City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

Archive for November, 2013

Kulers Uncorked: Thanksgiving Edition

Gil Kulers, CWE

Gil Kulers, CWE

As the tryptophan courses through your veins this Thursday afternoon and you’re lying on the couch wondering why the Dallas Cowboys decided to go for it on fourth and two— when their running game clearly has been faltering—I promise this thought will not cross your mind: “Boy, that gewürztraminer really paired nicely with the cranberry sauce!”

Whether or not the hard-to-pronounce grape variety worked with dinner misses the point of Thanksgiving. Much is made of the food and drink on this holiday that truly revolves around The Big Meal. But as I’ve said before, the focus of the feast is the people sitting around the table, not what’s on it.

And, as I’ve also said before, trying to find the perfect wine for the train wreck of flavor combinations in a typical Thanksgiving spread is a fool’s game.

Nevertheless, you will be standing in your local wine shop dumfounded (can’t blame the tryptophan coma yet) by the hundreds of choices. So here are some thoughts on a …

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Beer Town: Beer and food pairing revisited

craftbeercookbookWhile I’m sure some people still think beer and food pairing means a six-pack of Budweiser and a Domino’s Pizza, the notion that beer has a place at the table at the best restaurants is pretty much a given nowadays.

Writing the First Look feature for the AJC, I visit a new restaurant every week, 52 weeks a year. So far in 2013, there were very few that didn’t have at least a couple of craft beers in the bottle or on draft. And many boasted thoughtful or even outstanding beer lists, with a range of styles and flavors to match everything from appetizers to desserts.

To me, that means chefs and beverage directors are getting it. Though, sadly, that doesn’t always translate to servers, many of whom would be hard pressed to accurately describe a beer, let alone suggest how to pair it with a particular dish.

I thought about all that recently while talking with John Holl, a beer writer and editor of All About Beer magazine. Holl is the author of “The American Craft Beer Cookbook”

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Kulers Uncorked: Wine Apps

Gil Kulers, CWE

Gil Kulers, CWE

The Vivino app scans a wine's label and instantly lists everything from nearby retailer to ratings from consumers and publications.

The Vivino app scans a wine's label and instantly lists everything from nearby retailers to ratings from consumers and wine publications.

One of the earliest wine gadgets (and I understand it is still available in specialty shops) was actually two devices that worked in combination. They are called “Pen” and “Paper 1.0.” They are very reliable, require no charging, but provide no backup systems.

In the Paleolithic Age of wine appreciation, let’s say the 1990s, I filled hundreds of notebooks with tasting notes. Twice in the past 10 years, I’ve bravely accessed the dozen or so shoe boxes I’ve accumulated. Both times it was for a friend who required information from an ancient tasting I attended.

It’s not that I don’t want to revisit wines I’ve tried. It is just a challenge. The information in those notebooks remains sound and valuable. I just find accessing the information difficult and cataloging a pain.

Modern times have helped greatly in our ability to easily …

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Beer Town: Anchor brewmaster Mark Carpenter craft beer pioneer


Anchor Brewmaster Mark Carpenter

For anyone interested in the history of American craft beer, Mark Carpenter, brewmaster at San Francisco’s  Anchor Brewing Co., is one the primary sources — because he was there, almost from the beginning, over 40 years ago.

When legendary Anchor owner Fritz Maytag hired Carpenter in 1971, there were only five employees at what’s now widely considered America’s first craft brewery. And they were making just one beer, Anchor Steam.

But other iconic styles followed, including Porter, Liberty Ale, Old Foghorn, and years of Christmas Ale iterations. And after Maytag sold Anchor to a pair of Bay Area entrepreneurs in 2010, Carpenter stayed on to help preserve and expand the brand.

Carpenter was in Atlanta, recently, working with accounts and appearing at some Beer Week events. I caught up with him at Cypress Street Pint & Plate, where we sat down with pints of Anchor California Lager, and I asked him about all the changes he’s seen over the …

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