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Apr 17, 2014
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Intelligent Content For The Food Fascinated
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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Drinking

Drink This Weekend Edition: Three cocktails with a new view

Friday, April 11th, 2014

Like everyone else in town, we’ve caught a strong strain of the patio bug. This weekend when the weather is beckoning you to sip a fruity drink al fresco, look no further than Herbie’s Vintage ’72. Along with a new spring food and cocktail menu, this weekend the restaurant will have patio seating for the first time.

According to Amanda Wilgus, Herbie’s beverage director and floor manager, whenever the restaurant changes its cocktail menu, the whole staff participates. Each bartender comes up with an original concoction, and then with the help of friends and Herbie’s regulars, everyone blindly tastes the cocktails and decides on the best. This year, seven signature cocktails made the spring menu. While patio drinking calls for many adult beverages between friends, to start you off, here are three of our favorites.

 

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1. To truly invoke some easy living, warm weather vibes, start with the Kentucky Tropic. With Basil Hayden’s bourbon, lemon juice, mango purée and simple syrup, this martini goes down sweet and smooth but packs a punch. If you like your drinks with a bit more acid, a squeeze from the lemon wedge garnish does the trick.

 

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2. Not to be missed is this week’s featured sangria. Red wine, orange liquor, brandy and fruit juices combine for a wonderfully balanced Spanish sipper. Not too sweet and with notes of nutmeg and cinnamon, we recommend ordering this one by the pitcher.

 

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3. Yes, we know, Summertime Blues looks like something your mother or 21-year-old niece orders on vacation in Florida. But despite its neon blue color, this drink is really great. With Don Q rum, simple syrup, Yellow Chartreuse, citrus, mint and blue curaçao, this tart, floral cocktail has subtle hints of anise and a flavor that is entirely fresh.

Not a booze drinker? Herbie’s new menu also features two carefully crafted mocktails. After all, when it comes to patio drinking, alcohol or not, everyone needs something cold and delicious.

 

 

The Scoop: Pinckney Bend earns double gold medal at San Francisco World Spirits Competition

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

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Missouri distillery Pinckney Bend has earned a coveted double gold medal at this year’s San Francisco World Spirits Competition. The New Haven-based company was awarded the medal for its American Rested Whiskey. Pinckney Bend is the only Missouri distillery to earn an award at the competition, which took place in late March. Results of the 2014 medal winners were announced today.

“We were kind of blown away,” said Ralph Haynes (pictured), Pinckney Bend Vice President of Marketing and Sales. “As important as getting the double gold is, if you took a look at who we beat, it was some of the biggest names in the business.” Pinckney Bend American Rested Whiskey is aged for one year in 15-gallon No. 3 charred Missouri white oak barrels.

This is the third time in as many years that Pinckney Bend has earned recognition at the reputed spirits competition, now in its fourteenth year. In 2013, its un-aged corn whiskey received a gold medal; in 2012, its gin also took home a gold.

The number of submissions for this year’s competition totaled 1,474 and hailed from 41 states and 64 countries in 89 different classifications. The entries were evaluated by a panel of 39 judges of journalists, distillers, beverage directors, mixologists, restaurateurs, Master Sommeliers, hoteliers, consultants and educators from the beverage community. Complete results of 2014 medal winners are posted here.

Drink This Weekend Edition: The manifold misunderstandings of muscadet

Friday, April 4th, 2014

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Perhaps it’s our longing for warmer weather, our yen for coastal flavors or maybe we’ve just been drinking too many stout beers, but lately, we’ve been thinking a lot about muscadet.

First, a few clarifications: Muscadet is not muscat, Moscato, moscatel or muscadelle. In fact, it is nothing like wines made from those grapes. Moreover, muscadet is not a grape, but it does come from just one grape – melon de Bourgogne. And no, it is not from Burgundy. Muscadet is from the western Loire Valley, from a region called Pays de la Loire. And to make things a little more confusing, muscadet wine comes from any one of four appellations, the largest of which is – you guessed it –muscadet!

Perhaps the most unfortunate feature of muscadet is that it sounds like muscat, a grape that is generally vinified sweet with a relatively low acidity. Muscadet, on the other hand, is very dry with a refreshing acidity. It tends to be aged on the dead yeast cells (called lees) used for fermentation. This adds a creamy, nutty richness that rounds out what can be a rather linear, aromatic, gustatory profile when not handled correctly.

If your eyes have glazed over and you are thinking, These jerks really revel in pure pedantry. I’m gonna go get a glass of Cali chard and suck down a dozen freshly shucked Duxburys, please wait. You see, muscadet might just be the world’s best oyster wine. The wine’s vigorous acidity provides a counterbalance to the sweet melon flavors of west coast oysters, and the nutty, briny notes of Muscadet harmonize with the brine of east coast oysters, while the citrus notes provide a piquant counterpoint.

That said, muscadet pairs with a great number of foods, though we think seafood, particularly shellfish and crustaceans, are ideal matches. Of course, we also enjoy it on its own, and with a maximum allowed alcohol level of 12 percent alcohol leve and a light-to-medium body, muscadet is a perfect spring and summer wine. Drink this every day above 79 degrees (or any day you desire affordable pleasure).

Our pick: Pierre Luneau-Papin (Domaine Pierre de La Grange), 2012 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine, Val de Loire, France

On the nose: peanut skin due to nine months spent on the lees, plus briny lemon and ocean air

On the palate: crushed seashell, honeydew melon rind, Anjou pear, and pleasantly prickly acidity

Vintage is important here; be sure to seek out the 2012, which is available by the glass at De Mun Oyster Bar and will soon be on shelves at Parker’s Table, Lukas Liquor, The Wine and Cheese Place and The Wine Merchant.

Drink This Weekend Edition: A hopped-up cocktail

Friday, March 28th, 2014

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This March, in honor of Sauce’s Guide to Beer, our focus has been on all beer everything – how to cook with beer, what brews are best for aging, where every brewery in town is located and distributed, and more.

With the end of March approaching, I wasn’t quite ready to break up with beer, but I was certainly ready for something new – something that didn’t come from a bottle, can or tap handle. I found what might be the perfect compromise: Tony’s 29 Hour IPA.

Created by Eclipse bar manager Tony Saputo, this cocktail involves Espolón Blanco tequila, Cocchi Americano Rosso, a cordial made from citra hops, lime juice, celery bitters and house-made ginger beer made with a touch of the wild yeast Brettanomyces. “If we added whiskey to it [to add barley], it would have the same ingredients as a beer,” Saputo said. “It’s a deconstructed, reconstructed beer.”

Why call it a 29-hour IPA? To make the citra hop cordial, Saputo infuses dried hops with Everclear and water for 29 hours. Once infused, he adds more water and sugar to make it a cordial. On its own, the cordial smells and tastes like an IPA reduction … in a this-taste-will-never-leave-my-mouth way. Combined with the rest of the ingredients, though? Just right.

 

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Tony’s 29 Hour IPA’s looks are deceiving. At first glace, the light pink drink garnished with a cucumber and a lime wheel looks like some sort of gin or Pimm’s Cup summer sipper. Yet it smells a little bit like a beer. Initially, it tastes like a margarita because of the first hits of tequila and the brightness and acid from the vermouth and lime juice. Yet, a second later, there is a subtle spice from the ginger and just a bit of funk from the Brett. If I didn’t know better, I never have guessed the drink including Brett, but it adds another layer to this rich, refreshing (and strong) springtime drink.

Cheers to beer, cocktails and spring!

 

Sauce’s Blind Taste-off: Porter vs. Stout

Monday, March 24th, 2014

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{From left: Mark Pruitt, Eric Scholle, Josh Galliano, Sean Netzer, Troy Meier, Cory King and Karen King}

“What’s the difference between a porter and a stout?” If you’ve ever been in a great beer conversation about styles, we’re sure this question has come up. As far back as the mid-1700s, a brown stout simply meant the strongest version of porter. But, by the latter half of the 19th century, recipes for porters and stouts began to vary with the use of different malts, and roasted barley becoming a legal ingredient for beer in the United Kingdom. Today, not only is the difference between a porter and a stout no longer black and white, brewers are finding that these styles are perfect canvases for their own interpretations.

With this issue in mind, we wondered if a group of expert beer drinkers – who aren’t actually brewers – could blindly tell the difference between porters and stouts. We also wanted to know if they could come to a consensus on which beer was their favorite among nine classic and not-so-classic takes on the two styles. So the taste-off began.

The Contenders
Founders Porter, Schlafly Extra Stout Irish-Style, Deschutes Black Butte Porter, Left Hand Milk Stout, The Civil Life Porter, 4 Hands Bona Fide Imperial Stout, Bell’s Kalamazoo Stout, Six Row Porter and Deschutes Obsidian Stout

The Judges
While all six judges were chosen for their love of beer and their knowledge of styles, we also picked tasters known for their palates.

Sean Netzer, bartender and beer and whiskey buyer for 33 Wine Bar
Troy Meier, Supreme Overlord of stlhops.com
Karen King, Missouri and Kansas market manager for Deschutes Brewery
Mark Pruitt, owner of Bigelo’s Bistro
Eric Scholle, general manager of Farmhaus
Josh Galliano, executive chef-owner of The Libertine

The Moderator
Cory King, head brewer at Perennial Artisan Ales and founder of Side Project Brewing

The Commentary
“There are no wrong answers.”

“I’m really nervous that it’ll be Black Butte and I’ll be like, ‘This is the worst beer I’ve ever had in my life.’”

“I think the terms are archaic.”

“The brightness was interesting, but it’s definitely not supposed to be there.”

“Is this the beginning of a Saw movie?”

“No. 3, I put baby aspirin.”

“I’m hoping to get them right but think I’ll just get crushed.”

“That’s a thing! I’m not making this up.”

“They start to taste the same by the end.”

“I put ‘not good finish.’”

“I put ‘insipid body.’”

The Findings
While some judges’ porter/stout guesses were correct, they agreed that the terms are outdated. There is too much gray area to truly tell the difference between a porter and a stout.

The Winners
First place: Founders Porter
Second place (tie): 4 Hands Bona Fide, Bell’s Kalamazoo Stout, The Civil Life Porter

-photo by Ashley Gieseking

Drink This Weekend Edition: O’Fallon Brewery’s Zeke’s Pale Ale

Friday, March 21st, 2014

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O’Fallon Brewery thrilled local beer fans last month with the announcement of its upcoming expansion plans that include a new brewery and tasting room in Maryland Heights. Around the same time, O’Fallon released its first new year-round offering since 2010: Zeke’s Pale Ale.

While many local pale ales are more English in style with notes of caramel and toffee, Zeke’s is an American pale ale. APA’s usually have a nice hop aroma, and Zeke’s definitely doesn’t disappoint with huge notes of pineapple and passion fruit. Head brewer Brian Owens added Galaxy hops to the end of the boil (a technique called “burst hopping” or “hop bursting”), bringing out big grapefruit hop flavors with a nice balance of bitterness. The use of honey malt adds a kiss of that sweet nectar to the flavor profile, too. Weighing in at 5.1 percent ABV, Zeke’s is smooth and easy to drink with a light body, and while the citrusy hop notes are big, they won’t overwhelm your senses.

Zeke’s pairs terrifically with tacos; the citrus notes play off the heat, and the hops help temper the spiciness. Vietnamese and spicy Thai dishes also would work well, as the bitterness lifts through the heat of the dishes and the citrus plays with the spices. As O’Fallon’s newest full-time beer, Zeke’s can be found widely around town in six-packs or on tap.

 

 

Drink This Weekend Edition: Hiro Asian Kitchen’s brunch cocktails

Friday, March 14th, 2014

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{From left: The Bloody Tokyo, The Bloody Hiro}

Now that I have a kid (who wakes up at 6 a.m. almost every day), brunch has taken on a whole new meaning. Bringing a baby isn’t entirely frowned upon, we still get to see friends, and we can go to bed at 8 p.m. without feeling lame.

This Sunday, March 16, Hiro Asian Kitchen debuts its brunch menu, which will be served Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Until now, this chic Asian fusion restaurant and lounge, located at 1405 Washington Ave., has only served lunch and dinner, but its inventive and delicious Sunday brunch offerings are not to be missed, especially its cocktails. Not too mention Hiro’s stylish décor and hip vibe will make you feel like you’re having a raging night on the town, even at 11:30 Sunday morning.

Among cocktails, Hiro’s brunch menu features two bloody marys. If you were carousing late the night before, I recommend drinking both. The Bloody Hiro is made with Sriracha vodka, soy sauce, Sichuan pepper salt and garnished with a thick piece of house-cured bacon. Continuing Hiro’s Asian fusion concept, Bloody Tokyo has a sake base, is garnished with spicy wasabi-coated peas, and the glass is rimmed with wasabi salt.

 

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{From left: Sunshine, Lychee-Tini}

On the sweeter – but not too sweet side – Hiro has several great options. “These are happy drinks. These speak to what we do here,” said owner Bernie Lee. Try Sunshine, a cocktail loaded with Wild Tea vodka, elderflower liquor, Aperol and blood orange bitters.

Another subtly sweet cocktail, the Lychee-Tini is a must. Seriously. It’s my new favorite cocktail. I don’t know why we haven’t been drinking this take on a bellini forever. It’s so simple: Champagne with lychee puree, and the flavors are perfectly balanced.

 

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{Green tea waffle}

Not in the mood for a cocktail? You can’t really go wrong with any of the new brunch items, but the green tea waffle is just out of control. With light hints of green tea, the waffle is topped with vanilla ice cream, house-made coconut cream, fresh fruit and then drizzled with a syrup made with sake.

 

 

 

Cooking with Beer: A three-course meal

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

Has our Guide to Beer inspired you to get creative with your favorite ales, stouts and lagers? Quench your thirst with new ways to enjoy some your brews in your favorite dishes. We’ve got 11 recipes for a perfect three-course meal celebrating America’s favorite bubbly: beer.

 

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Starters
Beer knows no limits, even under the sea. Try these mussels (pictured) swimming in an Urban Chestnut Schnickelfritz-infused sauce. Feeling some veggies? Check out some lager-coated okra dipped and fried to perfection.

 

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Entrees
Pork and beer together are a no-brainer. Check out these bacon-wrapped pork shoulder meatballsgrilled pork tenderloin skewers with beer-infused barbecue sauce (pictured), or beer-braised pork cheeks with escarole. Pork not your thing? Try a beer-can chicken sure to satisfy, or go even heartier with Guinness-braised beef.

Or take a walk on the weirdly wonderful side with this Frank Blinchiki, a twist on a Russian pancake cooked with beer and wrapped around hot dogs and veggies. And have no fear, vegetarians, your best friend beer is here. Steam this vegetarian bratwurst in beer and fill up with your favorite German flavors.

 

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Dessert
Yes, we even have a few beer-centric desserts up our sleeves. Satisfy your sweet tooth with Square One’s Maple Stout Ice Cream (pictured) or an award-winning Budweiser Milkshake.

 -Mussels and ice cream photos by Laura Miller; pork skewers by Carmen Troesser

Sauce Guide to Beer: STL Beers Take Flight

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

We can drink a Budweiser on a finca in Bolivia or aboard a catamaran off the coast of Tanzania, but now we can order tons of other local brews outside of Missouri, too. A Schlafly Oatmeal Stout in D.C.? Why yes, Mr. President. A Crown Valley Farmhouse Lager on the plains of Texas? Yee-haw! Check out our whopping list of 27-and-counting area breweries,  including the states where they currently distribute to plan your next vacation accordingly. You’ll also find each brewery’s address, so you can turn any day into a sudsy staycation.

 

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Show your pride for St. Louis beer and hang this distribution map in your own home. Click here to order a print.

2nd Shift Brewing
Distribution area: Mo.
Local contact: 1401 Olive Road, New Haven, Mo., 2ndshiftbrewing.com

4 Hands Brewing Co.
Mo., Ill., Pa.
1220 S. Eighth St., St. Louis, 314.436.1559, 4handsbrewery.com

Anheuser-Busch Inbev
In more than 85 countries
12th and Lynch streets, St. Louis, 314.577.2626, anheuser-busch.com

Alpha Brewing Co.
Mo.
1409 Washington Ave., St. Louis, 314.621.2337, alphabrewingcompany.com

Augusta Brewing Co.
Mo.
John G’s Tap Room and Bier Deck, 107 W. Main St., Washington, 636.239.5010;
Augusta Brew Haus & Bier Garden, 5521 Water St., Augusta, 636.482.2337, augustabrewing.com

Cathedral Square Brewery
Mo., Ill., Ark., Neb.
3914 Lindell Blvd., St. Louis, 314.803.3605, cathedralsquarebrewery.com

Charleville Vineyard Winery & Microbrewery
Mo., Ill., Ark.
16937 Boyd Road, Ste. Genevieve, 573.756.4537, charlevillevineyard.com

The Civil Life Brewing Co.
Mo., Ill.
3714 Holt Ave., St. Louis, thecivillife.com

Crown Valley Brewing & Distilling Co.
Mo., Ill., Ala., Ark., Del., Fla., Ga., Kan., Ky., La., Mich., Miss., N.C., Okla., Tenn., Texas
13326 State Route F, Ste. Genevieve, 573.756.9700, crownvalleybrewery.com

Excel Bottling Co.
Ill., Mo.
488 S. Broadway, Breese, Ill., 618.526.7159, excelbottling.com

Exit 6 Brewery
Mo.
5055 Highway N, Cottleville, 636.244.4343, exit6brewery.com

Ferguson Brewing Co.
Mo.
418 S. Florissant Road, Ferguson, 314.521.2220, fergusonbrewing.com

Heavy Riff Brewing Co.
Mo.
6413 Clayton Ave., St. Louis, Facebook: Heavy Riff Brewing Co.

Kaskaskia Brewing Co.
Ill.
104 E. Market St., Red Bud, Ill., 618.282.2555, kaskaskiabrewing.com

Kirkwood Station Brewing Co.
Mo.
105 E. Jefferson Road, Kirkwood, 314.966.2730, kirkwoodstationbrewing.com

Morgan Street Brewery
Mo.
721 N. Second St., St. Louis, 314.231.9970, morganstreetbrewery.com

O’Fallon Brewery
Mo., Ill., Ala., Ark., Ind., Iowa, Kan., Ky., Mich., Miss., Mo., Ohio, Pa., Tenn., Wis.
26 W. Industrial Drive, O’Fallon, Mo., 636.474.2337, ofallonbrewery.com

Perennial Artisan Ales
Mo., Ill., Colo., Mass., Md., N.Y., Pa., Va.
8125 Michigan Ave., St. Louis, 314.631.7300, perennialbeer.com

Ridgebrook Brewery
Ill.
Ridgebrook Lane, Godfrey, Ill., 618.971.8580, ridgebrookbrewery.com

Schlafly Beer
Mo., Ill., Ark., D.C., Del., Ind., Iowa, Kan., Ky., Md., Miss., N.J., N.Y., Tenn., Va.
The Schlafly Tap Room, 2100 Locust St., St. Louis, 314.241.2337; Schlafly Bottleworks, 7260 Southwest Ave., Maplewood, 314.241.2337, schlafly.com

Scratch Brewing Co.
Ill.
264 Thompson Road, Ava, Ill., 618.426.1415, scratchbeer.com

Side Project Brewing
Mo.
8125 Michigan Ave., St. Louis, sideprojectbrewing.com

Six Row Brewing Co.
Mo., Ill.
3690 Forest Park Ave., St. Louis, 314.531.5600, sixrowbrewco.com

Square One Brewery and Distillery
Mo.
1727 Park Ave., St. Louis, 314.231.2537, squareonebrewery.com

Trailhead Brewing Co.
Mo.
921 S. Riverside Drive, St. Charles, 636.946.2739, trailheadbrewing.com

Urban Chestnut Brewing Co.
Mo., Ill., Ind.
3229 Washington Ave., St. Louis, 314.222.0143, urbanchestnut.com

Coming Soon
4204-Main Street Brewing Co.
4204 W. Main St., Belleville, Ill., 618.660.8612, Facebook: 4204-Main Street Brewing Company

Main & Mill Brewing Co.
240 E. Main St., Festus, Mo., 314.603.0924, mainandmillbrewingco.com

Modern Brewery
5231 Manchester Ave., Unit E, St. Louis, mb314.com

Recess Brewery
307 N. Main St., Edwardsville, Ill., recessbrewing.com

Six Mile Brewery and Smokehouse
1324 Niedringhaus Ave., Granite City, Ill., 618.501.4200, Facebook: Six Mile Brewery and Smokehouse

Templar Brewing Co.
331 Belle St., Alton, Ill., templarbrewing.com

-illustration by Vidhya Nagarajan

 

 

Drink This Weekend Edition: 3 wines at the supermarket to rescue your evening

Friday, March 7th, 2014

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{There’s no need to fear the supermarket wine aisle.}

It’s 9:30 p.m. You just finished dinner, and everyone is having a blast. You go to the pantry for another bottle of wine, only to confront an echoing chasm where the bottles used to be. You break out in a cold sweat. Dizziness… Somebody, please, catch you.

But no, you can solve this problem. Breathe in the nose, out the mouth… And then the answer slams to the front of your mind. No wine shop is open at this hour. You’ve got to go to the supermarket.

We’ve all been there. That’s why, this month we’d like to present three wines found at the local supermarkets that serve as exceptionally satisfying spokes in the ever-turning wheel of your evening. We are well aware that the term “supermarket wine” has a pejorative connotation; however, we’ve done our due diligence so you aren’t duly disappointed. Moreover, we’ve kept budget in mind, so you can make sure you don’t run out!

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1. Gundlach-Bundschu Mountain Cuvée 2011 merlot blend

This wine has notes of ripe black plum and dried fig. Baking spice and cigar box mid-palate are tempered with food-friendly acid. Touches of salinity dot the tongue through to the exceptionally long, black tea-inflected finish. This bottle’s price point belies its sagacity. Available at Dierbergs

2. DeLoach Vineyards 2012 Pinot Noir

Got a pinot noir snob in the house?  Blind him with this. Is he going to call it Volnay? Probably not. But he will flip out when he sees how drinkable it is. This California wine has bright, ripe strawberry and cranberry notes with a structural complexity not usually associated with the price point. This is for slamming with burnt ends or honestly, any food at all. Available at Schnucks

3. Pine Ridge 2013 Chenin Blanc + Viognier

On the nose, it’s as if someone has juiced a peppered pear. The California chenin rears its head with subtle, welcome wool notes. Firm yet silky on the tongue, this wine finishes apple crisp. It’s a wine to drink while picking at leftovers. Buy it by the case. Available at select Dierbergs and Schnucks

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