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Dec 10, 2018







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So many great brews to choose from

01/04/18



 More wine, please

It was another good year for wine locally here in New Hampshire, with some new wineries opening and existing wineries adding new offerings to their lists. Plus, LaBelle Winery opened a second location in downtown Portsmouth. There are now 24 members of the New Hampshire Winery Association in New Hampshire. For a full list of members, visit nhwineryassociation.org. 
Over the course of a year, I taste a lot of different wines. It was tough to narrow it down to just five but here are my top picks for 2017.
 
• Frog’s Leap Cabernet Sauvignon: Ahead of NH Wine Week 2017, I had the chance to speak with John Williams of Frog’s Leap in Napa Valley, California. Then, during the Winter Wine Spectacular event, I had the opportunity to meet him in person. So when I tried his cabernet sauvignon, I had quite an appreciation for it, having heard about his background and passion for winemaking. “I get to plant these vineyards, grow these grapes, live in this beautiful place and meet people who drink my wine. It’s a pretty cool thing,” he said. “I am constantly hearing stories from people who drink and enjoy my wine. That’s pretty cool to hear.” 
• Chateau Prieure-Lichine: In May, I had the chance to attend a 2014 Bordeaux release tasting offered by the New Hampshire Liquor and Wine Outlets. Guillaume Touton from Touton Selections gave us some background on the Bordeaux region and then we had the opportunity to taste some wines from the 2014 vintage. This was my favorite wine of the night, made of 65 percent cabernet sauvignon, 30 percent merlot and 5 percent petit verdot. 
• Domaine Le Pivé Rosé Gris: In June, while attending an Italian Wine & Rosé event, I stopped at the Perfecta Wine Company table with only rosés at it and tried a few sips of several for comparison. Just when I thought I had found my favorite, I tried another that I liked. This one ended up being my favorite at the table. 
• Angeline Reserve Pinot Noir: I kind of stumbled upon this wine after selecting off the wine list at the Barley House in Concord. I typically like pinot noir anyway, but ended up liking this one better than the other, more expensive pinot noir on the list. 
• Z. Alexander Brown Uncaged Red Blend: Zac Brown proves that musicians can offer good wines with this red wine blend. I have yet to find the grapes in it, but find it bold and smooth. Plus, it’s very affordable. — Stefanie Phillips
 
Big year for beer
2017 has been a big year for beer in New Hampshire and beyond, and at times, I’ve struggled to keep up. My efforts rewarded my taste buds repeatedly over the course of the year. The craft beer movement has fostered innovation, big flavors and tremendous variety in New Hampshire and beyond. 
New Hampshire’s brew scene is on the rise and breweries are producing exciting, flavorful beers that stand up to the best of the best in the craft beer industry. 
Here are my five favorites for 2017.

• Pompadour by Resilience Brewing of Schilling Beer Co.: Hoppy, hazy, well-balanced, packed with flavor and fruity aromas, and coupled with minimal bitterness — this American pale ale is perfect. A wonderful brew at any time, any place. If I had to choose a beer of the year, this would be it. 
• RVP by Great North Aleworks: The RVP (Robust Vanilla Porter) has been a signature beer of Great North Aleworks for some time. The brew is smooth and flavorful, featuring pleasingly rich notes of coffee, dark chocolate and vanilla — in a package that’s not too heavy. Enjoy this by the fire. 
• The Roast, Henniker Brewing Co.: The upfront coffee blast is tremendous; coffee lovers rejoice. Rich and malty, this brew is extremely well-balanced and smooth. A perfect wintertime stout. I wouldn’t complain if Henniker Brewing Co. made this a year-round offering.
• Full Clip, Stoneface Brewing Co.: The quintessential New England-style IPA: bold, hazy, juicy and delicious. This style of IPA is becoming more and more prevalent, but this is an example of all that is good in this style. 
• Burn the Ships, Able Ebenezer Brewing Co.: Complex, hoppy and remarkably easy to drink. This is a smoked IPA, which sounds intimidating but is definitely not. You can pick up some subtle smoky notes that only add to the complexity of this interesting brew. Great brew! — Jeff Mucciarone 





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