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Jun 30

Weingut Affentaler Riesling (or the Purple Monkey)

First off, let me state that we received a bunch of sample Rieslings from "Destination Riesling" in New York in the hopes we’d get around to reviewing them. Since it’s summer, and I prefer whites in summer, and we love German Riesling in this house, well, reviewing isn’t going to be a hardship.

We started with the coolest bottle in the box: a 2006 Riesling Trocken (dry) from Weingut Affentaler near Baden, Germany. Why was it the coolest bottle? It has an embossed, hand-painted purple monkey, complete with fingers, toes, and tail. I commented that even if I hated the wine, I’m keeping the bottle forever. It’s incredibly cool. The other thing we noticed the minute we took the bottle from the box was the sediment. I’ve never seen such a large amount of sediment in a Riesling. Between the monkey and the sediment, I had to make a little movie to show you, so here it is, with a caveat.

Caveat: I’m bad at filming and just playing with iMovie for the first time. I suspect my videos will progressively improve.

The materials we received show that this Purple Monkey is available for around $14.99 and imported by Niche Import, Co. Is it available around here? I’m not sure, but I doubt it. I hope I’d have noticed the monkey.

We chilled the wine, as one is wont to do with whites. But I actually preferred this wine as it warmed up a bit. The aroma was pungent, laced with petrol and green apple. The taste, while chilled, was extremely acidic with a really tart finish. The green apple trumped all other flavors. At this point, Kevin was kind of ho-hum on the wine.

Then it warmed up a bit. Once some of the chill wore off, the wine opened up. The acidity seemed a bit more controlled, and a lot of citrus started to peek through. In particular, I noticed orange peel and lemon.

We drank this wine as a standalone, but I suspect it would improve even more with food. The acidity would cut through a spicy or fatty dish with ease. The wine itself is filling; while not heavy exactly, it’s not a light easy wine either. It’s definitely got a bit of fullness to it, filling your entire mouth.

We both gave this wine a , but I suspect our "score" might improve by pairing this with food or even, perhaps, aging the wine a bit longer.

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Posted by Michelle at 7:00 am in Tastings, Wine Notes | Permalink | Comments (4)
Jun 26

American Homebrewers Conference: Pro-Brewer Night

ConferencelogoThis is the last of the AHA posts. Next week – back to wine and wine reviews! In fact, watch on Monday for a cool Riesling review, complete with multi-media.

At the pro-brewer night, there were over 20 breweries serving over 75 different beers. This brave blogger attempted to try them all, but sadly my notes slowly degraded over the night. Most of what I can make out is that all the beers were good, but most of my notes seem to concentrate on updating our top three selections from across the different breweries. So I present the top three from both Michelle and myself.

Michelle’s Top 3:

  1. Festina Peche from Dogfish Head Brewing Company
  2. Matlida from Goose Island Beer Co
  3. Zoomer from New Holland Brewing Company

Kevin’s Top 3:

  1. Bourbon Barrel Oatmeal Stout from Barley Island Brewing Co.
  2. Oaked Arrogant Bastard from Stone Brewing Co.
  3. Oro de Calabaza from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

We learned a lot about the use of brettanomyces (brett) in beer. In wine, brett is often accidental and not wanted (although it can be used judiciously). It can often cause a barnyard flavor in the wine. We were surprised to find it used in several beers, most notably from Goose Island and Jolly Pumpkin. Jolly Pumpkin specialized in using brett, lending a purposefully sour note to their beers. Michelle, however, accustomed to some poor uses of brett in wine, had trouble getting past the aroma. Not so with the Goose Island Matilda, a reserve beer that uses brett without cultivating the sour. It all added to a full and complex beer.

Looking at the list, I was apparently in the mood for a dark heavy beer, while Michelle was looking at the lighter summery offerings. Sadly, neither of us were able to try all the beers offered, but I think we covered a good amount between the two of us. I’d also like to thank New Holland for providing an extremely full final glass of Dragon’s Milk to close out my night once they learned I was not driving.

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Posted by Kevin at 7:15 am in Beer, Beer-Guy.net | Permalink | Comments (1)
Jun 24

AHA Conference Wrap-up

The conference finished this past weekend and I have been trying to make sense out of some of my notes that I took during the various sessions and about the conference as a whole. The only negative was the lack of Wi-Fi in the conference area, but after Michelle added a little beer to my laptop, I believe I can understand why no one else was trying to take digital notes. In her defense, she was holding about 4 glasses of sample beer and trying to pass them to me as I was getting another set of refills. Which leads me to my list of very cool things about this conference, which is a list of random thoughts:

  • The conference center has a robust yeasty smell that is noticeable when you walk in the door, no matter what time of day. It’s not a bad smell at all and is a great indication of what the conference is about.
  • Any session where beer is provided in a well loved session.
  • Examples are great, in this case various recipes and styles of beer were provided to help illustrate the points made during the sessions.
  • "Homebrewers," my friend Bill said at the conference, "like really good beer. It’s just too expensive to buy really good beer all the time and that’s why I brew my own."
  • Saison was originally made in the East of Belgium and referred to a season, not produced in the West in a specific style.
  • Pro-Brewers night had over 20 brewery’s represented with over 75 different beers. Club night, amazingly, puts the pro-brewer night to shame.
  • Sam Adams really did start off as a true home brew.
  • The Hospitality Suite is open to everyone and has a lot of really good beers.
  • When determining what barrel to use to age beer in, wine barrels tend to have more tannins and vanilla flavors remaining as opposed to bourbon barrels.
  • When you age a beer in bourbon barrels, the type of beer needs to be taken into consideration. A lighter beer has a great balance at 90 -180 days, with more oak and less bourbon as time progresses. A darker beer, like a porter or stout, tends to do better earlier, in the 90 day range as a maximum before the beer becomes too sweet.
  • People who brew, love to share and challenge themselves to create the best beer possible, not just to copy styles and tastes that others have already created.
  • Brettanomyces is not a bad thing in brewing.

I really enjoyed seeing the people who were getting recharged listening to the different discussions and asking very detailed questions about the various steps in order to go home and try some of the new techniques learned during the conference. On Thursday I’ll post a review of the different beers we tried during the conference.

I’d like to wrap up with a thank you to the Brewers Association and encourage anyone who is interested to attend the 2009 Conference in San Fransisco. This is a conference where people are passionate about their hobby and willing to share information and stories with anyone, oddly enough, over a beer. Even a non-brewer like myself was welcomed and ended up learning a lot about various styles, beer history and what goes into making high quality beer.

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Posted by Michelle at 8:31 pm in Beer, Beer-Guy.net | Permalink | Comments ()
Jun 20

Featured Cincinnati Wine Events 6/20 – 6/26

It’s a slow week as far as wine tastings go, but I do recommend checking out the Downtown Big To-Do on Friday. It’s "a progressive happy hour that winds through the
10 member restaurants of the Do Downtown Group for cocktails and sample

Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Image by Flickr user darajan via Creative Commons.

The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra is also hosting a Wine Tasting in the new National City Pavilion at Riverbend this Sunday at 6pm. After the tasting, a concert featuring music from several European wine regions will ensue – performed by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Eric Dudley conducting.  Guest violinist Mikhail Simonyan will perform on this concert with works by Berlioz, Saint-Saëns, Respighi and others.

For the full list of Cincinnati tastings, both one-time and recurring, refer to our Google Calendar on this page. For information on what’s going on in Dayton, you can refer to Mark’s blog at Uncorked.

Tell the retailers we sent you, and have a great weekend!

Map IconFriday Interactive Wine Tasting Map

Map IconSaturday Interactive Wine Tasting Map

Featured wine (and beer) events are after the jump.


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Posted by Michelle at 8:07 am in Weekly Cincinnati Wine Events | Permalink | Comments ()
Jun 19

American Homebrewers Association Kickoff

Shel and I went to pick up our press kits for the American Homebrewer’s Association convention, which is happening in Sharonville, just north of Cincinnati this year. We received the regular press kit handouts: speaker lists, author schedules, press pass, beer glass and specially brewed beer. The last one might not be part of the standard conference welcome package, but after getting it home and chilling it off for a few hours, I’m happy to provide a quick write up on: Bosmo’s Brewing Down the Haus in Zinzinnati Imperial Cream Ale and Fireball Mead.

The conference goes through Saturday and I will try and provide a few updates along the way. I’m not sure if there will any opportunity to live blog the events, but we will see what the next few days hold. Full reviews of the two conference beers after the jump.

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Posted by Kevin at 8:16 am in Beer, Beer-Guy.net | Permalink | Comments ()

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