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Archive for September, 2010

Moobuzz Pinot Noir

I recently tasted the latest release of Moobuzz Pinot Noir; I loved it! If not for the rich, black cherry flavors, then for its down-to-earth, anything-but-snooty personality.

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Beer Town: Atlanta’s Richard Roper LongShot Winner

In 1984, Jim Koch, the founder of the Boston Beer Co., brewed the first batch of Samuel Adams Boston Lager in his kitchen. The rest, as the cliche goes, is history.

Sam Adams is among the most successful craft breweries in the world and Koch is recognized as the man on the TV commercials.

But Koch never forgot his homebrew roots.

For the past 10 years, Boston Beer Co. has sponsored the LongShot Homebrew Contest, giving homebrewers from around the country the chance to have their recipes brewed and bottled as a limited edition Samuel Adams LongShot beer.

samuel-adams-longshot

This year, Atlanta’s Richard Roper was one of the two winners. His Friar Hop Ale is a hybrid of familiar styles, combining the hoppy essence of an American IPA with the spicy, fruity flavor of a Belgian ale.

Roper received the LongShot award from Koch earlier this month during the annual Great American Beer Festival in Denver, where he served samples of Friar Hop at the Boston Beer Co. booth during two of the tasting …

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Ruffino Orvieto

Gil Kulers

Gil Kulers

2005 Ruffino, Classico, Orvieto, Italy

2005 Ruffino, Classico, Orvieto, Italy

• $7

• Two Thumbs Up

• Lots of aromas of fresh flowers with a touch of honey and tangerine. A bit fuller than a pinot grigio, it offers lots of remarkably fresh citrus flavors with more than a spoonful of pears and green apples. Look for the current 2009 or the 2008 vintages.

For the longest time, I’ve been dithering about branching out and trying different wines that may be off your radar. Why? For a couple reasons, 1.) it can be deliciously exciting to try new stuff, and 2.) to save a buck or two, too.

Recently, I pulled a bottle I’ve been meaning to drink for an age: the Ruffino Orvieto from Italy. I was hopeful that it was good or at least not too offensive (my dividing line between drink or not drink). Surprise! It was neither. It was great. Eleanore, my wife and part-time wine evaluator, enjoyed every last drop (in fact, we wished we had a few drops more).

What’s an Orvieto?

Orvieto is a town and …

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Beer Pick: Sweetwater Crank Tank Rye’d Ale

Beer Pick: Sweetwater Crank Tank Rye’d Ale
Sweetwater Brewing Co., Atlanta
$3.99/22-ounce bottle at metro beverage stores; also on draft at select beer bars.

CrankTank

Profile: There’s a lot to like about Sweetwater’s new Crank Tank Rye’d Ale. Not only is it a really good beer, it was created for a really good cause — the annual charity bike ride for Camp Twin Lakes, a nonprofit oasis of fun and caring for kids with illnesses and disabilities.

Brewed with 25 percent rye malt, including caramelized rye, flaked rye and Munich rye, and dry-hopped with Mount Hood and Centennial hops, Rye’d has spicy citrus aromas and flavors, with bready and caramel notes. The name is a play on Sweetwater’s Dank Tank series of one-off experiments. But look for Rye’d to make an annual return this time of year to benefit Camp Twin Lakes.

Pair with: Rye’d would make a great pairing for corned beef on rye or a Reuben or patty melt. Try it with pizza or Whole Foods SweetWater 420 spent grain bread and some …

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Niner Wine Estate Sangiovese

To say it is a delicious interpretation of sangiovese is not exactly correct either. With a powerful 5 percent dollop of cabernet sauvignon, it is more like a scrumptious version of a Super Tuscan.

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Beer Town: Oktoberfest and pumpkin beers say fall

Sept. 23 may be the first day of autumn, but craft breweries have been shipping Oktoberfest lagers, pumpkin ales, and other popular beers of the season for more than a month. As usual, the demand for these malty and spicy beers is high.

paulaner-weisn-bier

Several Atlanta brewpubs, including Five Seasons, Max Lager’s, and Gordon Biersch, make very good draft versions of the German Oktoberfest style. Since the demise of Dogwood Brewing Co., though, no local brewery has bottled an Oktoberfest beer.

Red Brick Brewing Co. changed that with the recent introduction of Red Brick Oktoberfest, available in limited edition seasonal six-packs. The copper-colored lager, made with German bock yeast and Vienna malt, exhibits a sweet aroma and a clean, rich flavor, with a moderately dry finish.

Other perennial Oktoberfest favorites to look for in bottles and on draft include offerings from Ayinger, Bell’s, Brooklyn, Harpoon, Samuel Adams, Victory and Weyerbacher.

New to the U.S. this year, Paulaner’s …

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Fall Into Fun Times in North Georgia Wine Country

It is hard to get one’s mind around the idea that more and better wines are being produced north of I-285, but it’s true.

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Beer Pick: Great Divide Rumble Oak-Aged IPA

Great Divide Rumble Oak-Aged IPA

Great Divide Brewing Co., Denver

$9.99-$10.99/six-pack at metro beverage stores; also on draft at select beer bars.

Great-Divide-RUMBLE
Profile: Rumble is one of the new seasonal offerings from Denver’s Great Divide. The brewery is known for well-balanced beers, and this one is no exception. It’s a malty IPA loaded with citrus and pine aromas and flavors. And it’s aged on French and American oak, which adds vanilla notes, though the wood presence is rather subtle compared with some similar ales. At just over 7 percent alcohol by volume, Rumble should be perfect for sipping as the weather turns cooler.

Pair with: Great Divide recommends pairing Rumble with marinated skirt steak, grilled sweet potatoes, ripe brie or Talleggio cheese.

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Apothic Red

Americans being Americans, we don’t care what grapes they used to blend together, we blend it the way we want. That’s how we roll.

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Beer Town: Pucker up for sour brews

As Michael Pollan points out in “The Botany of Desire,” cultures vary enormously in their affinity for bitter and sour flavors, but a taste for sweet stuff seems near universal.

Most beer is a combination of sweet malt and bitter hop flavors. And while some beer drinkers still gravitate toward one side or the other — becoming self-identified malt lovers or hop heads — enjoying extremely high bitterness levels has become a badge of honor among beer geeks.

Cantillon_RosedeGambrinus
When it comes to sour beer, though, there are far fewer aficionados. That was apparent one evening when John Roberts, the brewer at Atlanta’s Max Lager’s brewpub, treated curious drinkers to a taste of a mystery beer.

It was undeniably acidic, with a notable bit of funk and an intensely tart edge that a few liked and many didn’t.

“It’s a fairly controlled sourness,” Roberts noted. “It’s not medicinal or vinegary and it has some balance of sweetness.”

Flashing a mischievous grin, Roberts revealed that the beer was 16 years …

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