Every month, a huge amount of booze moves through the Gear Patrol offices — beer, wine and a whole lot of whiskey. Here are a few of our favorites.
Wolves Whiskey Winter Run
Wolves Whiskey was launched by streetwear figures James Bond of Undefeated and Jon Buscemi as an experiment into hype culture in the whiskey world. The brand drops bottles in limited quantities every few months, and its second release, dubbed Winter Run, doesn’t disappoint. Distilled and aged at Charbay Distillery, it’s a blend of whiskeys made from stout beer, pilsners, rye and malted barley aged in both American oak and French oak barrels. It sounds muddled and confusing, but it tastes bittersweet chocolate and oranges.
Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout
It’s officially stout season. And there’s no better stout to warm yourself with than Goose Island’s Bourbon County Brand Stout. While some of the rarer variants are really good this year (the Double Barrel and the 2-Year are incredible), they’re also near-impossible to find. The flagship Brand Stout is available just about everywhere though and offers notes of chocolate fudge, almond and leather with a rich mouthfeel. Aged in Heaven Hill, Buffalo Trace, and Wild Turkey barrels, it clocks in at 15 percent ABV and is the perfect remedy for a cold winter’s eve.
Deschutes Brewery Fresh Funk Wild IPA
An IPA you can age? While that may sound like the exact opposite of what you should be doing with a beer that relies on hop character, Fresh Funk Wild IPA from Deschutes Brewery utilizes the Brettanomyces yeast strain that’s more commonly found in wild fermentation beers. Do not be mistaken though: Fresh Funk is not a Sour IPA. Using Simcoe, El Dorado and Amarillo hops means it still carries plenty of citrusy, tropical notes. And the wild fermentation portion comes through more like a dry, Brut IPA to mellow out any sourness you’d might expect. It clocks in at 6.2 percent ABV and just released, so you may not be able to find this one just yet. But if you come across, we highly recommend it.
Proteau Ludlow Red
Momofuku vet John deBary crafted a non-alcoholic aperitif that I can’t stop drinking. It’s made up of a bunch of different bontanicals, but blackberry and black pepper are the most vibrant. Most importantly, it’s not overly sweet. I can drink it slowly over ice, I can mix it with vodka and I can go halvsies with club soda for an extremely funky highball. Buy it.
Westward Oregon Stout Cask American Single Malt Whiskey
Christian Krogstad takes his Oregon distillery’s fully matured American Single Malt Whiskey and dumps it into barrels that previously housed stout beers for another year of aging. The result is a malty, caramelly, bready, chocolatey flavor bomb. It’ll be tough to track down bottles in states outside the brand’s distribution range, but it’s worth a shot if you see it in the wild.
Bearded Iris Brewing x Threes Brewing Dreams of Tomorrow
If you’re not drinking dark lagers let this be your notice to start doing so. When done right, the style is a balance of a crisp lager and a dark, roasted malt porter — maybe even a little smokiness to finish things off. One of the newest additions to the style is this collaboration between Bearded Iris Brewing of Tennessee and Threes Brewing of New York City. Brewed with Czech malt, Saaz hops and oyster shells, this intricately balanced dark lager offers a subtle roasty malt and a faint hint of minerality and smoke on the finish. At 5 percent ABV it’s one you can enjoy a couple of on a cold evening and feel as smooth as the calm sea on a flat winter’s day.
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