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Friday, December 23, 2016

New Beer Friday, Traditions of Christmas Edition (Dec 23)

San & Anita on Christmas Eve
Preamble by Steve Siciliano

Up until a few years ago it was a long standing Siciliano family tradition to gather on Christmas Eve at my parents’ house on the lower west side of Grand Rapids. The small house that Sam and Anita Siciliano bought in the 1950s got progressively smaller over the years as a son-in-law, daughters-in-law, grandchildren, grandchildren’s’ spouses and great grandchildren joined their growing family.

I have many fond memories of those crowded and chaotic holiday get-togethers. The table in the cramped dining room was always packed with traditional Sicilian Christmas Eve fare — broiled fish drizzled with fresh garlic, olive oil and oregano, fried calamari, sautéed calamari, mussels in white wine sauce, pasta in a red sauce with sardines and raisins. In later years there was homemade stromboli for the children. With every bottle of wine that was opened the talking and laughter got louder.

While the adults lingered at the table the children would impatiently eye the gifts piled around the Christmas tree in the tiny living room. Every so often they would scamper back into the dining room and fidget beside their parents. “Can we open presents now?” they would always ask. “Not until grandpa is done eating,” would always be the answer.

Grandpa Sam is gone now and two years ago we finally decided that our family had outgrown that little house. We now hold our holiday gatherings in a hall and we no longer have them on Christmas Eve in deference to family members who want to establish Christmas Eve traditions of their own.

Our holiday gatherings understandably have a different feel to them now. But the holiday tradition that Sam and Anita started so long ago remains alive and that is a testimonial to the enduring values that they instilled in their close-knit and ever expanding nuclear family.

New and Returning Beer

  • Greenbush Delusion Imperial Cream Stout, $5.69/12oz - "Our Imperial Cream Stout is aged in whiskey barrels for months for a mind-blowing experience. This concoction will make you ponder the randomness of the universe" (source).
  • Greenbush Remnant of Dragon Imperial Red IPA, $3.49/12oz - "Ever wake up on the wrong side of the cave and start breathing fire at anyone who crosses you? Grab a pint of our Imperial Red IPA. Because you're not you when you’re a dragon" (source).
  • Short's Aorta Double Red Ale, $1.99/12oz - "Aorta Ale is a Double Red Ale with bold flavors of Cascade hops and sweet malt, and a dark reddish-brown color. Subtle aromas of candy, brown sugar, and toasted malt are released from the depths of this full-bodied beast. Raisins, figs, and burnt caramel are among the sweeter and more forward flavors found in Aorta Ale. This brew finishes with a roasted cocoa like bitterness which is magnified by the high alpha hops" (source).
  • Dutch Girl Dirty Boots Imperial Milk Stout, $9.59/22oz - "One of our most popular beers! Imperial Milk Stout made with seven types of light and dark roasted grains hand milled on site. Named after the owners' dog, Bo" (source).
  • Odd Side Jared's Mom Belgian Style IPA, $2.29/12oz - "Love Belgian IPAs? So does Jarod's Mom. Nelson Sauvin hops are the highlight in this IPA" (source).
  • New Belgium Voodoo Ranger IPA, $1.69/12oz - "Bursting with tropical aromas and juicy fruit flavors from Mosaic and Amarillo hops, this golden IPA is perfectly bitter with a refreshing, sublime finish" (source).
  • Elk Brewing Blonde Express, $1.79/12oz - "A Blonde Ale with Rowster Coffee's Ethiopian coffee beans" (source).
  • Elk Brewing Dankalicious IPA, $1.79/12oz - No commercial description.
  • Elk Brewing Brewtus, $1.79/12oz - "Coffee Porter, cold seeped with Rowsters Ursa Major coffee" (source).

Picture of the Week | Single-Barrel 1792

Siciliano's Single-Barrel 1792 Bourbon ($53.99) is now in stock.
Get your bottle(s) while supplies last!


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

December Brew of the Month: Mark's Ginger Cream Ale

By Mark Iacopelli

The holidays can be a very expensive time of year, but for a homebrewer the beer must flow on. My goal with this recipe was to create something that had a subtle twist on a crowd pleaser style. So I felt like an American Cream Ale would be a simple clean beer for your family members that are not yet initiated to craft beer. I then add a little bit of ginger root to add a zesty and savory element that would pair with most any holiday dish. This is also a budget friendly brew.

The resulting beer is straw in color with almost perfect clarity. The head is snow white with medium retention. On the nose the ginger shines through initially with an almost citrus quality. The corn balances the citrus aroma to round things out. Up front the flavor is bright and savory with a touch of spice both derived from the ginger and from target hops. In the finish it is predominantly a sweet earthiness from maize, however, it still manages to finish dry. The dry finish is a key part to making this beer crisp and sessionable despite being at the peak ABV for the style.

Overall, I am very pleased with this beer, and it is likely going to be a recipe that will stay on rotation in my brewhouse. The base beer recipe will work well with whatever extra flavoring you wish or on its own if ginger is not your thing. Ginger is found so frequently in preparing a huge range of dishes and it is because of that and this beer's crispness that I think it would pair well with almost any food dish.

Vital Statistics

    • OG: 1.048
    • FG: 1.005
    • IBUs: 20.1
    • ABV: 5.6%
    • SRM: 2.8
    • Efficiency: 72% (all grain only)

All Grain ($12.35/5-Gallon)

    • 5 lbs Avangard Pils
    • 1 lb Corn Sugar
    • 1.25 lbs Flaked Maize
    • 1 lb Pilot 6 Row
    • .5 lbs Rice Hulls
    • .25 oz Nugget (60 mins)
    • 1 oz Ginger Root (12 mins)
    • .5 oz UK Target (10 mins)
    • .5 oz UK Target (4 day dry hop)
    • 1 pkg Safale American US-05

Extract w/ Steeping Grains ($22.80/5-Gallon)

    • 6 lbs Light Liquid Extract
    • 1 lb Corn Sugar
    • 1 lb Flaked Maize
    • .25 oz Nugget (60 mins)
    • 1 oz Ginger Root (12 mins)
    • .5 oz UK Target (10 mins)
    • .5 oz UK Target (4 day dry hop)
    • 1 pkg Safale American US-05
Water additions base on Grand Rapids city water (optional): 4 ml 88% lactic acid (mash pH),15 g gypsum (mash pH, hop flavor)

Friday, December 16, 2016

New Beer Friday, Gift Idea Edition (December 16)

Preamble by Steve Siciliano

It appears likely that the landscape in the environs of Beer City USA will be covered in white this year for Christmas. According to the National Weather Service, parts of the West Michigan area received up to a foot of snow over the past few weeks and weather forecasters are saying that ten more inches could fall this weekend.

Speaking of Christmas, there’s only nine shopping days left and our hardworking staff of elves (see below) have been busy keeping the shelves at Siciliano’s well stocked with hand-crafted beer, fine wine, quality spirits and premium cigars. We have plenty of bulk coffee and tea on hand for stocking stuffers and our book racks are chock-full of how-to tomes on beer making, winemaking and other DIY hobbies. Of course Siciliano’s gift cards are always a good option for those hard to buy for folks on your Christmas list.

Just a reminder that our beer and wine making equipment kits will remain on deep discount through the end of business on Christmas Eve. Go here for complete details.

Hardworking elves at Siciliano's

New and Returning Beer

  • Dark Horse Plead the Fifth, $3.29/12oz - "Our Russian Imperial Stout is pitch black in color with a faint tan head that immediately identifies this beer as BIG. Aromas of dark fruits, chocolate, caramel and roast also make it even bigger. Roasted coffee and fruity chocolate notes are just the beginning of this beers complex flavor. You have the right to enjoy or remain silent (ha, ha!)" (source).
  • Goose Island Winter Ale, $1.79/12oz - "Layered with rich, nutty chocolate notes and malty, roasted caramel flavors, our brown ale gives you plenty to contemplate on long winter nights" (source).
  • Alesmith Double Red IPA, $3.19/12oz - "AleSmith’s Double Red IPA, previously known as Winter YuleSmith, offers up an intense hop aroma combined with a well-balanced, full bodied, caramel-malt sweetness. A variety of American hops burst with flavors of pine and citrus complimenting the substantial malt backbone to deliver a full-flavored ale with layers of complexity" (source).
  • Gonzo's Big Dog Brewing Yummy Hoppy, $3.39/16oz - "This hoptastic double IPA creation showcases 100% Hop Head Farm’s Hops! Its fruity nose and hoppy spice flavor finish with a juicy bitterness that lingers just right" (source).

Video of the Week

Now available at Siciliano's!


Monday, December 12, 2016

Sacred Springs Kombucha, Coming Soon!

By Matt Ross

Geoff Lamden and Joel Andrus are kombucha wizards. They care for scobys as if they were their children. When they announced the opening of Sacred Springs, their kombucha business, we were more than excited. They are right around the corner in Lowell, Michigan and will be going into distribution soon.

For those not familiar, kombucha is a fermented tea drink. What yeast is to beer, a scoby is to kombucha. Scoby stands for Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria Yeast and is responsible for digesting simple sugars to create tasty beverage with additional health benefits. Like homebrewing, the only thing that limits you regarding flavors is your own imagination. Fortunately, Geoff and Joel have pretty wild ones.

When people are in positive environments they are happier and work more effectively. Sacred Springs is taking this concept to another level. People, animals and even plants respond to positive stimulus. Geoff and Joel are infusing their scobys with positive feelings and good vibrations. Literally. They are blessing their scobys with singing bowls, sacred geometry and didgeridoo. It is an amazing sight to see. Sacred Springs is essentially a 5-star scoby resort, complete with a free breakfast buffet and an all-inclusive pass. Their combination of happy scobys, creative recipes and fresh ingredients makes for a remarkable drink.

They will be starting out with Kalmboocha as their green-tea-and-holy-basil-based flag ship product. Kalmboocha is a light, refreshing drink with crisp effervesces that is designed to cleanse organs of toxins and promote the relief of stress as it passes through the body. It is full of white wine and tropical fruit flavors has a subtle tart on the finish. Expect to see Sacred Springs on our shelves soon.

Geoff and Joel

Friday, December 9, 2016

New Bier Friday, Bier Distillery Edition (Dec 9)

A tour of the distillery with Joel.
Preamble by Steve Siciliano

After my wife wrapped Christmas presents last Sunday (and I watched the Lions wrap up a road win over New Orleans), we decided to take the short drive to Comstock Park to check out Bier Distillery’s new digs on West River Drive.

Joel Bierling began producing spirits at Cellar Brewing Company in Sparta in 2013. When brewery owner Chuck Brown announced plans to move his operation to a new downtown location, Bierling began exploring his options. This past summer he purchased and renovated the 4,000 square foot building just down the road from Fifth Third Ballpark. Joel and his wife Sara opened the facility’s comfortable tasting room this past October.

Besides an impressive lineup of craft cocktails made with artisanal whiskey, rum, vodka, gin and liqueurs, the Bierlings offer a selection of wine and hand-crafted beer. Barb and I tried two of those beers, both pale ales and both excellent, and followed them up with a glass of a very nice 92-proof barrel-aged rye. A selection of snacks and small plates is also available. Made to order paninis are offered on Fridays and Saturdays.

Visit Bier Distillery’s website for hours and more information.

New and Returning Beer

  • The Bruery 9 Ladies Dancing, $12.69/750ml - "Here’s a pick me up for the latest verse in our Twelve Days of Christmas series. Inspired by flavors and ingredients found in tiramisu, including ladyfingers, 9 Ladies Dancing mimics the Italian dessert by whipping together flavor combinations and layers of its own. This includes notes of vanilla, chocolate and coffee – clearly the leading ladies in this rich, dessert-like beer" (source).
  • The Bruery Oude Tart, $20.79/750ml - "Oude Tart is a Flemish-Style Red Ale aged in red wine barrels. It’s pleasantly sour with hints of leather, dark fruit and toasty oak. While this is one of the more classic beer styles that we make, it’s not a style that you can find too often in the United States. Originating in style from the Flanders region of Belgium, near the French boarder, this dark, sour ale has roots deep in brewing history and predates most of the ales that have become popular in contemporary culture. We’re doing our best to keep the tradition alive by brewing and aging this beer here on the west coast" (source).
  • Brewery Vivant Wizard Burial Ground, $6.09/16oz - "Barrel Aged Belgian Quad" (source).
  • Dragonmead Castlebrite Apricot Wheat, 3.09/12oz (2 per) - "Castlebrite is the first fruit beer to come from Dragonmead. This Apricot Ale uses an apricot puree as well as Pale Wheat malt to bring about this wonderfully refreshing brew. This beer starts with a subtle sweetness and slight apricot flavor, and finishes with a palate-cleansing tartness that will leave you wanting more" (source).
  • Dragonmead Jul Ø1, $3.09/12oz - "This spiced winter warmer makes for great sipping. Jul Ol is brewed in the tradition of a Norwegian dark ale. It is spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg. This ale is only available in December and January" (source).
  • Dragonmead Sin Eater, $3.09/12oz - "One of the most elusive of the Belgian styles. Dark, sweet and rich with notes of caramel, raisins and dark fruit. This style was consumed by Belgian monks to help them make it through the long cold winters. Not for the faint of heart since this brew goes beyond Final Absolution all the way to removing your sins" (source).
  • Founders Azacca, $1.79/12oz - "Named after the Haitian God of agriculture, the Azacca hop has an intense tropical aroma with hints of citrus and mango. A touch of caramel malt gives a sweet backbone to support the righteous fruit character of this beer. Pouring a burnt orange color and registering at 7.0% ABV, your taste buds will worship this heavenly, hopped delight" (source).
  • New Holland Black Tulip, $2.69/12oz - "Mysterious, alluring and seductive, yet tantalizingly elusive; these are the storied characteristics of the Black Tulip" (source).
  • Unibrau À  Tout Le Monde, $3.39/12oz - "À Tout Le Monde is a 4.5% abv dry-hopped Belgian-style saison that takes its name from a track on Megadeth’s 1994 album Youthanasia, and features the group’s mascot Vic Rattlehead on the label" (source).
  • Boulevard Collaboration No. 6, $12.99/750ml - "Firestone Walker has a tradition of inviting local winemaking friends into their brewery each year to collaborate on a blending project that results in their anniversary ale. Pulling from several barrel-aged beers, they tinker with different blending percentages to create an incredibly complex, yet unique beer. In this spirit, we invited Matt Brynildson into our barrel-aging cave to taste beers with Boulevard Brewmaster Steven Pauwels. Armed with their palates, some graduated cylinders, nearly two dozen tulip glasses and a few bottles of Firestone Walker’s barrel-aged beers, they spent the afternoon tinkering with different blending percentages before finally deciding on just the right blend" (source).
  • Short's Liberator, $2.39/12oz - "The Liberator was made as a 30th birthday gift to Joe Short. As a double IPA, this beast employs a sizable malt bill, but it is the crazy amount of hops added to the boil every 4 minutes, for 120 minutes, that really make this beer special. Fruity, floral, and piney hop flavors penetrate throughout the caramelized malt profile. The Liberator is a well-balanced, full bodied brew that has a bitter finish due to the post fermentation addition of lemon and orange zest" (source).
  • Abita Sweet Orange Harvest, $1.69/12oz - "Louisiana sweet oranges have a rich flavor and zest that naturally complements the pilsner and wheat malts in this smooth brew. The oranges are added in the brewhouse to give the beer a sun-kissed citrus aroma and flavor. All our Harvest Series brews are made with the finest Louisiana-grown ingredients" (source).
  • Greenbush Mr. Hyde, $2.19/12oz - "This beer's strong character leaves no mystery of its true identity, a Coffee Cream Stout brewed with locally roasted Infusco Coffee" (source).
  • Dogfish Head Beer for Breakfast, $2.59/12oz - "A stout tricked out with all sorts of breakfast ingredients including Guatemalan Antigua cold press coffee, Maple syrup harvested from Western Massachusetts and for the quintessential Delaware breakfast touch - Rapa Scrapple and their secret blend of spices" (source).
  • Ommegang Collaboration 2016, $3.29/12oz - "German style Doppelbock with Ommegang Belgian yeast" (source).
  • Odd Side Hop Gobbler, $1.49/12oz - "The hop fairies have taken charge on this extra pale ale. A well balanced ale with loads of flavorful hops" (source).
  • Arcadia Barrel Aged Shipwreck 2016, $8.59/12oz - "The Baltic-style porter has a robust malt character and a slight herbal hop bitterness. Aged for 12 months in 10-year-old Kentucky bourbon oak barrels, this alluring dark liquid features appealing undertones of vanilla, oak, cocoa and coffee. The aging occurs in abandoned mines in Michigan, at a constant temperature of 45F" (source).
  • Elysian Bifrost, $1.99/12oz - "Pours golden with orange highlights. Smells alluringly sweet like caramel apples with a little spice and orange zest. Taste is bold and balanced with a good amount of citrus and earthy hop bitters to offset the malt character. Finishes dry with a bit of fruit" (source).
  • Breckenridge Nitro Chocolate Orange Stout, $2.59/12oz - "Brewed with orange zest and locally sourced Cholaca, pure liquid cacao, and topped by the velvety texture of the nitrogen head, Nitro Chocolate Orange Stout is the perfect wintertime indulgence" (source).

Video of the Week | Beer for Breakfast

Dogfish Head Beer for Breakfast is now available at Siciliano's.


Friday, December 2, 2016

New Beer Friday, Memories of Cuba Edition (Dec 2)

Vivant Tower of Sour,
one of many new beers this week.
By Steve Siciliano

The news of Fidel Castro’s death last week brought back memories of a trip my wife Barb and I took to Cuba about ten years ago with a Grand Rapids based charity called First-Hand Aid.

The organization solicits volunteers to make periodic trips to Cuba to deliver much needed medical supplies to hospitals and clinics. Our group of travelers stayed in Havana with Cuban families during the weeklong visit. We ate meals with them in their homes and drank Bucanero beer and Havana Club rum with them in cafes and bars. We were chauffeured around the country’s beautiful but often crumbling capital city in 1950s-era Fords, Chevies and Buicks. We witnessed first-hand the economic impact that 50-plus years of Castro rule has had on the Cuban populace.

One of my most poignant memories of that trip was of the day we delivered the medical supplies we carried to the island in our luggage to a children's cancer clinic in Havana. The heads of a number of young patients were heavily bandaged and we were told that removing an eye was the only recourse that doctors had for treating certain cancers. The children clutched the little stuffed animals that we gave them while their mothers sat silently on hard folding chairs next to their beds. That same day we went to a ration store that had practically nothing on its shelves.

In November of 1956, Fidel Castro and a group of 81 rebels, among them his brother Raul and a young Argentinian doctor named Che Guevara, departed from Mexico on a leaky 60-foot cabin cruiser. Two weeks later they landed on Cuba’s southern coast and from there revived the revolt against the authoritarian regime of Cuban President Fulgencio Batista that had been quelled three years earlier. Castro and the surviving rebels of that failed attempt were jailed. “Condemn me, it does not matter. History will absolve me,” he famously stated at the conclusion of his trial.

Castro’s second attempt at ousting the cruel and corrupt Batista succeeded but his promise of holding free and fair elections was never fulfilled. Political opponents were summarily executed, personal property was seized, industry was nationalized and a one-party socialist state was created. In response, the United States instituted a trade embargo that continues to this day.

There are those who maintain that the embargo is the root cause of Cuba’s continued economic problems. They argue that the embargo should be lifted and I agree that it should. But we must also remember that it was Castro’s policies that instigated the embargo and it’s the stubborn adherence to these failed policies that is perpetuating the appalling economic condition of common Cuban people.

When viewed in that light it must be argued that Castro’s revolution failed and it is in that light that Fidel Castro’s historical legacy must ultimately be judged.

New and Returning Beer

  • Blackrocks Starman, $1.99/12oz - "Starman is a Pale Ale filled up with Simcoe, Citra, Amarillo, Columbus, and Mosaic hops. Bright aromas of grapefruit, apricot, and citrus, finishing clean and dry" (source).
  • Vivant Plein de Vie Tower of Sour, $9.99/500ml - Foeder-aged sour ale.
  • Vivant Ski Patrol, $3.49/16oz - "Belgian Inspired Wit. Whether you’re stuck on the chairlift waiting to get to the top of a black diamond , or you’re soaking in the hot tub after a long day of destroying some moguls, it’s Ski Patrol Wit to the rescue! This crushable slopes-inspired beer compliments our Michigan winters with a hazy golden pour and a warming spice on the nose. Pack your longjohns and swimwuit. Ski weekend is upon us. Cans are light and easy to pack so you can take them wherever the trail takes you" (source).
  • Griffin Claw Honolulu Blu, $2.19/16oz - A cream ale.
  • Stone Enjoy by 12/25, $8.99/22oz - "In most cases, skipping a step is a bad thing. Not this time. This version of Stone Enjoy By IPA omits the part where we filter out the extra yeast, hop sediment and proteins that build up in beer as a natural result of the brewing process. Though it may sound like it, this missed step was no misstep. By letting this IPA go unfiltered, its peach and tropical fruit hop flavors are amplified while its golden-hued color takes on a hazy appearance. Like its filtered counterpart, this IPA is brewed specifically NOT to last, and is shipped immediately to ensure hopheads get their hands on it as soon as possible" (source).
  • Perrin Hypocrite, $11.49/22oz - "Not everything is as it appears...based on its looks you may be expecting a light flavorless beer, but looks can be deceiving... this Imperial Blonde Ale is packed with unexpected flavors that might make you think you are drinking a rumchata or biting into a piece of tiramisu. We hope you enjoy seeing things for how they truly are" (source).
  • Short's Juicy Tree, $2.39/12oz - "An experimental IPA made with blue spruce tips, juniper berries, and cranberries. Piney evergreen and sweet berries tingle the senses. After some slightly tart and tangy flavors up front, a harmonious balance between pleasant fruit sweetness and bitter pine is reached. A sizable malt bill, ample hop additions, and the floral fruity qualities of American Ale yeast all contribute to symmetry of this beer. The finish is laced with a resiny stickiness that flows naturally into a lasting bitterness" (source).
  • Short's Critterless, $2.39/12oz - "Critterless is an American Sour Ale brewed with mango and cherry. The beer has a pinkish hue and pours with a small white head. The ale’s initial flavors of mouth puckering tartness fade into a pleasant sweetness that is accompanied by aromas of ripe fruit. Critterless finishes dry with a hint of rye spice" (source).
  • Ballast Point Mocha Marlin, $5.99/22oz - "Our Black Marlin Porter is the perfect beer for a mocha mashup. The addition of coffee and cocoa plays perfectly off the roasty, chocolaty flavors of this English porter, while a hint of vanilla smooths it all out. It’s full-bodied, but not too sweet; try it for breakfast…or dessert" (source).
  • Ommegang Gnomegedon, $16.09/750ml - "Ommegang ales are living beers, as exemplified by the secondary fermentation in Gnomegeddon, which is accomplished with Brett yeast - a wild yeast known for its addition of complex barnyard funk to both the flavor and aroma, giving a new edge to one of our most beloved ales" (source).
  • Atwater Teufel Bock, $2.99/12oz - "Our Weizen Dopplebock is dominated with 60% wheat that imparts a nutty-bisquit flavour. Ir is complimented with Perle and Hersbrucker hops for a nice sweet finish" (source).
  • Atwater Christmas, $2.19/12oz - "A German holiday treat similar to gingerbread" (source).
  • Avery Mephistopheles, $9.59/12oz - "Mephistopheles is the crafty shape shifter, the second fallen angel. Amazingly complex, coal black, velvety and liqueurish, this demon has a bouquet of vine-ripened grapes, anise and chocolate covered cherries with flavors of rum-soaked caramelized dark fruits and a double espresso finish. Mephistopheles is the final installment of "The Demons of Ale" series" (source).
  • Avery Certatio Equestris, $14.09/12oz - "Avery Certatio Equestris is modeled after the ubiquitous mint julep. The base sour ale was aged in bourbon barrels with spearmint leaves. The key ingredient in the julep, after bourbon" (source).
  • Lagunitas High West-ified, $2.19/12oz (1 per) - "Ale Brewed with Coffee and then Aged in High West Rye Barrels" (source).
  • Oddside Merry Elf, $1.99/12oz - "Dark ale with candi sugar and orange peel" (source).

Video of the Week | Plein de Vie

A new release in the Plein de Vie series (Tower of Sour)
means we get to post this video again.


Thursday, December 1, 2016

Book Review: Tasting Whiskey by Lew Bryson

By John Barecki

There is a multitude of books out right now that can help you to expand your knowledge of whisk(e)y. Many are specific to certain areas of production or are collections of reviews and distillery histories. The book Tasting Whiskey by Lew Bryson ($18.95) gives us information from all of the different areas of production, compiling the histories, processes, lore and tasting notes on everything from the very well known bourbons and scotch whisk(e)y producers to the up-and-coming independent/craft distillers and world wide producers. Bryson discusses many of the different facets of the whisk(e)y world, including what percentages of grains go into a straight rye whiskey compared to bourbon and what the term pure pot still means in Irish whiskey and the history of how it came to be.

Tasting Whiskey contains a few deep dives into specific distilleries from around the world and the wonderful bottles they produce. On top of that Bryson discusses some of the people that have been innovators in the whisk(e)y field and their contributions to it, and the information only grows from there. The author even breaks down the internal structure of the barley grain and what it contributes to the end product, as well as how different stills produce the spirit we all love. Also included is a chapter on the process of barrel aging and the chemical compounds found within the different wood types that add special touches to the smells and tastes of the spirit.

It is hard to sum up a verbal/visual overview of this book. It is a joy to read and the writing itself is comprehensive but not overbearing. Overall, Tasting Whiskey is the most up-to-date companion book for the novice and seasoned individual alike. The information contained within and the concise overview of the realm of whisk(e)y put it on par with offerings from celebrated writers like Michael Jackson and David Broom.