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Archive for March, 2013

Beer Town: Winter to Spring seasonals

After a cold, wet, sometimes weird winter, spring arrived this month with sparkles of sunlight and bursts of blooms. Suddenly, it looked like March might go out like a lamb. Then the cold came again, with some snow flurries trailing behind…

Mosaic-Square-WebWhatever the weather, early spring is a time to enjoy the overlapping of darker and lighter seasonal beers. What was once a traditional time of maibock drinking has become a craft beer celebration of anything goes. That means there’s always something crisp and refreshing to sip perched at a beer garden on a clear afternoon or something hearty and boozy to savor huddled by a fire pit on a brisk night.

Here’s an early spring beer almanac to forecast your seasonal drinking schedule:

Boulevard Grainsorm Black Rye IPA — Though it’s dark in color from roasted wheat malt, this IPA with 7.7 percent alcohol by volume, or abv, is all about the rye, which shines through in all its spicy glory. Simcoe, Bravo, Amarillo and Citra hops impart plenty of …

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Kulers Uncorked: Glassware

Gil Kulers, CWE

Gil Kulers, CWE

2004 Campo Viejo, Gran Reserva, Rioja, Spain

2004 Campo Viejo, Gran Reserva, Rioja, Spain

  • $20
  • Two Thumbs Up
  • Engaging aromas of earth, anise-laced biscotti and perfume-like black cherry. Juicy flavors of tart black cherry, espresso, toasted almonds and a subtle pine forest note.

Confession time: It absolutely galls me when I’m wrong. And I’m not saying I’m never wrong, but my paradigm prefers to remain firmly where I’ve planted it. This rather pigheaded way of thinking was never more on display than the day I hesitatingly, grudgingly and uncheerfully agreed that glassware makes a difference in how we enjoy our wine.

I have always adhered to the idea that the people outside a wine glass are far more important than any liquid inside. Given the choice, I’d take a non-descript white Bordeaux in a Dixie cup with friends every time over a 1947 Cheval Blanc in fine crystal with a bunch of fools. I still feel that way.

But whining about glasses sounds so pretentious that I’m reluctant to lend any credibility to …

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Growlers again, and again, amen

Anyone who’s read this column knows I’m not the biggest fan of the proliferation of growler stations. In fact, I’ve called Georgia a Growler Bizzaro World.

growlerThat’s not to say I’ve ever refused anyone who comes to a gathering, slaps a fresh-from-the-tap jug of beer on the counter and says have at it. And for the record, I’m not opposed to anyone making a living selling growlers.

It’s just that I’ve always thought of growlers as something you grab as a sample or souvenir while you’re visiting a brewery or brewpub somewhere. Right now, I think I still have an empty “vacation growler” from Pisgah Brewing Co. in Black Mountain, N.C. that was once filled with Vortex II stout. A very nice beer. But I don’t know when I might get back there for a refill.

The point is, in North Carolina, like some 40 other states, growler sales have been historically connected to local businesses that brew beer.

In Georgia, and especially metro Atlanta, growler stores are a very different thing, no more …

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Kulers Uncorked: Disciples of Bordeaux

Gil Kulers, CWE

Gil Kulers, CWE

2009 Château Sérilhan, St. Estèphe, Bordeaux

2009 Château Sérilhan, St. Estèphe, Bordeaux

  • $25
  • Two Thumbs Way Up
  • Intense aromas of dark berry fruit with notes of roasted coffee, smoky dry earth and violets. This chewy, chunky wine offers flavors of dark berries and plum with notes of toffee, cola nut, mint and cloves. It will develop over the next three to six years.

If you describe the 2009 Bordeaux vintage as “da bomb!” (which it is, by the way), then you are probably older and less hip than you’d like to admit.

If you were to say the 2009s were “fly” (which my 12-year-old daughter, Erika, assures me is the current slang for “great”), there are some Bordeaux producers and enthusiasts who would like a moment of your time.

The grand and ancient wine-producing region of Bordeaux, France, is at a bit of a crossroads. Long considered the “it” red of the wine world, if you wanted to demonstrate your wine’s quality then you measured it against a fine Bordeaux. (Think the movie “Bottle Shock.”)

These days, …

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