Vail Red White & Brew: A special, Imperial brew |

Vail Red White & Brew: A special, Imperial brew

Vail Daily staff reportsnewsroom@vaildaily.comVail, CO Colorado
Vail beer review: Samuel Adams Imperial White is among the best beer Vail Daily's review has ever had

VAIL – This beer doesn’t make any sense, at least at first, Vail Valley.In the beer world, the “imperial” tag generally means “more,” and is most often applied to stouts, bocks and other beers use can use in hand-to-hand combat. “White” or “wit” beers, on the other hand, are generally lighter, and suited toward warm-weather drinking (code for, “Man, where’d that one go? Please bring me another.”)All of which leads up to the seeming disconnect with an “imperial white.”But in Sam we trust.Maybe it’s the barrage of national commercials, but it’s easy to think of Samuel Adams as a kind of starter craft brew. But make no mistake, these guys know what they’re doing. This white beer is proof.There’s a lot more cloudiness, a richer amber color, and a lot more flavor. This isn’t necessarily something you’d want to sit down and pound after an afternoon of yard work, or even an afternoon floating the river. Besides, the price doesn’t exactly encourage swilling.But this beer is a delight. In fact, it’s among the best white beers I’ve had, and distinctive for its richness, and fully deserving of the “imperial” handle.At $10 for a four-pack, this isn’t a beer you’ll buy for a backyard barbecue, especially if you have to share. But for those special nights when you’ve found just the right hunk of wild-caught salmon and garden-grown greens for a salad, this is the stuff.Visit for more information. Scott N. Miller, Daily staff writer

One of my favorite things about pinot grigio is that it screams summertime; another is that it goes with just about any food, anytime, anywhere.Robert Mondavi’s private selection 2008 pinot grigio, from Woodbridge, Calif., lives up to my definition of pinot grigio – light, refreshing and crisp with subtle notes of just the right fruits. Upon first sip it’s citrus that really stands out. Swirl the glass around and enjoy the aromas of it before tasting it again – this time you’ll taste pear and citrus, with exactly the right amounts of each. The finish is crisp and light, lingering on the palate for the perfect amount of time.This wine makes for some good, easy drinking. Picture a hammock hanging from two trees in a nice shady area under the summer sun and you’ll see the bottle practically drink itself. This pinot grigio pairs well with food. The flavors are mild, making it just as good with a summer salad as with a seafood ceviche or a grilled skirt steak. Cuisine styles barely matter – this pinot can stand up to spicy ethnic foods as well as mild flavors. If you’re invited to a dinner party and you’re not sure what kind of wine to bring, this is your answer. The guests will love it and the food will complement it, almost guaranteed. Visit for more information. Lauren Glendenning, Daily staff writer

With so many nice, modestly priced wines coming out of South America nowadays, I was prepared to love this Cab from Chile’s Maipo Valley by virtue of the label alone. These grapes come from the foot of the Andes, outside Santiago, with the powerhouse vintner Concha y Toro leading the pack. Santa Ema is a smaller outfit – a family winery with roots in Italy and a stated commitment to an Italian style of grape growing and fermentation.The fact that this dark red, heavy-bottomed Cab is not exactly a summer wine aside, the high tannins and tart top notes of this bottle is not for everyone. Since I’ve already used “dark,” “deep” and “heavy,” I’ll let those adjectives stand, reiterate the higher tannins and add that berries, plum, coffee and smoke form the lower end of the flavor palette. As is usually the case with a wine of this nature, it improved greatly after the being liberated from the cork for a few hours, but it still doesn’t hold a candle to many of the great, cheap Cabs pouring out of California, Oregon and Washington. Even if you’re just counting your carbon footprint, why go for a sub-par Cab all the way from Chile when better ones are coming from right around the corner?Still, nine months in French oak and another four in the bottle has tempered the Santa Ema somewhat. I’d be tempted to try it again later in the year. November, maybe.You can find this wine at West Vail Liquor Mart.Alex Miller, Summit Daily editor

Support Local Journalism