Brewery of the Month: Stony Creek Brewery

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The culture Stony Creek Brewery embodies is one of creating high quality beer that inspires people across the region. Located in Branford, Connecticut, their modern brewery is a sight to be seen. They have a stunning indoor/outdoor taproom, game pit, dock access, and a first-hand look at their canning and bottling lines right from the taproom.

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Stony Creek believes that this is the time for Connecticut craft beer. Their team is comprised of local residents that are working alongside some of the industry’s best.

Stony Creek offers multiple styles of beer including The Crankies, an IPA selection, Lagers, Ales and their Seasonal collection. They also offer a limited series called “Flip The Bird”, basically flipping traditional beer styles on their heads.

 

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  • “No Egrets” American Imperial Stout: bold, pitch black brew is loaded with decadent notes of dark chocolate and roasted barley. Extended aging on White Oak contributes subtle layers of vanilla and caramel that lend a smooth complexity.
  • “Sour Silhouette” Sour Stout: What presents as a traditional stout is then kettle soured and aged on cabernet oak. The result is a beer that opens impeccably tart and finishes smooth, rich and roasty.
  • “Imperial Stony Joe” Imperial Golden Mocha Stout: Burundi Mpanga coffee lends complex notes of cocoa, spice, and fruit while Guatemalan coffee contributes a dark roast finish.
  • “Chahklit” Baltic Port: Chahklit is a Baltic Porter brewed with almonds and earthy Ceylon Cinnamon. Cacao Nibs impart rich chocolate depth. It ages in Caribbean Rum Barrels to lend oak complexity and subtle Rum nuance.
  • “Crimsang” Soured Double IPA: Adding fresh Blood Orange Juice, and then souring the wort. It is fermented with our their Saison Yeast Strain, lending spiciness, and a lush texture. In the end, you get an aggressive, west coast IPA with a refreshingly tart dry finish.
  • “Reposado Negro” Black Wheat Wine: Reposado Negro is A Black Wheat Wine aged in Tequila Barrels. A marriage of sweet alcohol warmth, smooth bready texture, and roasted malt “charred” flavors, this jet black brew will have you swearing you are sipping a top-shelf tequila.
  • “Lichtenlizzy” Hybrid of a Berliner Weiss and a smoked Rauch: A low alcohol wheat beer is lightly soured to contribute a tart finish. Balancing this are two types of smoked malt (Beachwood and Oak) combining to offer an incredibly soft, yet ever-present smokiness. Smooth and smoky, yet tart and refreshing. Intricate and distinct.

2After reading through the list of Stony Creek’s “Flip the Bird” series, if you need another reason to visit the Brewery, they have a long list of events to attend, including live music and good eats. You can also check out their gift shop and flaunt their apparel, as well as checking out their blog posts on their website. With great craft brews and good company, Stony Creek is a proud establishment that everyone can rally around.

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Rocca delle Macie 2015 Chianti

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On Wednesday, I went to the farmer’s market in Arlington and there they were. Native tomatoes! I bought a carton of cherry tomatoes, a carton of sun gold tomatoes, a few Black Princes and six early Early Girls. I also bought a big bunch of basil because my daughter and her husband were coming for over and I was planning a simple, summery pasta for dinner.

Now I needed wine.

Although, since Sideways, we all drink Pinot Noir, pasta with tomatoes and garlic calls for something a bit bolder. Something Italian. I could have picked a Montepulciano, which I love, but my inner Anthony Hopkins prevailed.

Hello, Chianti.

I picked up two bottles of Rocca delle Macie’s 2015 Chianti which boasts a understated label that belies its reasonable price. Then I went home, unpacked the tomatoes and got cooking. This is my easy, go-to summer pasta sauce because frankly with fresh, ripe tomatoes, it’s hard to go wrong.

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I tossed some minced fresh garlic in a pan with good olive oil. My daughter, Perry, arrived. “Smells good in here!”
I handed her a corkscrew and she opened the Chianti. Yes, she’s over 21. And that’s just one of the great things about adult kids. You can drink with them. We poured the wine and noted its gorgeous ruby color. We sipped and knew that even though the first swallow was delicious (tart cherry, vanilla? cinnamon?) it would be even better by the time we ate. So we opened the second bottle to let it mellow out, too.

Then Perry showed me a hack to slice cherry tomatoes that she had seen on YouTube.

It worked!

So we tossed all the halved cherry tomatoes and one of each of the big tomatoes into the pan with some salt, pepper and basil chiffonade. While the sauce cooked down a bit, we started the water for pasta, put some hot Italian sausages onto a cast iron pan and made an arugula salad.

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By the time my son-in-law and husband arrived, it was time to eat. We brought our plates and the two bottles wine onto the porch so we wouldn’t have to get up mid-meal. The evening was getting cooler, the sky was turning grey, thunder rumbled in the distance. We filled our glasses and toasted to an ordinary Wednesday. The wine had opened up and was smooth as silk, the tagliatelle was al dente and the sauce captured the essence of summer.

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May every day be this ordinary. Ciao!

Mystic Wine Favorite Beer List 2018

As the time of year rolls around that kids head back to school and the pools begin to close, many people consider it to be the end of summer. Marking August in your mind as the end of the summer months means missing out on the fun and outdoor activities you could be enjoying far into September! September is the perfect time to host a backyard barbecue and enjoy some of the many great beers on the market this year. If you’re looking to start trying new brands and brews, take a look at some of these top picks Mystic Wine recommends checking out.

Cloud Candy IPA

CLoud Candy

This IPA offers a smoot, crisp finish with hints of mango, papaya, and starfruit. The deep golden-orange color draws you in and the taste will have you coming back for seconds.

Blood Orange Brew Free! Or Die IPA

Blood Orange

This IPA features a 100% fresh blood orange puree for a unique flavor and deep gold color. If you’re looking for a traditional IPA with a twist, this beer is for you.

UFO Splash Down

UFO

UFO released this limited-edition summer variety pack to mix up your flavor picks and it’s been a hit! This pack includes raspberry, white, pink lemonade, and pineapple. There’s a flavor for everyone, or more to try for yourself!

Winter Hill Darlin’s IPA

Winter Hill

This IPA from Winter Hill pours dark and has a flavor all its own. The dark chocolate and coffee like aroma this beer gives off makes for an interesting flavor palette with roasted undertones and little to no hop flavor.

Goose Island IPA

Goose Island

This beer is referred to as a hop lover’s dream for very good reason. The fruity aroma of this IPA is offset by a long hop finish with a dry malt middle. If you want an IPA that really lets you enjoy the flavor of the hops, this one’s for you!

Gripah Grapefruit IPA

Gripah

This beer is a light, citrusy IPA with a 5.5% alcohol content and a great flavor. Grapefruit zest is added during the fermentation process to create the citrus taste and aroma.

Tall Bouy IPA

Tall Buoy

This IPA is a hazy gold color with orange and white highlights throughout. The flavors in this beer are unique, with a sweet aroma and taste followed by a malt that is earthy and full of body, this beer will leave you wanting more.

Castle Island Righteous GOALS IPA

Castle Island

This drink is one for those who enjoy something a bit tart and sour, but still sweet. The guava and passionfruit notes create a flavor and taste that is sweet with a sour twist. There’s a great tangy acidity with every sip of this beer. It’s crushable and light.

Jacks Abby Hoponius on Holiday

Jacks Abby

This beer is a clear golden pour and an aroma with notes of mango and orange. A moderately bitter and tropical beer without being too sweet is hard to come by, but this hits the mark perfectly! This is the perfect refreshing summertime beer.

No matter what your taste preferences are, there’s a new beer for you to try this summer! Summer doesn’t end in August, so get out there and enjoy the weather with a new beer in your hand.

August’s Lime Cocktail of The Month

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Get your limes out!!!  This month we’re mixing-up a tasty cocktail with Patrón Citrónge Lime Liquor.  If you haven’t tried this Patron flavor yet, hurry into Mystic Wine Shoppe and pick-up a bottle to celebrate the rest of summer.

Tasting notes: Juicy and sweet lime flavor from the highest quality Persian limes. Clear in color with the aroma of fresh lime and a long-lasting, fresh finish.

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Ingredients:

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Directions: Mix together and enjoy!

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What’s your go-to summer cocktail?  Please let us know!

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It’s all about managing expectations

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I remember the first time I tasted a Soave in my wine class. I was expecting Riunite – a sweet fruity drink that would loosely be classified as wine. Boy, was I disappointed! My first taste – which went against every expectation I had – was tough. It was totally dry, dry as the Sahara dessert and therefore shocking to my palate.

Let me back up a step. Expectations are always a tricky thing. Sometimes, they become a self-fulfilling prophecy – you expect something to be bad, you make it bad in your mind by picking it apart. And vice versa, you expect something to be good, so you only see the upsides. But most of the time, expectations can mislead you. When someone hypes something to you and raises your expectations too high, you are bound to be disappointed. And again, vice versa, you hear only negative reviews of something, but then when you actually try it, it’s not so bad! My husband used to always tell me to spend about 20 percent of my time managing expectations. In order to get a job for example, you have to talk yourself up. But then when you actually get the job, you need to make sure people are going be realistic about what you can accomplish. So, walk the line of not being a complainer, but talk about the challenges, your problem solving strategies and so forth. Make sure people know what they are getting so then, they will be happy with the outcome!

Now, back to the shock to the palate. Soave is dry! Dry, dry, dry but also delicately floral with notes of peach and pear and a very refreshing, crisp, mineral-driven finish. In fact, it is one of the great wines of Italy. One would not necessarily know that because it is not as recognizable as Chianti or Prosecco. And furthermore, it is made from the terribly named Garganega (pronounced gar-GA-nega) grape. Sounds like mouthwash, but tastes sublime – it is fresh, lively and can pair with everything from white meats to shellfish.

wine photoSoave Classico is the heart of great wines made with the Garganega grape. It is in the extremely picturesque part of the Veneto that is just east of the gorgeous Lake Garda. The valleys are lush and beautiful dotted with castles and modern buildings alike. Rocca Sveva is made by the cooperative winery, the Cantina Di Soave, which having been established in 1898, is celebrating its 120th anniversary this year. They use high-technology to analyze soils and ensure the quality of the grapes supplied by their growers as well the latest techniques to ensure quality but make wines that are extremely traditional and hark back to their origins.

The Rocca Sveva Soave Classico 2016 is a wonderful, easy-to-drink, highly enjoyable wine. It’s beauty is in its simplicity. It doesn’t require any concentration to appreciate its depths like a white Burgundy might and it doesn’t lull you into a stupor like a big, high-alcohol, buttery Chardonnay might. In fact, at 12.5% alchohol, you can enjoy that second glass guilt free. And really prolong the enjoyment on a hot summer’s day. This wine has lovely notes of grapefruit and lemon zest with a hint of white peach on the nose. It has a nice, soft mouthfeel with some mineral notes and it leaves your palate with a fresh, dry snap.

Cheers! Seema

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It’s Summer: Think Pink

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Seems like just a few summers ago I showed up at a dinner party with a bottle of pink wine and my hosts were aghast. They remembered the sticky sweet white zinfandels we guzzled in high school and quickly whisked my bottle into the kitchen where it remained stashed behind the paper towels for the duration of the evening. Fools.

Because now, thanks to some good public relations and some really delicious rosés, pink is everyone’s favorite color.

IT’S SUMMER THINK PINKStill, when my neighbor Edith, who is from France, invited me and a few other women over for “aperitifs,” I fretted over what wine to bring. Frankly, the French thing is a little intimidating. I mean they practically invented wine. My first instinct was to buy a rosé from Provence, but then I saw the Elouan rosé with its distinctive vertical label. I am a big fan of wines from Oregon and Elouan’s pinot noir is practically my house wine—so I bought the rosé, iced it down and trotted next door for to join the gals.

The ladies were already in the backyard drinking Aperol spritzers and noshing on hummus, strawberries, and cheese.

I passed on the spritzer, grabbed a wine glass and was immediately grateful for the screwcap. I like a user-friendly wine. The Elouan isn’t just easy to open, it’s easy to like. When the spritzers were drained, I poured glasses for each of the ladies. Denise plopped some ice cubes in hers, Joanne garnished hers with raspberries and Edith, added a splash of seltzer. All delicious. We held our glasses up to the light, we asked Edith what kind of dishwashing liquid she used, we toasted and we sipped.

Pale pink and crisp, it’s perfect for summer evenings (okay, late afternoons) and we found that it pairs particularly well with berries, Trader Joe Thai spring rolls and with juicy neighborhood gossip.

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If you judge a book by the cover…

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Ok, so no matter how serious you are about drinking wine and learning all you can, sometimes you are seduced by the label.  And the João Portugal Ramos Alvarinho 2015 label is seductive.  The voluptuous bottle shape is shown to great advantage by the slanting, “off-the-shoulder” style of the label, very simple and elegant lettering with just that small showy glimpse of a golden “L” in the word Alvarinho.  I just had to try it.
 
Alvarinho (pronounced Al-va-reen-yo) is the same grape as the Albariño grape found in Spain.  And it is grown in a very similar environment or terroir – the cool Atlantic coast of the Iberian Peninsula.  But the Portuguese version is a bit fuller and rounded with a lovely, rich mouthfeel with a bit of a sharp kick from its flinty, acid finish – every bit as seductive as the label.
 
Screen Shot 2018-07-03 at 10.14.49 AMPortugal has long been overshadowed by its neighbor in wine production.  Spain is quite simply a powerhouse when it comes to wine.  Everyone has heard to Rioja and Ribera Del Duero, they know the Temperanillo grape and most have heard of Garnacha as well.  Spanish Cava, their traditional method sparkling wine, is beginning to be highly prized and is starting to compete on quality with Champagne in a way that Prosecco never will.  So, how is Portugal to fight back and carve out its own identity when so many of the wines are so similar?  The solution has been to really concentrate in recent decades on quality.  Portuguese wines used to be of marginal quality largely because it has a very large domestic market where people drink their local wines by the liter.  But over time, it has been recognized that to compete on the global market, the wines have to be really good with consistent and high quality.
 
This producer understands this challenge and has been making wonderful wines in its very short lifespan (for a European winery).  Established in 1990, João Portugal Ramos only began making this Alvarinho in 2013.  And for a third iteration, this wine is excellent.  It is very carefully made – fermented at low temperatures to preserve that beautiful varietal character of peaches and lemons with a slightly briny character.  It is then made richer by partially fermenting it in new French oak to bring out that voluptuous quality I had mentioned before.
 
 

Enjoy this wine with shellfish, sushi and anything fried!
 
Seema 🙂
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Wine of the month: Taking Route Blanc de Cabernet

Taking Root white cabernet

Moldova is a fascinating country. It sounds both very remote and yet very familiar to my ear – something about Transylvania and the Carpathian Mountains to the west, the Black Sea to the east. It seems to sit at a sinister juncture of fairytale and legend. But in reality, Moldova is a country covered by gently rolling hills that reach no higher than 1000 feet. There are lush valleys and rich pastures with a very temperate climate that is not too cold in the winter and not too hot in the summer and it gets just the right amount of rain for farming grapes.

In fact, Moldova has been growing grapes for millennia. There is evidence suggesting that the native Moldovans were making wine as early as 3000 B.C.E. There has been constant cultivation since that time, excepting the 300 years of Ottoman rule that destroyed many of their vineyards. Further damage was caused during both World Wars, decimating their wine stocks. However, in the post-war period, there has been a concerted effort to replant the wonderful hillsides with vines and bring production back to its former glory.

They have succeeded to a very great extent and replanted many indigenous varieties such as the difficult to pronounce “Feteasca Alba”, “Rarã Neagrã” and “Zghiharda.” They have also followed global trends and replanted the lands with more international varieties, including Cabernet Sauvignon, which seems to thrive almost everywhere, as well as Merlot, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay.

Until I tasted this remarkable wine, I couldn’t really predict what I would be tasting. I have had many, many red Cabernet Sauvignon wines and even had a few rosés, but I have never had a white wine made with it. This wine makes you appreciate just why Cabernet Sauvignon is indeed a superstar among grape varieties. My son would call it “o.p.” or overpowered. When it is gently pressed to preserve its fruit flavors and keep out the colors and polyphenols from the skins, it yields a white wine that has some beautiful aromas and flavors. Fresh and approachable, you smell grapefruit, herbs, perhaps some mango, pineapple and banana, and maybe just a hint of jalapeño. Then on the palate, you get creamy textures of summer fruit and with a mineral finish that is completely satisfying. Like most Cabernet’s, this is a full-bodied wine that is perfect with a range of flavors including shell fish, mature hard cheese, and charcuterie.

Thanks for reading,

Seema