Vail Red, White & Brew: Try Claymore Scotch Ale before winters end |

Vail Red, White & Brew: Try Claymore Scotch Ale before winters end

Daily staff reportsVail, CO Colorado

VAIL, Colorado Personally, I get a little giddy about all things Scottish whiskey, bagpipes, the Loch Ness Monster, Harry Potter, men in kilts well, you get the idea. Scottish or Scotch ales, however, arent all that common among American craft breweries, so I was interested to see if Great Divides Claymore Scotch Ale would stand up to my flimsy thesis. It did.A deep, reddish-brown brew, the Claymore hearkens back to the Wee Heavy style of pale ale purportedly first produced in 19th-century Edingburgh. This type of beer typically undergoes a long boil before fermentation, which carmelizes the wort (malt extracts) and produces a sweet, roasted-malt character in the finished product. Claymore Scotch Ale is named for a weapon thats about as subtle as Michael Jackson is black (a claymore was a two-handed, 55-inch, skull-crushing Scottish sword), but the beer itself is restrained and understated, with a medium-heavy body, low carbonation and just a hint of hops to balance out the malty sweetness. The beers name may more accurately describe the alcohol content at 7.7 percent, a few of these will make you feel like the Highlander had his way with you.Unfortunately (or not, depending on your disposition), its too easy to drink more than one of these beers. Great Divides Claymore has all the sweet, dark, creamy, roasted simplicity of a porter in a slightly less-filling and lighter-bodied package. This beer is well-served by letting it warm up a few degrees after pulling one out of the fridge the flavors pop out a bit more, and the intended personality of the beer seems to shine through without chilled-to-the-brink-of-freezing refrigeration. The gentle, warming character of this Scotch Ale from Denvers Great Divide brewery is perfect for cooler temperatures, so pick up a six-pack before winter completely slips away and Great Divide pulls it off the shelves sometime in April. You can find this beer at West Vail Liquor Mart and Avon Liquor. Aaron Butzen, Daily staff writer

Reviewing Clos du Bois is like reviewing a can of Diet Coke.That was the snobby e-mail I sent to my editor when this bottle appeared on my desk. Upon further reflection, I had a couple of things I came to realize about this proclamation:1. Im no wine snob. If it tastes nice and doesnt give me headache, I dont care if it cost $6.99 or $200. French or Italian, California or New Zealand is all the same to me (carbon footprints aside). The wonderful thing about the age we live in is that we can drink from the words vineyards at reasonable prices (under $20 being the sweet spot).2. Just because a winery like Clos du Bois makes wine in very large batches doesnt mean its a write-off.3. My wife, who wrinkled her nose at this bottle (as she does at most whites some folks are just red-wine drinkers), told me Samantha Brown, she of Travel Channel fame, proclaimed Clos du Bois Chard her very favorite of all time. Im not sure why that should mean anything, but it made me re-think this bottle.As Chardonnay goes, the 2007 Clos du Bois is a nice, bright white with fresh fruit and vanilla topmost on the nose. Certainly as we head into warmer days and deck weather, its a good, inexpensive medium-body sipper that would go well with grilled chicken and veggies or just on its own.So sure, grab a bottle. As the companys slogan goes, its all the French you need to know.You can find this wine at Avon Liquor, Eagle Ranch Wine & Spirits, Riverwalk Wine & Spirits in Edwards, Village Warehouse Wines in Avon, West Vail Liquor Mart, Alpine Wine & Spirits in West Vail and Pier 13 in Eagle-Vail. Alex Miller, Summit Daily Editor

The weather cant seem to make up its mind. One day, its a balmy spring day, and the next, were in the throes of winter again.Im in the same boat. I cant seem to make up my mind about the 2007 Garnacha de Fuego. Its certainly not bad, but not great either. And at the end of my meal, Im left feeling entirely blah about this Spanish Grenache. It took a back seat to the spaghetti Bolognese, instead of acting like a strong compliment.Sure, for around $9 a bottle, its a hell of a deal. There are many other wines in this price range that are simply junk. This isnt. Its inoffensive and easy to drink, through entirely forgettable. Cultivated above 3,000 feet in the Calatayud region in northeast Spain, the old, gnarled vines do well in the poor, gravelly soil. Unfettered by wood aging, the Garnacha de Fuego exhibits nice blackberry and dark cherry flavors. Its light, with subtle tartness on the back of the tongue, and a slightly spicy finish. There is virtually no bouquet to speak of. If you enjoy Australian Shirazes, French Cotes du Rhones or Californian red zins, you might just love this bargain bottle. Yes, the Garnacha de Fuego works as a sipper on its own, but its averageness is painfully on show. Instead, pair it with lighter meat dishes think grilled meats, burgers, pizzas just the sort of stuff were eating at this time of seasonal transition.You can find this wine at West Vail Liquor Mart, Avon Liquor, Eagle Ranch Wine & Spirits, Riverwalk Wine & Spirits in Edwards, Village Warehouse Wines in Avon and Alpine Wine & Spirits in West Vail.Nicole Frey, Daily Correspondent

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