Back in July, when we took our amazing Alaska vacation, we got a chance to visit the Alaskan Brewing Company, at the urging of the Hoperatives. It’s great beer, and it’s a great tour. If you’re ever in Juneau, run away from the cruise ship and hop a city bus out to an industrial park – where you’ll find a brewery.
Not a brewpub, mind you. It’s where they make the beer. They may not have food, but they have a large selection of beer on tap and it’s all amazing. I am not a fan of the Smoked Porter (although the Hoperatives and Kevin both love it). I thought it tasted and smelled like fish, which makes sense. They use a local salmon smokery to, well, smoke the hops. I fell in love with the IPA, which is a rarity for me. I usually find IPAs too hoppy and bitter. It looks like they’re offering a Winter Ale at the moment, made from spruce. We discovered at a different brewery that spruce trees were often used to make beer, as the vitamin C helped prevent scurvy in the seaside Alaskan towns. Sounds dubious but tastes delightful, I promise.
The story behind the Alaskan Brewing Company can only be told effectively by one guy, and we were lucky enough to have him as our tour guide. You see, it’s not really a tour. They take to you a hallway overlooking the tanks, and tell you about their history. Every 5 or 10 minutes, you break for beer and then go back to the hallway to be entertained a little more.
We met some great people at this small, eclectic place, and we were rather grateful we took the bus back to the boat. I, for one, stumbled back on to the bus, but I was terribly sad to leave. It was one of the best places we visited in Alaska.
Alaskan Brewing Company beer isn’t available here in the Cincinnati area (although we certainly brought a fair amount back with us). In fact, you can only buy it in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming.
So, I’m not really the Beer Girl, but I really wanted to share with this video that is long, entertaining, and perhaps tells you everything you might want to know about how they make their beer at the Alaskan Brewing Company.
Don’t forget to enter our DVD Contest! A winner will be chosen on Thursday!
Happy Anniversary everyone! It’s the 76th anniversary of the Repeal of Prohibition and the 18th Amendment with the ratification of the 21st Amendment. (Ooo! A history lesson!)
There was much celebrating on Dec 5, 1933, as seen in this fantastic newsreel:
You now have another reason to officially celebrate today. Get out there and drink some wine!
It’s that time of year when I’m starting to receive New Year’s Eve listings in addition to the regular and fantastic tastings that Cincinnati always offers, so make sure to start regularly checking the calendar for listings of classy dinners and wine tastings. I’ll do a more complete post closer to the date.
Additionally, don’t forget to leave a comment on the Contest post. You could win a new screener copy of Mondo Vino the Series.
On to the wine tastings! I list Little Sonoma (West Chester) as a regular tasting, but each weekend through December, they’re offering some great holiday themed tastings, including sparklers and gift wines. You’ll definitely want to check them out. Additionally, The Party Source really pulls out all the stops with end of year classes between now and Christmas, so try to take in a class or two this December.
Remember, all the recurring events, those dependable weekly tastings, are displayed on our calendar. The one-time events are after the jump.
For information on what’s going on in Dayton, you can refer to Mark’s blog at Uncorked.
I knew I needed to celebrate the launch of our awesome new design with a contest. I need to give back to you guys, but I’m not exactly allowed to give away alcohol. Then I received in the mail two (yes two!) screener copies of Mondovino the Series. I received these free of charge from DVD producers Kino International. One is for me to watch, but the other is for you!
Now, I just got these DVDs in hand. It’s a newly released, four-DVD set containing 10 hours of video, so I haven’t had a chance to watch – or review – this yet. It’s going to take some time.
But you can beat me to it. If you’re interested, just leave a comment below with a message about why you’d like to get your hands on this screener set. I’ll use a random generator to pick the winner and announce next Thursday. Make sure you include your email address in the appropriate field of the comments. (Email addressses are not tracked, shared, or used for anything except to tell you that you won.)
So, what is this DVD anyway?
Mondovino was a documentary released in 2004 that was fairly controversial. It really pushes the “small is better” theory and is not kind to larger winemakers, including the Mondavis and Staglins. According to Decanter.com,
“Many feel that in his portraits of Michel Rolland, the de Montilles of Burgundy, the Frescobaldis, Mondavis and other great wine families he relies on sophisticated editing to get his point across.
Rolland in particular is singled out for demonisation. Using multiple replays of a single shot of the wine consultant laughing in his chauffeur-driven Mercedes, the director contrives to make him appear a malevolent presence.
Similarly, clever cutting canonises figures like Mas de Daumas Gassac’s Aime Guibert, or turns the Staglins of Napa into cliches of insensitive Californians.”
The original movie was one of only four documentaries nominated for the Palm d’Or at Cannes. The director, Jonathan Nossiter, turned that one film endeavor into a 10-part television series that supposedly is a more in-depth “investigation into the wine world, and more ‘intimate and detailed’ portraits of wine families” as compared to the original film. He covers everything from California to France. The series originally aired, from what I can find, on BBC Africa and BBC Food.
But I want you to keep in mind that this film raised the ire of many in the wine industry, as well as receiving a lot of praise. It’s often been called a one-sided documentary, and it does, in essence, charge Mondavi and Robert Parker with turning wine into a commodity such as coffee at Starbucks. This was filmed over four years at the beginning of the decade as well, and I’d like to think several things in the wine industry have changed over the last 5 years.
But the point of a documentary, even if you don’t agree with the filmmaker, is to make you think about, and consider, the subject.
If you’re interested in learning more, leave a comment telling me why. Maybe you’ll be the lucky random winner!
This is the one of several recurring posts from David Lazarus about the intricacies of opening and running a wine shop. David’s posts will appear on Wednesdays.
Recently I met with a couple of small wine companies, one who distributes small Washington state wine and the other who imports a couple of wineries from Argentina. I was initially a little leery of the the Argentinean importer, because I have rarely been blown away by wine from Argentina. However, after trying a dozen of his wines – from a $10 wine to the flagship wines in the upper $40 range - my mind was very much changed. I ordered almost a dozen of the wines I tried, including a Sangiovese and high end Cabernet Franc. All were exceptional and good for the money.
I was able to try through three cases of wine with the gentleman from Washington State. I brought in another dozen wines from him, including a Riesling ice wine and some fantastic blends. These wines are all limited and I felt lucky to get a shot at them.
I am looking forward to doing tastings in the future featuring each of these new distributors. I also have a nice 2005 Bourdeaux coming that has been reduced by half at $19.99. Daily operations are becoming normal and I am almost 2/3 through my proofing of the POS entries. I am looking forward to the gift giving season and all the excitement to come.
Once again I want to thank all of you who have helped to make our venture a success so far and we look forward to serving you in the future.
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