Sips – Jan. 2017

Here’s what’s pouring

2SP Brewing Releases Third Canned Beer

In December, 2SP Brewing Company released Bellcracker Double IPA in cans. This is the Aston, Pa., brewery’s third canned beer, following the successful Delco Lager and ASAP IPA.

According to director of sales and marketing Mike Contreras, Bellcracker is one of the company’s biggest beers.

“We love it at the brewery, but we have to be careful with it, because, well, it’s dangerously smooth and easy to drink at 8.7 percent,” says Contreras.

The feedback on the beer has been excellent, he says, and retailers—like Branmar Liquors, Kreston and Peco’s— have already put in re-stock orders.

“For those who haven’t tried it, this double IPA has Amarillo hops that give it a big tropical hop flavor. The beer is balanced by a solid malt bill, so it won’t wreck your pallet with hops, and there is no burn from the high alcohol,” says Contreras.

Visit 2spbrewing.com for more.

Delaware Art Museum Happy Hour

On Thursday, Jan. 19, join Delaware Art Museum’s Executive Director and CEO Sam Sweet for casual conversation and free drinks in the museum’s on-site Thronson Café.

Sweet, who is new to the Delaware community, will hear guests’ thoughts about the museum while also getting tips on local events, restaurants, and hidden Delaware treasures. Beer, wine and light snacks will be provided. The event is set for 5-7 p.m.

Olde School Barleywine Is Back

This month, Dogfish Head is bringing back one of the brewery’s most requested beers of 2016—the Olde School Barleywine. Currently scoring a 98 percent rating on RateBeer.com and an 88 on Beer Advocate, the brew, fermented with dates and figs, is sweet and fruity. Brewery founder Sam Calagione came up with the beer’s concept in 2002 after discovering an old cellerman’s manual.

At about 15 percent ABV, this beer is a great candidate for aging. Over time, it dries out, the pit fruit flavors come forward and the hops recede. Pairing it with blue cheese and honey is recommended.
For brew availability, check dogfish.com.

Movies On Tap Keeps On Going — and Giving

Since last April, the monthly Movies On Tap series at Penn Cinema, in partnership with Premier Wine & Spirits, has raised $12,720 for local charities, including Food Bank of Delaware, Delaware KIDS Fund, Read Aloud Delaware, Meals on Wheels, Food Bank of Delaware (twice), Preston’s Playground, Good Old Boy Foundation and Delaware Nature Society.

The event is one of the most interactive beer tasting experiences around. Each month, a different local brewery sends its brewers to talk with guests, who sample beers and catch a cult-classic flick on the big screen. Ticket sales go to charities like those mentioned above.

Next up is Bellefonte Brewing Company and The Princess Bride on Friday, Jan. 27, at 6:30 p.m. The charity of choice is TBA.

A full event schedule will be announced in February.

Says Premier director of marketing Ryan Kennedy: “The best part of this series is that it supports our local community. Bringing beer and movie fans together to support the community we live, work and play in is the main reason we do this, but knowing 99 percent of ticket sales go to a worthy cause is the icing on the cake for us. It’s been a great experience and 2017 is going to be packed with incredible breweries and movies.”

Visit premierwinespirits.com for more information.

Area Wine Experts Pick Holiday Favorites

It’s the season to give and, yes, to celebrate. Whether it’s an office holiday party, Christmas dinner with the extended family, or New Year’s Eve with good friends, here are some wine suggestions from local people in the know.

Linda Collier at Collier’s of Centreville
Under $25:
Domaine de Paul Blanck Old Vine Auxerrois from Alsace
Lots of vanilla, caramel and spice that will wrap around all the flavors on the table at just $21.99.

Over $25:
Charles de Cazanove Vielle France Brut Rose’ from Reims
No holiday is complete without champagne. This one is 55 percent pinot noir, 30 percent chardonnay and 15 percent Coteaux Champagne rouge. Brioche, apple, red currant, creamy and oh, so elegant. Perfect to toast the day, it will carry through the entire meal beautifully. $41.99.

Jeff Kreston at Kreston Wine & Spirits
Under $25: 2015 Pessimist Red Blend from Daou Vineyards
Pessimist Red Blend from Paso Robles, Calif. ($19.83), is a blend of Syrah, Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Tannat and Grenache. It’s a very dark wine that offers gorgeous creme de cassis, black cherry, boysenberries, and toasted vanilla beans accompanied with sweet tannins and purity of fruit. Firm yet elegant tannins balance the powerhouse of fruit and lead to a strong, lasting finish of black pepper, pipe tobacco and spicy oak.

Over $25: Orin Swift Mercury Head 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon
An alluring hue of dark garnet sits in the glass, encircled by a glowing ruby rim. Immediate aromas of ripe black cherry, blueberry and classic cassis are supported by undertones of lavender, jasmine, sage, tobacco, cigar box and the slightest touch of anise. Rich and vibrant upon entry, flavors of dark plums, figs and black fruit transform into sweet vanilla and dark chocolate framed by velvety and plush tannins. The wine finishes with great length and a touch of acidity—an elegant Cabernet Sauvignon ($124.99) from select vineyards in the Napa Valley.

David Moore at Moore Brothers Wine Co.
Under $25: Lacrima di Morro d’Alba “Alborada” 2015
Here’s a very special and rare treat from the Adriatic coast of Italy and the tiny estate of Giorgio Brunori. This is a stunning, aromatic red made from a grape that grows only in this region. Few people outside this beautiful area have ever experienced it. Perfect for winter roasts, and only $17 (until it runs out).

Over $25: Château Haut Rocher 2014
From Grand Cru St. Emilion parcels, the beautiful, plush Château Haut Rocher 2014 ($36) is a rich, delicious Bordeaux, perfect for gift giving or your Christmas roast. A judicious mix of new and neutral barrels while aging leaves the wine with ripe, soft tannins and a silky texture on the palate.

Ed Mulvihill at Peco’s Liquors
Under $25: Hedges Family Estate C.M.S Red Blend
It’s always a joy to find a truly stellar wine for under $25. The C.M.S Red Blend does not disappoint. It has it all notes of cinnamon, sweet plum and earthy pomegranate with hints of dried tobacco leaf, vanilla and dark cocoa powder. It will pair well with most traditional holiday meals and will be sure to impress any of your guests this holiday season. It’s an absolute steal at only $12.99.

Over $25: Unconditional Pinot Noir
Some of the greatest Pinots can get really expensive. Unconditional from Oregon is a bargain at just $25.99. Bright and lively notes of cherry, cranberry, and Christmas spice. Medium light bodied with a fine finish. This wine is great on its own or paired with your holiday turkey or goose.

Tim Petit at Premier Wine & Spirits
Under $25: Conundrum Red
(Wagner Family of Caymus Fame)
The Premier Pick of the Fall ($19.99) and one of our best sellers right now. It’s rich, dark and offers aromas of ripe berries and plums, with a subtle hint of cocoa. Created from dark red varietals including Zinfandel and Petite Sirah, it also has the taste of chocolate-covered cherries with a light smokiness. Perfect for the holiday season.

Over $25: Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
Another one of our favorites (also by the Wagner Family of Caymus Fame), it’s packed with bold vanilla and fresh raspberry/strawberry aromas and taste. It’s dark and also brings in flavors of cherry, dark chocolate, coconut, barrel spice and smoked meat. Don’t believe us? Buy a bottle ($28.99) and try for yourself.

John Murray at State Line Liquors
Under $25: Iron Horse Brut 2009
An excellent example of sparkling wine made in Sonoma California, dry and delicate. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are the varietals found in this Estate Bottled wine ($19.99). Flavors of hazelnuts, apples and mandarin oranges are noticed in the flavor profile.

Over $25: Dashe Cellars Evangelho Vineyard Old Vine Carignane 2014
Bottled under Dashe Les Enfants Terribles label, this wine ($29.99) is from a vineyard planted in 1890, in Contra Costa County, Calif. Fruits of cassis, pomegranate and cherries dominate. Lush and velvety with hints of black pepper spice gives this a long finish.

David Gavatos of Swigg
Under $25: Chateau Massiac Minervois, France 2013
Chateau Massiac ($18) is a certified organic estate located in the heart of Minervois and owned and operated by the Boudouresques family. In the glass, the wine displays sumptuous dark crimson fruit, baker’s chocolate, garrigue and cracked pepper. It’s a fantastic pairing with lamb and autumn inspired stews.

Over $25: Obsidian Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon, Lake County, Calif., 2013
The Obsidian Ridge Vineyard is located at an elevation of 2,640 feet on the Northern end of Napa in the Red Hills of Lake County. The wine ($29) is finished off in Hungarian oak, and displays all the best qualities of cabernet sauvignon grown in a mountain setting. In the glass, the wine is literally obsidian black with a dense core of warm black fruit, blueberry compote and baking spices, framed with dusty tannin.