Since I'm sure everyone is out looking for those last minute gifts, I thought I would throw out a few of my favorites. Of course, since I'm a distiller, they focus on Texas booze and the like. Here's my top ten list for 2011:
- 1. Waterloo Gin. I thought about burying the lead, but I just can't. We're really proud of this newest release from our distillery and it's starting to be found a little bit more easily on the shelves. All Texas botanicals and a truly Texas attitude - grab a bottle today if you haven't already tried it.
- Tito's Vodka. Always gotta mention Mr. Beveridge's iconic elixir at the top of any list. The first Texas distillery is still making extraordinary vodka and you can even find it in a sweet gift bag this holiday season.
- Jester King beers. Basically, any of them. I've been a fan of everything I've had from these guys, but it's hard to beat the barrel-aged Boxer's Revenge.
- Balcones' 1. A recent release from Balcones Distillery in Waco. Lead guy Chip Tate is doing some really awesome and creative craft distilling. This jewel is my favorite thus far with some forward fruit and slightly smoked finish. I'd be pumped to find this in my stocking.
- Tempranillo-Cabernet blend from Inwood Vineyards. A solid winemaker in Texas that pays close attention to our climate and terroir. You'll be pleased the complexity of this jewel.
- Argus Cider. The first cider-makers in our state. Really good stuff and very different as few people have had craft made ciders.
7. Paula's Texas Lemon. This is still a favorite of mine, and not just because it makes a sweet Texas Icepick when mixed with our Graham's Texas Tea. Delicate and floral, it can even be enjoyed with just a splash of soda.
8. Ranger Creek .36 bourbon whiskey. Out just in .375's right now, it's worth the cost. Solid Texas whiskey with some depth to it, even at 9 months of age.
9. Real Ale 15th Anniversary Ale. Big hops and big malt = my kind of beer. Additional props to these guys as well for making really kickass beers for 15 years in the heart of the Hill Country.
10. Adelbert's Belgian Style beers. Kind of cheating here since you can't get this stuff yet (as far as I know). However, they're right around the corner from us and I've had the opportunity to taste some of their brews with owner Scott Hovey. With the premature inclusion here, I don't even think I need to say I was blown away.
11. Treaty Oak Aged Rum. As long as I'm cheating, I thought I would plug our upcoming release. We should have this out in limited quantities by the end of February. We're going all out on this - single barrel, barrel strength, unfiltered. Honestly, it's a rum made for craft-whiskey drinkers. I can't wait to share it.
That sums up my holiday list, although there are a ton of great products I wasn't able to get to. Happy Holidays and remember to always drink local!