A real who-drunk-it, true crime episode
Drink of Californication
Grapes and Grain is back for another round
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.
Imperial 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.
Penfolds 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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
One 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!
Having a squiz at Australia and New Zealand
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!
Special 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.
Modano’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.
Sublime 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.”
Francis 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.
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!
Booze Like Jagger
Episode 5: A Style Spotlight of Syrah and India Pale Ale
Everything you need to know about Syrah and the indomitable IPA. OK, maybe not everything, but some good stuff.
Trackers Crossing 2015 Shiraz: This a decent enough cheap bottle of Shiraz. It’s light red and slightly translucent, tastes of cherries and red plums with an oaky sweet finish. I was looking for a value over a high end wine (I paid 5 dollars for this Shiraz) because I used it in one of my favorite recipes – wine jelly!! Since you’re adding an ungodly amount of sugar and boiling the wine for the recipe I don’t suggest spending too much on a bottle, just grab a varietal you like! Great for parties and gifts this savory sweet jelly recipe is included below!
Scorpion Bowl IPA by Stone Brewing Co.: Long a leader in the IPA movement, California-based Stone Brewing Co. is known for its hoppy beers. With this one, Stone was on trying to make a fruited IPA without using any fruit. The tropical and citrus notes in aroma and flavor come from the Loral, Mosaic and Mandarina hops used in the brew.
English IPA vs. American IPA
According to legend, the India pale ale was conceived in 17th century England. The beer makers of Burton on Trent were shipping beer to the British soldiers stationed in India, and to make sure the beer would keep by the time it arrived, brewers put in more hops than they used in a traditional English pale ale. (Hops contain certain acids and oils with preservative qualities.) The IPA was a little paler, bolder and stronger than the typical pale ale — and it was wildly popular.
Fast forward a couple centuries and fervor for the IPA hasn’t waned. In fact, it is the most popular beer style in America, according to Nielsen.
But the IPA of modern day tastes very different from the way it did when it was originally coined a style. Thanks to American brewers, the style received a makeover that took the hoppy and bitter aspects of the beer to an extreme.
The traditional English IPA is a light to medium-bodied beer that has a bitterness, but is overall well-balanced between it’s malty and hoppy characteristics. Specific English hops used in the style are low in alpha acids (bitterness), but highly aromatic. The American IPA is a super bold, in-your-face style that showcases its hop profile and is very bitter. It’s often darker in color and flavors can be off-putting to those not familiar with hops.
On the International Bitterness Units (IBU) scale, which measures a beer’s bitterness, English IPAs are generally between 40 and 60 IBUs. American IPAs range from 40 IBUs up above 100. Those on the higher end of the scale are said to “shock” or “wreck” the palate, meaning you might not be able to taste much after drinking one of these. They can have a similar effect to eating sour candies. (Info via the Beer Judging Certification Program style guidelines.)
The American IPA can be hard to peg, however. Brewers’ experimental spirits have pushed IPAs into several sub-genres, including West Coast IPA, New England IPA, fruited IPA, black IPA, imperial IPA and others.
For more reading on the oh-so-hot New England IPAs, see my recent story Is the beer haze craze just a phase? Texas brewers dish on the oh-so-popular New England IPA.
Syrah vs Shiraz
Much legend surrounds this humble grape – was it written of by Pliny the Elder, spread through the old world by the Romans, does it reign from an ancient Iranian city? Well as we learned from the podcast, DNA doesn’t lie! A study conducted in California in the 90’s led by Dr. Carole P. Meredith found that Syrah can trace its lineage back to the French Rhone-Alps region.
It’s unsure whether Syrah is the outcome of deliberate or accidental cross-fertilization, but we do know that it hails from parent grapes Mondeuse Blanche (from the Savoie region) and Dureza (from Ardeche). The grape came into its own during the 18th century and is still the top produced red grape in the Rhone Valley today.
So how did Syrah evolve into Shiraz? Well in truth it didn’t, they are the exact same grape. No one is really sure how Syrah got the new world name change. When horticulturalist James Busby brought the Syrah cuttings from France to Australia in the 1830s he labeled the vines Scyras and Ciras.
The vines were first planted in the Sydney Royal Botanical Gardens (beautiful grounds I have been lucky enough to explore recently!) and spread through Hunter and Barossa Valley to become one of the top produced grapes in Australia. Some believe its a combination of the historical mislabeling of vines blended with the strong Australian accent with that shifted the fruit name.
As the vine gained ground through the new world into current day, the names Syrah and Shiraz speak largely to the style of the varietal being produced, regardless of where it’s from. If a wine is labeled Syrah buyers can expect to get a wine in the classic French or Old World style (acidic, earthy, and herbal). When the label reads Shiraz however, buyers can expect a more Australian or New World approach (typically rich, ripe, and fruit forward).
Wine Jelly Recipe
1 – 750ml Bottle of Wine (Red and white both work!)
1/2 Cup Fresh Lemon Juice
1- 2oz Package of Dry Pectin
4 1/2 Cups White Sugar
Optional – Mulling Spices for Red Wine or Citrus Zest for White Wine
Combine wine, lemon juice, and pectin in a large pot, bring to a boil stirring frequently. Add sugar, stir until dissolved, and bring back to boil.
Boil hard for 1 minute stirring constantly, then remove from heat. If foam appears on top skim it off.
Pour or ladle warm jelly into sterilized jars leaving 1/2 inch of space at the top of jars. Tighten 2 piece lid and place in water bath for 5 minutes. Remove from water with tongs and cool on counter. (Click here for tips on canning in a water bath).
We use this recipe for party dips, marinades, and stuffing all the time – hope you enjoy!