City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

Archive for May, 2010

Beer Pick: Sweetwater Sch’Wheat

Sweetwater Sch’Wheat
Sweetwater Brewing Co., Atlanta, GA

$8.99/ six-pack at metro beverage and grocery stores; also on draft at many metro beer bars.

Profile: The newest year-round beer from Sweetwater is an unfiltered American-style wheat ale. Released just in time for summer sipping, it’s light and refreshing, with bright citrus notes, malty sweetness, and some hop zip. Generally, American wheat beers don’t feature the spices common in Belgian wheat beers or the banana and clove yeast flavors that make German wheat beers so distinctive. Sch’Wheat is no exception. But this clean, easy-drinking brew is bound to be a warm weather favorite.

Pair with: The acidic citrus notes in Sch’Wheat make a good match for garden-fresh summer salads, goat cheese and seafood. Like most wheat beers, it makes a surprisingly companionable brunch beverage, especially with egg and cheese dishes, such as omelets and frittatas.

Bob Townsend is editor of Southern Brew News, a bimonthly …

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Fontana Candida, Superiore, Frascati

“Wow,” I thought to myself as my colleague politely assisted this persistent wine lover, “people do drink wines outside the insular world of cab, merlot, chardonnay and pinot grigio.”

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Beer Town: “The Beer Trials”

The Beer Trials” by Seamus Campbell and Robin Goldstein (Fearless Critic Media, $14.95) is a fascinating new book billed as “a ratings guide to 250 of the most important and widely available beers in the world, from craft brews to macro-lagers.”

The ratings — on a 10 point whole-number scale with 6.5 as the average — are sure to stir lively discussions, both among casual beer lovers and aficionados. In many ways, the presuppositions, methodology and selection process behind the book are even more interesting and controversial.

“The Beer Trials” was conceived by Goldstein, a consumer advocate whose 2008 book, “The Wine Trials,” created a fuss in the wine world. New York Times wine writer Eric Asimov called it “another anti-intellectual effort to take fancy-schmancy wine down a peg or two.”

That criticism aside, by boldly purporting to break down the connection between price and quality, it became a best-seller, as well as a sort of populist manual for …

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Neethlingshof Chardonnay, South Africa

South African Chardonnays Defy Expectations

Gil Kulers

Gil Kulers

Neethlingshof, Unwooded, Chardonnay

Neethlingshof, Unwooded, Chardonnay

2009 Neethlingshof Estate, Unwooded, Chardonnay, Stellenbosch, South Africa
Two Thumbs Way Up
Bright floral aromas with hints of lemon and lime. Similar flavors with zippy, refreshing acidity and tastes of ripe pear and apple. Fun spice notes with a hint of ginger root swiringl in the background.

Muratie, Isabella, Chardonnay

Muratie, Isabella, Chardonnay

2008 Muratie, Isabella, Chardonnay, Stellenbosch, South Africa
Two Thumbs Up
Pleasant aromas of lemon and orange zest are fortified by hints of butterscotch. Very elegant and inviting. Flavors of green apple, lime and poached pear were evident and harmoniously balanced against cinnamon, bay leaf, toffee, bananas and a subtle smokiness.

Note: Wines are rated on a scale ranging up from Thumbs Down, One Thumb Mostly Up, One Thumb Up, Two Thumbs Up, Two Thumbs Way Up and Golden Thumb Award. Prices are suggested retail prices …

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Beer Pick: Southern Tier Unearthly

Southern Tier Unearthly
Southern Tier Brewing Co., Lakewood, New York

$6.99/22-ounce bottle; also available on draft at select beer bars.


Profile: The recent arrival of Southern Tier in the Atlanta market has been a boon to lovers of big, hoppy ales. At 11 % alcohol by volume, Unearthly Imperial IPA is the brewery’s most aggressive offering. A profusion of Cascade and Chinook hops in the kettle is followed by Styrian Golding in the hopback. Finally, Unearthly is dry-hopped with a combo of Chinook, Cascade and Centennial. Carapils and red wheat malts smooth out the edges of this serious hop bomb, making it surprisingly easy to drink.

Pair with: Like other big, hoppy beers, Unearthly makes a natural companion for piquant, complex foods, including Asian, Indian and Mexican dishes. Try it with Neapolitan-style pizza with spicy sopressata and hot peppers.

Bob Townsend is editor of Southern Brew News, a bimonthly beer publication distributed throughout the Southeast: …

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Kiona Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon

Conspiracy theories were immediately concocted, but in the end we were all a tad red-faced. But that’s the fun of opening new wines. Even if you know a lot, you never know what you’re going to get. This cab didn’t taste like a cab. So what?

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Craft beer finally getting its own week in Atlanta

San Francisco and Philadelphia have been doing it for years. Now Atlanta joins the ranks of major American cities honoring craft beer with a week of celebrations.

Atlanta Beer Week runs May 16-22, with beer bars, beverage stores, restaurants, brewpubs and breweries in Atlanta and Athens holding dinners, special tastings and educational seminars.

Look for about 100 events at 50 different venues over the seven days of the inaugural festivities.
Five Seasons Brewing Co. brewer/partner Crawford Moran took the lead in organizing Atlanta Beer Week. Moran said he and several other local beer aficionados decided the time had come to make it happen, even if that meant something of a shaky start the first year.


Crawford Moran at Five Saeasons Brewing Co.

“Trying to get anything off the ground is always a challenge but the response has been pretty good,” Moran said. “It’s kind of like the All-Star Game. You have all these people who might be rivals on the same team working …

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When Too Much Wine Knowledge Is Not Enough

Knowing a lot about it is not going to make a bad wine taste better and it is not going to make a good wine taste worse.

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Beer Pick: Founders Cerise

Founders Cerise

Founders Brewing Co., Grand Rapids, Mich.

$8.99-$9.99/four-pack; also available on draft at select beer bars.


Profile: A seasonal treat new to the Atlanta market. The Founders brewers add  Michigan cherries at five separate stages of the fermentation process. The result is a sweet-tart fruit beer with bright winelike notes, a soft malt presence and just a touch of hop bitterness in the finish.

Does Cerise stack up to New Glarus Wisconsin Belgian Red? Hardly. But Cerise is here now, and it’s a fun, refreshing brew for spring sipping.

Pair with: The sweet-tart flavors of Cerise make a fine accompaniment for soft cheeses, such as brie or fresh chevre. Or pair it with roasted duck breast with cherry sauce. On the dessert side, cheesecake topped with cherries or simply a bit of dark chocolate would make scrumptious matches.

Bob Townsend is editor of Southern Brew News, a bimonthly beer publication distributed throughout the Southeast:

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