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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

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

 

The brewery itself is very large and sprawls around several acres and has its own water source. They have been on this same property since 1784. Van Steenberge pioneered conditioning beers (carbonating naturally) in kegs and has a lot of space dedicated to conditioning rooms which hold bottles and kegs at slightly higher temperatures to allow the yeast to reactivate and carbonate the beers. Currently Van Steenburge produces about 65,000 barrels a year, of which 75% is exported. This is done on an impressive 100 hectoliter brewhouse that turns out six batches a day.

 

Halve Maan Brewhouse

Van Steenberge Brewhouse

 

What impressed me most at the Van Steenberge brewery was their yeast management program. They use seven different yeasts and only use yeast for three generations. They use two different yeasts for bottle conditioning, one for flavor and one to remove oxygen. Yeast management is crucial when so many of your beers tip the scales at over 10% abv.
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Binny’s Beer Buzz Hits the Road: Belgium Days 4 and 5

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

 

We spent day four with the Van Ecke brewery, makers of Poperings Hommel, among others. Our first stop was a hop farm in the town of Poperinge. This was by far my favorite stop of the trip to this point. It was a small, family farm called ‘t Hoppecruyt. We toured the fields, which were just past the initial sprouting phase and the vines were starting to climb.

 

Hops Growing

Hops Growing

 
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Beer Buzz Hits the Road: Belgium Days 2 and 3

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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Beer Buzz Hits the Road: Belgium

We started our day with a little sightseeing in Brussels. We hit the usual spots, including the Atomium, which is a remnant from the 1958 worlds fair. It’s over 100 meters tall. Pretty cool, especially considering that all we have leftover from the worlds fair in New York is some rusty flying saucers in Jamaica Queens. ( There is also a significant remnant from the 1939 New York World’s Fair in Richmond, VA. It is now the Belgian Friendship Building at Virginia Union University, and it is a National Historic Landmark. -ed.)

 

 

We also checked out the iconic Mannekin Pis. It’s very small, maybe 20 inches or so, and not much to look at. So I did what any forward thinking beer nerd would do and popped into Mort Subite for a glass of their house blended lambic, whose deliciousness words cannot describe.

 

 

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Whiskey Hotline Hits the Road: Willett

 

The Whiskey Hotline’s next stop on the road through Kentucky and Tennessee? Kentucky Bourbon Distillers. You might remember our visit last summer. What has changed since? When we were there last July, the first floor of their newly renovated Warehouse A was half full of barrels. Now, the entire warehouse is nearly full. The place is buzzing. On our last visit, they were gearing up to build a grain mill and two bed & breakfasts. The mill is finished – a shipment of corn arrived and we got to watch it go up an auger and into a hopper. That was cool. And at least one of the B&B’s is done. It seems like they start a project every week, and finish one every four.

 

What did we taste? KBD resumed distilling in January of 2012, and we got our first taste of their young rye and bourbon after just 13 months in wood. Excited to taste them over hte next few decades. Also, they’re distilling using seven different mash bills – we were able to sneak back a bottle of their wheated bourbon recipe white dog. And it’s fantastic. After our delicious (and popular) last batch of Willetts, you know we want another round. So keep an eye out for more Binny’s Handpicked Willetts in these ages: 4 year, 6 year, 7 year, 8 year, 9 year, 10 year, and 22 year (!!!).

 

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Whiskey Hotline Hits the Road: Corsair

 

Day two on the Whiskey Hotline’s road trip? Corsair Artisan Spirits’s Nashville, Tennessee distillery. These guys are doing exciting things.

 

Listen, we’re always the first to knock the use of smaller barrels. You just can’t make a traditional bourbon, put it in small barrels, and expect it to taste good. That’s what makes Corsair different. While they do age in 15 gallon barrels, they play with the rest of the formula too: using experimental grains (quinoa?!), flavoring with hops, trying new mashes. At the same time, Corsair mostly produces mostly whiskies from malted barley, and have experimented with fifty different smoked barleys and seventy different hops.

 

By the way, Corsair just filled their first 30 gallon barrel last year. We tasted it; it isn’t ready, but when it is, there’s a good chance it winds up being a Binny’s Handpicked cask. We’ll revisit it soon. Did we bring back anything else? Watch for more of their delicious Triple Smoked.

 

Also, somebody at Corsair hearts monkeys.

 

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Binny’s Mailbag: Finished Bourbon

What could be more tempting than sneaking a peek at somebody’s mail? Here’s your chance to see the kinds of letters we get every day. Have a question of your own? Email us at spirits@binnys.com. wine@binnys.com or beer@binnys.com.

 

“…

I am extremely concerned about whiskeys being called bourbon, yet being aged in sherry/wine/brandy casks. Isn’t there a strict law about what can and cannot be called bourbon?

-YK

…”

 

Angel's Envy

Hi YK!

Yes and no. The Federal Standards of Identity for Distilled Spirits (pdf) covers what needs to happen to whiskey before it can be called bourbon:

 

  • It has to be made from at least 51% corn.
  • It has to be aged in NEW, charred oak barrels.
  • It can’t be distilled higher than 160 proof and can’t be put into a barrel for aging at higher than 125 proof.
  • It has to be bottled at 80 proof or higher.

 

Bourbon that you see with sherry or port cask aging is FINISHED in those casks. These bourbons generally spend several years in the legally required new charred oak barrels, and then are finished in refilled port, sherry or whatever barrels for a short time, usually 3-9 months. Angel’s Envy is a great example of this – a bourbon that saw years in charred oak barrels that then sees extra time finishing in port casks, giving it its characteristic gobs of round fruit.

 

Whiskey Hotline Hits the Road: Bardstown Photo Gallery

Of all the distilleries in beautiful Bardstown (recently voted “best” … in some publication) Kentucky Bourbon Distillers is one of our favorites. We had the chance to tour the grounds and follow the creation of their beautiful whiskey, from fermentation to distillation to barrel aging. And while we were there, we picked up some samples for our very own Binny’s Handpicked Willett Family Reserves.

 

Check out the pictures below and see why KBD stands out. Click on an image to enter a slideshow and to see our descriptions of each pic. We’ll post tasting notes for our final Handpicked Willett Family selections soon, so keep an eye on this space.

 

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