Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Dry Rose Season!

"Pink Wines?!? Not for me, they're all sweet like White Zinfandel, right?" Whoa, stop the train and back it up a bit. Here's the real story.
Pink wines or Roses as they are usually referred to, are not all sweet and syrupy. In fact most rose wines are bone dry and loved by red wine enthusiasts. Think of them like the light refreshing version of your favorite red wines. They are the perfect Spring time sipping wines because they have the flavors and complexity of a red wine with the light easy drinking body of a white wine. The best of both worlds!
Rose wines are really interesting wines. First off, they are made the same way that red wines are. The only difference is that the skins of the grapes are pulled off early. This is usually after a few days (the longer they are left on the darker the color of the wine) . This results in a lighter color (pink instead of red) and less drying, bitter tannins. In Europe, people drink dry rose wines all year long, but here in the US we tend to only drink them in Spring and Summer if at all.

Tip: Drink your roses fresh, meaning current vintage, and the current vintage is 2012.  Most roses will start arriving beginning of March thru April. 
A snapshot of Great Rose Wine Regions  from around the World:
French- These tend to be light, strawberry inflected easy drinking wines made for warm weather and light foods.
Spanish-  These tend to be darker, dryer rose wines that can stand up to nice summer BBQ fare without losing a beat.
Italian- Mostly made from heavier grapes like Nebbiolo, these wines like their Spanish neighbors are richer and hold up to heavier, meatier foods.
Portuguese-  These tend to be very light silky wines that are very refreshing.
American-  These tend to be medium weight wines that go great by themselves, but have enough weight to stand up to lighter  summer meals.

Check Out Some of Our Favorite Dry Roses for the Spring/Summer Season:
Olivares, Rose (Spain) $9.99
Charles and Charles, Rose (California) $10.99
Mas de Gourgonier, Rose (France) $13.99
Crios, Rose of Malbec (Argentina) $11.99
Whispering Angel, Rose (France) $19.99
Goats do Roam, Rose (South Africa) $8.99
Miraval, Rose (France) $22.99
Domaine de Fontsainte, Rose (France) $15.99
Moulin de Gassac, Rose (France) $9.99

Friday, April 18, 2014

Cape May Brewing Company, Sawyers Swap

With a baker’s dozen or so of different beers to choose from, Cape May Brewing Company has found a recipe that stands apart from the rest of the herd in color, taste, richness, and appeal. They have leapfrogged themselves over the juvenile brewing stage to within pole position of other major craft brewers. I’m impressed with what they bring to the table in terms of aroma, color, and malt to hop ratio to create this off-type, not quite as popular, barley wine beer. Awesome idea, courageous style choice, and perfectly executed. A well-rounded session beer, very strong, but well disguised by its multiple layers.
A complex, masterfully crafted beer with a ton of elements to pick out and try to separate. On a side note, I love the old school, 1800’s, Civil War soldier label for this bottle! Very classy with a simple, yet almost commanding look and absolutely appropriate for this style of beer. It reminds me of an old style beer from that time period, so the correlation between label and taste is precise.
Overall, I would give this an 83%. I loved the different aspects of their creation. Not hoppy, very malt forward, and notes of barley and caramel. I didn’t pick up on the toffee as much as other people have proclaimed, but it is certainly a very intense, barely style ale comprised of grains and molasses. Medium bodied, non-lingering finish, but a very delicious brown ale that is absolutely worth a try to expand your horizons and get away from the millions of IPA’s out there. The one thing I appreciate more than anything about this beer is the fact that they tried something different. Every craft brewery has an IPA, due to its popularity and demanding appeal, so it’s a breath of fresh air to try a beer that hasn’t jumped on the “IPA bandwagon” and went a different direction with a barley wine ale. Well done Cape May….and thank you for bringing back a vintage way of producing such a good variation of a typical ale!
ABV 9.6%
Personal Rating: 8.3/10
Style Rating: 9.6/10

Wanna try it now? Order it online at:

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Finch's Beer Company, Secret Stash Stout

From a local craft brewery out of Chicago, IL comes Finch’s Beer Co. with their Secret Stache Stout. The chocolate malts used to brew this beer are quite prominent, whereas the vanilla bean wasn't as detectable. Indeed, this is a very robust stout, dark in color with a cherry, reddish hue to its black, chocolate appearance. It does not provide a creamy, thick head like I expected, but an aggressive pour will provide a head like it would out of a keg. Either way, it made no difference in my overall opinion and/or evaluation of this delicious stout.

American stouts differ from English and Irish stouts in that some are highly hopped or complemented with coffee or chocolate to add to the roasted flavors often associated with this style of beer. This addition is certainly a significantly noticeable method used in Finch’s Beer Company’s method of brewing this flavorful stout.

Finch’s Secret Stache Stout would send Sir Arthur Guinness running for the hills in hopes of reinventing the wheel! A US Beer Open Championship Gold Medal Winner and also a Gold Medal Winner at the 2013 World Expo of Beer and the 2013 United States Open Beer Championship, this stout confidently and proudly lives up to its world renown reputation.

For the stout lovers out there (myself included), this one is a home run! Their stout is a very easy drinking, medium-bodied stout with chocolate and coffee notes followed by a smooth, rounded out finish. 
Yes I would purchase this beer again and I would absolutely recommend this to anyone looking for a new stout to try. It was definitely a great session beer and thoroughly enjoyed. Cheers!

5.3% ABV

Personal Rating: 9.8/10

Wanna try it now? Order it online at:

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Top Ten Beers

Here's our Top 10 Beers That We Are Loving Right Now!

10. Dogfish Head, Aprihop (Delaware) 7.0% ABV                                                 4 Pack       $9.99
A seasonal favorite around here that combines the best of an IPA (bitterness and high abv) with a nice light sweetness from the Apricots. This is a great porch pounder for grilling!

9. Yards, Brawler (Pennsylvania) 4.2% ABV                                                         6 Pack       $9.99
A local brewery out of Philadelphia that produces this english session ale that is super easy drinking. This one is nice because it allows you to drink great craft beer without getting knocked out too early!

8. Brewers Art, Ozzy Pale Ale (Maryland) 7.3% ABV                                          6 Pack       $9.99
A fairly recent brewery to hit New Jersey but one that has a huge cult following. This is a pale ale that packs a punch in flavor and abv. A nice nod to Ozzy Osbourne!

7. Left Hand, Nitro Milk Stout (Colorado) 6.0% ABV                                           6 Pack     $10.99
Wow! This is the best version of Adult Chocolate milk that I've ever had. Rich chocolate, dark coffee and creamy milk notes are enhanced by the nitrogen finish that pours like a Guinness.

6. Southern Tier, 2x One (New York) 8.1% ABV                                                  6 Pack     $10.99
The latest and greatest in the Southern Tier 2X Series. This IPA uses only One Hop (Mosaic) and One Malt (Special Pale). This highlights the best traits of the Mosaic hop which are tropical fruit and light herbal bitterness. A killer beer for any IPA lovers!

5. DuClaw, Sweet Baby Jesus (Maryland) 6.5% ABV                                           6 Pack       $9.99
Reese's Peanut Butter Cup...... Need I say more? This is a chocolate peanut butter porter that will take the place of dessert. Don't share this with friends or they might drink it all!

4. Victory, Hop Ranch (Pennsylvania) 9.0% ABV                                                 4 Pack       $8.99
A seasonal treat from Victory Brewing that uses the two newest hops: Mosaic and Azacca! A killer hopped up double IPA that is made with Pilsner malt to make it smooth as silk. This is one that we are hoping will soon become a regular in Victory's year round line up.

3. Uinta, Cockeyed Cooper (Utah) 11.1% ABV                                                       750ml     $12.99
If you are a Bourbon fan then this is the beer for you! A rich caramel, vanilla and spice filled Barleywine that is aged in Bourbon barrels for an extended period to give it a boozy punch. This one definitely has to be served in a cognac glass due to its kicked up ABV.

2. Sauconey Creek, Hop Suplex (Pennsylvania) 10.0% ABV                               4 Pack       $9.99
This brewery was rated as the best new brewery in Pennsylvannia and I would strongly agree with that assessment. This is the BEST Double IPA I have ever had, sticky, resiny and intensely bitter. A true roller coaster for your taste buds. ONLY for true Hop Heads!

1. Cape May Brewing, Devil's Reach (New Jersey) 8.4% ABV                             6 Pack      $9.99
This is a Special Honor for our newest favorite that is also very local. Brewed in Cape May, this brewery is kicking out some AMAZING beers! This belgian golden ale is incredibly complex and delicious with a light malt base that makes it super easy drinking!

Top Ten White Wines

Here's our Top 10 White Wines That We Are Loving Right Now!

10. Nieport Docil, Vinho Verde (Portugal)                                                                              $12.99
A perfect everyday white wine. Light and refreshing but with flavor that lingers. If your looking for something impressive in whites under $15, this is your new go to.

9. Berger, Gruner Veltliner (Austria)                                                                                      $12.99
A very unique grape that is native to Austria. Similar to Pinot Grigio but with a great  minerality that will win you over instantly. Comes in a 1L bottle (more bang for your buck!).

8. Chateau de Bonhoste, White Bordeaux (France)                                                               $10.99
This mostly Sauvignon Blanc based white wine is delicious! It has clean lime zest and grapefruit flavors that are perfect for Summer. Try this one with fresh seafood such as mussels or clams with garlic butter and parsley for a real treat.

7. Calea, Fiano (Italy)                                                                                                                  $9.99
Not your boring old Pinot Grigio! This Italian white is made from the Fiano grape. Flavors of apricot, melon and an almond nuttiness that compliments the crisp citrus notes perfectly! 

6. Chateau Ste Michelle HHH, Sauvignon Blanc (Washington)                                            $14.49
A top 100 Wine Spectator Winner! Intense flavors of citrus and tropical fruits with a bracing lime acidity that will wake up your taste buds. See why everyone is talking about Washington wines!

5. Pepi, Chenin Blanc/Viognier (California)                                                                              $6.99
This is our new house favorite! Don't let the crazy price fool you. This is an amazing blend of Chenin Blanc which is crisp and refreshing with Viognier to give it rich floral and tropical notes! I almost passed this one up before I tried it, but I was glad I gave it a shot.

4. Chateau L Oiseliniere, Muscadet (France)                                                                         $13.99
The perfect shellfish wine. This Muscadet comes from the Loire Valley where they eat alot of mussels, clams and lobster. A light salinity and melon flavors go great with clams casino!

3. Morgante, Bianco de Morgante (Italy)                                                                                $16.99
A white wine made from the red grape Nero d'Avola! Another great wine from Sicily in Italy. Complex flavors come from the red grape but it still has a refreshing finish. Very cool!

2. Bench, Chardonnay (California)                                                                                            $19.99
Your classic Russian River Valley Chardonnay but with a restrained, balanced finish. Up front you get the familiar butter, vanilla and toasty oak but it never overpowers the palate.

1. Richter Zepplin, Riesling (Germany)                                                                                   $12.99
A hard won victory for the Number 1 Spot. This wine is just amazing every time I try it. This is not a sweet Riesling, but neither is it dry. Filled with rich flavors of peach, apple and apricot flavors followed by a citrusy acidity that cleans you palate on the finish. Awesome!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Ommegang, Hop House Pale Ale

From a local brewery in Cooperstown, NY comes a limited edition, Belgian-style, dry-hopped ale entitled “Hop House” released in December of 2013. Aside from being highly aromatic (due to their dry-hopping method of adding hops after fermentation), this Belgian-style ale rivals most with its notes of citrus and fruits and a drying, hop forward finish. The result is a burst of hoppy aroma that balances its maltiness.

Built on an historic hop farm of 136 acres, Ommegang Brewery has certainly captured the essence of hops in their Hop House limited edition beer. Back in the 19th century, Cooperstown, NY was the epicenter of U.S. hop production. That being said, Ommegang Brewery has quite a reputation to uphold in brewing some of their “hoppy” beers that are obligated to live up to their heritage.

I found this beer to be extremely enjoyable as a stand-alone session beer. Although they food pair it with salads, seafood, or spicy foods, this Belgian-style ale had much to offer in terms of independence and character. It has all the appealing elements you could want from a pale ale minus the typical, standard over-hoppiness I have found most pale ales seem to possess. Up front is a very citrus and/or floral aroma which is followed by a very smooth, hoppy finish. I was pleasantly surprised by the flavor and overall taste of this beer as pale ales and IPA’s are not usually not my “go-to’s”, but this particular pale ale has a lot to offer in terms of its overall color, aroma, and taste. This limited edition beer from Ommegang has perfected balance of hops and malts to provide a delicious edition to their already flourishing repertoire.

So for the fans of Belgian-style ales, I would have to recommend Ommegang’s Hop House as one of the beers you must try, not only because it’s a limited edition, but because it is an easy-drinking, perfectly hopped ale on the side of very enjoyable.

Personal Rating: 8.5/10

Wanna try it now? Order it online at:

Brooklyn, Brooklyn Blast IPA

Here's the lastest from our friends at Brooklyn Brewery. Brooklyn Brewery was founded in 1988. They pride themselves on brewing flavorful beers that enrich the life, tradition and culture of the communities it serves. This beer is made using using hops from both the United States and England to create their version of an IPA. 

If your look to pair this beer up with food, I would suggest cuisines including very spicy foods, especially Thai dishes, fiery Indian Vindaloos, Mexican dishes featuring habaƱero chilies, and Jamaican jerk chicken.

In general, IPA’s are commonly known to have an over abundance of hops usually detected up front in the beer and tend to overpower the malts used in the brewing process. Brooklyn Brewery seemed to hit the mark in finding a beautiful balance between hops and malts to create their Brooklyn Blast IPA.

Make no mistake about this IPA! Although it may be light in color with a slight amber hue, it has an 8.4% ABV content that is well disguised in a beer that could be underestimated. I found the Brooklyn Blast to have a very citrusy, hoppy flavor and a non-lingering, smooth finish. Brooklyn Brewery has certainly captured the essence of what an IPA should be in their version of the Brooklyn Blast. In general, IPA’s are not some of my favorites, but this one in particular comes highly recommended. I give this beer a 9.2 rating and suggest that any of the IPA lovers out there to give this one a try!  

Personal Rating: 9.2/10
Style Rating: 8.5/10