Irish-Style Pumpkin Spiced Latte

October, or “Pumpkin Month” as it could be called in the current American societal culture, bombards us with the round, orange, vine-growing, infinitely versatile vegetable, integrating it with virtually every consumable product known to mankind. BWG does not scoff at, but embraces this American truth by giving you our take on a pumpkin-ized Irish Coffee.

Irish-Style Pumpkin Spiced Latte


8 oz coffee
2 oz evaporated milk
1 tbsp pumpkin puree
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp sugar (or to personal taste)
1 or 2 oz Great Lakes Distillery Pumpkin Spirit
Dash of nutmeg


Vigorously shake all ingredients together in microwave safe container. Microwave one or two minutes (until desired temp is reached). Shake again to get the frothy consistency of a latte. Pour into mug. Add pumpkin spirit — one ounce if you’re feeling traditional. Two ounces if you’re feeling rather libertine. Stir, add a dash of nutmeg, enjoy.coffee_pour






latte_finalThis quick, easily concocted latte oozes that delicious pumpkin-spice flavor while not being overly pumpkin to the point of nausea. Giving it the Irish-coffee style twist will most certainly hit the spot and do wonders for your mood.

Great Lakes Distillery Pumpkin Spirit is available to purchase in store and online at Gates Circle Liquor (on sale in October) for $44.99.

Try this recipe and let BWG know what you think, cheers.

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Gene McCarthy’s / Old First Ward Brewing

mccarthy's_signOver the summer months, BWG kept hearing about how good the beer was at Gene McCarthy’s (a Buffalo restaurant staple since 1963), who just opened a brewhouse earlier this year. We contacted brewer Alex Placito who graciously invited us down to check out the goings on at what Gene McCarthy’s has titled, Old First Ward Brewing. In addition to the fun, Buffalo-style pub food. Gene McCarthy’s has an eclectically South-Buffalonian atmosphere. The Irish theme runs from floor to ceiling and unique stained glass windows are strewn throughout the bar area. OFW has several original beers on tap, all varying in style from ales, to stouts, to saisons. The OFW brew house is modestly nestled next to the restaurant connected by an outdoor stone patio with picnic tables, adirondack chairs and umbrellas.IMG_8863





IMG_8834 After a tour of the brewhouse Alex brought us into the bar for a sampling. We tasted the IPA, the pale ale and the saison – and good lord, they were all fantastic. Each beer had a full, robust flavor, with distinct complexities and a beautiful freshness.IMG_8908


IMG_8874To say OFW beer is fresh would be an understatement. They don’t keg their beer. They ferment it in their fermentation tanks, then pump it into their cold storage tanks along with CO2 for carbonation. When ready, they pump the beer with NO2 and CO2 directly from the cold storage tanks to the bar taps. It’s as clean and fresh a process from brewing to drinking as can be.

The beers we sampled from OFW were all excellent, but the stand out for us was their pale ale, cutely titled “Not a Pale Ale.”mccathy's_palealeAlex described Not a Pale Ale to us like this: “It’s made to be a vehicle for intense American hop aromas, while also being very drinkable. Most of the hopping for this 5.6% ale is done in the dry hop to really drive home that robust hop aroma – while not being overkill and tearing apart your palate.”

We found Not a Pale Ale to be exactly that. On the nose it’s full and sticky with an absolutely delicious citrusy hop aroma. It’s one of the most effervescent brews we’ve had in a while. The palate gives you full, chewy, citrus flavors like orange, grapefruit, peach, mango and lemon zest. With all these juicy fruit flavors going on, you might think it’s sweet, but it’s more of a savory tart fruitiness. Despite these intense flavors, this pale ale is as smooth as it gets. It’s beautifully airy and crisp on the palate and fades tightly through the finish, making it incredibly drinkable. Not a Pale ale is available in pints, or in a growler to go. BWG rating: 94/100.

As the young Buffalo craft beer scene grows, right now, Not a Pale Ale is definitely our favorite local brew. BWG highly recommends a stop at Gene McCarthy’s for a bite and some delicious, excellently produced Buffalo-made craft beer. Cheers!

Gene McCarthy’s
73 Hamburg Street
Buffalo, NY 14204
Phone (716) 855-8948

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Buffalo Bluegrass Kentucky Barrel Aged Cider

The executive branch of BWG decided to change things up a bit throughout October. Most of our reviews this month will be of spirit products that have been barrel aged. Whiskey is exclusively aged in wood barrels, but there are countless other products that use the process of aging in barrels to affect the flavor and texture of the spirit. Some are affected in a positive and complex manor, while others, not so much.

Our first barrel aged review comes to us in the form of a hard cider produced just north east of Buffalo in Barker, NY. Black Bird Cider Works is a fully licensed apple farm and cidery. They take pride in the entire production of their ciders all the way from the farm, to the bottle. This is an excerpt from their website:

“BlackBird Cider Works uses apples specially selected from our own orchard. The apples are pressed and the juice (or “must”) is then fermented. After fermentation, the must is racked off into either oak barrels or stainless steel tank for aging. Once the aging process is completed, our hard cider is bottled and finally ready for consumption.”

Blackbird’s Buffalo Bluegrass Kentucky Barrel Aged Cider is bottled at 9.9% abv. It’s made from a blend of four apple varieties, fermented using an open air fermentation process and aged in ex-bourbon barrels. The flavor profiles right off the bat remind us of champaign more than anything else. There’s a unique funk to the nose, as well as apples and oak as one would expect. But oddly, the apple is subtle, you have to dig for it behind the pronounced champaign-like funk. The palate is bright, bubbly and crisp with a short, dry finish. The uniqueness of the Buffalo Bluegrass Cider was a bit hard to wrap our palates around. But after a few sips and letting it breathe for a bit, it’s funky flavors grew on us and the finish leaves you with a pleasant, quaffable flavor. Although it’s different enough for some cider lovers to balk at, we rather enjoyed our first foray into Blackbird Cider Works. Buffalo Bluegrass Barrel Aged Cider is available for purchase at Gates Circle Liquor for $14. Rating: 88/100.

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Skull Splitter

skullsplitterAs we enter Autumn, BWG always finds ourselves craving spirits that befit the feel and colors of the season – brisk temperatures and layered clothing calls for more robust, full bodied drinks. Summery flavors of citrus and bright fruits give way to spice and dark fruits. An excellent embodiment of these fall type flavors is the Scottish import brew, Skull Crusher. This Scottish style ale (or “wee heavy” style ale) comes from the Orkney Brewery in Scotland, who specialize in traditional cask ales. Skull Splitter pours a dark ruby color with little to no head. It has very pleasant aromas of figs, raisins, caramel and roasted malt. It’s texture is silky smooth with rich flavors of dark berries, more caramel and baking spices. It has a soft, easy finish that leaves you with the distinct urge to drink more of this deep, red, Scottish brew. Skull Splitter is bottled at 8.5% but there is virtually no evidence of alcohol on the nose, pallet or finish. This tasty beer is deliciously structured and very fun to drink — part of that is due to the epic labeling of an angry looking Viking who seems very willing to split your skull wide open for merely looking at him. Skull Splitter is an excellent way to start off the drinks of Autumn. Locally available for $12/4-pack of 11.2oz bottles. Rating: 93/100.

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Visual Recap: Summer 2014

BWG trusts our readers and followers had an epic summer as we did, full of good times and great drinks. If you follow BWG on Instagram, you’ve no doubt seen the plethora of whiskies and beers that have crossed our path. Here’s a little visual recap of some of our favorites from over that last few months…















For BWG Summer was great, but we can’t lie, we can’t wait for cool, crisp weather, changing leaves and the spirits befitting the Fall season. Follow BWG on Instagram for what we’ll be drinking this Fall. Cheers!

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The Classic Laddie Scottish Barley

scottichbarleyBruichladdich, one of BWG’s favorite Scottish distillers recently discontinued their “Laddie 10″ flagship bottling and replaced it with The Classic Laddie Scottish Barley. We loved the Laddie 10 (you can read that review here), so we were not happy to learn of its departure – however, we were equally as excited to sample its replacement. This unpeated Bruichladdich pours a deep honey gold, a few shades darker than its predecessor. The nose is classic Bruichladdich, salty and floral with a caramel, banana sweetness. The palate is clean and balanced, with sea salt caramel taffy and a lavender bouquet. It has a nice oily mouth feel which leads into a thoroughly warming finish that lasts a good while. A touch of water broadens the palate with more floral notes, while maintaining its salty-sweet bite. There is no age statement on this Laddie bottling and the abv. has been punched up to 50%, but if you’re a fan of Bruichladdich’s unpeated line, the Scottish Barley will not disappoint. You can purchase this whisky online at Gates Circle Liquor for $55. Rating 90/100.

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Ardbeg Uigeadail

uigiRecently, we here at BWG have inadvertently relegated our Ardbeg consumption to their special annual releases (you can read all our Ardbeg reviews here) and seem to have overlooked some of their more regularly available stuff. That has been a mistake… Ardbeg Uigeadail’s nose is like an enchanted forest of flavors. It starts off with a beautifully complex blend of earth, oak, moss, wild blackberries and raspberries and Ardbeg’s typical, ever present, but not overpowering peat smoke. The palate is a fresh, hand-picked bouquet strewn over smoked wood chips. A few drops of water open up the fruity and floral notes, while adding a creamy texture to this smokey mountain of flavors. The finish is smooth and warm with some sharp cracked peppercorn and fading peat smoke. Uigeadail is beautifully complex and balanced. For BWG it’s by far Ardbeg’s best regular offering. Available in store and online at Gates Circle Liquor for $106. Rating: 94/100.

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