I like Sierra Nevada in general, I like their IPA, and I really like their pale ale, all that combined with my general love of Amber IPAs (or India Amber Ales) makes me very excited to try Sierra Nevada’s brand new Flipside Red IPA. Read on after the jump for more info and my review! Continue reading
Tag Archives: California
Those of you who know me know that I know my way around booze and I also know my way around steampunks. (If you don’t know what steampunk is, think Jules Vern carried into the 21st century.) So it is fitting that I first discovered The Seeker Wines through the steampunk world. A friend of mine is a representative for Seeker Wines and he also hosts one hell of a room party. But when I got the chance to review Seeker Wines for my podcasts, I was thrilled to try them somewhere other than a party at a steampunk convention. Being constrained by a corset and already drunk are not the ideal conditions for a thoughtful and balanced tasting.
The Seeker Wines is a small, family owned company that seeks to source the best family owned wineries around the world and to bring them to the world with elegant labels and affordable prices. They have also hitched their wagon pretty firmly to the steampunk movement. Each wine has a whimsical flying contraption on the label and a steampunk explorer character who supposedly “discovered” the wine in some far off place. It has been awhile since I studied world explorers in 5th grade and at first I thought these were actual historical figures. Then I noticed that many of them were wearing goggles and one talked about fighting a giant metal octopus on his journey. I realized my mistake quickly at that point.
Seeker Wines currently has three red and two white varieties available and so we did a two-part tasting on the podcasts. The Charlie Tonic Hour Episode 67 features the reds which I am reviewing here, and for the whites you can listen to Bottoms Up Episode 8. So without further ado, here is what I think of each of the wines.
Discovered: In France by Colette Bourgogne
Winemaking: “Cold maceration” “Fermentation in open-top barrels” “Maturation in tank on light lees”
Tasting: “Red fruit and spice” “Balanced acidity and ripe fine tannin” “Food friendly
Just to be honest to my own limitations, I am sadly unsure what many of winemaking phrases mean but I did gather that this is a wine that is not aged in oak and I could tell that right away. The fruit is more forward in this wine and there is a lightness and brightness that you don’t get from oak-aged wine. I found the tannins rather strong and it does have a very long finish. Personally I felt that the sweeter, fruitier notes on the front were a little weak in comparison to the strong finish but it does balance out better after breathing for a bit. Overall this is all an enjoyable wine but not one that I would seek out if it was inconvenient.
Discovered: In Argentina by Esteban Colombo
Winemaking: “Hand picked” “Cold maceration” “Aged in French Oak for six months”
Tasting Notes: “Black cherry and dominate spice” “Smooth and robust with a spicy finish”
Very much spicy and woody nose and a big bold taste. You can pick up on the oak very definitely. Unlike the Pinot Noir, this one did not calm down as much after breathing. This was one of Charlie’s favorites but for me I felt the oak was too dominate. However I could see this one working well with a steak or some strongly seasoned barbecue. On its own it might be too much but when paired with a flavor that can stand up to it I can see it improving.
Discovered: In Chile by Isadora Cortez
Winemaking: “Cold maceration” “3 pumpovers per day” “Aged in 20% new oak, 50% American/French for 5 months” “Reserva-level Cabernet Sauvignon”
Tasting Notes: “Ripe black and blue berries with a touch of vanilla” “Creamy tannins” “Beautiful structure with chocolate and toffee”
This one was the clear taste winner for both Charlie and myself. It helps that Cabernet Sauvignon is my usual go-to variety of red wine but this is a particularly complex yet well-balanced Cabernet Sauvignon. It is one of the few wines that I find the vanilla flavors to be really apparent but at the same time it is not overly sweet. In this wine the oak aging really does add a subtle and lovely hint of chocolate that rides just under the berries and then finishes with an assertive but not intimidating show of spice and tannins. I highly recommend this one.
Discovered: In California by Wolfgang Masterssen
Winemaking: “Ferment 12 days at cool temperatures in stainless steel tanks” “5% Gewürztraminer grapes for floral notes and richness”
Tasting Notes: “Light scents of citrus and floral. Flavors of ripe pineapple, golden apple and Anjou pear are balanced by citrus notes and a smooth, creamy finish.”
I do prefer un-oaked Chardonnays to oaked so this wine started with an advantage for me. The fruit is much heavier than any floral notes for me. Pear, citrus, and pineapple came over much stronger than anything else but it does have a really nice creamy mouthfeel. Good but not mind blowing.
Discovered: In New Zealand by Captain Cornelius Weatherbee
Winemaking: “Cool fermentation is carried out in stainless steel tanks to capture fruit purity. ” “Aged on fine lees two months for added weight and richness.”
Tasting Notes: “Prominent fresh acidity which is balanced by an intense core of fruit where characters of lime and apple come to mind.”
This is one of the more unique Sauvignon Blancs that I’ve ever had, and I’ve had quite a few because it is my mom’s wine of choice. It has a a stronger bouquet than is typical for this wine and a really nicely complex flavor. This is the first Sauvignon Blanc I’ve had that has a mint taste, and it came across very distinctly in addition to lime and apple flavors. Very light and bright, the flavor has an almost sparkly quality to the tongue even though there is no carbonation. And yet there is also an undertone of earthiness. Almost a moss flavor that does balance the spark and spice of mint and citrus. This was my favorite of the whites and one that I will consider ordering for my mom to get her opinion.
If you want to try some of these lovely wines yourself you will have to order them from your local wine shop or online merchant. Or I have a more fun proposal for you. Seeker Wines is the official wine of The Steampunk Empire Symposium here in Cincinnati. At the show parties both nights, The Seeker Wines will be available to try for all party goers. Despite what I said that the beginning of this article, parties at cons might not be the best place for serious tasting, it is officially the most fun way to try a wine.
In honor of my soon to be brother-in-law’s soon to be marriage we headed out to San Diego for the bachelor party! Now my last beercation post about Atlanta really wasn’t a true beercation. It was Christmas vacation in Atlanta where I drank a lot of beer. This time we are going to San Diego solely for awesome breweries, brewpubs, and bars that abound there. Continue reading
Getting back on track with The Winter of my dark-content I built my own 6-pack of stouts & porters at Belmont Party Supply in Dayton. I had Left Hand’s Nitro Milk Stout last night and the mouth feel was insanely awesome, but otherwise not to amazing. It left me a little disappointed with stouts in general. Tonight however that all changes as I compare Sierra Nevada’s Stout to their Narwhal Imperial Stout.
This beer (the second of 2 in the series so far) is a very cool idea that hasn’t gotten much attention lately. Most people drink beer whenever they feel like it, some people keep beer for years letting it age, very few people strive to drink beer as fast as possible to experience an ultra fresh brew. That is Stone’s aim with this beer, and it’s predecessor the Enjoy By 9.21.12. They bottled and shipped this beer as fast as they could and once November 9th has come and gone they are taking back all the bottles and tossing them. This ensures that if this beer is consumed, it’s consumed fresh. The concept doesn’t matter much for many kinds of beers, especially my favorite Belgian ales, but when it comes to IPAs and super hoppy double IPAs the fresher the better. Hops lose their aroma and flavor with every day that goes by so Stone aims to make sure you get all the flavor. Now, don’t worry and think that the next IPA you buy is crap because it’s a few weeks old. A strawberry you buy at Kroger is still tasty, just not as rockin’ as one plucked off the vine.
Whenever I find myself in Indiana I always see what New Belgium beers are available, luckily I again found myself in this situation over the weekend. I had heard about the Super IPA being released but little more than that. When I got to Crown Liquor in downtown Indy I started asking what was new and they busted open a box of this for me. Sadly though if you want this you gotta head across the state line to Indiana, I encourage you all to go do that now!
[Disclosure: I will be attending this dinner, gratis, as a guest of Final Cut. I’ll put up a review of the event soon afterwards, which will also include this note.]
I was invited to what looks to be a delicious dinner at Final Cut Steakhouse, which is located in the Hollywood Casino (Lawrenceburg, IN). A couple of the QCD authors went to a beer dinner hosted at the same venue (which sadly, I couldn’t make, but Tom covered well) and the food looked delicious. Well, it looks like I’ll get to see for myself and will let you know how it goes! If you’re interested in joining me, see the details below.
California Wine Dinner
Goat Cheese Salad
capriole goat cheese, roasted beets, herb crisps, honey-yuzu dressing
MacMurray Pinot Gris
Sauteed dayboat Scallop
shallot compote, country ham, tomato oil
William Hill Napa Chardonnay
Pan Seared Duck Breast
israeli cous cous, smoked apple butter, pomegranite reduction
Bridlewood Syrah Blend
Roasted Tenderloin of Beef
potato puree, hen of the woods, zinfandel reduction
Ghost Pines Cabernet Sauvignon Blend
citrus-graham cracker crust,tangerines, hibiscus sorbet
My last encounter with Green Flash left me less than thrilled by their Tripel, and honestly this is probably not the best for me to follow it up with. It’s another Belgian, but a Belgian Pale Ale infected with brett… So this beer takes a bit of explaining to do.
First off what is a Belgian Pale Ale? Belgian pales first came about after World War 2 to compete with the lighter, less bitter styles from other parts of Europe. For a country most well known for ass kickingly strong tripels and quads the pale is their daily session beer.
Second question is what the heck is brett? Even people who have been into beer for years may not have heard of this. That is because it’s historically viewed as a contaminant and introducing off-flavors. Though it is a common attribute in lambics and saisons, sour beers, which are growing in popularity and are somewhat of a current fad… they are also something I don’t particularly like.
Basically this style is something akin to an “infected” Belgian bud light. Time to find out what exactly this crazy thing is
I had decided to focus on locally available beers but then an awesome new beer buddy decided to rock my world and hook me up with some tasty offerings. Firestone Walker Brewing Company is one of those legendary California breweries, but it’s still kinda climbing the ranks compared to some places like Stone or Russian River. Just looking at Rate Beer there are 22 beers from Firestone with 90+ scores. They won the World Beer Cup for mid-sized brewery in 2004, 2006, and 2010. The Union Jack has won 12 awards since 2008 ranging from bronze to gold from competitions around the world.
Green Flash is rapidly growing as one of my favorite breweries. I only discovered them recently due to a friend and luckily, unlike some other recent breweries I’ve found, Green Flash is widely available in Ohio! In the past I’ve had their Palate Wrecker DIPA (review here) and The Hop Head Red (review here) both of which I loved. I’m now extremely excited to try my favorite beer style from one of my new favorite breweries. On to the beer!