About this blog

Craft whisky makers are bringing new dimensions to the sacred spirit

Welcome to The Alternative Tipple, an assortment of anecdotes, observations and musings on the subject of alcoholic beverages, the places and ways in which they’re consumed and the culture that’s grown up around them. And what those things mean to me.

Posts relating to beer and whisk(e)y will form the bulk of my meanderings herein, simply because they’re the drinks I gain the most pleasure from, spend the most time with and most actively seek out. They’re also the domains where I’m able to cast my net widest. From IPAs to Islays, rauchbiers to rye whiskies, and porters to pure pot stills, there’s more than enough to keep me going for some time to come.

But rum, tequila, vodka and other spirits will also have airings, as will cider, perry and other fermented drinks. The occasional liqueur may also come to the surface and I reserve the right to go “off topic” every now and then, if there’s a non-alcohol-related drinks topic I think’s worth mentioning. Or even a non-drinks topic if I fancy it.

Wine, though, will not feature heavily unless I can find a like-minded tippler to guest blog for me. I’ve tried many times but the fruit of the grape just doesn’t suit me in the way the fruit of the grain does. That said, the occasional nod to fortifying may creep in (although many oenophiles may not consider such products truly to be wine), as might a brandy that’s had long enough in oak to transcend its grapey beginnings. Those who’ve tried a 40 year-old Armagnac will know what I mean.

Obscurity – whether wilful or accidental, deserved or undeserved – is a big reason for inclusion in these pages. The spirit of experiment (no pun implied as there’s more genuine experimentation in the world of beer right now than any other branch of the boozy tree) will also be reflected brightly, both in its successes and failures. On occasion, I may not always have enjoyed consuming the subject of my post but I might cover it if there’s an interesting tale to tell.

An eclectic selection gathered over many years

There’s certainly no intention to be comprehensive in my coverage of new developments, to demonstrate an unparalleled grasp of my subject(s), or to prove the authority of my taste buds over those of readers. There’s simply far too much to know, not least because of the breadth of coverage I’ve given myself and my own lack of bandwidth to know everything, but also due to the intense rate of change I’m witnessing in the drinks world right now, both at home and abroad.

In the final analysis, the point of this blog is simply to share something of the interest and enthusiasm in boozy subjects I’ve built this up over 20-something years of curiosity, trial and error, spectacular successes, dismal disappointments and, most often, a sense that the journey can be just as rewarding as reaching the destination. If I end up peaking your interest or whetting your appetite for more, I will consider it “job done”.

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