Archive for the ‘Nobler Reviews’ Category


DOJ Blocks InBev’s Acquisition of Grupo Modelo

February 1, 2013


Man, has it been an interesting time for legal battles in the beer industry recently. You’ll remember my recent post on the continued fight for exclusive rights to the name “Budweiser”. Well InBev is back in the news as of yesterday as the U.S. Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit attempting to stop their acquisition of the 50% share in Grupo Modelo that they don’t currently own. As you’ve probably realized, in the U.S., the market for beer has become completely dominated by the two biggest players (InBev and MillerCoors). Grupo Modelo is the third largest beer maker riding the wave of Corona’s growing success. The DOJ has concluded that this type of consolidation would seriously diminish competition in the industry shifting power further towards InBev in terms of market share, pricing power, and control over new product offerings. Like any legal circumstance of this magnitude, I am sure the news from yesterday is only the beginning of a long and complicated battle. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about the circumstances and don’t pretend to be an expert by any stretch of the imagination. Luckily for all of us, field correspondent for the Nobler Experiment, Timmy, was present and feverishly recording notes at a secret meet-up between the three parties. Below is his detailed account, although in fairness, he did mention he had a number of Bud Light Platinums and Corona Lights before recording…Hope you enjoy. Happy Friday!


InBev: Halo

Grupo Modelo: Hola

InBev: There’s something I’ve got to tell you…

Grupo: Si?

InBev: I’ve been watching you for years. You’ve got a great thing going on here in Central America and you’ve really impressed me with the way you’ve made your presence felt in North America, especially the US.

Grupo: JAJAJA, Si!

InBev: I don’t know if you know this or not, but I too know a thing or two about those Americans. A fickle bunch, but tell them to do something crazy with their beer and they’re like putty in your hands.

Grupo: Si, los limones?

InBev: Exactly. We even convinced some of those redneck fellas to put salt directly into their beer. Can you believe that?

Grupo: JAJAJA! Gringos, ¿me equivoco?

InBev: You got it! So listen, let’s cut to the chase here. I want you to join the team. Together we can take over the world and teach those Americans a thing or two about capitalism.

Grupo: Hmmm. Ganar más dinero?

InBev: Mas dinero!

Enter the Department of Justice wearing a Dane Cook tour tshirt, bermuda shorts with black socks and a pair of wraparound oakleys.

DOJ: Whoa, whoa, whoa. What’s the big idea? Who invited you two jerks!

DOJ extends a hand for a handshake. As soon as Grupo Modelo goes to shake it, DOJ pulls away.

DOJ: Too slow Amigo. (To InBev) Sheesh, I thought they were all Speedy Gonzales? Booyah!

InBev: Alright, alright. What do you want DOJ?

DOJ: Relax my man I’m just getting some sun and making sure America’s always number 1. You feel me?

InBev/Grupo: ….

DOJ: But seriously, nerds. What’s this I hear about you two trying to gang up on the bros of America? You think that’s gonna fly on my watch?

InBev: You’ve got it all wrong DOJ. We’re not “ganging up” as you say. Just trying to join forces to run a more efficient business.

DOJ: Efficient? What’s that french? Never heard of it.

Grupo smacks forehead.

DOJ: But seriously. This shit ain’t happening on my watch. You think I’m going to let you two run a train on ol America? Hell no, and that’s the bottom line because…

InBev: Please stop. You’re embarrassing yourself.

DOJ grabs InBev’s hand and starts smacking InBev in the face with it

DOJ: Well at least I’m not the one hitting myself.

InBev: Enough! Grupo, I can’t do this. Let’s table this for now and revisit it once DOJ is distracted by the next episode of 2 1/2 Men.

Grupo: Convenido

InBev and Grupo Modelo both shake hands and begin to walk away.

DOJ: Later losers. Looks like the USA just won another war!

DOJ hops in an iRoc Z and peels out. American beer drinkers chug a thousand beers and puke all over a box of cold Wendy’s french fries.


Personal Ad for My Dream Cocktail Bar

January 15, 2013

Late 20’s loyal alcohol enthusiast seeking down to earth establishment serving up delicious cocktails without pretension. If interested in a long term relationship, please contact below…


Not to sound whiny, but I’m getting so sick of the cocktail bar resurgence in this wonderful city of ours. This may seem strange coming from the guy who is obsessed with alcohol and loves coming up with clever cocktail creations. But no matter how many times I get excited about the “new” one of a kind liquor bar opening up, the same circumstance arises. To simplify things, let’s breakdown my criteria for greatness into three easy to understand parameters.

(1) The cocktails must be delicious. I don’t care if they have 4 or 400 ingredients or if they were made by a normal dude or magic elves. If it doesn’t taste good and contain alcohol, points (2) and (3) are irrelevant.

(2) The bar must be comfortable. I leave this one a bit more open-ended because depending on the angle, comfortable can mean a lot of different things. I just mean, if I plan on spending a lot of time here (which if the cocktails are good there’s a decent potential I will), the place should have a cool vibe.

(3) The bar must have reasonable perspective. Ladies and gentleman of the cocktail resurgence, we are making alcoholic drinks. We are not discovering the theory of relativity. Be passionate, not preachy.

Well after another close call of finding my perfect cocktail bar, I was once again let down by #3 this Friday evening. I won’t name names, because I feel it’s my blogging duty to give the place another shot before I say anything negative, but long story short, I was about done with getting excited for cocktail bars. That is until we stumbled into Louis 649 on Saturday evening…


At Louis, we encountered the true trifecta. Personally, I loved their interesting mezcal cocktails but everyone in the group enjoyed what they ordered. The list was large, the vibe was chill, and the folks actually cared. While they don’t have a huge food menu, it’s easily a place I’d recommend for a Saturday evening pre or post dinner or even for their nightly happy hour. I can’t wait to go back and try a few more of their drinks and keep my fingers crossed, that maybe, just maybe, I won’t need to be listing any more of those personal ads from above. After I go back I’ll post a bit more on the specific cocktail recommendations but until then, definitely go check these guys out on 9th st and Ave C.

What about you guys, any cocktail bars that you think nail the trifecta?


Kings Co. Distillery

August 9, 2012

Last night the Noblers took a trip down to the Navy Yard for a tour and tasting with the Kings Co. folks and ended up coming away with a hell of a lot more. Colin Spoelman, one of the Kings Co. founders met us at the foot of their relatively new space, an epic 19th century brick warehouse that used to exist as the Navy Yard’s bank. While it’s easy to imagine the floor plan being filled with folks coming to collect their pay after a hard day of grueling work, it seems just as perfectly designed for a modern-day distillery.

But while Colin and his team may be producing in the modern distillation boom, his knowledge and commitment to the historical relevance of alcohol in this country, in our city, and in his own life set the Kings Co. experience apart. Our tour started in their corn field, which exists seemingly more as an experiment, or as a way to stay connected to their source, rather than a true attempt at ingredient production. (They are already producing moonshine and bourbon at a clip which requires a high yield crop of over 250x the size of their own.) But at they very least, as a backdrop to their production story, it’s refreshing that even in an industrial setting, these guys stay connected to their product.

I was equally amazed as we made our way through the facility and through Colin’s descriptions by just how much liquor production has shaped American history. Of course, the Nobler Experiment on its own is rooted in my passion for this history, but for me, I hadn’t ever ventured back much past the late 1800s. As we listened to Colin describe the clashes, the taxes, the mass consumption, and more that ultimately led to Prohibition and the enormous fees restricting distilleries like themselves entering the industry, you couldn’t help but feel what these guys are doing is truly significant. As one of the first to take advantage of the relaxation in fees and regulations by the state of NY, Kings Co. manages to blur the lines between the past and the present.

But all that means nothing if their product is shit, and luckily for us, and for all of you, these guys know what they are doing. I was personally surprised the most by their un-aged corn whiskey, or moonshine. I’ve talked some smack about moonshine on the blog before but I’ve got to say, Kings Co. has got me converted. Their moonshine is not the slightest harsh, but rather sweet, floral and actually refreshing. Their bourbon, which I had a few times before is equally delicious. Aging for one year in smaller 5 gallon barrels produces the expected comforting notes in a bourbon but manages to maintain those original flavor components from the moonshine making for a far more interesting overall profile. Lastly, we tasted their chocolate flavored bourbon which blew us all away. You might immediate assume a bunch of grown men drinking chocolate whiskey isn’t exactly Nobler Experiment worthy, but that’s just because you haven’t tried this stuff. The aroma this whiskey gives off is undeniably chocolate. But as you take a sip, and the sweetness you expect simply does not show up, the marriage between chocolate and bourbon makes total sense. Colin mentioned this will only be a special release from time to time, so if you see it out there, you better snag a bottle or two! 

Maybe the most significant component of our visit, however, was the sense that there is something happening at Kings Co. that you can’t help but root for; and it seems to all start with Colin. As he described the “bootlegging” ways of some folks in his dry Kentucky hometown, it wasn’t hard to see where his passion comes from.

From 300 square feet to their new Navy Yard home, Kings Co. has managed to make a name for themselves in this new world of distillation. I just love that they refuse to forget about the old world practices that got them here.


Another Worthy Addition to the Cabinet

July 12, 2012

I’ve watched this video close to 10 times this morning. It’s so peaceful!

I’ve made a point recently, to try as many new bourbons as possible. So naturally, when I’m out at a bar and find a thorough list, I do my best to go for something unique, as opposed to something I already know well and have enjoyed. But I realized, this isn’t exactly the best way to get to know a bourbon (or really any whiskey for that matter). Sure, even an average bartender can put together a decent cocktail or a stiff pour, but there is something irreplaceable about grabbing your own bourbon out of the liquor cabinet and fixing yourself a glass straight from the bottle.

It encapsulates everything about that brand of bourbon that goes into your approval or disapproval. The look of the bottle as it sits on the shelf, the color of the bourbon in your own lighting, as opposed to the darkness of most bars, and most importantly, the control over how you drink it. Even in the video above, what was cool about the way their Old Fashioned was made, was in the freedom to add and pour by preference. The use of one singular sugar cube helps keep the sweetness in check, but maybe you like more bitters, maybe you like it heavy on the bourbon; when you make your own, you’ve got full control.

Which is why I am glad I picked up a bottle of this Jefferson Bourbon the other day. I’m a sucker for a good bottle design, and this one rates high on my list. Simple, smooth, and unique to stand out amongst the other bottles, the Jefferson is a nice addition for sure. But I was also really pleased with the taste. Jefferson is a small batch Kentucky whiskey and at just above 80 proof, it’s really smooth. I saw a lot of reviews describe Jefferson as a “beginners” whiskey because it provides all of the flavor components you would expect from a Kentucky aged bourbon and not much more: caramel, vanilla, and oak make their presence known. But I think classifying this as a bourbon for beginners is kind of silly.

A true bourbon drinker, knows that preferences depend on occasion. While complex and curious bourbons can be mind-blowing, sometimes the simple and reliably delicious are just what the doctor ordered.



The New York Distilling Co.

June 12, 2012

I was pretty excited for last night’s Nobler Gathering the second I had heard back from Bill Potter, one of the three partners behind New York Distilling Company. He seemed genuinely excited to have us, and we were more than pumped to take a peak behind the scenes at one of New York City’s first distilleries since Prohibition. Their hospitality, their knowledge, but most importantly their gin, made last night’s event one of my favorites to date and you should all leave your job now and grab a drink at the Shanty. Okay, maybe wait til 5, since that’s when they open for business.

The arrangement at New York Distilling Company is both impressive and welcoming. With their still set up in a re-done warehouse, Bill walked us through their Gin production and it was easy to tell these guys have a passion for what it is they do. Currently on the market are two styles of Gin, a Navy Strength and an American Gin, aptly named Perry’s Tot and Dorothy Parker respectively. You can read more about the distinctions on their website, but I’d suggest you let Bill and the team tell you all about it in person. I will say, their method of batching the grain spirit directly with the botanicals really shines; particularly in their fantastic list of cocktails.

Sitting up at the bar, tasting, chatting, and getting sneakily tipsy, we sampled as a group a large number of their gin based cocktails. Some of my favorites were the Cannibal Corpse Revival #2, the Sauvetage, and the Gimlet but in all cases, their mastery of blending interesting cordials to pair with the distinct gin flavors is inspiring. Bill spoke of Gin as a much more expressive liquor and this couldn’t be clearer than in their cocktails.

Another reason I’m excited about New York Distilling is these guys have a Rye whiskey in the works and while it may be a few years until it’s ready for sale, their enthusiasm has got me patiently waiting. Rye has quickly become my favorite whiskey, and I’m excited to see how theirs turns out. In the mean time, they have in the works a product all but obsolete since prohibition. Rock and Rye was apparently extremely popular in the 1800s as a mixture of rye whiskey, rock candy, and fruit peels. Yes, I did a double take too, but after a second thought it makes a ton of sense. It’s like the original “bottled cocktail” and I can’t wait to give it a shot.

Truth be told, I had one concern going into last night’s Gathering and I don’t think you’d disagree with my rationale. In the age of small batch this, and do it yourself that, a distillery located in Williamsburg had me trembling of hipster ego. I’m not as much of a broad-spectrum hipster hater as many, but I do hate me some hipster ego. But I should have known better when I found out that Bill’s Dad was a co-founder of the Brooklyn Brewery because Bill and his bartender (I’m the worst and forgot her name), were more friendly, more welcoming, and more excited to talk liquor than we could have hoped for. Thanks again to Bill for making the night a great one and best of luck moving forward.

Seriously, all of you, go check this place out. You won’t be disappointed!


The Devil’s Cut

June 5, 2012

A few months back, I posted on the emergence of Jim Beam’s new Bourbon brand, The Devil’s Cut. I poked fun of the cheesy marketing angle spinning a relatively simple concept, extraction of the bourbon content absorbed into the barrels, into a sex driven, late night bottle of “cool”. But the reality was, I was pretty interested in trying the stuff. The idea of taking back the “angels share” appealed to my whiskey preferences. The character of this typically lost share of the bourbon was said to offer some serious charred wood flavor profiles to the final product and I’m always down for that.

But I was always reluctant to buy a full bottle. My liquor cabinet barely closes these days and I really wasn’t so sure how I’d like it. Considering how long that Old Man Guavaberry has been sitting in my apartment, who knows how long the Devil’s Cut would have remained. So when I saw an airplane bottle being sold at the liquor store I was ecstatic. I was completely prepared to taste the tiny portion and start working on my witty take down of the marketing driven bourbon. Except for the fact, that I actually kind of like the stuff!

With my big square ice-cube mellowing out this big flavor bourbon, I found myself enjoying the typical notes of vanilla and caramel but being more intrigued by the real intense oakiness that sure does make good on its promise. As I sipped I couldn’t help but think this would be a nice transition for a bourbon drinker looking to get into scotch, or a scotch drinker interested in trying bourbon. I can’t imagine this being all that great in some of the traditional cocktails, like the old-fashioned, as the flavor profile is a bit strong and arguably complex to the point of muddled, but as a change-up to my normal go-tos, the Devils Cut definitely has me intrigued. Plus, I’m always a bit skeptical of the quality in these airplane bottles, so I think it’s time I go pick up a full one.

Anyone out there intrigued by the Devil’s Cut?


Birthday Tasting at Idle Hands

April 19, 2012

If you’ll remember back a few weeks, I posted about celebrating World Whiskey Day at Idle Hands in the east village. At that time, I was enamored by their unbelievable bourbon list and their straightforward approach summarized nicely by their motto: Bourbon. Beer. Rock. But it was the conversation I had with the owner that night, that made me sure this was the place I wanted to spend my birthday.

Every Wednesday night these guys are offering up one of the most ridiculous and worthwhile tasting experiences I’ve found in New York. Every week a brewery (last night was Sierra Nevada) and a whiskey (last night was McKenzie) send a representative to walk you through a tasting. Three 8 oz beer tastes (although I think we ended up with more like  five 5 oz pours) and two full pours from the brewery (although I think we ended up with one strong ass torpedo) and one solid tasting of the whiskey goes along just perfectly with an order of tater tots. But here comes the ridiculous part. It costs $10! Yes, I said $10!

Even more in line with my notion of a proper night out, these tastings occur in a truly informal manner. We had a fairly large crowd and managed to stake out a bit of a claim. Sitting back as the beer and whiskey came to us makes for an extended experience. It was almost like they read my last blog post!

As for the specifics, the Sierra tasting was pretty delicious. By the time we got to the 10% torpedo, I was heading upstairs to re-fuel with some extra food. Those tots were amazing but needed some company to help absorb all that 10% was offering. Even more interesting however was our McKenzie tasting. The rep Steven, walked us through the uniqueness of this Finger Lakes distillery sourcing their ingredients from NY state. Next week Steven’s coming back with their Rye which has me intrigued but at this point, I think it’s safe to say, you know where to find me on Wednesdays!

Thanks to everyone who made it out making for one of the more memorable birthdays I’ve ever had. And thanks to the folks at Idle Hands for being brilliant!


Never met a bourbon I didn’t like…

January 31, 2012

Until now: For the first time in my whiskey loving life, I found a bourbon that just isn’t for me…

Booker’s is another member of the “Small Batch” grouping of bourbons distributed by Jim Beam and just like the Basil Hayden’s, the Knob Creek, and the Baker’s, the Booker’s is meant to offer unique and distinguishable characteristics separating the brands from the masses. And I’m all for that notion. But to me, the Booker’s misses the mark. It was a bit abrasive on first sip and there was almost an acidity to the overall flavor profile. At the time I hadn’t known much about the Booker’s but after a little research the flavor profile started to make some sense.

Booker’s is said to be one of the only uncut and unfiltered bourbons bottled right from the barrel between 121-127 proof; talk about packing a punch! It’s clear that intensity is part of the equation in flavor and in effect. Because even after a little melted ice, the flavors at the forefront were of the oaky tannins more so than the richness I prefer. But honestly, it was kind of refreshing to find a bourbon that really didn’t do it for me. Maybe I’m not just a lush after all!

But what about you? Anyone out there a fan of Booker’s?


Nobler Reviews: The Wayland

January 17, 2012

Applewood smoked moonshine at The Wayland

Saturday night, while the Tim Tebow saga was abruptly coming to an end, we made our way over to the brand new, The Wayland down in Alphabet City for the prospect of applewood smoked moonshine and a kale and ginger margarita. You can see how I was intrigued, particularly because the location of The Wayland would imply an atmosphere more suited for the Nobler Experiment compared to some of the “go-to” and “must be seen at” cocktail establishments of the city. In large part, I think The Wayland hits the mark. While it was quite crowded, we still managed to find a spot to sidle up against the bar for a few drinks which were both unique and flavorful. Cash only makes for a potential calamity when it is as cold as it was and they unfortunately ran out of their “moonshine” which was disappointing. But from what I hear, their “moonshine” takes its cues from the traditional “apple pie” style in which corn liquor is cut with apple juice and cinnamon sticks leaving you with a potent yet flavorful concoction. Except at The Wayland, they take it one step further. By smoking some applewood over top of the cocktail and topping it all with a tumbler, the aroma becomes a major part of the experience. At least that’s what they are shooting for. As I mentioned, they ran out, so next time!

As for the other drinks, the menu is set up by liquor type. Rum, bourbon, gin, and tequila were available in distinct cocktails which I can only assume varies over time. My bourbon drink  incorporated an old school method of incorporating an egg white. Much like some of the old fashion fountain drinks, the egg white added some richness to an otherwise simple cocktail. It was good, but felt like it was missing something. As for the other three we tried, the tequila cocktail (kale and ginger margarita) was by far the most interesting. Much like I do with the Juice Bar Blends, the point of this drink was a clear focus on the namesake ingredients. The flavors were strong and the drink was delicious. Not sure how many of these you could drink in a row before feeling a bit overly “vegetated”, but it was unique and for sure worth a try.

I’m really excited to head back on a weeknight where I plan on trying  a few of their other drinks (which I assume vary from night to night like I mentioned…does anyone know for sure if this happens?). I’m also seriously intrigued by their food menu. Small plates of seemingly everything I would want to eat. Braised meats, smoked trout, oysters and charcuterie plates. Are you serious? Did they make this place for me? The spot has a real southern vibe to it, and was rocking some fantastic music. Looking forward to another trip to The Wayland.

The Wayland, 700 E 9th st (Ave C), Manhattan NY




Nobler Reviews: The Mulberry Project

October 24, 2011

A good cocktail must be linked to a few key descriptors. But “balance” in my mind is by far the most crucial.

At the Mulberry Project in Little Italy on Friday night, the artists behind the bar were feverishly mixing mind-blowing cocktails with no menus in sight. And while I am sure they can make an old-fashioned or a gin ricky as good as the next guy, that’s not the point at this underground establishment. With little more than a tempting chalkboard full of fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices acting as inspiration, individualized drinks are made to order. Like my bourbon, maple syrup, cayenne, and lime drink that blew me away, or the honey ginger vodka concoction that was so refreshing, it wasn’t until your legs got a little lighter you remembered its alcoholic content, these are real deal cocktails; balanced and delicious.

And I would have stayed until the chalkboard became too blurry to read if the ambiance hadn’t dictated otherwise. But unfortunately for our Nobler intentions, a Friday night at the Mulberry Project was a little too jacked up. Good looking, well dressed patrons in flickering candlelight doesn’t sound like much to complain about, but as the crowd packed in and the liquor flowed steadily, it quickly felt like so many other overpriced lounges in the city; a bit unbalanced.

I plan on heading back on a weeknight to see how my first impression holds up but until then, I’d say check it out for yourself. Go a bit early, be amazed by the cocktail wizardry and push on…

The Mulberry Project, 149 Mulberry St (btw Hester and Grand), Manhattan, NY



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