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smknjoe
12-30-2012, 17:59
Thought I would poke my head in here and say hi. I know there are a few other Houstonians here - where do you get your top shelf (anything?) I've lived several places over the years and in Houston for about 10. It seems that Houston is always one or two steps behind (in everything) and really likes to pander to the masses. Am I wrong, or is it just something I will have to live with (Specs, Richards?) I like beer alot as well and I was really bummed when I found out that Specs was going to stop carrying Double Dog from Flying Dog.

I like wheaters and ryes. Current fave is OWA. Any local suggestions? Thanks everyone!

squire
12-30-2012, 18:06
Hey Joe, welcome aboard. Go to Specs and be glad you've got it. I've searched for Bourbon around the Country and you live in one of the shopping oasis's.

smknjoe
12-30-2012, 18:13
Well you are correct about the Specs in Downtown Houston, but the other 50 or 100 locations almost seem like they are owned by different people. Bought many stale microbrews at other locations. Not Downtown though - I've always had good results there (if they have it.) Anyway, Specs is way better than what I had access to in Alabama or W.Va., and parts of Ga.! I'll just keep browsing the Downtown location. Thanks!

squire
12-30-2012, 18:21
Downtown is the only location I shop.

HP12
12-30-2012, 21:01
Welcome aboard smkn.Houston (TX) "has a problem" when it comes to allocated libation.

Tony
12-30-2012, 21:21
Howdy Joe, Welcome from Michigan.

Best regards, Tony

ChainWhip
12-30-2012, 22:45
Welcome from Seattle. I'll be down there in a few weeks so I will be paying the DT Specs a visit.

wadewood
12-30-2012, 22:57
[QUOTE=smknjoe;315664(Specs, Richards?) [/QUOTE]

Richards is owned by Specs.

Totally disagree with your assessment about Houston (or Texas) being one or two steps behind. If it's currently available outside KY, you can probably find it in TX.

Josh
12-31-2012, 11:46
Welcome. Count your blessings when it comes to the bourbon selection in Houston. Michigan isn't bad as far as control states go, but there's still a lot we can't get.

Interesting choice of name. What's the origin of that?

smknjoe
12-31-2012, 16:25
Welcome aboard smkn.Houston (TX) "has a problem" when it comes to allocated libation.

You have pretty much described what I have seen over the last few years at Specs. They do, for a large part, have a great selection, but have trouble getting and keeping good or "unique" stuff in stock (mainly beers.) I guess that's how the cookie crumbles though.



Welcome from Seattle. I'll be down there in a few weeks so I will be paying the DT Specs a visit.

Apparently THE ONLY one to go to in town. The other locations are very different.



Richards is owned by Specs.

Totally disagree with your assessment about Houston (or Texas) being one or two steps behind. If it's currently available outside KY, you can probably find it in TX.

I noticed their online databases were very similar. Now it all makes sense!

I was talking about Houston in general. Houston was a tough place to find new brews in until 2005/2006 or so. At least that was my experience, and the music scene on the airwaves is lacking compared to places like Atlanta. The software and hardware hacking (experimentation - not stealing) scene is also just starting to catch up with other parts of the country. This is the place to be though, if you want live where the economy is good and there are more good restaraunts than you can shake a stick at! I'm not saying it's all bad. I just feel like it's still a predominately Bud Light kind of town.



Welcome. Count your blessings when it comes to the bourbon selection in Houston. Michigan isn't bad as far as control states go, but there's still a lot we can't get.

Interesting choice of name. What's the origin of that?

I feel for you. That's how West Virginia used to be.

Specs or smknjoe? Specs, I should probably know, but don't. Smknjoe, old nickname from school that has stuck!



Thanks for the hello everyone!

wadewood
12-31-2012, 16:43
From a beer perspective, yes Houston (and Texas) is behind the times but catching up quickly. I believe in drinking local microbrews and for the longest time St. Arnolds was it. But in past 2 years, several have opened in this area including, No Label , Karbach, Southern Star, Buffalo Bayou and there are a few others that will open in 2013. Our state laws make running a brewpup very difficult; if you brew on site and run a restaurant bar, you can't sell your product to retail stores. This came close to being overturned last year during legislative session and hopefully will be repealed in the future.

Bourbon wise you can pretty much everything. Yes, Pappy Van Winkle or the BTAC collection disappears off the shelf fast, but that's the same everywhere.

Oh, and welcome. We do occasionally have a Houston group get together and tasting. When we do I'll post details in the Bourbon Social thread.

SFS
12-31-2012, 17:16
Hey Joe. Moved from Houston about 11 months ago, but trust me, having Specs is a godsend, especially the DT store. The one up in Atascocita is pretty good too, if you're on the north side outside the loop.

Don't know if you like tequila, but if you want to explore, go to TQLA. Amazing selection of tequila, great happy hour food (regular menu didn't dazzle me), and the BEST salsa (served warm!) I've ever had.

smknjoe
12-31-2012, 17:40
I've tried all of those except for the No Label. One of my brothers speeks highly of them. St. Arnold was a fave for a long time. It's a little too sweet for me these days. I'll have to give it a shot. I'll keep an eye out for the local meet ups.

SFS I used to live downtown until recently, now I'm in the Memorial area. If I head to the north side of town I'll those places out. Thanks.

Happy new year everyone! DON'T DRIVE IF YOU IMBIBE!

smknjoe
01-02-2013, 16:19
So, I'm no connoisseur when it comes to bourbon - yet - (I can hold my own with beer though!) and for the last several years I've regularly bought Jefferson's Reserve with the wood stopper not the clear stopper. What's the difference? I know the JPS is supposed to be great but I'm not talking about that one. Just the plain old JR with a wood stopper.

Until recently that's all I would buy for fear of buying crap or wasting money on what I perceived as high priced Beam. Woodford Reserve, 1792, and Knob Creek I had years ago and they were ok and I've had a couple of the other Beam premiums, but I always preferred the JR for sipping and just bought Beam white for mixing. I was also never really impressed with MM. After reading around the threads here I currently have Weller 12, OWA, and Four Roses Small Batch open for testing. I prefer OWA right now. To me it has that classic caramel flavor I look for in bourbon and a very nice aroma after it has opened up for 15 minutes or so. The Four Roses was a pretty dissapointing first pour. Very heavy alcohol on the nose and the taste was like a better Beam. The second pour a few days later was much better and actually had a slightly floral taste. I'll have to try that one some more. The Weller 12 is a little odd to me. I need to drink a little more to form a better opinion, but initially I was surprised by the heavy char/wood flavor. It was almost Scotch like. I have Elmer T. Lee here as well waiting to be opened at some point. Any other suggestions, tips, or "you're crazys" are welcome.

SFS
01-02-2013, 16:52
Joe, I'm a relative newbie myself, and can't help you with the regular JR, but with respect to the JPS, here's where I'm at, after just one taste: I wouldn't spend the $88 again on a second bottle. To be fair, I do need to go back and taste again, as the bottle has now been open for about a week, and I've learned that things do change with air, often for the better.

With respect to Weller 12/OWA/ 4R Small Batch: I have the first two open now, and had each last night. It's a close call for me, and I may be leaning slightly towards the 12. My bottle does not give me the heavy char/wood (that being my principal complaint about the JPS, actually). I had a bottle of the 4RSmB about three months ago, didn't care for it (it stayed floral for the whole bottle, too perfume-y for me). So you won't be getting a "you're crazy" from me.

After repeated recommendations, I recently bought a bottle of Eagle Rare SB, and it didn't last long. I guess I had avoided it because I had the concern that if I find a SB (by anyone) that I like, the next bottle I buy will be different (from a different barrel) and I may be disappointed. What finally decided it for me is I had already bought the ER17 (which is still unopened), and I figured I better try the regular version at 1/3 price, in case I needed to reverse field on the 17. The good news: I liked the ERSB. The bad news: it was the opposite of helpful in terms of deciding where my bias lies with respect to wheat/rye levels. I like the Weller products, but I like the ERSB; I like ORVW 10/107, but I also like WT Rare Breed.

One of the things I like about this forum is it seems very supportive of the idea that we all have different tastes, and there is no "Right Answer". I hope you continue to post, with tasting notes. (Tell me what YOU think of the regular JR.) I wish I were still in Houston, I'd invite you over for a pour.

squire
01-02-2013, 18:05
Joe I suggest you do some blind tastings of the major House styles, (Beam is different from Brown Forman who's different from Heaven Hill, who's different from Four Roses, who's different from Buffalo Trace, etc.) and say, stick with their rye recipe brands. Once you find a style you like then you can branch into the different expressions put out by that House.

After all, JR is a sourced whisky so one of the major Houses made it.

smknjoe
01-02-2013, 18:34
Thanks for the tips.

SFS you are right. The people here seem extremely helpful and friendly. A very nice change from the rest of the Internet and really unexpected. I actually left my last bottle of JR at a friends house. When I get another bottle I'll post a review. To me it's sort of like 4R SmB without the flowers, smoother, with some sweetness (caramel, butterscotch), a little spicy, and a nice viscosity and buttery aftertaste. That's from my years of biased and very narrow experience. Now, with the other styles and brands I've been sampling it will be interesting to see what I think about it.

Squire I will definitely do it. You seem to know your bourbon!

wadewood
01-03-2013, 07:39
ditto on what Squire said.

When you are buying Jefferson Reserve, you are buying a no age statement sourced whiskey. That source could change at anytime and so could the age. Why spend your money on something that could vary so much bottle to bottle? FYI - the glass clear stopper bottles were age stated 15 years. They changed to the wood stopper about the same time they dropped the age statement.

unclebunk
01-03-2013, 09:06
Uh, oh. Another smknjoe? Ain't one already more than we can handle?:lol: But seriously though, welcome to SB and glad to hear you're a wheater, rye and beer guy, just like some of us civilized folks! Haven't had any Flying Dog lately. Do you get Cisco beers from Nantucket in your neck of the woods? They are fairly new to the Chicago market but have proven to be quite tasty, at least the ones I've sampled so far. Best wishes in 2013!

smknjoe
01-06-2013, 17:33
ditto on what Squire said.

When you are buying Jefferson Reserve, you are buying a no age statement sourced whiskey. That source could change at anytime and so could the age. Why spend your money on something that could vary so much bottle to bottle? FYI - the glass clear stopper bottles were age stated 15 years. They changed to the wood stopper about the same time they dropped the age statement.

That would imply that the wood stoppers weren't around before the glass, but I only started seeing the glass within the last few years. I first bought JR in 2000-2001 at my friend's liquor store called Avalon (which he sold around 2003-2004) and the bottles had a spherical wooden stopper. Plus, I'm pretty sure that it had an age statement of 15 years. The last bottle I purchased was about a year ago and I'm pretty sure it was the same one. I left it over at a friends house over the Thanksgiving holiday (2012) so I don't have it here to refer to. Sounds like they have changed the bottle again and I may have lucked out and got an older bottle the last time.

smknjoe
01-06-2013, 17:40
Uh, oh. Another smknjoe? Ain't one already more than we can handle?:lol: But seriously though, welcome to SB and glad to hear you're a wheater, rye and beer guy, just like some of us civilized folks! Haven't had any Flying Dog lately. Do you get Cisco beers from Nantucket in your neck of the woods? They are fairly new to the Chicago market but have proven to be quite tasty, at least the ones I've sampled so far. Best wishes in 2013!

Haven't seen it but will pick it up if I do. Most of FD's stuff is pretty tame and not to my liking. Double Dog is the only one of their's I'll buy. Lot's of people like Raging Bitch by them. A buddy of mine swears by Upslope Brewing in Colorado. Haven't tried any myself. I'll post if I find anything I think is worthy.

wadewood
01-06-2013, 22:55
That would imply that the wood stoppers weren't around before the glass, but I only started seeing the glass within the last few years. I first bought JR in 2000-2001 at my friend's liquor store called Avalon (which he sold around 2003-2004) and the bottles had a spherical wooden stopper. Plus, I'm pretty sure that it had an age statement of 15 years. The last bottle I purchased was about a year ago and I'm pretty sure it was the same one. I left it over at a friends house over the Thanksgiving holiday (2012) so I don't have it here to refer to. Sounds like they have changed the bottle again and I may have lucked out and got an older bottle the last time.

I have a couple of glass stopper bottles that have 15 YO age statement. They may have switched back and forth; regardless the NAS product I would pass on.

Avalon? Are you friends with Victor Patel or his relatives?

smknjoe
01-07-2013, 14:25
No, but the name sounds familiar. My brother may know him as he's in the restaurant biz. He (my brother) used to own Franklin Street Coffee House and Byrd's Market downtown. My friend that owned the liquor store is Mark Lotsu. I know there were a few Avalons in town. His was the one on Memorial next to the Rice Epicurean.

Any idea where the 15 YO juice was coming from back then? After trying that I didn't care for other premiums as much such as Knob Creek, Bakers, Bookers, 1792, etc.

gburger
01-20-2013, 15:40
Welcome to the group