Red, White and Brew: Beer and wine reviews in Eagle County
The Wee Heavy is a Scotch ale. If you’re at all familiar with Samuel Adams’ repertoire of beers, you’ll point out that the brewery already has a Scotch ale. But the Wee Heavy is different. It’s the latest edition to the Samuel Adams Imperial Series, big beers that pack at least 9 percent alcohol by volume and also include a double bock, a white and a stout. The name “wee heavy” itself refers to the high alcohol content in this brew, but even at 10 percent, this beer goes down smooth and satisfying.The brewer touts Wee Heavy as an “intense, full-bodied beer inspired by the deep, roasted flavor and earthy smoke character of traditional Scotch ales and whiskies.” Scotch ales are generallly pretty in-your-face flavorful and pitched to get you drunk. This particular beer doesn’t have that overwhelming whiskey hit that a lot of these ales have, which can overpower the other components in the beer and make you feel like you’re sucking on diluted single malt instead of drinking a craft beer.I paired this beer with beef Wellington smothered in Bearnaise sauce and baked asparagus with tomatoes. There’s a lot going on in that meal, and the complexity of the beer complemented the complexity of the food flavors. The hops brought out the spices of thyme and oregano in the sauteed veal and the pungent shallots and tarragon in the Bearnaise sauce. The maltiness amped up the sweetness of the tomatoes, and the earthy character of the brew’s unique peat-smoked malt married well with the juicy beef tenderloin. I topped off the meal with a car bomb cupcake (chocolate with Guinness, Jameson Irish whiskey and Irish cream frosting), as the brewmaster recommended the beer with a chocolate dessert. Those roasted malts melted into the moist cupcake and did quite the happy palate dance in my mouth.Clearly, this beer is great with food, which might be a good idea considering the high alcohol content and the ease with which you can mow through a four-pack.This beer sells for $$ per four-pack and is available at Avon Liquors. (she’s calling me back)Krista Driscoll, Daily Staff Writer
So often used as a blend, it’s fun to find an inexpensive Sangiovese that stands perfectly well on its own. This bottle from the Molise region in Southern Italy is a very nicely balanced dry red of medium tannin and complexity that’s highly drinkable right now.There’s black currant in this mellow wine, plum, berries and leathery spice aplenty. We happened to have this bottle with a Beaujo’s pizza, which worked well, but it’d go nicely with any lighter dish like chicken or seafood (it might get a little lost against a heavier meat or pasta entre).DiMajo Norante is a winery that focuses on blending traditional organic farming methods with some newer processes to produce a wide variety of classic wines at a relatively low price. They’ve been making wines in this region since the days of the Romans, and it’s fair to say that rich history finds its way into every sip of this very nice Sangiovese. This wine sells for $12.99 and is available at Alpine Wine & Spirits in West Vail.Alex Miller, Summit Daily Editor
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