Visit a winery during the harvest season and you're bound to find beer -- often a keg. Well, after putting together this week's What We Drank, it is clear to me that it must be harvest season -- even the wine writers are drinking beer.
From Bryan Calandrelli: Ithaca Brewing Company Cascazilla Red AleThey say it takes a lot of beer to make good wine. Well I'm following their advice this week with all the crushing, punching down and pressing going on.
My fellow Niagara NYCR contributor enthusiastically recommended Ithaca Brewing Co.'s Cascazilla Red Ale. With a sweet Irish Red style body and an unrelenting attack of hops that resembles a west coast IPA, this beer keeps your palate busy with every sip. Subtlety is not this beer's style and the same can be said of the person who put it on my radar.
All in all a fun beer that quenches my parched palate at the end of a long day of wine making. Best served slightly chilled and consumed in a vineyard on a cool autumn post harvest evening.
From Julia Burke: Lagunitas Brewing Company Hop Stoopid Ale
I was lucky enough to experience this bombshell of an American Double IPA in cask form. I've found this to be a surprisingly perfect way to enjoy a well-balanced IPA, and Hop Stoopid, the badass member of Lagunitas's "Farmhouse" lineup, was no exception.
From the handpull Hop Stoopid pours a cloudy, rusty hay color and settles with a creamy one-and-a-half-finger head. A surprisingly subtle nose of fruit esters (banana and some peach), lemon/honey, light malts, and yeast gave way to layer after layer of hoppy goodness, always in harmony with the sizeable malt presence that this temperature brings out in a good beer.
The label warns that this beer is "so hoppy it threatens to remove the enamel from one's teeth," but there's no soapy resin, no dishwater, no signs of over-hopping, despite the brewery's use of an amazing 5 lbs of hops per barrel when making this beer.
In the bottle, carbonation exacerbates bitterness and could skew this beer into the unbalanced, but it's so well-suited to the cask I highly recommend seeking it out in this form.
From Lenn Thompson: Troegs Brewing Company Troegenator Double Bock
As many of you know, I'm an obsessed Pittsburgh Steelers fan, which means that I very rarely miss watching or listening to the games every Sunday. I'm also a man of many superstitions.
When I watch the game at home, I typically drink wine, but at least one beer must be consumed, preferably a PA-made brew, from a particular Steelers beer glass with the logo facing the television (I'm not joking). The rules are a little different when I'm on the road (I don't take my glass with me) but the PA-born beer is still a must.
Luckily, Croxley's Ale House, where I met up with my buddy Aaron to watch the early games yesterday can be counted on for at least one beer made in my home state. Yesterday, it was this Troegenator Double Bock from one of my favorite breweries in the east -- Troegs Brewing Company.
I didn't love this one though. It was a little too sweet for me, the rich maltiness was a little out of balance. Maybe I was just craving some added hoppy bitterness? I did like the spiciness though.
And, the Steelers won, so it's possible that I'll drink this beer again, superstitious guy that I am.
From Evan Dawson: Channing Daughters Winery 2007 Mosaico
I don't obsess over which wine to pair with which meal every evening, but this past weekend required some thoughtful consideration.
We were invited to dinner -- more like a four-hour food relay -- where our hosts had prepared a stunning lineup. They had already selected a 1999 Brunello to pair with the pork tenderloin. They asked us to bring a white for the earlier courses.
The menu included oyster shooters, focaccia pizza (pictured), prosciutto-wrapped scallops, and gouda / cheddar / beer soup (pictured). With seafood on the menu, we pored over our half-case from Channing Daughters.
Tasting the whites at Channing Daughters practically begged for seafood, so we were confident that this would be a good choice. The Mosaico, a blend of blend of pinot grigio, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, muscat, tocai friulano, and gewurztraminer, was beautiful, nicely complementing the various courses without stealing the show.
From Tom Mansell: Thirsty Owl Wine Company 2007 Syrah
A little while ago, Evan wrote a story about growing syrah in the Finger Lakes and Thirsty Owl is one of my regular stops on the Cayuga Wine Trail, so I gave this 2007 Syrah a shot.
It starts out with a little funk (H2S?) on the nose, which blows off eventually. The lovely pepper character of cool-climate syrah the makes itself known, followed by some dark fruit.
Fresh blueberry and more pepper on the palate, with stark acidity, almost to a fault. If these guys could keep the acid down a bit, this wine would really be something.
A great example of the potential of this variety in the Finger Lakes.