Monthly Archives: August 2015

Two Great Parties!

IF there are two cultures that know how to throw a party it is the Greeks and the Irish! The next two weeks is an exciting time to be in southern Minnesota! August 28-30 is the Original Rochester GreekFest and September 4th and 5th is Irish fest. Greece and Ireland have little in common other than the zest for life and the love of good food and drink!

Greece has been making wine for countless centuries. The abundant sun, mountainous terrain and amazing seaside breezes are all conducive to making great wine. The last 20 years has seen a renaissance in Greek wine making. Modern wine making techniques have taken hold and the results are astounding. Try a beautiful white wine called Moschofilero. It is crisp and has an unbelievable floral aroma. It is a perfect companion to lighter foods such as pork, seafood, or grilled vegetables. Of course with your traditional Gyros you need a red wine such s Elios Red. Elios means Sun in Greek and this bright red wine is an example of the latest popular wine flavors. It is medium bodied and semi dry. A wonderful summertime red wine.

Of course when talking beverages from Greece you must talk of Ouzo. Ouzo is the distilled clear liquor with an unbelievable sweet anise flavor. Ouzo Ploumari comes from the island of Lesvos and is my favorite. You can do it as a shot or add a little water to the clear liquor and watch as it magically turns to a mysterious cloudy sensation! Ouzo is an awesome aperitif that will whet your taste buds and prepare you for the delicious foods and desserts that you know are the best part of Greek Culture!

Metaxa Angels’ Treasure launches in Greek travel-retailMetaxa is another awesome export of Greece. It is similar to brandy but with a smother finish and is very mixable. Spyros Metaxa developed Metaxa in 1888. In Europe it is coming on as a popular mixed drink in the nightclubs because of its high quality and great mixability! Try a Metaxa Sidecar—a great twist on an old classic. Take a couple ounces of Metaxa, an ounce of Cointreau, fresh lemon juice, and orange juice. Shake it vigorously and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with an orange zest—you will be blown away!

Ireland of course is no slouch in the beverage department. Guinness Irish Stout is the standard bearer that all beers strive to measure up to. One of the largest beer brands in the world, Guinness is famous for its Dark color and smooth flavor. Roasted with barley and the perfect hop mix, Guinness is not only tasty it is actually good for you! While you may think that Guinness is a heavy beer, I actually consider it a light beer. It is only 4% alcohol and has only 125 calories. Less than most beers! Pour a glass of Guinness; notice the color and the deep white delicious head. The color is actually not black, but the roasted barley gives it a deep red color that is surprising!

My favorite export from Ireland is of course Whiskey. Irish Monks were the first whiskey producers and exported the delicious elixir to Scotland and beyond. The word whisky comes from the Ancient Gaelic word Uisce bethea meaning the water of Life! Irish whisky is more than Jameson. Jameson is the fastest growing whiskey brand in the world and is renowned for its great light and smooth flavor. But Ireland is making many great whiskeys. Try Redbreast—a 100% pot stilled whiskey that is as rich and complex as any scotch or bourbon. Other brands to try are Tyrconnell, Green Spot and Connemara. Connemara is unique in that it is the only peated Irish whiskey on the market! If you like scotch you must try Connemara.

The next couple of weeks are a great time to be in Rochester! Be Greek for a weekend; enjoy the finest Greek Cuisine and drink. Have a Gyros, Drink a Greek beer like Hillas, indulge in the finest Baklava anywhere, and dance your worries away.

The next week you can wear your Green proudly, try a traditional Irish breakfast, learn to sing a profound Irish poem, and savor the finest whiskeys from the birthplace of the true water of life!   Enjoy life and learn of all that two great and influential cultures have to offer!

By |August 27th, 2015|Beer Blogs, Spirits Blog, Wine Blogs|Comments Off on Two Great Parties!

Apollo Blog Defining Classic

What is a classic? Can anything be classic? A song by Eric Clapton? A 1965 Shelby Mustang? Gene Wilder and Marty Feldman in Mel Brooks’ legendary movie– Young Frankenstein? In the world of adult beverages there are many things considered classic, especially in cocktails. We have all heard of the growth in classic cocktails like Martini’s, Old Fashioned’s, Moscow Mules, etc. Just because something is old does not mean that it is a classic. A classic is an original idea, flavor or groundbreaking product that started industries!

I spent the last weekend in Northern Wisconsin and had two such classic products. Sitting around a campfire with old college buddies is classic in itself! But when you throw in a little beer–the stories get better, the classic jokes get funnier and your exploits turn from mundane college pranks into epic achievements of glory!

Miller Lite was the catalyst for many of the old stories. When Miller Lite came on the National beer scene in 1975 people were dumbfounded and flabbergasted. Who wants a Lite beer? Who would have even thought of Lite? Who even knew beer had calories? They didn’t even know how to spell! Miller Lite was the brainchild of a vice president in Milwaukee. His inspiration came from a trip to Germany when he had a lighter style beer. The different brewing process, lower calories and low alcohol struck a chord with an entire generation. I am not a sociologist, but I would venture an opinion that Miller Lite created a new awareness of losing weight and healthy lifestyles that blew up in the late 70’s and 80’s. It is not too far a stretch that the Miller Lite craze begat the entire health industry. Would Jane Fonda and her iconic workout videos have started without the groundbreaking creation of Lite beer? Who knows? Lite may not have been the entire catalyst, but it definitely helped! The commercials alone turned aging sports figures into iconic advertisers! The whole Great Taste-Less filling arguments still resonate today. Billy Martin and George Steinbrenner were my favorites.

Miller Lite is a good beer. It is not the trendy drink loved by the beer cognoscenti because it doesn’t use 14 different types of exotic hops and grains grown by hipsters using organic fertilizer from free range Black angus beef cows. It is merely brewed in the time honored and simple ways of any Classic. Water, beer, hops, and yeast! A crisp clean flavor with just the right touch of bitter hops is totally satisfying. Really Classic American light beer!

Any classical reference to beer, has to include one of the largest and most influential beer brands in the world. Heineken has been brewed since the mid to late 1800’s. Started by Gerard Heineken in Amsterdam, it has become one of the largest sellers worldwide. They have expanded carefully and smartly throughout the world. The terrific branding of the green bottle, red star and the smiling “e”are known everywhere! Heineken is no one’s favorite beer, but it is everyone’s second favorite! Wherever you go, you know you can find a Heineken and enjoy the classic flavor. A little richer, a little more rustic than Miller Lite, Heineken always satisfies. In the last 30 or so years, the Heineken family(even though it is publicly traded, a family member is still involved in decision making) has embarked on a buying spree. They now own many huge brands around the world. From our southern neighbor Mexico, beers like Sol and Dos Equis are part of the Heineken family. From the Far East you can have a great Tiger beer from Malaysia. Not only is the beer good, but the business sense is great! These two great beers are just two of the many classics available. Try the classics and never be disappointed! There is a reason-the greats keep surviving and prospering! Enjoy in moderation! Cheers!

By |August 12th, 2015|Beer Blogs|Comments Off on Apollo Blog Defining Classic

Gose Beer Is No Laughing Matter

Gose Beer Is No Laughing Matter


When the editor for 507 sent me an email telling me that Goze beer might be a good topic, I laughed! Goze beers are virtually unknown and there are hardly any available in Minnesota. Goze is a style of beer originated in and near Leipzig Germany. It is a wheat beer with a tart sour flavor. Like lemonade—but not a Leiny summer shandy Flavor.

It is a unique beer that is gaining traction with the beer cognoscenti. Along with Goze style beers, Sour Beers are getting more and more popular. Beer Geeks love to push the envelope, as they are always trying to find a new and different flavor experience. We need adventurous passionate people in society. Without someone pushing the envelope we can never progress!

In order to write an article, I figure I better drink at least one or two Goze beers. Two I tried were the O’Dell’s Brombeere Blackberry Goze and the Schell’s Goosetown. Both are similar to the really traditional German style. But they have been adapted to local tastes, and in my mind are more palatable. The O’Dell’s Brombeere is a great balance of sweet and tangy. The blackberry is very present, but does not overpower the other components of the beer. Schell’s Goosetown is slightly salty and has a wheaty flavor. I know you read that last line and thought to yourself salt? In a Beer? But yes the addition of saline or salt flavors really makes the Goze style beer come alive. The condiment, adds a little something to the tartness! It is surprising but good!

Sour beers have been in the marketplace for a little while longer and are a little better known. Rodenbach and Monk’s Café are two great Belgian sour beers. Along with Sour beers, I also consider Lambics a good rendition of the style.

Lindeman’s is a family company in Belgium started in 1822. They started importing to the USA in 1979. The Lindeman lambics are made in a totally old school unique style. The brewing process can take months if not years! The brewers use no yeast in the brewing process. The only yeast used is totally wild yeast that is floating thru the air. The unpredictability of the local yeasts is what makes Lindeman’s so good! It takes two summers of maturation and the Lambic is ready. The great flavors are then added to make different styles of Lambics. The two most popular and tastiest styles are the Framboise and the Kriek. The Framboise is the sweeter raspberry flavor. The Kriek is a sour cherry style. The Framboise finishes with a clean sweet finish while the sour Kriek finishes dry and crisp! Other flavors sometimes available are Black Currant, Pomme (Green Apple), and Peche (peach)Lindemans

Sour beers and Goze’s will continue to come on the market. Adventurous brewers are always looking for new and unique styles. You can count on the brewing revolution here in the US to take a walk on the wild side and develop something new. Look for your specialty beers anywhere. Check the Bomber (22oz and bigger bottles) section out. Brewers make small batches and many times it is cheaper for them to bottle a few big bottles than 6 or 12 pks. Not to mention that bottle fermentation is easier and typically better in the large format bottles. The Bombers are the perfect way to try and taste new beers with someone else. Which is really what makes beer drinking so good—the camaraderie of sharing a new beer with a new or old friend! Cheers!!

By |August 3rd, 2015|Beer Blogs|Comments Off on Gose Beer Is No Laughing Matter