Rusty Nickel Brewing Co.

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On an impromptu whim BWG decided to trek south of the city to one of Buffalo’s Newest breweries — and we’re glad we did. Rusty Nickel Brewing Co. is located directly behind Ebenezer Ale House in West Seneca. They have recently opened their tap room, but the whole facility is still under construction.IMG_0524

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IMG_0533Just about everything you see from the seating, to the lighting, to the bar tops to the coolers are either handmade by RNBC, or has been locally reclaimed and restored. These little details go a long way toward creating a warm, inviting and laid-back, purely beer-loving atmosphere. But the best part RNBC’s wonderful tap room is that it’s full of their unique and flavorful beers. We sampled several brews of varying styles and enjoyed each one. They were all distinctly flavored, fresh, crisp and genuinely drinkable. From their archetypical cream ale to their outlandish creamisicle flavored imperial ale, all of RNBC’s brews were crafted with an obvious fineness. They’re tap room also serves a few brews from other local breweries and features locally made wine, whiskey and spirits.IMG_0544

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IMG_0545“Slice O’ Havens – Creamsicle Double Cream Ale”

IMG_0552“Chai Tea Milk Stout”

IMG_0556“Oatmeal Cookie Ale”

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IMG_0540RNBC will be constantly revolving their unique batches of brews through the coming months in search of what’s most popular with their customers and what they’ll keep on tap as their mainstays. With these awesome initial batches leaving such an impression with BWG, we cannot wait to see and taste what will be coming in the future.

BWG definitely recommends a trip to Rusty Nickel for some excellent locally made brews and a laid-back good time. Cheers!

Rusty Nickel Brewing Co.
4350 Seneca St. | 
West Seneca, NY 14224

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Allen Burger Venture

IMG_0582Allen Burger Venture (ABV) is Mike Shatzle’s (Blue Monk, Coles, Moor Pat) latest endeavor. Located in the heart of the Allentown district of Buffalo, ABV is a first-rate example of modern-style restaurant and bar. It’s harmonious, yet anomalous among the trendy Allentown scene. The atmosphere and feel is nothing short of pure fun. The decor is unique enough to be engaging, without being too distracting or obnoxious. And the music is up beat and vibrant.

The staff lead by GM Johnny Chow are equally as enthusiastic and fun as the place itself. The menu is full of one-of-a-kind burger specialties that literally make it near impossible to choose. The beer-centric bar is loaded with a long list of local and non-local options of varying styles.IMG_0704

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IMG_0633In addition to the perfect atmosphere, awesome burgers and excellent choice of beer at ABV, they have an exceptional, steadily growing library of whiskies to choose from. In full disclosure, BWG is proud to say that we’ve worked side by side with Johnny Chow and Mike Shatzle in curating the unique whiskey selection. Johnny and Mike’s vision for ABV is to create not only an epic restaurant and great beer spot, but a world class whiskey bar as well. And we are proud to be a part of helping ABV become just that.IMG_0661

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IMG_0712BWG will be holding regular whiskey tasting events at ABV and The Moor Pat in the near future. Stay tuned to our events page and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for up to date news on our events. In the mean time, BWG highly recommends ABV for the food, the beer and most certainly the whiskey. Cheers!

Allen Burger Venture | 175 Allen St. | Buffalo | New York | (716) 768-0386

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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

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BWG 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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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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BWG’s Favorite Craft Beer of 2014

BWG delved heavily into craft beer in 2014, developing an appreciation for everything across the style gambit from session lagers, to barrel aged stouts. Our list of favorite brews was whittled down to the same criteria used in determining our favorite whiskey of 2014. Value, local availability and personal taste.

A couple years ago we first tried this brew and enjoyed it, but something about 2014’s batch put it over the top for us. We tasted it up against other same-style famous brews that are considered world-class — and in our view, it was clearly notches above the others.FullSizeRenderGreat Lakes Chillwave is a double IPA made with mosaic, cascade and nugget hop varieties that give it a wonderfully dense, citrusy floral mix of flavors on the nose and palate. A honey malt provides just a touch of sweet honey flavor and blends beautifully with the floral, citrusy hops. We love Chillwave’s balanced, vibrant flavors from its nose all the way through its finish. It’s locally available and at $12 a 4-pack it doesn’t break the bank. Chillwave is produced in a limited annual release from Great Lakes Brewing Co. out if Cleveland Ohio. Their next batch is stated on their website as being released in Febuary or March 2015. Keep your eyes peeled for Chillwave in the coming months — let’s hope the 2015 version is as delicious as the 2014 was. Cheers!

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BWG’s 2014 Whiskey of the Year

2014 brought several excellent whiskies our way. We are grateful to have been able to sample and review such great works of art. Our criteria In choosing our “2014 Whiskey of the Year” boiled down to three distinct categories.

Value
With all the inflated pricing out there for good, mediocre, or even bad whiskey, value is becoming increasingly more important to BWG when it comes to purchasing whiskey. Value is not synonymous with cheap. We define value in whiskey by asking ourselves if the whiskey is worth the price, or even better, how much more would we pay for this whiskey…

Local Availability
Although from time to time we review products that are not available locally, we decided to eliminate them from the “best of 2014” discussion. Part of why BWG was founded was to help bring whiskey education and enjoyment to the Buffalo, NY area. We cannot do that if all the whiskies we review are not available to the majority of people in Western New York.

Personal Taste
Let’s get down to brass tax, all “best of lists” are subjective. No matter what, there will be people who agree and disagree, the latter being the most passionate about their opinion. Keeping this fact in mind, our final criteria for 2014’s best whiskey came down to voting on which whiskey was our personal favorite. As in; which one tasted just so damn good when we drank it? Which one did we go back and buy more of? Which one did we tell our readers to go buy? Which one did we recommend to friends and family?

envyAfter weighing all the criteria, our choice was unanimous. BWG’s 2014 Whiskey of the Year — or what should be more aptly titled, “BWG’s Favorite Whiskey of 2014,” is Angel’s Envy Bourbon. This port wine cask finished bourbon is epically delicious. It’s easy drinking for novices and complex enough for buffs. For us, this bourbon is worth well more than it’s modest price tag and in 2014 became regularly available throughout Western NY. Read our full review of Angel’s Envy here.

Cheers to Angel’s Envy and all the other excellent whiskies of 2014. Here’s to many more whiskies to be had and enjoyed in 2015. Next week BWG will announce our 2014 Craft Beer of – actually, we’ll announce ” BWG’s Favorite Craft Beer of 2014.” Cheers!

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