Blanton's Bourbon

What a joy it is to enjoy a nice pour of Blanton's Bourbon at the end of a long week. Heck, at the end of any day for that matter. 

 

With one large cube, my personal favorite. And yes, that's Miss Happy in the background. 

With one large cube, my personal favorite. And yes, that's Miss Happy in the background. 

Sometimes Blanton's can be hard to find, so don't be shy if you see it at your favorite purveyor of fine wine and spirits. 

 

The famous bottle stopper. 

The famous bottle stopper. 

Beervent

This year as the holiday season starts, I will be celebrating the long standing tradition of Beervent. Well, maybe it is only the second year to participate in this event, but a celebration nonetheless. Here at Bike Mart, Theresa and I will be trading a beer a day up thru Christmas Eve.

Week 1

Beervent is a take on Advent, or the beginning and arrival of the holiday season. Of course, the big finale of this is Christmas Day. I am most certainly not the first to take Advent and turn it into another reason to trade and enjoy craft beer but I am going to come back to this page and update once or twice a week as beers are traded and consumed. Ideally, I will share a few short reviews and pictures on the different beers.

Week 2

Week 3

Last week, here we go!!!!!

Happy Holidays and Cheers!!

Boulevard Brewing Company

Boulevard Beer

As most of you know especially, my friends and co-workers here in Texas, I am a total homer when it comes Kansas City and Missouri. This is especially true in regards to the Royals, Chiefs, MU Tigers and Boulevard Beer.

The Show-Me state, home of Harry S. Truman and “The Buck Stops Here”. The mighty Mo! The BBQ Capital of the World! People from Missouri take great pride in their state and I am chief among them. Boulevard Brewing Company shares the same hometown pride — from supporting the home teams to embracing the cult following of its loyal fans, Boulevard is becoming as synonymous with Kansas City as fountains and jazz.

Founded in 1989, just a few short years before I was able to legally drink. Boulevard was well before the time of all the “craft breweries” that have joined the scene in the last five years or so. Boulevard started simple enough with the first keg being Pale Ale — and it was delivered by the owner to a restaurant down the street. Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat soon followed. With its cloudy and golden appearance, this beer is one of the most refreshing with a lemon squeezed in on a hot summer day.

As I think back to my early days of managing restaurants in the 90s, the Pale Ale and UFW (Unfiltered Wheat) almost sold at the same rate of Budweiser, Miller Lite and Coors Light. Keep in mind this was long before the craft boom. Only a few others were available such as Fat Tire and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale at the time. Boulevard was also ahead of their time with seasonal beers, some of which are still available today. Nutcracker Ale during the holidays, Irish Ale in the late winter up to St Patrick’s Day, and Boss Tom’s Bock in the spring, a throwback to Tom Pendergast and the Mafia ties in the 1930s.

Boulevard has undergone two major expansions since those early days and continued to add more beers to the line-up. When I moved to Texas, Boulevard was not available here. Every trip home required an immediate stop at a local restaurant soon after touchdown and getting off the plane. The return trip would always include at least six pack of Boulevard as well.

First stop back in KC: the outdoor patio at Boulevard with a beer in hand. 

First stop back in KC: the outdoor patio at Boulevard with a beer in hand. 

Imagine my surprise a few years ago when I was chatting with a local beer rep and was told that Boulevard was coming to Texas. This was quite some time ago, but not too long after Pale Ale and UFW were showing up on tap at some of the local bars and in local liquor stores. And it didn’t take long for other flavors to come rolling in.

Recently, Boulevard has been focusing on their Smokestack Series and limited releases in bomber bottles. The Smokestack Series is in homage to the Boulevard smokestack tower that has adorned the facility off Southwest Boulevard since day one. These are unique and flavorful beers, including seasonals. I strongly recommend Tank7 Farmhouse Ale that can be found in fine establishments all around the Midwest.

For me the true gems are the Smokestack Specialty releases. Only to be found a few months at a time, you never know where one of these will turn up. Not to surprising to find them at a place like Spec’s, but always a treat to stumble across a hard to find release at Tom Thumb or Kroger. My two favorites are Imperial Stout and Bourbon Barrel Quad. No need to get into all the tasting notes, it’s just good and pairs perfectly with cyclocross weather. The Bourbon Barrel Quad is exactly what it sounds like. This is an abbey-style, quadruple-aged in oak bourbon barrels for up to 3 years. Then cherries are added giving an extra layer of depth and texture. In a infamous “quad-off” last winter, Texas Cross Syndicate’s own and native Texan Jeff Lucido even agreed that the Boulevard took the crown of the four Quads we had that night. Let's just say I didn't make the training ride the next morning.

Get out there and try some Boulevard beer and enjoy a taste of where I come from. Cheers!

Smokestack Series Limited Release

Smokestack Series Limited Release

The Boulevard Smokestack: standing proud in Kansas City since '89.

The Boulevard Smokestack: standing proud in Kansas City since '89.

Angel's Envy Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Drinking: Angel's Envy Straight Kentucky Bourbon finished in Port wine barrels

Potency: 86.6 Proof

Enjoyed with: Good company on a Friday evening, after a long work week

Somebody who knows me well recently gave me a bottle of Angel's Envy bourbon. I was immediately drawn in to the unique shape of the bottle and the script near the bottom of the stating that it is “Straight Kentucky bourbon finished in Port wine barrels.” One look and I was eager to try.

The appearance of this bourbon is a very light to golden brown — almost copper. So light in fact, you can see the angel’s wings that are inscribed on the back of the bottle. Removing the cork and taking in the initial aroma I immediately gather vanilla and even maple syrup. Moving on to the tasting of the bourbon the vanilla and syrup continues. Angel's Envy then has a nice long and smooth finish, no harshness or burning here. This is an extraordinary sipping bourbon, what a great way to end the work week and start the weekend.

This was a great gift indeed. 

This was a great gift indeed. 

Taking a quick visit over to the Angel's Envy website reveals a few of the secrets behind this wonderful bourbon. After spending 40 years working to master the heritage of traditional bourbon making, master distiller Lincoln Henderson decided to create something new and Angel's Envy is the final product.

Crafted in small batches of 8 to 10 barrels at a time, typically of 6-year aged bourbon. The bourbon will then spend about 6 months in 60 gallon ruby port barrels made of French oak. All the barrels are meticulously tasted and blended for every batch. This type of attention to detail and craftsmanship produces one of the best bourbons I have ever sipped on. Wine Enthusiast agrees, giving it a 98, their highest bourbon rating ever. Maxim magazine and Men’s Journal also confirm my findings.

So if you don’t have anybody out there willing to give you a bottle of Angel's Envy as a gift, I strongly encourage getting out there an gifting one to yourself.



Larceny Bourbon

Drinking: Larceny Bourbon. Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey larcenybourbon.com

Potency: 92 proof

Enjoyed with: Alone, with just the dog at my side, when winding down after an afternoon poolside.  

larceny bourbon

Larceny is made with wheat as the secondary grain, instead of rye, giving it a smooth and long finish, perfect for sipping over the rocks — preferably a 2-inch block ice cube, of course (cocktailkingdom.com).

Larceny Bourbon has quite the lore built around the history and legacy of the brand dating back to 1870. Rumor has it that John E. Fitzgerald was a bonded treasury agent with legal access to all the keys to the barrel storage warehouses. Fitzgerald developed a discerning taste for only the best bourbon, hence the name Larceny, I have to side with Fitzgerald, an excellent choice for those with a discerning palate.

Cheers.