This past June, the 2010 SIP Awards were held at the exclusive Ivy Rooftop at the Hyatt Andaz Hotel in downtown San Diego, CA. The SIP Awards is unique in that it is the only international spirits competition judged by consumers. Engaging in blind tastings by scoring each spirit by aroma, taste, and finish, the use of consumers as judges levels the playing field between established brands and those new to commercially producing spirits. In total, there were 162 spirits competing for the coveted Platinum Prize awarded to the consumer’s spirit of choice. See the full post »
From the people who brought you such memorable Cognacs like Louis XIII, the always impressive Rémy Martin is at it again, this time with the release of Diamant, their new super-premium Cognac. This Fine Champagne Cognac is crafted from some of the most sought after grapes in the Champagne region and uses traditional distillation methods and long maturation in Limousin oak casks. See the full post »
Photo Credit: Sean Hower
Maui Brewing Company is taking over the Hawaiian islands one barrel of craft beer at a time, and it’s all happening here on the island of Maui. It started when owners Garrett Marrero and wife Melanie added two 47,000 lb grain silos, and two 100 barrel fermenters a few months back. Their vision for the brewery on Maui has always been one of energy efficiency, reuse, recycle and support other local businesses, and by sticking by their vision of these best practices they feel they have been able to grow their brewery to the next level.
“We are in constant evolution in the pursuit of better beer,” Garret says, “and it is not always about the profit. We are working on a better beverage. Sure, it could be cheaper to ship in some of the ingredients, but that is not the point. We will always be brewed in Hawaii, and we will always locally source ingredients for our products.”
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“…to get our erection label approved” says the Naked Winery about their Erection Zinfandel. Following their Penetration Cabernet which probably shocked many with its TTB approval (though it is currently banned in Michigan), Erection Zinfandel was quickly and easily a “no” from the TTB. Now onto their third round for TTB approval, Naked Winery has kept with the same name but has left the back label completely blank. It’s current status is “under review by committee”. You’re probably asking what the back label said, so here it is. See the full post »
Food • Wine
If you live in Santa Rosa, you’ve probably stopped by a time or two. Or, like me, three, a week. Artisanal pizza, in its rising universality and acclaim, attracts a wide bracket of restaurant lovers, as well as us wine weasels. You’ll notice people outside at the patio’d tables, which is a great place to sit; pair fantastic wine and food with the outdoor notes. If you decide on interior seating, you’ll see what I mean by “artisanal atmosphere.” Off to your right, you have the bar, with a couple screens that are almost sure to be tuning into a soccer game.
When you peruse the wine list, you’ll notice that many of the names aren’t your run-of-the-mill producers. Again, artisanal. The appetizers are incredible both in presentation and complexity, especially the Fritto Misto. I paired this with a 2008 Quivira Dry Creek Grenache. What a great starter, and what an incredible wine. More than merely accommodating with options like this, just ask your server. They will point you in a delicious direction. See the full post »
Dogfish Head’s Randall, all grown up.
The average hophead would be quite satisfied to drink the 18% ABV, 120 IBU beer that is Dogfish Head’s 120 Minute IPA. Problem is, the brewery’s founder and president, Sam Calagione, doesn’t brew beers for the average hophead — he brews “off-centered ales for off-centered people.”
Maybe that’s who he was targeting when, at an event called the “Lupulin Slam” in 2002, Sam slapped together a makeshift stainless-steel water filter, filled it to the brim with Cascade and Willamette hops, and then drowned them in 120 Minute IPA. He did so hoping to show that the East Coast could brew IPAs that rivaled those of the West Coast, and it worked; the hop-infused 120 Minute IPA was the beer of the night. Hopheads were taken aback by how fresh and resinous the beer’s hop presence was, even if it did seem like it could strip the enamel off of your teeth. Randall the Enamel Animal was born.
Now, eight years later, Dogfish Head has unveiled a new version of the Randall which features two barrels and is designed to reduce foaming. The new Randall was simultaneously used in eight different tapping events at eight cities across the country last Wednesday, and in true Dogfish Head fashion, each event featured a different beer with different ingredients packed into those filters. You’ve had Dogfish Head’s Palo Santo Marron, but have you had it after it’s been run through coffee beans or freshly-brewed coffee? You’ve had Punkin Ale, Dogfish Head’s fall seasonal, but have you had it infused with cinnamon sticks and fresh-roasted pumpkin seeds? Olde School Barleywine with prunes that have themselves been drenched in 1997 J.W. Lees Vintage Harvest Ale?
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The moment that many beer lovers in the Pacific Northwest have been waiting for is finally here. Drum roll please … The Cascade Brewing Barrel House is officially open!
For those that don’t know Cascade Brewing, you are truly missing out. From the people that brought you great Lactobacillus-fueled beers such a Cascade Apricot, Vlad the Imp Aler, Bourbonic Plague, and Nightfall Blackberry, inside their new Barrel House you will find 18 beers on tap, a dozen of which are dedicated to their award-winning sour beers, with two other taps that will be reserved for sour beers from barrels tapped directly through the cooler wall. I don’t think it gets any cooler than that. The remaining give taps will pour Cascade’s mainstream beers. See the full post »
Starting in the mid-Atlantic on the first day of October, legendary brew-meister Greg Koch and his band of merry men will be taking their world class beers on a 7 day, 7 city tour. This intense display of ultra-rare, limited, special and collaboration releases will set a record of the most simutaneous taps from one brewery at one time, at one location.
The 7 day tour starts in Baltimore, MD (08/01) where Alewife officially has its grand opening celebration. Stone takes over all 40 taps at this brand spanking new craft beer bar unofficially launching Baltimore Beer Week 2010 which starts 6 days later. See the full post »