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Archive for November, 2012

Beer Town: Beers for the holiday feast

Like many Americans, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. And like most serious beer lovers, I’ve spent some time thinking about what styles go best with the Turkey Day feast.

Avant Garde Ale

Avant Garde Ale

I’m something of a traditionalist when it comes to holiday food and drink. On Thanksgiving, I think the house should be filled with the aroma of herb-roasted turkey.

To go with the bird and fixings, I like French-style biere de garde, Belgian-style saison or dubbel, or German-style dunkel or amber lager. Each style is distinctive on its own but versatile enough to pair with the crazy quilt of dishes on the Thanksgiving table.

Best of all, you can find fresh American craft beer takes on all of those styles, now. Look for the likes of Lost Abbey Avant Garde Ale, Ommegang Hennepin, Boulevard Nommo and Brooklyn Lager, and do some mixing and matching to find your favorite pairings.

Because the holidays coincide with colder weather and the release of stronger, darker seasonal styles, it …

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Kulers Uncorked: Cartecay Vineyards Merlot

Gil Kulers, CWE

Gil Kulers, CWE

2010 Cartecay Vineyards Merlot, Georgia

2010 Cartecay Vineyards Merlot, Georgia Cartecay wines can be purchased at the winery and retail locations in North Georgia. Call Cartecay at (706) 698-9463 (WINE) to have wine shipped. Lykins ships to six states in the South and Midwest, including Georgia.

  • $23
  • Two Thumbs Up
  • Bright aromas of blackberry, plum, pumpkin pie spices and saddle leather. Nicely acidic with flavors of dark fruit and blueberry with a spicy note reminiscent of root beer, clove and dark caramel.

The three things in life that puzzle me the most: 1. Why do we park in driveways? 2. Why do we drive on parkways, and 3. Why would anyone want to start a winery in Georgia?

I’ll leave the first two questions for the philosophers and consider the third here. You might think it’s impossible to make quality wine in Georgia. You’d be wrong, especially if you examine the arc of terrain stretching from Chatsworth in the west down to …

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Beer Town: ‘Extreme Beers’ great or gimmick?

Samuel Adams 2012 Utopias

Samuel Adams 2012 Utopias

A couple of recent news stories started me thinking about something I often note but rarely consider a determining factor when choosing a beer: alcohol content.

A story by Devin Leonard in Bloomberg Businessweek, “The Plot to Destroy America’s Beer,” details the profit-making strategies of AB InBev “the dominant beer company in the U.S.” — including reducing the alcohol in its Budweiser and Stella Artois brands in England.

An item published on, “Scottish brewer unveils the world’s strongest beer,” hyped Brewmeister’s Armageddon, “with an alcohol by volume (ABV) of a whopping 65 percent.”

In 2004, Georgia lawmakers passed a bill that increased the maximum alcohol content in beer from 6 percent to 14 percent. That means that while there are many more beers with an ABV equivalent to most wines in the Atlanta market now, so-called “extreme beers,” like Armageddon, aren’t likely to be sold here anytime soon.

One of …

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Kulers Uncorked: Cakebread Cellars Pinot Noir

Gil Kulers, CWE

Gil Kulers, CWE

2010 Cakebread Cellars Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley

2010 Cakebread Cellars Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley

  • $49
  • Two Thumbs Way Up
  • Bright, clean aromas of red and blue fruit with a subtle spicy note. Flavors of just-ripe raspberries, blackberries and blueberries are highlighted with delicate touches of cola nut, mocha and a light smokiness. Quite elegant.

We all know what happens when guys hit middle age: We buy a Porsche, invest heavily in Rogaine and rupture a disk doing something that was foolish when we did it the first time 25 years earlier. But what happens to a winery at middle age?

If you’re Cakebread Cellars, which celebrates its 40th birthday next year, you dive into new projects with the gusto of a wide-eyed, newbie winemaker (only this time you have firm financial backing, a well-regarded brand and decades of experience to avoid the winemaking equivalent of a ruptured disk).

“Bruce and I said we didn’t want to stick to just these three wines for the rest of our lives,” said Dennis Cakebread, son …

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