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Vail Daily beer & wine reviews

Vail Daily staffVail, CO Colorado

Samuel Smith’s Winter Welcome Ale is always a welcoming harbinger of the cooler winter season and the short days and long nights to come. This full-bodied English ale has a rich, malty character with hints of floral aromas emanating from the Fuggle and Golding hops.Drinking any Samuel Smith’s brew is like holding on to a valuable piece of the history of beer making. The Samuel Smith’s Brewery in Tadcaster, England, was founded in 1758 and is Yorkshires oldest brewery. The rich Samuel Smith’s strain of yeast dates from the early 1900s, and the brewing water is drawn from a well sunk over 200 years ago. No wonder their beer styles have become the benchmark for brewers all over the world. Winter ales are historically somewhat higher in alcohol and richness, to be enjoyed for the winter holidays with friends and family. These hardier beers are great accompaniments to the richer and heavier foods of winter. Elk, venison, rack of lamb, smoked foods, fresh pears and apples all are wonderful pairings for this traditional winter ale. Samuel Smith’s Winter Welcome Ale is always a well-balanced beer, the malts and hops providing the back bone and the acid contributing to the refreshing finish. This ale is 6 percent alcohol.This beer is available at Avon Liquor, West Vail Liquor Mart, Beaver Liquors, Alpine Wine & Spirits in West Vail, Pier 13 Liquor in Eagle-Vail, Riverwalk Wine & Spirits in Edwards and Eagle Ranch Wine & Spirits.Cary Hogan, Avon Liquor

OK, perhaps it’s not yet time to say “Look out, Napa and Bordeaux …,” but Colorado wines are definitely moving out of the dark ages. Syrah (or Shiraz, if you prefer) especially seems to be a grape that’s fond of Western Slope climate, and this 2006 bottle from Canyon Wind in Palisade is no exception. With a deep plum color and a straightforward presentation of bold fruit, this full-bodied red is well worth taking for a spin. With a few years in the bottle, it’s fair to assume the Canyon Wind has mellowed on the tannin side. It opens up nicely in less than an hour and has the kind of jammy sweetness associated with Syrah – but not so much that it’s cloying. Smooth and drinkable, there’s a ton of reasons to reach for a bottle of this before grabbing, say, one of those big Aussi Shiraz’s. For one thing, it feels good to support a Colorado winery – especially if they’re going to kick out a bottle as nice as this. For another, why not buy something that came 100 miles instead of 8,000 or so?While not a labeled “organic,” Canyon Wind is a winery that uses lots of good sustainable practices, such as nonscary pesticides, no herbicide use and water-saving techniques. As an “estate” winery, everything’s done on site there in Palisade, so there’s no shipping until it’s bottled. Fine on its own or good against hearty meat or pasta dishes, Canyon Wind’s Syrah is a nice find and available at Beaver Liquors in Avon as well as West Vail Liquor Mart. There’s also a tasting room in Georgetown – not a bad place to spend some time next time the tunnel closes. Which should be any day now …You can find this wine at Alpine Wine & Spirits in West Vail, Beaver Creek Fine Wines, West Vail Liquor Mart and Grappa. Alex Miller, Summit Daily Editor


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