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.
Woodinville Straight Bourbon Whiskey
If you don’t know Woodinville yet, you will soon. The distillery has earned numerous accolades, including Craft Whiskey of the Year and, more recently, Best Straight Bourbon at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition this year. Bourbon authority Fred Minnick said he’d “buy every single bottle of Woodinville.” Its straight bourbon is an easy-drinking 90 proof that’s aged in standard 53-gallon drums for five years which, for a non-major distillery (like Jim Beam, Buffalo Trace or Brown-Forman), is a rarity. What’s rarer, the booze is better than its stats. It’s rich, buttery and sweet, and, at $40, it won’t cost you a fortune.
Threes Brewing x Modist Brewing Mutually Exclusive
Threes Brewing has been absolutely holding it down during shelter-in-place by continually putting out delicious beers and delivering them across New York. Mutually Exclusive is hazy like a New England IPA, but more crisp than juicy. The beer is brewed with oro blanco, essentially a white grapefruit, that provides a nice delicate bitterness that makes me want to drink this on a stoop in the summer… six feet away from anyone else.
Whitcraft Winery Lagrein
Drake Whitcraft has made a big name for himself by making really stunning, hyper low intervention Pinot Noirs in Santa Barbara County. The only downside is that you won’t find them for less than about $65/bottle. However, Whitcraft also bottles a Lagrein — a red native to northern Italy, that’s zippy and intense but not overtly juicy — that’s $34 and absolutely rips. Grab a few bottles and drink ’em slightly chilled on your stoop on a spring evening. (It’s also worth begging them to throw a bottle of their recently bottled Gamay on the order, you won’t regret it)
Sufferfest Gut Check IPA
Apple cider vinegar in beer? Yeah, I was a little skeptical at first as well. I expected to get some very sharp acidity at some point through a sip, but that was not the case at any point. Instead, it provides a bright hop-like tang that blends well into the hop character of the beer itself. It’s also a gluten-free beer, which means it only packs 100 calories and 6 carbs — and for someone like me who limits his gluten intake, it’s a nice change of pace. While Gut Check is certainly no hazy New England IPA, at just 4 percent ABV it’s a clean-drinking complement for these quarantine times.
Athletic Brewing Free Way N.A. Double Hop IPA
Before shelter-in-place, the majority of my beer drinking was being done either at breweries, in the office sampling with co-workers or at beer bars — I honestly didn’t keep all that much beer at home. Now that all of my beer drinking is happening at home, I don’t want to overdo it, which is where non-alcoholic beer comes in. Thankfully, back in February we published a big guide on the best N.A. beers and discovered that Athletic Brewing’s Free Way Double Hop IPA is one of the best out there. Hopped with Amarillo, Citra and Mosaic hops, it’s a refreshing break that tastes really similar to a well-balanced double IPA but removes the drunk factor.
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