189 Public House

BWG was recently alerted of new whiskey bar in East Aurora that models itself after the famous Chicago whiskey staple Delilah’s. Naturally, we drove straight there. 189 Public House is nestled right between WNY staple Bar Bill and craft beer Mecca Aurora Brew Works – which makes their location literally perfect for an evening out, or a day trip if you live farther away (as we do, being on the north side of the city.)IMG_0055189 was created to be a comfortable, classic place that people can come to enjoy the fine spirit of whiskey – and that’s exactly what they did. The wood paneled walls, exposed brick and cozy lighting create a welcoming atmosphere that invites you to stay longer than you might somewhere else.IMG_0051

IMG_0019As far as the whiskey, 189’s 200 bottle collection is excellent. Their array of single malts is the best we’ve come across so far in WNY. Their bourbon and Irish whiskey choices are deep and offer much more than the typical customer choices found at many whiskey bars. Their whiskies range from beginner level mainstays, to high-end collector bottles and everything in between. The bar is great for whiskey lovers, to say the least, but what we love most about 189 was the appropriately reasonable price points. Whiskey pours as low as $6 – the average being $8-$10 allows the customer to really try new things without melting a hole into your wallet.IMG_0012

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IMG_0044Talking to the folks t 189 one thing was made plainly obvious. They love whiskey and love presenting it to their customers. From a regular night at the bar, to tasting events, to private whiskey clubs, to food and whiskey pairings, 189 is proudly all about whiskey. 189 will definitely be a regular stop for BWG whenever visiting East Aurora, we recommend you do the same, cheers!

Make sure to sign up for 189’s newsletter and follow them on Facebook and Instagram for updates, events and all things whiskey.

189 Main Street
East Aurora, NY 14052
Tel: 716-652-8189

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BWG’s Favorite Craft Beer of 2014

BWG delved heavily into craft beer in 2014, developing an appreciation for everything across the style gambit from session lagers, to barrel aged stouts. Our list of favorite brews was whittled down to the same criteria used in determining our favorite whiskey of 2014. Value, local availability and personal taste.

A couple years ago we first tried this brew and enjoyed it, but something about 2014’s batch put it over the top for us. We tasted it up against other same-style famous brews that are considered world-class — and in our view, it was clearly notches above the others.FullSizeRenderGreat Lakes Chillwave is a double IPA made with mosaic, cascade and nugget hop varieties that give it a wonderfully dense, citrusy floral mix of flavors on the nose and palate. A honey malt provides just a touch of sweet honey flavor and blends beautifully with the floral, citrusy hops. We love Chillwave’s balanced, vibrant flavors from its nose all the way through its finish. It’s locally available and at $12 a 4-pack it doesn’t break the bank. Chillwave is produced in a limited annual release from Great Lakes Brewing Co. out if Cleveland Ohio. Their next batch is stated on their website as being released in Febuary or March 2015. Keep your eyes peeled for Chillwave in the coming months — let’s hope the 2015 version is as delicious as the 2014 was. Cheers!

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BWG’s 2014 Whiskey of the Year

2014 brought several excellent whiskies our way. We are grateful to have been able to sample and review such great works of art. Our criteria In choosing our “2014 Whiskey of the Year” boiled down to three distinct categories.

Value
With all the inflated pricing out there for good, mediocre, or even bad whiskey, value is becoming increasingly more important to BWG when it comes to purchasing whiskey. Value is not synonymous with cheap. We define value in whiskey by asking ourselves if the whiskey is worth the price, or even better, how much more would we pay for this whiskey…

Local Availability
Although from time to time we review products that are not available locally, we decided to eliminate them from the “best of 2014″ discussion. Part of why BWG was founded was to help bring whiskey education and enjoyment to the Buffalo, NY area. We cannot do that if all the whiskies we review are not available to the majority of people in Western New York.

Personal Taste
Let’s get down to brass tax, all “best of lists” are subjective. No matter what, there will be people who agree and disagree, the latter being the most passionate about their opinion. Keeping this fact in mind, our final criteria for 2014’s best whiskey came down to voting on which whiskey was our personal favorite. As in; which one tasted just so damn good when we drank it? Which one did we go back and buy more of? Which one did we tell our readers to go buy? Which one did we recommend to friends and family?

envyAfter weighing all the criteria, our choice was unanimous. BWG’s 2014 Whiskey of the Year — or what should be more aptly titled, “BWG’s Favorite Whiskey of 2014,” is Angel’s Envy Bourbon. This port wine cask finished bourbon is epically delicious. It’s easy drinking for novices and complex enough for buffs. For us, this bourbon is worth well more than it’s modest price tag and in 2014 became regularly available throughout Western NY. Read our full review of Angel’s Envy here.

Cheers to Angel’s Envy and all the other excellent whiskies of 2014. Here’s to many more whiskies to be had and enjoyed in 2015. Next week BWG will announce our 2014 Craft Beer of – actually, we’ll announce ” BWG’s Favorite Craft Beer of 2014.” Cheers!

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2014 Holiday Must Buy Whiskey

Each holiday season the BWG execs put our heads together to name a “Holiday Must Buy Whiskey.” We base our recommendation on local availability, what we would love in a whiskey gift and above all, on quality. Last year we named Balcones Texas Single Malt our 2013 Holiday Must Buy Whiskey — an accolade still worthy this year and an excellent Christmas gift no whiskey lover would scoff at.HP_18In 2014 BWG is naming Highland Park 18 our Holiday Must Buy Whiskey. This world class single malt is balanced and complex from nose through finish. Read our official review here. BWG regards the Highland Park 18 as a high-end whiskey staple worthy of a regular spot anyone’s liquor cabinet and a flawless gift idea for anybody looking to give the gift of whiskey during the holidays. Highland Park 18 is available in store or online at Gates Circle Liquor for $134.

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Kilchoman Loch Gorm

loch_gormEven though Loch Gorm, Kilchoman’s sherry cask aged staple has been in production for a few years, it has only recently been distributed to Western NY. BWG has reviewed several Kilchoman products, all of which are nothing less than excellent (you can read them here). Loch Gorm starts off with sherried oak on the nose, more oak than sherry… lots of oak. Peat smoke and vanilla ease through with a touch of water. The palate is an extension of the nose. More oak, vanilla, some toasted biscuits and peat smoke. Typical, dark fruit type sherry cask flavors aren’t developed at all with this bottling. The complex Kilchoman “autumn camp fire” type peat smoke is barely there at all. More oak than is welcome takes its place. This follows through from nose to finish. Distilled in 2009 and bottled in 2014, this five year old sherry cask whisky very much seems to need more time in the casks to develop. Loch Gorm marks our first disappointment from Kilchoman, lets hope they remain seldom… Locally available at Gates Circle Liquor for $100. BWG rating: 79/100.

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Connemara Cask Strength

conn_caskstrength-2Connemara Cask Strength is the only Irish whiskey to be bottled at natural strength. It is not chill-filtered, or aided by coloring and matures in oak casks. The Cask Strength Connemara has all the base flavor profiles of the regular version (which we review here) – just more of them. An herbal, grassy, peaty smoke with honey and orange zest. Connemara’s peat smoke is much more soft and mild compared to its Scottish counterparts, even in this 57.9% cask strength version. But we love Connemara’s natural tasting, farm-yard-sh type grassy peat smoke flavors – and the Connemara Cask Strength gives it to you with the volume turned up. Sadly, this version is not available for purchase in the US. Our bottle was obtained whilst visiting Ireland. BWG rating: 92/100.

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Visual Recap: Autumn 2014

Another busy Buffalo NY Autumn is in the books. Every year we feel like there’s so much to do before winter arrives and try our damndest to pack it all in. The weather didn’t quite cooperate as much this year as in years past, but BWG didn’t let that dampen our mood for good drink. Here’s a visual recap from BWG’s Instagram and Tumblr pages, of this year’s Autumn drinks of choice. Enjoy…

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