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Archive for July, 2011

Wine Heads To The Amphitheater

By Gil Kulers, CWE, Kulers Uncorked

By Gil Kulers, CWE, Kulers Uncorked

I know it sounds implausible, but us wine folks could learn a thing or two from our beer-imbibing brothers and sisters, especially during the summer months.

This revelation came to me at a recent show at the Chastain Amphitheater (Boz Scaggs and Michael McDonald, two thumbs way up!). As I scanned the fold-up tables bestrewn with cheeses, salads and various forms of finger foods, I noticed something curious. There were many bottles of wine (mostly red, but quite a number of white) standing proudly on those tables.

Normally, the sight of so many people simply enjoying wine and sharing so freely puts smile on my face (a special shout out to Steve from Tallahassee, Fla., for a generous pour of his 2009 Bordeaux). But here’s the thing: while always appreciated for the gesture, 90-degree red wine is icky…and tepid white or pink wines ain’t much better.

Now, beer folk would never be caught without a trusty ice chest or some kind of hand-held …

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Beer Pick: Moa St Josephs Ale

Moa St Josephs Ale

Moa Brewery, Marlborough, New Zealand

$10.99/750 ml bottle; $6.99 375 ml bottle at metro beverage stores

MOA

MOA

Profile: Moa Brewery, located in the heart New Zealand’s wine country, produces a wide variety of styles, from pilsner, dark lager and wheat beer to pale ale and winter ale. St Josephs Ale is brewed and bottle conditioned in the style of a classic Belgian abbey tripel, with Belgian ale yeast and candy sugar. At 9.5 percent alcohol by volume, it’s surprisingly smooth, with a voluminous white head, spritzy mouthfeel, fruity, spicy and rummy aromas and flavors and a nice touch of hop bitterness.

Pair with: Moa recommends pairing St Josephs Ale with pork dishes or an antipasto platter. It would also be a fine match for sausages, schnitzel or salmon.

Bob Townsend is editor of Southern Brew News, a bimonthly beer publication distributed throughout the Southeast: brewingnews.com/southernbrew

— Bob Townsend, AJC Drink blog

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Domaine Houchart Rose

At its heart, a dry pink wine should be simple, carefree and inexpensive. As I looked down the long line of pink bottles, I also noticed that darn near all of them have corks. With the prevalence and general world-wide acceptance of screwtops, a dry pink wine without a screwtop violates the simplicity guideline mentioned earlier in this paragraph.

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Beer Town: Homebrewers and craft brewers

Homebrewers have always been a driving force behind the American craft beer movement.

What’s more, as a group involved in so many important judging events and competitions, they continue to push commercial breweries to offer new and exciting beer styles attuned to their adventurous tastes.

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Boston Beer Co.

I was reminded of that last month in Boston, where I helped choose the finalists for the 2011 Samuel Adams Longshot Homebrew Contest. The judging panel included beer writers from around the country, including All About Beer editor Julie Johnson and Celebrator Beer News editor Tom Dalldorf.

Boston Beer Co. founder Jim Koch led the blind tasting of beers from nine semifinalist homebrewers. We all got into some good-natured debates and eventually narrowed down the final four, who will fly to Denver in September for the Great American Beer Festival, where the two top winners will be announced.

The beers and finalists were: Munich Dunkel by Corey Martin of Round Rock, Tex.; …

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Chocolate Wine

In moderation, [wine makes] life bearable and improves our mood, if not our general well-being. I asked one of those self-conscious women what she liked about her chocolate wine and I will give her the last word on the matter.
“Gil, when I get home at 8 o’clock some nights, I just want to kick off these [darn] heels and have a glass of something to keep me from going crazy. I love this stuff; it makes me happy.”

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Beer Pick: Sweetwater Browneyed Buckeye

Sweetwater Browneyed Buckeye

Sweetwater Brewing Co., Atlanta

Limited edition, on draft at select metro beer bars

Credit: Sweetwater Brewing Co.

Credit: Sweetwater Brewing Co.

Profile: The Sweetwater Dank Tank series of one-off beers are designed to be available for a limited time. But the newest, Browneyed Buckeye Brown Double India Pale Ale, is even more rare than usual, and can only be found on draft at select beer bars, such as metro Taco Mac locations.

Created by brewers Mark Medlin and Nick Nock, the 8.5 percent-alcohol-by-volume mash-up of brown and IPA styles is loaded with Columbus hops, which not only impart a pungent floral and citrus punch, but inspired the name. Munich and Midnight Wheat malts provide the dark brown color and smooth roasted character, with mild coffee and chocolate notes.

Pair with: Try Browneyed Buckeye with bar food favorites such as cheeseburgers, burritos, nachos or fish and chips.

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

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Beer Town: Sweetwater growing, again

Sweetwater is growing, again

But this time, the company that’s become synonymous with Atlanta craft beer has embarked on an ambitious expansion project that will create the capacity to compete with some of the country’s biggest breweries.

Sweetwater now ranks No. 27 among the top 50 U.S. craft brewing companies and No. 38 overall (Anheuser-Busch InBev is No. 1).

SweetwaterRecently, Sweetwater brewmaster Mark Medlin oversaw the installation of a centrifugal separator — a half-million-dollar piece of equipment that will help speed the process of getting beer from the fermentation tanks to the bottling line and make production a bit less hectic during the coming months of construction.

At the brewery one recent afternoon, Medlin and Sweetwater “Minister of Propaganda” Steve Farace led visitors on a tour of the planned expansion, illustrated with an architect’s drawing and buoyed by samples of the latest Dank Tank creation, Browneyed Buckeye Brown India Pale Ale.

“We were behind on this …

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Buried Cane No Oak Chardonnay

“Love your column, Gil. But do you have to be so mean to chardonnay drinkers? I love any wine, just as long as it is chardonnay!” said Diane from Stone Mountain.

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Beer Pick: The Best of Beer Camp variety pack

The Best of Beer Camp variety pack

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Chico, Calif.

$18.99/ 12-pack at metro beverage stores

Sierra Nevada

Sierra Nevada

Profile: Sierra Nevada’s Beer Camp is the ultimate beer geek fantasy. Lucky contest winners and beer industry insiders travel to Chico to tour the brewery, learn more about the brewing process, and ultimately formulate a recipe to make their own one-of-a-kind beer.

The new Best of Beer Camp variety pack includes four different camper creations — Juniper Black, Weizenbock, Double IPA and California Common. Each is an appealing take on a particular style. But I’m sort of partial to the California Common, a malty/hoppy version of the lager/ale hybrid style best known as steam beer (like Anchor Steam). What’s more, Dave Blanchard, co-owner of Brick Store Pub in Decatur, was one of the happy campers responsible for this brew, and you can find it on draft at the Brick Store for a limited time.

Pair with: The four beers in this variety pack have four …

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Summer Wines

You must travel to the other side of the white wine universe to gain an appreciation of the varieties beyond Planet Chardonnay.

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