Episode 7: Having a Squiz at Australia and New Zealand

 

Your tipsy Texan hosts take a trip down under to the outback and create bucket list of boozy must-dos in anticipation of Laura’s move to Australia.

Whatchu drinkin’?

IMG_5496Imperial Stout (aged in pinot noir barrels) from Moa Brewing Co.: Talk about a big beer. This dark brown beauty is bold in every way possible. The wood aging dominates the aroma and flavor, which is at first tart and then oaky, and right off that bat you can tell it has a high alcohol content — more than 10 percent. Once the beer warms up a little bit though — stouts develop new flavors as they warm up — roasty and chocolate notes shine through. According to Moa’s website, the beer is 100+ IBUs, which likely helps balance the full body.

 

IMG_5510Penfolds Koonunga Hills Shiraz Cabernet 2016: Penfolds is an internationally iconic wine from Australia, and the first Australian wine I ever tasted aside form Yellow Tail. This is a widely popular and affordable blend from the Koonunga Hill Range. The wine tastes like raspberries, mulberries, and red currants. The tannins and oak are noticeable but mild, and this bottle clocks in at 14.5%!

Brewery, winery, and bar recommendations

Pirate Life Brewing (Hindmarsh, South Australia), which was voted the best Australian brewery in a 2017 survey.

Stone and Wood Brewing Co  (Byron Bay, New South Wales), which was a named a “can’t miss” brewery by Stephen Beaumont and Tim Webb, authors of Best Beers: The Indispensable Guide to the World’s Beers.

Epic Beer (Auckland, New Zealand), which sells beer by the case.

Little Creatures Brewing (locations in Fremantle, Western Australia and Geelong, Victoria), which was started by the founders of the historic Sail and Anchor pub. Its American Pale Ale has been called  “iconic.”

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Yeastie Boys Beer (New Zealand) Aside from the amazing name this brewery makes a yummy, well balanced, and refreshing line of beers. Our favorite is the Gunnamatta Tea Leaf IPA!

Rusden Wines (Vine Vale, Barossa Valley, South Australia) Fifth generation vignerons and third generation winemakers, this family uses traditional methods to make stunning wines that exemplify the Barossa.

Jurassic Ridge (Waiheke Island, New Zealand) A short ferry ride and scooter jaunt from Auckland and you are taking in the beautiful wines and views at Jurassic Ridge. We loved these wines so much we sent a case home!

Tyrrell’s Wine (Hunter Valley, New South Wales) Family owned since 1858 in the oldest wine region in Australia. The wine was gorgeous and the staff was so friendly, they gave us a private tour of the winery and cellar, this place is dripping in history and familial pride.

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Usher Tinkler Wines (Hunter Valley, New South Wales) This unassuming winery is tucked away in a breath taking old chapel. The hardwood floors and views through the stain-glass windows created a lovely atmosphere to sip these fun and funky wines.

 

Lark Distillery (Hobart, Tasmania) Family operation credited with jumpstarting the whiskey renaissance in Tasmania.

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Beneath Driver Lane (Melbourne, Australia) Funky and moody cocktail and whiskey bar located in an old underground bank vault. The entrance is tucked away down an alley but its worth the search! It’s one of our favorite bars in the city.

Shady Pines Saloon (Sydney, Australia) Whiskey bar with a kitschy Americana flair. It’s a bit hard to find (down an alley next to a yoga studio behind the papered door) but is so cozy and perfect for sipping whisky when the weather cools down.

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The Long Goodbye (Sydney, Australia) There are no cocktail menus here – the bartender chats with you about your favorite flavor profiles and crafts you a bespoke cocktail, and its under 20 dollars a drink!! I was really impressed with this space.

Perfect storm of economic factors

Australia never underwent a formal alcohol prohibition, but at beginning of the 20th century a perfect storm of economic factors led to an era that resembled Prohibition.

In 1901, Australia enacted a Beer Excise Act, which put numerous regulations on breweries including when and where beer could be distributed, which taxes they had to pay, label requirements and more. There’s also a section in there about brewers being subject to supervision from officers and the powers those officers had, and a note about beer buyers being entitled to a refund is the beer is “unfit for human use,” which seems sort of crazy. Couple that with an economic downturn and the number of breweries declined substantially — as much as half by 1920, according to Vintage Cellars.

The revolution for better beer didn’t take off until the 1980s when Sail and Anchor pub/brewery opened in Fremantle, West Australia.

Australia in real life

Laura here, and I’m happy to report I’ve been living it up in Australia for almost a year since we originally recorded this episode. It is fabulous here, the Australians have a real sense of pride in their beer and wine and rightly so. We’ve had the pleasure of staying in several wine regions sine we arrived (Hunter Valley, Barossa Valley, Yarra Valley, and Waiheke Island to name a few) and I got to work a real life vintage in the Barossa Valley!

I’ve learned so much about Australian wine since I’ve been here – the biggest take away is we don’t get enough of it at home in Texas! I was familiar with large, internationally marketed wines from down under, but have visited some amazing wineries that deserve a bit of attention. You can find those highlighted above.

IMG_0694.jpgOne interesting Australian wine trend that captured my imagination and heart is the sparkling red! Take a Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon and bottle condition for bubbles and BOOM you’ve got a Christmas time classic. The dazzling pomegranate color and glitzy effervescence honestly make this a drink for any celebration.

I’m continuing on my alcohol fueled journey soon and plan to make a stop in Tasmania to tour the thriving whiskey scene and sip some killer Pinot Noirs. Can’t wait to update you all soon!

CORRECTION: “All the Foster’s in the world is brewed in Fort Worth, Texas.”

Tiney here, and I got a bit ahead of myself on this fact. (Thanks, tequila shots.) Indeed, all the Foster’s lager you find the United States is brewed in at the MillerCoors brewery in Fort Worth, Texas. It’s been that way since 2011, when parent company SABMiller bought its brand rights to the beer. And one New Yorker was so upset when he found this out that he sued MillerCoors.

However, Foster’s is also brewed at a facility in Manchester, England and likely other places around the world where it is popular (read: Not Australia). The beer is more popular in the UK than it is in Australia.

Fun fact: The beer is also not vegetarian friendly or vegan, according to Foster’s FAQ. Not sure why, but ewww. **EDIT** We will discuss this in further detail in our upcoming season, stay tuned!

 

 

Episode 6: Booze Liker Jagger

Celebrities — they’re drunk like us! Tiney and Laura bust out some questionable karaoke after taking tequila shots and discussing actors, athletes and bands that have their own beer or wine. Plus, an interview with singer/songwriter and indie music sensation Sarah Jaffe, who created her own beer in 2018.

Our special guest: Sarah Jaffe

Dallas-based indie musician Sarah Jaffe released an original beer in 2018, called Bad Baby, so named for her latest album and single by the same name. The beer, created by Unlawful Assembly Brewing Co. in Plano, is inspired by the Paloma cocktail, which traditionally features tequila and grapefruit juice. It’s a light, easy-drinking fruited beer that clocks 5.5 percent ABV. The super cool artwork was done by John Lisle, who designed Jaffe’s album art.

Ok we’ll be the first ones to admit we should have lead with the Sarah Jaffe interview in this episode!! But the interview Tiney landed with the talented and hilarious local legend wasn’t a sure thing until after we recorded. We are SO grateful for Sarah Jaffe’s time and think it deserves a second listen! You can hear her thoughts on the local craft beer scene and her contribution to it at the link above (towards the end of the episode). Why don’t you grab one of these amazing beverages featured in our “Whatchu Drinkin?” segment while you listen!

Whatchu Drinkin:

IMG_5502Special Edition Rolling StonesTM Jose Cuervo Especial® Silver: This is just the same great Jose Cuervo you’re used to mixing in your margs, except it comes in a commemorative Rolling Stones bottle. When the band travelled the US in 1972 they caught a reputation for being rowdy and tequila fueled – the tour would infamously be known as the “Tequila Sunrise Tour”. To celebrate that bit of rock music lore Jose Cuervo released this limited edition bottle. 

 

IMG_5497Modano’s 561 by Rabbit Hole Brewing: This clean, crisp, kolsch style beer was created in a loose collaboration with the beloved Dallas athlete. The brewers of Rabbit Hole have a mutual friend with Mike Modano, and after meeting the brewers crafted a beer with soft malts and fruity hops that fit Modano’s tasted perfectly. Modano decided to call the beer 561 to commemorate his 561 goals made as a professional hokey player (that’s a record for american born hokey players!) This beer uses German Pilsner malts with noble hops to create a light, refreshing brew.
IMG_5493Sublime Mexican Lager by AleSmith Brewing Co.: These are the heart warming moments when you realize just how well your best friends know you *ugly cry* Tiney surprised us with this iconic and nostalgic brew. Ale Smith Brewing Company out of San Diego, California teamed up with the co-founder of Sublime, Bud Gaugh to create this Mexican style lager to commemorate the 25th anniversary of their amazing “40oz to Freedom” album (one of our favorite albums!). They crafted a beer that is clean and crisp, slightly sweet with subdues hops, and an all around tasty beer to drink in the southern California sun. Speaking of suns, the gorgeous can features the Sublime sun logo that fans know and love – we really hope Bradley Nowell would be proud that his legacy still touches the lives of fans around the world today. “Two pints of brew, tell me are you a badfish too.” 

IMG_5505Francis Coppola Diamond Collection Claret: This is one of our favorite affordable go-tos at the ol’ bottle shop, at just $10 a bottle the California take on a Bordeaux Blend is a great buy. And damn she looks good in gold! Claret is a term that the English have historically used to describe red wines from the Bordeaux region of France, and along with the term Meritage, it has evolved into use by winemakers around the world who create a Bordeaux style blend. This wine sports 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Petit Verdot, 4% Petite Sirah and spends 14 months in French Oak.

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Bad Baby Unlawful Brewing Co.: Sarah Jaffe’s inspiration for this brew comes form the Paloma cocktail (tequila, grapefruit soda, and lime – yum!!) she wanted to create something citrusy and refreshing for the Texas heat. Unlawful Brewing Co. based out of Plano, TX is no stranger to tropical fruit flavors in their beer, Idol Time Passionfruit Pineapple and Idol Time Agave Lime are wildly popular! 

 

We featured a few more boozy cameos in this episode than normal, but we just couldn’t resist! Our favorite artists are pursuing their passion for all things alcoholic, it was fun to partake in their vision and find inspiration for chasing our dreams at the bottom of the glass as well! Cheers yall!

Episode 4: Lone Star State of Intoxication

Welcome to Texas, y’all! Tiney and Laura offer a guided tour of their native state’s history with booze, the popular regions and cities, and personal brewery and winery recommendations.

Whatchu drinkin’?

IMG_8532Kvass by Jester King Brewery: This farmhouse ale is brewed with 300 pounds of miche rye bread from a bakery in Austin, Texas called Miche Bread. Kvass is a style defined by the use of bread in the mash bill and it offers an excellent alternative to throwing away the food when it’s past it prime to serve in its original form. This one has a funky, earthy, and rustic flavor profile. I describe it as having barnyard and bready characteristic in aroma with medium carbonation and a tart finish.

 

IMG_8529Becker Iconoclast 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon: Iconoclast is Beckers best selling wine, which is technically a Bordeaux style blend (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, and Petit Verdot) but Cabernet Sauvignon makes up the vast majority of the blend. This Texas wine goes down easy with violets, vanilla, baking spices, and dried cherries on the nose, followed by dark berries, plums, and coffee on the palate. Great example of a Texas cab!

History of Beer

The Texas State Historical Association is rife with info on Texas’ brewing culture, which basically starts with the German immigrants. It credits William Menger’s Western Brewery on the Alamo Square in San Antonio as the first commercial brewery in the state, having opening in 1878.

Shiner is likely the most popular Texas beer. It’s made at the Spoetzal Brewery, was which opened in 1909 by Shiner-based businessmen trying to appeal to the German immigrants. The brewery’s name was different then, because shortly thereafter, an immigrant named Kosmas Spoetzal purchased it. Its signature beer is Shiner Bock, which was first brewed in 1913.

Tiney’s North Texas beer recommendations:

  1. Mosaic IPA by Community Beer Co.: This is my favorite locally-brewed IPA. It’s a dark amber color with a high level of malty flavor. It’s delicious, but watch out — 8% alcohol content, it’s can sneak up on you.
  2. Peticolas Brewing Co. in Dallas is one of the city’s best breweries. It’s a beer nerd’s dream serving more than a dozen different recipes. The beers are predominantly no-frills, classic styles, though some of them, like the flagship Velvet Hammer imperial red ale, showcase Peticolas’ unique personality. Peticolas only serves its beer on draft, so you can imbibe it at the brewery or one of the many beer bars in Dallas-Fort Worth.
  3. Houston is home to one of Texas’ oldest and most prestigious craft breweries, Saint Arnold Brewing Co. I’ve never visited, but I would really like to.

History of Wine

The first time we see wine being cultivated in Texas is around 1650 in El Paso where Spanish missionaries are planting grapes to make sacramental wine. That’s about 100 years earlier than California was planting! Just like we see in European history, wine spread with religion and missionaries through the country. Prohibition in the United States lasted from 1920-1933 and decimated booze business nationwide, with only the largest, wealthiest producers and some sacramental producers surviving. Revival in winemaking kicked up across the country in the 1970s, and really gained momentum after the Judgement of Paris, a blind taste test in Paris that ranked California wines as some of the top in the world!

Llano Estacado is one of the first major players to bring Texas back in the wine scene after they opened in 1976, and they’re now the second largest producer in the state (behind the University of Texas/St.Genevieve). Mesilla Valley was the first recognized AVA (American Viticultural Area) in Texas, although most of the AVA is located in New Mexico. The first full viticultural area located in Texas, Bell Mountain, wasn’t founded until 1986 (Laura’s birth year!). The largest AVA located in Texas, Texas Hill Country, was designated in 1991, it is also the second largest AVA in the country although only ~1,100 acres are occupied by vineyards. There are over 200 wineries across the state of Texas, and more on the way!

Top grapes produced in Texas include, but are not limited to, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Tempranillo, Black Spanish (Lenoir), Viognier, Muscat, Blanc de Bois, and Syrah.  

TV Munson Nursery Catalog

Undoubtedly one of my wine AND Texas heros, TV Munson has made several appearances in our podcast episodes. He made invaluable contributions to wine and botany through his travels and journals depicting native American vines, but supported his family through his nursery business in Denison, TX. This week’s episode I mention that while in class at his namesake school I got to see one of the original catalogs from ~1876!! It is obviously a little old to handle, so the listings inside are photocopies made when Professor Snyder originally purchased the catalog.

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Texas Wine Regions:

Follow these links to learn more about each of the Texas American Viticultural Area!

Texas High Plains

Texas Hill Country

Fredericksburg

Escondido

The Bell Mountain

Davis Mountain

Mesilla Valley

Texoma

Lots of great Texas wine infographics available here. And if you’re looking for a detailed and definitive list of wineries in Texas check this site out!

Resources:

Texas State Historical Association

https://txwinelover.com/texas-wineries-map/

https://www.houstonpress.com/restaurants/infographic-all-you-ever-wanted-to-know-about-texas-wine-and-more-6422587

Episode 3: That’s the Spirit!

In this episode, we welcome Robert Likarish, co-founder and distiller at Ironroot Republic Distillery, into the studio to chat about two not-so-distant relatives of beer and wine: whiskey and brandy. Robert founded Ironroot with his brother, Jonathan, in 2014. The distillery is located in Denison, Texas and known primarily for its whiskies, which it began releasing in 2017, but it also makes gin, vodka and moonshine. Ironroot specializes in French-style distillation and plans to release brandy in the near future. Robert brought five whiskies by the studio and we tasted them side-by-side in a bonus audio clip.

Whatchu Drinkin’?

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Ironroot Promethean: A103-proof bourbon that offers spicy flavors thanks for the little bit of rye in the mash bill. Made from purple corn, Bloody Butcher corn, and flint corn, which offers cayenne pepper notes. It’s a cocktail-friendly spirit.

Ironroot Hubris: This is Ironroot’s most popular yellow-corn whiskey, a cask-strength blend aged exclusively in European oak barrels.

Ironroot Harbinger: Cask-strength bourbon with sweeter, fruitier blend made with purple corn and aged in new oak barrels. Flavor profile helps to hide alcohol.

Ironroot Esoteric: This limited release is the culmination of Ironroot’s experimentation series. It’s a blend of more than 25 small-batch bourbons founders Robert and Jonathan Likarish have produced while honing core and new flavor profiles. Sweeter up front with a subtle kick in the aftertaste. It’s released annually in the spring.

Ironroot Starka: A “light whiskey” made with a substantial portion of roasted wheat and distilled at more than 160 proof.

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Courvoisier VSOP Cognac: I had only tried brandy once before this episode, so I decided to go with a standard classic for our show. Courvoisier has been in operation since 1809, was Napoleon’s brandy of choice, a staple ingredient in Charles Dickens’ party punch, and the official toasting drink of the Eiffel Tower grand opening. Like Champagne, brandy can not be called Cognac unless it is from the Cognac region in france, which Courvoisier is. I chose the bottle of V.S.O.P. for our segment — a designation for eaux-de-vies that have been aged for a minimum of 4 years, which means Very Superior Old Ale. This spirit is golden in color with floral ripe peaches on the nose and tastes like caramel, toffee, almonds, and stone fruit, wrapping up with a long finish. It’s obvious why this Cognac has been the toast of Paris for over a century, and still remains a frontrunner in the market today.

That distillery in Waco

We mention a Waco, Texas distillery frequently in this episode. It’s called Balcones Distilling is famous for distilling blue corn to make whiskey.

A Texas whiskey you’ll only find in England

Founded in 1698, wine and spirits shop Berry Bros. and Rudd in London is a revered beverage institution. It’s the exclusive seller a Texas bourbon called Texas Legation Batch No. 2. made by Ironroot Republic Distillery. Here are the tasting notes:

Deep and enticing, dusty sweet corn husks mingle with rich seasoned oak notes to provide an assertive, uplifting nose which is softened by honey and vibrant fruit. The palate expands gloriously with a background sour mash and chalky hit doused by layers of honey and dark treacle. Lingering and giving this is a masterpiece of balance, complexity, texture and structure.

Beer → whiskey

The processes to make beer and whiskey start the same way. A brewer devises a mash bill that includes grains, such as malted barley or rye, and adjuncts, such as corn. Beer brewers most commonly use barley, but also work in varying degrees of rye and corn depending on the style they are making. Distillers most commonly use a mix of barley, rye and corn, depending on the style they are making.

Bourbon, for example, requires a mash bill of at least 51% corn, which is more than you’re likely to find in a beer.

Both brewers and distillers brew a wort and let it ferment, though the length of time and temperature at which each ferments will be different depending on the beverage. Whiskey ferments for a shorter period of time than beer and at a warmer temperature. The whiskey wort is also then distilled and aged for several years.

Coming back to bourbon, distillers are required to age the spirit in new oak barrels to meet the distilling parameters. Much like Ireland has Irish whiskey and Scotland has Scotch, bourbon is the tried and true American whiskey.

Wine → brandy

Brandy initially came into being as a means to preserve wine on long sea voyages. It derives its name from a Dutch word, brandewjin, that means “burnt wine” and refers to the process of heating the wine through distillation. In a broad sense, brandy is any spirit distilled from a fruit and its juices, but if the brandy is made with any other fruit than grape, it must state so on the bottle (apple brandy, peach brandy, etc).

Fermented grape (or fruit) juice is heated to approximately 170°-200°F (80°-100°C) to separate the alcohol from water. The liquids distilled from the wine/fermented grape juice include alcohol, a bit of water, and many of the grape’s organic compounds which impart important flavors to the brandy.

The distillate is placed in an oak barrel (probably French oak with varying levels of toast, depending on the producer) to age. Base level brandies are aged for a minimum of 2 years (V.S. or Very Special), but like whiskey and wine, the longer the brandy is on the wood the more the aging shapes its unique tasting notes, and the higher the quality and price ultimately is. Lower end brandies also doctor their spirit up with something called dosage, an artificial boost to the color of flavor using syrups.

Cognac is most commonly made from a white wine grape called Ugni Blanc, and Armagnac (another noteworty brandy region in France) is commonly made with Folle Blanche. Brandy is typically served as a digestive, sipped room temp from a small tulip glass after dinner, but is also much beloved by many rappers across the country and frequently featured in music videos (Tupac shares his deep connection with Hennessy here, while Bhusta Rhymes feat. P Diddy and Pharrell share their inspiration in Courvoisier, and here’s a smattering of other great references).

It’s important to note that while both brandy and grappa are distilled grape juice, they differ in many ways. For starters, brandy is solely the juice of the grape being fermented, but grappa is fermented grape pomace, which includes the skin, seeds, and stems. Brandy has its roots in France while grappa hails from Italy, and brandy is typically aged in oak barrels while grappa is quickly stored in stainless steel before being bottled.

Big thank you!

Huge thanks to our guest this week Robert Likarish! Check out Ironroot Republic Distillery in Denison, Texas every Saturday for distillery tours and the first Saturday of every month for live music and cocktails. Cheers!