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Paul Blow

Is Beer on Tap Really the Best?

Bottle or tap? When choosing a beer, I used to think: “Tap, of course. Always.” Yet, in Charles Bamforth’s book Beer Is Proof God Loves Us, the professor of malting

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Paul Blow

What’s “Wineglass Sake”?

In recent years, sake consumption has been declining in Japan. And rough times have been compounded by the recent earthquake and tsunami. (The Japanese practice self-restraint, or jishuku, when others

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Paul Blow

Pairing Syrah with Spring Ingredients

Not long ago I was with a couple of friends in the country. It was raining heavily, and we were making a meal of some of the first treats of

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Paul Blow

100-Plus Proof: Crazy, or Trendy?

The other day, I gave a curious friend a sip of rum from my bar. Before I could say anything, he’d eagerly tilted back his head and downed it. Almost

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Paul Blow

The Next Big Drink You’re Going to Hate

Sorry, tequila, mezcal, and pisco. I love you, but the most naturally complex (no flavors added) white spirit in the world is Moutai (also spelled Maotai), the national spirit of

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Paul Blow

Beer Pints Are Just Too Big

When we use the cliché pint-sized, we’re generally talking about something very small. So why is it that the pint glass, as the most common American vessel for beer, is—among

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Paul Blow

Why Loire Wines Are Like the Movie “Moneyball”

I recently was in France, checking out natural wine bars in Paris and attending an epic tasting of the wines of the Loire Valley. On my flight home, Moneyball was

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Paul Blow

Belgian Brewers Are Copying Us!

Sure, Belgian beer is big in America. And American brewers have been making their own versions of Belgian styles for a handful of years. But did you know that Belgian

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Paul Blow

Vodka Tries to Get Hip

First off, I have to confess that I’m drinking gin as I write this meditation on vodka. And this gin tastes really good after taking several days to figure out

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Paul Blow

New Year’s Drinking Resolutions

Most people’s New Year’s resolutions contain something about not drinking, or not drinking as much. I, on the other hand, set goals about what type of drinking I want to

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Paul Blow

The Best New Spirits of 2011

I don’t think wine makes a great gift. Its perceived value is tarnished by the way bottles are casually dealt out at the door by dinner party guests upon arrival.

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Paul Blow

The Best Books on Booze

The best holiday gifts for the wine-, beer-, and spirits-lovers in your life are not actual bottles (unless those bottles are particularly rare, old, or expensive) but books about those

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Paul Blow

The Baffling Case of the Singapore Sling

Whenever we visit New York, my wife says, “When you’re in Manhattan, you’ve got to drink a Manhattan.” I was going to Singapore, so I figured I’d follow the same

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Paul Blow

Mineral Wines: Are You Actually Tasting the Dirt?

As a kid, I used to go hiking in the Cascades, and one of my favorite memories was drinking water straight from the streams. Not only did it have a

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Paul Blow

Wines from “Bad Years” Are Secretly Delicious

Fred Jones, a sommelier at Hearth in New York, recently told me of his success in pairing a 2004 Bordeaux with food. It was softer and friendlier than a lot

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Paul Blow

What Is Wet Hop Beer?

According to the Beer Judge Certification Program, German Oktoberfest-style beer has “no hop aroma.” Ironically, in the U.S. a new sort of unofficial October celebration is beginning to emerge around

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Paul Blow

Even I’m Confused About Rum

Trying to get a handle on rum is like shopping for computer equipment: The styles and choices are so complex that at some point you’re likely to throw up your

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Paul Blow

Cocktail Nerds Rejoice: Real Quinine-Flavored Elixirs

Quinine, nature’s cure for malaria, is curiously on the rise in beverages. Besides tonic water, you can taste it in the recent imported quinine-flavored elixirs Bonal and Cocchi Americano, in

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Paul Blow

How to Talk to a Sommelier

You’re at a restaurant and the sommelier comes up and says: “Would you like some wine with your meal?” Maybe you don’t know exactly what you want, so you just

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Paul Blow

New Gins: Will Somebody Please Love Them?

If you just look at store shelves, you’d think that the U.S. has an unslakable thirst for gin. From Death’s Door to CapRock to Berkshire Mountain, the list goes on

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Paul Blow

Not Rum, Rhum!

Now that summer’s hitting its stride, we’re getting squarely into rum season. And if you’ve been paying attention while drinking, you may have noticed an errant letter showing up on

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