Thursday, April 18, 2013

I like beverage stories with heavy peach tones and a profoundly bitter bite

I know that it’s trendy to want to know the origins of what you eat and drink. Much fun has been made of foodies and craft beer snobs on Portlandia. There was that one memorable episode when a foodie duo was adamant about finding the name and origins of the chicken they were about to consume. 

This isn’t new. Mo Siegel, founder of Boulder’s Celestial Seasonings, composed paeans to his Rocky Mountain teas on each box.  Ben & Jerry are side-of-the-ice-cream-carton storytellers. Every inch of Dr. Bonner’s Pure Castile Peppermint Soap is filled was advice to the human race:  “Do one thing at a time, work hard! Enlarge the positive!” He loved exclamation marks!!!!!

Not all of these are edible, although Dr. Bonner swore that his soap had 18-in-1 uses. But you get my point – advertising has long told stories on the sides of cans and boxes and bags. I read all about Frosted Flakes and Sugar Pops at the breakfast able. No mention was made of the cereal’s sugar content, which was probably 1001%. Storytelling can be very selective.

Today, our beers and wines and food come with stories. I bought a batch of Clif Bars yesterday at Safeway. These are actually energy bars that taste good. They are high in protein and low in sodium with no trans fat. Sugar is high, so my diabetic wife cannot eat them. The stories are good. The bar is named after founder Gary’s father, Clifford. Gary tells the story about how he was living in a garage “with my dog, my skis, climbing gear, bicycle and two trumpets.” He went on a long bike ride with his friend Jay and experienced an epiphany when he “couldn’t take another bite” of those “other” energy bars. So he spent two years in his mother’s kitchen perfecting his own energy bars, which you can find at any supermarket.  Kind of a nice story, right? He’s probably moved out of that garage, too, although I wonder what he did with his twin trumpets? 

I came across a bottle of wine with a story the other night at Uncle Charlie’s. The red wine is on the Dreaming Tree label and is called “Crush” after a song by Dave Matthews, one of the partners in the vineyard. On the back of the bottle, he tells a story about dogs in the back of a pick-up. Not sure what that has to do with blending Merlot and Zinfandel to get “Crush,” but I’m willing to cut the guy some slack. 

Craft breweries excel in beer label stories.New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins has a story for each of its beers. Here's the story for its new Rampant Imperial IPA:
A burly and bitter Imperial IPA, Rampant pours a pure copper and carries the sheen of a rightly hopped beer. The Mosaic and Calypso hops bring stonefruit to the front seat, and the addition of Centennials nod towards citrus for a well-rounded aroma.

The taste expands these hops with heavy peach tones and a profoundly bitter bite. There is some malt sweetness to stand this beer up, and Rampant’s finish is bone-dry.
As stories go, it's no Rick Bass or Flannery O'Connor. But we beer drinkers appreciate its bone-dry finish.

I should say "we former beer drinkers." I'm drinking red wine now, in limited qualities. I could say it's doctor's orders. My cardiologist did say that red wine is a better choice than beer, even those that bring stonefruit to the front seat. Red wine outdoes beer in the resveratrol and flavonoid categories.Tastes pretty good too.

It's all in the story....

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