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With Easter fast approaching we here at BottleJockey get a lot of questions about which wine will go best with a big holiday meal. Whether you celebrate with an old fashioned turkey dinner, a perfectly prepared roast ham, or some other indulgence, the one thing all holiday meals have in common is that they test the tensile strength of our waistlines. Although wine is our passion, at a meal of this scale the star should always be the food and the company with which we enjoy it. Wine serves to compliment the food and the overall experience; it should never overshadow the delights that your host spent hours in the kitchen preparing. Most people, when pairing wine and food, focus primarily on the protein being served but this isn’t so easy for these holiday meals for a couple of reasons:
1) The most basic rule of thumb is red wine with red meat and white wine with white meat. This is usually a good guideline, but in the case of turkey there is both white meat and dark meat. In the case of ham, it’s not really red or white. It’s pretty much pink. So… Pink wine? Perhaps, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
2) While it is a good idea to match your wine with the protein, what happens to the 14 side dishes that your mom prepares with your holiday meal? Mashed potatoes smothered in gravy, sweet spiced yams, any number of vegetables, and (the best part) stuffing! These are all heavy and flavorful sides that would drown out the flavors of most delicate white wines.
So, with that being said, we’ll avoid the polar ends or the spectrum and stay away from the delicate white wines and bold red wines. Gearing towards fuller-bodied white wines, lighter styles of red, and perhaps a rosé too will bring us to your ideal food pairing. Here are some top varietals to hunt for:
Chardonnay: Chardonnay is a great medium-to-full bodied white wine that gains body through oak aging. Chardonnays such as Wente Morning Fog, Mauro, and Kendall Jackson Avant have really well integrated oak flavors of baking spice and a smooth buttery texture while maintaining fresh orchard apple and pear flavors. These are not harshly oaked and don’t smack you in the face with powerful nutty notes. They are well balanced and those baking spice notes beautifully compliment the flavors of turkey dinner.
Riesling: The residual sugars left in many off-dry Rieslings not only add sweetness, but body as well. The sweetness in these wines compliments the sweeter elements of a turkey dinner like baking spice dusted yams and cranberry sauce, and also creates a harmonious contrast with the saltier foods such as gravy. The heavier body caused by that residual sugar allows the wine to stand up to, and not be overshadowed by, the heavier components of the meal. My top pick Rieslings are Max Mann, Prospect Larch Tree, and Waterbrook.
Pinot Gris: If you prefer a wine that is dry, or belong to the ABC Club (Anything But Chardonnay) then I suggest a Pinot Gris from See Ya Later Ranch or Kettle Valley. These wines are crisp, yet have gained body and depth of character from extended contact with lees. Lees, for those of you wondering, are the left over little yeast cells that convert grape sugars into alcohol and are then filtered out of the wines we all love.
Pinot Noir: Some people like to call Pinot Noir “White Wine In Disguise”. Pinot Noir is light to medium bodied with soft tannins and can be paired with many foods that would classically be paired with white wines. Cooler climate pinots are bursting with great berry flavors and also have herbaceous and earthy tones making them perfect pairings for turkey dinner. Because Pinot Noir is a thin skinned grape the tannins in the wines are much lighter and won’t over power the meal. I always have Underwood Cellars or The People’s Pinot Noir because of their herbaceous characters. If you prefer a more fruit forward pinot, I suggest The Stubborn Fool.
California Red Blends: California red blends (usually leading mostly with Zinfandel) are full bodied, with medium tannins and sweet flavors. These wines pair perfectly with honeyed ham dinners. Because they are well rounded and very smooth, they match up perfectly with the texture of the ham and the sweetness of the wine creates a tasty sweet and salty contrast. If you love the Apothic, then try Flirt, or Cline Late for Dinner.
Rosé: Who says you can’t have both? Rosé gives us the best of both worlds. Light and refreshing, with minimal tannins, rosé is a great food pairing wine. Our Baillie Grohman Rosé or Quail’s Gate Rosé is a great example; they are crisp and bursting with flavors, one of which is cranberry. Cranberries and turkey sounds like a winning combo, does it not?
In spite of all this wine talk, if fermented grape juice just isn’t your style, then why not a nice cold beer? Saisons are the perfect style of beer to compliment not only your meal, but the (hopefully) sunshine that you’ll be enjoying throughout the long weekend. Light and refreshing, but elegantly spiced, Saisons will stand up and compliment all aspects of your meal. Check out Parallel 49 Hayfever for an ideal saison session.
With all this in mind you are ready to complete your fantastic holiday meal! Whether you’re making the trek back to your folks, hosting a meal with your closest friends, or bringing a bottle to your disapproving in-laws, these picks are sure not to disappoint. Pop in to BottleJockey to find these and many other great choices for your holiday meal. Our experts are always here to help you pick out your perfect pairing. If our store is a bit far from where you are reading this, check out our website and order online! We ship anywhere in BC and will have it delivered right to your door, just in time for your guests or that one little glass you enjoy during prep time. Happy Easter to all, and remember to savor all the friends, family, and flavors that holidays bring.
Shop online fore these suggestions and more at /Products/Easter-Wines
By Tim Bradley
It’s February, so if you fit into the 99.9% of the population that over-indulged over the holidays then it is likely you are counting calories and scaling back on your alcohol intake this month. Truthfully, you don’t have to skip happy-hour to stick to your resolution for a healthier 2013. There are plenty of tips and tricks for cocktailing without overloading on calories, here are a few of them:
Wine Drinkers: Stick with White
As a general rule dry whites will have fewer calories than any other wines. Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc and Chablis are 3 whites that you can usually count on to be completely dry. If you like Champgane you are in luck, a 4oz glass is only 85 calories.
If you absolutely must have red wine, avoid wines that tend to have residual sugar like California Zinfandel and anything from South Eastern Australia. Try something from Tuscany or Bordeaux!
Beer Drinkers: Switch to Light
The best way to cut calories is simply to switch to light beer. Bud Light, Bud Light Lime and Coors Light are all great options available in most restaurants. Tip- Budweiser products are also gluten free! If you prefer something dark and wintery a can of Guinness is still under 150 calories.
Cocktail Drinkers: Skip the mixer
The juices, syrups and pop in cocktails account for a lot of the calories in these drinks. Skip the mixer and just order your favourite spirit with soda water. Infused vodkas are perfect because they are not sweetened, but infused with flavour. If you can’t part without some flavour try soda with a splash of cranberry juice. Gin and Tonic is also a great low-calorie cocktail, with only 103 calories per drink.
Happy happy-hour to you!
So you’ve decided to start a beer cellar? Congrats! You are about to enter a realm of infinite possibility. More and more beers these days are being made that beg for extended aging. They are some of the most wonderfully complex and mouthwatering beers ever made.
So why wait? Why not drink them now in all their glory!? Patience young grasshopper, one day you will see.
Although it is true that these beers are often glorious upon release, the complexity and maturity of these beers will only increase with time.
So first things first, what kind of beers will actually benefit from aging? Knowing what beers will benefit from aging will help to save you endless grief and wasted time. There are a few factors that can help you decide.
The first factor is alcohol. Beers with high alcohol content have great potential for aging as alcohol acts as a natural preservative. Look for beer styles that generally have higher alcohol levels such as Barley Wines, Imperial Stouts, Vintage Beers, Belgian Strong Ales, etc.
Another indication of cellaring potential is bottle conditioning or bottle re-fermentation. Beers that are bottled with yeast and have undergone additional fermentation inside the bottle make excellent candidates for extended aging as these beers continue to ferment and change inside the bottle. Fermentation also eats up oxygen inside the bottle which, along with exposure to light, is the chief factor in beer deteriorating.
Beers that are bottled with a vintage year are also usually good bets for cellaring. Usually this is done because the beers are very special releases with high alcohol and great complexity that can grow over time.
Next, how exactly do you cellar beer? Well that part is simple. Store them somewhere cool and dark and wait. Exact temperatures and conditions seem to be a topic of some contention in the beer community. Here’s a link to beeradvocate’s how to store beer page, they have all the info you’ll ever need on the specifics of the technical aspects. http://beeradvocate.com/beer/101/store. Their blog is also a great resource for all aspects of beer cellaring.
Here’s a link to BottleJockey’s Craft Beer Cellar Starters. All of our favorites for our own cellars that we think would go good in yours.
In closing after laying out all the “rules” of beer cellaring I encourage you to be bold and creative. Cellar what ever you feel like for how ever long you feel like it. Record the results, learn from them.
Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid.
Stay classy and have patience,
The New Year is here! Make it a year of beer!
Happy New Years everyone! Wow, what a year it has been here at BottleJockey. If there is one thing that I noticed overall it was that 2012 was the year of the craft beer explosion. People like you and me are starting to want, nay demand, a higher level of beer.
So what does this mean? It means that craft beer producers are making even more exciting and interesting beers than ever before! Trust me when I say, that’s a good thing.
So get excited! Get pumped up! I know I am!
Here are a few ways to get in on the buzz.
Try new beers! This may seem obvious but even the most experienced of beer drinkers has tried a miniscule fraction of beer types and styles available now a days. So branch out and pick up something you’ve never tried. You more than likely will get to have the joy of falling in love over and over again.
Get involved! This may be as simple as reading up on the hundreds of great craft beer blogs around or just talking to someone about the beers you love. Here at BottleJockey we LOVE to talk beer. Come on in and talk to us, we can help you find beers you will love. We also happen to be pretty up to date on the latest special releases and events. So come talk to us!
Spread the love! I was the first of my friends to fall head over heels in love with craft beer. But I was not the last. Share your favorite beers with your friends and the favor will be repaid ten fold. The more people that love beer, the more amazing beers there will be. Together we can change the world!
So come on into BottleJockey and pick up a few cold ones. Or shop online here /Products/Beer/Craft-Beer
Ever sat and wonder how beer is produced? Well I have. I've sat, in my room thinking about it a lot. Allow me to explain:
It involves four, relatively straight forward, steps: mashing, boiling, fermenting and bottling.
Let me break em' down further:
Mashing is the process of steeping malted barley in hot water for a set amount of time. The purpose of mashing is to release all those tasty sugars from within the malted barley. The end result of this steeping process is a sickly sweet barley tea called Wort!
This step is preformed in an insulated tank called a mash tun.
Boiling is exactly how it sounds. Once a wort has been produced it is then drained so the spent grains can be removed and then boiled for another set period of time. The purpose of this boil is to add hops to the wort. Hops are very important! Without these little green floral cones, beer would be too sweet; hops help to balance out the beer as they impart a strong bitterness within the wort during the boil. Hops often impart flavours of pine, spruce and citrus.
This step is preformed over a heat source upon which a metal tank called a brew kettle sits.
Fermenting involves mixing yeast into your now boiled wort and allowing it to sit in a seal container for an extended period of time. While the wort is sitting, the yeast will eat all the sugars within the wort mixture and in doing so excrete alcohol This process is called fermentation and the end result is beer! Beer can take about 1-3 weeks to ferment.
This step is preformed using a large tank of glass or metal, the fermentation tank, within which the beer ferments.
Bottling is the last major step in the brewing process, which seems pretty self explanatory. However, once the fermented beer has been transferred into its bottles it can either be pumped with CO2, artificially carbonating it or left to sit for a while longer and carbonate naturally using the remaining yeast in the beer mixture. The later technique is called conditioning. Once a beer has been carbonated, through either method, its ready to drink! YAHOO BEER!
And that, my friends, is a basic run down on how beer goes from being barley to being in a bottle.
If your curious about brewing at all you should do yourself a huge favor and try and tour some of the local craft breweries we have here in Vancouver! Support local beer! Here are three great Vancouver based breweries that are sure to impress:
Parallel 49 Brewing
1950 Triumph St. Vancouver
54 East 4th Ave. Vancouver
310 Commercial Drive Vancouver
In my latest blog I gave up some of my top secret cocktails recipes. In the spirit of sharing recipes I have decided to share a couple more recipes. After all, cocktail recipes are all well and good, but what do you EAT with the cocktails?
The answer, my friends, shall herein be revealed.
First up, Wine.
Now wine is a classic ingredient in many of my signature dishes. Marinades and sauces and glazes, oh my! Wine I use primarily for flavor. This dish though, features the wine much more prominently. The wine is really what makes the dish what it is. This dish is very summery and is a personal favorite when I want to cook to impress, mostly because the dish is surprisingly easy to make! Now as for the wine I recommend you choose a wine that’s going to compliment the dish, something you would want to drink with the meal, because you will be drinking the wine you don’t use in the recipe! What I’m saying is don’t cheap out, get a nice bottle. Chardonnay works well because it is buttery like the dish itself.
White Wine Garlic Mussels
4 lbs live mussels
2 cups Chardonnay
4 large shallots, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup mixed fresh herbs, parsley or basil, chopped
6 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
Rinse and scrub mussels under cold water. In a large pot over medium heat, combine wine, shallots, garlic, and salt. Simmer 5 minutes. Add mussels. Cover and increase heat to high. Cook until all mussels are open, about 5 minutes. Stir in herbs and butter. Remove from heat. Divide mussels and broth among four bowls. I serve mine topped with fries, because the fries are wonderful with the broth as well.
The following recipe was kindly given to me by a customer here at BottleJockey. It truly proves that sometimes the simplest dishes are the best dishes of all. A simple marinade for barbequed steaks containing two ingredients, Jack Daniels and Blue Cheese. I’ve also tried this recipe with bourbon and found it to be even better!
Bourbon & Blue Steaks
In a mixing bowl or Ziploc bag combine:
Jack Daniels or bourbon whiskey and Blue Cheese
Mix until smooth. Add steaks and let marinade. Marinating over night is preferred but if you’re in a rush just as long as you have time for will do.
Barbeque steaks to desired tenderness and voila!
The sweetness of the bourbon and the richness of the blue cheese really balance each other out and the result is total bliss of the senses.
The final recipe I will give is my beer based recipe. Now I was just going to give a simple recipe for beer battering but I decided to share a recipe I recently discovered. Prepare yourself, because your life will NOT be the same after you taste this.
Guiness (that’s right, Guiness) Eggs Benedict
The easy way (using packet of hollandaise mix)
Simply replace ½ of the milk called for in the instructions on the packet with Guiness.
Poach your eggs, fry your ham or back bacon, toast your English muffins and stack ‘em up.
Top with the Guiness hollandaise. Sha-bam!
Or for all you gourmets out there:
The hard way (making hollandaise from scratch)
You will need
4 egg yolks
3 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 pinch ground pepper
1/4 cup of Guinness
1 cup butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon salt
On medium low heat reduce ¼ cup of Guiness to 2 tablespoons or so.
Fill the bottom of a double boiler part-way with water. Make sure that water does not touch the top pan. Bring water to a gentle simmer. In the top of the double boiler, whisk together egg yolks, lemon juice, pepper, and 1 tablespoon reduced Guiness.
Add the melted butter to egg yolk mixture 1 or 2 tablespoons at a time while whisking yolks constantly. If hollandaise begins to get too thick, add the remaining reduced Guiness a bit at a time. Continue whisking until all butter is in there. Whisk in salt, and then remove from heat.
The rest is the same! Enjoy!
Hope you all enjoy these recipes as much as I do.
Well, it’s finally here. All those months of rain have not been in vain. That’s right, the sun is upon us and it’s time for the patio and beach to reign supreme. And let me tell you, nothing is going to quench your thirst like a perfect summer beer.
On those heat scorched days, not just any old beer will do. What you want is something crisp, something fresh but most of all something refreshing. There are a few styles of beer that I find really hit the spot.
First up, Hefeweizen. Hefeweizen is traditionally a German wheat beer that is cloudy and unfiltered and often has wonderful flavours of banana and clove. Although I personally think the Germans do it best, there are some incredible examples from local breweries. Howe Sound’s King Heffy Imperial Hefeweizen and Granville Island’s Robson Street Hefeweizen are personal favorites.
Next up is another wheat based beer, Belgian Wits. These beers are exceptionally thirst quenching and are often flavored with spices such as coriander and orange peel. Very low in bitterness and very fruity, these beers are always in my fridge in the summer months. You have to try Upright Wit from Portland. Upright specializes in Belgian style beers with a unique North West twist and they do it right, let me tell you.
Another personal favorite summer beer is a Saison. Saisons have to be the all time best summer beer, because that’s really what they were designed for. Saison’s were traditionally brewed on farms in southern Belgium for the farmhands to drink while working in the summer heat. While some amazing Saisons are still brewed there today, my current favorites come from Upright Brewing.
My all time number one summer beer is the Deschutes Brewing Twilight Summer Ale. An American Golden Ale, this beer is slightly fruity, but finishes dry with mild hop notes. Incredible! When I think summer beer, this is number one every time.
Hope no matter what you reach for I hope it hits the spot just right!
Stay classy and drink real beer,
All these beers can be found right here:
Being a bit of a beer freak, I love to hear about interesting things happening in the world of beer. To me the story of the beer is almost as important as the beer itself. Naturally, I am drawn to the beers of Belgium. There is no place in the world that has more of a history with beer than Europe. One place in particular is known for its interesting and unique brewing traditions, and that place is Belgium.
In Belgium, beer is more than a drink; it’s a way of life. It is also home to one of the most amazing and interesting brewing groups in the world, the Trappist Monks. There are eight Trappist monasteries in the world, six of them being in Belgium, and they brew some of the best and most sought after beers in the world.
There are very strict rules and regulations that go along with being a true and authentic “Trappist” brewery.
Because the breweries are non-profit, the beer they make is only available in small quantities, making some of the rarer brews nearly impossible to find in North America. The one beer in particular I will mention is Westvleteren 12. This beer is not exported anywhere, is made in extremely low quantities and is also widely regarded as the single best beer ever made.
The only way to obtain this beer legally is to call the monastery itself and place your order (you are not permitted to order more than 24 bottles). Then you must fly to Belgium, drive to the monastery and pick it up in person. You are then not allowed to order more for sixty days. Resale of their products is strictly forbidden.
How could you not be intrigued by this beer? I know I am. So how will you ever taste this elusive, magnificent beer? Well unless you have plans on visiting Belgium anytime soon, I have a second best.
There is another brewery in Belgium, known as St. Bernardus. St. Bernardus brewery was built under the supervision of the monks of the Westvleteren brewery and they brewed beer for Westvleteren until the partnership dissolved. Fortunately, many of the recipes remained. The St. Bernardus Abt 12 is brewed based on the original recipe for Westvleteren 12. While I have not had the Westvleteren, I have had the St. Bernardus, and it is amazing. It’s rich and complex and has aromas and flavours of flambéed bananas and cocoa. I recommend it highly and I hope that knowing a bit about its history makes the experience all the more enjoyable for you.
Stay classy and drink real beer.
Interested in Belgian beers? Find them here at this link, including the St. Bernardus Abt 12!
My grandpa always told me if you just do one thing then do it really well. As I grew up I thought only I had this special pep talk but it turns out we all got this talk. No one seemed to take it more to heart then the good folks at Steam Whistle Brewing. Lets make one beer but make it the best beer in the world, and that's what they did. Steam Whistle Premium Pilsner is a proud Canadian craft beer that has been taking the nation by storm. Cut to true story! I gave it to my uncle (a hater of anything in a green bottle) and is now on team, I won't print the swearing words he said when he saw the bottle and thought it would taste like tar mud beer for fancy city people or then the new swearing to describe the great taste! If Uncle Wynn likes it then it will win over any one. Just to add to the coolness of this brand they have a fleet of amazing rides include the Retro Electro http://www.steamwhistle.ca/retroelectro/
A vintage hot rod driven by 100% green energy, you may have seen it around here in Vancouver, designed by Steam Whistle Mike, a legendary dude around town.
So to wrap it a up a crisp clean european craft done here in Canada by people who care for people who like to have fun and drink refreshing beer.
Some old friends came by my patio this past weekend, Granville Island Brewing's Brockton IPA & Kitsilano Maple Cream. Its was good to reconnect, I told them not to take it too personal that I've been spending time with their co worker False Creek Raspberry Ale but its only around for the spring / summer (that's another post, I just keep drinking it before I can write about it). I remember when Vern & the GIB gang launched Brockton a few years ago, I was hooked and attended 4 IPA launch parties with Mr. Roberts, in 1 week. As stated in other posts I'm pro hop but if your new to world of IPA this is a great start crisp, clean and a good hop finish! Aside from GIB being in the game for 25 years, from Vancouver and it's one of the O.G. Micro Brewers from Canada, they do it right. Using quality water from the Vancouver mountains mixed with quality local ingredients and following the laws of 1516 they keep the integrity in all their beers. Don't believe me? Go down to Granville Island and visit Vernon in the brewery, always fun. At this point I should state I'm out of words and haven't event talked about Maple Cream, but I think you get the picture, old friends show up and you start talking about the good times!