Monthly Archives: May 2017

Memorial Day Kickoff: 2 Ballast Point Porters; Guest Rodger Stroup

One of the things that always helps a holiday weekend – when shortly after 5pm on Friday someone says, “I think it’s time for a drink/adult beverage.” And with my wife’s parents in town for the weekend, a great opportunity presented itself in the form of tasting some porters with Rodger (my father in law) which are his favorite style of beer. We had purchased some Ballast Point Porters back in March, when he was supposed to visit and remarkably we didn’t drink them by the time he made it for this visit.

First up Ballast Point Victory at Sea, an Imperial Porter with coffee & vanilla – and available from the brewer year-round – at first blush one might think this an overly sweet experience, but they do a fine job of only letting the porter’s malty sweetness through without feeling the need to augment it – other than with dusty coffee and vanilla highlights.

Then we tried a seasonal version Peppermint Victory at Sea – which thankfully we all found less ‘minty fresh’ and more minty highlights of the above.


“Best Tasting Whiskies On Earth”* – Part 1 of 10 with The Whiskey Room

Since conceiving of Baron of Beverage, I had wanted to make sure to set up some regular guests with which to taste beverages over conversation. And the first person I thought of was one of my best friends, Christopher Rhodovi, who manages his own Facebook Page The Whiskey Room.

When I came across UPROXX’s article “These Are The Best Tasting Whiskies On Earth, According To Twenty Thousand Whiskey Drinkers“, I knew I had a good impetus for a first series of tastings with Chris. The article is written about the top ten whiskeys as listed by Ranker (and online polling site) – which polls the general public (crowd-ranking) on may topics.

I think there’s value in reviewing and revisiting these whiskies – many (or perhaps like us – all) of which our listeners may have had at one time or another. Heck – many likely still have many of these stocked in their home bars. There’s good reason for these 10 whiskies to be crowd-ranked and Chris and I will explore them over BoB’s first series**.

First up #10 – Johnnie Walker Black – a blended scotch whisky ( a blend of one or more single malt Scotch whiskies with one or more single grain Scotch whiskies) from world renown blender Johnnie Walker.

And for those who listened – Ewan Morgan got back to me that grain whiskeys are aged 3 years and one day in Age Statement Blended whiskys.

*-“Best Tasting Whiskies On Earth” will be abbreviated in the future to BTWOE.

**-Baron of Beverage (BoB) will run several series interwoven through their regular podcasts, rather than run all contiguous/uninterrupted.


Elyse Winery – C’est Si Bon 2006

This past Sunday night the Baroness and I reached into the cellar to enjoy a bottle from our honeymoon – 2006 Elyse Winery C’est Si Bon.

We learned some things in this podcast:

  • With older bottles/softer corks – remember to use the two-prong opener.
  • When one’s windows are open to embrace beautiful weather – make sure to turn the background music volume up to cover the white noise from the street.
  • Discourage dog wrestling during podcast recordings as this causes a near constant clicking in the background as well.
  • Better to open a bottle a year or two early than a day too late (which we didn’t here).

But beyond that – we were treated to an excellent example of a California example of Southern Rhone-style Grenache based red wine (think Châteauneuf-du-Pape).

Old Line Spirits

On a late Friday morning I had the opportunity to visit a local distillery here in Baltimore – Old Line Spirits. Meeting Arch and Mark, touring their new (2015) facilities, and hearing the story of their beginnings was a real treat. The tasting that followed was a even more so – one that left me not wanting to finish the business of the day, but rather start the weekend early.

Arch & Mark are somewhat unique in terms of a start-up in that they bought an distillery/business from a gentleman out in Washington State who was looking to retire. They spent some time mentoring out west, learning his methods/recipes/et al and then packed up and moved everything (including some barrels of whiskey distilled as far back as 2011) back to their home in Maryland.

Since apprenticing with that award-winning artisan distiller, they’ve began their process here by not making any ‘new tweaks’ other than everything that will change in terroir simply from the move. Once they’ve got a consistent handle on that (which should be soon), the tweaks, changes, and creatively that seems bubbling under the surface at Old Line Spirits will come to light.

For now – they’ve got a very enjoyable single malt whiskey, finished in a new, charred oak barrel, which achieves a whiskey experience that straddles the fences between the whiskey worlds old and new. They also have two quality Caribbean rums that lend them selves for both sipping and mixing. For the time being the rums are brought in as a finished spirit, wholly produced in the islands, and brought via their relationships. However, soon they will be using some of their ex-whiskey barrels add a new finish to it – and I for one am looking forward to tasting that and anything else they have in store for the future. I could wax on…but you can either read about them on their website, or better yet if you’re within driving distance, make a trip to visit them yourselves. And if you’re not, they have a handy app on their site that let’s you find places that carry their products.