Founders DKML

I’m old enough to remember when all malt liquors were bland renditions of a high alcohol beer that you drank to accelerate getting your buzz on. I’ve honestly never seen a craft version of this slighted style, until now. Released in July from the Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Founders Brewing, the brewery proclaims it could be the first malt liquor worthy of a glass. The alcohol 14.2% ABV is pumped up with corn for a smooth sweetness and fermented with a lager yeast cultivated by Spanish brewer Mahou San Miguel, a strategic partner with Founders. The brewery classed it up by aging it in bourbon barrels and a healthy dose of dry-hopping. “With DKML I wanted to do something totally original, and I don’t know anyone in the craft beer world who is barrel-aging malt liquor,” says Brewmaster Jeremy Kosmicki. “After some early trials, we ended up with Mahou’s lager yeast to brew a really amazing malt liquor, and then we did what we do best - barrel-aged it. The bourbon barrel smoothed it out while giving it that ‘kick’ you would expect from an imperial malt liquor.”

DKML is available in 4-packs of 12oz bottles and 750mL bottles throughout the entire distribution network, which now includes 45 states.

Pfungstädter Weizen Radler

The popular Pfungstädter Weizen Radler, previously only available in bottles and kegs, is now being canned and is available in the U.S. for the first time. For many years the Germans have concocted Radlers, a 50/50 mix of sparkling sweet lemonade or soda and lager beer, to sip during the warmer summer months. This mixing was a way for them to get around violating the German Purity Law of 1516 known as Reinheinsgebot, an actual law that requires beer only contain malt, hops, water and yeast that is still largely followed to this day. And, as radler is German for cyclist, at only 2.7% ABV this version qualifies as a refreshing, less-alcoholic post-ride beverage. This radler is a blend of unfiltered German Weizen with Hallertauer Herkules and Spalter Select hops, two-row malt blend and local malted wheat blended with all-natural lemonade. “There are a lot of radlers out there,” says Lanny Hoff, SVP-Brands Manager for Artisanal Imports, “but we feel Pfungstädter’s has a place due to the excellent quality of the beer as well as the lemonade. It’s a real lemonade, not a flavoring or essence, but lemon juice. This gives it a refreshing, not-too-sweet character which really sets it apart from the competition.”

Mt. Beautiful Wines from New Zealand

Appreciation for New Zealand wine continues to increase, and for good reason, as the region’s maritime climate provides vineyards with extended sunshine hours and cool night sea breezes provide a long, slow ripening period resulting in flavor growth. A worthy example is the wines of Mt. Beautiful, a North Canterbury winery located on the South Island of New Zealand. 100% estate grown and certified sustainable, production is focused on Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir but also smaller quantities of Pinot Gris, Riesling, Chardonnay and Rose are produced.

The Sauvignon Blanc pushes the boundaries of the typical New Zealand flavor profile, highlighting tropical flavors, toning down the grassiness with a crisp finish with bright minerality.

The Pinot Gris combines stone fruit, apples, juicy ripe pears, and a touch of floral honey with a persistent finish.

The Chardonnay features aromatics of ripe apple, stone fruits, and nectarines, and has a creamy texture that makes it easy to drink, with underlying notes of buttered brioche.

Unlike some Rieslings, Mt. Beautiful’s is not overly sweet, and has dry flavors of honeysuckle, lime and wintersweet flower and finishes with a lingering acidity.

The Pinot Noir, the personal favorite of owner David Teece, begins with fragrances of black cherries and violets followed by a palate of ripe bramble fruit and subtle tannins.

The traditionally made Rosé is produced from Pinot Noir juice that was pressed off after a period of light contact and fermented in barrel and tank. The 2016 vintage boasts floral notes and intense sweet red berry aromas, and a creamy and dry palate with hints of watermelon and pink grapefruit.

Mt. Beautiful wines retail for around $13 to $18.

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