Thursday, August 16, 2012

Fixed Gear by Lakefront Brewery

I guess I consider Lakefront Brewery to be local even though I haven't lived by it in 10 yrs.  Located in Milwaukee it's only an hour away from the  town I grew up in.  Easily a day trip if the grandparents want to babysit...although we've never actually visited.  It would be a blast though...Milwaukee seems like a fun city.

Fixed Gear American Red Ale is a strong beer.  It would be perfect on a day like today...high of 75, storming like crazy outside.  It's so dark right now (9am) that it looks like its 830-9pm.  I'm a sucker for red and amber beers.  This one packs a punch.  The front flavors are nice and smooth and full and then the back end hits you with the hops.  Not too much hops, just enough to say whoa there it is.  And then it brings you back to take another sip.  I don't get tired of the whoa kick at the end. 

I also have to give them props for the label.  I'm really not sure on the price of this one.  My guess is that it's around 10 bucks a 6 pack here in Ptown.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Wake up Blog!

I thought I'd wake up the Winey Thoughts to share what I've been drinking this summer.  I've been mixing it up between expensive beer and cheap wine.  Get excited!

First up my FAVORITE beer right now is Domaine Dupage by Two Brothers Brewery.  A "local" brewery from Warrenville IL.  C and I need to make a trip to do a tour because really all their beers are good.

Domaine is a versitile beer.  I would describe it as a really good red or amber ale, loaded with lots of flavor.  It tasted great during the hottest hot stretch of summer (100 plus degrees) and now that it's starting to chill out a bit for fall I'm still craving this beer.  That's hard to do for me...I'm usually a seasonal beer drinker and a summer one does not go great for me in fall.  Honestly though, I can see myself sticking w/ Domaine until winter hits and almost skipping the Oktoberfests...almost.  It's a pricey beer.  You can easily spend $10 on a six pack, I think we've even seen it higher down here in Ptown.  But to my delight lots of bars have started carrying it on tap.  I might have had a tall Domaine Dupage at Buffalo Wild Wings for $5.75!  and it was delish.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Skype Wine Night - November

We may have failed a little in keeping this blog updated. Don't get us wrong, we've been drinking wine, but we just haven't been writing very much. However, there is a new feature we're going to start (at least for a few months or so) where Crymson and Miranda will have a monthly skype wine night. Basically we're trying to catch up and drink some great wine 2,000 miles away.
And as all things necessary in a civilized society there are a few rules:
1) We each drink the same type of wine
2) We each prepare a recipe
3) Guests are both welcome and encouraged
This past weekend we had our first organized Skype date and we decided that we would also try to cross of one of the wines on our 'Wines To Try' list. It's surprisingly harder than you would think to be able to find the same wine to try in Illinois and California. We resorted to the Internet and UPS to be able to help us out. Now the one downside to ordering wine online (if there can even be such a thing) is that the price of shipping can be nearly as much as the bottle of wine. So we'll have to do some good searching to make sure we're both drinking the same wine.
The Details:
Wine - One Hope Winery's Pinot Noir (featured on Drinking for a Cause post)
Amy's Recipe - Brie En Croute

Amy's take: It was a nice wine, a lot lighter than the pinot noirs I'm used to. But the flavors were nice and smooth and sweet. It went down fast. I'd probably give it 4 stars...any other wine would have probably only gotten three but since this was One Hope and it's a charity that ups it. Kinda fun that we ordered the wine too. At least until we noticed the shipping rates. I made baked brie or if you want to get fancy like Paula Deen, Brie En Croute. It was good and super easy to make. It was more than the three of us could handle though, very rich. I'd bake brie again for a bigger group and I think I'd use an unusual jelly to top it instead of the candied pecans.
Miranda's take: I really enjoyed the wine. It was not nearly as dark red as I thought it would be, but it still had a pretty rich taste. So two thumbs up for One Hope. One for donating 1/2 the profits to charity and one for having a yummy pinot. Overall I'd rate it a three star wine.
Now let me just say that my apple crisp is freaking delicious. I accidentally misjudged the recipe and the size of the pan it needed. I thought a pie plate would be enough so I had to make two batches. And I had nearly finished the first batch prior to wine night. Oops! But seriously I give the recipe like 4 stars.
Does anyone else have skype dates? Any suggestions on a good, but readily available wine? We'd love to hear your thoughts.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

dinner and drinks

Last night's dinner was full of all sorts of lovely things that were wine. I decided to try my second attempt at braising a roast in wine. My first attempt was good but the meat wasn't as tender as I'd heard it should be. This time I didn't follow a recipe. I had a roast and browned it on all sides in olive oil and added salt and pepper. Then I put that in my dutch oven threw in some potatoes, cut up onions, carrots and celery. I dumped a bottle cabernet savignon on stop, covered it up and put it on my stove to bring to a boil. Once I got to a boil I turned off the heat and put it in my stove set at 275 for 4 hours.

After about 2hrs the entire house smelled like cab sav. I didn't think it was possible, but it was lovely. Now came the decision of what to drink while making the rest of the meal and while eating. It sorta of seemed that since I was cooking with a cab sav I should be drinking a cab sav. But I've been more in the mood for Syrah's lately. I'm not sure what the rules are or if there are rules about what wines to drink when cooking with wine. I went with the syrah and had a bottle of Cycles Gladiator Syrah. It was yummy

I've had Cycles Gladiator pinot noir and it is a standby for me and good pinot noirs. I enjoyed the syrah just as much. I had opened it the day before and thought it was good, but with dinner and being open for a day it was delish. I had planned on just a small glass. C and I shared two large glasses. I would have finished the bottle except R hasn't been letting us sleep much lately and any more wine would have forced my eyes shut by 8 last night.

Dinner turned out wonderfully. The meat cut like butter which is how I've heard it described on top chef. That's the essence of braising, long and slow under low heat in an acid environment. I've read you can also braise in beer. The wine turned the onions a lovely purple color as well as the other veggies. It was such a nice dinner. I can't wait to eat the leftovers for lunch today!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Toast of the Town Chicago

After two years of talking nonstop about wanting to attend this amazing event we splurged and bought VIP tickets. This is Wine Enthusiast's Toast of the Town event, taking place in 5 cities across the country. In Chicago it takes place at the Field Museum, my personal favorite of the city's museums. I was in love with the idea of tasting delicious wine and tasting fancy food underneath Sue. That experience was everything I had hoped it would be.

Over 500 wines were available for tasting. I didn't get through half of them but I did taste some wonderful wines. 35 local restaurants were there each supplying a single bite of something delicious. And it was all wonderful. I even found myself at one point focusing more on tasting the different foods than the wines. It was fun trying new things and different flavor combinations. I would totally go to a foodie event like this. I'm not sure they exist but they definitely should.

Favorite wines tasted are Twisted Old Vine Zin and J Lohr's Pinot Noir. I think they were both reserve wines which could be hard to find. But they both have their non-reserve wines available at local stores and I plan to pick them up soon. I can't really pick a favorite food that I tried. It would be difficult to choose from lobster sandwiches, fried octopus, spicy sushi, lemon ginger gelato, deconstructed upside-down pineapple cake (amazing) and many more. Everything was really good.

It was a fun event and C and I both said we'd do again. M was wonderful enough to come out to Chi-town to join us this year. One of the other city's this is held at is in San Fransisco. I think that sounds like an excuse to head to California for a weekend!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Scott Harvey Barbera 2007

I haven't been around much mostly b/c life has been busy and taken over any extra blogging time. Also b/c early summer tends to be beer drinking time for me, so not a lot of new wines have been tried. Until recently...

A few weeks ago we drove up to Chicago to visit the fam and stopped by my favorite wine shop. It was a chilly weekend and rainy, I wanted something red to warm me up. So I asked the wine nerd who worked their to recommend a syrah to me and he recommended Opolo's syrah. I haven't tried this out yet but I'm very excited to. Then I asked him what his fave wine was in the store right then and he immediately went to Scott Harvey's Barbera.

I'd never had a barbera before, in fact I'd never heard of it. An Italian grape that produces good yields and is known for it's deep color, low tannins, and high acid. It's definitely low on tannins, didn't need much air to smooth it out. And the next day the wine's still good and tasty. It's a good wine and I'm glad that I tried it out. I paid $20 for the bottle and I'd get it again. Although it was good it's not on my favorite list I give it 4 stars.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Paso Robles Wine Tasting

Last weekend, I went on a great getaway to the Central California Coast. As with many of my trips, wine was near the top of the agenda. We drove down on Saturday morning and spent the day wine tasting in the Paso Robles wine area. We didn't have any specific wineries to visit, we would just drive and see where the day took us. With 250 wineries in the area, we didn't have far to look. Here's the wineries we visited and some of my favorites.

Doce Robles - The first winery we stopped at. I don't really remember anything standing out about this place. I blame the fact that we got up so early to drive down. Definitely will have to stop again when drowsiness is not a factor.

Summerwood - As you pull up to this winery, you notice the gorgeous wisteria overhanging the porch. The Vin Rouge wine was a big favorite here.

Peachy Canyon - I'm always a fan of Zins. And when a winery has six available for tasting, I am hooked. Plus the tasting was waived with bottle purchase. So I *forced* myself to bring some 2008 Westside Zin home.

Veris Cellars - You know my favorite kind of wine tasting? Free Wine Tasting. Combine this with cheap bottles of flavored sparkling wine (Peach, Raspberry, and Almond) consider me in love.

Eagle Castle - Not one of our favorites for wine, but the location is just awesome. There were two weddings being held at the castle that day and I couldn't imagine a cooler place to get hitched.

Dark Star Cellars/Brian Benson Cellars - I didn't actually taste any wines here, but I was excited for two reasons: 1) Any where you can try different wineries without having to drive to another place is already tops in my book and 2) the incredible bottle designs at Brian Benson Cellars.

Niner Wine Estates - Another place I didn't try very many wines. But it's a great space and when you look out towards the hill you see the most awesome tree design. I <3 it.

Donati Family Wineyard - Our last stop of the day. The people were super friendly even though some of our crew were feeling the effects of visiting 9 different wineries. Was a fan of the Sorelle Per Sempre wine ('Sisters Forever') and might have to look to get some in the future.

Nine wineries in six hours. Definitely one of my best tasting experiences and it's just getting me prepared for a couple of more weekend tasting adventures in the next month. So have you visited Paso Robles or tried any wines from the region? Any great places we missed?