David Flaherty: Sorachi Ace, Brooklyn BreweryBrooklyn Brewery Brewmaster, Garrett Oliver, is a mad man. He could easily rest on his laurels with all the great beers he's produced, but he relentlessly pushes the envelope again and again. Every two months or so, he and his motley crew of brewers in Williamsburg release their Brewmaster's Reserve Series (which I'm happy to say, will always have a home on my draft list at Terroir Tribeca).Although not his latest release, I finally got around to tasting the Sorachi Ace. It blew my doors off. I'm a huge fan of Saison-style beers (Belgian Farmhouse Ales which are usually brewed with Belgian yeasts, unfiltered and seasoned with coriander and lemon zest).
In this case, Garrett and team are using the rare 'Sorachi Ace' hop which was developed in 1988 by a large Japanese brewery but is rarely found in the U.S. Brooklyn Brewery sources it from a hop farm in Oregon and it is the only hop used in this beer, so as to focus on its unique character.
It's a delicous beast and is the perfect tipple for the end of the Summer. Golden in color, it smacks you willingly in the mouth with a bright, spicy lemon character. It's bold and yet incredibly drinkable, finishing dry and leaving you refreshed, quenched and ready for another smack.
It must have sub-consciously inspired my wife and I's latest homebrew because we wanted a saison that REALLY smacks you in the mouth with flavor. For a good time, check out our awesome (and controversial) Green Chili Saison, click here.
Evan Dawson: Raphael 2007 Sauvignon Blanc
We brought two: a 2007 Chablis and this Long Island white.
The Chablis smelled and tasted like briny ocean air and green apple, while the Raphael was all about snappy apple, lemongrass and grapefruit.
Curiously, in isolation the Rapahel gave off a whiff of that classic Long Island white wine salinity, but it was much more subdued when sampling it next to the terroir missile that was the Chablis.
Both were big hits.
Summer is waning, sadly, and I have grown to love the combination of shellfish and Long Island whites.
By the way, that's our bacon-wrapped cherry tomato in the pic; it's not some bizarre clam.
For me, this is a wine with a story -- and it has nothing to do with its origin.
And I have Evan Dawson and Tom Mansell to thank for it.
Last winter, Tom and I engaged in a weight-loss challenge. The first one to lose 10% of his starting weight would receive a case of wine from the other not to exceed $250, selected by Evan. Tom worked hard to win...but he didn't know what he was up against. I won handily and it was time for the wines.
Evan and I talked a bit and he convinced me that he could put together a KILLER half-case for that money and after a look at my cellar revealed very little space, I relented.
This is the first wine from that winning half-case that I've opened and wow was it good.
I don't know a ton about CdP, but I know that I love the savory qualities they often have. This one was gamey with rosemary, lavender and other herbs on the nose with a smokey bacon-meets-fresh asphalt quality to it -- with black raspberry and black cherry beneath.
Big and dense, the flavors matched the nose beautifully, with chewy tannins creating a combination of flavors and structure that made me crave roast leg of lamb.
At $80, it's not something I can drink often, but CdP hits me right where I like it. Thanks, Evan and thanks Tom.
It takes a lot of beer to make good wine, or so the saying goes. Ithaca Beer Co. is the gracious host of the annual Ithaca Brew Fest, and this year they came out swinging.
In addition to their standard and seasonal fare, they were pouring their White Gold and this lovely American Pale Ale.
Outdoor Ale is wet-hopped with freshly-harvested local Willamette hops, which provide a really cool grassy nose.
Behind the grass there are all kinds of tropical fruit notes (it's like the sauvignon blanc of beer!) with some bubble gum/cotton candy thrown in.
It finishes with a good amount of bitterness and is a refreshing harvest offering, perfect for after a hot day of picking and pressing.