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Handpicked Casks: Willett Family Reserves


So Brett and Pat headed down to beautiful Bardstown to visit Kentucky Bourbon Distillers, Ltd. They took a lot of pretty pictures. They also tasted a bunch of barrel samples and brought back a few for the handpicking committee to taste. This time, there were a few selections where the choice of specific barrel had already been made for us, and they just wanted us to give a thumbs up or thumbs down. Why do we need so many Handpicked Willett bottlings? Because they’re awesome. Here are our picks, and my personal tasting notes:


Willett Family 4 Year

Bright. Almost citrus peel intensity on the nose, plus stemmy plant notes. Softer on the palate than I’d expect from the nose. Soft, sweet and nice. Legit.


Willett Family 5 Year

Choosing between two 5 year olds, and our winner is the bigger, more masculine choice. Green and fresh, spirited and youthful, with nice fruit notes on the palate. Plenty of corn notes. Candy. Grippy. Alcoholic. I’m the only one that preferred the more graceful, feminine 5 year, and I was voted down. So if you enjoy big bourbon, appreciate this….

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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.


Stone Brewing Co. Glassware Now Available at Binny’s

Last year Binny’s delved into the brewery and beer specific logo beer glassware market, quickly finding out that our customers were as excited as we were about glasses like Delirium Tremens and Unibroue La Fin du Monde.  Last week some of our stores began to carry Stone Brewing Co. glassware, and several other stores will follow suit this week. Stone features some unique and beautiful glassware; Binny’s will be stocking the following:


Quick Flight, Small Pours


Via Wired: Expensive Penfold’s Cabernet served up in Ampoules.
Also discussed: psychology of very expensive things.


Here’s the skinny behind the new Baderbrau.


Great stuff from BeerPulse:
Bottles and Cans. Just clap your hands.
Lagunitas’s Tony Magee on craft brewing, Chicago facility.


From Gizmodo: Healthiest and Deadliest alcoholic drinks
At least alcohol can’t be fried.


Jack Daniel’s polite cease and desist letter.
Aw shucks.



Paso Robles & More


Went out to Paso Robles (and surrounding areas) this spring. The visit left me with a funny feeling about the region, so I held off on writing this blog post for way too long. Well, here goes.


On one hand, I still think Paso Robles offers some great value wines if you’re looking in the $10-20 range. I wrote about the region way back in 2009, and I still agree with most of what I said back then. There are a few touchstone wineries in the area that offer benchmark wines. You’ll find world-class bottles from Tablas Creek and L’Aventure. Big producers and negociant-style bottlers always give good bang for your buck, with plenty of values from brands that focus on selling wine and not building cache. Which isn’t too romantic, but if you’re like me and you’re just looking for wine to drink…


On the other hand, there are a host of wineries in the region that focus more on tourism and a captive audience than getting their juice out to markets around the country.


See, Paso falls halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, in the Central Coast region of California. The area is known for hot days and cool nights, exactly the right recipe for ripe and balanced wines. The stereotype is that San Francisco people head up to Napa for the weekend, and L.A. people head on up to Paso. I asked some locals – at wineries, at a BBQ joint, and so on – and they agreed. To Paso’s credit, the region still feels like an agricultural area with stuff to do, unlike Napa’s heavily manicured, Disneyland-for-grownups vibe. So that’s a plus.

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Binny’s Mailbag: Re-refrigerating Beer


We’re bringing back the Binny’s mailbag with a question as old as bottled beer itself. Somehow, we hear this question over and over again.


Binny’s Mailbag –

We have two cases of bottled MGD and Stella that are left over from a party. They were refrigerated and very cold. We took them out and they are room temperature. Can we re-refrigerate them? My husband says that re-refrigerated beer loses its quality. Is that correct? We would like to only re-refrigerate some of them and keep the rest at room temperature until needed. Will they be all right?

– C.O.


Hi C.O!


Your beer is fine. You can absolutely re-refrigerate beer with no worries. Even fancy-pants unpasturized craft beer. Once again, beer can go from fridge cold to room temperature and back to fridge cold with no ill effects.


What can we do to dispel this old wives’ tale? We aren’t entirely sure how it started, but it seems to be intertwined with an advertising campaign waged decades ago by the littlest big brewer in Colorado. Something about being brewed cold, and transported cold, and the myth spread.


Beer is as shelf-stable as most other nonperishable food items. Similar to, say, a can of creamed corn? You wouldn’t want either to sit around forever, but a few temperature changes won’t hurt. Sure you can affect the taste with extreme temperature fluctuations, but the minor change from fridge to room temperature (from ~37 to ~74) isn’t going to ruin a shelf-stable product.

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Taste Leopold Bros with Scott Leopold


We’ve been ranting over on The Whiskey Hotline for a while about the greatness that is Leopold Bros. We offer a good selection of the Leopold portfolio – from their whiskies and white spirits to some of our guilty favorites – their delicious fruit liqueurs.


Now we’re excited to host one of the Leopolds in person at our South Loop location. Scott Leopold is bringing a grab bag of some of his fine spirits with him, and will shake hands and pour samples:



Leopold Bros Meet & Greet & Taste
with Scott Leopold
Binny’s South Loop
Friday, July  27 5-8pm



Scott Leopold cut his teeth in the manufacturing business, specializing in environmentally sustainable processes. He’s the one on the right, in the polo. His commitment to the environment carried over to the creation of the Leopold Bros’ Denver distillery. With Scott’s emphasis on manufacturing, combined with his brother Todd’s brewing and fermentation experience, Scott designed and developed a distillery with a focus on creating delicious, complex and earth-friendly spirits. Be sure to stop by, say hello, and taste some amazing stuff.

Binny’s All Inclusive Belgian Beer Sale Starts Today



If it hasn’t been apparent that Binny’s has a love affair with Belgian beer from our previous weeks’ sale programs, it should be totally clear now.  That is because for the rest of July virtually every Belgian beer we sell has had its price slashed, a portfolio that includes over 700 beers.  There is something for everyone in this sale, from saisons to sours and everything in between. Check it out now.

The Secret of El Dorado Rum


Surely you’ve heard of the “Liquid Gold of Guyana?” No? For years the award-winning lineup of El Dorado Rums have been the best kept secret on our shelves. Not only are they delicious, but these rums are rich in history as well: Demerara sugar cane molasses is the base of rums from Guyana, named for the 17th century Dutch colony, that imparts a trademark rich, fruity sweetness in these rums. El Dorado distills in 18th century wooden stills, including one of the earliest examples of continuous distillation. There’s just too much info to post here. You have to come to this event.





The Secret of El Dorado Rum
Seminar with Brand Ambassador Stefanie Holt
Thursday, August 9, 6-8pm
$10 with Binny’s Card / $15 without
A Lincoln Park Tasting Room Event
RSVP: 312-664-4394



El Dorado Rum brand Ambassador Stefanie Holt will lead us through the history and production that makes El Dorado so special. Stef earned this position through experience and passion: she started out tending bar at Edinburgh’s finest cocktail bars, earning herself a series of awards and industry recognition. She has climbed to international brand ambassador for Demerara Distillers Limited, earning the “UK Brand Ambassodor of the Year” trophy at the Golden Rum Barrel Awards. Don’t miss this opportunity to soak in her knowledge and passion for such a special collection of the world’s finest rums.

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