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Aug 25, 2016
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Intelligent Content For The Food Fascinated
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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Drink This Weekend Edition

Drink This Weekend Edition: 3 brews older than the St. Louis World’s Fair

Friday, August 19th, 2016

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The St. Louis World’s Fare kicks off tonight at the World’s Fair Pavilion in Forest Park and lasts through the weekend. While we celebrate the significance of that historic 1904 event, I wanted to pay homage to international brewing tradition. In this day and age experimentation and adjunct-crazy recipe building, it’s good to step back and salute the foundation on which the modern brewing scene was built. These three beers were enjoyed during the 1904 World’s Fair – and decades (or even centuries) before. Raise a glass to history, St. Louis, and nerd out!

 

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1. Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissbier (5.4 percent ABV)
Highlighting Bavaria’s importance to beer culture, Weihenstephan Monastery stands as the oldest brewery in the world, originating in 1040 in Freising, Germany. Its Weiss beer is the granddaddy of all Weiss beers. A heavy wheat malt bill allows for a billowy body and clean canvas for that well-known Hefeweizen yeast expression. Look for intense notes of clove and banana on the aroma, a palate that follows suit with soft spice and banana and a crisp, lightly bitter finish.

2. Original Ritterguts Gose (4.7 percent ABV)
Goses have been incredibly trendy in the American beer scene these past few years, but the style itself isn’t new. Born in 1824, Ritterguts Gose is the oldest currently brewed gose in the world. A wheat beer that boasts lactic tartness, salt and coriander, it’s a refreshing treat and a great introduction to the world of sour beers.

3. Pilsner Urquell (4.4 percent ABV)
This Bohemian delight is the result of a local protest in 1838 in Pilsen, Czech Republic, during which angry beer drinkers dumped 36 barrels of “spoiled” beer in front of the town hall. In an effort to compete with the Bavarian lagers introduced to the area, Pilsner Urquell was born in 1842 – a beautiful, medium-bodied lager with satiating bitterness that pairs well with the delicate bouquet of black pepper and floral notes from the Saaz hops.

 

All beers available at The Wine and Cheese Place

Drink This Weekend Edition: Class of 2011 Collaboration Beers

Thursday, July 28th, 2016

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St. Louis Craft Beer Week kicks off tomorrow, July 29, and there is an abundance of beer-related events around the city that boast what we brew best.

This year’s highlight is the fifth-anniversary celebration of the four breweries that opened in 2011: 4 Hands Brewing Co., The Civil Life Brewing Co., Perennial Artisan Ales and Urban Chestnut Brewing Co. The Class of 2011 has marked the milestone with a major collaboration effort that involved ingredient sharing, recipe building and brew days with representatives from each brewery. The result: a beer from each member of the Class of 2011 that’s slightly outside of its wheelhouse and showcases the diversity of our beer scene.

All four collaboration beers debut tomorrow from 5 to 9 p.m. at the St. Louis Brewers’ Picnic, a free STLCBW kickoff event hosted by Baileys’ Restaurants. You can also join the Class of 2011 Collaboration Tour on Aug. 3 from 5 to 9 p.m. with free shuttle service between the four breweries, and the beers will be on draft in the breweries’ tasting rooms throughout STLCBW.

Ever the diligent drink writer, I ran around the city sampling these beautiful beers and gathering tasting notes for you eager imbibers. Here’s a taste of what’s to come from the Class of 2011:

1. 4 Hands Brewing Co. brewed an incredibly satiating and mildly bitter Pilsner with UCBC’s house lager yeast. Notes of biscuit, grass, lemon and pepper dominate the nose, while soft floral and pepper notes complement bright citrus and soft stone fruit on the palate. You won’t stop at just one.

2. Perennial Artisan Ales brewed a dry-hopped Kölsch with Galaxy hops from 4 Hands and Mandarina Bavaria hops from UCBC. It has massive hop aroma, juicy tropical fruit and grass on the palate with a mild grain presence and medium body. Session IPA drinkers, get ready – this is right up your alley.

3. The Civil Life Brewing Co. made an American IPA complete with a fantastic caramel malt backbone, clean bitterness, strong notes of pineapple and mango on the nose, and juicy tropical flavors paired with bright citrus round out the palate. By far, the most assertively hoppy beer to come out of Civil Life’s brewhouse and so worth the try.

4. Urban Chestnut Brewing Co. brewed an India Brown Ale fermented with house ale yeast from Civil Life, El Dorado and Galaxy hops from 4 Hands and flaked oats and chocolate spelt from Perennial. This medium-full bodied, dark ruby colored brew is full of flavor. Herbal and spicy notes dominate the aroma, while stone fruit, toffee and light nutty notes complement the seemingly bitter palate.

Drink This Weekend Edition: Underrated wines

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

 

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Pick up any wine magazine, and you’re bound to find wines ranked on a 100-point scale. Unfortunately, it’s really hard to get below a certain score, and as with any subjective topic, the numbers are somewhat arbitrary – there is no standardized method for ranking. Some critics describe the process as 10 points for nose, 10 for color, 10 for palate, 10 for finish, 10 for overall impression and the remaining 50 simply for existing.

I find this degrading to vintners and winery teams. Most wines depend on weather, luck, timing, hard work and perseverance. They should be enjoyed as a moment in time, appreciating the product and its complement to your meal or your experience. I love a serious, complex bottle paired with an amazing meal, but I equally love an easy-drinking, quaffable wine on the patio with friends.

I taste quite a bit of wine, and I’m not sure I can tell you if any wine has a score able number for any ‘characteristic.’ Characteristics are subjective; a cloudy wine might upset you, but excite me. I’ve sold 100-point bottles to happy clients, and other underrated bottles that resulted in the same level of enjoyment. The only opinion that matters is the one belonging to the person who paid for it.

When hunting for an underrated bottle, look for wines made in a little known area where real estate is cheaper. It’s hard to find underrated wine from Napa Valley, California, but some Missouri wines or wines from lesser known regions of France’s Loire Valley are well worth the effort to find. Here are two such hidden gems:

1. Claverach Farm Pét-Nat sparkling rosé: Made by Claverach Farm’s Sam Hilmer, this wine is fizzy and wild with a beautiful nose of flowers and bright berries. It is dry and complex on the palate with refreshing bubbles.
$25, available at Starrs

2. Champalou Vouvray chenin blanc: This is a fine example of what the Loire Valley can do. Minerals, dry hay and apricot notes are followed by a hint of floral and matchstick. It is dry, rich and enjoyable on the palate.
$18, The Wine and Cheese Place

Drink This Weekend Edition: 2 picks from Firestone Walker

Friday, June 17th, 2016

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The Side Project Cellar team just returned from Paso Robles, California after attending the fantastic Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest. What a weekend! (A quick humblebrag for our team and the St. Louis beer scene: Side Project Brewing won the People’s Choice Award for best in show!)

California is crawling with amazing beer up and down the coast, but there is something special about Firestone Walker. They excel at nearly everything; great barrel program featuring complex high gravity beers (Look for some fun ones at a Firestone Walker tap takeover at Soha Bar & Grill on Tuesday, June 21 at 6 p.m.) and sours, ridiculous West Coast IPAs, and a pretty rad hoppy Pilsner.

If you have yet to visit California’s Central Coast, I strongly suggest putting that on your to-do list. But in the meantime, go out and find some Firestone Walker canned freshies for your weekend enjoyment.

1. Luponic Distortion No. 001 is Firestone Walker’s revolving IPA series in which they experiment by showcasing different hops. The first in this series is ripe with notes of tropical fruit, West Coast dankness and vibrant citrus, all while boasting a clean and dry finish. Look for No. 002, with it’s a new hop profile, to hit stores early July.

2. Pivo Pilsner is Firestone Walker’s nod to European Pilsner tradition. This dry-hopped beer is beaming with floral notes, a little herbal spiciness and a classic Pilsner malt finish. Clean and refreshing, this beer goes perfectly with just about anything.

 

Katie Herrera is co-founder of Femme Ferment and manager of The Side Project Cellar.

Drink This Weekend Edition: Schlafly 1616 at Shakespeare in the Park

Friday, June 3rd, 2016

 

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If it were up to me, I’d have called it Shakes-beer. But was up to the mindful brewers at Schlafly, who dubbed their Shakespeare Festival St. Louis beer 1616 in honor of the 400th anniversary of The Bard’s death.

You won’t find this Schlafly creation in stores or at bars. Instead, its available on draft at select Shakespeare Festival events like Shakespeare in the Park, which debuts A Midsummer Night’s Dream tonight, June 3, at Shakespeare Glen in Forest Park.

Schlafly set out to create an easy-drinking, 5.5-percent ABV beer perfect for picnicking prior to the show. The crisp, unfiltered lager is brewed with bright Mandarina Bavaria hops. 1616 starts fresh and hoppy, but finishes smooth and malty with just the right amount of citrus complexity. It clocks in at a food-friendly 25 IBU, equally suited to be sipped with fried chicken or a light salad.

 

Drink This Weekend Edition: 4 botanical beers to sip in May

Friday, May 20th, 2016

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Now that we’re spending every available moment outdoors, reach for less assertive, more refreshing beer styles brewed with botanical ingredients like flowers and herbs.

Botanicals can be added to beer through a variety of methods before and after fermentation. Some brewers like to add botanicals toward the end of the boil during the brew, while others prefer to steep them like tea, post-fermentation in the bright tank. Botanicals can add color to beer (i.e. see beers brewed with hibiscus flowers) and accentuate the fruit, herb and grass notes of hop and yeast expression.

(Looking to fire up your taste buds instead? Click here to check out Herrera’s 4 chile beer picks.) 

The local brewery scene has played with botanicals for years. You may be familiar with Perennial Artisan Ales flagship Saison de Lis (Belgian-style saison with chamomile flowers), 4 Hands Brewing Co.’s flagship Single Speed (American blonde ale with jasmine flowers) and 2nd Shift Brewing’s seasonal Hibiscus Wit (Belgian-style wit with hibiscus flowers). These are all beautiful, easy-drinking beers complete with thirst-quenching characteristics to rejuvenate your senses. Acquaint yourself with these local, botanical-driven favorites and then find these fun seasonal releases from some of my favorite breweries.

1. Boulevard Hibiscus Gose is a tart, zesty German-style wheat beer. Brewed with salt and coriander and then steeped on dried hibiscus flowers, this beer presents itself with bright acidity, mellow sweetness, and a crisp finish.

2. Jolly Pumpkin Baudelaire Beer iO Saison, brewed with a bouquet of rose hips, rose petals, and hibiscus, is the definition of delicate. Beautiful, soft floral notes are the highlight of this incredibly light, soft farmhouse ale.

3. Perennial Hopfentea pairs rose hips, hibiscus, and lemon grass with mango, papaya and orange peel for a satiating and tart German-style Berlinerweiss. Juicy tropical fruit is balanced by vibrant floral notes on the palate and is sure to make your taste buds dance.

4. New Belgium/Hof Ten Dormaal Collaboration Lips of Faith – Golden Ale is a light-bodied, yeast-forward and refreshing beer brewed with wild carrot herbs. A touch of banana on the nose accentuates the soft fruit notes and mild grassiness on the palate.

 

Drink This Weekend Edition: The Peabody at Element

Thursday, May 12th, 2016

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We’ve got spring fever, and it will take more than a quinine-filled G&T to cure us. The new Peabody cocktail at Element is just what the doctor ordered. Inspired by the classic South Side cocktail (which pairs gin with lemon, simple syrup and mint), The Peabody loses the mint and brings a soft floral sweetness with lavender-infused simple syrup and elderflower liqueur. It’s mildly sweet-tart, as if something as bold, bright Last Word was diffused through three layers of white muslin. Find your best floral sundress or linen suit and pair with muted spring sunshine on the Element’s rooftop patio.

 

 

Drink This Weekend Edition: Luca Wine Dinner at Annie Gunn’s

Thursday, May 5th, 2016

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There aren’t many resumes as complete as Laura Catena’s. She’s a fourth-generation winemaker, holds degrees from Harvard and Stanford universities and has (literally) written the book on Argentine wine, Vino Argentino: An Insider’s Guide to the Wines and Wine Country of Argentina.

Catena, who will host her only U.S. wine dinner at Annie Gunn’s this Monday, May 9, is both owner-vintner of Luca Wines and managing director of her family’s Botega Catena Zapata vineyard. Here, she shares her thoughts on the growth of Argentine wine and the growing international market for malbec.

You have a family history in wine, but you pursued other careers before this one. Why did you return to the wine industry?
When I was deciding what to study, my vision was to do a profession that could help people. At that time I thought, “How can you possibly help people by making wine?” I’ve changed my mind (since then). This wine revolution has brought about great prosperity to Argentina and the region. It’s helped people have better schools and roads. I’ve gone full circle from wanting to leave the nest to making something as beautiful as wine and knowing it is an important contribution.

To what do you attribute the increased popularity of Argentine malbec?
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Argentina had this huge wave of immigration that multiplied the population by four or five times. Most immigrants were Spanish or from the Marche region in Italy. They were used to drinking European style, having wine with lunch and dinner.

My father, in the 1980s and 1990s, was a visiting scholar and saw what was going on in Napa, with people making wine as good as the French. He said, “I want to make great wine in Argentina that can compete with the best in the world.”

What is the most common misconception about Argentine wines?
For one thing, many people think that malbec just showed up. Not only is it an ancient grape, it’s the principle grape in Argentina. It’s not some kind of brand-new thing. We’ve been making since 1800s. The second thing is that malbec can be very diverse. It can be aged or blended and can taste totally different depending on where it comes from.

How do different malbecs taste?
If it’s from cool climate, it will taste more mineral with more violet-black fruit aroma. They’re more elegant than jammy (when grown in a) high, cool climate. Grown in warmer climates, malbec is syrupy with more ripe fruit aroma. They’re equally delicious but in a different way … but all malbec is aromatic and smooth.

How do you describe your Luca Wines?
I work really hard to make wines that have exuberance but are not too syrupy. I want it to be exuberant and elegant at the same time, and (I want it to) go well with a lot of different kinds of food. I’m not big on picking ideal food and wine pairings. You should go with drinking what you feel like drinking that day.

Where do you see the wine industry as a whole ,and specifically the Argentine wine industry, going in the next five to 10 years?
People will learn more about malbec and be able to taste from different regions. It’s like cheese. Once you get into cheese, you want to try different kinds of cheese. People will get into different regions of malbec. … If drinkers start asking for and buying these other varieties, places will carry them.

 

 

 

 

Drink This Weekend Edition: Beers from Logboat Brewing

Thursday, April 28th, 2016

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While our local scene keeps blossoming, beer culture is growing rapidly across Missouri, and it’s producing some phenomenal breweries like Logboat Brewing Co., which launched in The Lou this month.

The Columbia, Missouri brewery opened its doors to the public in spring 2014, and in two short years, the Logboat team has earned national attention for its delicious suds. Its Mamoot Mild won a silver medal at the 2014 Great American Beer Festival in the English-style mild category. The following year at GABF, its Bear Hair took gold in the Belgian-style blonde or pale ale category, and Mamoot earned a bronze medal for the English-style mild once again.

If you happen to be in Columbia this summer, be sure to swing by Logboat’s tasting room, featuring a killer outdoor space and knowledgeable staff. In the meantime, get to know this brewery and the people behind it at three St. Louis area-events this weekend:

1. Thursday, April 28: Logboat tap takeover and a surprise cask release to celebrate the first St. Charles County Craft Beer Week at Mike’s Grill & Tap in O’Fallon, Missouri starting at 5 p.m.

2. Friday, April 29: Another tap takeover and a surprise cask release at Whiskey Ring on Cherokee Street starting at 4 p.m.

3. Saturday, April 30: A celebration of all things canned beer, the Global Brew Can Jam in Rock Hill features Logboat, as well as 4 Hands Brewing, Odell Brewing, Ballast Point Brewing and Oskar Blues Brewery. This event kicks off 11 a.m. at Global Brew in Rock Hill.

Can’t make it this weekend? Keep these flagship Logboat brews stocked in the beer fridge this summer and be on the lookout for fun, seasonal releases.

1. Snapper IPA: A slightly dank aroma and a light, caramel malt backbone give way to and highlight a palate nuanced with resin, pine, citrus and stone fruit. Medium body and balance make this 7.2-percent beer incredibly crushable in the can.

2. Lookout Pale Ale: If the can art doesn’t sell it (It is the most rad can art ever.), then the perfect balance in the hops and malt will. This 5.5-percent American pale ale is refreshingly crisp, clean and citrusy with just a touch of floral.

3. Shiphead Ginger Wheat: If you’re looking for your summer patio friend, you have found it. With a light and fluffy body, this 5.2-percent beer has a touch of lemony brightness and is spiced with Peruvian ginger.

Drink This Weekend Edition: Gertrude Pine at Taste

Friday, April 22nd, 2016

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With spring cocktail menus popping up like the weeds in my garden, there’s plenty of incentive to put on your good shoes and get out there. Although Taste’s spring menu will be fully unveiled in the coming weeks, stop in this weekend for a sneak peek and order the Gertrude Pine. This shaken concoction features a base of Wild Turkey 101 and Camus VS Cognac, but this is no winter holdover. The addition of velvet falernum and Don’s Mix (simple syrup infused with grapefruit juice and cinnamon) sweeten the pot just right, while lime juice gives balance.

The depth of flavor in this spring sipper comes from the Alps. Zirbenz pine liqueur has a deceivingly nondescript nose, but packs a piney punch by itself. In the capable hands of the crew at Taste, the pine liqueur gives a subtle botanical depth that rounds out the cocktail. With a light, citrusy nose, the Gertrude Pine starts a touch tart but finishes pleasantly – but not overly – sweet and spicy.

 

 

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