Vail Red, White & Brew: Beer you grew up with
VAIL, Colorado – Sometimes a hard-working Vail Valley resident justs want a beer. Nothing fancy, nothing that’s going to make you sit up and say “yowza!,” just a beer that you can enjoy with a burger, or out in the porch swing while you’re not doing much of anything. Which brings us to this week’s beer.Oskar Blues is famous – or infamous, depending on your taste – for producing in-your-face brews. I don’t know a lot of people who pick up any of their stuff on a regular basis. Mostly, it’s a special occasion kind of brewery, with beers suitable for showing off some of Colorado’s craft-brewing handiwork or washing away a hellish day at work.Little Yella Pils is different. It’s a variation of the kind of beer most Americans grew up with – pretty light, excellent when it’s ice-cold and perfect for those hot summer nights when two just won’t do. It even comes in a can (as do all the brews from Oskar Blues). If you like Bud, you’ll probably like this.But that’s not to say that Oskar Blues has gone mass-market on us. There’s a little bit of cloudiness in this beer, and it’s a deeper amber than a can from one of our major breweries. There’s a little bit of a “tang!” to Little Yella Pils, too, which you probably won’t notice if you finish off a can before it warms up past, say, 40 degrees. Which is pretty easy to do.Truth be told, it’s nice to see American craft brewers re-discovering variations of the beers we grew up with. The Europeans have known for centuries that there are seasons for beer – heavy-bodied stouts for winter, deep browns for fall, and beer you can drink from quittin’ time ’til the sun goes down in the summer. This is that beer.Thanks, Oskar.This beer is available at Avon Liquor, Pier 13 Liquor, West Vail Liquor Mart, Alpine Wine & Spirits in West Vail and Village Warehouse Wines in Avon.Scott N. Miller, Daily Staff Writer
Another California red with a dorky name, but what the hey – it’s a pretty decent wine and the label certainly makes it memorable (who can forget 7 Deadly Zins? – which also got a thumbs-up in this space). Screw the cap off this puppy, give it 30 minutes and it opens up into a nice, light Zinfandel that’s low to medium tannin and not overly complex. In short, a good summer red.For those who enjoy a big, fruit-forward Cab or Shiraz in the depths of winter, this friendly Zin is all of that top-end berry and jam without the heavier bottom. Cardinal Zin doesn’t ask much of the palette, but if you’re standing on a deck waiting for the salmon to come off the grill, who needs tough questions from the Vatican?The Cardinal is actually a blend: 95 percent Zinfandel and the other 5 percent Mourvedre – an earthier grape that gives the lighter-weight Zin a little bit of structure. I liked the blackberry and spice flavors and the medium body that goes as well with beef as it would with fish. With a pleasant finish and the forgettable zip of a summer popcorn flick, the Cardinal won’t cause you to change your religion, but it might cause you to pop by the Church of Zinfandel a little more often.You can find this wine at West Vail Liquor Mart, Riverwalk Wine & Spirits in Edwards, Alex Miller, Summit Daily Editor
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