Best Brunch

Best Brunch

Best of SA 2013: 4/24/2013
Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy Disappear into ‘Eleanor Rigby’

Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy Disappear into ‘Eleanor Rigby’

Screens: “If you’re going to start, you might as well start big,” an ambitious person once said. Ned Benson must have been paying attention, because for his first... By Cameron Meier 9/17/2014
The Permanent Gangsta Status of Mobb Deep’s Prodigy

The Permanent Gangsta Status of Mobb Deep’s Prodigy

Music: Prodigy, better known to ’90s rap aficionados as the prodigious half of Queensbridge duo Mobb Deep, has made a successful career operating on... By James Courtney 9/17/2014

Best Tattoo Shop

Best of SA 2013: 4/24/2013

Best Fajitas

Best of SA 2012: We wracked our brains over this one. Fajitas are pretty much all the same, no? Kinda like huevos rancheros. Our mind then drifted to a certain middle sister's wedding rehearsal... 4/25/2012

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

Follow us on Instagram @sacurrent

Print Email

Food & Drink

Putting Ranger Creek’s White Dog To The Test

Photo: Courtesy photo, License: N/A

Courtesy photo

“White dog is to whiskey as coal is to diamonds,” said a Slate columnist recently of the unaged spirit—formerly and less flatteringly known as moonshine—that’s been snagging space on shelves lately.

To be fair, the base ingredients in moonshine could be almost anything that would ferment—think rotten fruit cut with kerosene. Legitimate distillers, mostly small-batchers, tend to be a tad choosier in their mash makeup, selecting materials that would yield a credible bourbon or whiskey if aged in oak in the usual fashion.

And, despite the cynicism of some who contend that selling whiskey before its time is purely a play for bucks, every dog has its day. For small-batch and budget micro-distillers, that early influx of cash can help them keep the doors open as they wait, seemingly forever, for rough diamonds to achieve some polish. Another legitimate reason for paying attention to unaged whiskies? Without the mellowing influence of oak and time, the base spirit has nowhere to hide. If it’s good now, it should be great later.

This doesn’t mean you have to become a dog-lover; I was predisposed not to be. But there’s nothing like peeking into the process to inspire new perspective, and a glimpse was provided when I was asked to participate in a tasting panel assembled by the brewstillers at Ranger Creek. Mark McDavid and TJ Miller had asked some local hooch hounds to help them evaluate the components of a new white dog product to be based on the “grain bill” for La Bestia Aimable, RC’s Belgian-style dark ale.

La Bestia is already an impressive product full of orange peel, warm spice, figgy flavors and a powerful floral nose. The two early versions we tasted of La Bestia Defavorable, the beer’s liquored-up “evil twin” were also wow!–but not in quite so refined a way. We were presented with two versions of the twice-distilled white whiskey–one taken from the “heart” or middle part of the distillate, the other consisting primarily of the “tails,” the less alcoholic but more concentrated remains of the day. The first utilized exclusively the beer’s barley, crystal malt, Belgian candy syrup and Texas honey components; the second added a concoction consisting of dried fruits, figs, raisins, cherries and plums and spices. “Let’s throw this shit in the still and see how it comes out,” was distiller Miller’s unvarnished assessment of the experiment.

What came out was the heart sample that emphasized the lightning part of white lightning but did have a certain purity; the tails portion was full of aromatics but seemed to lose clarity—though some preferred it. In the end, RC decided on an 80-proof blend of 25 percent to 75 percent. Some sniffing yielded a nose that suggests grain and flowers; tasting conjured fruit and spice—and much more finesse than I thought possible. This dog hunts.

La Bestia Defavorable is meant to retail in the low $30s when it appears in .750 liter brown bottles at the end of summer, “making it affordable for use in cocktails,” according to McDavid. Look for the product first at Blue Box, the release partner, where beer cocktails will be emphasized.

Recently in Food & Drink
We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus