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Dec 02, 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: Spruce Brown Ale at Old Bakery Beer Co.

Friday, December 2nd, 2016

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The St. Louis beer scene is ripe with collaborations and local support. The most recent example can be found just across the Mississippi in Alton. Old Bakery Beer Co. has teamed up with The Nature Institute to offer a series of special brews showcasing ingredients locally foraged at TNI’s managed property. This series showcases 12 cask beers offered on the first Friday of every month through October 2017.

Each combination highlights a native Illinois plant and its importance to the environment. Over the course of this yearlong series, imbibers can vote for their favorite combination. Old Bakery will brew the winner at full scale and release it to the public at this time next year. And if that wasn’t enough, half of the proceeds from specialty beer sold benefits TNI’s research and education program.

The first in this series, a Persimmon Pub Ale, was offered in November during Alton Craft Beer Week, but fear not, local beer drinkers – the second cask is tapped tonight, Dec. 2, at 5 p.m. Head to Alton for the Spruce Brown Ale, Old Bakery’s A-Town Brown Ale hopped up with Simcoe and Chinook and finished with spruce tips. It’s festive, creative and sure to be delicious served at cask temperature.

Can’t make it tonight for the second release? Cask No. 3, Hairy Mountain Porter – a porter brewed with Hairy Mountain mint – debuts Jan. 6, 2017.

 

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Drink This Weekend Edition: 3 Big Black Friday Beers

Sauce Guide to Beer 2016

• Sneak Peek: The Old Bakery Beer Co.

 

Drink This Weekend Edition: 3 Big Black Friday Beers

Friday, November 25th, 2016

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All the Turkey Day leftovers are stored in the fridge, a big pot of turkey stock is simmering on the stove, and you’re contemplating joining in the Black Friday insanity. Or you’re like me: anti-turkey and thus, anti-turkey stock, and more likely to avoid any mall or retail establishment without a strong drink present.

I fully endorse celebrating Black Friday with massive, full-bodied, aggressive Imperial stouts and then perusing the interwebs for fun holiday gifts. Here, three such options to toast a successful Turkey Day and a very happy Black Friday.

Disclaimer: These three options are highly sought after and may be difficult to locate – but for many, this is part of the fun. All three will be available in bottles and draft around the city. Might I suggest a Schlafly Coffee Stout to get the search going?

 

1. Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout 2016 (13.8 percent ABV)
For most beer fans, this gnarly bourbon barrel-aged Imperial stout is the reason for the season. BCBS is chewy, sweet and showcases just enough boozy warmth to keep those toes warm in the coldest weather. Her debut on Black Friday gets those beer nerds out of bed in the wee hours of the morning to start prowling store shelves. Look for deep notes of chocolate and barrel undertones of charred oak, vanilla and smoke.

2. Perennial Abraxas (10 percent ABV)
Now that Perennial’s Abraxas Week and accompanying bottle release is over, it’s time to scour the city for bottles and draft. This Imperial stout is bitter, full-bodied and stacked with roasted malt notes and Mexican spice. The dance of the ancho chile peppers, cacao nibs and cinnamon sticks on the palate is the star of this belly warmer.

3. North Coast Barrel-Aged Old Rasputin XIX (11.2 percent ABV)
In true Russian Imperial stout fashion, this lady comes forth with a boatload of roasted malt that presents itself as espresso and chocolate on the palate. Throw in some dried fruit and lingering char and vanilla from the barrel as it warms, and you have yourself a good time.

Drink This Weekend Edition: Noble Rot Wines at 33 Wine Bar

Friday, November 18th, 2016

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Nicknaming a fungus “noble” doesn’t really make it sound better, but some winemakers celebrate when Botrytis cinerea, or noble rot, appears on their grapes. 33 Wine Bar owner James Smallwood said wines made with noble rot are immediately recognizable thanks to their thick, sweet profiles. “They’re dessert wines – and it imparts a sort of honeyed flavor,” he said.

The origin of noble rot is as much legend as history. Nobody knows why the first winemaker decided to press apparently ruined grapes, but it’s clear why the tradition continues. The juice from these half-rotted grapes is so concentrated that oozes out when pressed, which makes for some seriously intense and sweet wines that don’t tasted rotten at all.

But intensity comes with a price. Introducing even a noble rot is a dangerous game. Too much sun and dry heat and the fungus won’t show up; too much moisture and it can turn from noble to full-on destructive gray rot pretty quick. The concentrated juice of successfully rotten grapes means less yield from vines.

“It’s a manually intensive process,” Smallwood said. “Rather than harvest in a day, they harvest over a few weeks to a month.” When one bunch of grapes is ready, another might need one more day on the vine, while others probably haven’t developed the noble rot at all yet.

So excuse the price tags on these unctuous dessert wines. One of the most famous, Smallwood said, costs more than $300 a bottle. Luckily, 33 Wine Bar carries the more approachable Chateau Doisy-Vedrines Sauternes, with half-bottles available for $32.

The pale golden wine has a rich honey aroma and a round, viscous sweetness balanced by acidity that keeps it from cloying. The only other noble rot wine available is the aptly named Noble One, an Australian Botrytis Semillon from De Bortoli. A deeper, burnished honey color, Noble One is both sweeter and sharper than the Sauternes.

 

More about wine in St. Louis 
• 11 Foolproof Wine Lists
• Conquer the Wine Lists
• Drink This Weekend Edition: Underrated Wines
• 3 wines for sauvignon blanc lovers

 

Heather Hughes is managing editor for print at Sauce Magazine. 

Drink This Weekend Edition: St. Louis Brewers Guild Halloween Party

Thursday, October 27th, 2016

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The annual St. Louis Brewers Guild Halloween Party in Lafayette Park returns this Saturday, Oct. 29, from 1 to 5 p.m. Like last year, I urge all you city dwellers who don’t venture into the county or over a river that often to acquaint yourselves with some amazing beer brewed outside STL city limits. Tickets are available online and at the door. Dress up and get your Halloween on!

 

1. Mark Twain Tennessee Fresh-Hopped Scrapbook Pale Ale Firkin (5.5 percent ABV)
This single-hopped pale ale boasts notes of citrus and spiced earthiness from the Columbus hops with a clean, crisp palate and biscuit-y mouth feel. Brewers Cat Golden and Dave Alley have once again fresh-hopped their Scrapbook pale ale and put it in a firkin for an exclusive Halloween Party real ale experience. Cascade, Centennial and Columbus hops from Willowbrook Farm in Tennessee provide more depth in hop expression, allowing for more intense notes of grapefruit, grass and spice.

2. Narrow Gauge Oast No. 3 (7 percent ABV)
One of the newer breweries in the St. Louis region, Narrow Gauge brings this American IPA dry-hopped with Simcoe, Amarillo and El Dorado. It is loaded with stone fruit, pineapple and dank aromas, exquisite mouth feel and juicy tropical fruit to round out the palate. Oast No. 3’s slight alcohol sweetness is balanced beautifully with a lingering bitterness you return to again and again.

3. O’Fallon Jack O’Latté (6.6 percent ABV)
Wait – another O’Fallon pumpkin beer? Oh yes, and it’s awesome. Jack O’Latte is a pumpkin milk stout that sat on Ronocco coffee beans, creating a brew filled with sweet, spice and everything nice. The sweet stout’s body states like a full-fat latte on a chill autumn day. And don’t worry, that signature O’Fallon pumpkin spice mix makes this coffee brew anything but basic. Move over, #PSL.

4. Old Bakery Beer Single-Source Coffee Lager (4.7 percent ABV)
This guy isn’t just any old lager beer. It’s stacked with heavily roasted malt for a darker appearance and richer palate, while flaked oats provide a bigger, smoother mouth feel. Complexity and intense roastiness is furthered with the addition of single-origin Honduran coffee from Kaldis.

5. Six Mile Bridge Harvest Peach Saison (5.4 percent ABV)
This lovely dry-hopped, French-inspired farmhouse ale is crisp as a fall day. Aromatics of stone fruit, citrus, flowers and hay pair nicely with juicy fresh peach, a refreshing yet subtle tartness, and clean bitterness on the palate. If the late summer transition into autumn were depicted in beer form, this would be it.

 

Katie Herrera is tasting room manager at Side Project Cellar and co-founder of Femme Ferment.

-photo courtesy of R. J. Hartbeck

 

Drink This Weekend Edition: 3 GABF-worthy beers

Friday, October 14th, 2016

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Last weekend, I attended the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, a three-day national beer festival and competition attended by thousands each year. Though the festival itself can be over-stimulating at times, Denver is full of fantastic beer, beer people and beer events throughout the week.

Several St. Louis-area breweries poured at GABF, and even more entered the competition in hopes of procuring more medals for this wonderful beer town. While listening to the results, I realized just how rapidly breweries and beer culture are expanding – there were many I’d never heard of before. More beer for the people! Three St. Louis-area breweries medaled this year; head to Perennial or across the Mississippi this weekend to check out these nationally notable beers:

Perennial Artisan Ales Meriwether took silver for classic saison
Excel Brewing Flash Bang took bronze for American-style wheat beer
Scratch Brewing Oyster Weiss* took bronze for experimental beer

Some of my favorite nonlocal beers also medaled last weekend and are available in St. Louis throughout the year. Keep your eyes open for Bells Expedition Stout (silver in aged beer), Firestone Walker Double Barrel Ale (gold in ordinary or special bitter) and Left Hand Fade to Black, Volume 1 (silver in export stout).

 

*Editor’s note: Oyster Weiss is not currently available. 

Katie Herrera is tasting room manager at Side Project Cellar and co-founder of Femme Ferment.

Drink This Weekend Edition: Narrow Gauge Brewing Co.

Friday, September 23rd, 2016

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I am so excited IPAs are trending once again. I’ve advocated for the style since I sat down with my first 3 Floyds Zombie Dust more than a decade ago. I’m an advocate for all IPA styles: ridiculously dank, bitter West Coast IPAs; mid-America’s preference for American-grown Cascade and Centennial hops; a national obsession with session IPAs (ahem, Pinner); and the East Coast’s infatuation with high turbidity and a juicy hop aroma. Now, St. Louis has a bit of all these fantastic IPAs in our backyard with the addition of Narrow Gauge Brewing Co. in Florissant.

Narrow Gauge is a tiny three-barrel brewery housed within Cugino’s Italian Restaurant, and brewmaster Jeff Hardesty knows exactly what he’s doing with an East Coast IPA: high turbidity (very hazy), hop aromatics for days and a juicy hop-forward taste on the front of the palate with a clean, balanced bitterness on the back.

Narrow Gauge is only available at Cugino’s and to-go in 32-ounce growlers, so grab a seat at the bar, order up some meatballs and dirty wings and settle in – you’ll want to try all the Narrow Gauge beer. Here’s what I sampled on a recent visit:

1. Single Hop Beer: Citra (7-percent ABV)
Tropical fruit, citrus zest and onion round out this perfectly beautiful Citra hop expression. Juicy aroma, fantastic texture with a bit of dryness and a lingering bitterness will leave you wanting another.

2. Single Hop Beer: Mosaic (7-percent ABV)
Some slight herbaceous dankness is backed by stone fruit on the nose and a whole lot of grass and mango on the palate. Though not quite as dry and bitter as the Single Hop Citra, it is just as juicy.

3. OJ Run (8.6-percent ABV)
Named for a stretch of road and the shenanigans that took place on said road, this Imperial IPA is like drinking a tiki cocktail in a barn right after the grass was cut. Citra, Amarillo and Galaxy hops stack this aroma with passion fruit, lemon zest, straw and fresh grass. Despite the higher ABV, this imperial is incredibly balanced and not cloyingly sweet.

 

Katie Herrera is tasting room manager at Side Project Cellar and co-founder of Femme Ferment.

 

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Drink This Weekend Edition: Nuclear Sky Sno-cone at BBQ Saloon

Friday, September 16th, 2016

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When I heard The BBQ Saloon in the Central West End was making sno-cones with Leopold Bros. natural liqueurs, I had to try them. Adult sno-cones don’t usually come in grown-up flavors, but Leopold Bros. liqueurs have the deep, rich taste of real fruit and a sophisticated sweetness. BBQ Saloon offers the Leopold Bros. Michigan Tart Cherry Liqueur, New York Sour Apple and Rocky Mountain Peach, but owner Phil Czarnec said any classic cocktail can be made into a sno-cone.

I opted for Czarnec’s favorite, the Nuclear Sky. Made with Reyka Vodka, Pinckney Bend tonic syrup, crème de violette and Leopold Bros. peach liqueur, complex fruit and floral notes dance on the palate, leaving you with the expected sweetness of a sno-cone, matured. It’s not too late to live your best summer life.

 

Drink This Weekend Edition: 3 wines for sauvignon blanc lovers

Friday, September 2nd, 2016

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Sauvignon blanc is the ultimate summer wine: crisp and grassy with melon and mineral notes and easy, bright drinkability. However, after months spent quaffing this lovely wine, it’s time to close out the season with something different. Here, three bottles perfect for sauvignon blanc lovers seeking something new:
1. The Easy Transition: Domaine Du Bagnol Cassis Blanc
This is a great French wine from the Provence region. It’s sophisticated and enjoyable with notes of pear, quince and minerals, and offers a clean freshness characteristic of sauvignon blancs. Enjoy on its own or pair with shellfish, sushi or salads.
$23. The Wine & Cheese Place in Clayton

2. The Change Up: Domaine Du Gros ‘Noré Bandol Rosé
I know, I know, another summer rosé – but trust me on this. Bandols are the Teslas of rosés. This crisp, clean wine offers hints of melon, grass and perfect minerality, making it a perfect match for fans of sauvignon blanc. This beauty is perfect for sipping and pairs well with anything grilled.
$32. Veritas Gateway to Food & Wine in Ellisville

3. The Challenge: El Maestro Sierra Fino
This option might be a stretch, but still, a winery that’s been around since 1832 is surely worth a try. Fino sherry has an unmatched, almost saline minerality. For Sancerre fans (France’s most famous sauvignon blanc), a sip of this crisp, dry sherry is like turning up the volume on your favorite song. It’s best served fresh and cold with oysters, almonds or olives.
$15. Starrs in Richmond Heights

 

Ben Wood has more than 10 years experience in the wine industry. He currently works as a sommelier at Reeds American Table. 

 

Drink This Weekend Edition: Pomegranate-Coffee Tonic Shrub Cocktail at Sump

Friday, August 26th, 2016

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There’s no guilt in a (nonalcoholic) morning cocktail, especially when Retreat Gastropub’s Tim Wiggins teams up with Sump Coffee for a Pomegranate-Coffee Tonic. The third coffee cocktail collaboration Wiggins has developed for the coffee shop this summer, this juicy, sweet-tart treat is made with fresh pomegranate juice, pomegranate syrup, dried hibiscus and Sump cold brew, served over Fever Tree tonic.

It’s a great introduction to the bold flavors of a coffee shrub cocktail, with a little less vinegar intensity than the previous two drinks (a Cascara Fizz and Honey Burundi Julep), and more refreshing sparkle from the tonic. Marrying the bright, floral sweetness of hibiscus-inflected pomegranate with the earthy, caramel depth of Sump coffee, each sip will call for another to figure out how this unlikely couple can work so well. Sump barista Connor Usry said it best: “It tastes like a chocolate covered pomegranate seed.”

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

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