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Archive for January, 2012

Kulers Uncorked: NO Sauvignon Blanc

By Gil Kulers, CWE, Kulers Uncorked

By Gil Kulers, CWE, Kulers Uncorked

NO Vineyards & Winery Sauvignon Blanc, Lake County, Calif.

NO Vineyards & Winery Sauvignon Blanc, Lake County, Calif.

  • $12
  • Two Thumbs Up
  • Pleasant aromas of green apples, pear and lemon curd with a subtle mineral quality. It offers flavors of bright citrus fruit (lemon, mandarin orange) and finishes with a light chalky, smoky note.

Even though they talked about reducing the influence of oak in their chardonnays 10 years ago, American winemakers nevertheless heaped the oak on poor, innocent chardonnay grapes. Who could blame them? The American wine drinking pubic loved the creamy, vanilla, buttery effect imparted by oak in their chardonnays. For the most part, they still enjoy these awkward, out-of-balance, food un-friendly wines.

All this makes the 10th anniversary of NO Vineyards and Winery this year that much more amazing. The brainchild of Atlanta residents Hank and Kathy Bremer, NO Wines make chardonnays and sauvignon blancs without oak (NO ostensibly stands for No Oak). Without the influence of …

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Beer Town: Monks Mead a modern take on an ancient beverage

Essentially fermented honey, mead may be the oldest form of alcohol known to man. For devotees, it evokes images of Vikings and medieval knights, and it is thought to be the inspiration for the word honeymoon.

Though it’s appreciated in brewing circles, and deemed worthy of a separate category in the Beer Judge Certification Program style guidelines, mead remains a mysterious beverage — rarely available in bars and package stores, and barely a blip on the radar of U.S. alcohol consumption.

Monks Mead

Monks Mead

Martin Key and Justin Schoendorf are well aware of that. But for more than a decade, the Atlanta homebrew partners have been perfecting their take on the ancient elixir, while doggedly pursuing their dream of producing a commercial version. Now the product of all that time and effort, Monks Mead, finally can be found on draft at several pubs around town.

Recently, I sat down with Key and Schoendorf at the Porter Beer Bar in Little Five Points, where we sipped slender glasses of …

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Beer Town: Sierra Beer Camp A Brewing Fantasy

The beer geek equivalent of rock ‘n’ roll or baseball fantasy camp, Sierra Nevada Beer Camp offers participants an intensive two-day course in big-time craft brewing.

sierra-nevada-beer-campCampers go behind the scenes at Sierra’s sprawling brewery campus in Chico, Calif., to experience the process — from digging their hands into malt and hops, observing the work in the quality control labs and attending a mini tasting panel. Best of all, they help create a one-of-a-kind experimental beer in the pilot brewery.

Owner Ken Grossman founded Sierra in 1979, and is still involved in every aspect of the operation. His brother, Steve Grossman, also known as the brewery’s “ambassador,” has been the leader of Beer Camp since the beginning, three years ago.

“We were trying to think of a way to get people in to see what we do here,” Steve Grossman said. “Now that we’re getting larger, I think there’s a perception that our goals and values might have changed. Obviously, that could not be further from the truth. …

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