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Archive for September, 2013

Beer Town: “Atlanta Beer” a heady history of local brewing

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Ron Smith and Mary O. Boyle at Five Seasons

Did you know that in 1885, Atlanta had 118 saloons in the city doing $2 million of business annually?

In their book, “Atlanta Beer: A Heady History of Brewing in the Hub of the South” (American Palate, $19.99), Ron Smith and Mary O. Boyle delve into a colorful past that begins in frontier times and extends to the stories of early taverns and saloons, religious zeal, prohibition and the roots of the current craft beer boom.

There are tales of places such as Whitehall Tavern, which existed before the city of Atlanta, and people such as Mayor Moses W. Formwalt, a member of the Free and Rowdy political party, who opened the first recorded Atlanta saloon.

Early pre-Prohibition breweries include the Fulton Brewery, which produced lager and ale for the Fulton Brewery Saloon; the Atlanta Steam Brewery, which may have been named for both the method of cooling and the style of beer it produced; and the Georgia Spring Brewery, famous for …

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Kulers Uncorked: Stonestreet Winery

  • Gil Kulers, CWE

    Gil Kulers, CWE

    2010 Stonestreet, Monument Ridge, Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley, Calif.

    2010 Stonestreet, Monument Ridge, Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley, Calif.

    $48

  • Two Thumbs Way Up
  • Abundant, rich aromas of blackberry, fresh ground coffee, dark chocolate and a hint of smoke and cedar. Bright, tart flavors of dark berries, dark chocolate, mincemeat pie and fine, well-integrated tannins.

Some time ago, I saw a report on the surge in popularity of craft beer and how large breweries have been slow to react to this segment of the market, which is experiencing double-digit annual growth. Of course, if you have the funds, you can buy your way of any hole. In 2011, for example, Anheuser-Busch bought Goose Island Brewery, a well-regarded craft brewery in Illinois.

The underlying questions of the piece were: Can Goose Island maintain its standards and is it truly a craft brewery when it’s owned by a beer-making behemoth?

Americans love the scrappy, little guy who sends the long-time champ reeling. Nobody roots for Goliath when David lets fly his …

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Beer Town: Craft beer gets a close-up in ‘Drinking Buddies’

“Kate and Luke work together at a craft brewery.” So begins the synopsis of “Drinking Buddies,” a new movie starring Olivia Wilde, Jake Johnson, Anna Kendrick and Ron Livingston that features scenes shot on location at Revolution Brewery in Chicago.

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Magnolia Pictures – Kate (Olivia Wilde) and Luke (Jake Johnson) are 'Drinking Buddies' and sleeping buddies.

Whatever you think of this hip romantic comedy directed by small-budget “mumblecore” main man Joe Swanberg, it feels like a major score for craft beer.

A Time magazine Money & Business story suggested that “Drinking Buddies” could “go down in cinematic history as the ‘Sideways’ of the Chicago craft beer scene.” And in interviews, Swanberg, who’s a home brewer and a beer geek, has talked about the connections between indie filmmaking and craft brewing.

Instead of out-and-out product placement, Swanberg begged area breweries for samples and swag to feature in the film. Besides beer from Revolution, …

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Kulers Uncorked: Anne Amie Dry Riesling

Gil Kulers, CWE

Gil Kulers, CWE

2012 Anne Amie Estate Dry Riesling, Yamhill-Carlton, Oregon

2012 Anne Amie Estate Dry Riesling, Yamhill-Carlton, Oregon

  • $23
  • Two Thumbs Way Up
  • Aromas of jasmine, yellow peach, mint and apricot. Juicy, tart flavors of peach, apricot, tangerine and lime zest with a spicy, long finish that makes your mouth water.

As any wine geek worth his or her tastevin knows, riesling is one of the world’s most food-friendly wines and is the wine kingdom’s equivalent of a shapeshifter. Riesling comes in, but is not limited to, the following styles: bone dry, decadently sweet late-harvest, decadently sweet ice wine, beguilingly complex off-dry, sparkling … You get the picture.

And us wine geeks have forever been trying to charm the collective palates of the wine drinking public, enticing them to experience the beauty of riesling. (This is the third column I’ve written about riesling this year.)

I’m sensing, however, an attitude change in the wine industry’s push to get consumers on board. The riesling industrial complex is …

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