Van Winkle 12

pappy12The Van Winkle family of bourbons (other wise known as “Pappy”) are currently the most sought after whiskies on the American market. Nothing else even comes close. Their hype and lore, which are currently stratospheric, result in its price tag reaching the same heights in both primary and secondary markets. Pappy’s retail prices start at around $100+ and go up to $300+. On the secondary market the prices skyrocket to a range of $500+ straight into the thousands and even higher. All this insanity results in opinions from all over the spectrum about Pappy. “It’s the best whiskey in the world” — “It’s the worst whiskey in the world” — “I love it just because it’s Pappy” — “I hate it just because it’s Pappy.” – You get the idea. The Pappy insanity also results in its obtainability being extremely difficult for the average whiskey consumer to accuire. Locally, long waiting lists (that are literally years out) or getting lucky by accidentally finding it somewhere, or knowing someone who knows someone who knows someone, are your only options when it comes to getting your hands on a bottle of Pappy. This idolized whiskey is released annually in the Fall, but its WNY distribution is always a crap shoot (which adds another factor into its difficult obtainability). The 2014 Pappy releases hit the Buffalo market in early December.

BWG acquired a bottle of Van Winkle Lot “B” 12 year purely by luck, finding some at a small suburban retailer that “accidentally” received an allotment. The price at $140 wasn’t cheap, but it wasn’t gouging either. The nose on the Pappy 12 has classic bourbon flavors. Maple, oak, vanilla. The nose is easygoing, pleasant, but a bit mild. The palate features more of the sweeter side of bourbon flavors. Toasted cherries and dark fruit, like a ready made manhattan or old fashioned. The fruit is mixed with an oaky, maple spice and vanilla char. There’s a velvety smooth texture to this whisky which balances it nicely. The finish is warmly easygoing, just like the nose. Overall the Pappy 12 is a well made, very pleasant bourbon. But it’s $140 cost is maybe double, or three times what we would ever pay for a similar bourbon not labeled “Pappy” – and for us, the hoops needed to jump through to acquire this bottle may not match its value.  It’s good, just not anywhere near as good as its hype, or cost. BWG rating: 89/100.

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Visual Recap: Winter 2014-2015

This Buffalo winter has literally been the worst ever recorded since the beginning of record keeping over a century ago. But instead of succumbing to this harshest of winters, BWG decided to fight the fridged temps, unending snow and brutal winds with having an onslaught of epic whiskies and beers. Cheers to always seeing the glass half full… of booze.

Enjoy this visual recap of BWG’s drinks of choice for this past winter.



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Blanton’s

blantonsBlanton’s is a standard for bourbon lovers and it’s unique decanter-like bottle has a fixed place in most whiskey collections. The archetypical Blanton’s is considered by some a necessary step in the bourbon drinker’s palate evolution. Each batch of Blanton’s differs slightly (batch indicators can be found on each label) but for the most part, they remain very similar. Blanton’s is bottled with no age statement, but it’s said to be around eight, or nine years old and is usually around 46% abv. Classically intense bourbon spice commandeers the nose. Caramel, a bit of tart cherry, vanilla and oak. The palate follows suit with more caramel, maple, vanilla and dried oak. The finish is hot and short, leaving a tangy, leathery, bourbon-spiced char flavor on your tongue. All the flavors in Blanton’s are rich, well structured and have a nice balance. It runs a bit hot on the palate, reminiscent of younger, or higher abv whiskies — and it’s definitely not an overly refined, or complex whiskey — but it’s an admirable, classic style bourbon that can help a newer bourbon drinker begin to bridge the gap from entry-level to mid-level. Locally available in store or online at Gates Circle Liquor for $52. BWG rating: 88/100.

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Moor Pat

moorpat_streetMoor Pat is a new craft beer bar located in the Village of Williamsville, a suburb just east of Buffalo. Craft beer enthusiasts Peter Braun and Mike Shatzel (the latter of Cole’s and Blue Monk local craft beer fame) wanted to create a world-class craft beer establishment to provide the best American micros and European imports to the beer-loving suburban crowd in Western NY.moorpat_poorMoor Pat has a quant, comfortable feel from the second you look at its classic, colonial-house style facade from the parking lot. The invitingly simple interior is lined with thick wooden beams, copper counter tops and a collection of modern and classic beer poster designs.IMG_9891

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moor_beer_1Obviously Moore Pat is all about beer, but they have a modest and excellently diverse list of whiskies to choose from as well. We love everything about Moor Pat, from the beer, to the warm, communal, laid back type vibe, to the selection of whiskies. It’s an absolute gem for those seeking good beer and whiskey in the suburbs.moorpat_whiskies

moorpat_ryeIf one finds his or herself in Williamsville, t’would be a sin not to stop in for a delicious libation. Keep up to date on The Moor Pat’s constantly revolving beer list and keep yourself informed about their beer and whiskey events by checking out moorpat.com.

Moore Pat
78 E Spring St
Williamsville, NY
716.810.9957

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Hillrock Solera Aged Bourbon

hillrockBWG is always on the lookout for New York made whiskies and spirits. Recently, Hudson Valley’s Hillrock Estate Distillery began distribution to Buffalo, ergo we jumped at the chance to review a bottle.

Hillrock’s website is informative and immersive in it’s passion for its history, production and mission. This is is an excerpt from Hillrock’s website:

“Our mission is to produce the finest hand-crafted spirits made with our own grain, floor malted, craft distilled in our copper pot still, aged in fine oak and hand bottled at our estate in the Hudson Valley Highlands. Like our premier spirits, every detail refined, no expense spared, quality steeped in the tradition of 200 years of rich history.”

Hillrock Solera Aged Bourbon Whiskey is touted on their site as being the world’s first Solera aged bourbon. “Solera” is a process for aging spirits by fractional blending of barrels, or batches, in such a way that the finished product is a mixture of ages. This method of aging whiskey allegedly gives the spirit a more refined and unique flavor.

Hillrock’s Solera Aged Bourbon Whiskey is roughly six years old. It starts off with a warm, fruity nose of caramel, wild berries and oak. The palate has the quintessential bourbon flavors of maple, cinnamon and oak. There is also some dried dark fruits and a touch of sweet butterscotch. The finish is smooth and warming. Overall this is a fine bourbon, albeit rather typical in flavor. At $35-$45 this would be a very good value, but as it is, BWG will need more when we go to plunk down a cool hundo for a young bourbon… Locally available at Gates Circle Liquor for $95. BWG rating: 83/100.

Visit Hillrock on your next trip up-state:

Hillrock Estate Distillery | 408 Pooles Hill Road | Ancram, New York 12502

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What to drink for the Super Bowl

Folks from Buffalo are used to drinking while enjoying the Super Bowl. Well, “enjoying” may be an overstatement. And “drinking” may be an understatement. Because as we all know, there have been plenty of “drowning of the sorrows in the bottle” during past Buffalo Super Bowls. But this year is not about the Buffalo Bills. It’s not even really about the game itself. It’s unfortunately about controversy and cheating. And it’s about the team us Buffalonians hate the most – the New England Patriots.

When searching what to drink during the Super Bowl this year, many factors come into play:

• Anything of high abv may not be the best choice. The freaking Patriots have a chance to win yet another, possibly illegitimate (once again) Super Bowl title. And if one indulges too much because of this hideous possibility, it may result in violence or destruction. So whiskey, spirits, cocktails, wine, and double or imperial style beers are all out.

• Due to the deceitful, inexplicable nature of the events that lead up to the Super Bowl this year, a drink that fools the drinker and ends up being not what it initially seems would be appropriate.

• The drink could definitely not be produced in, or anywhere near Massachusetts. This point really needs no explanation. We’re in Buffalo. There’s no conceivable reason to support the economy of a region that supports the New England Patriots.all_dayWith these factors taken into consideration, BWG names Founder’s All Day IPA as our drink of choice for the Super Bowl. Why? First, it’s deceptively low abv (4.7%) will keep a calamitous Patriots victory from resulting in any damage to our surroundings. Secondly, such a mild low abv or “session” brew shouldn’t have this much intense flavor. But it does. You feel like you’re lying, or pulling a fast one over on your tastebuds. Lastly (and thank god), Founders is from Michigan. Far away from New England.

Have a fun and responsible Super Bowl from BWG. Cheers!

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189 Public House

BWG was recently alerted of new whiskey bar in East Aurora that models itself after the famous Chicago whiskey destination 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 at 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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