July2018 Issue | Vol. 1 Iss. 3
Golf. Craft Beer. Craft Wine. Craft Spirits. Travel Destinations.
Celebrating Life .â€?
July 2018 Issue | Vol. 1 Iss. 3
Contents Featured Articles 80 26
Turks & Caicos
Vibrant Blue Water, Provo Golf Club, and Turks Head Brewery. By Tim Cotroneo
Tasting Our Way Through the Wine and History of Burgundy, France
Links & Libations is produced by Excited Minds Media, a subsidiary of Live Eco Style, Inc. www.LiveEcoStyle.com Publisher Randy Weckerly President
By Lori Sweet
Nate Love VP
Playing The Links 24 53
Steve Strickerâ€™s 20th U.S. Open
Editor Tim Bona
Magical Putters: Scar Tissue
74 Driven to Drink: Whiskey Ranch Involves Link & Libations in Unique Combination
Design and Layout Nate Love National Sales John Berkey
Sips & Travel 8
Cowboy Bourbon: The Little Bourbon With a Huge Punch at Garrison Brothers Distillery
14 Our Stroll through the Tyroll: A Week in Bavaria, Germany 34 From Banking to Brewing: Oconee Brewing Company, Greensboro, Georgia 38 Carmel & Monterey: Two Coastal California Jewels 46 Beguiling and Breathtaking: Pebble Beach, California 58
Get a Masters in Bourbon Tasting: A New Orleans Original
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62 Grain-to-Glass Artisan Vodka: Texas Style 86
Historic Hacienda Del Sol: Serenity in the Sonoran Desert
Scott Kendall Bob and Judy Aldrich Art Stricklin
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Contributors Tim Cotroneo Judy Garrison Noreen Kompanik
Randy Weckerly Mary Charlebois Donna Long
Cindy Ladage Lori Sweet
From the Editor
Travel With Links & Libations “Go. Do. Be.” I believe this is an old Teva Footwear slogan reminding us all, how we choose to live is the ultimate form of personal expression. In other words, prioritizing what is truly important for our personal growth by choosing to GO somewhere new, and to DO something different with different people, while always BEing true to ourselves.
to forsake the cold Midwest climate and play collegiate golf at the University of Florida, and the flip flops have never come off since. Though my aspirations of playing on the PGA tour never came to fruition, oh the places I’ve seen, and oh the people I’ve met, and oh the experiences I’ve been blessed with, simply because of golf.
My father loved the game of golf. I mean he really appreciated the entire experience, especially the camaraderie of his playing partners and friends, who were perpetually subjected to his stories of all the many characters he’d met in all the exotic golf destinations he’d traveled to. Dad’s favorite setting for “holding court” was, of course, during rounds of drinks, cards, and dice games at the good ‘ol “19th Hole.”
All the writers here at Links & Libations, like Dad, share the sincere belief that authentic experiences require deep connections between traveler, place, and local culture. Each month our “story tellers” immerse our insatiable, libation-minded travelers in the healthy, natural cycle of visiting new destinations, discovering different pleasures, and most importantly, improving connections to others and self.
So I say cheers to my father, for preparing me in many ways to become the next editor of Links & Libations, a collection of stories celebrating life and healthy outdoor pursuits around the world. Dad’s innate desire to “wander” off to the little latitudes several times each winter to follow his passion for playing our great game, was likely the reason I choose not to attend his beloved University of Notre Dame. Instead, I reasoned back in 1979,
Enjoy the story. Live the story.
Tim Bona Editor-in-Chief Links & Libations
The Little Bourbon With a Huge Punch at Garrison Brothers Distillery By Scott Kendall Garrison Brothers: Best Craft Bourbon in America?
he top craft bourbon in the US comes from ... Texas? According to the recent 2017 USA Today Readers Choice Poll, Garrison Brothers was selected as the nation’s #1 Best Craft Whiskey Distillery. And thousands of loyal Garrison Brothers bourbon lovers would agree. Although Kentucky is known worldwide for its fabulous bourbons, and Kentucky produces 95% of US bourbon, there are those who would swear that Texas crafts one of the best bourbons. Since 2007, Garrison Brothers is proud to be the first legal bourbon or whiskey distillery in Texas. Since then, Dan Garrison and his crew have been distilling their own homebrew. Hidden in the Texas Hill County among giant live oaks, Garrison Brothers is quietly garnering awards and loyal fans. All this bourbon business happens in little Hye, Texas. Don’t blink when you are traveling west on highway 290 from Austin towards Fredericksburg, or you’ll miss this tiny town of 82. The population sign says 105, but a local swore there are only 82 residents. Any way you slice it, Hye is a tiny town with a massive bourbon presence.
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Only the Best Natural Ingredients From the start, Garrison Brothers insisted they would use only the best ingredients – organic corn from the panhandle of Texas, wheat grown locally, and barley from the Pacific Northwest. Ideal percentages for the corn-wheat-barley mix are 74%-15%-11%, respectively. And then the final crucial ingredient – fresh Hill Country rainwater gathered and purified on site. Nothing but the best ingredients and the best processes for this bourbon. Following distillation, the bourbon is pumped into specially made charred oak barrels for aging. The charred oak barrels are designed to handle the Texas heat and are used only once. The liquid sits for a minimum of 2 years before being bottled for consumption. The limited production of such a high-quality bour-
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bon means that every year Garrison Brothers sells out of its inventory, as customers anxiously await the next batch. Oh, but for real bourbon lovers, it’s worth the wait. Cowboy Bourbon Every other year, GB bottles a small amount of a unique bourbon, which is uncut and unfiltered, and is bottled straight from the barrel after four years, and weighing in at 136 proof. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart and certainly not for casual drinking. This limited release, which they call Cowboy Bourbon, is one of the most excellent bourbons ever made. Maybe that’s why their Cowboy Bourbon was named American Micro Whiskey of the Year in Jim Murray’s Whiskey Bible in 2014 and 2017.
“Whiskeys from this distillery have absolutely delighted and astonished me in the past: this proves, indubitably, it was no fluke. If you didn’t think Texas was on the world map of Great Whiskey, it is now.” Winner - American Micro Whiskey of the Year - Jim Murray’s 2014 Whiskey Bible Winner - American Micro Whiskey of the Year.” - Jim Murray’s 2017 Whiskey Bible Sit and Sip Tours The Sit and Sip Tours at Garrison Brothers have become so popular; they have had to set limits for some tours. Saturdays are especially busy. Even for people who don’t care for the taste of bourbon, the tours through the delightful ranch grounds and the fascinating process of producing the bourbon makes for a lovely outing. As you would expect in a small Texas town, the staff are friendly, colorful, down to earth, and gosh durn funny!
vineyard on 26 scenic Hill Country acres. Enjoy the newest addition, The Club, which features a bistro, wine bar, and live music in a beautiful atmosphere with both indoor and outdoor seating. Daniel and Deborah will take great care of you! The intimate bistro at The Club has a limited but delightful menu. For dinner, we savored a delicious chicken and sausage Cajun Gumbo, with just the right mix of seasonings. Other choices on the menu included Heavenly Lasagna, Shorty’s Tacos, a Sweet and Salty Panini, and ‘The Club’ Cheese Plate – something for everybody. So, head down 290 through the heart of the Texas Hill Country towards Fredericksburg – what a great way to spend the weekend!
Where to stay and eat Baron’s Creekside is an oasis just 2 minutes from Main Street in Fredericksburg and 20 minutes west of Hye. A romantic getaway, this unique mix of Switzerland and the Texas Hill Country offers guests beautiful landscapes, live music, great food, and romance. Proprietor Daniel Meyer, a native of Switzerland, has created THE place to stay in Fredericksburg. Choose from 12 hand-crafted log cabins (built of materials from an old Swiss farmhouse shipped from Lucerne) or four unique family homes, surrounded by a continuously-flowing creek and a
Top Items to Consider When Starting a Distillery Each distillery has unique characteristics, resulting in exposure to many unique risks. From converting fermented grains into an alcohol vapor to bottling the final product, the hazards associated with this process are many. Here are some of the major considerations that will need to be addressed when starting a distillery.
prevent it as an ignition source. These areas must have fire sprinkler systems to control and knock down a fire, should one start. The electrical disconnect switch should be located on the outside of the barrel warehousing building. Primary electrical service should be shut off when power is not is not required for operational purposes.
Building Type & Construction One of the first considerations is the building type and construction. The distillery should be built of fire-resistive or non-combustible materials such as masonry or pre-engineered metal. It is preferred that distillery operations are separated from adjacent buildings by at least 100 feet. Adjoining structures should be separated by firewalls and parapets.
Storage Areas Milling and grain storage areas need to be separate from the distilling and bottling. Milling produces fine, flammable grain dust and requires a proper dust collection and venting system to void dust build up.
Ignition Source Controls Ignitable vapors produced during the distilling process need to be controlled with the proper natural or mechanical ventilation system. All areas of production, bottling, and warehousing need to have an alcohol detection system as well as proper explosion-proof electrical and lighting. These areas must also have suitable lightning protection to
Spill Control Spill control, drainage, and containment are extremely important as well. This is done with curbing, diking, and scuppers to prevent the flow of flammable liquid throughout the building. These are some of the major considerations and exposures one faces when starting a distilling operation. If you have specific questions or would like further information, I can be reached at 608-4434716 or email@example.com. Randy Krantz, CIC Vice President Neckerman Insurance Services www.neckerman.com
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Taste the Excellence at Lake Genevaâ€™s Only Winery
401 Sheridan Springs Road, Lake Geneva, WI . 262-348-9100 . www.StudioWinery.com
Neuschwanstein Castle LINKS & LIBATIONS
Our Stroll through the Tyroll A WEEK IN BAVARIA, GERMANY By Bob and Judy
s we discussed our upcoming retirement, and some travel a few years ago, Judy said “Well, I’d like to go to Germany.“ So here we are retired, and Judy likes to accomplish the things she sets out to do. We are blessed to have some friends in Germany, and they had extended enticing invitations to stay with them. A short hop from Florida to Charlotte N.C. put us in the queue for an Airbus 303....and an eight hour flight to Frankfort Germany. Our good friend Herbie, a finance attorney, met us and got us settled at their house.
The “jet lag” is reportedly worse from the U.S. to Germany, than Germany to the U.S., but we were quite energized to be in a totally new environment. Frankfort, like so much of Germany, is steep in history, and quite alive in the modern world. It is the home of the European Central Bank, and a multinational banking center. It also is the home of Johann Wolfgang Goethe, (Aug. 1749-Mar. 1832), scholar, writer, and statesman. His presence is seen in statuary, plazas, and university. Those same plazas also offer the Frankfort signature beverage - Apfel (we say apple) wine. This is no
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cheap beverage that the youth of the U.S. may remember, but a delightful, refreshing local specialty. And is an introduction to the standards to which all German food and beverage must adhere. Cheese, sausage, wine, beer, all must adhere closely to standards of purity and production. Next day began what we came to call....”another day - another castle”. There are many castles around Germany, and reflect the development of kingdoms, which were not incorporated into the nation of Germany until hundreds of years later.
Undoubtedly, the most well known castle in Germany is Neuschwanstein, (pronounced nye schwan stein) built in the 1800â€™s by King Ludwig II. It is the castle that the Cinderella castle in Disney World is modeled after. It is majestic, opulent, massive, and all of the plans were never finished. The interesting truth is that King Ludwig, born into wealthy nobility, loved the arts, music, and everything French at that time. He designed and built a number of castles, and lavish summer
retreats. He promoted art, and music, but according to record, was not a particularly effective ruler. His death is still considered unsolved, and mysterious, but common conjecture is that his political circle wanted an end to the extravagant draining of the treasury for his luxurious, ambitious personal surroundings. Neuschwanstein is in Bavaria, surrounded by the nearby Alps, and pristine lakes.
As one travels further south in Bavaria, the Alps become much steeper and more rugged. Zug Spitze (pronounced zoog spitsa) is Germanyâ€™s highest peak, at over 9000 ft. One can ride a cable car up to the summit, and the view is spectacular. The cable car can accommodate about 30 people, and is very smooth and quiet. Clouds obscured the summit on our ascent, and watching ahead, the cables disappeared into the mist, making for a magical arrival at the station. Arriving on the summit, you are in Bavaria, but walk a few feet, and you are in Austria. You can have a beer and a bratwurst, and a pretzel and feel you are on top of the world. In the area near the Alps, there are fun short hikes, that take you into ravines and canyons with cascading waterfalls, and pristine lakes.
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In the Berchtesgaden area (pronounce Burk tis godden), the Almbach Gorge is a great introduction to hiking in Bavaria. Though you will want sturdy shoes, and there are some stairs, there is nothing greatly challenging physically, but superb scenery. Check out the marbles that were made at the mill there, pay three euros, and head up the trail. Rock paths, bridges, and some stairs take you up a delightful canyon cut by crystal cold water, flowing easily next to you. If Almbach Gorge got your “juices” flowing,you’ll be ready for Partnach Gorge. Adjacent to Garmisch-Partenkirchen is the stadium built for the 1936 Winter Olympics. It is not hard to find, as the new ultra modern ski jump tower rises over the entire community. From wherever you are in town, you can just keep steering for the ski jump, and you will arrive at the stadium. Make sure you have sturdy shoes, and you may want a rain jacket. Once parked, walk around the stadium, and find the path leading to Partnach Gorge. A short way in on the trail, you will need to surrender 4Eu (euros) admission. Then, be ready for breathtaking rock cut paths, tunnels, and overlooks.
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Most countries have dark, unfortunate periods in their histories, as does our own U.S.A. If we, for the moment, let the middle ages rest, Germany’s disastrous allowance for the rise of Nazism is an era that shook the world. Germany today, has done a remarkable job of teaching what a horrible mistake this was. And one feels a sense of guilt and anger by most German citizens for that disaster. A trip to Dachau Concentration Camp, near Munich is a sobering, deeply disturbing reminder of how power can be ruthlessly brutal. Beginning with political dissidents, extermination progressed to what we know was the holocaust - an attempt to eliminate an entire population. Dachau was only one of many Hells. The cruel irony of the entry gate…”Arbeit Macht Frei” means “work sets you free”. Of course, you would never be free from Dachau. Even if you survived, you would never be free from the nightmare. There are two barracks preserved, but the long road behind them has raised gravel frames where all the others were. The gas chamber, and crematorium are present on the grounds, and one can easily feel the horror. Only one thing may be said…… “Never Again.”
Of course, the defeat of Nazism led to the “iron curtain”, in the dividing of war torn Europe, and the Soviet grab of East Germany, and most of eastern Europe. The Berlin Wall was concrete, and razor wire of course, but the border was extended hundreds of miles, enforced by barrier area, razor wire fencing, lighting, and motion detecting auto firing rifles. Today, one can visit a checkpoint preserved, and walk some of the fence line. Knowing that many people risked everything, and often lost, trying to escape, is brought to tangible experience. To visit such a place, with a friend who remembers when this was finally abolished, is to sear the reality. Our last hotel, in Bavaria, was the Ammertaler Hof Hotel. We immediately felt “at home”, as the owners, and staff were so friendly, food excellent, and so much happening at such an historic and comfortable inn. Almut and Christoph Heiland say they knew nothing about running a hotel, and restaurant, when they decided to step back from automotive engineering jobs. But it is immediately apparent that they are natural hosts. Almut still has a business making plastic and metal parts for the automotive industry, and she also has a business embedding gemstones into ceiling decorations for 21 |
Swarovski jewelry stores. They also have built a “bouldering” center above the hotel for training kids and others in climbing skills. They have constructed their center without need for ropes, as there is a deep foam landing area. This inn is also covered with solar panels. They generate a surplus of energy, which is remarkable for a hotel, restaurant, and climbing center. They have accommodated guests from 57 countries. Finally, it was time to head back to Frankfort, and spend a couple of days with friends before crossing the “pond” back home to the U.S. We feel quite enriched having experienced culture, history, and topography of a country that has had such a huge influence on our country, and the world. Auf Wiedersehen Germany!
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Steve Stricker’s 20th U.S. Open By Art stricklin
Steve Stricker may be one of the oldest players at the 118th U.S. Open, at age 51 years, 7 months, which starts Thursday morning here at historic Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, but he isn’t the least bit concerned. “It’s the U.S. Open,” Stricker said after a couple of practice rounds at cool and windy Shinnecock. “It’s our national championship. That’s what I’m working on and practicing for.” It’s the 20th U.S. Open for the Madison, Wisconsin native and while he’s still looking for his first victory, or even close call, his best finishes were back to back fifth place finishes in 1998 and 1999, he’s had five top 10 finishes in the Open and doesn’t think another one is out of the question at Shinnecock “I’ve been putting really, really good and that one of the keys out here,” Stricker said about facing the field were close to half the players are half his age. “My putter got hot and that has what’s carried me lately.” Among the other things which have carried the Badger golfer was the will to perform in one of golf’s
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biggest tournament. Last year, when the U.S. Open came to Wisconsin for the first time at Erin Hills Golf Course, Stricker failed to qualify and had to watch the tournament in person as a fan or on TV. This year he was determined to come and played three weeks on the PGA Tour, even though he’s eligible for the Senior Tour at age 50. After a top finish at Fort Worth Colonial, he traveled Memphis for the FedEx St. Jude tournament, but first endured the 36-hole sectional qualifier, known as Golf’s Longest Day, to earn his playing spot here this week at Shinnecock. “It just one of those days you have to hang on and that’s what I did on the back nine of the afternoon round. I shot a low score in the sectional round and knew I needed another low one in the afternoon,” he said. In the end, Sticker finished third in the qualifier where 11 players, mostly PGA Tour veterans earned a spot in the Open. “I was pleased with my play there. It was an old PGA Tour site and it had great greens and a great challenge.” Stricker has been around on the Tour long enough to have played both times the Open has been to Shinnecock on Long Island’s furthest point. He finished in the top 15 when Corey Pavin hit the four wood approach of his lifetime on No. 18 to win in 1995, then Retief Goosen also rode a hot putter to win in the latest visit here in 2014, when Stricker missed the cut. “I don’t remember much of the course, it’s seems like a long time ago, but you know it will be tough, because it’s the Open, but that’s what has me excited.” That’s the Bucky Badger tough attitude you would expect from the never say die player looking to make his 20th Open anniversary a very special one this weekend. 25 |
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Turks & Caicos A Golf, Beach, and Spirits Paradise By Tim Cotroneo
oes your idea of a perfect Caribbean vacation conjure up images unending beach, world class golf, ice cold craft beer, and hand-crafted rum? If you answered yes, yes, yes, and yes, then the Turks and Caicos island of Providenciales may be heaven on earth. Providenciales is the most inhabited of Turks and Caicos’ chain of 38 islands and cays. The island is home to Grace Bay Beach, a five-mile stretch of white sand and turquoise water that is annually ranked as one of the best beaches in the world. This 37-square mile island is also where you’ll find championship golf, a brewery with an array of labels capturing the island’s favorite homespun sayings, and the birthplace of an award-winning rum. Let’s look at what makes Turks and Caicos an idyllic island getaway. 27 |
Photo: Provo Golf Club LINKS & LIBATIONS
Provo Golf Club Provo Golf Club is Turks and Caicos’ one and only golf course. Opened in 1992, this 6700-yard layout features conch shell tee markers, hundreds of palm trees, Platinum Paspalum fairways, and pink flamingos. Golfers discover a laid back vibe and a location just a five iron from Grace Bay Beach. This distinct island flavor makes Provo a magnet for screen stars, professional athletes, and the golfer next door. Golf announcer David Feherty so loves the beauty
and people of Providenciales, he gladly serves as Provo Golf Club’s ambassador. Provo continually reinvests in its golf surroundings. Last year the golf course transitioned to Platinum Paspalum fairways. The emerald green hue of Paspalum provides a wonderful accent to the palm trees, lakes, and native flowers that ring the tee boxes, fairways, and greens. Throw in the gentle tradewinds and a clubhouse featuring golf flags representing courses from all over the world, and you’ll discover an 18-hole experience that is hard
Photo: Provo Golf Club 29 | JULY 2018
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Photo: Provo Golf Club 31 |
to beat. Turk’s Head Beer In 2001, Turk’s Head Brewery opened their doors as a result of an astute business observation. One of the owners of Providenciales-based TC Crystal Water noticed dozens of beer trucks driving throughout the island. He thought, I already have a water company, why not add locally brewed beer to what we do. After purchasing the island beer distributorship, the owner needed a master brewer to concoct his new beer. He enticed a master brewer with a job offer by dangling the free use of his Providenciales oceanfront villa. Add the strawberry-topped turks head cacti as a logo, and the rest is beer history. In 2018, Turk’s Head brewery invigorated their lineup of beers by adding the names of favorite island sayings to their lager, amber, and IPA. If you wish to talk like a Belonger, here is what you should know…. AIN- Ga-Lie Lager- Like many of the great story tellers before them, Turks and Caicos’ fishermen won’t let a little thing like the truth get in the way of a good fish tale. While sitting around the bar with friends, more than one islander has been known to say, “I-AIN-GA-LIE that fish was as big as me.” Gon-Ta-Nort Amber Ale- Local sailors would make the trip to North Caicos while trading their catch for fruits and vegetables. This saying was born while sailors recalled their upcoming supply itinerary on the mainland. “I’m GON-TA-NORT for some fresh crab.” Down-Da-Road IPA- Directions are pretty simple when you live amongst the small islands that make up Turks and Caicos. Whether at sea, on foot, or by car, you’re rarely far from friends. Sometimes this saying comes in handy when you’re living on island time. “I’m just down DOWN-DA-ROAD, see you in twenty.”
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Bambarra Rum You may be saying, ”If I’m in the Caribbean, I need to sample at least one local rum.” When it comes to Turks and Caicos spirits, Bambarra is the name of the game. Bambarra is named after Bambarra Beach, the picturesque beach in Middle Caicos. Each bottle of Bambarra rum is crafted by hand. Bambarra can be requested in Dark, Silver, Coconut, and the award-winning Trouvadore Reserve. See You Next Time Now that you’ve discovered the Turks and Caicos island of Providenciales, you may wish to make this beach, golf, and spirits vacation an annual event. The good news is Providenciales International Airport (PLS) connects daily with non-stop flights via American, Delta, United, Southwest, Air Canada, jetBlue, and British Airways. After your Turks and Caicos stay, there’s a good chance you’ll say, “I AIN Ga Lie, Providenciales was the best beach vacation ever. See you, Down Da Road.” https://www.provogolfclub.com/ https://turksheadbrewery.tc/ http://bambarrarum.com/ Tim Cotroneo is a Minneapolis-based freelance writer specializing in Caribbean travel, business, and golf.
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Greensboro, Georgia By Judy Garrison Photography by Seeing Southern Photography
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Taylor Lamm had no clue that a degree in political science from The University of Georgia would catapult him from banking to brewing in the span of only a few years. He knew he loved his hobby of home brewing with his Mr. Beer kit, but what if it were possible to do this as a profession. With the steadfast belief that banking would be there if brewing failed, Lamm enrolled in the World Brewing Academy that joined together the best education in brewing technology, Doemens Academy in Munich, Germany, and the Siebel Institute in Chicago.
Photo: Clayviation 35 |
“It was information overload,” laughs Lamm, “but I saw it as a prerequisite of getting my foot in the door of the industry. I was teaching myself on a home brewing level, but I needed to take it to the next level.” As a member of the second largest brewing class in the academy’s history, Lamm and fellow brewmasters are members of the largest sounding board in the industry. His network of knowledge and feedback is only a phone call away. Oconee Brewing Company, celebrating its first birthday this spring, has four year-round beers on tap and they sprinkle offerings with ever-changing seasonal options. “By style,” says Lamm, “I’m an IPA fan,” and you can taste it in his creations. Their four mainstays are Round Here Beer (clean, crisp Kolsch favorite), Lion Lamm (a malty backbone India Pale Ale), Three One Thousand (a pale ale malt and with bitterness and a hint of habanero), and GranDunkel (a dark wheat beer Dunkelweizen). From a brewing perspective, he confesses the seasonal ones are the most fun, and even some versions of ones that are on tap came from his
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original batches. “It’s variations of what we have, especially our year-round are definitely some I had brewed,” says Lamm. With this being their first spring and summer, he’s considering “playing around with peaches and a wheat-based beer.” The best part about Oconee Brewing is that “he’s living the dream. I don’t really consider this work even though I’ve never worked harder in my life. The longest days, the six day-a-week-16-hourdays, I don’t even notice.” It’s a family affair at Oconee with his parents and his wife (identified as the lady who kept asking questions during a tour at his first brewery job), and now it’s Leo who’s stealing the show as Lamm’s best home-brewed success (even giving him his own label, Lion Lamm). Why make that 30-minute drive from Athens to Greensboro? “Greensboro has a quaint feel, where Main Street is the main drag. Plus, this building. We took this 100-year-old building (originally a mill warehouse) and made it into something,” cheers Lamm. But he declares, “It’s the good people making the best beer.”
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Carmel & Monterey by Noreen Kompanik Photography by Michael Kompanik
wo of Central California’s most popular coastal towns on the stunning Monterey Peninsula, Carmel and Monterey, just happen to be a mere four miles apart. Thankfully, getting to experience both of these fantastic communities can be done in the same visit. Carmel-by-the-Sea One of the most beautiful collaborations between man and nature is the bohemian seaside village of Carmel-by-the-Sea. Live oaks, pines and Monterey Cypress blend perfectly with the silky white sand of its pristine beaches. Carmel began as an artist colony luring the likes of Sinclair Lewis, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Ansel Adams. The quaint collection of whimsical thatched-roof cottages, cape-cod homes, artsy boutiques, and storybook restaurants give Carmel a distinctive flavor, unlike any other West Coast town.
To this day, there are still no addresses, parking meters, street lights, neon signs or traffic lights in town. Legendary names like “Sea Urchin” or “Summer Haven” adorn many residential homes. When asking for directions locals respond “It’s the third house on the left after the stop sign with the blue fence.” Where to Stay in Carmel Celebrating 70 years of European hospitality, the family-owned Bavarian-inspired 38-room Hofsas House fits perfectly into the delightful charm of Carmel. A hand-painted German wall mural greets visitors checking into this friendly boutique property. Our king-size room with a private balcony overlooked a heated pool, Carmel pines, and azure Pacific waters. The fireplace was ideal to counter the Pacific chill of coastal evenings. A hearty continental breakfast was also included in the stay. 39 |
Located just three blocks from the heart of Carmel’s village, the hotel’s location made it incredibly convenient to walk to local shops and restaurants. Where to Play in Carmel Beach lovers adore the white sands of Carmel. And for those who aren’t into catching rays, a 2 ¼ mile there-and-back stroll is a great way to enjoy the fresh sea breezes, crashing waves, and awe-inspiring beauty. A historic walking tour with 25 fascinating stops is the best way to explore the town. We strolled past Hansel and Gretel fairy tale cottages, a 1907 drug store, historic inns, libraries, and churches. Each turn brought yet another surprising picture-perfect moment. Today, 18 wine tasting rooms dot the quaint streets of Carmel making it easy to taste premium wines grown in nearby Carmel Valley. One of our favorites, Carmel Road, features a line of wines from Hollywood actress, Drew Barrymore. Together with Carmel Winemaker Kris Kato, Drew’s creations include a Rose, Pinot Grigio, and a superb Pinot Noir blend. Wines here are so good that
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it’s virtually impossible to leave without a bottle. Monterey Though we’ve been to Monterey several times, it never ceases to draw us back like a moth to a flame. Whether it’s the grey marine layer that often covers the peninsula like a wet blanket or the azure blue waters-waves crashing over jagged rock formations, one thing is certain, Monterey makes us feel like we’re grabbing life by the moment. Where to Stay in Monterey Our favorite Monterey retreat is the authentic Casa Munras Garden Hotel and Spa. Built in 1824, the original residence of the enchanting Spanish-inspired property was one of the first constructed outside the walls of the old Monterey Presidio. Located just a few blocks from Fisherman’s Wharf, everything about the boutique hotel exudes warmth, tradition, and a true sense of hospitality. A roaring fireplace welcomes guests entering the lobby. Our 505 square-foot suite was charming and ele-
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gant with a king bed and full bath. An alcove area with a queen sofa and wet bar made it feel more like a villa. And to our delight, the three-sided gas burning fireplace provided warmth and ambiance. Exploring the picturesque property is a must. Its heated pool and outdoor seating area with a fire pit are extremely popular with guests when the cool Monterey air settles over the peninsula. Where to Play in Monterey No visit to Monterey is complete without a rendezvous at Fisherman’s Wharf. Since 1845, the pier has seen whaling ships, Navy cutters, and fishing boats by the score. Sea lions bark noisily from nearby rock formations. But undoubtedly, the main reason people flock to the wharf is the fresh seafood. A myriad of restaurants feature crab, lobster, daily catches and the number one food Monterey’s known for–Clam Chowder. Famous author John Steinbeck immortalized the gritty lives of Monterey’s working class in his 1945 novel Cannery Row when this fishing town was the sardine capital of the Western Hemisphere.
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Ghostly remains of those canneries still exist along the fabled waterfront. Though today, the Row is filled with tourists enjoying the numerous restaurants, shops and wine-tasting rooms like Taste of Monterey overlooking the bay. Breweries are also popular here. Cannery Row Brewing Company with its 70-plus “Rockstar” Brews and 30 small-batch Bourbons is one incredibly fun place to hang out. The superstar of Cannery Row is without a doubt, the world-famous Monterey Bay Aquarium. Home to over 700 varieties of marine animals from the Monterey Bay, its exhibits feature sea otters, sharks, rays, penguins and mesmerizing jellyfish. The aquarium’s stellar attraction is a towering 28-foot-high 333,000-gallon tank that spectacularly displays California coastal marine life and its giant kelp beds. Mother Nature certainly smiled on these two incredible coastal towns. Then looking back, she blew them a well-deserved loving kiss. And are we ever glad she did.
Pebble Beach by Noreen Kompanik
Photography by Michael Kompanik
ention Pebble Beach, and immediately golf comes to mind. Not surprisingly, the region has some of the most thrilling and challenging courses on the planet. And to many golfers, they’re the Holy Grail.
There are five entrance points along the route though most visitors enter from Monterey or Carmel. A $10.25 admission fee at the gate is reimbursable with a minimum 30-dollar purchase at any of Pebble Beach’s designated restaurants.
Jack Nicklaus once said, “If I could play only one course for the rest of my life, this would be it.” But even for those who aren’t golfers, spending a day in this magnificent natural wonderland is a must.
21 stops listed on the guide map each have unique and distinctive vantage points. But there are some definite not-to-be-missed ones due to their spectacular and memorable views.
Exploring the 17-Mile Drive One of America’s most scenic routes, the 17-MileDrive meanders along the Monterey Peninsula passing through the area commonly known as Pebble Beach. Much of this idyllic wind-sculpted forested community hugs the stunning Pacific coastline with its rugged cliffs dotted with oceansprayed outcroppings and a myriad of golf courses.
The Lodge at Pebble Beach Truth be told, the famous Lodge at Pebble Beach built in 1919, is the heart of the area. History exudes from every corner of this landmark destination.
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Considered one of the most breathtaking and beguiling golf courses on Earth, one visit here and you’ll know why. The verdant 18th fairway with its Cypress-shaded green and stunning back-drop of
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a restless sea and crashing waves is the unforgettable picture-perfect postcard of Pebble Beach. One golfer celebrated after sinking an exceptionally long 30-foot putt on the famous 18th hole. Congratulated by family, friends, and onlookers he smiled and said: “You only have to look good on the 1st and 18th ‘cuz that’s when you’re playing for an audience.” Topping off our memorable stroll, we ordered Chef Curtis Stone’s famous Bloody Mary served at the outdoor fire pits overlooking the iconic 18th hole. We toasted the classic links offering the very best views in golf. To our added delight, we caught some of Augusta’s Master’s Tournament on the big screen TV behind the bar. There’s nothing like watching a classic Grand Slam tournament from another iconic golf destination. And Pebble Beach is proud to be hosting another Grand Slam event, the U.S. Open in June, 2019. Inn and Links at Spanish Bay Pebble Beach, however, is but one of several renowned links along the 17-Mile Drive. LINKS & LIBATIONS
Tucked between the magnificent pines of the Del Monte Forest and an ocean with never-ending stunning vistas are the world-famous Inn and Links at Spanish Bay. Built in 1987, the resort and picturesque golf course are known for scenic sand dunes set against the backdrop of the wild and wonderful Pacific. The bay was once a campsite for Spanish explorer Don Gaspar de Portola and his crew in 1769, nearly 150 years ago. A white sandy beach can be reached by a short stroll through the links along a rustic meandering windswept boardwalk. Each evening at sunset, guests seated around fire pits enjoy haunting melodies of Spanish Bay’s famous bagpiper signaling the close of the Scottish-style course for yet another day. The Restless Sea, Point Joe, and China Rock Early mariners mistakenly set their courses for this craggy point believing it was the entrance to Monterey Bay. Expecting a safe haven, many a ship instead grounded and sank on the precipi-tous rocks due to dangerous restless turbulence and rugged underwater terrain.
Along the coastline from Point Joe to China Rock, Chinese fishermen from the late 1800s to ear-ly 1900s built lean-tos as their early homes. These intrepid men were the first to commercially harvest the waters of Monterey Bay, making it into a thriving fishing port. The Lone Cypress Undoubtedly one of the most popular stops along the drive is one of California’s most iconic landmarks, the Lone Cypress. Despite raking winds and crashing waves, this much-photographed Cypress has stood as a lonely sentinel clinging precariously to its rocky perch overlooking the Pacific for more than 250 years. The drive is worth it if only to view this amazing survivor of the often harsh elements along the Monterey Peninsula coastline. Ghost Tree and Pescadero Point The uniquely haunting Monterey cypress known as the Ghost Tree appears out of place compared to the immeasurably verdant beauty of most of the 17-Mile Drive. But stand it does with its gnarly branches, ghostly image, and barren trunk bleached white by fierce peninsula winds. Danger-
ous surf break and stormy waves are common in this area. Pescadero Point just a short distance from the Ghost Tree features a magnificent vista of Carmel Bay and Stillwater Cove. Spyglass Hill This renowned golf course with its challenging terrain, sublime oceanfront scenery, and sea of dunes is another spectacular stop. Spyglass Hill is both a golfing and literary masterpiece. Each hole is named after a significant place or character in Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic tale Treasure Island. It’s not hard to imag-ine why the timeless wonders of the Monterey Peninsula’s forest and sea were the author’s inspi-ration in 1879. Nature resides in harmony here in Pebble Beach making it one of the most unique and beautiful places on the planet. Spending just one awe-inspiring day here guarantees memories to last a life-time and always leaves us wanting more.
Magical Putters Scar Tissue by Randy Weckerly
iger Woods won 14 majors with his Scotty Cameron. Not a bad run with one putter. Scarred and worn is the report. No, that is not his putter, even though it would fit the image. Tiger is in his forties; and like every other aging golfer, he has enough missed puts and a growing list of self-doubts, that he made the change to a new Taylormade putter. And as we all watched, he began to sink putts once again. My first putter given to me by my Grandfather, Nevin Foy, in about 1958. Its grip was wrapped in electrical tape. A blade putter which evolved from the days of yore dating back to about 1700 in the original Scottish style. I used this putter for about five years until my Grandfather gave me a brand-new store-
bought Acushnet Bullseye Putter for my 15th birthday. Shiny from top to bottom and what one could see being used on the earliest days of TV covering the 1963 Masters. Former U.S Open Winner Corey Pavin is one of the few hold outs still using this exact style of putter. I used the Bullseye putter from 1965 to 1973. I began playing competitively in Illinois State Qualifying’s and several local events. All was good until that fateful day when one of my closest play companions asked me, “Do you realize how many times you hit the edge of the hole with your putting? He continued, “Golly, if just half of those lipped shots went in, you would be on TV.” Well, that started my saga of collecting the putters gracing this golf cart, and searching for the cure of lipped putts. However, looking back at my highlight moments in life and golf, I realized my cherished golf memories were all packed into the DNA of each putter pictured. All purchased brand new and “memory neutral”. But the echoes of traveling on countless business trips, buddy trips, country club championships, team events, qualifying’s and walking thousands of holes still resonate vividly. My initial putter history begins with the Bullseye and Wilson blade; both of which I still use once a year, because they are good friends. I feel close LINKS & LIBATIONS
to my friends and memories when I do. Some feelings growing more painful, as in recent years I have lost many golfing buddies.
In the eighties, Ping and Zebra came along with great success. Ray Floyd staring down his competitors while brandishing his Zebra. I had to have a couple for no particular reason other than Raymond looked so swashbuckling. The endless pursuit began as I purchased more than one Zebra, Ping, Acushnet, Yes, Wilson, and SeeMore Putters. Ping continues to dominate the market as one can surmise with Bubba Watson’s multiple 2018 victories. The Ping putters have also been copied by many companies in their looks and design over the decades. I always thought it was cool that they created a gold putter for their vault after each professional win. And yes, the putters are dipped in real gold and labeled as to player, date and tournament. In 1998, I entered the world of putter design and club making. Boutique putters, or companies that only produce putters and only putters, became my passion. I became very interested in putter alignment and markings on the putters. SeeMore’s FGP was used by Payne Stewart in his U.S. Open victory, and by Zach Johnson in his Masters, British Open, and multiple championships. The SeeMore design carries a red dot on the back end of each putter and when the shaft is aligned properly, the red dot is obstructed by the shaft of the club. The face of the putter is on target, simply said. This
made sense to me then and still does today. It is a great putter. But enough of the geekiness of tech talk, this is not about technology. In recent years, my son Adam and I would go to our park district golf course most evenings. We had hours of putting contests. But moreover, father and son spending time talking, laughing and enjoying a summer of memories. These are my best of time memories. And while he and I enjoy our countless putting contests, thoughts of my friends, my former golf buddies are always with me. Many are no longer “here”, but always with me in spirit and tales I tell my son I have golfed in over 35 states. I have had great rounds and won many times, qualified for state or national events. During one exasperating event, my favorite putter left me one inch short on the last hole during qualifying in 1986. Fifteen minutes later I made a forty-footer on the first playoff hole to win. There is no rhyme or reason why a forty-foot putt should be successful. It makes no sense. But they are. Sometimes more often for Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus, but to this day, no one knows why. PGA Professional Doug Sanders, the “Peacock of the Fairways” suffered one of the first televised putter collapses on TV. Doug missed a famous 55 |
18-inch putt on the 72nd hole of the 1970 British Open. That missed putt placed him in a playoff with Jack Nicklaus the next day. The inevitable victory for Jack is the one where he throws his putter in the air celebrating his sinking of the last putt. Most cameras did not capture the putter coming down. The indignity of it hitting Doug on the head and shoulder is a fact, but the elation of Jack’s win made the highlight reel. Putters are full of memories, blessings, and events frozen in their legacy. My time with my sons, my friends, and my associates while playing well over 2000 golf courses, are all captured in the 40 putters who have traveled with me during the past fifty years. I asked Doug Sanders if he ever thinks of that missed putt in 1970, and his response is priceless. He told me, “Randy, there are many days I go eight or nine minutes without thinking about it.” Now that is “scar tissue”, however, we shared this memory during great dinner we enjoyed in July of 2014 at his home in Houston. And while he missed the putt in 1970, our dinner is one I will never forget. There was just enough room in my putter I had
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brought along that week to squeeze in one more great memory of golf, one I will never forget. I still have room for many more, so it’s time to go to the course and be with my son, and it never gets better that.
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a New Orleans Original
here do you start with over 250 bourbons to choose from? “Start with the A’s.”, advises bourbon specialist, Austin, from Dickie Brennan’s New Orleans’ Bourbon House. The Oyster Bar at Dickie Brennan’s Bourbon House raises bourbon appreciation to an art. At the home of the New Orleans Bourbon Society, or NOBS for short, your member ID card becomes your Bourbon Passport. Your passport confirms the bourbons you’ve tasted. Fill your passport, and you’re a Master Taster. White dog - Red liquor - Bourbon It’s no wonder NOLA is home to a bourbon society dedicated to tasting. New Orleans played an unintended role in shaping ‘white dog’ grain-alcohol into ‘red liquor’; the bourbon we relish today. In the 1800s, New Orleans had a massive appetite for liquor. In that time, one of the closest sources was Kentucky. The best way to get it was a Mississippi barge or riverboat. Countless barrels, holding millions of gallons, took the five-month journey
down-river. Casks for shipping couldn’t be made fast enough. Empty shipping barrels were pressed into service. They had to be charred before filling to prevent pungent tastes and foul odors from previous contents like salted fish or brined meats. The scorched wood turned the clear liquid amber. The accidentally aged, flavored, and tinted spirits became known as ‘red liquor,’ and later, bourbon. What’s necessary to be called bourbon? Tawny, aromatic, and warming, bourbon is the only true American spirit. To be called bourbon in the US, the distilled spirits must be• Produced in America. • Made from grain mixture at least 51% corn. • Aged in new, charred oak barrels. • Distilled to no more than 160° proof. • Barreled to age at no more than 125° proof. • Bottled at 80° proof or more. • To be called Kentucky Bourbon, it must be made in Kentucky.
At Bourbon House you drink and eat your bourbon Bourbon may be enjoyed via tasting flights, cocktails, snifters, and cuisine.
The cocktails menu offers venerable favorites including Manhattans, Old Fashions, and Sidecars. Try a NOLA institution—a Sazerac, Frozen Bourbon Milk Punch, or a seasonal Grand Larceny.
Bourbon flights are a trendy way to learn about bourbon. Brennon’s has a bourbon flight menu. Each flight is four or five distillers, with a theme. For example, a small batch flight, a rye bourbon flight, or Bird Watcher’s Flight—made up of brands named after birds like Wild Turkey.
The Oyster Bar is a sea-foodie’s nirvana. Try the oyster happy hour, when available. Lunch and dinner menus feature dishes made with bourbon. My favorite bourbon cocktail and seafood combo is a Bourbon Sea Breeze and Spicy Bourbon Shrimp. Yum!
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New Orleans Bourbon Society Membership in NOBS is complimentary. As a member, you’ll receive invitations to bourbon dinners, cocktail parties, and bourbon seminars with bourbon and whiskey distillers. Enjoy a complimentary pour of each month’s featured bourbon. When you reach your Master Taster status, your name will be engraved on the plaque immortalizing all those that have mastered the art of bourbon tasting. You can join online or the Bourbon House in the French Quarter. Can’t get to New Orleans? Have your own bourbon tasting. The Kentucky Distiller’s Association offers excellent guidelines for hosting your own bourbon tasting at home. Their website includes a handy glossary of bourbon and whiskey tasting terms. Chat with your favorite bartender or local distiller. Ask if they can help you get started enjoying the amber tonic or perhaps set-up a tasting event for you and friends. No matter which style of the lovely elixir you prefer, or where you start your tutoring, becoming a Master Taster is a leisurely journey, filled with American history and southern tradition. Cheers!
By Donna Long
Photos Courtesy of Black Eyed vodka
here is a new kid on the block in the vodka neighborhood, and this unusual vodka is making heads turn. What makes Black Eyed Vodka unique from others? This ultra-premium smooth vodka is made from black-eyed peas; Black Eyed Distillery is the only known distiller in the world that uses black-eyed peas. Looking For Something Unique In 2016 best friends Todd Gregory and Scott Billings were looking for an investment. One was retiring, and the other was tired of the hectic Dallas commute and corporate life. They wanted a change. They wanted something unique, something that embodied who they are. They found it in Black Eyed Vodka, a small floundering distillery that was started by a mother and son in an effort to save their black-eyed pea crop from the drought. The Creation Most vodkas are predominantly corn-based followed closely by wheat, potatoes, then grapes. LINKS & LIBATIONS
Black Eyed Vodka’s main ingredient is black-eyed peas with a small mixture of non-GMO corn. Corn is the most efficient when it comes to converting starch into sugar, but it is the peas that give it a smooth, gentle texture with a genuinely unique mild flavor. “I can remember the first time tasting it. It was just this nirvana moment. It was original. It hadn’t been done before” - Todd Gregory With a background and childhood history of growing up in the farming community of Texas, Todd insists on using pure ingredients directly from Texas farmers. The peas are from various farmers north of Lubbock in the Texas Panhandle and milled by a fourth-generation family with a mill. The same family also supplies the distillery with milled non-GMO corn. Because both peas and corn are gluten-free, the result is a 100% non-GMO gluten-free Texas sourced vodka.
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What Is Grain-to-Glass Grain to glass is a relatively new concept in Texas with Black Eyed Distilling being only one of five distilleries in the state of Texas. Most distilleries purchase clear neutral grain spirits from an ethanol factory. Once it is delivered to the distillery the ethanol is proofed with purified water and bottled. They do not actually create or distill the vodka. Black Eyed Vodka is created entirely from start to finish on-premise in the distillery attached to the tasting room. The magic happens at the distillery when Todd and Scott build their own mash and cook it. It is the cooking process that pulls the starch out of the grain and turns it into sugar. The yeast is added to the sugar causing the fermentation to start creating alcohol. â€œIt is this entire process that most vodka distillers do not do in Texas. We are one of only five in the state of Texasâ€? Todd told me. When I asked him what is done with all the grain once cooked, he said that yet another farmer would come and collect the cooked mash to feed it to his cows. Apparently, it is 28% protein and excellent cattle feed.
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Truly Artisan From their carefully crafted small batches to their distinctive labels featuring a local artist’s original painting in black, white, and gold, Black Eyed Distilling embodies the meaning of being an “artisan distiller.” Todd and Scott want to help promote and celebrate local artisans, so while the label colors will always be black, white, and gold the label art and artist will change every 20-thousand bottles. “I think we both get a sense of pride from what this product is. And it’s us. We can say proudly, ‘We made this.’” - Scott Billings Todd proudly says, “we do all our own fermentation, distilling, and bottling. We have our own reverse osmosis plant that we use to proof the vodka. We distill it (the vodka) 22 times in a 25’ column still using hot copper plates.” He explained the process to me saying that the first distilling run pulls the alcohol from the mash and the second, which is called the high proof run, to refine the taste. It is during the high proof run that the alcohol hits the hot 20 copper plates making the vodka distilled 22 times. Todd told me that most
distillers distill their alcohol only four to 10 times. The more distilled vodka is, the smoother and purer the flavor is. Heads, Hearts, And Tails Another artisan secret Todd informed me about, “many distillers will use some of the heads and tails of their product. We will only use the hearts. We do a hard cut and throw all the heads away.” The Tasting Room And Beyond Black Eyed distillery is in one of Fort Worth’s historic landmark buildings, a 107-year old firehouse built in 1911. The firehouse still holds the remnants and charm of days gone by with the original fireman’s hole and pole that the fire crew would race down to get to the trucks. I asked Todd what is in store for Black Eyed’s future. He said, “We are growing fast. Everyone who tries our vodka loves it. We have more people who tell us that they are not vodka drinkers or that they
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cannot drink vodka straight. I tell them just to try it, and they are so amazed when they do.” Todd went on to say that even though they like the charm and history of the firehouse, they are looking to expand to a new building in the next 18 months or so “We love running the distillery,” Todd says, “sometimes it does not feel like work. We love talking to people about it.” Plan a Visit: 503 Bryan Avenue Fort Worth,Texas 817-349-9977 Tasting Room hours: Fridays 5-9 p.m. Saturday 2-9 p.m. Distillery Tours: Saturdays 4 p.m.
40 Knots Winery
A VANCOUVER ISLAND TREASURE By Cindy Ladage
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his past June I headed to beautiful Vancouver Island to attend the BC Shellfish and Seafood Festival, along with a group of travel writers. As part of my visit, I had the chance to stop at the 40 Knots Winery. 40 Knots Winery is the largest Winery on Vancouver Island and is owned by Brenda and Layne Craig. The winery is in the Comox Valley and is located near the Salish Sea which provides their wines a distinctive windswept taste. Using no additives and allowing the soil to shape the flavor of the grapes creates unique wine. The Craigs ensure that their wine is eco-friendly. They share on their website, â€œWe work collaboratively with our team, other wineries and other farms and manufacturers to support one another to achieve our Mission and Vision. We are ac-
countable for our environmental footprint and consider how every facet of our business affects the community. We adhere to ethical principles, and we are transparent in our farming and production.â€? Because chemicals are not used to create their wines, they are both vegan and gluten-free. Growing the grapes naturally allows the wine to take on the flavors from the soil, giving the wines their distinct taste. The Craigs are not the first owners of the winery. The first owners were Bill and Michal Montgomery who bought the land in 1990. The Montgomerys planted the ground, and cultivated the grapes and opened the winery in 2011. The Craigs, originally from Fort St John, found the winery when Layne was googling information 71 |
about a plane that stalled at 40 Knots. This aeronautically named winery caught the attention of Layne, who was a pilot. Looking for a life change, the couple bought the winery from the Montgomerys who wanted to retire. Farming is in Layneâ€™s blood. He grew up on a Saskatchewan farm and even has farm toys that relate to his history. Brenda was in business management, but her father was a farmer, and he owned an antique John Deere tractor that he brought over so I could view this beauty after hearing about my love of old iron. The Craigs offer two labels, the 40 Knots label that cover the grapes grown onsite, and the second label, Stall Speed is made from BC grapes. While they offer a good variety of wines, my uncultured palate preferred the white wine, White Seas. During the B.C. Seafood Festival, we attended a wine tasting at 40 Knots, followed by a special dinner which was very much like a Top Chef event! Sitting at small round tables, outside, under roof, we had a gorgeous view of the vineyard. The Chefs then cooked and created an incredible array of small dishes, pairing them with wines from 40 Knots. LINKS & LIBATIONS
Every dish included a seafood choice allowing diners to sample some of the most delectable seafood that British Columbia has to offer. On this trip, I learned that off the coast of BC, there are over 100 sustainable seafood products exported; both domestically and internationally. Seafood dishes created and served up by Canada’s top chefs, the BC Shellfish and Seafood Festival embraces sea life. The event typically takes place during June, which is “BC Seafood Month” as declared by Queen Elizabeth II. During the event, we had multiple opportunities to taste seafood and wine, but the Chef’s Shellfish Showdown at the 40 Knots Estate Winery was my personal favorite. The Showdown offered eight courses, and each course was paired with one of 40 Knots clean, crisp wines. After the meal, it was time to vote on our favorite course of the evening. The food offerings included exotic dishes like quail eggs and octopus that this Midwestern girl had never tried. My highlight dish of the evening was the Vancouver Island Sea Salt Cured Wild Pacific Salmon, Crisp Latke with fresh
asparagus and lime hollandaise sauce. There are other wineries scattered across Vancouver Island. Housed in a former dairy barn is Coastal Black Estate Winery. Run by a 4th generation agricultural family, Coastal Black Estate still has the original barn on the property. This 600-acre estate fruit winery is at the base of Mt. Washington on the outskirts of the Comox Valley. They offer wine, fresh fruit, raw honey, and a myriad of things to do and see. Planning to Visit? 40 Knots Winery: 2400 Anderton Rd, Comox, BC V9M 4B2, Canada Phone: +1 250-941-8810 40 Knots offers special events throughout the year, including a private wine tasting accompanied by a picnic.
Driven to Drink
Whiskey Ranch Involves Link & Libations in Unique Combination By Art Stricklin
eonard Firestone doesn’t consider himself a Whiskey brewing expert, a historical preservation devotee or a golf professional, but working with his partner Troy Robertson, he’s created one of the most unique spirits and golf operations anywhere in the U.S., all headquartered five miles from downtown Fort Worth. Named Whiskey Ranch and located at the historic Glen Garden Golf Course, the TX Whiskey Distillery has become the largest whiskey plant West of the Mississippi River and the only one of its kind to combine the one sport that has driven many a player to drink. “We researched it and googled everything we could and there isn’t another golf course and Whiskey distillery combination like this anywhere in the U.S. or the world as far as we could tell,” Firestone said. The remarkable combination of the TX Whiskey Distillery and the historic Glen Garden course, which counts golf legends Byron Nelson and Ben Hogan as caddies shortly after it opened in 1912, is almost as remarkable as the pairing of the two facility owners, neither of which has a background LINKS & LIBATIONS
in either industry which they now find themselves in. Firestone was in Maryland where he had just sold a communications company in 2007 and was going to do some consulting, but was reading the Sunday NY Times and there was an article on Tito’s Vodka, which was the largest company of its kind in Texas and had started to achieve a critical mass in sales. “I had always been a big whiskey fan and I saw there was this guy Tito who was doing Texas vodka in Austin,” Firestone recalled. “I started wondering if anybody was doing a Texas whiskey, so I googled it and nobody was doing it, so the lightbulb really came on in my head. I shared that idea with my family in California and they were doing wine there, so they gave me some good advice about the business side and what I should be doing.” This was about the same time Robertson, a native Texan who had been in the oil and gas business
and had done some equity financing, started to have the same idea. One day he cold called Firestone, who he only knew briefly from the business world, and asked about their shared, if not farfetched, idea.
generations, some of it for Brown-Forman, the liquor behemoth in Louisville that owns Jack Daniel’s and Woodford Reserve. But he chose a different path, leaving home to work toward his Ph.D. in biochemistry at UT Southwestern in Dallas.
“I’m entirely self-taught, as is my partner Troy, he had plenty much the same idea. He was in the oil business, private business equity so it connected us and we started working on it.”
The threesome and just a few other helpers started in 2010 in a very small plant in downtown Fort Worth, making the particular brew which has been loved by generations, but can be just as easily loathed if done wrong.
Eventually they hooked up with another transplanted North Texan, Rob Arnold, who did have some Whiskey experience and they named him the master distiller. Arnold was raised in the Whiskey motherland as a Kentucky boy whose family had made whiskey for
“There is a science and an art to it. What you are creating, you can create a different taste. by using different levels of aging for taste and char,” Firestone said “Troy and I spent a lot of time in Kentucky and a 75 |
number of those guys were very helpful to us for which we are very grateful. I always liked whiskey and consider myself a whiskey guy, but I didnâ€™t know I was going to make it for a living so this is very interesting. We do it all here. Raw materials to finished product.
their small downtown facility.
The first batch was crafted in 2012 and it didnâ€™t take long for people in the sprits world to pay attention. In April 2013, the original 2013, TX Whiskey, was named best American craft whiskey and Best in Show and won double gold in the San The pair literally started out doing two bottles at a Francisco World Spirits Competition. time and they did hundreds of bottles by hand at
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That turned out to be a very important award for the young company and led to sales in 15 different states along with the international DFW Airport, where it is now the leading hard spirts seller in the duty free gift shop.
international spirts competition.,
About that time, things started to get real interesting for the pair and their rapidly growing company. They had maxed out their space downtown and neither wanted to leave the area which led Bourbon was the next product to come from the them on a nearly year-long search for larger fatwo. Also starting in 2012 and then released in cilities. 2017, the bourbon won silver medal in the same Photo: kathy tran 77 | JULY 2018
“I was on a commercial real estate search engine one day and saw this place, Glen Garden, had 112 acres 5 miles from Fort Worth, and went into my partner Troy’s office. I said have you ever heard of Glen Garden, he said yes I’ve played out there. I said it’s for sale,” Firestone explained. “We literally drove over here and convinced the pro to give us a cart for a tour. It met our needs in every way. The whole process took about a year to buy the property. The guys who owned the property reallywanted to find a golf operator. It is a very historic property, but it was a land locked, funky course and they couldn’t find anyone to buy it. Eventually, a developer was going to buy it and just tear the whole thing up.” The neighbors were at first wary of having a large distillery in their midst, but the twosome painted a vision of someone who would use 30% percent of the facility for the distillery and keep the rest as green space even if they didn’t know what they would do with it. They finally closed on the property in late 2014 and while they knew they didn’t want to be in the fulltime golf business, they were avid golfers themselves, they also knew they didn’t want to bulldoze the immense Texas golf history of Glen Garden. “What we needed to do if we wanted to have golf out here was what if we didn’t have to prepare for
golf every day. We wanted to turn golf on and off. That’s a huge economic difference if you do it that way. We wanted to protect the history, with historically iconic Fort Worth golfers so the history of this place became part of our story,” Firestone said. Meanwhile, the TX distillery continued to grow and improve. The company now has more than 55 full-time employees with a fully automated assembly line which can turn out thousands of finished bottles in a week, all with a bit of Fort Worth boot leather as a distinctive bottle topper for each product.
Photo: kathy tran LINKS & LIBATIONS
Photo: kathy tran
Whiskey is $35 a bottle with the bourbon around $47 depending on where it is sold, but the good thing about the new Whiskey Ranch facility is there is always room for more production and sales. The new building includes five 16,000-gallon fermentation tanks (with room for a couple more). The tanks might be the least exciting part of the plant, but they are the most important part of the entire place. The four deep-water wells on site will help with the production process, and maybe even deepen the flavor.
It’s a vision neither man ever expected to have in their former work lifetimes, but with hard work, lots of vision and imagination, in a sport which has driven many a player to drink, the pair is certainly entitled to raise a toast to their immense success. “We did it all ourselves. So now I can add golf architect to our titles, how fun is that? It’s all experiential. It a beautiful gate to enter, a beautiful drive and a beautiful place close to downtown. It’s just perfect.”
The final piece of the remarkable puzzle came last fall when the Glen Garden 18-hole course was officially reopened. But unlike in the past, it’s not open for constant daily fee play. Instead it’s become hugely popular for special events like charity tournaments, weddings, bachelor parties and reunions. The presence of The Oak Room and The TX Tavern means Firestone and Robertson can provide the atmosphere and experience they have always wanted. “Now you have golf and you have the largest whiskey distillery west of the Mississippi River. It’s a great facility with great architectural details and we’ve uncovered a great view of downtown Fort Worth. We’re working closely with the city, and now when people are traveling, they come out here to have an experience. We thought it had this potential and we’re glad it’s lived up to our vision,” Firestone said.
Ta s t i n g o u r W ay Through the Wine and History of B u r g u n d y , F r a BynLoricSweete LINKS & LIBATIONS
“Wine makes daily living easier, less hurried, with fewer tensions and more tolerance.” - Benjamin Franklin
ine is the root of all things in Burgundy, and there is nothing better than a fabulous glass of wine. I’m not a wine snob, but I’m someone who enjoys a satisfying glass of wine. Combining my love for wine with my passion for travel is the perfect pairing.
Photo: Beaune Tourisme- Ch+oteau de Pommard-min 81 | JULY 2018
Wine and History Make a Perfect Pairing for a Road Trip For this perfect pairing, what could be better than the Burgundy region of France? Intrigued by the history of the area and the world-renowned wines it produces, itâ€™s an excellent choice for a road trip. Domaine de Anges, a quaint Bed & Breakfast in the village of Puligny-Montrachet was our first stop. Dating back to the Middle Ages, the village is located 8 miles from the walled medieval town of Beaune.
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The Montrachet area produces some of the finest dry white wines in the world and is home to some of the worldâ€™s most famous vineyards. As we toured one of the vineyards, we learned of the unique seasonal rhythms of the vineyard. Going to School â€œUnderstanding Burgundy,â€? is a 90-minute private program at the Burgundy Wine School, and one that we highly recommend. Here, under the tutelage of Christina Otel, a local business owner, and our instructor, we discovered the history, viticulture, classifications, politics, and economics of the area. Christina is well versed in the vine, wine, and terroir (land) of the region. We had the opportunity to participate in comparative wine tastings from the five sub-regions of Burgundy. The tastings included both red and white, from Regional to Grand Cru. This program opened our eyes to the difference between tasting and drinking, transforming our wine experience moving forward. History Lesson One cannot visit the area without visiting the Hotel-Dieu de Beaune Museum. Nicolas Rolin, chan-
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cellor of Burgundy, and his wife Guigone de Salins, originally built Hotel-Dieu de Beaune in 1443 as a hospital to help the sick and the poor. Itâ€™s photo-worthy rooftop adorned with colorfully patterned glazed tiles, represents the traditional architecture of Burgundy. The sale of the world-famous wine that comes from the vineyards bequeathed to the hospital helps to fund both the hospital and the museum. Time Out After a visit to Hotel-Dieu de Beaune Museum and then a train ride tour around the bumpy cobblestone streets, we visited Fromagerie Hess, a highly recommended shop in the center of town. Fromagerie Hess is one-stop shopping offering delicatessen fare, cheese, and wine. Cafes and restaurants abound in this town, with many hidden down narrow cobblestone alleys. Patios offer outside seating, with overhead heaters for warmth. As you traverse the narrow streets, you will see barrels standing outside many shops. If the barrel has a wine bottle on top, this signifies that wine tastings are available.
Bidding Burgundy a fond au revoir, we felt as if we had only scratched the surface of this world-famous wine region. With its history embedded deep in the soil, and the lure of more vineyards to explore and wine to taste, we will return to Burgundy.
Photo: Beaune Beaune Tourisme-F.Vauban-min 85 |
Historic Hacienda Del Sol By Noreen Kompanik
dward Abbey once said, “What draws us into the desert is the search for something intimate in the remote.”
Surrounded by mountain ranges and divided by two sides of the Saguaro National Park, Arizona’s second largest city is an exotic destination experience. The mix of Native American, Spanish, Mexican and Old West is magical, and it offers the best of all worlds –in its nature, its culture, and its cuisine. History of the Property There’s no more intimate place to experience Tucson at its best than a stay at the magnificent Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch. The authentic 59-room Spanish-Colonial boutique resort is one of the prestigious Historic Hotels of America. Situated on 34 acres in the panoramic foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains, the Hacienda opened in 1929 as a desert “home away from home” ranch school for girls. Some of America’s most elite families like Vanderbilt, Westinghouse, and Pillsbury sent their daughters here from the East Coast, accompanied by their horses. The ranch closed briefly during WWII. Converted into a guest ranch in 1948, it attracted Hollywood’s leading stars like John Wayne and Clark Gable. Casita Grande, the resort’s two-bedroom villa was rumored to be the favorite hideaway of Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy.
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Nostalgic photos line the walls and alleyways of the property capturing the moments of yesteryear so those who visit today can share in its fascinating history. Luxurious Accommodations Hospitality is paramount here. After checking in, guests are personally escorted to their luxurious casitas by a team member and given a thorough overview of the property and its amenities. In 2016, the property underwent an extensive renovation adding 27 casitas. Vintage accommodations
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with historic charm surround a twinkling-lighted courtyard. The newer Catalina rooms elevated on the hillside offer stunning mountain and city views. All magically blend into the awe-inspiring Sonoran Desert, known as the lushest desert landscape on the planet. Botanical gardens, fountains, sculptures, and colorful Mexican pottery abound throughout the grounds. Pathways lead to inner courtyards tranquil in their beauty and serenity.
Hacienda Amenities Two swimming pools offer stunning vistas of the Catalina Mountains and surrounding valley. The Catalina infinity pool features a Jacuzzi and fire pit, ideal for legendary sunset viewing. And relaxation comes so easy here; itâ€™s tempting to never leave the property. For a real Hacienda experience, seasoned horses and knowledgeable guides take riders through the desert, regaling the propertyâ€™s history and pointing out the numerous cacti and desert flowers. Hundreds of Saguaro stand with arms welcome. Na-
tive only to the Sonoran region, these desert icons are true symbols of the American West. The highlight of the trip was climbing a rustic meandering trail by horseback up Sunset Ridge where guests are treated to 360-degree views of Tucson and its five majestic mountain ranges. Sunsets here are spectacular, lighting the sky in a kaleidoscope of colors. Personalized spa treatments using only organic products promoting relaxation and wellness are offered in both calming spa studio rooms or in the privacy of the casita or patio. Though the property does not have a golf course, the entire region has a myriad to choose from, some within direct view and a stoneâ€™s throw from the Hacienda. Staff at the resort is more than happy to recommend the best. Desert Dining and Libations Terraza Garden Patio and Lounge is a favorite watering hole for guests with live music every night of the week. Light fare is served including an array of Haciendaâ€™s luscious specialty drinks like the Prickly Pear Margarita, made with sweet and sour, triple
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sec, tequila, lime juice and of course, prickly pear cactus syrup. Hacienda’s also renowned for its silky smooth Barrel-Aged Manhattans, seasoned in pure American Oak, charred and tempered for six months. The flavor profile is so complete, nothing but ice needs added to the glass. No restaurant in Tucson can match the stellar views, service, and cuisine of The Grill at Hacienda Del Sol. The restaurant exudes Old-World charm with casual Southwestern elegance surrounded by beamed ceilings, chandeliers, and flickering candlelight at dinner. With its massive almost floor-toceiling windows facing the mountains and valleys of the desert, there’s not a bad seat in the house during breakfast, lunch or dinner. Entrees here are creative and quality-driven by an award-winning culinary team. Hacienda offers an incredible selection of 700 wines from their cellar– the most extensive wine list in Arizona. We were more than happy when John Kulikowski, Hacienda’s director of wine and spirits assisted us with his recommendations. The Grill features New American Cuisine with a
Southwestern flare using local meats, vegetables, and herbs grown in the Hacienda garden. Led by accomplished chef Bruce Yim, it’s no surprise the restaurant has received coveted awards year after year from Wine Spectator, the AAA Four Diamond rating, and many local accolades. House favorites, Sea Scallops and Filet of Beef were cooked to perfection with exquisite flavor and impressive presentation. Delectable desserts included a creamy, crisped Irish-coffee Crème Brûlée and their famous Chocolate and Zin–a flourless dark-chocolate cake topped with a tangy house-made raspberry Zinfandel sorbet. With its unsurpassed combination of history, majestic mountain views, simple pleasures, and comfortable elegance, Hacienda Del Sol represents the very best of everything the old Southwest is known for. And they do it with the utmost class. Disclosure: Many thanks to Hacienda Del Sol for hosting me during my stay and for their generous hospitality. Opinions regarding the stay, however, are my own.
E On & L
Best lakefront dining in the midwest. Lunch & Dinner 11am-10pm Bar open until 1am
Tours, weddings, corporate events. Tours run frequently throughout the day.
A TRULY UNIQUE EXPERIENCE...
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