Angel’s Share

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The craft distilling world has lost a giant this week.  Jim Harrelson passed away Sunday after suffering a heart attack nearly a week ago. Jim was the Head distiller and “Lead Janitor” as he liked to call himself at Do Good Distilling in Modesto California. Do Good is a collaboration by friends and colleagues who banded together after the death of Paul Katuszonek, Jim’s brother in-law, an Oakdale police officer killed in a car crash on his way to work.

 

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The announcement of Jim’s passing was posted to Facebook in the early morning hours of Monday by his wife Liz. “Despite earlier improvements, my sweet, strong, husband, Jim, passed away yesterday after his heart attack on Monday. He was the very best that person I’ve ever met. We welcome continued prayers and positive energy as we all work to navigate the world without his laughter, guidance, and support.”

 

The community went to work as soon as they heard with thoughts and prayers for Jim’s speedy recovery and social media lead the charge with #prayingforJim wanting Jim to wake up. The massive heart attack as it has been described sent him into coma that family and friends hoped he would awake from. Sadly, #hopingforamiracle was unanswered along with why this would happen to such a good man. On August 4th, it looked like he would wake up and that hope was strong with the family until the end.

 

On Jim’s Facebook page, he claims that “I do things that sometimes can be confused with work” and that seems to be how people will remember him, with an unwavering sense of humor.

He was a visionary and understood the needs of the industry. According to the Do Good website Jim consumed knowledge of distilling and brewing and even attended classes when he could. His love for knowledge and fervor for the craft industry lead him to become president of the California Artisanal Distiller’s Guild. The page also tell us that he was an avid runner, loved gardening and going to concerts.

 

I last saw Jim a year ago, while collecting bottles for an event at a conference I was putting together. We spoke about the state of the craft industry, the changing landscape of spirits in America and he had plenty of advice. He was always willing to share information and from what I gleamed he was the type to make friends everywhere.

Jim was a respected member of the community in California and was a former Deputy Sherriff of Stanislaus county. He is survived by his wife and three daughters who filled his life with laughter and love. Their loss will be felt by the community, family and an entire industry.

 

I will be raising a glass of Night Hawk in his honor this evening and hope many will do the same.

 

Jim, your lust for life and whiskey will be remembered.

 

May peace find you.

Categories: Spirits, Whiskey

Rules for 2017! Part 1

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So,

For many of us 2016 sucked. It certainly did for Hollywood and the Music world. Fuck 2016.. It’s a new year new rules, new beginnings and let’s have some goddamn fun!

Here are some general rules for 2017.

Rules for 2017…

  1. stop being your own worst enemy
  2. become hedonist like me, you will have better skin
  3. Boycott junk food 6 days a week go nuts have fun on the last one
  4. You know that thing he wants you to do. DO IT….
  5. Smoke cigars.
  6. Move away from Ohio!
  7. Wear that dress! Trust me!
  8. Guys get a fucking haircut
  9. Skinny jeans are for women…
  10. Visit Brattleboro
  11. Give Oral more and give it better!
  12. Drink Armagnac
  13. Stop ordering obscure shit to stump the bartender.
  14. Read a book or several
  15. Do NOT take this too seriously
  16. Gents… and I use that term loosely these next few are for you
  • Open the goddamn door for her or him.
  • Man buns are acceptable if you are
  • From the islands like Hawaii,
  • American Samoa
  • NZ
  1. Never ask if you can kiss her just do it…if she slaps you or maces you then you misread the situation. (DO not Be TRUMP)
  2. Look people in the eye..
  3. ohh and stop playing video games.
  4. befriend 2 or more lawyers
  5. give your friends more on yourself
  6. Take your head out of your ass!
  7. Put down your fucking phone.. (not now, keep reading) but afterwards
  8. Drive as if you are not a fucking blind moron.
  9. Drink responsibly
  10. Send a thank gift when someone gives you a ride home.
  11. You will all arrive at the same time. Do not jump the line to get on a plan early. All in the same boat.
  12. Register to vote. As long as you are 18 by the next Election Day you can register whenever.
  13. Listen to someone over 70 for an hour a month. Knowledge runs deep.
  14. Inexpensive whiskey is ok..

Do those things this month and for the rest of 2017. Each month there will be a new rule for each day. Do not fret there will be plenty of reviews and tasting notes even in the rules…

 

Love Justin

P.S

Make 2017 your Bitch!

Categories: Uncategorized

Mercer Estate Part 2

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“The terroir of the Horse Heaven Hills creates wines that are balanced and elegant with graceful power and structure.  These are the reasons that winemakers all over Washington state seek out fruit from the Horse Heavens, and why I count myself as one of the lucky few who get to work with it exclusively.” – Jessica Munnell

Mercer Estates Part 1

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“The terroir of the Horse Heaven Hills creates wines that are balanced and elegant with graceful power and structure.  These are the reasons that winemakers all over Washington state seek out fruit from the Horse Heavens, and why I count myself as one of the lucky few who get to work with it exclusively.” – Jessica Munnell

 

Beers TASTED!

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Below are some beers tasted take a look. The notes are basic. Because pretension is for the non-creative!!!

Revolution Rye stout repomax
Soft smoke, sleek chocolate are a smooth, fleeting finish of angel fade milk chocolate on the nos

Blue Moon Agave Wheat
crisp, unappealing, sour, lacking flavor, character, and feel

Boulevard Wheat Unfiltered
Great unfiltered color, cloudy yet appealing wheat gracious nose.  Soft sushi beer, no hop, very light

Brooklyn Summer Ale
Pine resin, coriander, soft, refreshing, crisp, clean, with short finish

Dogfish Head, Festina Peche
peach, stone, almost brett on the palate

Two Brothers Long Haul
Saison, great amber color, good

Brewery Vivant Triomphe
Belgian style India Pale Ale.  Very clean, nice, soft hop and pine resin, good stout [?]

Brewery Vivant Farmhouse
French style, soft brown flavor, very smooth and easy drinking, crisp

Arcadia Olde Ale Big Dick’s
Very nice, malty and soft chocolate, milk chocolate, very good, good malt color

Finches Cut Throat
Soft hop are easy pine and soft finish

Greenflash West Coast IPA
surprisingly smooth very little hop. Great nose

Rampant Imperial IPA New Belgium 
Great balance, good finish, awesome with food.

Boulevard Dark Truth Stout
Awesome malt and chocolate color.  Milk chocolate, stouty good malt

Tyranena Brewers Gone Wild Series – Chipotle Pepper Porter
Very malty soft smoke, easy, toffee

Pearl Necklace Flying Dog Oyster Stout
Flawless on the mid palette, Juicy and smoky

Dogfish – Jiahu
Interesting nose, awful palette.  Brewed with dates and figs, very complex

Dogfish – Indian Brown Ale
Salty, sweet caramel, bitter hop aftertaste on the palette.

Dogfish – Chicory Stout
Sweet malt milk chocolate, bark on the nose, very nice smooth finish.  Lacks something on the palette

 

Stillwater Stateside Saison
Nice hops, easy drinking.  Good drinking, good pine resin and nice finish

Big Muddy Monster 
Very creamy, notes of citrus peel, Papaya, very nice, stone fruit finish.  Pair with soft cheeses, Blue cheese polenta

Evil Twin DEVFFC Al. 9.8
Denmark ale, roasty, good hops, easy fruit, nice pine finish.

Six Point Brown Stone
Hop, mint on the nose, soft brown sugar on the palette, fleeting finish or nothing.

Categories: Beer

Wines Tasted # 2

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Here are some quick wine notes…. I drink a lot of wine. No scores just my thoughts! 

Smokescreen Chardonnay 2011
great mineral, crushed hillside, surlie, light malolactic, some untoasted French oak, very soft oak

Smokescreen Pinot Noir 2011
Anderson valley sweet cherry, very nice plum on the finish.  Light ruby color, nice body, and good fruit.

Matsu
Plum, date, fig, lisove[?], no rim variation, baked plum, very young

Forefathers Sav. Blanc
Herbs and earth, nor tropical

El Pasaro Rojo
Coffee grounds, char old[?], Dried violets, good tannins, very soft plum

Lan Rioja  Reserva 2005
Bright and supple, tart cherry, blueberry, acid, spice on berry

LeCole  Chardonnay 2012
Very nice, good fruit, acid, minerals, apple, apricot

Taft Street PN. RR
Robust good structure, picot fruit

Left Foot Charlie – Riesling
Very interesting, good soil, decors[?] Structure

Robert Reynolds Chard 2012
Lodi Rocy’s Block
Not so much on the nose, but some

Ant Moore N2
Pinot Gris Malbac
Good silt, some stone fruit, tropical notes, baked tropical fruit custard

Schwibinger Riesling 2011
Bone dry minerals on the nose
Grass, some herb on the nose
Honey dipped stone fruit, some earthiness

Categories: Tasting Notes, Wine

Wines tasted # 1

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Here are some quick wine notes…. I drink a lot of wine. No scores just my thoughts! 

Quintan Petite Pierre 2009
Fleeting finish, not bad

Histoire Chapter 4 Cabernet
Aleyaber[?]  Sonoma County 2011
Young, lacking structure

Vending Machine Chard
Loula’s Revenge

Double Shotgun Cab Franc
Petit verdot.  Great do

Kuentz Bas Pinot Gris 2009
Tons of stonefruit on the finish, very clean, cotton candy

Artesa Meritage 2009
Soft tannins, soft chocolate, good stuff

Anaroo[?] Shiraz 2008
Silk wool and smoke and very fleeting finish and leads to soft plum

Giornata 2008 Barbera
Dates, figs, not much to the mid palette, no finish

Redcar Sonoma Coast Chard 2010
Nice malo, slight oak, red, stonefruit

Domaine de Pond Pinot Noir
Very nice, forward on nose[?].  Dry finish, excellent fruit, [?]

Slang Pinot 2012 Argo
herbaceous acid on  [?]
soft  fruit on the palette

Cypher Paso Robles, the Peasant
Nice body, good fruit, soft cherry, currant[?], blue-berry

Kenefick Ranch 2008 Napa
Chris Cuver – wow, what a gorgeous blend, tannins

Sierra Batyco – Reserva
Pinot Noir 2011, earth, berry forward, light fruit, good finish, soft tannins

Jane Ventura 2010 Vintage Cava
Riserva musica $10, biscuit, clay, flint

Madeby G. Sparkling Gamay
Very sweet, soft berry, nutmeg, baking spice

Genslabi[?] Cab Clarksburg 2010
Earthy, funky, dried leaves
great body, good tannins

White Oak 2007 Napa
86% Cabernet, 11% Merlot, Cab Franc 3%
Supertannic, soft fruit, very closed down

Montanori 2003
Amarone – Very Nice,  violets

Purple Malbec Cohors 2011
Full body, notes of baked mushroom, earth, dirty bark door

Categories: Tasting Notes, Wine

Burbank Beer Fest

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Michelle De Silva and fiancé Frank Alatorre attended the inaugural Burbank Beer Festival with some work friends. “It was intimate and friendly with plenty of IPA’s “explains Michelle. The Burbank Beer Festival was by all accounts a successful endeavor bringing in crowds in the thousands to sample dozens of beers and some ciders. 

 

This was the first year that California Beer Festival put on a show in Burbank’s downtown.  For those who were nor brew inclined the streets were filled with and shoppers as there was a street fair featuring art, booze signs and other goods was packed all day. Michelle and Frank both attended the festival and seemed to enjoy themselves.

It was fun for all ages 21 and the crowd was mixed with male and surprisingly lots female beer aficionados who seemed to drink the whole spectrum offered.

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Some of the highlights included local beers alongside some of the big boys who came out to play. New Belgium was there and sold out of beer by 6:00 other lines were so long I didn’t even bother.

But there were some surprises of the show.

Some of the beer highlights were

  1. Angel City Wit- Soft and rounded with balanced nutty and hops quality.
  2. Chang Lager one of Thailand’s best kept secrets. It was as always crisp and clean and easy to drink.
  3. Elysian Jasmine IPA- decent floral notes and spice with some stone fruit.

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Once some of the kinks are worked out next year’s event should be spectacular and I look forward to attending.

 

Categories: Beer

Small Town, Huge Personality!

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Beauty I thought only existed in nature is now being molded and tortured into the most breathtaking glass you will ever see. During my visit to the Finger Lakes, the conference I was attending had an excursion to the Corning Museum of Glass. Yes, that Corning.

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Inside is a luxurious setting with blown glass everywhere with a modern feel. I had just seen a glass blowing demonstration a few months back at another conference so I snapped some shots and then took to wandering the halls.

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I stumbled as I often do into the ancient wing, which possessed some of the oldest and rarest glass that was owned by king and queens, pharaohs and despots.

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It was during this time alone I sat down to write and reflect on my so far short stay in upstate NY. I was floored by the hospitality, the attention to detail and even the city of Corning itself which struck me as a great town to raise a family. One could live in Corning’s rolling green hills and be content surrounded by friendly faces and quaint appeal. I have often wondered if I should forgo the big city lifestyle and move to a small town. I would like to think that if I did, Corning NY would be the type of place I might end up.

While dodging security and roaming the halls I realized I was late for dinner, which was also the awards banquet for some of the best bloggers in the world. I sat down just in time to get the appetizer and met some new friends as well. Dinner was interesting, zucchini fritters, smoked corn chowder, Beef all served with FLX wines that paired wonderfully and since we got to pick from two per course there was lively debate at the table. The overall feel I got from my visit was excitement, and taking time to enjoy the pleasures of the day. After all, that is what hedonism is all about.

Justin

Categories: Hedonist Lifestyle

Tranqs, Lobos & Zipheads…

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Aside from the obvious perk of getting to stare at a women’s breast under the pretense of looking at their name tag (inside joke, come on people) I quite enjoyed my first bloggers conference. Held this year in the scorching heat of August in the Finger Lakes it was none the less a raving success. During the several days of speed tasting, seminars, excursions and dinners I met some amazing, hard-working, funny and eccentric bloggers; all who seems excited that they could exchange ideas and drink with their comrades in a laid back environment.

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Walking the grounds with Steve Fulkerson who’s family arrived in the Finger lakes in the late 1700’s you get the feel that they know what they are doing in the wine business. Tasting the dozens of exceptional wines you know that the Finger lakes as a whole kicks ass and most likely will only get better. I have been a fan of FLX wine for years but had never been, now I cannot wait to go back. The new and hopefully continual home of aromatic whites the Finger lakes of New York are are stunning example of how far American wine has come in a short time.

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I thought it would be blood sport; there is no one on earth more opinionated than a wine writer but it was tame and an noncompetitive nature seemed to dominate the while experience either by design or the caliber of attendee. The overall friendliness of everyone I met seemed unending and I look forward to next year’s conference in Lodi, CA which is 20 minutes from where I live for those who are spiritually included. (Pun intended)….
All in all Zephyr Adventures put together one hell of show and I will return as often as I can.

A personal note; I was a scholarship recipient this year and would not have been able to make the trip without it, so thank you to all the sponsors and bloggers who believed in me. I hope never to let you down.

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By the way I hope you got the back to the future reference if not you should be ashamed. Much more to come on the Wine Bloggers conference 2015

Justin Koury

Categories: Hedonist Lifestyle