|Photo l Felicia D'Ambrosio|
A New Jersey-born homage to Belgian saison (which means season), Flying Fish Farmhouse Summer Ale is brewed from Belgian two-row pale and Cara Pils malts, as well as 7 percent white wheat. The ale is bittered and preserved with Magnum and Styrian Golding hops and lightly filtered.
Not as bitter or piney as an IPA, but with enough crisp, lemony notes to be refreshing, the saison style is an ideal for those who have graduated from feather-light white beers but don't want to clobber their tongue with hops and huge booze.
At 4.6 percent, this ale falls squarely into the sessionable category, and should pair nicely with food, especially lighter fare like summer salads, fish and grilled vegetables. Flying Fish's Web site also suggests using it as a marinade.
Tasting Notes: The beer pours a bright golden color with a substantial pure white head that fades quickly. It is highly effervescent. The nose is of cut grass. The major flavors I tasted were citrus, mostly lemon, as well as a subtle underlying malt sweetness. The hops are peppery and spicy but not overwhelming.
This beer is a good 101-Belgian style and a gentle introduction to craft beer for the industrial lager drinker, as well as being lighthearted enough to go down easy while barbecuing or playing softball. It was a wise choice to market it as a "summer ale" and not a saison, because hopheads and aficionados will find it wanting compared to Saison Dupont and Saison d'Erpe-Mere.
|Photo l Felicia D'Ambrosio|
|Patio drinking, anyone?|
Moore Brothers Wine Company in Pennsauken, New Jersey, has long been the go-to shop for oenophiles suffocated by the limited selection and disdainful storage of wines by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. Every one of their wines is selected from small producers in Europe and California, and from the moment it leaves the winery, is shipped and stored at 56 degrees Fahrenheit to preserve delicate flavors and aromas that are destroyed by the first hot truck or warehouse.
Reasonable prices are another appealing characteristic of Moore Bros. Their top-selling white wine for the last eight years running has been Chï¿½teau Turcaud Entre Deux Mers Blanc, a $12 white Bordeaux that harmonizes wonderfully with a wide variety of foods. Moore Brother's Web site states "this is stainless steel tank fermented wine, comprised of the classic Bordelaise varieties Sauvignon, Semillon, and Muscadelle, vinified at low temperature and meant to be drunk young and fresh."
Fresh is an apt way to describe this sprightly white, which has just a bit more body than a varietal Sauvignon Blanc. A deposit of Garonnaise gravel, "unusual on this side of the river," creates an underpinning of minerality to the bright forward grapefruit, pear and citrus notes. A gentle bite of acidity balances the youthful sweetness that finishes each swallow.
Greg Moore explained over the phone why Chï¿½teau Turcaud wine could be had for such reasonable prices:
The river Garonne flows down from the Pyrennes, and most of the Garronaise gravel is on the left bank; places like Pauillac, Mï¿½doc, Margaux.ï¿½ The right bank (where Entre-Deux-Mers is) is mostly clay limestone, with outcroppings of this gravel that produces really fine aromatics.ï¿½ It's just one of those unusual places.ï¿½ The guy (Maurice Roberts) just made a great selection in the Entre-Deux-Mers, which is awash in mediocrity.ï¿½ It's like building an Aston-Martin and having to put a Yugo logo on it. That's the story of of a lot of wine production; the wine is very good and undervalued 'cause it's Entre-Deux-Mers.
Snap up the values ($12 per bottle, $11.40 with case discount) at Moore Brothers, 7200 N. Park Drive, Pennsauken, N.J., 08109, 856-317-1177, moorebrothersblogs.com
|Photo courtesy Cantina Dos Segundos|
If John Bolaris isn't lying, the sun should emerge on Thursday, just in time for some outdoor revelry at Cantina Dos Segundos' Fiesta Herradura.
Attend the event if you're feeling like a little reposado or blanco will lively up your blood for what is supposed to be a warm and sunny weekend.ï¿½ The Northern Liberties hipster hot spot will be serving up Herradura cocktails, shots of tequila in hollowed-out cucumbers and Mexican "carnival" food, including chorizo corn dogs.
Pictured above is both Cantinas' signature, a shot of tequila alternately sipped with a shot of sangrita.ï¿½ The spicy, citrusy tomato juice cleanses the booze from your palate and can be so hot as to ensure you need another sip of tequila pronto.ï¿½ Check out our recipe for homemade sangrita here.
Fiesta kicks off at 6 p.m.; food available until 1 a.m, Thu., April 23.
Cantina Dos Segundos, 931 N. Second St., 215-629-0500, cantinadossegundos.com
|Photo l Felicia D'Ambrosio|
|Through the service window|
It's hard to believe that the overachieving Memphis Taproom, that salt-of-the-Earth Port Fishington pub, is only one year old.
Tomorrow at 5 p.m., partners in business and marriage Leigh Maida and Brendan "Spanky" Hartranft will throw open their doors to the rabble who have flocked to the taproom in the last year.ï¿½ Complimentary bites will be passed around (the kitchen isn't open for the regular menu) and some seriously fly kegs will be tapped -- check out the party list:
- St. Pieter's Taras Boulba (a house favorite)
- Schlenkerla Fastenbier
- Cantillon Vigneronne (a tart lambic with muscat grapes)
- De Dolle Dulle Teveï¿½ (rare on tap; sure to make the beer geeks damp)
- Bear Republic Racer X (a contender for Best IPA Of The Moment)
- North Coast Brother Thenlonious
- PBC Fleur De Lehigh
- Fuller's ESB
- Uerige Doppelsticke
- Sly Fox Instigator
- Stone Russian Imperial Stout
In order to make room for all these goodies, Memphis is offering deep discounts on draft beer tonight ater 7 p.m. -- so do your part and help them kick the kegs!ï¿½ Check out your mission-beers on their Web site.
Wednesday, April 22, 5 p.m., Memphis Taproom, 2331 E. Cumberland St., 215-425-4460, memphistaproom.com
|Photo l Michael Persico|
|Beer served mountain-style|
For more than a century, the Saranac (Matt Brewing Company) has turned out craft beer traditional to their German heritage as well as brews without precedent, like their new Pomegranate Wheat, included in their Beers of Summer 2009 mixed case.
A sunglass-wearing, pomegranate-juggling brown bear adorns the label of this Utica, New York beer, and the label promises "wheat beer fermented with pomegranate juice." As one of the oldest extant East Coast microbreweries, it is interesting to see Saranac take on the trendiest juice of 2007, pomegranate, for this offering.
A hearty pour from the 12-ounce brown glass bottle generates quite a bit of thin, creamy white head, which leaves minimal lace on the glass. The liquid is hazy and a pale amber-gold. A nose into the glass reveals a tart aroma that reminds me unpleasantly of tinned Chef Boyardee tomato sauce, or even worse, bile.
Sadly, tentative sips do little more than bear out the acidic spaghetti-and-meatballs theme. The brew is thin and assertively tart for a wheat ï¿½ perhaps a product of fermenting with pomegranate juice instead of adding it after lagering.ï¿½ It seems any natural sugar from the pomegranate juice was long digested by the yeast, leaving behind nothing that says "fruit" or "summer."
Hate to say it, but there is nothing redeeming about this foul punch. Stick to Berlinerweisse when searching for a wheatie with a bit of refreshing grapefruit sourness.
|Photo l Neal Santos|
|Two new drinks at Morton's The Steakhouse|
Morton's The Steakhouse is not just a meat locker. Its bar stocks fresh fruit and house-made foams to create new springy cocktails that will please more than just (former) Amex Black i-bankers.
Their Heavenly Strawberry Mint Margarita shakes up fresh berries and mint with tequila, Cointreau and lime, while the Cool as a Cucumber muddles cukes with vodka, elderflower liqueur St. Germain and ginger beer for a surprisingly complex quaff.
Though the new spring drinks are not included, their new Power Hour (5-6:30 p.m. daily) features discounted ($8) cosmopolitans, martinis and Palm Beach cocktails, as well as $6 Canyon Ranch wines and $4 Sam Adams and Budweisers, along with food specials.
Try your hand at Morton's new drinkables in the comfort of home ï¿½ recipes after the jump.
Morton's The Steakhouse, 1411 Walnut St # 2, 215-557-0724, mortons.com
|Photo l Neal Santos|
Heavenly Strawberry Mint Margarita
3 whole Fresh Strawberries
3 sprig Fresh Mint
2 oz Cuervo Gold
ï¿½ oz Cointreau
ï¿½ oz Agave Syrup
1 Fresh Lime Squeezed
2 oz Heavenly Foam **
Squeeze 1 lime into shaker. Halve 3 strawberries and place in shaker. Add 3 sprigs of mint. Pour in Syrup, Cuervo Gold and Cointreau. Add ice. Shake 15 times and strain. Top with Heavenly Foam.
Heavenly Foam Recipe
Whipped Cream Maker with CO2 cartridge
5 oz Pasterized Egg Whites
5 oz Purfect Puree Raspberry Puree
5 oz Chambord
1 Fresh Lemon Squeeze
Measure all ingredients into foamer. Close lid and add charge. Shake vigorously for 5 seconds to blend ingredients. Yield: 5-6 drinks.
|Photo l Neal Santos|
Cool As A Cucumber
12 oz rocks glass with ice
1 1/2 oz Absolut 100
1 oz St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
1 Fresh Lime Squeeze
3 slices Fresh Cucumber
2 oz Ginger Beer
Squeeze in fresh lime juice into shaker. Muddle 3 slices of cucumber in shaker. Add St. Germain, Absolut 100 and ginger beer. Add ice. Shake 15 times. Fill rocks glass with ice. Strain into glass.
Cucumber slice and black straw
For the inaugural edition of our seasonal special, Patio Drinking, we cross the Atlantic to bring you a warm-weather intoxicant straight from the plazas of sunny Spain: kalimotxo.
Kalimotxo (Basque) or calimocho (Catalan) is a fifty-fifty blend of cheap red wine and Coca-Cola, served over plenty of ice in a short glass tumbler.ï¿½ The mixture is also often drunk out of plastic bottles called minis, katxi, macetas, litros, cubalitros or jarras.ï¿½ The kalimotxo is made by pouring out half of a liter bottle of cola and pouring in the red wine.ï¿½ These minis can then be shared by drinkers, usually Spanish teenagers, at botellï¿½nes -- outdoor parties in public spaces.
The sweet potion is said to have originated at a 1972 summer festival in Algorta, Spain, when some young vendors realized "the wine they had planned to sell tasted not just bad but toxic, and added Coca-Cola and ice to mask the flavor," writes Jonathan Miles in a 2007 New York Times article. "It was an improbable hit."
The type of wine used to make kalimotxo falls at the low end of even a teenager's booze budget.ï¿½ Indeed, Miles hits it on the head with his grape juice recommendation: " if you wish to follow botellï¿½n tradition, harsh and cheap. The kind of wine that begs for a little helping hand."
Since Coca-Cola is about as sweet as a beverage can be, stick with dry reds with a little tannic bite for best results.ï¿½ The big, 1500 ml. bottle ofï¿½ Bolla Sangiovese is $15.99 at PLCB stores -- enought to make a few minis for you and all your best underage chums.
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