Belgian Saisons are as popular as Pinterest these days (at least among beer geeks), so it’s no surprise that Le Merle – a product of the North Coast Brewing Co. in Fort Bragg, CA – is top-of-mind lately. It won a Gold Medal at the 2010 World Beer Championships, and it’s been popular at The Hopleaf for the last few months. Food friendly and arriving in two different sizes, you might just want to get one as a gift, since you’re going to be drinking one yourself. Cheers.
You could say Benjamin Schiller is a “spirited” man. His job kind of requires him to be. As the Bartender/Chief Cocktail Guy at Boka, he’s constantly coming up with new drinks that reflect the season, but also, what is made available to him through the markets and his vast network of distributors. This week, Schiller is getting in touch with his inner dude, by combining three things you would normally associate with smoky parlors and backroom hobnobbing: bourbon, coffee and tobacco. He calls it a Weston, and even if you can’t find an atomizer to spray your tobacco mist (isn’t that the same as blowing smoke over the drink before serving?), you could always just belly up to the bar at Boka. I’m sure he’d be happy to make you one. Cheers.
The Weston by Benjamin Schiller, BOKA
2 oz. Weller 12 year old Bourbon
½ oz. Dark Matter coffee syrup (from Star Lounge in Ukrainian Village)
2 dashes of Peychaud’s Bitters
1-2 sprays of pipe tobacco mist
Combine bourbon, coffee syrup and bitters in a mixing glass. Add ice. Stir. Strain over 1 large cube in a rocks glass. Aromatic garnish with Pipe Tobacco mist.
Johnny Costello is in a gin mood lately. The self-described “Bar Man” at GT Fish & Oyster is talking about Nolet, a gin I had never heard of until we shot this video. The fact that he combines it with blackberry syrup and some of the best ginger ale I’ve ever had (spicy!) really turns this into a borderline summer sipper. Cheers.
Nolet’s Blackberry Diablo
by Johnny Costello of GT Fish & Oyster
2 oz Nolet’s Gin
¾ oz Homemade Blackberry syrup
½ oz Lime Juice
3 oz (about) Bleinhams Ginger Ale
3-5 Drops of Rose water
Combine gin, blackberry syrup and lime juice in a shaker and shake to incorporate. Pour into a collins glass, filled with carved ice (if possible), at the same time pouring in the ginger ale. Slap some mint in your hand, then place into glass; it gets 3-5 drops of rose water inside of its leaves.
This week, The Hopleaf’s Michael Roper looks to Belgium, for a unique, sparkling blond ale that’s only been on the market for a couple of years. No, it has nothing to do with Moto science geek chef Omar Cantu, but rather, Omer. It’s a top fermented beer that gets a secondary fermentation in the bottle, making it effervescent and totally refreshing. Cheers.
I have to admit, I’ve never been a big gin fan. I can definitely trace it to too many years of ordering gin & tonics at parties in my 20s, and always leaving with a headache. But the presence of brands like St. George, Hendricks and Bols Genever has been changing my mind over the last year or so. This week, Perennial Virant bartender Erin Hayes is using a flavored gin I had never heard of before, combining it with Cynar and some other spirits, to make a stirred cocktail that is truly inspired. Cheers.
Bengali Gem by Erin Hayes of Perennial Virant
1 ½ oz Tanqueray Rangpur
1 oz Carpano Antica
¾ oz Cynar
¼ oz Fernet Branca
Build in a mixing glass. Add ice. Stir. Strain into chilled rocks glass. Garnish with lime zest.
Flemish. Dexter. Pumpkin. Three words you wouldn’t typically associate with great beer, but this week, The Hopleaf’s Michael Roper is looking to his native state of Michigan – specifically, the town of Dexter – where the Jolly Pumpkin Brewery is producing some really interesting beers, all of which are barrel-fermented and barrel-aged (incidentally, they also have cafes and breweries in Ann Arbor and Traverse City). Today’s BOTW is a Flemish amber style beer that Roper says pairs really well with just about any kind of main course. Cheers.