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What's Your Poison?: Beer, Wine and Spirits

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I bought another wine because the bottle is pretty -- Cote des Roses Rosé - Gérard Bertrand, It will make a nice gift. From me, to me, most likely.

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And are we ready for synthetic wine?  http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/08/03/can-this-startups-synthetic-wine-compete-with-napas-best/

We can eat synthetic meat, drink synthetic wine, and flash our synthetic diamonds. It's a brave new world.

Unrelated -- I am enjoying the dry rose wines. I always avoided rose wines because I don't care for Sutter Home White Zinfandel, but these dry roses are quite nice and refreshing, and slightly lower in alcohol content. My summer "discovery."

Edited by ennui
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2 hours ago, ennui said:

Unrelated -- I am enjoying the dry rose wines. I always avoided rose wines because I don't care for Sutter Home White Zinfandel, but these dry roses are quite nice and refreshing, and slightly lower in alcohol content. My summer "discovery."

My wineaux friend and I discovered the "summer of rose" a few years ago and now continue the tradition annually.  It's a lovely drink!

As for "white zin" and "wine merlot", they're really quite terrible (and there's really no such thing as "white zin"), but I do have to admit that "white zin" was my gateway to drinking actual wine about 30 years ago.  So I suppose it served a good purpose!!

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3 hours ago, ennui said:

 

Unrelated -- I am enjoying the dry rose wines. I always avoided rose wines because I don't care for Sutter Home White Zinfandel, but these dry roses are quite nice and refreshing, and slightly lower in alcohol content. My summer "discovery."

White Zin, Lancers, & Matus turned me off from rose wine. Can you recommend a nice dry one?

Edited by ariel

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1 hour ago, ariel said:

White Zin, Lancers, & Matus turned me off from rose wine. Can you recommend a nice dry one?

Look for French from Provence, or even better from the Cotes du Rhone region. Never had a bad one.

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@ariel, I know you didn't ask me, but if I may recommend a couple:

Beiler Pere et Fils Rose Provence ($12 at my Total Wine)

Chemin des Sables IGP Cotes Revees ($10 at my Total Wine)

E. Guigal Cotes-du-Rhone (around $15)

 

In the broadest generalities, I like French Roses (Cotes du Provence, Cotes du Rhone) that are really pale in color.  Ask the person at the wine store.  They're pretty good at figuring things out.  And if desperate, buy the one in the pretty bottle.  That's worked for me in the past.

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I have recently discovered Gewürztraminer grape. So far out of 5 or 6 different wines that are at least 50% Gewürztraminer I was meh on 1 and absolutely loved all the others. It's fresh, crisp and usually balances somewhere in the middle of semi-sweet and semi-dry.

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9 hours ago, vavera4ka said:

I have recently discovered Gewürztraminer grape. So far out of 5 or 6 different wines that are at least 50% Gewürztraminer I was meh on 1 and absolutely loved all the others. It's fresh, crisp and usually balances somewhere in the middle of semi-sweet and semi-dry.

It has a really interesting flavor. They make some really nice versions of it in the Finger Lakes region here in New York. 

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On 8/6/2017 at 2:22 PM, ariel said:

White Zin, Lancers, & Matus turned me off from rose wine. Can you recommend a nice dry one?

I drank a lot of Lancers in my early 20s. I wonder if I would still like it. I know I moved on to traditional reds and whites at some point.

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Just now, ennui said:

I drank a lot of Lancers in my early 20s. I wonder if I would still like it. I know I moved on to traditional reds and whites at some point.

I drank that too.  Back in the day, my friends were drinking Boons Farm Wine.  Lancers, Matus, & Riunite were considered upscale.

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On 8/6/2017 at 5:22 PM, ariel said:

White Zin, Lancers, & Matus turned me off from rose wine. Can you recommend a nice dry one?

White Zinn and rose are nothing alike. I am pretty loyal to rose from Provence. I've also had singe nice ones from the Rhone Valley. Light color. For me the darker pink the sweeter it tastes.

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3 hours ago, ennui said:

I drank a lot of Lancers in my early 20s. I wonder if I would still like it. I know I moved on to traditional reds and whites at some point.

I drank Mateus (loved the bottle!) and... Yago Sangria.  Ouch.  

31 minutes ago, ariel said:

Is the higher the alcohol count the dryer the wine is?

I think the alcohol varies depending on how the vineyard makes its wine.  There are plenty of dry wines with low alcohol content and the other way around.  Any competent wine store staffer should be able to help you decide.  

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2 hours ago, ariel said:

Is the higher the alcohol count the dryer the wine is?

"Dry" is determined by sugar content, which you won't find on any label.  Regarding alcohol and sugar:

Quote

Alcohol

Alcohol is the product of fermentation of the natural grape sugars by yeasts, and without it wine simply doesn't exist. The amount of sugar in the grapes determines what the final alcohol level will be. In cool climates, such as Germany, where the vines struggle to ripen their grapes, sugar levels will be minimal, and consequently such wines often only reach 7 or 8% strength. In very warm climes, however, the final alcohol level will be determined not so much by the amount of sugar but rather by the yeasts themselves. Once the alcohol level reaches about 14% the yeasts can no longer function and rapidly die off. For this reason, wines with a strength of more than 15% are almost certainly fortified.

The conversion of sugar to alcohol is such a vital step in the process of making wine, that the control of fermentation is the focus of much of the attention of the modern winemaker. Fermentation generates heat, and a cool, controlled fermentation will result in very different flavours in the wine (in particular, it protects fresh, delicate fruit flavours) when compared with wines where fermentation is allowed to run riot. Although fermentation will start naturally, thanks to yeasts naturally present on the grapes in the vineyard, some winemakers prefer to remove the element of chance this involves by kick-starting fermentation using cultured strains of yeast. This can have problems though - cultured yeast strains have been blamed for some unusual characteristics in wine, such as banana flavours in Beaujolais.

Sugar

Following on from the above, it is clear that if fermentation is arrested, either as a result of the yeasts failing in a gradually increasing alcohol level in the ferment, or as a result of mans intervention, there will as a consequence be some remaining sugar in the wine. Even when the yeasts work is unhindered, most wines still have at least 1g/L of residual sugar as some sugar compounds are resistant to the action of the yeasts. Clearly, the level of sugar in the wine determines how sweet it tastes. This is quite subjective, however, and even wines that taste very dry have some degree of residual sugar. Most dry wines have less than 2g/L of sugar, although levels of up to 25g/L may be present in wines which still taste dry due to the presence of acidity and tannin alongside the sugar. The greater the amount of residual sugar, the sweeter the wine, moving through demi-sec (Champagne) and off dry wines (many German Rieslings) to the dessert wines of the world (Sauternes, Tokay, etc). Some of these have incredibly high concentrations of sugar, as much as 250g/L.

More here: http://www.thewinedoctor.com/advisory/tastecomponents.shtml

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My former boss had type 2 diabetes and used to insist he could drink as much "dry" wines as he wanted because they weren't sweet so it wouldn't impact his diabetes. His wife, his doctor, myself, and everyone he ever mentioned this idea told tried to explain that that's not how it works but he ignored us all.

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18 hours ago, ariel said:

Is the higher the alcohol count the dryer the wine is?

So, generally speaking sweet wines like a white zinfandel are made to be lower alcohol than a typical dry table wine. But there is no rule.

The explanation above is perfect. Dry Rieslings can have lower alcohol content than a white zinfandel. 

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22 hours ago, ariel said:

I drank that too.  Back in the day, my friends were drinking Boons Farm Wine.  Lancers, Matus, & Riunite were considered upscale.

I can remember a really bad hangover from the Boone's Farm days lol! 

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3 hours ago, JTMacc99 said:

So, generally speaking sweet wines like a white zinfandel are made to be lower alcohol than a typical dry table wine. But there is no rule.

The explanation above is perfect. Dry Rieslings can have lower alcohol content than a white zinfandel. 

Are there dry Rieslings? Just thinking about the Rieslings I've had makes me clench my jaws... they were so sweet.

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I've had dry Rieslings. The liquor stores I go to have big selections and knowledgeable staff that can steer me to what I'm looking for. 

ETA: Not long after I posted this I was watching Anna & Christina's Grocery Bag where they were testing a small bites cookbook. The chef they invited to taste their food was someone who specialized in party foods, and he brought a dry Riesling to pair with the foods - said it was perfect for a small bites party.

Edited by chessiegal
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8 hours ago, ethalfrida said:

Are there dry Rieslings? Just thinking about the Rieslings I've had makes me clench my jaws... they were so sweet.

Yes there are three kinds of Resilings: Dry, semisweet, and sweet. Look for Resilings from Alsace, most German ones are dry, and a lot from the US are actually labelled "Dry Riesling". A good cheap one to see if you like it is Chateau St. Michelle Dry Riesling which is usually $10.

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7 hours ago, biakbiak said:

 Look for Resilings from Alsace,

If anyone here is unfamiliar with the wines from Alsace, and likes wine or wants to like wine, please try some of these bottles. The Riesling, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Gewurztraminer are all interesting, food friendly as well as back porch sipping delicious. 

My wine stores usually have a few bottles in the $12-$15 range in stock. They use tall skinny green bottles and a couple of the easier find producers like Hugel use dark yellow labels. The bottles are pretty easy to spot. 

And for sure try some similarly priced German Riesling. Different style, but again just all around food and everyday friendly wines. 

Riesling is obviously very high on my list of varietals. 

Edited by JTMacc99
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So, living in California, summer is art & wine festival season. It seems like every city has an event. When I was a wee lass of drinking age, these events were cheap fun. I remember getting a souvenir glass and a pour for $2. Good times. This past weekend, I breezed through an event that was $12 for the glass and a pour. I was tempted by the Kendall-Jackson but I thought the price was a bit much. I didn't buy anything at the event, but saw the same Kendall Jackson at Costco for $10. And I'm sure the festival folks got it for less than that.

Since I'm here ... I really don't care for stemless wine glasses. I understand that breakage is a factor for these art & wine festivals, but if they want me to shell out $12, I want a glass with a stem.

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7 hours ago, ennui said:

Since I'm here ... I really don't care for stemless wine glasses. I understand that breakage is a factor for these art & wine festivals, but if they want me to shell out $12, I want a glass with a stem.

I usually prefer stemware, too.  However, I discovered a few months ago that the plastic sippy cups they serve wine in in Broadway theatres is quite practical.  We saw Sunday in the Park With George at the newly renovated Hudson Theatre.  It's gorgeous!  The seats are even relatively comfy.  So I got a glass of wine before the show started, and it was in a glass - with a stem!  How classy!!  Then... I couldn't put it down anywhere during the entire first act because the floor slopes.  And it's hard to put stemware between your knees so you can applaud.  Therefore, they lost the sale of another glass of wine at intermission.  I've decided I like the souvenir sippy cups, no matter how gauche! 

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Since we've been talking about pink wines ... this is from the Wine Spectator site:

Quote

 

Real Americans Drink Pink: Rosé Revs Up the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

Get your motor runnin' / Head out on the highway / Lookin' for adventure / And some California rosé!

Posted: August 10, 2017

If you're not careful at this week’s Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota, you're liable to run up against a Hell's Angel brandishing a real mean hog, a set of brass knuckles … and a refreshing glass of rosé wine. California's Josh Cellars is bringing pink wine to half a million bikers as the first-ever wine sponsor in the event's eight-decade history, and if this feels weird, you haven't been paying attention to the rosé infiltration of rap shows, roadside stands, Bonnaroo and even your peanut butter and (rosé) jelly sandwich.

“It is about time a wine brand recognized what a great opportunity it is to get in front of more than half a million bikers,” Jerry Cole, director of Sturgis Rally & Events for the city, commented (growled?) in a press release. “People think we’re all tattoos and leather, but there is a lot more to us than that. We appreciate great wine just like everyone else.” And so, riders have been pulling up to 10 tastings of the winery's rosé, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon over the course of the week.

“Rosé has become ubiquitous. It’s everywhere, and for everybody. And the response from the Sturgis attendees only reinforced this fact,” Renato Reyes, chief marketing officer for Josh distributor Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits, told Unfiltered in an email. “It was interesting to see how many of the bikers were already familiar with Josh Cellars and said, ‘Oh, we drink Josh at home.' One of the bikers even took us up on our offer for the Josh tattoo.”

Rosé: Coming next to a mosh pit, Fight Club meeting, or prison riot near you!

 

I've seen Josh wines but haven't tried them. Anyone?

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We had some extra fresh chili's from the Farmers Market so I took a few and infused some vodka with them. The "recipe" suggested three to four weeks to infuse it but I ended up trying it today after less than a week and it was SPICY! Luckily we enjoy spicy things so I muddled some basil, tomato water that was leftover from putting up a bunch of tomatoes, added the infused vodka and some tonic and it was absolutely delicious!

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6 hours ago, DeLurker said:

I'm not a spice fan, but subbing vermouth for the tonic it sounds like it would be the start of a pretty good martini.

I refuse to acknowledge anything with other than gin + vermouth as a martini. 

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20 minutes ago, biakbiak said:

I refuse to acknowledge anything with other than gin + vermouth as a martini. 

I love martinis.  I also like vodka martinis, but I hate when I order a martini and before I can specify which gin I want, the bartender/server asks, "Vodka or gin?"  If I wanted a vodka martini, I'd have asked for one. 

Speaking of switching liquors for a different take on a standard drink, while I like tequila, I don't care for a Bloody Maria.  Similarly, I don't like whatever you call a Bloody Mary made with gin.  I think the flavors compete too much.

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4 minutes ago, Bastet said:

 

Speaking of switching liquors for a different take on a standard drink, while I like tequila, I don't care for a Bloody Maria.  Similarly, I don't like whatever you call a Bloody Mary made with gin.  I think the flavors compete too much.

I agree, I don't like any of the variations on the Bloody Maria, I don't mind a good Michalada but I view that as a little different.

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18 hours ago, biakbiak said:

I refuse to acknowledge anything with other than gin + vermouth as a martini. 

I acknowledge the vodka martini, but I also do not care for vodka and wouldn't drink one. 

I've been known to make my martinis dirty and really, really, really dry. Especially if the gin is interesting.

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Has anyone tried sparkling sake?  If so, what did you think?  I don't drink anymore, but am just intrigued by a new (to me) sparkling varietal plus always good to know what makes a unique gift for others.

I need to get a bottle of Marsala wine because I have decided to try my hand at making chicken Marsala and steak Marsala.  I understand that Marsala falls into the dry category or sweet - so clearly I need a dry.  Anyone have any strong preferences in a brand I should look for?  Also, if the wine was decently drinkable, I can always give it to my brother and his wife so the remnants in the bottle don't sit in my fridge for a decade or more.

Thanks in advance.

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15 minutes ago, DeLurker said:

Has anyone tried sparkling sake?  If so, what did you think?  I don't drink anymore, but am just intrigued by a new (to me) sparkling varietal plus always good to know what makes a unique gift for others.

I need to get a bottle of Marsala wine because I have decided to try my hand at making chicken Marsala and steak Marsala.  I understand that Marsala falls into the dry category or sweet - so clearly I need a dry.  Anyone have any strong preferences in a brand I should look for?  Also, if the wine was decently drinkable, I can always give it to my brother and his wife so the remnants in the bottle don't sit in my fridge for a decade or more.

Thanks in advance.

I've kept a bottle of Taylor NY Marsala in my cabinet for a couple of years now. I cook chicken Marsala infrequently but the stuff doesn't seem to go bad or turn to vinegar like a regular wine would. It wouldn't be to my taste to drink it however, I just use it for cooking. 

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16 minutes ago, DeLurker said:

can always give it to my brother and his wife so the remnants in the bottle don't sit in my fridge for a decade

Marsala is fortified so it lasts outside of the fridge after it's opened and it doesn't go bad. I usually just get Florio, it's cheap and widely available.

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My husband came home from visiting family and friends last week with a cold. Despite my best efforts, I've come down with it. I had a "must attend" social meeting this morning, feeling like crap. I decided to have some soup for lunch, but had a Bloody Mary first. Now on my second, feeling much better, and thinking no soup may be necessary. Bloody Mary - a cold's best friend.

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22 minutes ago, chessiegal said:

My husband came home from visiting family and friends last week with a cold. Despite my best efforts, I've come down with it. I had a "must attend" social meeting this morning, feeling like crap. I decided to have some soup for lunch, but had a Bloody Mary first. Now on my second, feeling much better, and thinking no soup may be necessary. Bloody Mary - a cold's best friend.

I really like your OTC medication, Dr. @chessiegal

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5 hours ago, chessiegal said:

My husband came home from visiting family and friends last week with a cold. Despite my best efforts, I've come down with it. I had a "must attend" social meeting this morning, feeling like crap. I decided to have some soup for lunch, but had a Bloody Mary first. Now on my second, feeling much better, and thinking no soup may be necessary. Bloody Mary - a cold's best friend.

A Bloody Mary is just a different version of tomato soup. 

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26 minutes ago, callie lee 29 said:

A Bloody Mary is just a different version of tomato soup. 

I ended up having half of a mini-tuna fish sandwich from Whole Foods with the Bloody Mary so I guess I had soup and sandwich for lunch. ;-)

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5 minutes ago, chessiegal said:

I ended up having half of a mini-tuna fish sandwich from Whole Foods with the Bloody Mary so I guess I had soup and sandwich for lunch. ;-)

Bet it made you feel better and maybe even got in a wee power nap! Feel better soon. 

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On ‎9‎/‎6‎/‎2017 at 1:47 PM, chessiegal said:

My husband came home from visiting family and friends last week with a cold. Despite my best efforts, I've come down with it. I had a "must attend" social meeting this morning, feeling like crap. I decided to have some soup for lunch, but had a Bloody Mary first. Now on my second, feeling much better, and thinking no soup may be necessary. Bloody Mary - a cold's best friend.

friend? lol ;)

My go to remedy for cold is gluhwein. I make my own, but they sell pre-made, ready to heat too.

Another thing is hot herbal tea with a shot of herbal balsams. Just dump it in the cup and enjoy!

Edited by vavera4ka

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On 8/29/2017 at 0:00 AM, biakbiak said:

We had some extra fresh chili's from the Farmers Market so I took a few and infused some vodka with them. The "recipe" suggested three to four weeks to infuse it but I ended up trying it today after less than a week and it was SPICY! Luckily we enjoy spicy things so I muddled some basil, tomato water that was leftover from putting up a bunch of tomatoes, added the infused vodka and some tonic and it was absolutely delicious!

On 9/2/2017 at 7:04 PM, biakbiak said:

I took the spicy vodka and mixed it with TJs sparkling pink lemonade, taste sensation!

 

Have you tried it with TJs mango lemonade?

I make a ton of infused alcohol. For awhile I was making bitters, but I never thought mine were particularly balanced. I started just doing infusions of all of the base ingredients in bitters and mixed them afterwards. It worked better for me than just a mason jar with all of the ingredients and booze, especially when it came to cardamom. It will blow out everything else.

On 9/6/2017 at 1:47 PM, chessiegal said:

My husband came home from visiting family and friends last week with a cold. Despite my best efforts, I've come down with it. I had a "must attend" social meeting this morning, feeling like crap. I decided to have some soup for lunch, but had a Bloody Mary first. Now on my second, feeling much better, and thinking no soup may be necessary. Bloody Mary - a cold's best friend.

I gave one of our admins a tequila that I had infused with chilis as a Christmas gift. Months later she had caught a cold and had to be cajoled into going home to recuperate. A day later she called to say that she still sick, but was feeling better. We asked what medicine she was taking. She said the spicy tequila I gave her, some local honey that also gave her, and some lime juice. She didn't know why, but suddenly she felt much better. I told her a margarita usually makes me feel better too.

On 9/4/2017 at 4:36 PM, DeLurker said:

Has anyone tried sparkling sake?  If so, what did you think?  I don't drink anymore, but am just intrigued by a new (to me) sparkling varietal plus always good to know what makes a unique gift for others.

I have. I thought it was OK, but not memorable enough to ever drink it again or even remember anything about it except its purchase.

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I had a Southern Tier Pumking Imperial Ale yesterday. I have heard about this seasonal brew for a few years now, but it's hard to find and stupid expensive. 

But it was pretty excellent! I'm glad the little place I stopped had one left. 

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We're going to a 40th birthday party this Saturday, and they are having kegs of three seasonal fall beers. I'm not a beer drinker, and my husband is a Corona/Dos Equis guy, so I'll be interested to see what he thinks of them. I'll probably take a taste.

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6 hours ago, JTMacc99 said:

I had a Southern Tier Pumking Imperial Ale yesterday. I have heard about this seasonal brew for a few years now, but it's hard to find and stupid expensive. 

But it was pretty excellent! I'm glad the little place I stopped had one left. 

I should ship some to you.  It used to be hard to find here, and stupid expensive, but now it's here all the time.  And they've started packaging it in 4-packs of 12 ounce bottles so I don't have to buy the 22 ounce bombers all the time.  I love the stuff!  I also love the Southern Tier Warlock - it's a pumpkin stout.  Yummy!!

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