Dr. Bill’s Guide To The Holidays
Here at The Full Pint, we like to share our thoughts on how to enjoy the holidays to the fullest. This year, we reached out to our dear friend, Bill Sysak (Affectionately know by his friends as ‘Dr. Bill’ )and asked him to guide us on how to indulge this season LIKE A BOSS. Read through this guide to find out the must buy baller ass beers, wines, spirits, cheeses and cigars. Ho ho ho bitches, TFP
Dr. Bill’s Guide to the Holidays
4 Beer’s (rare and or obtainable)
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale– $8.99/6pk
I discovered this beer in 1982, I believe the 2nd year Ken ever brewed it, the 3C’s Chinook, Cascade, & Centennial make this beer a timeless IPA and one of my all-time favorite seasonal beers.
Anchor Our Special Ale-$8.99/6pk
This beer was actually waiting for me when started on my journey into craft beer in 1977, having been first bottled in 1975. A classic winter warmer with a secret mix of seasonal spices that changes every year along with the tree on the label.
De Dolle Stille Nacht– $15.99/bottle
“The Mad Brewers” started their brewery in Esen Belgium in 1980 and have been one of my favorites Belgian breweries since a family friend brought home a 2 year old bottle in 1984 or ’85. Kris the founder and head brewer makes exceptional beer and the Belgian strong ale that is Stille Nacht is no exception. Although ABV varies on this beer it usually clocks in at 12% and makes a perfect digestif for those cold winter nights.
Dupont Avec les Bons Voeux– $11.99/bottle
“Best Wishes”, Dupont’s 9.5% Saison brewed each year for the New Years is my favorite saison. An excellent substitute for champagne, clean, crisp, sparkling, with hidden depths of flavor as it warms up.
Dan asked me to recommend 4 spirits for the holiday, that’s not going to happen! How can you pick only 4? I’m also not going to go with the under $40 theme. Christmas is all about overspending for things you don’t need and aren’t worth the price, while these are spirits you need to try and are worth it.
Pappy Van Winkle’s 20 Year Old Family Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey $99.
Beautiful copper color with aromas of caramelized pecans, chocolate fudge, & rich spices. Powerful on the front palate that leads to a full body of intense dried fruits, praline, & baking spices. Finishes with a cornucopia of flavors, introducing notes of cigar box, sweet tobacco, leather, dried citrus. Truly amazing bourbon.
Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch 2010 Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey $75.
Deep amber color. Enticing aromas of creme brulee, dried stone fruit, chocolate covered cherries, spice, & tobacco with a round, vibrant fruity/dry full body and a rich, long finish of tropical fruits & exotic spices. Delicious and decadent, incredibly smooth for its proof, complex and captivating.
Black Maple Hill 23 Year Old Limited Edition Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey $130.
Deep copper mahogany color. Dense, compacted aromas of buttered nuts, leather, brown spices, and pink peppercorns. A rich entry leads to a dryish full body of honeyed nut toast, pralines, anise, clove, figs, and exotic peppercorns. Finishes with a ton of wood spice, nut oil, charred oak, saddle leather, and blazing pepper.
Ardbeg Uigeadail Single Malt Scotch (Islay)$59.
Aroma is multifaceted with notes of peat, dark sugar, freshly ground espresso beans, cereal notes & tar.
The palate is met with sweet ripe fruit and honey with notes of malt. The mid palate is hit with powerful peat and smoked barley. Finish is long with caramel, peat smoke, dark sugar and just a hint of fresh espresso coffee.
Springbank 15 Year Old Single Malt Whisky $115.
Pure golden straw color. Vibrant aromas of honeyed rye toast, exotic spices, toffee, and floral peat aromas. A bold, supple entry leads to a slick, dry-yet-fruity body of figs, toffee, mossy earth, and orange blossom. Finish is long with buttery wood spice & peat. Graceful, powerful single malt with beautifully balanced honeyed oak and peat elements.
Ron Zacapa XO Centenario Solera Gran Reserva Especial $135
This beautiful Rum imparts an aroma of leather, brown sugar, molasses, hints of cedar, pipe tobacco, fruit, chocolate and brandy butter. An intensity on the palate with waves of soft brown sugar, toffee, spicy oak, cedar and pipe tobacco. A Long, warming finish of sweet soft spices.
Tequila Don Pilar Anejo $39
I had the opportunity to meet Don Pilar and try his Tequila’s at the world famous Tommy’s Mexican Restaurant in SF earlier this year and I loved the Anejo! One of the best new tequila’s to hit the U.S. in recent years. Appearance is a golden copper hue, with aromas of woody Agave, citrus, & butter. Initial taste is light sweet agave and mild wood. The body shows buttery agave and hint of roasted nuts. The finish leaves a warm mouth feel of medium length with a buttery nut aftertaste.
This year try an Armagnac instead of a Cognac. Cognac is produced only in the town of Cognac, France. Armagnac is a light brandy which is produced in the Armagnac region of France. Brilliant copper color, Aromas of polished wood, melted toffee, sautéed peach, and peppery spice follow through on a rich front palate to a dry, fruity medium to full body with rich layers of caramelized whole nuts, brown spices, anise, and cigar wrapper. Finishes with a long, expressive finish, perfect with a great cigar.
3 Cigars (obtainable):
When you smoke cigars Aficionado’s and beginners alike should realize that the cigars flavor developes in thirds. What that means is that each 1/3 will taste differently as the cigars flavors develop. I will be reviewing these recommended smokes in thirds.
Liga Privada #9, $12-15
Liga Privada from Drew Estates has a dark oily wrapper, once lit the first 1/3 shows notes of leather, cacao, spices and pepper with a hint of sweetness. The second 1/3 shows nutmeg, sweet earthy leather, the final 1/3 brings more of the same with the addition of espresso and mocha. Will hold up wonderfully to any Imperial Stout, even better a barrel aged Imperial.
Illusione ~88~ Robust, $8-10
The initial puffs of the Illusione 88 were a creamy, sweet combination of earth, nuts and a touch of coffee. As the cigar continued burning, earth and leather persisted, and was joined by sweet caramel. The second 1/3 was filled with more earthy leather with cedar & spice. The final 1/3 got spicier with sweet earth and a touch of chocolate. Great with a Wee Heavy.
Tatuaje Reserva A Uno $15
This is a big cigar both in flavor and size. The length is 9.25 inches a perfect cigar for a leisurely two to three hour smoke. A Full bodied cigar upon lighting there are notes of coffee wood and nuts. In the second 1/3 wood and spice take a back seat to big rich coffee notes. In the last 1/3 the flavors begin to flow together in to a beautiful harmony with a subtle creaminess in the background.
3 Cheeses (obtainable)
Dan Becker is a cruel man making me limit myself to only 3 cheeses!
Brillat Savarin $24 lb.
It is a cow’s milk triple cream Brie with 75% milk fat that is luscious, creamy and faintly sour. It is the epitome of triple creams. Perfect with Medjool dates or spread on a crostini. It pairs wonderfully with Belgian Wits, Saisons, Triples, Flemish Reds, or Hefe Weizens. Also pairs quite well with Champagne or a Martini.
Bucherondin $12-14 lb.
Bucherondin is a goat’s milk cheese from the Loire Valley in France. After ripening for five to 10 weeks, a layer from one-quarter to one-inch thick just under the edible rind becomes silky, translucent and eventually almost runny with a rich flavor. The center retains the firm, flaky texture and lemony fresh goat cheese flavor. Perfect on Rye bread with a simple accompaniment of grapes.
Pairs beautifully with Saisons. If you are thinking wine try with a robust Bordeaux, or Loire Valley whites such as Sancerre and Pouilly Fume. For spirits try a reposado Tequila.
Stilton $15 lb.
I love Stilton, especially from the dairies of Colston Bassett & Long Clawson. It is an amazing cow’s milk blue cheese aged 3 to 4 months from three counties in England. Each bite is buttery in texture with a clean mineral tang. Works beautifully with pears, I think old English ales like Thomas Hardy’s & J.W. Lees harvest Ale are a match made in heaven. Port is the traditional wine of choice, but I prefer a great French Sauterne. For a spirit, I like a Single malt preferably from the Speyside region.
3 Wines (obtainable)
Like the spirits I listed above, the holidays are the time to treat yourself to something special when it comes to wine.
Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame 1998 $125
Peach and apricot aromas are followed by flavors of hazelnuts, honey and spices. Champagne is probably one of the most versatile wines to pair with food. That being said try it with either scrambled eggs or potato chips for a special treat.
Seghesio Zinfandel Alexander Valley Home Ranch 2009 $38
Aromas of cherry pie and licorice that lead to complex flavors of huckleberry, toasty vanilla and smoky cracked pepper.
Perfect with a big juicy steak.
2004 Neyen Espíritu de Apalta $50
Neyen is composed of 70% Carmenere and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon. Opaque purple-colored, it reveals a superb bouquet of spice box, leather, blueberry, black currants, and blackberry liqueur. On the palate the wine has plenty of grip, with loads of layered black and blue fruits, ripe tannins, and terrific balance. Fabulous with a Cassoulet.
You can find Dr. Bill at Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens, hosting several events listed on Stone Brewing Co.’s Event Calendar.