Friday, March 29, 2013

An Afternoon with Steve Beal

Whenever we have the chance to spend a few hours tasting with and learning from Steve Beal we jump at the opportunity. You might ask yourself, who is Steve Beal? Steve Beal is the Senior Master of Whisky for Diageo as well as brand ambassador to Lagavulin, Talisker, Johnnie Walker, Bulleit, Bushmill’s and more and he is the top distilled spirits expert in the US. His vast wealth of knowledge comes from years of experience working in top distilleries along side master distillers helping to develop new products. He has been a judge in the annual San Francisco World Spirits Competition, and serves on the Board of Directors of the US Bartenders Guild Master Mixologist program. Even with all his experience, it’s his easy going personality and willingness to share his knowledge that has earned him respect from members of the spirits industry and whisky connoisseurs.

During our recent afternoon with Steve, he guided us on a tasting journey through Scotland. Starting in the Highlands we tasted our way through to the lowlands and finished off with the smoky island malts. Having a tasting setup in this manner really showcased the broad range of styles available. With a table covered in great bottles, we felt like kid’s in a candy store. Choosing a favorite was a difficult task, but highlights include the hard-to-find Talisker 18 Single Malt Whisky which can be found in our upcoming catalog, Lagavulin Distiller’s Edition Single Malt Whisky which has become a favorite at our wine bar and a gem from the little-known Glenkinchie Distillery which will be making an appearance on our website soon.

We could have easily spent several more hours more with Steve asking questions and listening to him recant stories about the how the industry used to be, but will have to save that for next time. Speaking of which, Steve will be with us at the Craft Spirits Carnival at Fort Mason in San Francisco on June 15th and 16th if you want to pick his brain about spirits and sip some great stuff. We look forward to seeing you there.  

--Justin Moulton  
Spirits Manager

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