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Top 100 wines of 2011

By Joe Ruvel · December 7th, 2011 · Comments Off

Kind of a cop-out post – but it is a good list – I have not had most of these wines – but the few I have had ( 2009 Freeman Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir for example) are fantastic. Try them all…(over an extend time period of course)

Chronicle’s Top 100 wines of 2011

Comments OffTags: Around the Web · Non-Beer Beverages

Not always what you think

By Jasmine · December 6th, 2011 · 2 Comments

I get asked constantly about pairing beer and wine with cheese, so I’m going to tell you all the secret to it right here, right now: if you have good drinks, and good cheese, it will taste…good. Seriously.
Mostly. The thing is that most people want to make grand generalizations and think they’re good suggestions: cheddar goes with English brown ales, for example. Yes, quite often they work, but you could yank any cheese out of a cheese case and have just as good a chance at a great pairing. For example, we recently tried Tillamook cheddar with Firestone Walker’s Velvet Merlin (or Merkin, if you’ve had it on tap there). It’s fantastic. One of my favorite beers with a cheddar I would normally call, not exactly mediocre, but standard, perhaps. And yet they work wonderfully. A cheddar and a stout. And so I tried to repeat this experiment with another cheddar and stout: Moylan’s Chelsea Porter and Beecher’s Reserve. The results were mixed. The Beecher’s has a nice sweetness to it that smoothes out the bite of the porter, but then it’s gone. It feels like a bit of a waste, eating such a good cheese with such an overpowering beer.
So my recommendations for pairing cheese with dark winter beers? Sharp cheddars, crunchy aged goudas, and whatever the hell you want–because two beers in you honestly won’t care. It will make you happier to buy something interesting that you really like, even on its own, JUST like when you’re picking out the beer.

Buy good cheese. Buy good beer.

→ 2 CommentsTags: General

O Canada (beer video edition)

By Joe Ruvel · December 4th, 2011 · Comments Off

And now for some Canadian beer videos from the lovable Vancouver Craft Beer Week crew:

First the funny one (note – it is kind of loud – but worth watching till the end).

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And then the one that makes you want to get up and catch a train to Vancouver tonight.

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Comments OffTags: Around the Web · Beer I can't get my hands on

The new Starbucks affect

By Joe Ruvel · December 4th, 2011 · Comments Off

I already fell a post behind. Oh well – two posts for tonight.

So I was at work the other day and found myself up against my usual foe, the coffee machine. This “simple” espresso maker makes pretty darn good coffee, but pretty much always seems to need help. I consider it the turtle of coffee makers – on its back and pleading for help. There was no helping it this time. Beans were out, and someone didn’t order anymore. I ask the receptionist where to get a cup of coffee close. The dreaded answer – Starbucks is across the street. I got a cup of Starbucks Pike’s Place blend and went on my way. It was a find cup of coffee. That dreaded burnt, over roasted taste that is usual to most Starbucks coffee was there but mostly subdued. But it was there. It hit me for the first time, that potentially that flavor was totally and completely on purpose.  It wasn’t done to roast all their beans faster or because they are cheap beans, it was done to give Starbucks a distinctive flavor that is all theirs. And people love strong coffee, so you have that going for you too.

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If you start thinking about other beverages, you will find many examples of this. Coke – pretty syrupy if you ask me – but it is definitely coke. And Pepsi is rather different.  In the wine world you get this too. I was watching some local station where they were talking to Ravenswood winery. The owner said something to the affect that every Ravenswood wine will be different, but will have a distinctive Ravenswood taste to it. And they have been doing this for awhile.

It makes sense. You need to make yourself stand out among the pack. So when you grab onto your favorite goto beer next time, think about what is it about that beer that draws you to it. And then enjoy it.

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Cervecería de MateVeza

By Joe Ruvel · December 2nd, 2011 · Comments Off

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A new brewpub of sorts in San Francisco – why not!  Jim Woods from MateVeza has announced that he will be starting a restuarant and small brewery around Dolors Park in spring 2012 (if all the usual annoying permits work out well).  Sounds like a good idea. I have been a bit skeptical of MateVeza before, I mean Yerba Mate beer is a hard sell to some people, but I got to say this is a bold move. I hope it is a great place to get some good Argentinian food and to have a house beer and some other great beers. Jim has been pushing his beers for a few years now and running cool events like Beerunch – so I am all for this.  Here is an excerpt of the press release:

“We are thrilled to be joining San Francisco’s rich culinary culture with our new restaurant and small brewery,” said MateVeza founder Jim Woods. “We look forward to welcoming the local community to Cervecería de MateVeza and supporting other small businesses such as San Francisco’s El Porteño, known for their locally sourced and produced empanadas.”

The highlight of Cervecería de MateVeza’s Argentinian cuisine will be El Porteño empanadas made in San Francisco with ingredients such as Prather Ranch organic, dry-aged, grass-fed beef, Fulton Valley all natural chicken, and organic cheese, herbs, and vegetables. El Porteño’s founder Joseph Ahearne learned the recipe for his buttery, flaky empanadas with premium ingredients from his Argentinian mother.

Also – it looks like they might even have guest growlers. Not sure they are allowed to do that – but I would love it!

More info here and here.

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Comments OffTags: Around the Web · Beer & Food