Vail Red, White & Brew: A big, hoppy journey |

Vail Red, White & Brew: A big, hoppy journey

Vail Daily staff reportsnewsroom@vaildaily.comVail, CO Colorado
Special to the Vail DailyVail Daily's reviewer says Avery duganA double IPA is how imagine the Ent-draught from Tolkien's Fellowship of the Rings would taste - earthy, biting, sweet and invigorating

There’s no doubt that Avery’s duganA IPA is an India Pale Ale. It’s got all the characteristics beer geeks expect from a fine example of one of the hoppiest beer styles ever created – this beer is bitter, resinous, herbal and not for everyone. In fact, since duganA is a double IPA, one might expect it to have an extra helping of all of these qualities, and in a way, it does. The copper-hued beer reeks of pine resin and sweet fruit and gives the nostrils an enlightening burn upon whiffing deeply, akin to how the medium-bodied ale burns the tongue on the way down (and even more so if you let it sit in the front of your mouth for a while – which, as all wine buffs know, is an excellent way to befriend the nuances of your drink).But the burn is a cleansing, liberating one, similar to the way followers of the Hindu goddess Ganga – who, not coincidentally, graces the duganA label – bathe in the Ganges River to wash away their sins and break free of the cycle of life and death. And the burn, as well as the bitterness and the spiciness, are not really “doubled” in this double IPA. Instead, their upped quotients perfectly complement the increased floral and fruity flavors in the brew to create an otherwordly nectar, kind of how I imagine the Ent-draught from Tolkien’s Fellowship of the Rings would taste – earthy, biting, sweet and invigorating. In other words, beautiful but badass.duganA is a big, hoppy journey, but the payoff is sublime for those that stay the course. Allow it to get cool, not cold, and let the cleansing liquid wash over you. Or just drink it – it’s kind of expensive to bathe in.You can find this beer at Beaver Liquors in Avon, Avon Liquors and Drink! in Edwards. Aaron Butzen, Daily correspondent

Before writing a wine review, it is generally good practice to read over the literature provided by the vineyard to get an idea of what the winemaker was attempting when creating the bottle. As I was reading about the Dancing Bull Sauvignon Blanc, I skimmed over the customary sections about the harvesting and fermenting process and the subtle tastes that are meant to come through, which ranged from citrus to fresh-cut grass. This time, I was on a mission. I was searching for the all-important food pairing suggestion at the end of the notes to give me an idea of what to cook for dinner. I was surprised to find that the winemaker claimed the wine could be paired with “just about anything.” I was intrigued. It sounded like a challenge.I pulled together a random assortment of foods and divided them into a few categories: something sweet, something bold and something tangy. From the sweet end, I chose a particularly delicious looking M&M chocolate chip cookie. Not quite the decadent dessert course, but I’m guessing most people have more cookies sitting around than vats of crme Brule or pans of tiramisu. The cookie brought out the sweetness of the wine, light and refreshing.For the next test, I pulled out the big guns. Bacon-wrapped jalapenos stuffed with cream cheese and sharp cheddar – that’s a whole lot of flavors for a white wine to stack up against. I was not disappointed. The more acidic, fruity tones came out and mingled well with the spiciness of the jalapeno and the richness of the bacon and cheese. I have to admit; I was impressed that the wine’s complexity shone through such strong flavors.On to the tangy test. The winemaker’s notes listed a veritable cornucopia of fruit flavors that were mingling around below the surface of the sauvignon blanc: grapefruit, lime, mango and kiwi. I decided to invite a clementine to the party. It was not well-received. The tartness and acidity of the fruit caused the wine to taste acrid. Perhaps something a little more subdued, such as a citrus marinade, would pair well, but this did not.This wine, although nothing special, was surprisingly versatile and a good, inexpensive one to have around when you’re cooking up “just about anything.”This wine can be found at Beaver Liquors in Avon and Eagle Ranch Wine & Spirits. – Krista Driscoll, Daily staff writer

If you are after a well-made wine that offers a lot of flavor for a very afordable price then this Saint-Emilion Bordeaux is for you. This wine is a blend of 75 percent merlot and 25 percent cabernet sauvignon. Chateau Comte Des Cordes is located on the left bank of the Bordeaux region of France. There are two different areas in the Bordeaux region – the right bank and the left bank. The main factor that make these areas different is the soil base. The left bank has a clay base that helps its main inhabitant – merlot – thrive, which helps the wine stay softer so they are better to drink at a much younger age. The right bank offers a more rocky, well-drained soil, which helps cabernet sauvignons roots thrive. This creates a much fuller wine that may take a few years to soften out.The town of Saint-Emilion is known for the wonderful, medieval walls that still sorounds it, with vinyards coming all the way up to the walls of the town. The vinyards from Chateau Comte Des Cordes are located next to the town of Saint-Emilion, on a seven-acre estate. The oak barrels that the wine is aged in consist of half new oak barrlels and half old oak barrels. This helps keep the wine a classic old world Bordeaux style, with a good fruit base and a balance of minerals and toast. The smells of rich rasberries and toffee, with a faint scent of earth. In the mouth, this wine offers a mouth-coating feel of tannins with a mid-palate of red fruits and a pleasant, long-lasting finish.The price of this bottle it is hard to beat! Best food choices would be beef, duck or pork. This wine is good right out of the bottle, or decanted for a hour.You can find this wine at Beaver Liquors in Avon and Riverwalk Wine & Spirits in Edwards. – Matthew A. Austin of Beaver Liquors in Avon

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