May 28, 2016 § Leave a comment
I recall a time when I thought beer either can in a bottle with a blue label or a bottle with a red label. In fact there was a time that, like in politics, families were either Labatt Blue or Molson Canadian families. Those times have long since past and the diversity in beer choices rivals that of wine choices.
At the beginning of the craft beer renaissance there was a lot of talk about Belgian beers and Belgian brewing. It was at this time I was introduced to the multi-time World Beer Champion – Gulden Draak.
Price ~ $4.00 (330ml), $8-$10 (750ml)
Score ~ 9.1 Best Buy
Right away you can tell that you are not dealing with your run of the mill brew. At 10.8% alcohol it is a bit of a monster that pours dark brown in the glass. The nose shows caramel and Christmas cake, with generous malty greatness. The palate is big and broad. Caramel, toffee, candied fruit and nuts dominate the flavours, while the finish makes you think of the holidays and is dry.
As much as the above breaks things down, I think the beauty of this beer is in the whole package. There is a whole lot going on and it is all really enjoyable.
I went to the Van Steenberge website and found a very cool looking cocktail of all things – replace the Irish Whisky in an Irish Coffee with Gulden Draak. This is now on my list of things to do.
As for food pairings, this would be ideal with stews, hearty meat based pastas, smoked cheeses, and, yes chocolate.
May 14, 2016 § Leave a comment
Over the last few years I have strayed away from IPA’s. Specifically because they seem to have continued upward growth in hoppy bitterness.
Recently I was introduced to an IPA that I really really enjoyed. At first I had it in my fridge for a few days and was apprehensive, but then one night the combination of the temperature and meal seemed to force me to open it.
Price ~ $6.00
Score ~ 8.1/10 Over Delivers
I just love what the Jasmine infusion does to make this IPA stand out. I have hand many an IPA and after awhile, they are seem the same. However one you put your nose to this brew, you will quickly understand what makes it stand out.
There is a gentle floral component that is not only attractive but also tempers, or balances, the hops. the result is a fully enjoyable IPA that is memorable and craveable… if that is even a word. In fact I have now bought this beer on a number of occasions.
Store Section ~ Craft ‘Bomber’ Section
Availability ~ both public and private stores.
the Dork Uncorked
PS- below is a link to the Wine Folly book on Amazon. Yes this is an affiliate program and it helps us keep the blog going, having said that I highly recommend this book and use it myself. It is colourful easy to read book that you can have a resource. Enjoy.
<img class=”alignnone size-full wp-image-15993″ src=”https://dorkuncorked.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/wine-folly-image.jpg” alt=”Wine Folly Image” width=”202″ height=”250″ />
May 7, 2016 § 1 Comment
Always looking to improve on the offerings here, I have enlisted some of the most respected palates in the Craft Beer world to provide a Beer of the Week Each Week.
This week features Jami Wood of Spinnaker’s Spirit Merchants in James Bay.
For Jami this beer was so good that it inspired her to bake a cake with the beer being a key ingredient.
Pick of the Week: Bridge Brewing Lemon Gin Saison
Availability: Private Stores only; very limited stock available – get it now!
Tasting Notes/Technical Info: Brewed with the addition of juniper berries, lemon peel, coriander, and pink peppercorns, and fermented with a French Saison Yeast, this beer is unique and super drinkable. Juniper, used in moderation, emphasizes the gin flavours, while coriander adds depth and complexity. The saison yeast used expresses peppery, spicy and citrusy notes, which play well with the lemon zest and pink peppercorn.
ABV 5.5% IBU 24
the Dork UnCorked
May 1, 2016 § Leave a comment
I know that this is a little backwards, but you know what, that is just the way this is going to roll.
Heather from Charelli’s Cheese Shop & Delicatessen was good enough to drop by with a very impressive cheese platter, designed with Mother’s Day in mind.
A word to the wise, if you are looking to order a cheese plate for Mother’s Day, do so Thursday or Friday this week at the latest (once you see the platter you will know why.) To order it is best to call at 250-598-4794.
There was lot’s to cover and lots of great cheese was enjoyed. Below you will find the name of each cheese, a brief description and the wine that I would suggest to go with each. At the bottom of the page I will make some suggestions that should work with the whole platter.
A creamy, ‘tender’ cow’s milk cheese from France. Savory herb and spice flavours.
Red – Lighter bodied wine liked Pinot Noir or Beaujolais. I’m thinking specifically the Cono Sur Bicicletta Pinot Noir (Chile, $11)
White – Sparkling or Pinot Gris. Zinck Cremant d’Alsace (France, $22), Tinhorn Creek Pinot Gris (BC, $18)
Beer – A good Pale of Amber Ale.
Balsamic & Onion Cheddar
Wow, lots of great savoury flavours all rolled together. I could nibble this all day. Savoury Balsamic, sweet onion & cheddar. Awesome.
Red – Gabbiano Chianti Classico (Italy, $18) or Lopez de Haro Rioja Crianza (Spain, $18)
White – Mezzacorona Pinot Grigio (Italy, $15), Campogrande Orvieto (Italy, $18)
Beer – Belgian Dubbel or Tripel
This cheese has a really interesting story to go along with its generous sweet earthy aromas and flavours.
Made the same way for 4000 years this is a sheeps milk cheese made only from Red or Black faced Manech ewes that are native to the French Basque region. It takes 6 gallons of milk, just to make 1 wheel.
Red – Albas Infantes Gran Reserva 2007 (Spain, $14, private stores only), Masia F Tempranillo ($12, Spain, private stores only)
White – Mission Hill Reserve Chardonnay (BC, $19), Lindemans Bin 65 Chardonnay (Australia, $13)
Beer – A nice lager like the Hoyne Pilsner.
This cheese comes from the US and is a Goat Cheese that has a little sliver of ash through the middle. The ash is tasteless and acts and as a natural ‘cleanser’. The cheese is definitely a goat cheese but also has citrus y element. I love goat cheeses and this was a dream, especially the slightly runny part just inside the rind.
Red – Red wine is not the perfect pairing for this cheese, but if you insist on red it should be something with bright acidity, fresh fruit and some earthy character like either a Gamay Noir or Pinot Noir.
Pinot Noir – McPherson ‘The Butterfly’ Pinot Noir (Australia, $15)
Gamay Noir – Regnie Maison de Buillaits (France, $20)
White – There is only one type of wine I would recommend with this cheese and that is Sauvignon Blanc!
Lurton Fumees Blanches (France, $14), or Sileni Sauvignon Blanc (New Zealand, $19)
Beer – Steamworks Jasmine IPA (BC, $6), it is the gentle floral quality of this brew that makes it special for the Humboldt Fog.
Manchego comes from the home of Don Quixote, the plains of La Mancha in central Spain. This sheep’s milk cheese can have grassy flavours if it is young, the one that Charelli’s brought is middle aged and has more of a combination nutty, fruity, grassy kind of flavour. Manchego is one of my go to cheeses when I am at home.
Red – I’m partial to Garnacha with this cheese although I could be talked into a good Tempranillo or Portuguese Castelao.
Garnacha – Borsao Garnacha (Spain, $14).
Tempranillo – Masia F Tempranillo (Spain, $12)
Castelao – Ermelinda Monte de Baia (Portugal, $13)
White – My best pick would be of a Chardonnay that has a little age to it. Something from 2012. Sadly these are little harder to find.
Chardonnay – DMZ Chardonnay (South Africa, $19)
Viognier – Le Paradou Viognier (France, $15)
Beer – A Kolsch (lagered ale) would be great – Spinnaker’s Tour de Victoria Kolsch (Victoria, $12, 6 Pack Cans).
St. Agur is a creamy blue cheese, but not as intensely blue as traditional blue cheese. For this reason it is very versatile. It can be pretty runny which makes it great for dipping.
Aged for 60 days, this cheese has a ton of flavour which makes it a great choice for a cheese plate as it balances the more subtle cheeses.
All I can think about is Port with this cheese, but here are some everyday pairings that will also work.
Red – This cheese would love a big rich, juicy full flavoured red like an Aussie Shiraz or California Zinfandel, and for those a little more adventurous I would go Nero D’Avola or Monastrell/Mouvedre.
Aussie Shiraz – Skulls Shiraz (Australia, $20)
California Zinfandel – Paso Creek Zinfandel (California, $16)
Nero D’Avola – Cusumano Ner D’Avola (Italy, $16)
Monastrell/Mouvedre – El Petite Bonhomme (Spain, $14)
White – Big juicy, unctuous Chardonnay is the ticket.
Wolf Blass Yellow Label Chardonnay – (Australia, $15)
Road 13 Stemwinder Chardonnay Blend – (BC, $16)
Beer – nice malty brew seems to be the best bet here.
Innis & Gunn Oak Aged Ale – (UK, $3, 330ml)
Gulden Draak – (Belgium, $4, 330ml)
This dutch cheese is best known for being low in fat and sodium, and that could contribute to why it is so popular, but my guess is that it is more about the fact that it may be reduced in fat and sodium but it is huge in flavour.
Cantenaar is a medium gouda that offers delightful nutty , buttery flavour.
Red – this cheese is a crowd pleaser and deserves a crowd pleasing wine to go with it.
Grenache – Gayda ‘Flying Man’ Grenache (France, $15)
White – just like the above, I would go with a versatile wine that almost everyone will love.
Prosecco – Ogio (Italy, $17)
Pinot Gris – Mission Hill 5 Vineyards Pinot Grigio (BC, $16)
The pairings noted above are to go with each specific cheese, which would be great but you will be left with about 12 bottles of wine to purchase which may not be to feasible, so here are a few suggestions for Mother’s Day that will work with the entire cheese plate, and are versatile crowd pleasers.
Borsao Garnacha – (Spain, $14)
Cono Sur Bicicleta Pinot Noir – (Chile, $11)
Masia F Tempranillo – (Spain, $12)
Mission Hill 5 Vineyards Pinot Grigio (BC, $16)
Campogrande Orvieto (Italy, $18)
Lindemans Bin 65 Chardonnay (Australian, $13)
Ogio Prosecco – (Italy, $17)
Hoyne Pilsner – (Victoria, $6, 650ml bottle)
Spinnaker’s Tour de Victoria Kolsch – (Victoria, $12, 6 Cans)
Well I hope this is helpful and that you enjoy a wonderful Mother’s Day.
the Dork UnCorked
February 17, 2016 § 2 Comments
This is a first. I haven’t really written about beer as there are lot of people out there that seem to cover the category well, however this one tickled me quite a bit. Really unique brew with serious artisan bent and tons of local flavour (pun intended).
One of the toughest things to do when you have a brilliant idea that you clearly see as your future is to convince your spouse (I know of this all too well).
Michael Kuzyk, proprietor of Category 12 Brewing, got his doctorate in microbiology and biochemistry from UVic and had a very distinguished career working and leading some of the world’s most highly regarded labs. His true calling was brewing and after honing his craft as a homebrewer he had ideas of becoming a craft brewer, but he had to convince his wife Karen.
The best way convince anyone that you have what it takes to be a successful brewer is to brew something they love- walk your talk – and this is exactly what Michael did.
Karen wasn’t as much of a fan of beer as Michael until she tried the Transmutation although it wasn’t called that at the time. Transmutation is a Belgian Specialty Ale and what makes it really special is the handmade, yes handmade candy that is added to the brew. What you get is a strong Belgian Ale of the Trappist Tripel tradition with lovely sweetness while maintaining its refreshing body.
Only 200 cases of bombers are produced and they are starting to hit stores today (Feb. 17, 2016). Below is a list of stores that you will find it at today. I would act fast given how quickly it sold out last year.
Estimated price $8-$10/650ml
You can also get growler fills at the brewery (link to brewery) 1L $8.00 1.9L $16
the Dork UnCorked
PS – do me a favour and let the store or the brewery know who sent you.
December 12, 2015 § Leave a comment
Courtesy of Jami and Josh at Spinnaker’s James Bay here are few of the new, must buy craft brews that are hitting the market this week.
Hoyne Gratitude ~ $11-12
Dark amber colour, spicy vanilla smell. Surprisingly smooth considering the high alcohol content. Smooth and warming rich flavour with a full malt body and spice. Perfect for sharing with someone next to the fireplace.
9.0% Alcohol – Very Limited Availability.
Swans Oatmeal Stout ~ $6-$7
Brewed with 7 varieties of malt and oats. Very dark, almost opaque. Mild coffee and roasted oats aroma. Has a medium body and creamy malt and bitter chocolate taste. Great balance. An every day kind of stout, I would try this in a 6-pack.
5.4% Alcohol – Seasonal Release
Driftwood Blackstone Porter ~ $6-$7
Opaque black with cherry brown head. Slightly smoky, roasted coffee smell and light hops aroma. A hearty medium body. Hint of sweetness, and roasty flavour, bittersweet and tart finish that comes from using a traditional sour mash recipe.
6.0% Alcohol – One Time Release
Persephone Barley Wine ~ $12-$13
Very dark brown colour. Notes of caramel and fudge. This beer has a huge full body. Strong malt flavours with dark fruits, molasses, plums, caramel, and booze. Finishes with warming fruit taste. Not for the faint of heart, this beer packs a punch!
11.9% Alcohol – One Time Release
Thanks again to Jami & Josh at Spinnaker’s James Bay.
October 29, 2015 § Leave a comment
In case you hadn’t heard, in addition to the blog, the Dork UnCorked is also now a weekly radio show on CFAX 1070 in Victoria and worldwide via SoundCloud.
Each week I will post a link to the show and follow that up with some notes from the show, including specific products, places and people mentioned.
Click here for Episode 1 Comfort Foods
Comfort Food Wine Mention Giacondi Sangiovese Merlot 1.5L
Craft Beer Correspondent Jami Wood Fresh Hop Beer Picks
1. Spinnaker’s Harvest Pale Ale – available in Private Stores for very short time.
2. Bridge Brewing Fresh Hop Red IPA – available in Private Stores for very short time.
3. Hoyne Dark Matter – available in both Private Stores and BC Liquor Stores
Prices range $6-$8
Weeks Best Buy – Masia F Vino Tinto
Let us know what your favourite comfort food for a rainy drizzly night?
November 22, 2014 § Leave a comment
This weeks announced changes to the liquor industry in B.C. will go into effect on April 1, 2015, but already their impact is being felt.
Social & traditional media has been jammed with calculations, prophecies and conjecture and, full disclosure, I have been apart of it to. However, after a Facebook conversation this morning I took a step back to get a broader perspective.
We have to remember that none of these changes will change the size and value of the market. If anything all they will do is divide the ‘pie’ into more pieces and shift value around.
It is no secret that BC Liquor Stores have been losing share to private stores each year for the last 10 years. Creating a level pricing field is likely the only way that this trend could be reversed using legitimate means. I expect that BC Liquor Stores will start to act like a large grocery concern and leverage their position to either mitigate costs or corner the market on certain products. This could mean disaster for many of BC’s private liquor stores who rely on price and product agility combined with well oiled marketing machines, but it won’t mean any more money into government coffers.
The other big announcement leads to further splintering of the market. Allowing liquor in grocery stores, no matter how it is done, will not lead to any greater revenues for the province or any increased sales for suppliers. It just means that there are more places for consumers to buy booze.
I truly hope that the quality of liquor retailing in BC will improve and I hope that these changes will instill a spirit of continued improvement, however these changes will not change the fact that we pay the highest prices in the country, and it is certain, that they will only mean the pie is divided in more ways.
I would love to hear your comments and feedback so please engage.
I will also be writing a piece specific to Wholesale Pricing so look for that.
May Quality Be Ever In Your Glass
September 27, 2013 § Leave a comment
Dear Importers, Agents an Sales Reps;
Save your money!!!!
Most new product pitches that come across my desk are heavily leveraged against the tasting of the product. In BC this is ridiculously costly and doesn’t get nearly as many sales is it should and can.
Smart buyers understand that the taste of the product solves a couple problems, however these problems can only be solved if the business needs of the deal are met first. Tasting/Sampling only serves to provide staff education for those on the floor and to convince me, the buyer, that the product will sell more than once to a customer.
First things first is how does this product solve my business problems? Does this fill a hole in a price and margin segment? How seamless is distribution? Is it a year round proposition, seasonal or one time buy? Does it represent a category I’m lacking in? Do you have the codes necessary for our POS system to accept it?
Lastly what benefits does the consumer realize from this product/proposition. This is almost never answered and it is far more key to the success of the product than the taste.
Most pitches are laden with a long list of features. I call these meetings show up and throw up meetings. The presentation leaves it to me to assume what the benefits to me and the consumer are and this is where the presentation gets tripped up. It is better for the sales rep to answer objections to stated benefits than to argue the validity of a feature of the product.
Sampling should be treated like the subjects to buying a house. It is a condition of sale, but one of the last conditions that need to be met. Furthermore once met, the deal should be closed. So save your money and use sampling tactically.
The Dork UnCorked