Pappy Van Winkle is considered by some to be the holy grail of bourbon. It is dispensed in single servings at absurdly priced tastings, sold by the bottle at auction at even higher prices, and is generally unobtainable unless you are comfortable lavishing extravagance upon ones self. Recently, for the second time in my life, I was presented the opportunity to try it. St. Anthony of Catonsville, patron saint of bourbon blogs happens to be a biscuiteer that possesses a bottle of the 20 year variety. Acquired six years ago at retail (before the sky rocketing prices), the living legend uncorked his bottle that I may write this extra special entry and start 2017 off in a stellar fashion.
The first time I tasted the Pappy it was of this 20 year variety from 6 years prior, and I wasn’t thinking about capturing its essence in the written word, but I knew it was special. Fast forward a few years, and now its an exciting chance to revisit.
It’s really REALLY smooth, not a bit of harshness, great nose (subtle wood, with vanilla hints) , and wonderful warm (not hot) finish – with the perfect amount of sweetness. It’s easily the best bourbon I’ve ever tasted.
It’s great bourbon, and if you’ve got the resources to blow over a grand on a bottle of bourbon good for you, but really…you’re a ding dong if you spend that kind of loot on whiskey. It’s like those really expensive Yeti coolers, yeah they’re great, but if you spend hundreds of dollars on a cooler, chances are good that you’re at least 1/10th asshole.
It’s the time of year for reflective evaluation of what has transpired over the previous 12 months. In the spirit of the season, here’s a recap/ranking of the year in biscuits, whiskey, and beer!
Best : SUNRISE BISCUIT KITCHEN – Value, quality, and uniqueness make Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen the best biscuit of 2016.
Worst: HARDEES – I wrote about biscuits at a hospital this year. You got beat by a hospital Hardees…think about what you’ve done, and try harder next time.
Best: HENRY MCKENNA BOTTLED IN BOND – This was a big surprise, a previous unknown (to me), propelling it ahead of other more “top shelf” selections based on value and big flavors.
Worst: BOHSHINE – fun, quirky, not too bad, but still…c’mon, it was never going to be the best, and always going to be the worst.
Best: Bull Durham Brewing Company Lollygagger Kolsch – to quote me “It’s got the perfect balance of malts and hops, and really is just exactly what I think a beer should be. I only wish I could have it at home, but then again, maybe what makes it special is knowing you can only have one at the game.”
Worst: Trader Joes Simpler Times Lager – it tastes the way a beer fart smells.
Honorable Mention: Steel String Rollie Pollie – so good, but not a daily drinker so unfortunately couldn’t be the best.
There’s some great stuff lined up for 2017 – see you then!
Egg Nog is a divisive holiday staple. Some people love it, some people think it’s nasty. Even those that like it can’t agree…should it have booze in it, or should it not?
I am in the “I like it” camp, and am vehemently opposed to the inclusion alcohol in my nog. I think it’s a wholesome holiday treat, and should not be sullied with hooch.
I don’t REALLY know what’s in it, and I don’t want to. I have like one glass a year, it tastes like Christmas, and then I get gas (lactose issues). I don’t want that one glass to be any different year to year, so I guess maybe that’s why I’m hung up on keeping it simple.
Stay tuned for the BWB year-end recap countdown extravaganza where I will rank the foods and beverages from 2016 that contributed to me being the most out of shape I’ve ever been. Hooray!
Things have been pretty hectic in the real world, so I haven’t had a lot of time to effectively contemplate the eponymous staples of the blog. Let us change that this instant, with a discussion of the seasonally appropriate (in name) Wild Turkey.
Wild Turkey is one of those long-standing brands with lots of history, and a process that their master distiller says is “the best way to make bourbon”. It’s also one of those brands that has had a lot of media tie-ins over the years.
It also has an equal number of detractors that recall the havoc it has brought upon them. I am not one of them, but the most recent recollection of such a soul, is one that stuck with me so hard that I haven’t had WT again until now. A year or so ago, I was taking a quick one hour flight and had the good fortune of possessing not one, but two free drink coupons for the ride. My plan was this: ask for a Coke, and two of whatever bourbon mini-bottles they had, then stash the booze in my bag for later. Well, it didn’t go that way. I got my two mini-bottles, and the flight attendants kept the tops! I asked for them and was told they don’t do that. BUT THEY DO, DO THAT…sometimes…I will now wait for you to stop snickering because you just said “doo-doo” in your head…grow up, you.
I guess I’ve just had laissez-faire attendants in the past, but I swear I’ve been handed sealed bottles before. Moving on. I now have about 30 minutes left in my flight, two bourbons, and a Coke. I looked at the guy next to me, and thought he might be game for one. Wouldn’t you know it, he was a recovering alcoholic on his way back from his wife’s funeral. I was officially the devil on his shoulder.
I felt horrible. I drank those little guys as fast as I could to remove the temptation from this poor man’s pilgrimage. While doing this, I heard about his late wife, and the last time he had Wild Turkey some 18 years prior. I heard about where he was coming from, where he was going, and we became fast friends. He was sad I was getting off on the next stop and not continuing on. It was a bummer. Then I walked off the plane to meet my dad and thought “I wonder if I smell like booze?” I probably did. This was not the way I envisioned arriving for a visit.
Prior to that event occurring, had you asked me about Wild Turkey, the first thing out of my mouth would have been “Dirty Pilgrims!” The Dirty Pilgrim is drink concocted in Dover Delaware by Biscuiteer Kevin (previously credited with adventure biscuits – click HERE to read that tale). It is equal parts Wild Turkey, and turkey gravy – and must be consumed from a ladle. The ladle is really what makes it special, really opens up the flavor. This is not some gross dreamed up shot that no one’s actually done either, this was a pillar of a particularly raucous evening one night in 2007, and continues to live in infamy, having been repeated and spoken of only in hushed reverent tones since its inception.
Moving onward, interestingly enough, there is a Wild Turkey lounge at a restaurant I can not afford (The Angus Barn) in Raleigh, NC. It’s an upscale joint, ranked one of the best “business bars” in the US. Full of power players, sitting in rich leather chairs, getting up to peruse the humidor, it’s the kind of place one goes to conduct top level business, with top level businessmen. Thing is, I’m a business man, not a businessman…or however that Jay-Z lyric goes. I should check it out one day, but not today, and tomorrow’s not looking too promising either.
SO – Wild Turkey. How is it? It’s pretty good.
Sweet up front, peppery finish with pronounced oak notes, and some vanilla in between. There’s a reason it’s a staple, and it deserves respect.
With that, I will wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving, and will see you soon!
The Sam Adams West Coast Style Rebel IPA is a beer that when dropped on a set of keys will erupt like Mt. St. Helens. I was unloading a variety pack when this can fell out, and landed directly on my keys. One in a million shot. From the windows, to the wall, til the warm beer covered all, this thing sprayed everything and made my house smell like an unclean bar mat at closing time. It was gross.
So a week or two later I had one the way they’re meant to be consumed instead of wearing it, and it tastes just like the can said it would. Rarely is truth in advertising a thing, but they did not overhype any aspects of the beer, so here ya go:
So yeah, that’s that for this one, it was good. It was never going to change my world, but it was good.
We interrupt your regularly scheduled nonsense blog to bring you…
The Great Chili Cleanse of 2016
Hello and welcome, to chili cleanse.
Please, before you go ANY further, consider donating to my current fundraiser that 100% benefits individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities, and their adopted pets. I will send you a shirt. Also, the minimum is only ten bucks…seriously, do it. Here’s the link:
Sundays are a special time in our household. The Mrs. and I have an understanding that I will take the baby for the day so she can run errands, catch up on work, and generally have some time to do what she needs to get done. In exchange, I get full reign to watch football and play Madden. All. Day. Long. With the little guy on my lap wearing his little Panthers gear, and I in my horribly outdated Ed Reed Ravens jersey (he’s one of my top three all-time Ravens and the only other Ravens jersey I own has the name of a player on another team…I refuse to retire it), we sit and eat. He gets bottles, but I get whatever I want. As such, I am usually up before the sun prepping something appropriate: pulled pork, chopping veggies to top nachos, chili, you get the idea.
Well, this week I made an error in calculations and made WAY too much chili. Faced with a bottomless crock pot, I decided this week I will engage in a “chili cleanse”. All chili, all the time. The base recipe is vegetarian, jam packed with veggies both fresh and canned, not too spicy, but with enough kick to be interesting. This was by design so that the vegetarian Mrs. could partake if that was how she chose to spend her Sunday-lady-day. On this day, she said she would have “some”. Any man with two brain cells to rub together know this to mean in reality: very little. I was on my own. Fortunately, I also had a copious amount of pulled pork on the side to mix in as desired, and I desire it, always.
What follows is my attempt to eat all the chili.
Day 1 – Bowl 1
After an uninspiring breakfast of generic brand cheerios, my lunch was a moderately sized bowl of chili with a lovely heated from frozen Pillsbury Grand. I prefer these frozen pucks over the tube variety because you can toss one in the toaster oven and have a biscuit whenever, but I digress.
The chili is good, I am excited about setting off on this voyage. I pair it with a Great Lakes Brewing Co. Burning River Pale Ale left behind from a previous football week by a friend (thanks Quentin). The Panthers are winning, which in my mind makes my infant son happy because I choose to believe that is his team. The Ravens are winning, this makes me happy. My opponent in my fantasy league has Aaron Rogers starting and he is playing well, I am going to lose. All in all, I’m coming out ahead in this equation, so spirits remain high.
Day 1 – Bowl 2
The Panthers have lost, so the baby is taking a nap and thinking over his crushing defeat. My fantasy lineup has been decimated and the 4pm games have just started, I have some more beers. Despite all of this, the Ravens have won, and therefore, spirits remain high. I go back to the chili for a snack, this time sprinkling some tortilla chips on the top and pairing it with water, for I must hydrate. No pork this time, its just a snack, almost like a bowl of hot salsa.
The chili is good, and I am pleased. I look forward to later in the evening when I will have a larger portion, likely with cheese and more pork on top.
Day 1 – Bowl 3
For dinner some Giants fans dropped by to lament their day’s loss, and they partook of the chili. All were pleased, and yet the bottomless chili pot remains bottomless. It’s depths unfathomable, I press onward. Added some cheese, some pork, and circled back around to biscuits. Satisfied with the day’s events, the remains are portioned out into plastic containers and put in the fridge for later.
Day 2 – Bowl 1
The breakfast of champions may be a cup of microwaved chili and black coffee at 5:30am, but I doubt it. After a sluggish awakening, I was roused to meet the day by the promise of more chili. It’s still good, but I didn’t heat it up enough, and it wound up being half cold, so it’s not great. No cheese, no chips, no biscuit, just me,the chili and the coffee. As I eat I wonder how much to pack for lunch, and have to admit I’m not super into the idea of more chili right now.
Day 2 – Bowl 2
Lunch bowl is of modest size, and I crushed up a bunch of tortilla chips in an effort to make some sort of Frito pie type concoction. I ate it cold because when I am at work, ice water flows through my veins, and I am a man possessed by the mission. I pair it with a 5 hour energy and some water. There is barely time for sustenance. I am growing tired of chili.
Day 2 – Bowl 3
I returned home to find my wife ate one of my portions. I suspect she grows weary of chili cleanse. I double down. Mega-portion for dinner, with added sausage and cheese. I pair it with a Sam Adams Oktoberfest. My passion for chili returns, burning like the indigestion I am currently suffering.
Day 2 – evening update
The gas is real.
Day 3 – Bowl 1
Hot coffee, hot chili, hot times….no picture, deal with it.
Day 3 – Bowl 2
There is not enough chili left to constitute a meal. It is finished. This is good, as the effects you would expect have reached a pinnacle and become toxic.
Although no chili has been consumed in 24 hours, the after effects are still felt.
The gas, while hilarious, was not as bad as expected at first, but turned suddenly on day 2 to toxic.
The recipe for chili is:
1 ½ cups chopped yellow onions
1 ½ cups baby bella mushrooms stemmed and cubed
1 red bell pepper chopped
2 lil yellow squashes, cut the stem ends off and dice ‘em
3 (15 oz.) cans diced tomatoes
2 (15 oz.) cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 (15 oz.) can corn kernels, drained
2 (4.5 oz.) cans diced green chiles, drained
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
2 Tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons oregano leaves
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 ½ teaspoons onion powder
1 ¼ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves – no stems, no seeds, no sticks
¼ cup cornmeal
Mix up everything but the corn meal and cilantro.
Cover and cook on High for 4 hours.
20-30 minutes before the chili finishes cooking, dump in cornmeal and chopped cilantro…then let that shiz sit ALL DAY LONG on “warm”. If your pot has no warm setting, I don’t know what to tell you other than get to eatin.
The pulled pork is basic slow cooked pork shoulder with eastern Carolina sauce (vinegar, sugar, pepper flakes)
I sort of wish I had more chili, that went really quick.
Check out the Triathlon-a-Thon below. It’s a good cause, and if you’ve read this far, probably a good person. Think about donating.
I’ll be back at it next week, when I get back around to the exploding beer story/review.
First off, let it be known that I love Dunkin Donuts. I drink my coffee from a DD travel mug, I think Munchkins are a fantastic excuse to eat 3 regular donuts worth of donut in bite size form, I believe that the DD chocolate frosted donut is the perfect version of a donut.
I remember the donut guy commercials, I regularly say “time to make the donuts” when I get ready to stuff that has nothing to do with donuts, I even remember DD cereal. They had this sausage English muffin thing a few years ago…awesome. Healthy egg-white snack wrap things? Awesome.
You know I’m not alone in this view either, look here at Super Bowl Champion Joe Flacco, I bet we could bro out over what to pick while waiting in line at DD.
That’s why it saddens and hurts me to say that the chicken breakfast biscuit from DD is not very good.
The biscuit itself is ok, and holds the sole redeeming traits of the experience. It’s buttery, dense, and rich, but feels industrial. Like those weird sandwiches in vending machines, it’s just off.
Where things really go to hell is the chicken they put on this thing. It’s the to a chicken patty from a microwaved Hungry-Man dinner. Weird, chewy, lukewarm, soggy on the outside, and with a funny aftertaste.
Again, I love Dunkin, America RUNS on it if the ads are to be believed, but this is a biscuit better left alone.
See you next time, when I tell the tale of an exploding beer.
PS – We are at 40% of the goal for the Triathlon-a-Thon! Want to make a tangible difference in the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities by helping their furry friends? Of course you do, jerks don’t read this site! So go to the link below and consider a donation, I’ll send you a shirt to say thanks:
Henry McKenna Bourbon is a brand with a lovely origin story. It goes something like this: Henry McKenna immigrated to the US from Ireland with his families whiskey recipe that had been passed down for generations. After settling in Kentucky, Mr. McKenna realized that Bourbon is awesome, but thought “hey, I can incorporate elements of my family recipe, and make it even better!” A big part of his innovation was the insistence on the use of oak barrels exclusively.
As many readers know, for a whiskey to be called Bourbon, it has to meet certain standards. What can be confusing is that there is another set of standards beyond the regular ones for Bourbon to be considered “bottled in bond”. The rules break down as follows:
-the liquor has to be the product of a single distillation season, from a single distillery
-it must be stored in a Federally bonded warehouse under US Govt. supervision for AT LEAST four years
-it must be bottled at 100 proof.
Today’s whiskey adventure brings us to the Henry McKenna Single Barrel 10 year bottled in bond small batch Kentucky Bourbon. This bottle was from barrel 2181, and barreld on 10/6/2005.
Deep amber in hue, it’s got a big oaky nose, is loud, spicy, and full of flavor if consumed neat. I say drop an ice cube, or a little water into it, at which point it opens up. There’s some awesome dark fruit notes to it, some oak, and you can taste the rye a bit more with the spicy finish remaining in tact.
THIS IS AWESOME BOURBON. Big flavors – but clean, mature but not super pricey, I picked this up randomly, and immediately realized I might have a new top fiver for bourbon.
I highly recommend checking it out. I also recommend checking out our charity drive by clicking on the link below: