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Mar 22, 2018
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In This Issue: Guide to Drinking – What’s Hot Right Now

October 1st 10:10am, 2013

The beverage scene is buzzing with action – from our ever-growing local brewing and distilling community to award-winning arrivals from Missouri wine country, as well as hot spots from around the globe. Read on for the beers, wines and liquors to put on your must-try list.



In Good Company
Elaia is in the company of celebrated restaurants like Eleven Madison Park, Jean-Georges and The NoMad Hotel in being one of just nine restaurants in the country to carry wines by Element Winery. Element, one of the most exciting wineries in the Finger Lakes region of the Empire State, was co-founded in 2005 by recently minted Master Sommelier Christopher Bates.

Show-Me Whites
“Last year’s harvest was incredible,” said Mount Pleasant Estates president Charles Dressel regarding white grape varietals grown in Missouri. Keep an eye out for the just-released 2012 chardonnays, vidal blancs and chardonels by Missouri wineries, including Chardonel by Montelle Winery and an unoaked chardonel by Chaumette Vineyards & Winery.

Triple Crown Winner
At this year’s Missouri Wine Competition, Stone Hill Winery took not one, but three, top honors for its Estate Bottled Norton 2011: Best of Class in the dry red category, C.V. Riley Award for Best Norton, and the Governor’s Cup, aka, Missouri’s best wine of the year.

Big Ms in MO
Among names new to Missouri is Santa Barbara County-based Margerum Wine Co. Look for the winery’s flagship M5, a Rhone-style blend made from five red grape varietals, at area restaurants and stores. Additionally, French wine magnate Bernard Magrez has more of his wines available around town. New arrivals include two French wines – Château Des Muraires, a beautiful rosé, and Château Plaisance, a fabulously structured red blend – plus Kahina, a Moroccan blend of syrah and Grenache, which surprises with its mint finish.

Etna Erupts
“This is cutting edge stuff in the wine industry,” said A. Bommarito Wines’ Denny Campo in regard to the wines made from grapes grown in the foothills and slopes surrounding Mount Etna in Sicily. “Etna could be another Burgundy because of the diverse micro-climates that exist in the appellation.” Try Tascante, an Etna Rosso (or red), by Tasca d’Almerita, or Prephylloxera, an Etna Rosso from producer Tenuta delle Terre Nere.




Bitter Before Dinner
You’ve become acquainted with Campari and Aperol. It’s time to meet Suze. Now that this French aperitif liqueur has arrived stateside, we’re itching for Suze to reach our neck of the woods where we predict bartenders are going to use it in some mean cocktails. At home, we plan to sip spicy, fruity and delicately bitter Suze on ice and to combine it with tonic, crème de cassis and, yes, even Coke.

Local Spirits Take Flight
New Haven-based distiller Pinckney Bend is already distributed in seven states. Its next market may well be overseas. The small-batch distillery recently participated in a trade delegation to China to explore market opportunities for Missouri agricultural products in the northern provinces of Xinjiang and Shandong. And while Mastermind Vodka is on shelves and behind bars in Illinois, Missouri and Nebraska – with Kansas coming soon – the company’s new LPR Moonshine is in negotiations with Latin America.

RTD Cocktails
Ready-to-drink cocktails are everywhere. For convenience and quality, try Fluid Dynamics bottled cocktails or The 36th Vote, a barrel-aged Manhattan by High West Distillery. While St. Louis has yet to see a local bartender launch a line of bottled cocktails (like Charles Joly of Chicago’s The Aviary just did with his brand Crafthouse), local spots Little Country Gentleman and Cielo are bottling some crafty ‘tails in-house.

Japan on the Rise
The Land of the Rising Sun is heating up with all things alcoholic. Hard-to-find Yamazaki is a favorite to wet your whiskey whistle, but if you’re willing to break the bank, try Nikka Yoichi. The Wine Merchant’s Dave Davis called this 15-year single malt, aged in bourbon and sherry casks, his whiskey of the year. And while you’re there, wow your sake off with light and fruity market newbie Ichishima Silk Deluxe Junmai. Beer? Hitachino Nest White Ale. Order it at Mai Lee and Hiro Asian Kitchen. Kanpai!

Boilermakers Go Highbrow
A beer and a shot of whiskey is a time-honored combo, but we’re seeing the boilermaker (Yes, the one-two punch does have a classy name.) get classed up on both coasts as bartenders put some creative brew-and-spirits couplings on drink menus. What whiskey pairs best with 4 Hands Brewing Co.’s Divided Sky Rye IPA or Schlafly’s Black Lager Schwarzbier? We’re waiting for Show-Me guys and gals behind the stick to show us.



You-Brew Rescue
Help is on the way for aspiring homebrewers. J2 Brewing, opening soon in Chesterfield, lets you brew on-premise and lends a hand with the entire process, including storing your beer in a temperature-controlled room and even labeling your concoction, until you return to bottle those suds and take them home to swig ‘em.

You Say You Want a Revolution
With the recent openings of Alpha Brewing, Excel Brewing, Kaskaskia Brewing and Scratch Brewing, there are now 23 breweries within 75 miles of downtown St. Louis. But the revolution is hardly over. Look for Heavy Riff, Side Project Brewing and Modern Brewery to open in the near future, while Urban Chestnut’s second brewing facility is expected to open in The Grove early next year.

Old-World Styles, New-World Interest
The Brewers Association recently added some old, almost forgotten styles to the judging categories at this year’s Great American Beer Festival, including Grätzer and Adambier. In addition, the common sour (acidic beer of the past), is enjoying a renaissance both locally – Schlafly’s Oud Bruin, Perennial Artisan Ales’ Kriek and Urban Chestnut’s Ku’Damm – and nationally – Odell’s Friek, Gueuzerie Tilquin’s Gueuze Tilquin and Goose Island’s Juliet.

Hopping from Number to Name
Experimental hops are labeled by generic numbers when they first start out, but once they’re proven performers, these hops are given a name to make them easier to remember. Citra, El Dorado and Mosaic are popular hop varieties that were baptized with a nom de brew and put into production within the last several years. Taste them in Sierra Nevada Torpedo, Firestone Walker Sixteen and Deschutes Hop Henge.

Beer-Style Barn Raising
Farmhouse ales – earthy, bright and session-able – were brewed on the farm to serve to the hands. Now, they’re the hottest category in beer. The light, dry body of these saisons, bière de gardes and other Belgian ales is offset by big, bold flavors, making them extremely enjoyable, approachable and popular with all beer drinkers.

-Additional reporting by Jaime Kilgore, Ted Kilgore and Cory King



By Ligaya Figueras

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