It’s hard to believe that the holidays are almost here! The changing of the seasons is usually marked by the coveted arrival of pumpkin spiced everything, and from there, the rest of the holiday flavors begin to rotate in.
By: Claire Addison, Beverage SuperStore
From salted caramel and dark chocolate to turkey dinners and tailgates with Chili and wings, all of this food begs the question, “Yes, but what do we drink?” Whatever your event or cuisine, you can rest assured that there are a few palatable people pleasers that you should stock your bar with now to ensure that you’ve got that part covered!
For almost any occasion that involves people and food, you’ll need wine and beer to go with it. There will always be choices that may go a little better with one type of cuisine than others, but there are some that are sure to fit in and flatter any sauce, meat, or dish.
Nothing is more flexible to food than red blends. As the name suggests, red blends are wines that consist of a variety of grapes, usually leading to a very interesting and balanced glass. Red blends are unique to each winemaker as they can consist of any combination of thousands of grape varietals, meaning each bottle will have differences in flavors, tannins, and complexities. Don’t worry, it’s not as complicated as it sounds. Most bottles will list what the blend consists of, which should help narrow your selections.
Beverage SuperStore recently acquired a red blend called 7 Moons, and it has been a hit with everyone who grabs a bottle. Not only is this wine palatable and balanced, it’s very affordable at only $10.99. 7 Moons is a blend of Syrah, Merlot, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Grenache making it a very balanced, easy drinking wine that would stand up to your tailgate fare, Thanksgiving dinner or leftovers, and any spur of the moment guests that pop over for pizza.
If white wine is more of your liking, you can’t go wrong with a solid Vermentino or Chenin Blanc. These wines might not be as recognizable as Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay, but trust us: they are solid selections that will not only please your thirst, but also might inspire hearts and minds to research and seek out these two under- appreciated varietals.
Vermintino (“vur-men-teeno”) is a light-bodied white wine that grows mostly in Italy on the island of Sardinia, but is gaining popularity with some California vineyards as well. What’s amazing about Vermentino is that it can be deliciously complex in taste in a similar style to Sauvignon Blanc, but with a creaminess that more closely resembles a Chardonnay. Our favorite at Beverage SuperStore is Corse by Dave Phinney’s Locations wine series. Chenin Blanc (“shen-nin blonk”) is originally from France, but grows very well in South Africa, where it has seen more popularity in recent years. This wine is fragrant, complex, and inviting, allowing for versatility to pair with many different types of food and styles of cuisines, especially sweet and sour foods that are difficult to pair. The bright acidity cuts through the sour and the subtle sweetness complements items like teriyaki wings or cranberry sauce.
Beer for Your Holiday Party
Over the last 2 years, the world of craft beer has exploded with new additions. At more than 5,300 craft breweries in the U.S. alone, the growth has been as staggering as the number of beers released in every flavor you could imagine (and some that you never would have imagined). When dealing with a diverse crowd, it’s best to keep a small variety with the major styles covered. If you start grabbing a different six pack every day, you’ll find you have several selections that might linger longer. What you can do is stock up on what I refer to as “fridge beer” to have on hand anytime that most people will open and enjoy. My tried and true is New Belgium’s Fat Tire. This American craft staple is available year-round, in many different packages, making it suitable for tailgating, lake house visiting or just grilling out.
Founder’s All Day IPA is Beverage SuperStore’s biggest seller in the IPA category by far. Now available in a 15 pack of 12 oz cans, this beer continues to dominate our beer department because of its portability and palatability. With its sessionable alcohol content, you can have a few without feeling too full or too tipsy. Sour beers have also gained in popularity over the year. These beers can range anywhere from the slightly tangy Berliner Weisse to the puckers of Flanders style ales that will curl your toes. Creature Comforts Brewing might be best known for their Tropicalia, but if you haven’t tried the Athena, you are missing out. This light, refreshing beer has a subtle tartness from the bacteria used in the fermentation process, lending the flavor to cut through most wing sauces and help cool the palate and cleanse it for whatever is next. For the adamantly non-craft beer drinkers, a wheat beer or a Lager is always great to have around, but while they are still in stock this year, Marzen beers are hard to beat. Mostly known as Oktoberfest beers, Marzen is the style of beer that we mostly associate with fall. This dark amber beer style has a fantastic nutty quality with a slightly sweet finish because of the roasted barley used. Ayinger and Paulaner Oktoberfest are two to keep your eye out for. These are very true-to-form as far as the quality and flavor you should expect when enjoying one out of your favorite stein while frolicking in your lederhosen.