Karl Strauss ReGreen Brut IPA 

IPA continues to be the number one-selling craft beer style and its huge popularity has hastened the proliferation of several sub-categories. A fairly new substyle is the Brut IPA, marked by high carbonation allowing for a very dry Champagne-like drink—a toned down version of the over-the-top bitter bombs of many other IPAs. Such is the case of the San Diego-based Karl Strauss ReGreen Brut IPA, which logs in at 7% ABV and 25 IBUs with a crisp flavor profile. While there are notes of tropical fruit and hints of pine from the blend of Cascade, Citra, Strata and Galaxy hops, it finishes incredibly dry and easy drinking. This brew is part of the brewery’s rotational IPA series and brewed in collaboration with Taylor Guitars to raise awareness for local environmental initiatives; its sales support the Trees to Treasures fund led by Friends of Balboa Park.  



Alpine Distillery 

At the 2019 Ultimate Whiskey Experience I was pleased to see a greater number of American whiskey distillers, and one that caught my attention was Alpine Distillery, out of Park City, Utah. Yes, Utah. Contrary to common perceptions, Utah has some stellar distilleries, including this one. Founder/Distiller Rob Sergent hails from Kentucky and his heritage shows in his products. Alpine Spur is an 88 proof blend of French oak-aged single malt whiskey and bourbon with corn sweetness and American oak flavors with a subtle rye spice. While I tend to not prefer spiced whiskey, the Lafayette Spiced Flavored Whiskey is an exception. Crafted using Kentucky-sourced bourbon with additions of apricot, primrose and cinnamon, it has sweetness balanced by the spiciness of the natural flavors. The Preserve Liqueur is a 40 proof 100% corn spirit with a delightful mix of blood orange, black tea, raspberry, lemon balm and ginger, flavors that work well together. While all three are recommended as additions to cocktails, I find them excellent for sipping by themselves.  



Tuxton Home Chef Series Sous Vide Stockpot

French for “under vacuum,” sous vide is a method of cooking in which food is cooked in a water bath at a regulated temperature to cook food evenly. The 9.8 qt. stainless steel Tuxton Home Chef Series Sous Vide Stockpot can be used for sous vide or traditional cooking and comes with a lid with a 2.4 inch adapter hole to place a sous vide stick (not included) with removable stopper, or to be used as a tasting window during traditional cooking to taste the progress of your dish without releasing heat and energy. The lid can also rest on the side handle without having to remove the sous vide stick while you get your food out or put more food in. Another plus is the pot is oven safe and dishwasher friendly.



Marble Spirits Hoover’s Revenge and Moonlight EXpresso Reserve

The family and friends owned and operated Marble Spirits out of Carbondale, CO in the heart of the Colorado Rockies uses water from the Crystal River, whose headwaters flow through marble and are naturally filtered. All grains are Colorado grown with the majority coming from a local ranch less than one mile from the distillery; Marble was also the first distillery in the US to recycle 100% of its process water and capture/reuse the energy from the distilling process. The 84 proof Hoover’s Revenge is a marriage of five single casks—two bourbon, two rye and one whiskey—and aged a minimum of two years. Besides being a great drink with plenty of character, the name and label image are in honor of an old coon hound that lost an eye after a run in with a mountain lion. Coffee lovers will appreciate the Moonlight EXpresso, a 52 proof coffee liqueur made from distilled vodka, locally roasted dark Guatemalan coffee and Ugandan vanilla beans for a rich, dark coffee profile with a chocolate finish. The Moonlight EXpresso earned a gold and the Hoover’s Revenge Whiskey took bronze at the prestigious 2019 San Francisco Spirits Competition.



Kumana Avocado Sauce

Who doesn’t love avocado? Well, there are some, but countless are fans and we now can get the beloved fruit in forms of avocado oil, avocado tea, avocado mayo and now, avocado sauce. Kumana markets its products as being avocado in a bottle, and after tasting it, I’d say it’s not far from the truth. The sauces come in flavors of Be Mango, Be Hot and Be Original and contain additions of onion, bell pepper, cilantro, garlic and a splash of vinegar. My preferred use is spreading on a tortilla with cheese and hot sauce (yes, there is the Be Hot version, but it is on the mild side, and admittedly I have a huge heat preference), but the makers suggest adding to eggs, steak, chicken and green beans.