Clay Risen

Clay Risen is an editor at The New York Times, and is the author of A Nation on Fire: America in the Wake of the King Assassination. He has written for The New Republic, Smithsonian, and The New York Times Sunday Magazine.

  • A Surprisingly Versatile Distillery

    Buffalo Trace is known for making one kind of whiskey, but it has several noteworthy ones.

  • German Beer As It's Meant to Be

    Andechs Brewery outside Munich offers the ultimate drinking experience--with a side of pigs' knuckles.

  • Oktoberfest: It's Not About the Beer

    It's about the party that goes with it. Finding a table is a hassle, but when the first beer arrives it's worth it.

  • Adventures with German Schnapps

    Germany's obsession with distillation produces surprising hits--and serious misses. Asparagus schnapps, anyone?

  • Beer Battle: America vs. Germany

    The author fails to convince Germans to respect American beer. Is there any way to bridge the divide?

  • Bad News For Scotch Fans?

    Americans angered by the release of the Lockerbie bomber are calling for a boycott of Scottish products.

  • Slovenia: A Food-Lover's Paradise

    Most people know Slovenia for its socialist past, but the tiny country has food and wines worth a trip.

  • Beer in the Ruins of Communism

    A festival in a symbol of Berlin's Communist past celebrates a brighter part of German culture: beer.

  • The Two Extremes of German Beer

    Germany has a reputation for producing the world's greatest beer. But it also makes some of the worst.

  • Rewriting the Rules of Brewing Beer

    For decades, American brewers have followed strict rules set by German aristocrats in the 1500's.

  • Six American Gins Worth Tasting

    Britain doesn't have a monopoly on gin: American distillers are catching up with refreshing, affordable varieties.

  • Bringing Bourbon to Capitol Hill

    Two Kentucky Congressmen just started the Bourbon Caucus, to promote America's indigenous drink.

  • Preparing for the Rye Revolution

    After years in the shadow of Scotch and Bourbon, rye's moment has come. 12 versions worth trying.

  • American Whiskey's Next Big Thing?

    Critics have long been skeptical of Rick Wasmund's tiny distillery. He's finally proving them wrong.

  • The Beer World's Unlikely Alliance

    Craft brewers have one thing in common with Coors, Anheuser-Busch, and Miller: they don't want Congress to raise beer taxes. The story of how the Davids of the beer world decided to fight on the same side as the Goliaths.

  • Dark Beer With Discipline

    Duck-Rabbit Brewery avoids the gimmicks of other craft brewers--no bubblegum ale here--and focuses on doing one thing very well: dark beers with high alcohol content. The brewery once only distributed within North Carolina, but its reach is finally starting to spread to other parts of the country.

  • Domestic Whiskey's Best Kept Secret

    For decades, some of the finest bourbon produced in America was only available overseas. But, finally, legendary Four Roses is appearing on shelves in the U.S. The author offers descriptions of all the varieties of whiskey created by this Kentucky distillery.

  • Whiskey-Aged Beers, Craft Brew's Newest

    Beer aged in barrels is the latest trend from the craft movement. The result is a brew that starts like Scotch and ends like beer. A test reveals which microbreweries do it best. But don't get to attached to this new variation--you never know when brewers will move onto the next big thing.

  • Is This the Best-Selling Liquor in the World?

    According to Chinese media, baijiu is the best-selling liquor in the world, and Maotai is the most famous brand of baiju--and one of the few available in the United States. In production for over 200 years, China's award-winning and expensive baiju isn't what you might expect.

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Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

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What Makes a Story Great?

What makes a story great? The storytellers behind House of CardsThis American LifeThe Moth, and more reflect on the creative process.

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Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

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Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

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Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

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The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

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