Every month, a huge amount of booze moves through the Gear Patrol offices — beer, wine and a whole lot of whiskey. This month: an early taste of Oktoberfest, a splurge-worthy wine and more.
When I was first getting into whiskey, I dreamt of drinking a spirit as old as I was. After I got this gig, it happened, and the age statements have only gotten higher and higher. Then I had a taste of the Yamazaki 55, released this year and retailing for a cool $60,000, and I probably won't have anything that can its age. On the forefront, it's a bit like molasses, tasting about the same with hints of dried stone fruit. Then the oak hits you as does some nuttiness and a touch of leather. The finish is what really makes it, lingering on the tongue until it's time for another sip. Realistically, few people will get the chance to try this whisky, but if you do, it'll be with you forever.
Stone Brewing 25th Anniversary Triple IPA
For 25 years Stone Brewing has been imparting high-IBU IPAs on the masses and not giving two f—ks about it. They're hop-heads at heart and I wouldn't expect anything less than a 12.5-percent ABV Triple IPA to celebrate a quarter-century from them. The booze taste is a kick in the teeth and about as aggressive as you can get in this big, resiny IPA of yesteryear. Drinker beware. — Ryan Brower, Commerce Editor
Firestone Walker Oaktoberfest
Honestly, I wish more breweries would do an oak-aged lager — and do what Firestone Walker has done and brew that instead of an Oktoberfest or pumpkin beer. But it is a style that can easily go awry — not every brewery can be the kings of oak-lagers like Threes Brewing. Firestone are no slouches when it comes to aging beers in oak (duh), and this beer getting revived is exactly what I wanted out of 2021. It's crisp with a hint of oak, it's low in ABV at 5.2 percent and it fits the mood and season. — Ryan Brower, Commerce Editor
St. Agrestis Negroni
Brooklyn-based St. Agrestis makes some damn good bottled negronis. Haters will say to make it myself, but honestly, St. Agrestis can do it just fine without me. I love that they use all Brooklyn-made products (two house-made and gin from Greenhook Gin) and it comes in a perfect serving size. I'll be honest, though, I do like to double up for a good time. — Will Porter, Commerce Writer
This is going to sound borderline pretentious, but I've been really into aperitifs lately, enjoyed especially while I'm making dinner. I love Bonal in particular because it can be enjoyed chilled and neat, on the rocks with club soda and a twist, or in a glass with your favorite whiskey and a splash of Cointreau. It's also a spirit with a fascinating history: made with gentian, quinine and other herbs from the Grande Chartreuse mountains, having evolved from quinine bark infusions traditionally used to prevent malaria. Might I add that its nickname roughly translates to "the key to the appetite". Come on, how f—king cool is that?!" — Matthew G. Pastorius, Business Development Manager
Domaine Du Pelican Arbois Savagnin Ouille
This wine is not new or even particularly hype, but man is it good. Savagnin can often be oxidized, leading to a kind of beeswax-y vibe but Domaine Du Pelican's is floral, bright and just outrageously refreshing. If you're ever at a good wine shop and in need of a "Nice" white, spend the extra $20. — Henry Phillips, Associate Director, Production Design