Castellroig Brut Cava

Do you like to try new things? This sparkling wine out of Catalonia, Spain is made of a blend of grapes that you have probably never heard of: Macabeo, Xarel-lo, and Parellada. The wine is creamy and yeasty with lots of bread-based aromas on the nose. The mouthfeel has just right amount of acidity with citrus fruits on the palate. A lingering finish leaves you wanting that next sip. This is probably one of my favorite sparkling wines under $20…like, ever!

Gruet Rosé

Prior to getting hooked on this wine, New Mexico wasn’t the first region that came to mind when I thought of premier sparkling wine growing areas. Since 1987, Gruet has been doing a good job of changing people’s minds and putting NM on the map for stellar, affordable, high-quality sparkling. Although their entire portfolio is great, the rosé in particular stands out among the rest. Gilbert Gruet and his wife Danielle followed their dream to produce Champagne and, after successfully establishing a wine-producing co-op in France, happened upon a great opportunity while traveling through the Southeastern United States. The Gruet family met a group of European winemakers successfully planting vines in… Read more »

Green Flash Road Warrior Imperial Rye IPA

I helped a little road warrior today. She was trying to ride her bike through the alleys behind our house but kept falling off every minute or so. I noticed that her handlebars were loose and kept flopping back and forth, obviously contributing to her periodic crashing. I asked her about the bike. She said it was her cousins and that they tried to fix it but couldn’t. Being that I’m a bit of a bicycle fanatic I was more than excited to offer a helping hand. I ran in the house, grabbed my trusty adjustable wrench, ran back out of the house (stubbed my toe in the process, but it was… Read more »

Jolly Pumpkin + Anchorage Brewing “Calabaza Boreal”

Oak aged & bottle conditioned ale brewed with grapefruit peel, fresh squeezed grapefruit juice & peppercorns, 7% ABV. As I was leaving work last night it kept staring at me. We had just got in the new collaboration from Jolly Pumpkin + Anchorage Brewing Company Calabaza Boreal and I knew I couldn’t go another night without seeing what the hype was about. Before the short walk home I grabbed some “wingettes” to pair with my rather tasty garlic/herb and white wine rub and walked home. Having forgot my headphones I decided to read the label a bit as I normally like to look for words of wisdom in and outside… Read more »

Poperings Hommel Ale

After a productive day of back-beaking yard work there is only one thing I really want to do: Throw some food on the grill, crack open a cold beer, kick back, relax, and admire the fruits of my labor. This past Sunday I did just that. The beer consumed after my landscaping tour de force was Poperings Hommel Ale, produced by Brouwerij Van Eecke in Belgium. Twas the perfect victory beer after conquering the overgrown foliage. After all that physical exertion I didn’t want anything too heavy, but at the same time, I didn’t want to drink something akin to bubbly yellow water either. The Poperings was just what the doctor ordered. Not too heavy, not too light…. Read more »

Rehorst Gin from Great Lakes Distilling

Did you know that Wisconsin is actually a world renowned agricultural area for ginseng? Apparently, it’s second in production only to South Korea, and even then, most of Wisconsin’s ginseng is exported to Asia for use in tea, food, and medicine. I was completely unaware of those fun facts until I had the pleasure of tasting Rehorst Gin. Bear with me. For centuries, people have classified gin into, more or less, two types: London Dry (piney, very dry, juniper and spruce notes) and Dutch Genever (light and malty, rye driven, hints of spice). Of course, leave it to human innovation to find new and exciting ways to make spirits. In the… Read more »

Renaissance Stonecutter Scotch Ale

Do you like beer? Do you like Scotch? Then I have the perfect beer for you…  Stonecutter from New Zealand’s Renaissance Brewery is among the most interesting examples of the Scotch Ale style that I’ve yet to come across. I’ve had my fair share of Scotch ales. In fact, the first beer review I ever wrote was about a pair of Scotch ales (here).  But what sets the Stonecutter apart from the rest of ’em is its amazing balance between strength and elegance, along with a spot on characteristic of Islay Scotch whisky. Stonecutter pours a beautiful dark brown color in the glass. Aromas and flavors of caramel, sweet malt,… Read more »

Evil Twin Justin Blabaer Berliner-weiss

Justin Blabaer Evil Twin, Westbrook Brewing Company, and The Charleston Beer Exchange Blueberry Berliner-weiss 4.5% In a world full of gimmicky labels every once in a while you find quality inside. This seems to always be the case with the mysterious gypsy brewer Evil Twin (Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergso). Jeppe also happens to be the brother of fellow gypsy brewer Mikkel Borg Bjergso (Mikkeller). In his latest collaboration, Evil Twin teamed up with Westbrook Brewing Company (South Carolina) and The Charleston Beer Exchange to brew a Blueberry Berliner-weiss called Justin Blabaer. A what you ask? A Berliner-weiss is a refreshing, slightly sour beer from Berlin, Germany. It is almost always served with… Read more »

Louis Roederer Brut Premier

For those of you out there who are tired of the same old mainstream bottles of bubbly and would like to “ball on a budget,” I recommend Louis Roederer Brut Premier.  Amazing sparkling wine from the world-renowned growing region of Champagne, France.  The style is fresh, toasty, and just all around awesome.  The nose has beautiful lemon and green apple, along with the minerality that makes Champagne what it is.  On the palate, we find some light orchard fruit along with buttery, toasty components that give an unparalleled mouthfeel.  The finish is focused, biscuity, and reminiscent of brioche with a hint of cherry pit.  I recommend drinking this wine with any and everything,… Read more »

Domaine la Bastide Syrah

I’ll be the first to admit I can have a pretty expensive palate. With so much good wine to drink, I’ll make concessions for the price point if I really love it. That said, this is absolutely one of my favorite wines from a region that can really climb in cost, and it’s amazingly inexpensive for the quality. It over-delivers in the best way and it’s one of my best kept secrets for impressing on a budget. As a Syrah from southern France, it’s already going to be dense, lush and fruity, but this particular producer leaves this wine unfiltered so it offers yet another layer of silky texture and… Read more »