Monday, November 30, 2015

11/27 - Whisky and... beef ragout


It was about time to have our whisky dinner that we arrange within a group of three friends, each time at the home of one of us. This time it's Alex' turn and as he moved to a new house just a few weeks ago, it was the first happening at this new home.

The line-up for the evening was really exlusive: two old Glen Grants (1957 and 1970), a 20yo. Glenlivet from 1965, a 1969 Longmorn, a 1989 Bowmore, 30 yo. Bowmore from Waldhaus am See, a 1983 Port Ellen and another 31 yo. Caol Ila bottled by Silver Seal.



As a first appetizer we started with an interesting Dark Ale from Scotland brewed by the Orkney Brewery. The smell is dominated by fruits like figs, caramel, vanilla and of course whisky. Addtionally to those flavors some malty aromas, added by coffee and wood hit the taste buds. Very good beer, a perfect starter for the evening.



The menu was as follows:
  • Salad with bacon dressing

  • Beef ragout and homemade spaetzle
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  • Espresso and some whisky chocolates

  • Orange soufflé

  • Cheese (obviously I forgot to take a picture of that)

As always the food was top notch and the whiskys defnitely spoke for themselves. It's not an everyday line-up that we'd in front of us but it proofed again why it's a good decision to make evenings like that. A great evening which will be continued with another meeting in 2016, taking place at my home. I already have an idea for the food, I'm sure it'll be no BBQ but also a really tasty thing that all of us three know from another location. Let's see if I can fulfill the expectations...












Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Cheers Archie!


On the 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month people have the chance to buy and pick up their beer directly at the brewery. Last Saturday I took the chance for another visit. I've made a reservation for their new Pumpkin Ale already and wanted to pick it up, as well as a box of the Hymn-Bier which they've brewed in cooperation with UG Bräu. Urs, the guy behind UG, hooked me up with his cherry beer that I enjoyed a lot during the hot days in summer.

On this Saturday Katie, brewer at the Bierfactory, and Gabriel were there to pour out some of the last rest of their Pumpkin Ale, to hand out orders and chat with the people. When I arrived, the (last) palette of Archie was still filled but when I was back home I heard that they're sold out... even though the no. of bottles per customer've been limited to maximum one box (of 12 bottles).

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I really liked Happy Jack, the Pumpkin Ale, they'd brewed last year. 24 g of pumpkin mash have been used for 1 L of beer, a much higher concentration than last year... and the difference was definitely obvious. Happy Jack was surprisingly creamy (unfortunately I only had two bottles last year from a sample pack) and the taste of pumpkin was very reserved. This year the pumpkin aroma was present from the first sip... wow! The spices they used were the same as last year but due to the higher pumpkin content the flavor profile also changed to a more spicy beer! Good stuff fresh from the tap!





Another new beer which is just waiting for the final pricing (and some more rest) before it can be sold is the brand new "Nein Finger", a Chocolate Porter. Katie had a sample in a glass where we could take a nose of it and the smell is really incredible. My reservation is made, I'm just waiting for the pick-up-call!






At home I couldn't resist to open a bottle of Archie and enjoy it.... my impressions that I'd with the one from the tap were confirmed: good aroma of pumpkin added by some well balanced spicy notes. With the low IBU level it's easy to drink, not to sweet, not too bitter, just well balanced. I can imagine that it'll go good with a cigar like the Vegas Robaina Famosos or Familiares...


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

11/13 - Big bottles, big smokes


The last pharmacy smoke on a Friday for this year... another good occasion for me to join and to smoke with friends.

But before I arrived at the pharmacy, I dropped my wife at a friend's place and made another stop in Darmstadt where I wanted to eat a spicy currywurst. Not just any but the one from "Best Worscht in Town", well known from his origins in Frankfurt this one is now also available in other places...

The level of spiciness is indicated on a scale from A (beinng not spicy up to F which is equivalent to 1.2 million Scoville). As I already know my limit in regards of hot sauces I decided for E (approx. 666000 Scoville) and after some discussions back and forth I received my sausage... It was good... hot and spicy for sure but not too much for my palate! If you like that kinda stuff, you should spend Best Worscht a visit.

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For the pharmacy itself I took some bottles of the Pilgrim beer with me, Magnum sized bottles... the Triple Blanche and the Noir. Both excellent beers which go well with a cigar. There's a lot of food as most of the time, again we'd some traditional canned coldmeat from the area... bratwurst, liver sausage, headcheese and bologna... as well as fresh bread and some other sides.

We enjoyed the Triple Blanche before the food, a nice appetizer which's comparable to a good Belgian Triple and had the Noir a bit later... for me the Noir is comparable to the Rochefort 6 or maybe the 8, just a little bit less alcohol. It'll be interesting to see the development of those beers in the bottle over the next years... As I wrote in the headline it's not only the evening of the big bottles but also of big cigars as I smoked an excellent Punch Platinos ER India 2009 and the Upmann Magnum 56 with a ring of 56. Big in size but small in taste, one of those cigars you won't remember and forget immediately.

On Saturday I spent a visit to the Rauchkultur Seiler to smoke upstairs in the lounge with some friends from the local area... a fantastic way to spend the morning after the long evening in the pharmacy.















Thursday, November 12, 2015

10/30 - The long Longrow row


Longrow, closed more than a century ago but revived by Springbank approx. 40 years ago and now the topic of our XIII. tasting event. Springbank also uses old parts of that distillery, the Springbank bottling hall is located in a former Longrow warehouse.

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Former Longrow warehouse / actual Springbank bottling hall

The range of the whiskys which have been tasted is as follows:
  • 10yo., 100 Proof
  • 11yo., Rundlets & Kilderkins
  • 11yo., Red 2013 (Shiraz Cask)
  • 14yo.
  • 18yo.
  • Peated

The Peated is the youngest in the range, so it should have been at the beginning but I decided to put it at the end due to the high peat level. The others are peaty too but I wanted to avoid to overpower the palates with too much peat in the very beginning.

As always Urs asked me for a cigar to pair with the whisky and I decided for an Upmann Magnum 46. For me that's the best combo with Longrow, I enjoyed it several times and was never disappointed. We smoked a Magnum 46 from 2006 out of a 50 ct cabinet, an amazing cigar!

This time we're again a small group, just 8 people but for me it's one of the most interesting evenings we had... don't forget that this was the 13th event... usually more or less all have been of the same opinion regarding the whisky, which one's the "best" etc... but this time it's different: many interesting discussions, preferring this or that and so on... Independently of all discussion we'd the same opinion of the cigar: it smoked very well, was excellent in taste and - even though everybody had different favorites among the range of Longrows - agreed that it matches absolutely perfect with the whisky. I'm really happy that this combo worked out so great!

Thx to all participants, especially those ones who took the long ride from Germany just for the tasting, I enjoyed the evening a lot... stay tuned for the next upcoming event in 2016.








Wednesday, November 04, 2015

10/29 - Tatarian deliciousness


Marc Portmann told me already a few months ago that there'll be an event in the Griffins Business Lounge with a good friend of him, Sebastian Fink from the Hotel Bayerischer Hof in Lindau, who'll serve us different kinds of tatar. Luckily (at least for me), it didn't happen in September (because then it would've collided with our vacation) but was postponed to October...

The served food was simply amazing and was composed with three kinds of tatar:
  • Beef (70 % Black Angus from Ireland, 30 % from Argentinia, fillet of course)
  • Tuna (Sushi quality)
  • Salmon (from Ireland)
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Beef and Tuna were hand cut, the salmon was ground. Seasoned with the tyipcal stuff... a pleasure to enjoy it!


As it was an event in a smoker lounge we also enjoyed a good cigar, but we waited until all had finished that delicious dinner... and it was definitely worth to do so! The cigar itself, the San Cristobal Oficios - discontinued in the meantime since 2011 - was a fantastic dessert and rounded up this excellent evening.