When it comes to drinking, small is where it’s at. Small batches, small brands, small pours. And we’re loving them in a big way. It’s safe to say there are heaps of hops zealots and more than enough proof that whiskey is growing quickly. To take in all the craft drink trends would mean none of us are driving. But when it comes to beer and whiskey, there’s a booming brew-haha around these small but mighty stocks. So if you want a daring draft or just need it neat, get buzzin’ with something a little different.
Bourbon Goes Beyond
The wide world of whiskey keeps getting wider and wilder. As the craft craze shows no signs of stopping, unique whiskeys and bourbons are gaining major mainstream popularity. To be considered “real bourbon,” a whiskey must be made in Kentucky, where 95% of the world’s bourbon is created. However, distillers across the country are enhancing America’s native spirit with bold, unique tastes for bourbon-like spinoffs that make us want to sip on the dark side. And as much as we love flavor mash-ups, there are distillers drawing on century-old methods for true-blue, bottled-in-bond bourbon. We recommend Colonel E.H Taylor Jr. Single Barrel bourbon whiskey, aged for 11 years and 7 months and made the same way since 1830.
It’s All Good in the Wood
No longer considered “Grandpa’s cough medicine,” distilleries have found new ways to create wickedly wonderful small-batch whiskeys with bodacious flavor profiles. This trend is fueled by innovative mashes and aging barrels built from rare and unexpected woods. Old IPA beer barrels, flavor-coated barrels and wine casks make for awesome aging buddies. There’s Hudson Maple Cask Rye Whiskey, left in maple syrup–cured barrels for a sweet finish, or Amador 10-Barrel Straight Hop-Flavored Whiskey, which matures in French oak wine barrels and chardonnay casks for a surprising floral and fragrant flavor. And there are only ten barrels in the entire world.
Jumping Through Hops
Move over big beer brands, craft brews are here, and they’re only getting bigger. With the way craft beer has exploded, there’s no telling what the market will look like in a few years. But as the boundaries around unique flavors and drafts continue to be pushed, there’s a plethora of emerging breweries adding bold and surprising tastes to our beer spectrum. Seasonal brews are keeping craft enthusiasts tuned in for limited-time-only small batches. And as beer drinkers continue to get more adventurous, the demand for rare and experimental items is only going up.
Keeping It Ale in the Family
The question everyone wants to know … what’s the next IPA? The truth is, our beloved IPA will continue to reign supreme. But there are smaller breweries creating awesome flavors that bring new beer lovers into the fold. Lighter beers like Golden, Blonde and Pale Ales offer premium profiles without the intensity of ultra-hoppy recipes. With more fruit, floral and pine notes, these alternatives allow for more ingredient exploration, and because they’re not as heavy, you can enjoy more of them.
Our favorites include:
Revolution Brewing’s Rosa Hibiscus Ale
Karl Strauss Brewing Company’s Mosaic Session Ale
San Diego, California
Firestone Walker Brewing Company’s 805 Ale (blonde)
Paso Robles, California