bread. Delicious.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The time has come to buy the Smoking Loon Pinot Noir 2012 at its lowest price and greatest favor at your local store...

Smoking Loon Pinot Noir 2012: Affordable Wine at its best age that is Good for You!

  At $8 a bottle at my local Tom Thumb in Dallas, Texas: This is a real wine value for Texas Democratic gatherings this month....

I liked the Cheapskate Wine Review of this wine...

      "Smoking Loon, it appears, is sort of the Kevin Bacon of the wine world-you know-the game where you can get from anyone to Kevin Bacon in less than five moves. Looking into the family tree of the Smoking Loon brand, it quickly becomes apparent that, in moving up from the roots of the tree, the trunk twists and divides and vees, and the branches go out in many directions. Smoking Loon is the sibling, or half-brother, or cousin of lots of other labels. Its produced by Don Sebastiani and Sons, which also makes Pepperwood Grove, and The Crusher, which I’ve seen on shelves, and a few others I’ve not seen. The company came to be when Samuele Sebastiani, who emigrated from Tuscany to the U.S. in the late 1800′s made his way to Sonoma and started a winery making mostly bulk wine. In the 1940′s, they focused on their own name brand affordable wines. In the 1980′s, with patriarch Samuele’s grandson Don, a former California assemblyman, now at the helm, they grew into an eight million case annual behemoth through a partnership called Cecchetti-Sebastiani Cellar. That companie’s labels include Vendange, Nathanson Creek, and others, plus the Turner Road Winery. All that was sold off to what it is now Constellation, and Sebastiani again became a family owned and run winery in Sonoma. Strangely, the Sebastiani label on wines I see on Store shelves, is not part of Don Sebastiani and Sons, but is owned by Foley Family wines. Their portfolio of around 10 labels, Don and Sons lineup of around 8 names, the Turner Road names, plus their adoptive Constellation cousins make this a nearly infinite spider web of connections. Like Kevin Bacon."

   "Ok, ok., the wine….lighter in color than some, more transparent-typical of Pinot Noir. Reddish, not deep, dark violet. Also light on the tongue. Not without any tannin, but no astringency or bite. Fruity. A wine cliché, which I try like Anthrax to avoid, is “fruit-forward” but that’s the words that come to mind here. Berries. A little spiciness. Very enjoyable. Certain foods scream for Pinot Noir-Salmon, Turkey, the other white meat, grilled tuna. The Smoking Loon makes an excellent candidate. And you can connect it to Kevin Bacon in five steps."  READ MORE REVIEWS of affordable wines at Cheapskates Wine Review:

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

National Drink Wine Day is celebrated annually on February 18 across the United States.

The purpose of National Drink Wine Day is to spread the love and health benefits of wine. Wine has played an important role in history, religion and relationships. We embrace the positive benefits of wine such as new friends, reduced risk of heart disease and the enhancement of food and life. Check out media coverage of National Drink Wine Day. Facebook at Twitter at

Monday, January 20, 2014

Ah. Nothing increases my tasting experiences as Texas Election Fund raisers... Becker Vineyards Tempranillo Reserve.

Tempranillo Wine Profile
Posted by Wine Folly :

MAJOR REGIONS: Spain, Portugal, USA, Australia (hot and dry regions)

Tempranillo Characteristics
FRUIT: cherry, plum and tomato
OTHER: leather, tobacco, vanilla, and clove
OAK: Yes. Commonly 12-18 mo. in American or French Oak
TANNIN: Medium (+)
ACIDITY: Medium (-)
ABV: 13-14.5%

What Does Tempranillo Wine Taste Like?

When you first taste a Spanish Tempranillo you’ll get hit with the flavor of leather along with cherries. The finish is mild, smooth and lingers with tannin on both sides of your mouth. American and other New World Tempranillo delivers tons of cherry and tomato-sauce flavors followed by chunky tannin. Tempranillo is technically a medium-bodied wine with red fruit characteristics. If you’ve never tried Tempranillo before you’ll find it tastes similar to Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon.

My first tasting was in 1972 in a Rioja Crianza from Spain in Austin, Texas. It was remarkable then... and it still remarkable in this Becker Wineyards Tempranillo Reverse from Texas. Thankfully, it does not have the taste of leather in it! It is ironic that it was recommended me by Dan Santhos of Dan's #4, which I must report today is closed, for the purpose of curing a Spanish leather wine bag for a friend at Southwestern University, Georgetown, Texas. The Becker Tempranillo tasted nothing like leather, either before or after the first slip. It was a beautiful, tasty red wine. I hope you find it to be so, too.

Monday, January 13, 2014

" An Irishman, A Kentucky Colonel, and A Japanese Samurai enter a bar ... Whiskey Party!"

County Louth Cooley distillery which makes some of Ireland's best-known whiskey has been bought by the US-based Beam Inc. Cooley distillery owns and produces the Kilbeggan, Connemara, Tyrconnell and Greenore brands. Beam Inc. is one of the world's leading premium spirits companies owning brands such as Jim Beam, Maker's Mark and Canadian Club. The leading markets for Irish whiskey, according to Impact, the popular spirits, beer, and wine publication of M. Shanken Communications, Inc. are the United States, Ireland, the United Kingdom, France, South Africa and Germany.

Japanese family-owned Suntory is to buy the US Beam, the company behind the Jim Bean bourbon brand. It will make Suntory the world's third largest maker of distilled drinks. The two companies have a previous partnership whereby they distribute each other's brands in different markets. Beam's brands also include Maker's Mark bourbon, Sauza tequila, and Courvoisier cognac. Suntory is best-known for the Japanese whisky brands Yamazaki, Hakushu, and Midori liqueur and Bowmore Scotch whisky. In 2013, UK's GlaxoSmithKline sold its Lucozade and Ribena brands to Suntory.