Red, White & Brew: Ski Country’s Brew
This year, local brewery Crazy Mountain has teamed up with Ski Country 101.7 to provide a way for local families to benefit from all of the beer that we drink over the holidays.Released Dec. 7, 100 percent of the proceeds from Ski Country’s Brew sold through Crazy Mountain Brewery will be donated to the Salvation Army, according to a news release. The money raised will go toward the Salvation Army’s food pantry, emergency-assistance program, emergency shelters and Christmas food basket program, the release said.”We found a local business to underwrite the beer, so basically they paid for the hard costs and allowed us to donate 100 percent of what we make on the beer to the Salvation Army,” said Kevin Selvy, the brewer at Crazy Mountain.Selvy said Crazy Mountain is selling the beer through its tasting room and also encouraging bars and restaurants across the state that carry the beer to donate back their profits from it.”We’re taking a little money and turning it into a pretty sizeable donation for the Salvation Army,” Selvy said. “It brings the community together to help the Salvation Army in their time of need.”And this special red ale is tasty. Selvy said Crazy Mountain brought in some red hops from New Zealand and dry-hopped it pretty aggressively.”There’s a little big of a malt backbone to it, but it’s a really hop-forward beer,” Selvy said. “You don’t see any bitterness from it, but it’s up front with the fruit profile that these hops present.”Selvy said the beer has blackberry and piney notes and the hops give it a silky mouth feel. I trundled it along to a recent Christmas party, and my friends described it as very hoppy, a combination of flavors ranging from a bold red to an imperial IPA. The beer was a hit, as I was barely able to snatch a can for myself before they were gone. “It’s a pretty cool beer,” Selvy said. “It’s been selling like crazy.”This beer sells for $9.50 per six-pack and is available at Crazy Mountain Brewery.
I’ve found that people will continue to invite me to holiday get-togethers if I always bring a good bottle of wine, in addition to my sparkling personality. This year, I brought four bottles, two red and two white, as we were having ham and turkey. The first one we opened for the evening was this 2009 Chateau Haut-Belian Bordeaux.As it turned out, the bottle was gone long before the meal even started, as you can’t cook a proper Christmas dinner without a glass of wine – or three.The bulk of this blend is merlot, 45 percent, rounded out with cabernet sauvignon and cabernet Franc. The combination makes for a wine with medium alcohol and tannins with very subtle fruit notes. In fact, I detected very little fruitiness at all.Wine is also for snacking (in fact, wine is for every occasion, with or without food), so I paired a glass of this Bordeaux with an array of olives. The zestier varieties bumped up the subtle spices of the bottle, while the intermittent bits of savory pickled garlic coaxed out the fruit in the wine.This Bordeaux is easy to drink, and the cabernet fruits mellow the harsher tannins usually brought along by the merlot, taking away some of that scorched-mouth dryness and smoothing out the palate.This wine sells for $9.99 to $10.99 for a bottle or $17.99 to $18.99 for a magnum and is available at Alpine Wine & Spirits in West Vail, Avon Liquors, Riverwalk Wine & Spirits and West Vail Liquor Mart.