Lower-Alcohol Varieties Pump Volume by Allowing Beer Fans to Have More Brew
(Advertising Age) Redhook was not the first craft brewer in America, but it was certainly among the pioneers when it poured its first brew in Seattle in 1982, a spicy Belgian ale. And in the nearly 30 years since then, it and other craft brewers went on to find great success with fuller-bodied, more complex beers than your average Bud or Miller Lite.
Today Redhook is on the leading edge of what looks to be another trend, adding a pilsner beer to its full-time portfolio -- a style more known for its refreshment than its punch. "It's the kind of beer that you can sit back with and have friends over for a barbecue," said Brand Manager Robert Rentsch. It also has just 5.3% alcohol by volume compared with the 5.8% of its flagship amber ale. You can "have four or five of these … and get a lot of enjoyment out of the beer and not be overstuffed," he said.
(NYT) Like soaring architecture, wily crooks and hard-hitting sports, a good beer is something Chicagoans love. Ray Daniels has gone one further: He wants to know exactly what makes a good beer good and use that knowledge to improve the beer-drinking experience.
Mr. Daniels, 53, is on a quest to set up universal standards with the goal of instilling a greater respect for the taste and dining possibilities of beer. His effort has earned raves from brewers, critics and chefs.
“Trying to set some standards for beer sommeliers is a wonderful thing for enhancing the reputation of beer in fine dining and in America in general,” Karen Page, the James Beard Award-winning co-author of “What to Drink With What You Eat,” said of Mr. Daniels’s work. “Beer’s definitely being taken more seriously.”
Since falling in love with craft beers in the 1980s, Mr. Daniels has studied beer-making at the century-old Siebel Institute of Technology in Chicago; worked as an editor for the Brewers Association, the country’s largest beer trade group; and wrote several books on brewing, including the highly regarded “Designing Great Beers” (Brewers Publications, 2000). Read more...
Santa Ynez Valley Journal - Many people think of wine enthusiasts as snobs, bores or even boors.
None of these appellations describe radio personality Tom Leykis, who for the past six years has hosted a wine connoisseur show designed to inform and enlighten listeners through stories told by winemakers themselves.
Leykis is best known for his recently cancelled nationally syndicated general talk show, where from the bully pulpit he aired eyebrow-raising opinions on dating, religion, politics and other topics. That show ended last year when the station switched its format to Top 40 music.
Although Leykis’s former audience consisted of highly educated people, many fans were surprised to learn that the shock-jock spent his off-hours drinking and waxing effusive on Bordeaux and California Cabernet, and listening to Dexter Gordon and Lyle Lovett at his home in Northern Santa Barbara County.
The pop of the cork as a Champagne bottle opens is the hallmark of most celebrations. But it's also the most telling sign of an amateur at work.
Not only can a flying stopper do serious injury to a partygoer – it does happen – but when done correctly, the noise level should actually be at a "bare whisper," according to Sebastian Allano, head sommelier of the three-star Michelin restaurant Caprice in Hong Kong.
He teaches us how to silence our sparkling bottles.
Chill it well. The warmer the Champagne, the higher the chance it'll bubble over when opened.
Cut the foil. Instead of ripping it open, use the blade of your wine opener to score around the top of the rim by turning your hand—not the bottle.
While beer pairing has been a regular thing at beer temples like Hop Leaf in Chicago, and Monk's Kettle in San Francisco, it's recently gone upmarket-gourmet with the help of cicerones, certified beer sommeliers, that now number 152 nationwide.
They help restaurant chefs match beers with everything from appetizers to desserts. The proof is at DBGB, chef Daniel Boulud's latest New York restaurant, which has a beer list that is more extensive than most restaurants' wine selections.
Here's a sampling of some of the most unusual brews that double as dining companions.
Châteauneuf-du-Pape (red) is one of the hottest wines in the world right now, thanks to a string of great vintages and high scores from critics. And yet all the winemaking superstars, the sought-after names, are valued most for their reds though they also make some great whites at the very same domaines.
There are many possible explanations for why one wine has achieved stardom, the other indifference. For starters, there's simply a lot less white Châteauneuf-du-Pape than there is red. Red wine accounts for about 95% of the wines in the Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation. Another reason may be the grapes.
On Oct. 29, Château Lafite Rothschild plans to auction nearly 2,000 bottles in Hong Kong, selling back vintages of its treasured bottles direct to eager buyers in Asia.
That's a sizable sale, but what makes it especially significant is that the wine is sourced direct from Lafite's private cellar, as the prized Bordeaux winemaker makes a bold move to cement its place as Asia's unofficial favorite vineyard.
An antiquated French system means top châteaux in Bordeaux typically don't sell directly to individual buyers, but instead allocate to middlemen, known as négociants, who in turn sell to merchants around the world.
Back in the 13th century, Malbec was the toast of the town. It was the grape variety of choice for royal households, Papal courts and the landed classes who enjoyed quenching their thirst on the "black" wine. The grape was planted widely in French wine regions such as the Loire Valley, where it was known as Côt, and in Bordeaux, before eventually finding its home in Cahors, in southwest France.
But over time its popularity waned, eclipsed by varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. By 1956, when Bordeaux was particularly hard-hit by frosts, it was virtually forgotten, consigned by some as a poor-quality blending partner. In Cahors, however, it produced a deep, tannic purple-black wine that can be unapproachable in youth, but with time produces wines deep with flavors such as black cherry and ripe fruit. It was through producers such as Château du Cédre in Cahors that I was first introduced to its charms. Paired with the local food, duck breast or foie gras and a large slice of bread, it makes for a wonderful winter glass of wine.
Time - One of the most contentious issues in the vast literature about alcohol consumption has been the consistent finding that those who don't drink tend to die sooner than those who do. The standard Alcoholics Anonymous explanation for this finding is that many of those who show up as abstainers in such research are actually former hard-core drunks who had already incurred health problems associated with drinking.
But a new paper in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research suggests that — for reasons that aren't entirely clear — abstaining from alcohol does tend to increase one's risk of dying, even when you exclude former problem drinkers. The most shocking part? Abstainers' mortality rates are higher than those of heavy drinkers.
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT - Grapegrowers just can't catch a break this harvest season.
First the damp, cool summer led to destructive mold and mildew in vineyards.
Now the sudden, scorching heat of the last two days has sun blasted their grapes, leaving some vineyards with extensive crop loss.
“We have a few blocks that suffered up to 35 percent sun damage,” said Steve Hill, general manager of Durell Vineyard in Sonoma. “That fruit is ruined. It will turn into raisins.”
The amount of damage varies from vineyard to vineyard.