Erosion Wine Co.
Patrick Rue has proven over the years to be a master at creating incredible beers and his family-owned The Bruery, founded in 2008, is renowned as one of the most respected and revered breweries in the US. Now, after having moved to Napa Valley, Rue and his wife Rachel are setting their sights on making their mark on the wine world. Their new Napa Valley-based winery is focusing on bold, adventurous wines with fun, creative names, and like The Bruery’s beers, some have unconventional ingredients. As the focus is flavor above all else, the new winemakers have the freedom to blend varietals that may not be traditionally blended together, utilize wine from various vintages and blend from various Napa AVAs with abandon. The initial offerings I sampled were Secret Handshake—red wine with cacao and vanilla bean; Afraid of Clowns—red wine blend; You’re So Pretty—white wine with cherries added; Sparkler Machine—fizzy white wine blend; The Floor Is Lava!—red wine; and How Big?—red wine blend. The unconventional packaging in single-serve 250ml cans makes perfect sense, as one doesn’t have to worry about having to drink the whole bottle after opening before it deteriorates or commit to one type of wine for the evening. The wines are available in a colorful holder containing three cans and on draft. The name has a dual meaning: referencing how erosion led to the creation of alluvial fans underneath the most prized vineyards in Napa Valley, and how this new winery concept hopes to erode the definition of wine, while having great respect for wine culture in general.
After having been a big fan of The Bruery since its inception, I have no doubt the Rues will continue to excel at producing nothing but the best, and after tasting the aforementioned wines that appears to be the case.
The flavor of grapefruit in beer has become quite popular, especially in IPAs, but in most cases it’s derived from the hops it’s brewed with. Reputedly the world’s first hefeweizen grapefruit beer (launched in 2007 and brought to the US in 2012), this German unfiltered hefeweizen gets its grapefruit juiciness from the actual fruit and is a blend of 50% hefeweizen and 50% grapefruit drink and logs in at only 2.5% ABV. My sample arrived during the hot dog days of summer and proved to be a well-appreciated refresher, and I was also pleased that it has a tangy character just like the fruit it’s infused with, and is not overly sweet. The brewery also offers a pomegranate version, which is also a 50/50 blend of beer and juice. These beers also make a good mixer for cocktails, and several recipes can be found on the website.
Arena Cinelounge Gourmet Popcorn
We may not be able to go to the movies currently during this pandemic, but that doesn’t mean we have to go without indulging in cinema’s staple snack: gourmet popcorn. In fact, this endeavor has been launched to help save Hollywood’s most independent arthouse staple, the Arena Cinelounge Sunset. Each bag contains popcorn that is preservative-free, non-GMO, vegan and dairy and nut-free. Nine unique flavors with cinema-themed names are offered: Popcorn of the Living Dead—cinnamon churro with crushed pretzels; Eternal Popcorn of the Spotless Mind—rosemary salted caramel; Natural Corn Killers—naked with sea salt; APOPalypse Now—jalapeno; Once Upon a Time in Popcorn—mesquite smoked cheddar; Truffaut Truffle—truffle; Arthouse Gold—curry; Crouching Tiger Hidden Popcorn—sweet chili lime; and Meoli’s Bliss—bourbon caramel with espresso pretzels. Most are flavors I never would have associated with popcorn, and while I didn’t sample them all, I did try several. All were quite good with two standouts to my palate being the Rosemary Salted Caramel and the Truffle. Here’s to enjoying outstanding popcorn while “saving the home for independent cinema and filmmakers…one kernel at a time.”
Ready-to-drink cocktails packaged in cans is a fast-growing segment in today’s beverage market. This version from a small, family-owned company based in New York City is a 7.25% ABV rye whiskey and honey-based canned cocktail version with a four-year-old New York State rye whiskey made from locally sourced grains, a touch of local wildflower honey, real lemon juice and sea salt. You can think of it as a “whiskey spritz” in a can which I found to be thirst quenching, easy drinking and tasty. Here’s to drinking to a good cause: A portion of all profits go to honeybee and apiary advocates to fund the development of new apiaries to help make a new home for honeybees.