Seasonal and holiday beers are starting to trickle in to the Near West store. Look for Bell's Brewing's Winter White, an American take on a Belgian wit biere full of banana, clove and yeast flavors. Bell's Christmas offering should be arriving this week too with the seasonal favorite Merry X-mas ale from Anchor brewing not far behind.
For your holiday table, considering pairing beer with the meal this year instead of or in addition to wine. Belgian strong ales are great with the main meal as their higher alcohol content and slight sweetness cut through the fats and rich flavors from the turkey, gravy etc. Rare Vos from Ommegang Brewing would be a perfect choice. If you want to go with something a little lighter, the crisp, fruitiness of Orchard White from The Bruery or Harpoon natural cider would be great counter points for the wide array of flavors going on in the meal. Try some rich, thick Java Stout from Bell's Brewing along with dessert and you'll forget about the coffee.
The deli is busy preparing for the holidays. In addition to the expected fixings for you holiday meal, we havea variety of soft, spreadable cheeses for entertaining before, during and after the holidays.
Of course we have some traditional French bries as well as some lesser known (but amazing) European soft cheeses like Munster Gerome and Delice De Bourgogne.
At press time, we still have some Italian Paglierina, a flat, mixed milk, rich and soft cheese with a bloomy rind which is similar to Robiola and not to be missed.
Also look for spreadable garlic and herb flavored Boursin and some local flavored spreadable cheeses like Spicy Fromage Blanc from Trader's Point and the goat's milk Fromage A Trois from Capriole Farm. We also have plenty of flavored chevres from Capriole and Montchevre that are great on your holiday cheese board.
We are also stocking fresh mascarpone, ricotta and creme fraiche for your culinary needs this season.
And while you're making your Thanksgiving shopping list, be aware that we will begin having fresh oysters available in the seafood case beginning the weekend before the big day through Wednesday the 25th.
LOOK OUT! IT’S ALIVE!
(Well, not exactly…More like LOOK OUT! IT’S HAUNTED!)
Some people have never had the pleasure of having a wine that is free of the numbing effects of added sulfites. Fermentation produces carbon dioxide gas along with alcohol. This gas is the gleeful exhalation of the yeasts as they play in the grape juice before drowning in the alcohol they create. Some of those exhalations remain in the wine as a kind of mild fizz. Most winemakers add sulfur dioxide when they bottle to knock this fizz out of their wine. The wisdom is that fewer bottles will be returned for fear of refermentation in the bottle. The unfortunate trade off is the loss of some flavors and aromatics in the wine. It’s as if the ghosts of all of those millions of yeast cells have been suddenly silenced. If you wish to hear how happy yeasts can be, just look for wines with no sulfites added, and remember, THE FIZZ IS FINE!
--Jason Hill, Wine Buyer