Editor’s picks for labels that will distinguish your restaurant’s beverage program.
New Belgium Brewing/ 2014 / 5% ABV
The wheat was added to New Belgium’s full-time lineup this year, and it’s a winner. It blends two worts, a sour and a regular, building off the trends of sour beers and saisons. There’s a light floral aroma that provides sweetness at the beginning but the drink finishes strong with a smooth crispness. Pair it with salty meats, creamy cheeses, and pizza.
Beer Martin House Brewing / 2013 / 6.5% ABV
The brewers throw more than 6 pounds of crushed sourdough pretzel into each barrel to create something akin to liquid pretzel. For eateries already proffering sandwiches pretzel buns and pretzels with beer, this delightfully dark brew will fit right into the menu, though the mix of sweet and roasty chocolate and barley create a brew worthy of any dish companion.
Jalapeño Pepper Ale
Bent River Brewing / 2013 / 4.8% ABV
This beer began being bottled last year, and it wasn’t a moment too soon. Good jalapeno beers start with a basic grain bill and introduce jalapeños sparingly, so it’s the flavor, rather than the fire, that seeps into the brew. A pleasant tickler in the summer or a warm-me-up brew in the winter, a jalapeño beer is a strong candidate to offer year-round.
Avinyo vi d’Agulla Petillant
Penedes, Spain / 2013
This wine’s English translation aptly summarizes it: “wine with a prickle.” Avinyo markets it as a fresh, summertime wine, and its aromas of bright fruit and honey suckle complement the slight lemon peel flavor that lingers on the palate. It’s extremely drinkable. I savored sipping it on its own, though it’d also pair well with moist seafood.
Estate Cabernet Franc
Alexander Valley Vineyards, California 2012
2012 was a textbook growing season in California, and one of the outcomes was this wine, the vineyard’s flagship offering. This Cabernet Franc has a broad mouthfeel with rich texture, and, as you savor the last drop, you’ll feel the tannins activate in the back of your palate.
2010 Reserve Cherry Street Red Blend
Canoe Ridge Vineyard, washington / 2010
Blended with 54 percent Syrah, 30 percent Malbec, and 16 percent Grenache, this creamy red blend has a satin-like texture. It tastes of cassis, blackberry, and mocha, and there’s a subtle hint of cedar that contributes to the wine’s full-bodied, silky style.