Every month, a huge amount of booze moves through the Gear Patrol offices — beer, wine and a whole lot of whiskey. This month: delicious canned wines, a beer that'll teleport you to the beach and more.
Basil Hayden's Toast
Basil Hayden's gets as much hate as it does love, but its latest expression, a permanent addition to the lineup, might have more fans than detractors. Basil Hayden's Toast moves away from the flagship's high-rye mashbill, instead opting for brown rice, which brings a little bit of sweetness and a bit of, ahem, toastiness. But the Jim Beam-made bourbon gets an extra dose of toast through its time aging in a toasted barrels. Toast tastes almost exactly as the name suggests. Imagine eating a toasty piece of bread topped with honey and vanilla-infused stone fruits. This is definitely a bottle you could cozy up to once it starts to get cooler out. — Tyler Chin, Associate Staff Writer
Royal Lochnagar 12 Year Old
I had never heard of this distiller before but couldn't have been more surprised by what came out of the bottle: dry, smooth, palatable single-malt from The Highlands. Almost "crushable," if that can even be deemed an appropriate adjective to describe scotch whisky. Definitely on the lighter side of things (don't expect a campfire out of this), but a lovely late summer sipper to be sure — especially if you can find it for $50 or less. — Matthew G. Pastorius, Business Development Manager
Trace Brewing Waveside IPA
Close your eyes. Smell the ocean, the sand, sunscreen breezing by on the back of a bay breeze, and a tropical cocktail with a tiny umbrella. Nice, right? Well, wake up; you're in Pittsburgh-based Trace Brewing's taproom sipping on a 16oz The Waveside IPA. Made with Sabro and Cascade hops, the beer tastes a bit like grapefruit, kind of like a Pina colada, and yet plenty like, well, beer. It's great! And the taproom's a damn good time. — Evan Malachosky, Assistant Editor
Haus Strawberry Basil
I had the chance to test Haus' delicious new Strawberry Basil aperitif on a group trip to the northern Catskills. While slightly sweeter than other Haus flavors I'd tried, it was still breezy and drinkable with a lovely earthiness to it, too. After experimenting with a few different permutations, the crowd-pleasing formula involved a healthy serving of ice with a dash of plain seltzer. — Caitlyn Shaw, Associate Director, Product and Marketing
Little Book "The Invitation"
Beam family descendent Freddie Noe's pet blending project has gone under the radar for most whiskey drinkers, but it's time that changed. The Invitation, the fifth release under the Little Book line, blends whiskey as young as 2 years and as old as 15 years. For me, the star of the show is the 3-year-old malted rye blending component, which plays the part of wildcard in the whiskey. You get this sweet and soft nutty flavor at the front end and a deep, rich finish to boot. It's good whiskey. — Will Price, Editor
Tree House Brewing Haze Double IPA
It can be tough to distinguish from one New England-style IPA to the next. But there is a reason that Tree House Brewing makes some of the best in the land, and you can taste it if you shall be so lucky. I hadn't had Haze in a while and I'm sure glad my dad picked some up during a road trip. The 8.2 percent ABV hazy is smooth yet hoppy, has the perfect mouthfeel and offers a ton of peach and passionfruit notes. While I tend to think a lot of hazies these days are more or less the same, it's always enlightening going back to an OG like Haze to understand what perfection can be. — Ryan Brower, Commerce Editor
Cheap Bottles From Great Winemakers
Two bottles recently have cemented my idea that there's a sizable contingent of really great winemakers whose cheapest bottles are often some of my favorites. Whether it's experimenting with an unpopular but amazing grape varietal like the case of Burlotto's Pelaverga or Booker's baseline red blend Harvey and Harriet that eschews the grandeur of the steakhouse cab and makes a mellower, more drinkable "big" wine from Paso Robles. Honorable mentions: literally any bottle from JL Chave Selections, Cruse Wine co's Valdiguie. — Henry Phillips, Deputy Photo Editor
Wine in a can can be good? Hell yeah, especially these from Nomadica. Founded by the wine director of Gigi's, a restaurant in Los Angeles, Kristin Olszewski, Nomadica is a line of sustainable, low-intervention wines that are just as good as the stuff you'd find in a bottle, minus the need for a corkscrew and an extra-large bag. Oh, and glasses. Each wine — currently available in a red blend, rosé, sparkling rosé, white and sparkling white — is vegan, low in sulfur and free of sugars. I'd say they're shockingly good, but the packaging would lead you to believe the juice inside is worth the hype. The cans are designed by artists who Olszewski believed would come up with a design to visually represent the wine. Mission accomplished. — Tyler Chin, Associate Staff Writer