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Archive for September, 2011

Rappers Ruin Moscato

Late harvest and spätelese rieslings from the U.S. and Germany can offer moscato lovers a kiss of comforting sweetness, but will not drown them in a sea of sugar. With the veil of sweetness lowered a bit, newbie wine lovers can begin to see what The Wine Curmudgeon sees: a wine world full of aromas and tastes full of fruit, flowers and spices.

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Beer Town: Growlers keep on growing

For years, beer geeks groused that they couldn’t buy growlers in Georgia. But now, growlers — glass jugs that are filled and refilled with draft beer — could be the biggest Atlanta beer story of 2011.

Early this year, partners Paul Saunders, Denny Young and Sean Galvin opened Georgia’s first growler shop, the Beer Growler in Athens.

Whole Foods Growlers Credit: Bob Townsend

Whole Foods Growlers. Credit: Bob Townsend

In April, Hop City, the Westside beer, wine and homebrew supply store, became the first growler retailer in Atlanta. Since then, growler stations have been bubbling up everywhere, it seems.

Ale Yeah in Decatur launched growlers in late May, and sales have more than exceeded expectations, said owner Eddie Holley.

“It’s increased our overall sales by about 40 percent,” Holley said. “It’s been pretty incredible. On Fridays and Saturdays, we’re selling 275 to 300 growlers over the two days.”

Whole Foods opened a growler station at its Ponce store in July, followed by the Merchant’s Walk …

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Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon

If Rutherford Dust exists, it doesn’t come from the dirt so much as it comes from attention to minute details and unmatched commitment to produce peerless wines.

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Pighin Pinot Grigio

Are all grapes equal? No, but who gets to decide which are royalty and which are rednecks? Here’s a little insight into the word “noble” when it’s paired up with grapes, vines, varieties or wines: The next time you see a wine writer declare something noble, just substitute the words “hoity toity.”

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Beer Town: The mystery and majesty of lager

Lager is probably the most popular alcoholic beverage in the world. But especially in craft beer circles, it doesn’t always get the respect it deserves.

Mass production and mass marketing created light lager — think Bud, Coors or Miller — which is typically brewed to be lower in calories and carbs and has less malt, hops and flavor than the lager styles of the past.

In other words, it’s bland, and pretty much the opposite of the kind of big, hoppy ales most beer geeks crave.

That’s a shame, because real lager really is quite remarkable, with it’s own special majesty.

Classic European and pre-Prohibition American pilsners, dark lagers, and German Oktoberfest and bock beers are all examples of great styles that wouldn’t have been possible before the discovery of lager yeast — an unusual hybrid strain that, unlike ale, bread or wine yeast, performs well at low temperatures and ferments slowly over a long time.

The journey of lager yeast from Patagonia at the southern tip of South America to Europe 500 years ago. Illustration by: Barry Carlsen, UW–Madison

The journey of lager yeast from Patagonia at the …

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