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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Celebrate Father's Day and Encourage Dad to Get a PSA Test

Pints for Prostates will use the universal language of beer during Father's Day weekend at eight events -- from Brookline, Mass., to Issaquah, Wash. -- where men will be encouraged to get regular checkups and ask for a PSA blood test the next time they see their doctors.

All funds generated by Pints for Prostates benefit the Us TOO International Prostate Cancer Education and Support Network, a 501(c)3 charity that works to support, educate and advocate for men with prostate cancer and their families. Us TOO was founded in 1990 and has a network of more than 300 local chapter support groups that help men dealing with the disease.

If you are looking for a place to celebrate the day with Dad here are eight great places to do it:

June 20th (11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.): Green Dragon Bistro Brewpub, 928 SE 9th Ave., Portland, Ore.
June 20th (11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.): Rogue Ales Public House, 748 SW Bay Blvd., Newport, Ore.
June 20th (11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.): Eugene City Brewery, 844 Olive St., Eugene, Ore.
June 20th (11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.): Issaquah Brewhouse, 35 W. Sunset Way, Issaquah, Wash.
June 20th (11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.): Rogue Ales Public House, 637 Union St., San Francisco, Calif.
June 20th (Noon to 9:00 p.m.): Hub City Brewing Co., 11352 40th St., Stanley, Iowa
June 21st (4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.): Falls Tap Room, 5009 Falls of Neuse Road, Raleigh, N.C.
June 21st (Noon to 4:00 p.m.): Roadhouse Craft Beer & BBQ, 1700 Beacon Street, Brookline, Mass.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tuesday Tasting: Russian River Valley Chardonnay

Tuesday Tasting is a regular feature of Lyke2Drink that explores some of the best beers, wines and spirits on the market. This week we try some chardonnay from one of California's best growing regions.

Chardonnay is by far the most popular varietal produced in California. According to the Wine Institute, more than 26 percent of the 176 million cases of wine sold by California vineyards in 2007 were chardonnay. And when it comes to California chardonnay one of the regions that consistently ranks among the best is an area settled nearly 200 years ago by Russian trappers looking for furs.

Located about an hour north of San Francisco, the Russian River Valley carves a notch along the California coast that allows Pacific fog to roll deep into Sonoma County. The Russian River Valley appellation is home for more than 100 wineries. In the current issue of DRAFT magazine I wrote the Drinking Buddies column that takes a closer look at the 150 square mile area.

The Russian River Valley was not officially recognized as a distinct growing region until 1983. It has been expanded at least twice since then. According to the trade group Russian River Valley Winegrowers, 42 percent of the grapes grown in the region are chardonnay, with pinot noir the next most popular at 29 percent. Here are six of the wines tasted as part of the story were:

Balletto 2007 Russian River Chardonnay: You get a nice scent of vanilla and fruit in the nose. The immediate flavor offers an attractive firm level of ripe fruit, acidity and rounded edges.

Thomas George Estates 2007 Chardonnay: Nice tropical aroma, gives way to a wine that is buttery with hints of tart apple and lemon. Bright and attractive.

Hanna 2007 Proprietor Grown Chardonnay: Bright and inviting wine, with apple notes and a hint of pineapple. Good level of oak that is not overpowering.

Jordan 2006 Russian River Valley Chardonnay: Fermented in a mix of new and used French oak, this wine combines the creamy texture and acid balance of a California classic. Good touches of pear and apple throughout.

La Crema 2007 Russian River Valley Chardonnay: Nice floral nose, good amounts of crisp fruit and tropical notes along with a slight touch of spice from the oak. A very nice food wine.

Martinelli 2006 Lolita Ranch Chardonnay: A nice crisp chardonnay that matches well with a variety of foods. Lemon zest, crisp apple and fresh pear. Hint of light oak for balance. Nicely put together.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Tuesday Tasting: A Six Pack of Sour Ales

Tuesday Tasting is a regular feature of Lyke2Drink that explores some of the best beers, wines and spirits on the market. This week we try some beers that will make you pucker up.

After writing a column called "Beyond Beer" for a number of years for All About Beer magazine, I've launched a new column that is, well, all about beer. Your "Next Beer" to be precise. The idea is to look forward and talk about emerging trends; beer styles that are hot; and what beers you should look for on your next visit to a pub.

The first installment of "Next Beer" in the current issue of All About Beer covers sour beers. Most beer drinkers fall into two broad categories: hop heads or malt mavens. We have all been taught from our earliest brewpub visit, order an IPA if you crave hop bitterness or go for a doppelbock if you want some sweet malt. There is now a growing subculture of beer fans that want to pucker up: call them the sour patch kids.

Oud bruin, Fladers red ale, lambic, gueuze, gose, saison and Berliner weisse are styles that fit into the sour beer category. These ales have an acidic sourness that comes from a spontaneous source of fermentation that in most beers would be considered a major defect. Under normal circumstances the presence of Lactobacillus, Brettanomyces or Pediococcus in a brewhouse is a cause for concern. But for makers sour ales, these organisms are welcome guests.

Here are six of the beers tasted for the column:

Cascade Kriek Ale: This 2008 bottling from Oregon was a rich reddish brown color. Thick, healthy head and a vibrant sourness dominate in this 8.1 percent alcohol by volume beer. After six months of lactic fermentation in oak barrels this beer is fermented a second time with fresh whole northwest cherries.

Duchesse De Bourgogne: From Brouwerij Verhaeghe in Vichte, Belgium, this 6 percent alcohol by volume reddish-brown ale is a blend of 8- and 18-month-old ales. You can taste the wood character in this brew that has a touch of bakers chocolate, but the overall impression is a vinegar leaning tartness that grows on you after the first few sips.

Liefman’s Goudenband: This Belgian beer was sampled on draught at the Hopleaf in Chicago from a keg that had been aging since 2006. Hazy, amber color. Tart almost s our cherry soda-like flavor base. Mellow oak in the background. Smooth and refreshing for an 8 percent by alcohol by volume brew.

Oud Beersel Oud Geuze Vieille: Golden color, pours with a nice lacing head. No sugar or yeast are added in the making of this beer, which comes in at 6 percent alcohol by volume. Citrus and herbal nose, with a crisp bitter apple flavor.

Southampton Berliner Weisse: This Long Island beer is a cloudy, light lemon juice like color. A thin head stays throughout. Sour tartness that is cleansing and refreshing. Hint of green apple in the finish that lingers.

Upstream Brewing Gueuze Lambic: This Nebraska beer transports you to Flanders. Cloudy amber gold with a very thin head. Nice tart citrus notes that give way to a fresh cut oak flavor bed.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Drinks & Taxes 2009 v17: United States of America

President Barack Obama wants to fix the health care system and make universal coverage available to all Americans. The issue was a major part of his campaign.

The problem is the economy makes paying for the proposal a fairly difficult task. It is estimated that during the next 10 years the federal government could spend up to $1.5 trillion to fund the program.

So the number crunchers in Washington are looking for revenue sources. Guess what one of the targets is? If you said "alcohol" you have passed the test.

The numbers in the tax proposals are still a little squishy, but some media reports say that the tax on liquor will go up and that the rates on beer and wine will be raised to bring them closer to what is charged for spirits. A common number being tossed around has the federal tax on beer going up by as much as $2 a case.

With the Democrats controlling the White House, Senate and House, it's likely the health care plan will get attention fairly soon. If what is happening at the local and state level is any indication, beverage companies and people who enjoy beer, wine and spirits are likely to pay more than their fair share to help fund the new program.

Drinks & Taxes 2009 v16: Massachusetts

All eyes are on the Massachusetts House of Representatives to see if they will try to pass a new 6.25 percent tax on alcohol. The state is the latest to see alcohol taxes as a way to dig out from a budget hole.

The Massachusetts Package Store Association has launched a petition drive against the tax. They claim to have collected 50,000 customer signatures.

A protest against the proposal was held in Boston this week against the measure. The state Senate approved the bill by voice vote. Retailers say the new tax will drive more business to New Hampshire, which has a state store system and no sales tax.