Vail Valley: A Belgian brew worth every penny
Avery Brewing’s Salvation Golden Ale, $6.99/22-ounce bomberBelgium has been invaded a lot over the centuries. There are probably solid strategic reasons for this (access to the sea and a sneaky way to nail France among them), but my own guess is that invaders want Belgians’ recipes for chocolate and beer.This isn’t a chocolate review – although the Belgian chocolate I’ve had is the best I’ve ever eaten – so we’ll focus on Belgian beer and the recipes for it.The folks at Boulder’s Avery Brewing rate with the best anywhere in their beer-making ability. Wherever they got the recipe, the brewery’s White Devil Belgian white is about the best you’ll have this side of Brussels. The Avery boys have also gotten their mitts on a dandy recipe, or modified an existing one, to make a dee-diddly-icious golden ale in the Belgian style – Salvation ale.While Belgian whites are sort of cloudy, a Belgian golden has much the same flavor and aroma, but with some differences.Salvation is clear in the glass, and has a kind of smooth, syrupy feel in your mouth, but it still has a hoppy crispness. The folks at Avery claim they use real Belgian barley, sugar and yeast in Salvation, so maybe there’s something going on there that can’t be replicated elsewhere.Having access to the right stuff and the right skills has paid off.The folks at Avon Liquor will occasionally have evening tasting sessions, and have a couple of times featured a handful of real Belgian beers that are remarkable for their palate-pleasing flavor and aroma. They’re also insanely expensive (but sort of worth it). Salvation ain’t cheap, either. But like the genuine article, it’s worth every penny.And it’s way cheaper than financing an invasion. Have you checked the price of front-line battle tanks lately?You can find this beer at Avon Liquor, Riverwalk Wine & Spirits in Edwards, Village Warehouse Wines in Avon, Scott N. Miller , Vail Daily staff writer2008 Terras Gauda Abadia De San Campio, $20Spain is coming on strong with its white wines, especially those made with the native Alabarino grape, which is beginning to get some play on U.S. restaurant wine lists as an alternative to more neutral varieties. This crisp, bone-dry wine from Rias, Baixas, Spain has plenty of character, with nuances of nuts, lemon, minerals and fresh peas. The 2008 is just arriving on the market; some stores may still be selling the 2007. Serve with: Rockfish, tilapia or shellfish.Visit http://www.terrasgauda.com for more information. Michael Dresser, L.A. Times-Washington Post News Service
Once again – and at the considerable risk of sounding like a broken record (or is it a defragged iPod nowadays?) – it seems like it’s tough to find a bad Malbec out of Argentina. Almost like those big Australian Shiraz’s made a name for themselves a few years back, now it’s these outsized South American reds.So here’s another: Alamos Malbec, hailing from the pre-Andean mountains of Mendoza in Argentina. Just drawing the cork on this baby made my mouth water. It’s a deep red – almost purple – wine that’s very fruit-forward, redolent of spice and thoughtful without being overwhelmingly complex. With just 20 minutes to breathe, this bottle opened up beautifully, with soft tannins and a pleasant after taste that smacks of plum, dark berries and leather.Since this is a 2008, it’s reasonable to expect this bottle will drink very well for a few more years. And at such a reasonable price, I wouldn’t be afraid to call the Alamos Mendoza a real find. Heck, buy a case. It’ll go as well with a summer steak off the grill as a pasta or chicken dish any time of year. You can find this wine at Avon Liquor, Riverwalk Wine & Spirits in Edwards, Eagle Ranch Wine & Spirits, West Vail Liquor Mart, Alpine Wine & Spirits in West Vail, Alex Miller, Summit Daily Editor
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