Wine and beer reviews in Eagle County |

Wine and beer reviews in Eagle County

Daily Staff Reports
Vail CO, Colorado
Theo Stroomer/Vail DailyAvery Brewing's The Beast beer packs a 16 percent alcohol punch, but is rewarding in small doses.

After a big dinner when you’re craving something sweet, but don’t quite have the room necessary in the ol’ tummy for more food, try a glass of La Morandina Moscato d’ Asti. That’s what Cathy Cohn does. Cohn is a local wine rep for Synergy Fine Wines, the distributor of this wine.

“It’s a very refreshing thing to drink after dinner,” Cohn said.

Be prepared, though, this spritzy, fruity wine is quite sweet and mostly considered a dessert wine, though some people consider it a good party-starter, too. Being a fan of dry, not-so-sweet wines, I doubt I could drink much more than glass of this wine, but that’s not because it isn’t good. The bubbles are smaller than those in champagne and provide for “a party in your mouth,” according to a friend who drank a glass with me.

Daniel Mahan at Beaver Liquors suggested pairing this wine with a fruit torte type of dessert. We tried ours with Columbine Bakery’s torte, which is layers of light cake and a creamy, custard-like filling topped with peaches, kiwi, strawberries and the like. Yum!

At only 5.5 percent alcohol, this is a good wine to bring to a Mother’s Day celebration. The bubbles make it perfect for a toast and it won’t get your mother, or grandmother, too sloshed. Pour a few glasses and wax poetic about mom’s and all their virtues before clinking glasses.

This wine is available at Avon Liquors, Beaver Liquors and West Vail Liquors.

Caramie Schnell, High Life Editor

There is an inherent gamble in sampling a new wine from a winery that you love. The bar of expectation is set high and in some cases ” impossibly high. When a wine measures up it is fantastic and when it doesn’t, the feeling can border on heartbreak. I faced this uncertainty when I tasted the 2005 Sangiovese from Silverado Wineries. The wine, thankfully, cleared my bar and then some.

It is made from 98 percent sangiovese grape, which winemaker Jonathan Emmerich said is the noble grape of Tuscany. Two percent of zinfandel rounds out the wine. Undoubtedly most wine drinkers have had sangiovese at some time in their life as most chiantis are made from the grape.

“The charm of the wine is it is really refreshing to the palate,” Emmerich said. It does what a wine should do, he said ” namely it has great acidity and fruit flavor without being like cough syrup.

He suggested pairing the wine with grilled meat like a pork chop or a burger and even some pastas with lighter sauces. Whatever you chose to eat it with, the wine will make “your meal more interesting,” Emmerich said.

Though the winery began producing this wine in 1993 as its “alternative” red, it just may become my red of choice. It is available at Beaver Liquors.

Jessica Slosberg, Daily Staff Writer

Be careful with this one, friends, but don’t be afraid. The Beast packs a 16 percent alcohol punch, but it’s a rewarding beer in small doses.

The “Grand Cru” style originally referred to Belgian wines, and The Beast should be treated more like a heavy wine like a port. Following recommendations, I pulled The Beast out of the fridge and let the temperature rise a little, then poured some into a wine glass.

All that process seems a little precious ” this is still beer, after all ” but is probably worth it, especially if you’re going to have just one or two, which is really all you should have in an evening.

This isn’t a take-me-out-to-the-ballgame beer, and you’d probably spit it out if you’re looking for refreshment after an afternoon of yardwork. My guess is that anyone who wants to tackle more than one or two Beasts in one evening is in the same league of excess as the maniacs who try to eat the 72-ounce steak at the Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, and will end up a lot more drunk, to boot. Did I mention the 16 percent alcohol content?

So go through the ritual. Letting through the beer warm up a bit makes it more aromatic ” and there’s plenty of fruity, hoppy aroma ” and filling a small glass a few times gives you time to savor what the folks at Avery cooked up. It actually is more like a wine than a beer, with complex flavors and a gullet-warming trip down the hatch with every sip.

It’s fun to swish The Beast around in a glass, too, letting the bubbles in the head dance up and down. OK, the thing with the head is more fun when you’re toward the bottom of the bottle and you’re pleasantly, and easily amused.

It’s a lot of fun, but don’t give up your day beer.

This beer is available at Avon Liquors and Beaver Liquors.

Scott N. Miller, Business Editor

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