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Lifestyles

A Rich Pour 32: Garnacha and Graciano Take Center Stage

A Rich Pour 32.1

For the northern-clime residents among us who are, as yet, dealing with snow and cold, the thought of food and wine of the warming sort is, well, a comforting one. And given the vagaries of El Niño this year, we’re not alone.

When it comes to winter wines, reds rule. I’m a big fan of the dry red wines from Spain, as I find they often offer tremendous quality at relatively modest cost. Garnacha and Graciano may not be the most widely planted red grape varieties in Spain, but they’ve certainly gained in stature of late – not the least because of the resurrection of old vineyards and the efforts of a few pioneering winegrowers.

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The Christmas Beer Cigar Primer

The Christmas Beer Cigar Primer 1It has become a growing tradition that the as yet expanding craft beer industry will produce a selection of labels for the Christmas Holiday marketplace. The good news is there are options out there beyond the flood of IPAs choking the shelves these days. While some of these options represent little more than novelty packaging, there are many quality selections for beer lovers and those who enjoy various styles. Best of all, the types to be found serve as nice complements to a smoke.

Personally, I infrequently pair a decent beer with a cigar, because I find many craft brews lose their character and flavor against the tobacco. But winter in general – and Christmas in particular – manages to offer up numerous choices that actually hold up well. You begin to find heartier styles, spicier flavors and stronger content – all which means you can enjoy two worlds at once.

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Charleston Beer Week: A Week-Long Beer Extravaganza

Charleston Beer Week 1Charleston Beer Week is a week-long beer extravaganza that’s held during the second week of September each year. Bars, restaurants and local breweries in the Greater Charleston Metropolitan Area host events like tap takeovers, haunted pub crawls, food and beer pairing seminars, and even pig pick-ins and haunted pub crawls. There are several events scattered about town each night, making it easy to for everyone to find something to try. I’ve been to one or two of the individual events before. But this year, I decided to try and take better advantage of what Charleston and Beer Week have to offer.

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Break From The Herd And Bypass The Guinness

Join Cigar Weekly's Brad Slager (MartiniShark) as he delves into the world of milk stouts, and offers a few tasty recommendations for beer aficionados.

Break From The Herd 1While not necessarily elitist, drinkers of Guinness can still be a passionate lot. I have encountered many who swear by their choice. At times, they adhere to the dark rich malt elixir with a rock-ribbed devotion, touting its benefits over many other beers even as they declare that some people cannot handle the heft, the taste or the strength of Guinness. The only problem? Better, more potent and flavorful choices abound in the side category with 'cows on the label'.

From my samplings of Guinness, I've always felt this legendary beer was actually wan in flavor, mostly chalky and surprisingly lightweight. In fact, I have found many porters that offer up more complex profiles. But for overall pleasure from a full bodied brew, I always trend towards the sub-group known as milk stout. While Guiness makes promises, milk stout delivers.

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Goose Island Brewery Rolls Out Bourbon County Barrel Offerings

Goose Island Brewery 1This time of year provides no shortage of celebrations and traditions. If you are the sort who savors quality craft beers as much as you cherish tobacco rolls, then there is another ritual you should plan to add to your next holiday lineup. Once a year, Goose Island Brewery releases very limited batches of coveted Bourbon cask aged stouts. These beers are the kind of bottled bliss you need to seek out as a holiday gift – to yourself.

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