Being anchored to headquarters and relatively penniless meant that the Microkhan clan engaged in much low-brow imbibing throughout 2009. (Think Ballantine in the 22-ounce bottle, and some occasional Jim Beam.) But we’re of the mind that life isn’t worth living with somewhat alcoholic splurging, a mindset that led us to encounter a number of fine beers, wines, and liquors over the past twelve months. Here’s what we wish we could have again and again, bank account and liver wiling:
Southern Tier Unearthly The hoppiest ale we’ve ever quaffed, and a buzz-inducing beast at 11 percent ABV. Like liquid pine mixed with rose petals and Beefeater gin. How we wish it cost less than $9 a bottle, though perhaps that’s for the best.
Laphroaig 18 Big thanks to the compadre who let us sample a dram from his bottle of this magical Scottish elixir. Believe us when we say this tastes like having your face shoved into a clump of wet grass—we mean that as a compliment.
Ommegang Abbey Ale The red label never fails. This is the beer that makes us dream of visiting the Ommegang brewery one of these days. We picture it as the adult version of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.
The Craic A 2008 Christmas gift that we held on to for a special occasion. Glad we did—black jam in a bottle, and an alcohol-soaked doozy at 15.4 percent ABV. If we ever hit Powerball, we’re buying this stuff by the case.
Lagunitas Hop Stoopid Purists may frown on the brewery’s use of hop extract in lieu of real hops, but we ain’t purists. At a mere $4 per bottle, this was our go-to celebration beer for the entire summer—just writing about it makes us want one, and it’s 10:03 in the morning.
Aventinus The purple label and regal mascot sucked us in; the rich taste and 8.2 percent ABV made us stay. And stay. And stay.
Crown Royal No, not a great whiskey by any stretch. But we started drinking this for semi-special occasions upon learning that it was a favorite of late Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell, and it’s stared to grow on us. Plus, hey, free velvet bag.
Alas, we couldn’t find any airag in New York this year. But we’ll keep trying in 2010.