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The Whiskey Hotline Hits the Road: Islay

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We visited Ardbeg first, and got an incredibly in-depth tour from distillery manager Mickey Heads. Our first impression was how shockingly small the operation is, at least in comparison to their marketing budget. Ardbeg only operates a single pair of stills. To put that in perspective Glenlivet has 28 pairs.

 

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The Whiskey Hotline Hits the Road: Campbeltown

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After a long drive across the lowlands and down the Campbeltown peninsula we arrived in the town of Campbeltown. Once the mecca of Scotch whisky with over 35 distilleries in the town, the number has dwindled down to just 3. Two of them are owned by the Wright family, Springbank and Glengyle. Founded in 1828, the Springbank distillery is a special place for Scotch lovers.
 

Campbeltown Scotland Binny's

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The Whiskey Hotline Hits the Road: Speyside and The Highlands

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Family owned since 1895, G&M is one of Scotland’s oldest independent bottlers. They’re also a wine, spirits and beer wholesaler. Their operation is very large, spanning several acres. We got a chance to see one of their warehouses and it was a sight to behold. They use a tall, racked warehouse as opposed to the short, dank dunnage warehouses. There are some real gems in their warehouses and they have some of the oldest casks in the business. In fact, they’ve bottled the oldest single malt ever bottled, a 70-year-old Mortlach. We had the privilege of tasting two different Macallan casks from 1940 while we were there. They were both surprisingly vibrant and fresh when we expected woody and tired. We’ve got plenty of G&M cask samples we’re tasting through and considering and will update our picks in an upcoming post.
 

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The Whiskey Hotline Hits the Road: Islay

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The Whiskey Hotline is currently on sabbatical on Islay, but the line between work and play is always blurred. We visited a few of our favorite distilleries in between eating haggis burgers, haggis pizza, haggis nachos and black pudding and managed to get an advance tasting on some upcoming releases you’ll want to keep an eye out for. These are all currently on the water and we expect to have them within a month or so. We’ll be sure to let you know here as soon as they arrive.
 

Islay Whiskey Hotline

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Beer Buzz Hits the Road: Samuel Smith’s Brewery

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It’s been a fun year of travel for the Beer Buzz. Our latest beer education adventure led us to England where we visited Samuel Smith’s Brewery – Yorkshire’s oldest brewery. Being one of the most traditional breweries whose products we can get, it was a fascinating journey walking through these places.

 

Samuel Smith Brewery

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Binny’s Handpicked Angel’s Envy: St Patrick’s and St Joseph’s

Angel's EnvyOur two brand new Binny’s Handpicked Angel’s Envy bottlings just arrived this week, and you do not want to miss them.  Originally blended on St. Patrick’s Day, we were going to call them St. Patrick’s Blend #1 and #3, but Joey was upset his name didn’t appear on one so we now have St. Patrick’s Blend and St. Joseph’s Blend. On to the details:

 

Angel’s Envy is well known as a ex-Port cask finished bourbon. Both the standard bottling and other special blends are blended to perfection from three component whiskies:

 

A – is 6 year bourbon finished in port barrels for an additional 2 months
B – is 6 year bourbon finished in port barrels for an additional 4 months
C – is 6 year bourbon finished in port barrels for an additional 6 months
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Top 10 Craft Beers of the Week

Why do I love craft beer? It rewards experimentation and exploration; there’s always something different. It has no borders, but it supports local artisans. It can be a transcendent experience with food, it is accessible everywhere and reasonably priced.

 

Binny’s is celebrating craft beer this week with special pricing on ten of our favorite craft beers.

 

 

Prices are per six pack unless otherwise noted. Prices valid through 10/15/13 at Chicago-area Binny’s locations only. Not all products available at all Binny’s locations.

 

 

Stone IPA
One of the all time classics and a benchmark for the West Coast style. What else could you need?

 

Lagunitas Daytime
Lagunitas’s latest is a session IPA full of the hop flavors we love. And it’s light enough for a long tailgate, which is great this time of year.

 

Firestone Walker DBA
Superbly balanced and perfect for cooling autumn weather.

 

Dark Horse Crooked Tree IPA
Juicy, hopped up IPA that is deliciously drinkable.

 

Victory Prima Pils 
A standard for American Pilsner. Crisp, light, thirst quenching.

 

5 Vulture Dark Ale 
This dark and malty ale is spiced with ancho chili peppers for some extra kick.

 

Two Brothers Heavy Handed IPA 
Our local wet hopped IPA is one of the best and freshest around. Stock up while you can.

 

Founders Breakfast Stout 4 pack only
When the weather gets cool, a double oatmeal chocolate coffee imperial stout seems appropriate.

 

Sierra Nevada Flipside Red IPA 
One of the best new beers we’ve had this year. Caramel malts, a touch of wheat, and LOTS of Simcoe and Citra hops.

 

Left Hand Nitro Milk Stout 
Another favorite when the weather starts to cool. The nitro treatment makes this even richer and creamier.

 

Binny’s Beer Buzz Hits the Road: Final Days in Beligum

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Our journey is on its final stretch. Catch up with parts one, two and three.

 

We spent day six with the Van Steenberge brewery. As usual, this brewery has been in the same family for generations and produces some top notch Belgian ales including favorites such as Piraat, Gulden Draak, and Augustijn.

 

Van Steenberge Sign

Van Steenberge Sign


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Binny’s Beer Buzz Hits the Road: Belgium Days 4 and 5

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If you haven’t been following along, Nate Hadley and myself have been traveling through Belgium tasting beer, sight seeing and learning all about the culture! This is day four and five of our journey.

 

Hop Farm in Poperinge

Hop Farm in Poperinge


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Beer Buzz Hits the Road: Belgium Days 2 and 3

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We spent day 2 of our journey through Belgium exploring the city of Antwerp with our friends from Troubadour. The biggest news of the day was Nate Hadley’s arrival. Our poor Naperville beer manager was bumped on his flight over due to the flight being overbooked. The flight he was hoping for standby on was also overbooked and then cancelled due to mechanical problems. He spent a night in Washington DC and finally got to us today. His luggage, however, did not. At least he’s here!

 

troubadour

 

Troubadour beers are outstanding across the board. They have a Blond, Obscura (a light stout), Magma Triple IPA, Westkust (a black IPA), and an imperial stout. It’s great to see a Belgian brewery embracing US Craft brewery ideas and creating hop forward beers in a country typically completely devoid of them. If you haven’t had Magma, do yourself a favor and pick one up. There also may still be some of the limited edition Sorachi Ace Magma floating around at some of our stores.
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