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Archive for June, 2013

Beer Town: A taste of North Carolina-brewed Dale’s Pale Ale

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Oskar Blues came to fame in 2002 as the brewery that kick-started the canned craft beer revolution when founder Dale Katechis launched his iconic Dale’s Pale Ale.

Right now, though, the Lyons, Colo.-based company is busy making sure that consumers around the Southeast know that the Dale’s they’re drinking is being brewed in North Carolina, along with many other beers in the Oskar Blues portfolio.

On New Year’s Eve 2012, Katechis, an Alabama native and Auburn grad, opened a new brewery in Brevard, N.C., south of Asheville. Since then, Dale’s has been flying off the canning line and making it to store shelves in an updated can that includes the words “Mountain Pale Ale” and “Brevard, North Carolina.”

Recently, Oskar Blues Brevard marketing director Anne-Fitten Glenn visited Atlanta with a crew of Southeastern sales reps on a mission to bring more beer to the Peach State.

Glenn, a longtime journalist who grew up in Atlanta and graduated from Georgia, has been living in Asheville …

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Wine Kulers: Bergweiler Riesling

Gil Kulers, CWE

Gil Kulers, CWE

2010 Dr. Pauly Bergweiler, Spätlese, Riesling, Wehlener Sonnenuhr, Germany

2010 Dr. Pauly Bergweiler, Spätlese, Riesling, Wehlener Sonnenuhr, Germany

  • $35
  • Two Thumbs Way Up
  • Engaging aromas of ripe apricot, peach, hazelnut and floral notes. It has generous flavors of tart citrus fruit, lime zest, ripe pear, green apple, a steely acidity and long finish laced with mineral notes.

Back in April, I had the honor of emceeing Taste of Atlanta’s Best Sommelier Contest at Del Frisco’s Grille in Atlanta. The four finalists, Christopher Boyette (Restaurant Eugene), Patrick Guilfoil (Woodfire Grill), Ryan Reardon (Bella Italia) and Brian White (The Ritz Carlton Downtown), competed admirably and brought honor to their respective dining establishments.

And while I’d like to regale White with oodles of kudos for winning, that’s not exactly what I want to talk about this week. As part of the competition, the sommeliers were asked to make pairings for the menu created by Del Frisco’s chef, A.J. Buchanio. One of his courses was a tuna tartar taco with …

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Wine Kulers: Alcohol

Gil Kulers, CWE

Gil Kulers, CWE

2008 Rodney Strong Vineyards, Rockaway, Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley, Calif.

2008 Rodney Strong Vineyards, Rockaway, Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley, Calif.

  • $75
  • Two Thumbs Way Up
  • Complex and ever-changing aromas of raspberries, dark cherries, smoke and black licorice. Intense flavors of dark chocolate, plum, black licorice, black cherry and an interesting toasted almond/graham cracker quality.

How much is too much alcohol? A volatile question in the wine world these days as it is now quite common to see wines in excess of 15 percent alcohol. Before I address this question and (spoiler alert) ultimately don’t answer, let’s consider the four things that CH3CH2OH brings to a wine.

A byproduct of yeast fermentation, ethyl alcohol brings weight or what’s known as body to a wine. There is no easier way to recognize the importance of body than tasting a non-alcoholic wine. Without the alcohol, these wines are more than just thin, they simply lack an innate wine quality that makes them feel somehow wrong in our mouths.

As a taste, we …

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Beer Town: Spritzy Saison for Summer

Terrapin-Maggies-Peach

During an interview a while back, I was asked to name my favorite beer style. No surprise, I answered that it depends on many factors — my mood, the season, what I’m eating. But if someone put a gun to my head, I said, it would be saison.

As Brooklyn Brewery brewmaster Garrett Oliver has declared, “Saison is not just versatile, it’s downright promiscuous.”

The dynamic flavors and aromas range through bitter, bright, tart, fruity, earthy and funky. But saison’s strong, spritzy, champagnelike carbonation from refermentation in the bottle lifts all those complex layers to the realm of utter refreshment. And that’s why it beats out wimpy wheat beer as a sophisticated summer drink, especially alongside food, be it salad, cheese, salmon or steak.

Saison’s roots are in the French-speaking region of Southern Belgium, where traditional rustic farmhouse ales were produced in late winter and early spring to drink during the summer months.

For many years Saison Dupont was one of the few …

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