Wine and beer reviews in Eagle County | VailDaily.com
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Wine and beer reviews in Eagle County

Daily Staff Reports
Vail CO, Colorado
HL Booze 01 TS 05-09-08
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This is sort of the way I imagine Alaska to be: Big, honest and remarkable.

There are no silly names here. No fancy-pants flavors like chocolate, licorice or wombat. Just a straightforward, delicious amber ale by a brewery in Juneau (leading to any number of “Juneau it’s good when …” jokes).

The brewery’s Web site claims this beer comes from a turn-of-the-last-century recipe from another Juneau brewery. It was also voted “best beer in the nation” at the 1988 Great American Beer Festival.

Now, 1988 is a long time ago, but, like this recipe, some things stand the test of time. If I lived in Juneau, I’d have a long history with this stuff.

Another tradition is the type of beer this is. Alaskan Brewing calls this an “alt” beer, from the German word for “old.” The alt style means a beer is brewed more slowly and at colder temperatures ” somehow appropriate for a beer made close to the Arctic Circle.

This is a hearty brew, a couple of shades darker red than Nicole Kidman’s hair, with a finely-bubbled head, a substantial, but not overly-heavy body and smooth taste, with just a nice little hoppy “tang!” to finish every sip.

The folks at Beaver Liquors tell us they’ve been trying to get ahold of this beer for some time now. Funny, we didn’t even know we’d been waiting for it.

Do yourself a favor: Next time you’re on the hunt for a microbrew bomber, spend a few bucks and bring one of these boys home. You’ll be honestly impressed.

You can find this beer at Beaver Liquors Avon Liquors, and Riverwalk Wine and Spirits.

Scott N. Miller, Daily Staff Writer

Various reviews of this wine claim it has an aroma of “grassy green gooseberries.” Since I haven’t the faintest idea what a gooseberry is, or what one smells like, I’m not sure if this claim is anywhere close to accurate. What I do know is this wine is lovely. It both smells and tastes of passionfruit and ripe melon. It’s vibrant and more complex than I’d expect on the tongue, and finishes slightly dry ” a perfect balance all around.

To be honest, at first I was more curious about the name of this wine than what it tasted like. Just whom is spying on who, and what does wine have to do with it? I half expected someone to peak in the window at me while sipping this wine. Turns out this wine hails from Marlborough’s Wairau Valley in New Zealand. Spy Valley is the colloquial name for the valley because of the satellite communications monitoring base that’s there.

I paired a glass with a cup of Fiesta’s green chili. Who knows what the valley’s wine geeks (I say that lovingly) will say about that match up, but personally, I thought it worked well. Word to the wise though, have a glass of water nearby so that you’re not tempted to throw back a few glasses of wine to cut the heat.

One quibble. Why do wine reviews tend to be so darn esoteric at times? One Web site calls the Sauvignon Blanc grape “Grassy and herbaceous, with the characteristics of gooseberries, nettles and cat’s pee.”

Now really, nothing about this wine reminds me of cat pee; why would you ever mention those two words in or near a review of a damn fine wine?

But that’s neither here nor there. Try this wine, you won’t be disappointed.

You can find this wine at Beaver Liquors in Avon.

Caramie Schnell, High Life Editor

It is hard not to notice all the talk and the signs of the slowing economy. While I don’t think that should interfere with your enjoyment of a good bottle of wine, it does bring the challenge of finding the best bottle for your dollar to the forefront. The Chateau Beauregard Lagupeau 2004 is just one of those best-wine-for-your-dime bottles.

“It is a $15 wine that has some muscle to it,” said Matt Austin of Beaver Liquors.

The wine, which hails from Bordeaux, France, has similar characteristics to more expensive wines, but costs a fraction of the price. This wine boasts aromas of leather and dried fruit, making it relatively complex. Fifty-five percent cabernet sauvignon, 35 percent merlot and 10 percent cabernet franc are blended to make this wine. The grapes are grown in the area of Graves, which is known for its gravel-filled soil, Austin said.

“The gravel-based soil gives the wine minerality,” he said. It also helps with the drainage in the vineyard. These grapes are sensitives to getting too much water, which can lead to noble rot. When that happens it can make the wine too sweet.

The wine will compliment a “good ol’ classic steak,” Austin said. He also suggested a seasoned pork chop, but not lamb or veal because the wine needs “something with some muscle.”

This wine is available at Riverwalk Wine and Spirits, Alpine Wine and Spirits, Avon Liquors and Beaver Liquors.

Jessica Slosberg, Daily Staff Writer


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