Producer: Oskar Blues Brewery
Location: Longmont, Co and Brevard, NC
Style: Imperial Red Ale
Serving style: draft and pint cans
Availability: Year-round nationally.
Appearance: “Nice amber color.”
Aroma: "A little citrussy hoppiness, followed by malt.
Taste: “Nicely balanced beer between hoppy and malty. Has a malty backbone balanced by an appealing hoppy bitterness.
Food Affinity: “Would be good with spicy foods. It has enough malt to balance any of the spices.”
--reviewed by Nate Folsom, a wine merchant in Sacramento
Editor's note: In 2002 the craft brewery Oskar Blues put the first of their line of beers, Dales' Pale Ale, in a can, a revolutionary move at the time. Actually there are many advantages to “bottling” in a can and Oskar Blues, as well as 30-plus other craft brewers who've followed suit, will celebrate the Burning Can Festival at Bohn Park in Lyons, Colorado Friday, May 31 and Saturday, June 1 of this year. We like their style.
Producer: Anderson Valley Brewing Co.
Location: Boonville, Mendocino County, CA
Style: dark lager
Serving Style: Draft and 16 oz. cans
Availability: Year-round in California and much of the U.S.
Appearance: “It's dark.”
Aroma: "Nose is subtle, but some toasty malt apparent."
Taste: “Roasted malts give you more of that roasty/toasty, grain flavor that is typical of dark lagers. 'Chewier' than typical light lagers.”
Food Affinity: "Sauerbraten mit Spätzle und Rotkohl."
--reviewed by Michael Eady
How did Winemaker Scott Harvey help transform an historical Gold Rush town known as the “Jewel of the Mother Lode” to a charming wine center?
Six years ago, Scott and his wife Jana envisioned a tasting venue where people could both dine and book lodging within walking distance of the tasting room. Sutter Creek, the most picturesque town in Gold Country, would be the ideal showcase for Amador County wine and provide just the place for responsible wine tasting—where people enjoy a flight of wine and stroll to dinner and back to the hotel. Scott and Jana took the leap in early 2007, joining just one other tasting room in town—Sutter Creek Wine Tasting.
Later in the year, Pat Crosby, former City Councilman of Sutter Creek, a registered California Landmark, approached winemaker Scott Harvey with a proposition. “Can you help develop Sutter Creek into a wine lover’s destination?” Scott approached the city with a tasting room prospectus at Pat’s behest.
Scott had already built his reputation as a winemaker, creating Amador Wines for Santino Winery, which he later developed into Renwood, and had a strong affiliation with Amador County wines. “What better place for people to appreciate the Barbera, Zinfandel, and Syrah that make the mountain region of Amador County so unique than right near the vineyards of the Shenandoah Valley?”
Scott Harvey was instrumental in contacting other wineries to open a satellite in the town Sunset Magazine calls “The Jewel of the Sierra.” By 2013, additional wineries on Main St. include Cinque, Bella Grace, Andis, Yorba with Baiocchi and Sutter Ridge opening this summer . The group of tasting rooms is now known as Wine on Main.
Today, the Scott Harvey Wines Tasting Room is ranked the #1 attraction in Sutter Creek by Trip Advisor, lauded by reviewers for the friendly and knowledgeable tasting room staff, and wide variety of celebrated wines, from Amador County Zinfandel to Napa Valley Cabernet, to a favorite among visitors, Scott Harvey’s port-style wine, Forte.
Scott and Jana have now enhanced their Sutter Creek Tasting room experience. A newly expanded and welcoming back patio that opened June 1st features comfortable tables and chairs. Flowers and greenery have been freshly planted by Scott’s daughter, Michelle, giving tasters a delightful respite for their personalized tasting experience, or to enjoy a glass of one of Scott Harvey’s award-winning selection of over 15 wines.
“We believe we have the best tasting room visitors in California,” said Tasting Room Manager Muffin Simpson. “We love making the tasting room experience fun and enjoy introducing guests to varietals they might not have tasted before, such as Scott’s J&S Reserve Barbera, winner of Gold at the California State Fair, and dessert wines such as our Riesling-based Ice-style Wine, Angel Eis.”
About Scott Harvey Wines:
Established in 2004, Scott Harvey Wines features Amador County Barberas, Zinfandels and Syrahs, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel, along with a variety of one-of-a-kind white and red wine blends. Creator of “niche wines that over deliver,” Scott Harvey, owner and winemaker, has been making wines for over 30 years. The company has tasting rooms in both St. Helena and Sutter Creek.
Editor's note: Visitors to California's Gold Country can find links to many Lodging and Dining options, as well as links to all of the Sierra Foothill wineries in Taste California Travel's Resource Directory.
Pueblo del Sol
Appellation: Juanico Region (Uruguay)
Suggested Retail: $11.
“Though the Tannat grape is grown in very small amounts in the United States, wines made from it are seldom seen in this country. It is found in several European locations, but is most closely associated with the Basque country in the southwest of France. Though it appears elsewhere in South America, Tannat is regarded as the national grape of the country of Uruguay.
“It's likely there are more expensive Tannats from Uruguay—perhaps even better tasting than this example—but we find the 2010 vintage from Pueblo del Sol to be delightful. And quite affordable. The importer quotes a retail price of $11, but we purchased our sample bottle at Corti Brothers in Sacramento at $8.99. Dark red in color, its initial aromas evoke dark cherry-like fruit, finely ground white pepper and dried herbs. First taste brings more of that cherry aspect, with flavors also of blackberry, blueberry and even cranberries. It's juicy, but not in the syrupy 'fruit bomb' sort of way.”
Food Affinity: With it's low alcohol (by recent standards) and good acidity, this is a natural food-pairer. We don't claim expertise in the cuisine of Uruguay, we know that the asado, or wood-fired barbecue, is very popular there. Beef is the most frequent component, but pork sausages and lamb are said to make appearances, too. We suggest imagining yourself a Gaucho. Put together a mixed grill on the backyard barbecue to help enjoy this Pueblo del Sol Tannat.