Friday, October 21, 2016

Mint Beers for All Seasons?

I’m on record as a fan of herbal flavors in beer (see Lavender Beers for Summer), and I love all things mint. I recently came across my third mint-flavored beer, and they say three’s a trend, so it deserves a post. These three beers could not differ more. One is thick, dark, and bitter. One is sour, tart, and earthy. One is light and crisp. Here’s a rundown on each:

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Moravia in Texas

Last weekend we went to the Houston Slavic Heritage Festival, as we do most years. This year it celebrated the food, music, and crafts of the Ukraine, Czech Republic, Croatia, and Poland. I drink beer at the Slavic Fest (it goes perfectly with sausage and sauerkraut!), but being there reminded me to drink my bottles of wine from the Moravia Winery in central Texas.

The Moravia Vineyard and Winery is named (I assume) after the town in which the vineyard resides, Moravia, Texas (though the winery's address is in nearby Schulenburg). Moravia, Texas was founded in 1881 by Czech and Moravian settlers, who named the town after the Moravian region of the Czech Republic (or do we call it Czechia now?). This region of the Czech Republic produces more than 90% of the wine in that country, so it makes perfect sense to name the winery after the town named after the region.

The Moravia Winery grows Blanc du Bois (white) and Black Spanish/Lenoir (red) grapes, which it produces in a dry style. It also makes a sweet rosé. These lesser-known grapes flourish in regions near the Texas gulf coast where humidity and Pierce's disease wreak havoc on other grape varieties. (For more information, check out "Introduction to the Grapes of Texas" or "Profile of the Black Spanish Grape." Disclaimer: the link to the Black Spanish profile leads to an article I wrote for Home Brew Talk, and it contains a few errors introduced by their editors, which is why I no longer write for the site.)

Earlier this year I bought a bottle of Moravia's 2014 "Red Wine Cervené Vino Rosso" at the Urban Harvest Eastside Farmers Market and a bottle of 2014 Blanc du Bois at the downtown Houston Spec's. Both were around $20. (Google translate says that cervené means red in Czech.) I stuck the bottles in the wine fridge and nearly forgot about them until I saw the Moravia region of the Czech Republic mentioned at the Slavic Fest.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Wine Infographic: Italian Wine Cheat Sheet

Next in the wine cheat sheet series:  Italy!

I've covered Chianti before, here.  The full collection of wine cheat sheets is here.

To see the Cheat Sheet in full size…
…in Internet Explorer, right click on it and select “open in new tab.”
…in Chrome, right click on it and select “open link in new tab.”
…in Firefox, right click on it and select “view image.”  

Friday, August 19, 2016

Lavender Beers for Summer

I am a well-documented lavender freak. I love the smell, I love the taste, and I always have to try any food or drink that contains it.  I’ve written before about lavender cocktails (here and here), I love my lavender earl grey tea, and I own a lavender cookbook. So of course I was excited when one of the new-ish Houston-area breweries – No Label in Katy, TX – released their “Forbidden Lavender” ale. Then I started noticing other beers that incorporate lavender and decided a post was in order.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Cider + Wine = Something Different to Drink This Summer

When I was sitting at the bar at J. Henry's a couple of weeks ago, I noticed a funny looking wine bottle in their cooler. I asked to read the label, and then I knew I had to try it. It was Grafter Rosé, a small-batch cider from Texas Keeper, made with 91% Rome Beauty apples and 9% Tempranillo grapes from Texas. (Sorry the picture is orange. I was having living room lighting issues.)


Friday, July 22, 2016

Beer Infographic: Map of Houston-Area Craft Breweries

I've had a list of Houston craft breweries that I've been updating for a quite a while, but I decided we needed a map. Here's the map with the list below it.

I count 29 30 31 craft breweries in the Houston area, either currently open or planning to open soon.
Did I miss any?

To see the map full size…
…in Internet Explorer, right click on it and select “open in new tab.”
…in Chrome, right click on it and select “open link in new tab.”
…in Firefox, right click on it and select “view image.”  

And here's the list with links:

11 Below Brewing (Houston)
8th Wonder Brewery (Houston) 
Apogee Brewing (Houston) 
B-52 Brewing (Conroe)
Back Pew Brewing (Porter)
Bakfish Brewing Co (Pearland)
Brash Beer (Houston)
Buffalo Bayou Brewing (Houston) 
City Acre Brewing (Houston)
Cyclers Brewing (Montgomery) 
Eureka Heights Brew Co (Houston)
Fetching Lab Brewery (Alvin)
Fort Bend Brewing (Missouri City) 
Galactic Coast Brewing (Dickinson) 
Galveston Bay Beer Company (Dickinson)
Galveston Island Brewing (Galveston)
Holler Brewing Co (Houston)
Ingenious Brewing (opening in 2016 in north Houston)
Karbach Brewing (Houston) 
Lone Pint Brewery (Magnolia) 
No Label Brewing (Katy) 
Platypus Brewing (Houston)
Saint Arnold Brewing (Houston) 
Saloon Door Brewing (Webster)
Sigma Brewing Co (Houston)
Southern Star Brewing (Conroe)
Spindletap Brewery (NW Houston)
Texas Beer Refinery (Dickinson) 
Texian Brewing (Richmond) 
Town In City Brewing (Houston Heights)   
Under the Radar Brewery (Houston)

Friday, July 15, 2016

Happy 200th Post!

I started this blog in September 2012 and just reached 200 posts. To celebrate, here are some of the most popular posts, plus a few that are just my favorites.

The wine cheat sheets are always the most popular posts, which is good since they're the main reason I started the blog. Here's a link to all 26 wine cheat sheets (and more coming soon!).

Other very popular posts include:
Top 6 Things to Know About Wine Vintages
Smelling, Swirling, and Training Your Nose
Acid 101
Tannin 101
Is your wine over the hill?
Wine Glasses: What Kind, Why, and Where to Get Them
Would you drink wine with a moldy cork?
Introduction to the Grapes of Texas
The cheapest, easiest, laziest way to cook with wine

And definitely the best beer post is:
The Ultimate Guide to 51 Pumpkin Ales in Houston

Here's to 200 posts and many more to come!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Wine Infographic: Bordeaux Wine Cheat Sheet

Next in the wine cheat sheet series:  Bordeaux!

I'll be the wine educator on a river cruise through Bordeaux in 2017. Want to come along? We have spaces available!

If you're interested in learning about Bordeaux, you may also want to check out the French Wine Cheat Sheet and the Botrytis (Noble Rot) Cheat Sheet.

The full collection of wine cheat sheets is here.

To see the Cheat Sheet in full size…
…in Internet Explorer, right click on it and select “open in new tab.”
…in Chrome, right click on it and select “open link in new tab.”
…in Firefox, right click on it and select “view image.”  

Friday, June 17, 2016

Experiencing Bordeaux in Books and Movies

When I travel, I like to learn as much as I can about the place I'm visiting before I go. A fun way to do that is through books and movies. Here's a collection of fiction and non-fiction books and movies I'm interested in reading and watching before I visit Bordeaux in 2017. (I'm assembling a group to go on a tour, and we still have spaces available. Email me if you're interested!)

I've marked the ones I've read or seen (*) and added a personal review, and I'll update this post as I make progress on the list.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Visit Granbury, taste great Texas wine.

Recently I wrote about the grapes that are thriving in Texas (Introduction to the Grapes of Texas). Roussanne is one of them. This white grape is native to France and appears in the white wines of France's Rhone Valley. It also appears in the red wines of the region, since it is one of the few white grapes allowed to be blended into Rhone's red wines in small quantities. Roussanne is primarily found in southern France, but its presence is growing in Texas, particularly in the Texas High Plains AVA.