As we ease into this holiday season, we thought it would be best to start running down the one item most members of your family can agree on—the booze! Traditionally this is the busiest time of the year for the alcohol industry as everyone stocks up for office parties, reuniting with old friends, family get togethers, and a sip here and there to maintain your own sanity. For the next four-weeks we will be highlighting some of our favorite spirits, wines, and brews you can give as gifts, or just keep for yourself. This week, let’s touch on some great whiskeys, plus a local tequila favorite, and one kick ass beer box.

Angles Envy Finished Rye
You have to be careful with some rye whiskeys; they can leave a burn that won’t soon go away. Luckily this superb spirit from Kentucky distiller Angles Envy has enough burn to satisfy the devil inside, but with a smooth enough finish to save you from damnation, or some major heartburn the next morning. Using a recipe created by the late Lincoln Henderson (a member of the Bourbon Hall of Fame, pioneer of small batch whiskeys, and patriarch of the distillery) the whiskey spends the last 18-months of it life ageing in barrels that first were used for French cognac, and then Plantation XO Rum. The mingling of the raw rye with the sweetness of the rum creates something special.

A.D. Laws Secale Straight Rye Whiskey
This is the second release from whiskey newcomer Laws Whiskey House in Denver. Since their opening a little over a year ago the rave reviews have been pouring in for this burgeoning regional distiller, and their Four Grain Straight Bourbon. Using a majority of ingredients sourced from across the state, head distiller Jake Norris has infused spiciness into bourbon not usually found. That’s due to a liberal dose of rye he has added during the distilling. With this new release they have tapped into ten of the 307 barrels of straight rye whiskey they laid down a little over three and a half years ago. Their Secale (Latin for rye grain) has a complexity that requires some slow sipping to fully enjoy. The heat of the rye is nicely balanced and leaves you wanting more. But you better go get it now, once it is gone their wont be more until next fall.

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Jefferson’s Ocean Aged at Sea
Here is a novel idea, take an award winning small batch bourbon (Jefferson’s) and put it on ships that will circle the globe. This crazy idea came to founder Trey Zoeller on a boat trip when he noticed the bourbon in his glass slosh back and forth. So he sent his first batch to sea over six-years ago and the end results were amazing. Utilizing the washing machine movement of the boat, the bourbon continually was moving across the inside of the barrel soaking up flavors, and losing astringency. Toss in the humidity, and heat from crossing the equator four-times, and they have a whiskey that exhibits tendencies normally found in bourbons twice its age. Either it’s genius, or madness, but there is no arguing with the result.

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The Balvenie Single Barrel 15
If there is anything Nick Offerman has taught us it’s that the height of manliness is bacon, woodworking, and fine Scotch Whiskey. Since 1886 Balvenie Distillery has been creating some of the best whiskeys in Scotland. Each bottle of this 15-year whiskey has spent its entire life in one European oak sherry barrel soaking up the sweetness of the wine, the flavors of the oak, and the flavors that come from slow maturation. The end result is as slightly stronger sprit than normal, 47.8% ABV, but also one that has a sweetness not normally found in most single malts.

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Suerta Añejo Tequila
Since its founding Suerta has focused on using the finest ingredients in their signature tequilas. Makes sense since the two founders both came from the Boulder-based skincare company Pangea Organics. With agave grown around Atoltonilco El Alto in Mexico, the same town where Don Julio, Patron, and Siete Leguas are made, they are able to produce one of the finer tequila’s found. Yes, the spirit is produced in Mexico, but its heart is in Colorado. Their Añejo is made with 100% Tahona crushed Blue Weber Agave and aged in charred American White Oak whiskey barrels for 24 months, twice as long as industry standards. The resulting liquid is a lesson in how complex good tequila can actually be, with flavors of oak, berries, and chocolates.

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Stone Box of Bastards
Not one known for being humble, San Diego based Stone Brewing Co has released a gift box this year that simply must be brought home. Consisting of four different variations of their iconic Arrogant Bastard Ale, it offers you the chance to explore the different variants brewers can produce using one base recipe and tweaking it. Not that it needed much improvement, the original bastard is an American Strong Ale with a full body and an impressive 7.20% ABV. Joining him in this box is their 2015 Double Bastard a 11.20% beast that will have you seeing double by bottles end, their Oaked Arrogant Bastard a smooth beauty that has been barrel aged, and the 2015 Depth Charged Double Bastard Ale brewed with espresso beans. Give this as a gift to someone you like, or better yet yourself

HZ12_ShieldLogo-300x190Liquid Gear is proudly sponsored by Hazel’s Beverage World which is the go-to store for outdoor enthusiasts and everyone else on the go.  Featuring Boulder’s largest selection of wine, beer and spirits at everyday low prices, Hazel’s has lots of beverages that are easy to carry along and enjoy no matter what your adventure.  So don’t forget to pack the party—fly by Hazel’s before your next excursion and stock up on your favorite liquid refreshments. Hazel’s – Same Planet, Different World.