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Posts from the ‘Brands’ Category

State of the industry update

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Ven a Comer is this year’s MexIAM motto.

Last year’s Mexican Consulate tasting was a good snapshot of what a lot of mezcal makers’ ambitions. As I wrote at the time, there was an awful lot of mezcal out there trying to get into the North American market. The production volumes were enormous, and there were a tremendous number of brands vying for attention. The strange thing is Read more

Capturing the flavors of Mexico, one bottle at a time

I’ll never forget that first sip of Ancho Reyes, the chile liquor from Montelobos. It was of course at a mezcal tasting held, appropriately enough, for the screening of Viva Mezcal at Guelaguetza Restaurant in Los Angeles. Ivan Saldaña, the mad botanist/chemist behind Montelobos Mezcal, pulled a bottle out for some of us to try. This was the spring of 2012: What we now know as Ancho Reyes was months away from launching in the market. At that moment we hadn’t a clue what this was or how it would eventually take the cocktail market by storm. We tried it several different ways – neat, over ice, with club soda and across the board, the reaction was, well, highly enthusiastic to say the least. The flavor was so deep and spicy, it was the perfect essence of smoked chile in a bottle.

With that kind of a track record, you can imagine the buzz about the soon to be launched Ancho Verde. I was lucky enough to get an early try, and to catch up with Ivan to talk about this new addition to his portfolio. Saldaña has a long history in the agave world. As a scientist he has a deep background of studying agaves and how we process flavors, and in 2011, he launched Montelobos Mezcal. He is also a big proponent of pushing for sustainability in the agave world, especially to make sure that  Read more

Cocktails, beer, mezcal and more – this Lucha is going to rock!

It would be fair to say that despite the fact that we do an awful lot of events, we don’t consider ourselves event planners. This is why we are such believers in collaboration. We always try to work with the best of the best who bring their game to whatever event we have going.

This is especially true of the upcoming La Lucha de La Cocina on August 13th at Pier 70 in San Francisco, a collaborative fundraiser for La Cocina, the non profit culinary incubator in San Francisco’s Mission District that helps <primarily immigrant> women start formal food businesses. In addition to the Lucha Libre and Taquiza (taco extravaganza) which we previously wrote about, there will also be three bars hosted by some of San Francisco’s most innovative bars and restaurants – ABV, Old Bus Tavern, and Novela. Read more

Tasting Notes: Mezcalero Special Bottling No. 2

 

This is the second in Craft Distillers’ Special Bottling series. First came the Mezcalero series, then this. The quality is amazing.

Mezcalero Special Bottling No. 2

The details:

  • Location: Santa María La Pila, Mihuatlán, Oaxaca
  • Agave: Dobadaan aka agave rhodacantha
  • Maestro Mezcalero: Don Valente Ángel García Juárez
  • Quantity: 768 bottles
  • Distillation Date: October -November 2012
  • Bottled: March 2016
  • ABV: 48.76%
  • NOM: O14X

 

 

Background:

You can taste continuity in this bottle. Read more

Tasting Notes: Alipús San Andrés Ensamble

The Alipús line continues to evolve. The latest addition is an ensamble which originally was designed to replace the San Andrés, now it appears it will complement it. The details:

The front label of the San Andres Ensamble.

The front label of the San Andres Ensamble.

  • Location: Santa María La Pila, Mihuatlán, Oaxaca
  • Agave: 80% Espadín, 20% Bicuishe
  • Maestro Mezcalero: Don Valente Ángel García Juárez
  • Quantity: 800 bottles in this batch. More to come.
  • ABV: 47.2%
  • NOM: O14X

Background:

As with its predecessor, the San Andrés Ensamble carries the pink label of the Alipús line because it is also made by maestro mezcalero Don Valente Ángel García Juárez in the same location as the original San Andrés. That original was made solely of espadín and quickly Read more

Tasting Notes: Mezcalero #15

Mezcalero 15 bottle

The latest bottle in Craft Distillers’ stellar Mezcalero series of small batch mezcals is out and it’s quite a marvel. First the details:

  • Location: San Luis del Rio, Tlacolula
  • Agave: Sierra Negra
  • Maestro Mezcalero:Don Baltazar Cruz Gomez
  • Distillation Date: October 2014
  • Bottle Date: October 2015
  • Quantity: 188 cases (846 liters / 1128 bottles)
  • ABV: 47.23%

As with all bottles in the series all those details are printed prominently on the label. It’s hard to believe that until recently this was a rarity, Mezcalero deserves credit for having been among the first to pioneer this standard. Read more

Retasting Vago

Judah Kuper displays the Vago line at St. Frank.

Judah Kuper displays the Vago line at St. Frank.

Damn, it’s been almost a month since a really nice Vago tasting at St. Frank in San Francisco. I blame the delay on the twinned Komil and mezcal in media outbursts which consumed almost all of our attention recently. Oh and all those tastings we’re organizing in SF, NY, and Chicago

But enough with delays. A group of us was fortunate to taste through Vago’s line with brand co-founder Judah Kuper Thursday, March 24th. Special thanks to Joel from Worthy Bar for organizing the event. Special thanks as well to Kevin & Lauren Bohlin for hosting at St. Frank. For those who haven’t been, St. Frank is an absolutely beautiful cafe in San Francisco. It’s all blond wood and white tile but steps beyond most espresso bars in that it puts a huge emphasis on reducing the obstacles between barista and customer interaction. The espresso machines are under the counter, and everything else is kept out of the way so that it’s easy to see and interact without a big hunk of metal between you. They are also just about to expand with new cafes named Saint Claire in partnership with Not for Sale. Read more

Craft Agave: Tequila+Mezcal+Clift Hotel April 29

It’s not often, if at all, we venture into Tequila world, but when this opportunity came up to collaborate on an agave event at the Clift Hotel, we jumped. With the NOM 199 proposal hanging over the agave industry’s head, we figured it was time to put craft with craft and celebrate all that is good about small production agave distillates.

On April 29th, from 5-8pm, we give you Craft Agave at the Clift Hotel. Six mezcals, six tequilas, and a whole lot of expressions.

On the mezcal front we’ll have mezcals from Oaxaca (Benesin, Amarás, Quiquiriqui, Don Amado, Ilegal), Guanajuato (Mezcal Marqués),  and Guerrero (Amarás). And on the tequila side we’ve got Fortaleza, Casa Noble, ArteNom, Tequila Ocho, Chinaco, Don Pilar and a few more surprises. The highly curated list is a great way to sample side by side the complex flavors of distilled agave.

Tickets are available here — $40 in advance, $50 at the door. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Tequila Interchange Project that has been so instrumental in educating the market about agave distillates, and leading the fight against NOM 199. Final comments are due April 29th, so please be sure to sign the petition!

 

Mezcal and More: Rolling through Oaxaca with Neta Mezcal

This is a cross post from one of our frequent collaborators, Ferron Salniker. You can read her excellent blog Ferronlandia here. This piece was originally published on 4/15/16. You can read the original here.

Max Rosenstock is from New Mexico, lives in the Bay, and knows the Oaxacan countryside so well I’m surprised when he hits a tope too fast. His project, Neta Mezcal, is soon to officially launch in the U.S.— and in the meantime he’s been traveling Oaxaca for years finding good mezcal. He reminds me of my Bay boy friends because he’s all brains and jokes under a  hoodie and baseball cap, but unlike most of my friends, when Max rides up he’s got a trunk full of exceptionally good mezcal, ceramics and textiles. (I would like more friends like this). Here are some notes from heading to palenques with him.
Read more

Sin maiz, no hay pais – The case for Mexican Corn Whiskey

The menu for the evening

The menu for the evening

Jonathan Barbieri, artist and owner of the mezcal brand Pierde Almas, knows how to tell a story, as evidenced by the audience at Oakland’s Calavera entranced by his words describing the days of selling mezcal when it was illegal contraband. Produced in palenques outside of small pueblos and then sold by women who were more likely to avoid being stopped by authorities, it is a romantic tale and sets a nostalgic mood. It lays the perfect foundation for the bigger story that night – his latest project is producing an “ancestral corn” whiskey from the very palenques that now fuel the burgeoning mezcal industry. Read more