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Whiskey Hotline Hits the Road: Scotland 2016

Wolfburn Distillery

We paid our yearly visit to Gordon & Macphail to look at barrels for the fall, had a great visit with Stuart Urquhart and company. They never fail to put forth great barrels that always make our job difficult, a good problem to have! I couldn’t narrow the field down, so I brought back selections from Miltonduff, Glenburgie, Mannochmore, Craigellachie, Glen Keith, Balblair, Ardmore, and of course Caol Ila. In another bit of exciting news, they are expanding Benromach, one of my personal favorites, to meet the rising demand of single malt in general and this gem in particular.

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Hibiki 12 Year Whisky

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Just as their popularity is skyrocketing in the West, Japanese whiskies are becoming scarce. Like their Scottish counterparts, age statements are disappearing from some Japanese bottlings, giving the distilleries more flexibility as they wait for aging stocks to mature. Which is why we had to jump at the chance to grab the last few cases in the US of Suntory’s masterful Hibiki 12-year-old.

 

Hibiki 12 Year Whisky Binny's

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Gotta Have That Funk!

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Horse blankets, pineapples, and sweat socks. Do we have your attention?
 

Brett Beers Binny's

 

Brettanomyces, or Brett, is an infamous yeast that is feared by many and treasured by others. Since it occurs naturally in the wild, most breweries try their hardest to prevent it from getting into their beers. Its signature barnyard aroma and flavors are viewed as a flaw in most beer styles. Several Belgian brewers decided instead to showcase its eccentricities and many American craft brewers are beginning to experiment with this beguiling creature. While it’s often present in sour beers, beers brewed with Brett are not inherently sour. Depending upon the particular strain of Brettanomyces, it tends to produce earthy notes with accents of peppercorn and sometimes even tropical fruit. It’s a voracious eater so be prepared for dry and effervescent beers. Here are a few of our favorites. Are you ready to get down with the barn?

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Beer Buzz Hits The Road: Michigan

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We’re lucky to live in the midwest, home of iconic beers including KBS and Hopslam. It’s been a while since the Beer Buzz team last traveled to Michigan, so we packed up the bus and hit the road again. This time even more beer-loving Binny’s employees explored, tasted and learned about some of Michigan’s best breweries – and even a cidery – and we’re bringing our passion back for you.

 

Binny's Michigan Beer

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Binny’s Handpicks from Journeyman Distillery

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We’ve been vocal fans of Journeyman since their 2011 launch. They’ve given us gin, whiskey and everything in between. Their output has never been better than right now, and we have proof.

 

Journeyman Handpicks Binny's

 
They recently sent us three barrel samples of Last Feather Rye and three barrel samples of Buggy Whip Wheat. Like any other week, we had already tasted through barrel samples from a few other distilleries. Without naming names, we can tell you Journeyman beats one of the Big Boys hands down. All six JMan samples were so expressive and complex that it was tough to settle on just four. One shocking detail is that all of these samples were from 15 gallon barrels. Smaller barrels age faster than standard 53 gallon American barrels, but short cuts rarely yield fully mature whiskey. These samples, aged for a full year, show amazingly flavorful whiskey. Clearly, Journeyman has whisky production dialed in. Do yourself a favor and pick up one of these new Binny’s Handpicked Selections from Journeyman and see how it’s done.
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Binny’s Handpicks from Mississippi River Distilling Company

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One of our Whiskey Hotline’s favorite distillery is Mississippi River Distilling Company. After six years on the scene, they’re producing some amazing brown spirits. Few distilleries handle all aspects of their process as intimately as MRDC, whose grain to glass philosophy includes using only local grain grown within 25 miles of the distillery, giving them first pick on the finest and freshest grain. We recently hit the road to Iowa to grab three new Binny’s Handpicked Selections from MRDC: two barrels of Cody Road Bourbon and one of Cody Road Rye.

 

Mississippi River Distilling Company Binny's Handpicks

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Beer Classics: Pilsner

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As today’s beer enthusiasts clamor for more session-able brews, it makes sense that a growing number of craft brewers have finally set their sights on this old world classic. Pilsners were first conceived in the 19th century by Bavarian brewmaster Josef Groll. His bottom fermenting strain of yeast yielded a sparkling, golden brew whose white foam, sweet malty notes, and hoppy savor came to define the style. We’ve picked out a few of our favorite new world takes on the style as well as a pair of must-try classics.

 

The Classics: Pilsner

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Confessions of a Mixologist: Green Chile Bloody Mary

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Don’t be fooled – this isn’t your average bloody mary. It’s a meal in a glass. You’ll experience sweet, bbq, sour and savory flavors that will make your taste buds water nonstop. We recommend whipping this one out for your tailgate or friendly brunch. As always, garnish like you mean it. Leave no blue cheese stuffed olive behind.

 

Green Chile Bloody Mary

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