Friday, April 23, 2010

Juniper and Gin - For the Win!

Continuing the barrel-aging trend of late, Rogue introduced its John John series earlier this year, starting with John John Dead Guy - Dead Guy Ale aged in Dead Guy Whiskey barrels.

The series is so-named after its master brewer, John Maier, and master distiller, John Couchot. This week, the Oregon-based brewery released the next in the series, John John Juniper. I've been excited about this one for a few reasons:
  • Rogue's Juniper Ale was my favorite beer for over a year back around 2006ish and I never tired of it. It's still one of my Rogue favorites.
  • Rogue's Spruce Gin is one of the smoothest, most balanced and enjoyable gins I've ever had. And I've tried a lot of gins.
  • Gin isn't typically aged in barrels, so they soaked the barrels with their gin with the explicit purpose of making this beer. Now there's a Rogue concept.
It was released this week and should start to appear where Rogue is distributed, including the KC metro area. Unfortunately, the John John series has been somewhat hard to find locally, but I'm starting to see it around. We picked up a bottle of John John Dead Guy at the 23rd St Cork & Barrel in Lawrence back in February or so, and I believe Lukas Liquor and Gomer's in Lenexa now carry it.

Keep your eyes peeled this September for the final beer in this series: Hazelnut Brown Nectar aged in Hazelnut Spiced Rum barrels. I fail to see how that can turn out any way other than delicious. As an aside, it appears Rogue Spirits are no longer distributed to this area (not that they were widely available to begin with). Harry's Country Club was the only place I knew of that even sold any, and Harry himself said the distributor no longer carries Rogue. Bummer.

I wrote this blog post yesterday, with the intention of stopping by Royal Liquor on the way home from work today to see if any John Johns were in stock. Though I had no luck there, I checked out the gin selection and much to my surprise, there was a barrel-aged gin - from Oregon! I had no idea anyone barrel-aged gins and I was absolutely stunned at the timing. I bought that bottle of Ransom Old Tom, sweet & dry vermouths, and made myself a perfect martini* when I got home. If you're a gin drinker, this is a phenomenal gin that is sweeter and more herbal than its non-barreled counterparts (think Ricola). You could almost drink it on the rocks, nothing else with it. It's pricey at $39.99 per bottle, but absolutely worth it.

* Perfect Martini:
2.5 oz gin
.5 oz sweet vermouth
.5 oz dry vermouth
2 dashes orange bitters
Shake with ice, strain into martini glass. Sip, repeat.


  1. I like that Ransom Old Tom -- the herbal flavors are crazy -- but it's a little sweet and I was glad when my bottle was finished. I was much happier with the Ransom Small's Gin. Still very aromatic, but more of a familiar gin presentation.

    By the way, Upright Brewing got hold of a Ransom Old Tom barrel to age one of their beers in (can't remember which). Should be interesting when it comes out, about a year from now I think.

  2. Hey, thanks for reading! Yeah, the Old Tom is clearly a spin on a traditional gin but I thought it was perfect for cocktails that might typically use bourbon or whiskey as the base. I'm thinking this would work well as an old-fashioned or even a sour. I'll look for their other gins as well, as they all sound fabulous.

    Good to know about Upright. I will keep it in mind for my trips back home next year (and will have my brother look for it as well). I just picked up a bottle of his Oyster stout when I was there last week & really look forward to trying it.

  3. That Stone/Nogne/Jolly Pumpkin Christmas beer had plenty of Juniper in it. Good stuff, but one was enough for me. I still see it around town. I liked the John John, lots of vanilla.


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