Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Tasting notes - Quelque Chose

My oenophile friends swear by rosé as the most underrated and under-appreciated style of wine. Unfairly burdened by a dark history fraught with white zinfandel, Bartles & James wine coolers, and the connotative connection to Boone's Farm strawberry wine, rosé lurks under the radar at a sub-premium price (along with merlot) while offering spectacular variety and a unparalleled grape-refreshment ratio.

On the other end of the seasonal spectrum, I, on the other hand, try yearly to convince the holiday hordes to come bow before almighty mull, that wicked alchemy of wine, sinisterly warmed with spices, and in my personal recipe, blended with no short order of table sugar and sweet vermouth. My friends joke that a good, choking cough upon first taste of my mull is a sign that the magic elixir is fit for general consumption.

Betwixt the two, an unholy union has given rise to something truly bizarre, faintly sinister, and compellingly delish. Behold the "something" that is Unibroue's Quelque Chose. Picked up in the most unlikely of places (Mill Valley's Whole Foods, if you need to know), this incredibly uncommon find is a true Jekyll and Hyde of the beer-drinking world. Chambly's finest brewery suggests that you either drink this virtually uncarbonated concoction on the rocks (mind you, this is a beer brewed with dark malts and cherries - a combination most people would associate with a beer like Ommegang's Three Philosophers) for a cool refreshing aperitif, or warm in a glass as a bit of a winter warmer. Amazingly, it survives both applications and contributes wonderfully to whatever surrounding its in, delivering both the sweetness of cherries when warm, yet more redolent of strawberries and mint when cool.

With daytime temps in the high 70's, the sun beaming down and casting warm pollinated breezes about the inland valleys of Northern California, it happily plays the role of the underdog rosé as its mild acidity and easy, light fruit nose refreshingly ease the pallette and quench a Sunday afternoon's thirst. When the sun goes down, the mercury's been slipping into the 40's, and that 750mL bottle of Quebec ruby has warmed up next to a building fire, and the mull side of the beast comes out, slightly syrupy, slightly sweet, and completely comforting. What's truly amazing is how under both guises, it's almost indistinguishable from wine. Truly a feat of illusion, mesmerization, or something altogether more diabolical...

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

SF Newcraft

While I wasn't looking, what with all the babyfeedin' and workin' and teachin' and rockin' out and such, the folks over at SF Brewcraft did a quiet relaunch of their website, along with a brand spanking new blog of their own, not to mention the next t-shirt I'll be buying (I'm a medium, in case you're feeling gracious).

Ach, if Griz only knew my secret ambition to open up a Brewcraft North, complete with dog, garden chair in the sun, and "no cell phones - yes to about everything else" sign in the front window... sigh.

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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Third time's a charm

It's always a pleasant reminder of the season change when the hop shoots start emerging from the winter soil. Alas, in the years we've lived here, our hops have never blossomed thanks to our shaded foresty locale, but it is always nice to watch the bines attempt to overtake the garden.

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Friday, March 02, 2007

Breaking news!

My favorite glass broke (frowny face). One of the joys of being a beer snob is collecting a variety of drinking vessels so as to most perfectly enjoy the vast cross-section of the world's brews as nature intended them. So now I have a new favorite:

All the best for maximum sniffage and swirly, swishy, lacy goodness - all the while reminding me of Belgian swashbuckling goodness. I know, it sounds naughty.

On the other hand, this glass, made by the wonderful folks up at Russian River, may have mine beat on account of its sheer elegance.

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