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Our Favorite Wines, Ciders & Spirits for Thanksgiving

fall-leavesThanksgiving is fast approaching and it’s one of our favorite meals of the year, because with all of the different dishes served it’s the perfect opportunity to enjoy a variety of libations. At Bi-Rite, we believe in the idiom that variety is the spice of life, that we should celebrate all of the wonderful wines, spirits, and ciders that are available to us now. Here are some of our favorites for your Thanksgiving dinner.

SparklingSparklings are a festive way to start a meal, and we could not think of a better Champagne for the occasion: the Champagne Cordeuil Extra Brut* ($44.99) is made from mostly Pinot Noir with a touch of Chardonnay, and is aged for 7 years on the lees to give it a nice round texture and bready, yeasty aroma. It’s perfect with a soft, triple cream cheese, like Cowgirl Creamery’s Mt. Tam – this dense and buttery cheese is a favorite of our guests and a must for any celebration.

If Champagne is too much on the budget, check out the amazing ciders from Eric Bordelet. We have a couple in the Markets but the Eric Bordelet Granit Poire* ($22.99) is our top choice. Made from pears of 60-foot-tall, 300-year-old trees, the Granit is very dry and complex with tiny bubbles that can stand tall next to fine sparklings.

pinot_nouveauBeaujolais Nouveaus
are made to celebrate the end of harvest for winemakers. Usually simple and boring with bubblegum and banana flavors, it was never thought of as a serious wine to drink with dinner, though it is always associated with Thanksgiving because the release date is always the third Thursday of November. Lucky for us, one of the best Beaujolais producers, Jean Foillard, decided to make a Beaujolais that you can be proud to serve at your holiday table, the Jean Foillard Beaujolais Nouveau 2015 ($21.99). It is made with old vines (40-60 years) from vineyards near the cru Morgon; it is bright and juicy with a hint of cracked black pepper. If you’re looking for a spin on tradition and seeking something domestic (it is an American holiday after all), Samantha Sheehan of Poe Wines makes an excellent Nouveau from her Pinot Noir grapes. The Poe Pinot Nouveau ($19.99) is lovely with fresh strawberry notes and some earthy spice notes.


OccidentalThe French have a tradition of drinking a small amount of brandy or Calvados (apple brandy) between courses to settle the stomach and reawaken the palate, what they call le trou normand. The Occidental Road Apple Brandy* ($49.99), by St. George Spirits, made with Gravenstein apples in Sonoma and aged 5 years in oak barrels, is the perfect choice for your Thanksgiving trou normand.  This apple brandy is rich and deep with caramel and spice notes. Normally only available at restaurants, this unique apple brandy is only available to us for retail.

Whether your celebrations are large or small, stop by our Markets to shop our complete selection of holiday wines, ciders, and spirits to round out your Thanksgiving festivities.  Cheers to a fantastic meal!

WineBlitzLogoLooking for wine for holiday parties, gifts, or family gatherings?  Don’t forget, our Holiday Wine Blitz is December 7-13! Save 20% on purchases of 12 bottles or more, mix and match throughout our entire selection.  Join us at 18 Reasons for a Preview Tasting on Thursday, December 3, from 6-7pm or 7-8pm and place your pre-order!

*These holiday wines, ciders, and spirits are available for convenient pre-order and pick-up from our online Holiday Market and view our complete selection.

Celebrate with Ciders!

CiderBottlePearAppleWhile cider has been enjoying a renaissance recently here in San Francisco, it is anything but new. As many of you already know, cider has been an American staple, well, since before there was a United States of America. Many attempts were made to grow wine grapes in the New World, but they just wouldn’t take. Ale was dandy, but its low alcohol content meant that it spoiled easily, and the barrier to enter the whiskey-producing market was high. Plus, grain could be used for making bread (essential), whereas apples that were too bitter to eat raw…let’s ferment ’em!

Of course, cider didn’t start here. People have been crushing apples and fermenting the juice for centuries in Europe and each region has developed distinct styles. In Normandy, people used apples and pears as well to make sparkling ciders with varying levels of sweetness. In Northern Spain, producers often age their ciders in barrel over the winter which lends them funkier, dusty notes. InEngland, the characteristic bittersweet and bitter-sharp apples of the land shine in the best examples. Here in the U.S., where we’re not as bound by tradition as many of our European friends, you can see the varied styles that American cider makers produce.  From terroir-driven, rustic Farmhouse style to beer-inspired ciders with addition of hops to for a floral, citrusy bite to flavored ciders with addition of complementary ingredients like ginger or elderflower that bring out the complexity of the apples.

Throughout the months of November and December, we’re celebrating all of the different styles of ciders available today – they can stand tall next to any fine sparkling wine on your holiday table. Here are just some examples of the ciders we have in our Markets right now, but keep checking back frequently as we’re going to rotate more ciders throughout the holiday season.

Millstone Cherrykriek | $21.99
Millstone was founded by two brothers, Kyle and Curt Sherrer, in 2012 in the town of Monkton, Maryland.  Their goal is to create ciders that are chemical-free, late-harvest only, barrel-fermented, and aged to express the unique, local flavors of orchard apples grown in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Maryland. The Cherrykriek is made by blending dark cherries with their oak-aged cider. The tart and complex cherry flavor is a perfect complement to funky cheeses or a roast duck.Shacksbury

Riestra Sidra Natural | $10.99
The Riestra family has been making cider since 1906, started by Robustiano Riestra, who passed down the art of cider making through several generations; Raúl Riestra is the current owner and cider maker of this illustrious estate. This is a classic, natural, dry, unfiltered Spanish cider with fruity aromas and the characteristic tart acidity of Spanish apples. This is great with a Jamon Iberico and Manchego.Shacksbury Farmhouse 2014 | $10.99
For David Dolginow and Colin Davis, they believe that no apple should be left behind. Founders of Shoreham, Vermont’s Shacksbury Cider, Dolginow and Davis are on a mission from the apple gods to reincarnate the old, forgotten and “lost apple” orchards of scores past, that once thrived as agricultural delicacies in the Northeast. This Farmhouse cider is made from Jonagold, Spartan, and small amount of English bittersweet apples. Balanced, intriguing, and matched with an aged cheddar, this cider is a stepping stone into the rustic side of cider.WineBlitzLogoStocking up on wine for holiday parties, gifts, or family gatherings?  Don’t forget, our Holiday Wine Blitz is December 7-13! Save 20% on purchases of 12 bottles or more, mix and match throughout our entire selection.  Join us at 18 Reasons for a Preview Tasting on Thursday, December 3, from 6-7pm or 7-8pm and place your pre-order!

Waverley Aufmuth

Fort Point Beer is Here!

Fort Point LogoAt long last, the wait is finally over! Those delicious brews you already know and love from Fort Point Beer Company are now available in 6-pack cans, and we’re thrilled to have them join our line-up! We will be carrying all four of their core beers (see below, $11.99 / 6-pack) at both Bi-Rite Market locations. These tasty brews will be delivered fresh weekly, straight from the source to provide you, our guests, with the freshest local option in San Francisco!

Fort Point Beer Company was founded in 2014 by brothers Tyler and Justin Catalana in the Presidio of San Francisco. The brewery resides in a historic Presidio building that was formerly used as an Army motor pool. Being situated in this iconic landscape reinforces our pride in San Francisco and in the beer they brew. Fort Point creates balanced, thoughtful beers that reference traditional styles but are by no means bound to them – Fort Point beers tell a story, inspire an idea, and are thoroughly enjoyable.

Fort Point ParkPark is generously hopped with Citra hops in every step of the brewing process, resulting in a fantastic grapefruit and passion fruit aroma and flavor. Unique Biere de Garde yeast supplements the fragrant aspects of the beer and provides a slightly tart and dry finish.

Fort Point WestfaliaWestfalia
packs beautiful intense malt and caramel flavors into a smooth and satisfying mahogany red body. Fermented at a cooler temperature like the Altbiers of Germany, Westfalia is a malt purist’s dream. Its plush mouthfeel and mild demeanor make it a great choice alone or with a meal. A favorite of our Beer Buyer, Jon!

Fort Point VillagerVillager IPA
puts hop aroma first with a unique blend of bittering and aroma hops. These unusual suspects create an aroma that’s citrusy and floral with the faintest bit of forest. Its mild bitterness and simple malt bill keep it easy and drinkable.

Fort Point KSAAn idiosyncratic take on the classic Kölsch style, KSA uses a careful balance of American bittering hops and German malts to create a clean and refreshing light ale. Munich and Vienna malts contribute nuanced flavors of baked bread and Saphir & Warrior hops balance things out with a clean finish.

Last Chance to Get Blitzed This Weekend!


Our Fall Wine Blitz is happening NOW!  Save 20% on purchases of 12 bottles or more, mix and match throughout our entire selection, now through this Sunday, November 8.  This is a fantastic opportunity to stock up on holiday wines before Thanksgiving, so be sure to stop by either of the Markets before the Blitz ends!WineBlitzLogoandBottles-01

Out of town or can’t make it to the Markets this weekend?  Don’t worry, our Winter Wine Blitz will run Monday to Sunday, December 7-13.  Join us for a preview tasting on Thursday, December 3, at 18 Reasons – stay tuned next week for links to the preview tasting tickets and more information about our holiday wines and ciders!

John Herbstritt

Pinot Noir & Fall Wine Blitz Next Week!


It’s hard to believe, but once upon a time, many winemakers in California thought thatPinot Noir would never find a home here. They looked at the rainy, cold, limestone slopes of Burgundy and saw a climate so alien to anywhere they were familiar with that the thought of emulating those famous wines seemed futile. The (perhaps) apocryphal story there is that the Cistercian monks who were responsible for mapping out the differentclimats on the Côte d’Or would train their palates by tasting the soil from each parcel. The Burgundy that we know today is the culmination of centuries of accumulated ancestral knowledge.

It took time to realize that we didn’t need to emulate Burgundy – we needed to forge a style of California Pinot Noir that spoke with its own voice. The Hanzell Vineyardcompetes with the Van der Kamp vineyard for the title of oldest Pinot Noir vines in California, but back when these were planted there was no guarantee that they would ever yield wines with the grace, power, and longevity that they have become known for. For many, these wines were more gratifying than their Burgundian counterparts. In Burgundy only the best years yield wines with the level of fruit and body that we take for granted in California. In fact, many Pinot Noir (and Chardonnay) lovers today are callingfor more restraint in this category, inciting something of a divide among California wine lovers.

And then of course there is Oregon. In 1979 the ’75 Eyrie Vineyards South Block Pinot Noir placed in the Top Ten in the Gault-Millau Wine Olympiad, beating out some very prestigious red Burgundy. One of these wineries even decided to establish a vineyard in Oregon, and in the late 1980s, Domaine Drouhin was founded in the Dundee Hills. The cool climate of the Willamette Valley made Pinot Noir cultivation seem obvious, and a combination of cataclysmic geologic events (see Columbia River Basalt Flow and The Great Missoula Floods) make for some extremely varied terroir. The monks would have a heyday there today.

Among other things, these events demonstrate what a blip on the radar our notion of terroir really is. In Burgundy climate change equals hailstorms that destroyed the crop in some villages for three out of the past five vintages. Oregon just experienced two of the hottest vintages on record and, well, we know what is going on in our backyard. Let’s do as the monks would do and pray for rain…luckily for them, and for us, in between masses they also practiced what they preached and drank some good wine.BiRite-HOLIDAY-2015-hannakuh-235

Bi-Rite Market Public Label Poe Pinot Noir
Regular Price: $21.99 Blitz Price: $17.59
Our Bi-Rite exclusive wine was sourced from a one of the oldest Pinot Noir vineyards in Sonoma called Olcese. We collaborated with one California’s best winemakers,Samantha Sheehan of Poe, to make us this phenomenal bottle. Theresult is beautifully aromaticwith cherry and raspberry fruit notes.We love this with avariety of foods, from wild caught salmonto Heritage pork chops.

Bader-Mimeur Bourgogne Rouge
Regular Price: $22.99 Blitz Price: $18.39 
The Pinot Noir for this wine comes from white wine territory in Chassagne-Montrachet. It is spry, full of bright red fruit, and dexterous. Enjoy this with poultry dishes like roast chickens or duck breast. Who said Burgundy couldn’t be a bit of fun?Broadley Pinot Noir

Broadley Pinot Noir Jessica’s Vineyard
Regular Price: $29.99 Blitz Price: $23.99
Broadley Vineyards, established by Craig and Claudia Broadley, are now joined by their son Morgan and his wife Jessica. This wine is sourced from a single vineyard named after their daughter-in-law. It’s classic Willamette. Seared duck breast with cooked cranberries and friends around the table showcases the wine’s depth.

WineBlitzLogoThe Wine Blitz starts next week, Monday through Sunday, November 2-8! Once again we’ll be offering 20% off the purchase of 12 bottles or more mix and match throughout the selection. The dates are November 2-8 for the Fall Blitz and December 7-13 for the Winter Blitz. Come into your local Bi-Rite Market and place a pre-order to avoid the crowds!

John Herbstritt

California Classics & Fall Wine Blitz


In a lot of ways California is a privileged place to make wine. European wine regions benefit from legal protection that help with promotion to consumers, but they also suffer from regulation which can stifle creativity. For instance, other than one notable exception (St. Bris in the North), you will never find Sauvignon Blanc planted in Burgundy. There are, of course, historical and cultural reasons why this is not done, but the question remains: what if? In California we can pretty much plant whatever we want, wherever we want. There is a lot of information available to planters about which kinds of grapes might work better in which places, but in the end it’s up to him or her to decide.

The early planters of wine grapes in California, many of whom were immigrants from wine regions in Europe, understood that in order to grow the grapes they knew from home they would need a similar climate. However, the California wine industry has also long been dominated by consumer taste and not necessarily by what actually grows best. As an example, Riesling in the 1960s was much more popular and ended up being planted in some unlikely spots. These can sometimes still make incredible wine. For a real time warp, get your hands on a bottle of Stony Hill White Riesling from Spring Mountain in Napa. Some of their vines date back from this era and the wine hasn’t changed in style since it was first made – delicious.

All of this is to say that since the “modern” winemaking era began in California – either in 1966 when Robert Mondavi founded the first new winery in California since prohibition, or in 1976 when California wines beat the best wines of France in a blind tasting – we have learned a lot about our own terroir; yet, we are still learning more every day. Robert Mondavi himself was the first to make Sauvignon Blanc famous in Napa (he called it
Fumé Blanc), and we have really only scratched the surface in terms of potential for Chardonnay in Santa Barbara County. Of course, we have long known that Zinfandel and California were made for each other, although we did forget for a while.

I always try to come to every glass with an open mind. Of course a label can tell us a lot, but it can’t compare to the sensation of your nose in the glass and the wine on your palate. Cheers!

Farella Sauvignon Blanc Coombsville Napa, CA 2014 Farella
Regular Price $16.99 Blitz price $13.59
The Farella Sauvignon Blanc strikes a great balance between crunchy green melon and ripe guava flavors. Medium-bodied, with good minerality, and a bright long finish. Try it with your favorite fresh cheese, especially an Andante goat’s milk disk!

Ojai Chardonnay “Puerta del Mar” Santa Rita Hills Santa Barbara, CA 2013
Regular $29.99 Blitz Price $23.99
Puerta del Mar is one of the coolest vineyard sites in California and produces a Chardonnay that really stuns. In the hands of California viticultural legend Adam Tolmach the site shines. Bright, clear, and crisp with just a kiss of oak, it turns the notion of “California Chardonnay” on its head.

Regular Price $21.99 Blitz Price $17.59
When Pam and Jay Heminway planted their vineyard in the remote Chiles Canyon to Zin in Napa, Zin was well-established, but on the verge of being overtaken in most other places by the victorious Cabernet Sauvignon. They could have ripped up their vines and replanted but instead stuck to their guns and still make some of the best Zin around. Fruit forward and jammy with tons of texture, but unmarred by the excesses of new oak. Your fall dinner’s best friend.

WineBlitzLogoReady to get Blitzed? Once again we’ll be offering 20% off the purchase of 12 bottles or more mix and match throughout the selection. The dates are November 2-8 for the Fall Blitz and December 7-13 for the Winter Blitz. We will also be hosting our famous Blitz Tasting next Wednesday 10/28 at 18 Reasons. The 7-8 PM tasting is already sold out, but there are still a few spots left for the 6-7 PM tasting!

John Herbstritt

Offbeat Italian Varietals


It’s estimated that Italy has over 350 varieties of grapes in common usage. The grapes that we think of as “mainstream” are the ones that constitute wines from regions that have made it on the world stage. Sangiovese from Chianti, Nebbiolo from Barolo and Barbaresco, and Aglianico from Taurasi in the South come to mind. So when we talk about “offbeat” Italian grapes we are talking about regional wines that, for most of the country, are the daily tipple. Not so long ago (in the ’70s), Italian wine was not mainstream at all. Your smart American oenophile drank Bordeaux and sometimes Burgundy and in the Bay Area Kermit Lynch was turning people on to the Rhone Valley, but great Italian wine was not easy to find. So if today’s offbeat is tomorrow’s mainstream, then I’ll be happy to contribute. Cheers! To never drinking the same thing twice, unless it’s really good (my unofficial motto)!

Being the knowledgeable wine drinkers that you are, many of you will already be familiar with some or all of these grapes, but let’s dive right in. Verdicchio is a grape native to the Marche on the Adriatic coast and has two major producing regions. Castelli di Jesi often produces fuller, riper versions, while Matelica is all ocean breeze, lime leaf with a bright fresh finish. As an aside, our friends at Unti Vineyards just released the very first (documented) Verdicchio made in California. Next time you’re up in Healdsburg go visit – they are the friendliest people in wine country.

Monica is a grape planted in Sardinia and almost nowhere else in the world, although it apparently originated in Spain. It can produce wines that vary from medium-bodied and fruit-forward to powerful and spicy, and the best examples of the former style pair amazingly with hearty seafood stews…which makes me think of one of my favorite restaurants in SF, La Ciccia in Noe Valley. Fabulous Sardinian cuisine and a deep, focused wine list sourced almost exclusively from the island.

Finally, Valpolicella is not really a grape at all. It’s an appellation in the Veneto in Northeastern Italy and is a blend of Corvina, Rondinella and sometimes Molinara. It can vary greatly in style, but for us the best are fruit-forward, bright, and juicy with hints of licorice and brandied cherry. Now I’ve been transported to Pizzeria Delfina and I’m about to bite into a slice of their funghi pie…wow that was intense.

Offbeat grape varieties. When they come on a boat to us they seem exotic and when we share them with friends there is always a fun story to go along with the new flavors. It’s important to remember that wine is wine and it’s meant to be imbibed and shared with people you love; and when you get the chance, meet the people who made it.Monica

La Staffa Verdicchio di Castelli di Jesi Marche, Italy 2013 | $19.99

Not the usual Castelli di Jesi style Verdicchio, the La Staffa version is quite vibrant, direct, flavorful, complex, and delicious. At only 24 years of age, owner and enologist Ricardo Baldi is fast becoming one of the top producers of the region.

ValpolicellaPala Monica di Sardegna I Fiori DOC Sardinia, Italy 2012 | $17.99
Under the guidance of Mario Pala, this family run winery combines modern techniques with the eye on traditional expression. Very aromatic with violet notes and hints of licorice. Great as a starter wine, it’s delicdoius with white meats and goat cheeses.

Massimago Valpolicella DOC Veneto, Italy 2013 | $14.99
Started by young winemaker Camilla Rossi Chauvenent, Massimago Valpolicella is a classic example of this style. Aromas of ripe strawberries and cherries with hints of balsamic. We love this with salumi and cheeses.

WineBlitzLogoWith the Fall Wine Blitz fast approaching, from November 2-8, you can get these Italian wines plus ANY of the wines on the shelf at 20% off when you buy 12 bottles or more. Also, come taste these wines at our Blitz Preview tasting on Wednesday October 28th. You can get tickets at 18 Reasons. Hurry, the tickets are going fast!

John Herbstritt

White Burgundies

How many times a week do I hear the words “I don’t like Chardonnay”? Each time it cuts me to the quick, since this grape can make wines that are utterly sublime. But in a lot of ways, Chardonnayhas been the agent of her own undoing. She was admired and accepted worldwide because she is a chameleon. She thrives in so many different terroirs and is delicious in so many different styles that, “Anything But Chardonnay”-ers notwithstanding, there is a Chardonnay for every wine drinker on this planet. In order to understand her soul we have to go back to the beginning, to Burgundy.

primary_9ffa77ea-5083-483f-8c50-ee50c00fe691Burgundy is a region that extends from Chablis in the North to the Macon in the South, and encompasses some of the most hallowed white wine vineyards in the world. The Kimmeridgian limestone in Chablis gives their Chardonnays a rocky backbone, and the cooler climate lends an acidity that doesn’t stop. On the Cote de Beaune, a gentle Eastern facing slope provides for perfect ripeness and the wines are richer and more generous (this is where many California Chardonnay producers take inspiration). In the Macon we encounter producers reaching for a creamier, simpler style, although many claim that this region hasn’t yet reached its full potential.

These styles are so different that you would be hard pressed to name them as the same grape, but there you have it. I told you she was a chameleon; and yet (almost) always welcome. We love Chardonnay that pursues balance. Balance between acidity, texture, fruit and integrated oak. Most importantly, we love Chardonnay that pairs well at the table. If you haven’t dived deep into her golden-hued glass, friend, there is a treasure waiting for you.Bourgogne Blanc

Try these amazing Chardonnay now, and stock up during our Wine Blitz. Once again we’ll be offering 20% off the purchase of 12 bottles or more mix and match throughout the selection. The dates are November 2-8 for the Fall Blitz andDecember 7-13 for the Winter Blitz. Start planning now! In our next email we’ll be featuring some of our favorite Blitz wines and also telling you about the Blitz preview tastings at 18 Reasons. Stay tuned!

Herve Azo Chablis Burgundy, France 2013 | 
In the late 1970’s, Hervé Azo, originally from Brittany, took some time off from his fast-paced white collar job in the Parisian advertising business to pick grapes in Chablis during the harvest.  He never returned to his job.  After falling in love with the region, he began to look for vineyards, which at the time had not reached the astronomical value they have today.  Now he has an estate of approximately 12 hectares (26.5 acres),9 hectares of which are located in the premier cru slopes around the village of Milly.  Azo’s Chablis is aged exclusively in stainless steel vats to retain the classic mineral quatlities that the Chardonnay attains in Chablis. Yeasty and minerally with bright citrus notes. This is fantastic with oysters or shellfish dishes.

Talk about fine terroir and prime real estate: this 100% Chardonnay hails from Uchizy
 (population 800!), one of only 26 villages with the right to append the village name on the label. This vineyard is nestled just west of the Saone River, a very short distance from Viré and Clessé, two other notable villages for venerable Chardonnay in the Maconnais. The soils on this east-facing, gentle slope are comprised of limestone and clay, with ample rock debris providing superior drainage. The organically-farmed vines, averaging 32 years age, are tended by Mathieu’s longtime friend Jean-Michel, and are severely pruned to limit yields, hand-picked, and reflect a completely natural terroir – no spraying or artificial anything. The fruit is bladder pressed into 100% steel to retain freshness and youth. The bouquet is open and generous, with quartz, minerals, baskets of Meyer lemons, and white flowers. The palate is fresh, alive and pure Chardonnay through-and-through.

Domaine Dussort is a small family domaine based in the Cote d’Or, in the village of Meursault.  Sylvain Dussort took over 20 years ago, and started farming the estate’s 30 acres with minimal intervention in order to let the vines express the true character of each vineyard site. This “Cuvee des Ormes” is sourced from 50-year-old vines right below Meursault from two vineyards, En l’Ormeau and Les Pellans. Extended lees contact imparts richness to the wine and along with the old vines, this wine could easily pass for a Meursault, at half the price.

John Herbstritt

Organic Pumpkin Beer Done Right


Although in SF Summer is just beginning — or rather, continuing — in other parts of the country Instagram feeds are starting to fill up with crunchy leaves, football and new fall looks. For beer aficionados it is the dreaded season of the pumpkin beer. Often overly spiced, sweet and syrupy, we almost passed on the category altogether this year, until we tasted the pumpkin brews from Uinta Brewing Company out of Salt Lake City. Their Punk’n Ale six-pack in a can is a good beer first and a pumpkin beer second, with notes of vanilla, cinnamon, and clove in the background. It’s sessionable, which means you can drink a couple and not feel too crazy. The Oak Jacked Imperial Pumpkin Ale is a bigger version that spends six months in oak barrels. The result is richly textured and voluptuous, but not overbearing. Not only are the beers delicious, but the company that makes them is pretty cool too.

Residents of Salt Lake City and its environs will be familiar with their name, especially if they are outdoorsy types. Named after a fabulously beautiful mountain range just to the east of the state capitol, Uinta Brewing Company was founded in 1996 and has been brewing craftily since then. They make many different kinds of beer and everything I have tasted I have loved. Their commitment to their pristine namesake is not merely nominal. In 2001 they became entirely wind-powered, the first company in Utah to achieve this. In 2011 they installed solar panels on their roof. They have a whole host of other practices which together make the brewery a leader in sustainable business practices in their home state.

Feeling like getting a little autumnal in the park? Try the Punk’n Ale. Making some Red Kuri Squash Risotto for dinner? The Oak Jacked might be your perfect pairing. Try ’em both and let us know what you think!


Punk’n Pumpkin Ale 6-Pack
| $9.99
Brewed using organic pumpkin and organic spices! The malt and hops are accented by these flavors with hints of vanilla and honey. This delicious seasonal offering is light on the palate and pairs well with cheesecake, roasted turkey and fall vibes.

Oak Jacked Imperial Pumpkin Ale 750 mL | $14.99
A bigger, bolder, imperial version of the canned Punk’n Ale that’s been barrel-aged for 6 months in oak and clocks in at 10.31% ABV. It is rich and caramelly with more overt spicy flavors – an amazing food beer. All treats and no tricks here!

PS and for those of you watching at home, Wine Blitz is only FIVE WEEKS AWAY! Once again we’ll be offering 20% off the purchase of 12 bottles or more, mix and match throughout the selection. The dates are November 2-8 for the Fall Blitz and December 7-13 for the Winter Blitz. Start planning now!

John Herbstritt

Where the Buffalo Roam

BiRite-HOLIDAY-2015-Grocery-051The Buffalo Trace Distillery is one of the biggest names in bourbon distilling. The distillery itself has had many names over the years, and records indicate that the site has been used for distilling since 1775, making it one of the oldest continuously operating distilleries in the United States.  Buffalo Trace was also awarded the most innovative American whiskey distillery in the world this year. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? They won for their commitment to experimentation and for their fantastic special releases, which surprise and delight whiskey devotees year after year. The excellence doesn’t stop at the super premium brands. Another fun fact: they only use corn that is GMO-free and they are in the process of becoming completely free of GMOs. One of our favorite tipples is the eponymous entry level Buffalo Trace Straight Bourbon Whiskey.

Bourbon whiskey is a true American invention: the mash bill has to be at least 51% corn (Buffalo Trace uses only non-GMO) and the rest is usually a combination of rye, malted barley, or wheat. After distillation the whiskey is aged in new charred American oak barrels for a number of years. Although Buffalo Trace doesn’t carry an age statement, it is estimated that the average bottle age is at least eight years. Because the whiskeys are aged in barrels that are each slightly different and located in different parts of the rickhouse, they mature differently. In order to achieve the same flavor profile year after year the distillery blends barrels carefully from different parts of the rickhouse. Thus, each batch is a carefully composed constellation of flavor, aroma, and texture created by the blenders.

BiRite-HOLIDAY-2015-Grocery-053It is precisely this tradition of blending that makes the alternate practice of bottling single barrels so special. Distillers taste each barrel often to check in on its development, and when they find a barrel that seems to have a story to tell on its own it is set aside. After tasting through a couple of samples our buyer, Trac, chose two barrels to bottle as our Bi-Rite Single Barrel Buffalo Trace Whiskey ($29.99). Barrel number one is in the store now and barrel number two should hit the shelves in the fall. Make sure to try both to taste the subtle differences!

How do the single barrels differ from the regular bottling of Buffalo Trace? The normal bottling is rounder and softer, more fruit forward and vanilla, while our single barrels are more precise and flavorful. Clove, banana and grain-forward, it is perfect for a Manhattan, but also great as a sipper. Only Trac has tasted barrel number two yet – we’ll make sure to let you know when it hits the shelves so we can celebrate together.

Now, back to the subject of wine, the most exciting time of the year is coming up! That’s right, Wine Blitz! Once again we’ll be offering 20% off the purchase of 12 bottles or more mix and match throughout the selection. The dates areNovember 2-8 for the Fall Blitz and December 7-13 for the Winter Blitz. Start planning now! In this email we’ll be featuring some of our favorite Blitz wines and also telling you about the Blitz preview tastings at 18 Reasons, so be sure to stay tuned!