Wine and beer reviews in Eagle County |

Wine and beer reviews in Eagle County

Daily Staff Reportsnewsroom@vaildaily.comEagle County CO, Colorado
Theo Stroomer/Vail DailyThe Dissident, Deschutes Brewery

Like most guys, this Humble Beer Reviewer is pretty simple. I like my bourbon neat, and Im a big fan of the German Beer Purity Law, which mandates just four ingredients for beer water, grain, yeast and hops. Simple things, done very well, are a source of great pleasure.Which goes to explain the skepticism for The Dissident I, or any guy would have, because this is Complicated Stuff.First theres the name, which, like a desperately-trying-to-be-hip radio station, doesnt actually tell the listener or drinker anything.Then theres the beer itself. It uses imported wild yeast. It was aged, in part, in wine barrels, and cherries were added to the mix after it had been aging for a few months. And, because of the wild yeast, The Dissident was brewed, aged and bottled in a separate facility from everything else Deschutes does. Yikes.Finally, the bottles were hand-dipped in wax. That meant I had to take a steak knife to the bottle and poke myself in the finger before I could even get my talking Homer Simpson bottle opener out of the drawer. None of this added up to a good first impression, especially the poke in the finger with the steak knife.But …This is a really good complicated beer, folks. Unlike a lot of showoff beers with precious names, you can actually taste and appreciate the cherries and the wine-barrel aging once you let this brew open up a bit in your glass. And the wild yeast lends a distinctive taste and aroma. Think about Chimay Belgian ale with an American feel.In some European ales, the barrels are left open in open-air sheds to let the wild yeast waft in on the breeze. Here, the yeast was introduced to the top of the barrels, but the taste is similar, yet distinctive.Its no real surprise that Deschutes would produce an outstanding complicated beer, because its one of this countrys oldest, and most accomplished, craft breweries. Im still a fan of simple. But this is about as good as complicated gets.You can find this beer at Avon Liquors.Scott N. Miller, Daily Staff Writer

Somehow it seems like were a little past the season for sweeter white wines, but theres still no reason not to enjoy a bottle with foods that pair well with this kind of bottle: spicy Chinese or Thai dishes, for example.Chardonnay may still be king when it comes to white wine consumption in the U.S., but the fast-rising start is Riesling the quickest-growing varietal in the past three years, according to Nielsen (and who knew they tracked wines?). Riesling has gotten a slightly bum rap over the years as an over-sweet wine, but current iterations on the shelf are proving that this is a more versatile grape that can be fermented without that cloying sweetness. And if youre new to Riesling, its hard to beat this bottle from Clos du Bois.Yes, its sweet, but it has an underlying crispness and a punchy, flowery finish that offsets it well. Its an excellent white to counter a spicy food, since its got plenty of acidity and its own flamboyant character. The Clos du Bois has notes of peach and apricot and perhaps a little grapefruit. As it does with so many of the classics, Clos du Bois in Sonoma County does a nice job of producing a good wine at a reasonable price. If youre looking to give a modern Riesling a test drive, this is a good place to start.Visit for more information.Alex Miller, Summit Daily Editor

I opened a bottle of this malbec at a recent family dinner. As each person sniffed and sipped, I waited for their reaction. My aunt, a big red wine drinker, usually buys $10 bottles of cabernet sauvignon and occasionally shiraz. I was excited to try out a new grape on her, though malbec is similar to shiraz, with nice dark berry flavors and a little bit of spice. With a smile, she declared it yummy. Its very smooth, not too big, she said. Other family members agreed, even my generally-picky brother. I agree. This deep purple wine comes from the San Juan region of Argentina. It smells of blackberries and blueberries and a touch of spice.This wine has a little acidity so you can actually pair it with a nice spicy barbecue or something rich. It has a nice spice, almost like a black pepper spice, said Jarrett Osborn of Riverwalk Wine & Spirits in Edwards. While Osborn generally considers malbecs to be nice, easy-drinking wines, he said this bottle has a little extra of everything. A little extra kick with almost herbal characteristics not mint but sage. If youre grilling lamb, this would pair really nicely. Or even prime rib, this would hold up to that.You can find this wine at Riverwalk Wine & Spirits in Edwards and Eagle Ranch Wine & Spirits.Caramie Schnell, High Life Editor

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