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Archive for July, 2010

Beer Pick: The Bruery Trade Winds Tripel

The Bruery Trade Winds Tripel

The Bruery, Placentia, Calif.

$8.99/750 ml bottle; also available on draft at select beer bars.

bruery trade winds label
Profile: Like all beers from The Bruery, Trade Winds Tripel summer seasonal is unfiltered, unpasteurized and bottle-conditioned. The Belgian-style golden ale also is loaded with complex flavors and aromas. Instead of the typical Belgian candi sugar, rice is added to the mash to lighten the body and increase the gravity to 8 percent alcohol by volume. A final twist is the addition of Thai basil. The result is an intriguing beer that comes off something like the equivalent of a culinary cocktail — bright, effervescent with fruity aromatics, bready malt, peppery spice and clean bitterness.

Pair with: The lively carbonation and bright, spicy flavors of Trade Winds are a natural match for Indian, Thai or Vietnamese dishes. And it would be a fun beer to pair with basil and Parmesan pesto or a variety of artisan cheeses and cured meats.

Bob Townsend is editor …

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All About Wine Storage

The fact is most people the world around serve their wines at the wrong temperatures. We either dunk our whites in ice until they are Arctic cold. Or we serve our reds at room temperature, which is an arcane concept going back a hundred years or more when rooms were closer to 60 degrees, not an air-conditioned or heated 72 degrees.

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Beer Town: Sam Adams contest features exotic brews

My dad was a  home brewer. He made beer in the basement long before Jimmy Carter signed the 1978 bill to make it legal.

I was too young to taste a sample, though I operated the bottle capper from time to time. By all accounts, his recipe was a British-style mild or brown ale, probably inherited from my grandfather’s family, from Northern England.

I thought about my dad a few weeks ago while I was in Boston to help judge the final round of the annual Samuel Adams Longshot American Homebrew Contest.

samuel-adams-longshot
This year, home brewers from around the country were invited to brew an experimental “specialty beer,” defined in the Beer Judge Certification Program style guidelines under category 23: “One that is a harmonious marriage of ingredients, processes and beer. The key attributes of the underlying style [if declared] will be atypical due to the addition of special ingredients or techniques.”

The winners were exotic beers my dad would scarcely recognize: a Black IPA brewed with dark …

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Casa Silva Carmenère

So it should come as no surprise that while every wine writer in the Northern Hemisphere is talking about the latest, greatest summer wine ever, I’m talking about mondo-big wines full of bold flavors.

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Sulfites In Wine

For some reason, organic grape growing and winemaking has been confused with the issue of sulfites. Organic wine, depending upon which certifying organization you talk to, suggests the absence pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, chemical fertilizers or synthetic chemicals in the grape growing/winemaking process.

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Beer Pick: Sweetwater Magnum IP Imperial Pilsner

Sweetwater Magnum IP Imperial Pilsner

Sweetwater Brewing Co., Atlanta

$5.99, 22-ounce bottle; also available on draft at select beer bars and restaurants.

Profile: The latest Dank Tank creation, Magnum IP Imperial Pilsner, is another fun experiment from Sweetwater brewers Nick Nock and Mark Medlin. This time the duo takes chances with loads of Cascade and Sterling hops packed into a hefty 9-percent alcohol by volume lager. But beyond its high gravity and bracing bitterness, Magnum IP is surprisingly crisp and clean, with hints of the soft sulfate notes found in classic German pilsner.

Magnum IP
In typical Sweetwater fashion, the promotional schtick is a take on the “Magnum P.I.” television show of the 1980s, expressed on the label with the Dank Tank freak dressed in Tom Selleck garb. Look for special Magnum package store events on July 17, with a vintage red Ferrari parked at Tower on Piedmont 2 -4 p.m. and  Green’s on Ponce 5 -7 p.m.

Pair with: Match the big, crisp flavors of Magnum …

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Beer Town: Beer in cans — an unlikely craft brew success story

Canned beer might have celebrated its 75th anniversary earlier this year, but its outlook is young and adventurous not old and grumpy.

The iconic American product has undergone a series of changes since it first appeared in 1935, not long after the end of Prohibition.

Physically, cans that required an opener gave way to pull tabs in the 1960s and stay tabs in the 1970s. Along the way, can linings were steadily improved to remove the tinny taste and lock in freshness and flavor.

Culturally, what was once a working-class symbol of Joe Six-Pack became a hip sign for middle-class youth, as Pabst Blue Ribbon and Miller High Life tall boys were turned into a retro accessory.
beer_custom
More recently, cans have created a revolution in the craft brewing business — something that seemed crazy in 2002, when Oskar Blues Brewery in Lyons, Colo., released Dale’s Pale Ale.

At first, Oskar Blues founder and owner Dale Katechis claimed putting his hoppy namesake beer in aluminum was a joke. Now the …

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Dry Creek Valley Chenin Blanc

Dear Chenin Blanc,

Poor chenin blanc. Poor, poor, misunderstood chenin blanc. After poor, poor, misunderstood riesling, you, my friend, may be the most underappreciated grape in the wine world.

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