Wine thread

8893

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I In Europe this even applies to cider. In Honfleur (highly recommended!!) the local restaurants all had house ciders from local producers in Normandy. They skip the bottling, put it in a cask and sell farm/orchard to restaurant who has it on tap.
If you like the Normandy style ciders, look for Christian Drouin and Etienne Dupont, both imported by B.United and both excellent.

B.United is also connected with OEC and apparently brings in casks and gives them to OEC, which both experiments with them and pours them on tap at their place in Oxford (which I have yet to visit, but plan to do soon).
 
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If you like the Normandy style ciders, look for Christian Drouin and Etienne Dupont, both imported by B.United and both excellent.

B.United is also connected with OEC and apparently brings in casks and gives them to OEC, which both experiments with them and pours them on tap at their place in Oxford (which I have yet to visit, but plan to do soon).
Absolutely no experience with ciders other than plain old apple cider. How are they best appreciated and with what food (if any) works?
 

storrsroars

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No condescension meant.. Thought it was a thread about sharing our experiences with wine/food. to the curious. As I am and have already learned quite a bit in the short time of the thread being up.

Asparagus comment was intended to a particular post and perhaps not everyone reading was aware of its matching challenges.

My knowledge is limited and is influenced by my experiences with wine. I prefer to hang out with wine enthusiasts rather than wine snobs. Sharing experiences and knowledge helps everyone enjoy the next glass.
I usually try to be as diplomatic as I can, but as both 8893 and HH will tell you from political discussions, I fail quite a bit.

I'm no expert, but I do know a decent amount. I'd say I'm well behind 8893 and HH on scope of knowledge, and perhaps even behind you on current trends as I haven't had a rosé anything since the 70s. My professional tasting experience isn't even wine, it's coffee, but many of the same principles apply regarding both descriptors and how different beans coupled with terroir presents itself in determining flavor, body, and pretty much everything else.

So apologies if I seemed a bit rough there. Not trying to be a thread cop, but as the thread is mostly the four of us and as I already pretty well know the scope of 8893's and HH's wide knowledge, your comment just struck a nerve.

Anyway, in describing how far my wine collection and collector interest has fallen, I'm posting a couple photos of my "cellar", which runs the length and width of my front porch. It was here when I bought the house. Not temp controlled, but right now it's 80F outside and the thermometer is 60F. Never gets below 44 or above 68 tbomk.

From about 2002, a year after we bought the place, to 2008 or so, the two racks in the right photo were mostly full, the closest is whites and the one next to it is reds. The one against the side wall had a handful of ports, sherrys and other fortified things. At the height of my obsession I had roughly 150 bottles. Right now there are a dozen bottles total. And I don't even have a decent spread of varietals. The four whites you see... two albarinos and two Conundrums. On the reds, there's the Montelena, a couple of pinots, a malbec, a super Tuscan, a bordeaux, a tempranillo, and a rioja.

The two wooden boxes on the floor in the back are from a bizarre winery in CA called Jarvis. An eccentric rich dude who created a huge tunnel/cave under a large hill in Napa. If you're out there, it's worth visiting. The wines are decent, if overpriced (as are most Cali reds IMO), but there are living quarters in the cave, his and her bedrooms, all the production equipment, and just a really oddball vibe to the place. I never used the other rack in the left photo, which is kind of a PITA as it's right across from my 2nd electrical box. But I can't throw it away, lol. The main value of it right now is that I can say "wine cellar" when I get around to listing the house.
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ColchVEGAS

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Since it seems most of us are more about looking for good value wines a variety or region that flies under the radar is Sicily. For a long time the region was more concerned with quantity rather than quality but that has changed over the past 10 years or so. Their two staple varieties are Nero d'Avola (very similar to Sangiovese) and Nerello Mescalese. Both can be found for relatively inexpensive prices mainly because they have not caught on in the mainstream. Both will be a little more fruity than most Italian dry reds but they really stand up against the popular Italian varietals. Also, the IGT rating is their friend since it allows the wine makers more liberties as they are not held to DOC and DOCG guidelines. I think Nero d'Avola may have recently been given the DOC classification but I tend to prefer the IGT ones as it gives the winemaker more freedom in their process.
 
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I usually try to be as diplomatic as I can, but as both 8893 and HH will tell you from political discussions, I fail quite a bit.

I'm no expert, but I do know a decent amount. I'd say I'm well behind 8893 and HH on scope of knowledge, and perhaps even behind you on current trends as I haven't had a rosé anything since the 70s. My professional tasting experience isn't even wine, it's coffee, but many of the same principles apply regarding both descriptors and how different beans coupled with terroir presents itself in determining flavor, body, and pretty much everything else.

So apologies if I seemed a bit rough there. Not trying to be a thread cop, but as the thread is mostly the four of us and as I already pretty well know the scope of 8893's and HH's wide knowledge, your comment just struck a nerve.

Anyway, in describing how far my wine collection and collector interest has fallen, I'm posting a couple photos of my "cellar", which runs the length and width of my front porch. It was here when I bought the house. Not temp controlled, but right now it's 80F outside and the thermometer is 60F. Never gets below 44 or above 68 tbomk.

From about 2002, a year after we bought the place, to 2008 or so, the two racks in the right photo were mostly full, the closest is whites and the one next to it is reds. The one against the side wall had a handful of ports, sherrys and other fortified things. At the height of my obsession I had roughly 150 bottles. Right now there are a dozen bottles total. And I don't even have a decent spread of varietals. The four whites you see... two albarinos and two Conundrums. On the reds, there's the Montelena, a couple of pinots, a malbec, a super Tuscan, a bordeaux, a tempranillo, and a rioja.

The two wooden boxes on the floor in the back are from a bizarre winery in CA called Jarvis. An eccentric rich dude who created a huge tunnel/cave under a large hill in Napa. If you're out there, it's worth visiting. The wines are decent, if overpriced (as are most Cali reds IMO), but there are living quarters in the cave, his and her bedrooms, all the production equipment, and just a really oddball vibe to the place. I never used the other rack in the left photo, which is kind of a PITA as it's right across from my 2nd electrical box. But I can't throw it away, lol. The main value of it right now is that I can say "wine cellar" when I get around to listing the house.
View attachment 67532
No apologies needed .Terroir is king in many agricultural products.. One of my best friend's sons has a coffee company out of Burlington Vt that's starting to get some national visibility. Beans from all around the world.

Always enjoy a cup of coffee but the caff can do a number on my biochemistry so I try to pick and choose my spots.

Cellars are nice but overrated.. Can you enjoy sharing one of your favorite bottles with family/friends?? That's more important to me as you tell them the story about the grape/bottle/vintner and your attraction/connection to that particular bottle.

All good.
 

8893

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Since it seems most of us are more about looking for good value wines a variety or region that flies under the radar is Sicily. For a long time the region was more concerned with quantity rather than quality but that has changed over the past 10 years or so. Their two staple varieties are Nero d'Avola (very similar to Sangiovese) and Nerello Mescalese. Both can be found for relatively inexpensive prices mainly because they have not caught on in the mainstream. Both will be a little more fruity than most Italian dry reds but they really stand up against the popular Italian varietals. Also, the IGT rating is their friend since it allows the wine makers more liberties as they are not held to DOC and DOCG guidelines. I think Nero d'Avola may have recently been given the DOC classification but I tend to prefer the IGT ones as it gives the winemaker more freedom in their process.
I like the Nero d’Avola and agree it’s a nice value.

Through a Mt. Carmel closeout I recently discovered a Sicilian white called Grillo, a DOC I had never heard of. Really nice dry white and it was $6.99 on closeout for a bottle that was originally priced $15 to $20. I bought a couple bottles and then bought them out of their stock a few weeks later. Easy summer quaffer, especially with seafood. I’m convinced that the only reason for the drop is that no one had any idea what it is. And it’s more yellow than you would expect for a wine this dry, So maybe people don’t perceive it as a wine they would like.
 

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Cellars are nice but overrated.. Can you enjoy sharing one of your favorite bottles with family/friends?? That's more important to me as you tell them the story about the grape/bottle/vintner and your attraction/connection to that particular bottle.
Being in suburban Pittsburgh, most of my friends and acquaintances these days drink light beer, White Claw and Fireball, lol.

Was never much of a wine storyteller anyway. I would just hope they liked what I was serving. I bored a lot of people with coffee talk though.

Burlington is home to one of the best coffee analytics labs in the nation, Coffee Enterprises. I interviewed there years ago and much as I thought I knew, I was completely humbled by the level of their expertise and flew home with my tail between my legs. Actually an amazing number of quality coffee shops for a town as small as Burlington, so your son's friend should do well.
 
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Being in suburban Pittsburgh, most of my friends and acquaintances these days drink light beer, White Claw and Fireball, lol.

Was never much of a wine storyteller anyway. I would just hope they liked what I was serving. I bored a lot of people with coffee talk though.

Burlington is home to one of the best coffee analytics labs in the nation, Coffee Enterprises. I interviewed there years ago and much as I thought I knew, I was completely humbled by the level of their expertise and flew home with my tail between my legs. Actually an amazing number of quality coffee shops for a town as small as Burlington, so your son's friend should do well.
If you want to visit their website out of curiosity.. Brio Coffeeworks. Nate Van Dusen

Introduced us to the Chemex way of java prep
 

storrsroars

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If you want to visit their website out of curiosity.. Brio Coffeeworks. Nate Van Dusen

Introduced us to the Chemex way of java prep
I've actually heard of him as I used to be in the Roaster's Guild, which runs the competition he's entered a couple of times.
 

8893

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Absolutely no experience with ciders other than plain old apple cider. How are they best appreciated and with what food (if any) works?
Well a proper answer entails more than I can give right now, but I’ll start by saying it’s more complex and a better food companion than beer. There is a broad and ever-increasing range of styles and flavor profiles.

The Normandy style is made with a type of spontaneous, wild fermentation called “keeving” that produces a very distinctive style. Using champagne yeast can mimic the carbonation and funkyness a bit; but I think most American ciders use ale yeast.

I first got turned onto the Normandy style ones decades ago as a beer geek with beer geek friends who turned me on to it. Try one and see if you like it. They would pair well with cheeses, charcuterie, light appetizers and probably BBQ because the apple component almost always finds a way to work with BBQ for me for some reason.

Most American ciders are made with yeast ale and range from ones that taste just like plain old apple cider (Downeast is probably the best regional example; Citizen Cider’s Unified Press and Stormalong’s Blue Hills (from CT apples!) are others to look for) to ones that taste like IPAs and sours and most things in between (except no stout or porter equivalents…yet).

I first started drinking them regularly when I was looking to stop drinking beer because it didn’t agree with me. I was a hop head so I started with the ones with that profile and am still drinking them regularly now. Stowe Safety Meeting; Citizen Lake Hopper; Bad Seed and many others.

For sours, Graft Cider out of Newburgh, NY has some of the most interesting ones. Crazy labels and crazy flavors and lots of collaborations. I’ve met the people behind it and they are really smart and good and interesting. I like most of their stuff, although some of it gets a bit out there.

There are also some really nice high end craft ones in the states. Millstone (where the Graft kids got their start), and too many to mention in upstate New York, in the Finger Lakes area, which is really ground zero for the cider renaissance in this country. Angry Orchard (owned by Sam Adams) actually makes some amazing high end ones as well.

To be continued…
 

storrsroars

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Well a proper answer entails more than I can give right now, but I’ll start by saying it’s more complex and a better food companion than beer. There is a broad and ever-increasing range of styles and flavor profiles.

The Normandy style is made with a type of spontaneous, wild fermentation called “keeving” that produces a very distinctive style. Using champagne yeast can mimic the carbonation and funkyness a bit; but I think most American ciders use ale yeast.

I first got turned onto the Normandy style ones decades ago as a beer geek with beer geek friends who turned me on to it. Try one and see if you like it. They would pair well with cheeses, charcuterie, light appetizers and probably BBQ because the apple component almost always finds a way to work with BBQ for me for some reason.

Most American ciders are made with yeast ale and range from ones that taste just like plain old apple cider (Downeast is probably the best regional example; Citizen Cider’s Unified Press and Stormalong’s Blue Hills (from CT apples!) are others to look for) to ones that taste like IPAs and sours and most things in between (except no stout or porter equivalents…yet).

I first started drinking them regularly when I was looking to stop drinking beer because it didn’t agree with me. I was a hop head so I started with the ones with that profile and am still drinking them regularly now. Stowe Safety Meeting; Citizen Lake Hopper; Bad Seed and many others.

For sours, Graft Cider out of Newburgh, NY has some of the most interesting ones. Crazy labels and crazy flavors and lots of collaborations. I’ve met the people behind it and they are really smart and good and interesting. I like most of their stuff, although some of it gets a bit out there.

There are also some really nice high end craft ones in the states. Millstone (where the Graft kids got their start), and too many to mention in upstate New York, in the Finger Lakes area, which is really ground zero for the cider renaissance in this country. Angry Orchard (owned by Sam Adams) actually makes some amazing high end ones as well.

To be continued…
I don't think I could ever find the time to drink as much alcohol as you do. And I have lots of free time:)
 

HuskyHawk

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I don't think I could ever find the time to drink as much alcohol as you do. And I have lots of free time:)
I switch around a lot.

Same. Switch a lot. @storrsroars overstates my current wine knowledge, which has gone stale from what it was when I was reading books on winemaking and talking to winemakers for hours in CA. But I do tend to soak things up and go all in. When I got into craft beer the second time, I was drinking everything that came out and learning about brewing, especially what made the fledgling NE IPA style possible. But I gave up. Too many breweries and beers, too many calories. Got into bourbon, then Scotch, then rum, then brandy...dabbled in Mezcal. And as before read books, talked to distillers and experts, and tried everything I could. I was on the team that chose this single barrel Cognac and this one last year. Now I've largely given up writing reviews on spirits and trading samples etc. I do recommend Fine Drams though, great place to get Scotch you can't get otherwise, usually at lower prices than here even after shipping costs. Jonas does a terrific job.

Cider has been fun because I haven't done what I did with wine, beer and spirits. I just drink it and some are good and some are meh. The Normandy ciders were great. We have lots of good craft cider in the Northeast. My favorite so far is Artifact. Several good ones in Vermont. Ace makes a very good pear cider. @8893 one of the better Normandy style ciders I've had in the U.S. was from Eden in Vermont.

On the wine front, as @ColchVEGAS said, I'm just looking for good wine at a good price. That used to be incredibly easy to find, and now it takes some effort. I think that's where we can help each other here. To that end, I highly recommend this super cheap California Pinot Grigio. I grabbed it for $8 at BJs and I think we've bought a case since then. Has a real key lime and flint flavor profile that is just pleasant. Prefer it to the bland Italian PGs I've had.
 

HuskyHawk

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Being in suburban Pittsburgh, most of my friends and acquaintances these days drink light beer, White Claw and Fireball, lol.

Was never much of a wine storyteller anyway. I would just hope they liked what I was serving. I bored a lot of people with coffee talk though.

Burlington is home to one of the best coffee analytics labs in the nation, Coffee Enterprises. I interviewed there years ago and much as I thought I knew, I was completely humbled by the level of their expertise and flew home with my tail between my legs. Actually an amazing number of quality coffee shops for a town as small as Burlington, so your son's friend should do well.

I know nothing about coffee. Didn't really drink it for most of my life. But Burlington doesn't surprise me. I watched this place go up in Waterbury. Vermont Artisan Coffee & Tea Co. (vtartisan.com) The whole state has to be the least corporate/chain oriented place I've ever been in this country. Everything seems to be bespoke, artisan and/or local. Hard to find a fast food place, except off some highway exits for tourists. When we had work done on our house, no contractor would even consider getting something from Home Depot in Rutland. Only the independent places. Coffee, beer, cider, spirits, cheese, meat, produce, clothing, they take that farm to table approach to almost everything.

There is something to be said for it. I think it's the same mindset we see with those house wines in Europe.
 

storrsroars

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Same. Switch a lot. @storrsroars overstates my current wine knowledge, which has gone stale from what it was when I was reading books on winemaking and talking to winemakers for hours in CA. But I do tend to soak things up and go all in. When I got into craft beer the second time, I was drinking everything that came out and learning about brewing, especially what made the fledgling NE IPA style possible. But I gave up. Too many breweries and beers, too many calories. Got into bourbon, then Scotch, then rum, then brandy...dabbled in Mezcal. And as before read books, talked to distillers and experts, and tried everything I could. I was on the team that chose this single barrel Cognac and this one last year. Now I've largely given up writing reviews on spirits and trading samples etc. I do recommend Fine Drams though, great place to get Scotch you can't get otherwise, usually at lower prices than here even after shipping costs. Jonas does a terrific job.

Cider has been fun because I haven't done what I did with wine, beer and spirits. I just drink it and some are good and some are meh. The Normandy ciders were great. We have lots of good craft cider in the Northeast. My favorite so far is Artifact. Several good ones in Vermont. Ace makes a very good pear cider. @8893 one of the better Normandy style ciders I've had in the U.S. was from Eden in Vermont.

On the wine front, as @ColchVEGAS said, I'm just looking for good wine at a good price. That used to be incredibly easy to find, and now it takes some effort. I think that's where we can help each other here. To that end, I highly recommend this super cheap California Pinot Grigio. I grabbed it for $8 at BJs and I think we've bought a case since then. Has a real key lime and flint flavor profile that is just pleasant. Prefer it to the bland Italian PGs I've had.
For more years than I wish to remember, it was very hard for me to actually enjoy a cup of coffee or espresso as my default would be to look for flaws and fixate on those. I am so glad to be over that. I still buy good cofffee, albeit from my Whole Foods, which carries Ceremony roasted within 4 weeks at $12.99/12oz when it sells for >$16 at indy shops. The farmer already got paid the premium over C market price, which is all that really matters. Roasters can take the hit from their considerable margins if they want WF distribution.

To a lesser extent I did that with wine. Which was stupid as I had no professional interest. My job is to either enjoy it or not, not overanalyze the stuff. For awhile I simply couldn't let a bottle surprise me. Especially expensive ones. I had to retrain myself to just forget about all that crap. I had to come to terms with knowing what I like and what I don't (grassy, oaky, hard tannins) and to stop rationalizing why I accepted things in a bottle I didn't care for, which was usually only to appear like I knew something about the winemaker's intentions. I now appreciate winemakers who take a different path from what the mass market wants and produce wines that do hold surprises and can take me for a ride. It's kind of how I deal with music these days. Just tired of the familiar, give me a new sound.

I do think your better at this than me for what's probably a pretty dumb reason - you're good at your scotch evaluations while also enjoying bourbon. I can't reconcile that for myself. It's like being both a Yankees and Mets fan. I don't enjoy straight bourbon. Too sweet for me. In some cases too butterscotch. So I'd say you're less prejudicial. The only two spirits I drink straight are scotch and vodka - and not expensive vodka, which I mostly find BS. It's mostly just branding (I'll make an exception for Chopin).

Hell, I don't even like gin martinis. It took years to admit that, lol. And I actually prefer my cheap store brand tonic water (sometimes diet) over the artisanal stuff. And that's OK because it's not out of ignorance, I've tried. It's simply preference and maybe some PQR calculations in the back of my head. If I really want a drink with Hendricks, I'll order it out, because that drink will be the same price as one made with Bombay or Tanqueray, bottles which are $10 cheaper.

Maybe I'm just getting cheap in my old age, lol.

We have what's supposed to be a very good cider producer here. I haven't been. Not sure if I want to even open up what could be yet another Pandora's box...
 
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Seems like you guys have a dramatically different marital arrangement than I do based on the broad diversity of experiences with different adult beverages that you have.. By that I mean that our marriage -at one time- included Vodka Martinis/Bourbon or scotch/wine and champagne -pairing meals (her passion) pre-Covid to now not wanting to drink at all other than an occasional Mic Ultra. Apparently my attempt at charm/intelligent conversation/sense of humor isn't working like it used to--has taken a hit. I still enjoy adult beverages-but now in moderation for self-preservation and/or marital bliss!

So now you know that I live vicariously through your experiences/stories/travels.

If I had a lane it would be either wine or spirits.. Scottish by heritage so I need to be able to enjoy a wee dram from either a quaich or a Glencairn.

Truly enjoy pairing wine with food/flavors/seasonings.
 

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@Umami Zen , there is a banging rose favorite of mine from Piemonte up on Last Bottle right now. This is one I buy every year, and just picked up six again:

 
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@Umami Zen , there is a banging rose favorite of mine from Piemonte up on Last Bottle right now. This is one I buy every year, and just picked up six again:

Thx for heads up.. Really have been into the rose lane for about 4 or 5 years and am enjoying the creativity and variety that growers are bringing to the market.

Have a few friends who are Cab snobs and they just don't get it.

Edit{Definitely have to get more serious about Rosatos .. Haven't spent a lot of time on our friends in Italy re: rose.
 
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@Umami Zen , there is a banging rose favorite of mine from Piemonte up on Last Bottle right now. This is one I buy every year, and just picked up six again:

Once again, PA fails. N/A here.
 
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@8893 inspired me..Went to local store(not Big Box)..Looked for Rosatos--Will need to go somewhere else.

So I say to Nick-- Italian dude-part owner who I brainstorm with on pairing food and wine. --Price point doesn't matter(within reason).. Which roses are you most excited about re:taste and value??

Monte Ory--Spain Rose of -Grenache // 11 Minutes-Pasqua-Italy- Rose Trevenezie//Willamette Valley-Oregon-Whole cluster Rose of Pinot Noir//Yealands--New Zealand-Sauvignon Blanc Rose..His favorite winning wine tastings at the store for $8.99

All four bottles for 50 bucks.. Will let you know how it goes.
 

8893

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11 Minutes-Pasqua-Italy- Rose Trevenezie
This is one of the better, widely-available ones; and a distinctive bottle to boot. Should be right around $14. From Verona, and it helped me seek out others from that area; the two others I've had have both also been very good with a similar flavor profile. Perfect example of what I love about Rosatos: you get the influence of all these interesting grapes distintive to that region, in this case Corvina, Carménère, Trebbiano, Syrah
 

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Just got an email about new places opening up, including 8 new breweries (we already have about 60), but one place caught my eye. Is cocktails in a growler a thing now?

Goodlander Cocktail Brewery, 6614 Hamilton Ave., Larimer

Wes Shonk is mixing up big batches of cocktails in Larimer, from Moscow Mules and Mojitos to G&Ts. By the end of May, customers can fill returnable glass growlers with bubbly, on-tap beverages. When the place opens for on-site consumption later this year, patrons will be able to sip from a highball glass at the bar.

I'll be interested to see how it does, especially as it's in a not-yet-gentrified part of town.
 

HuskyHawk

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Just got an email about new places opening up, including 8 new breweries (we already have about 60), but one place caught my eye. Is cocktails in a growler a thing now?



I'll be interested to see how it does, especially as it's in a not-yet-gentrified part of town.

It makes sense to me, if it is allowed. I will say there is a growing crossover between the craft beer crowd and the recent cocktail culture focused on better ingredients and classic drinks. Just recently Treehouse Brewing announced a new distillery. General 2 — Tree House Brewing Company. Both they and Trillium now have coffee too. It feels like a cultural thing to me. Barrel aged cocktails have become a thing so I can see how a growler type system could work as well, but not with everything.
 
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My son is in Denver as a business development guy for micro-brews just launching their businesses in need of brewing capacity. Among the new trends there is cannabis infused beer combinations. They haven't perfected it yet but Corona and Budweiser(among others) are doing their own experimentations in this space.

Stay tuned.
 
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Cabernet sauvignon recs for under $20?

Last week, I was at a friend's house and had my first cab in a few years and it was excellent. With cool, rainy weather this evening, I wanted to pick up a bottle for tonight.
 
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