Archive for the ‘Nobler Guest Posts’ Category

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Beer, Beasts, And Vegetarian Food

April 9, 2013

I may often paint my fellow Noblers as booze-fiending, loyal followers of the experiment but…Well that’s true. However, some of them can write…Here’s a Beer For Beasts Review by Dan Sicina!

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Spring time is here and with it comes blooming flowers, chirping birds, sundresses and the inevitable scheduling of beer festivals.  With all of this great stuff to look forward to the Noblers attended the first beer festival they could find: Beer For Beasts, put on by Sixpoint Brewery and held at the Bell House in Gowanus, Brooklyn.  There are several reasons why this beer festival stands out from the others that makes it by far the most interesting beer event of the year (in my opinion).  

First, a portion of the proceeds goes directly to the ASPCA to help all of our furry friends, which makes me feel better about tying on a good buzz during the daylight hours.  Second, the beers served are almost all uniquely brewed for this event by Sixpoint while some are brewed by other local brewers in partnership with Sixpoint. This event is a perfect microcosm of the culture that Sixpoint supports, which is one part local philanthropy and one part bad-ass beer experimentation, two things I particularly enjoy as well.  

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As for the beer itself, there was a dual focus on Sixpoint’s take on traditional styles (Farmhouse Ales, Saisons, Scotch Ales) with a bit of experimentation in the form of a few unique brews (Orange Chocolate Stout, Rosemary Infused Ale), which rounded to about 30-40 styles (I lost track after my 30th mini cup of beer).  The key to enjoying these beers was to not get hung up on the raw quality of them, since they were brewed specifically for this event, but to appreciate the diversity of flavors than can be created by a micro brewery found in Red Hook, Brooklyn and to generally revere the mad scientists that make Sixpoint such an excellent brewery.

Going beyond the beer, they also had food carts outside serving Indian, Mexican, British and Italian food, which were all vegetarian. which makes total sense since it’s a benefit for animals (had I known I would have packed a bag of beef jerky.)  In addition to satisfying our beer and food cravings (lets not talk about my meat cravings), they also had a full lineup of three professional stand up comedians.  Unfortunately, due to the nature of a beer festival, stand up comedy was not well received since people were milling about and talking. These guys still landed a number of pretty funny jokes for the people listening, but it was nonetheless a “tough crowd.”  Perhaps a band would have been a better entertainment option.

I would definitely attend this event again next year, because there is no losing when you are drinking good beer for a good cause.  Also, I am a believer in the fact that experimentation leads to innovation and greatness, which is why I’ll seek out these Sixpoint events.  I am happy to be a part of this local brewery’s culture of helping the community and also experiencing the cutting edge of brewing.

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Valentines Day – Beer, Wine, or Whiskey?

February 14, 2013

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Here at the Nobler we have some pretty strong opinions. But unlike what has become so typical around the country on Valentines Day, you won’t hear us bash this Hallmark Holiday. Yeah we get it. There are a lot of stupid details surrounding this so called love-fest that make it quite easy to hate on: the ridiculous gift expectations, the inherent competition of who has the best boyfriend, and worst of all, the pre-fixed dinner menus that are disappointing and overpriced all contribute to the growing counter-movement against Valentines Day. But we say screw it. Embrace the day, give a little love to your friends, family, or significant other but no matter what you do, it most certainly should involve some booze.

But what booze to choose? Remember I mentioned those strong opinions

A Nobler Debate: What should you drink on Valentines Day?

(Disclaimer: Adult topics discussed below)

Wine, Defended by Adam – I can’t believe we are even discussing this on the Nobler today…wine is and forever will be the only choice for V-Day. Why? Because wine makes you think of sex, case closed. Seriously, do you ever see characters in a movie slugging beer or whiskey and then doing the deed?  No. Why?  Because beer makes you feel fat, and whiskey can give people performance issues…Wine on the other hand makes you feel sexy. On V-Day, give me a glass of champagne any day, and lets head to the bedroom.

Beer, Defended by Mark – Ok, so it’d be a little absurd to try to claim that there’s a beverage out there that’s more romantic than wine, but that doesn’t mean a case can’t be made for beer on Valentine’s Day. And the crux of that case is this: Its goddamned cold on February 14th.  When it comes to Humans v. The Elements, for thousands of years our ace in the hole has been hearth and home. Meat sizzling on a roaring fire, animal skins and piled blankets, and a tall, belly-warming, vitamin-rich, life-sustaining flagon of ale.  Add to these the most primal of all human activities and I’d say you’re doing it right.  Save the wine and whiskey for the spring thaw.  For now let’s get warm, full, and naked.  

Whiskey, Defended by Ricky – Mark makes a convincing argument but my animal skins are at the dry cleaner. As for Adam, I’m not so sure what “performance issues” he is alluding to, but that’s for another conversation. And yeah, I get it: wine is romantic, sensual, etc. But it’s also a bit of a sleeping aid. So sure, share some wine and head to the bedroom… for a wonderful night of sleep. Not so much with whiskey because with whiskey you have no idea what’s coming. And that’s exactly what the perfect Valentines Day should be like. Make a few strong whiskey sours and I guarantee sparks will fly. Maybe those sparks are in the form of some whiskey rage, but hey, at least you can you say your night was exciting.

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Drink Wine on Super Bowl Sunday

January 31, 2013

I may often paint my fellow Noblers as booze-fiending, loyal followers of the experiment but…Well that’s true. However, some of them can write…Here’s some Super Bowl wine advice from Adam!

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With the Super Bowl approaching this weekend, many people are busy planning their menus while their guests are trying to figure out what booze to bring.  Beer has always been the go-to beverage to bring to the party, but after a few beers with all the heavy game-day food, I usually wind up feeling tired and full, trying to slip away to take a nap, instead of watching the second half.

Wine, on the other hand, can be a perfect lubricant for the festivities, and there are a few varietals out there that pair perfectly with what your friends are probably making for the big game.  
 
If you know your friends will be making food that is heavy – think burgers, chili, sour cream based dips – you’ll want a wine with the acidity to cut through all of that.  
Two wines I really love for this task due to their quality and affordability are Dolcetto and Barbera, both from the famous Piedmont region of Italy.  While Piedmont is most famous for its Barolo and Barbaresco, the King and Queen of wines, the lesser known varietals Dolcetto and Barbera are the wines the Italians drink every day, and they are just acidic enough to cut through the fat and bold flavors of the Super Bowl’s heaviest dishes.  Dolcetto, in fact, almost never touches oak, instead, after being crushed, it is aged in steel for 6 months to a year, and then bottled, preserving the wine’s bright colors and acid perfectly.
 
Lets say, however, that you’re headed to a party where the hosts are embracing the flavors of New Orleans, this year’s host city.  That means many of the dishes are going to be spicy, and you’ll want a wine that goes well with the spice.  One of the best wines for that task is Reisling (try it with spicy Indian and Thai food too).  While Germany is the most famous region that produces Reisling, there are a lot of great Reislings being made in the Fingerlakes region of upstate New York as well as many affordable bottles being produced in Austria.  All should go very well with the spice.
 
Have a great day, and don’t get too wrapped up in the game.  It’s all about the commercials anyway
-Adam
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It’s A Music Monday at the Nobler

January 28, 2013

Limited Pre-sale Tickets for the Canon Logic HERE!

My favorite part about running the Nobler Experiment is how each and every member, each and every enthusiast brings something unique to the table. In fact, we’re not really a drinking “club” as it may seem. But rather the interests and passions we share are all simply brought together and made better by the greatness of good booze. It’s why, I’m so thrilled that my buddies and fellow Noblers, Canon Logic, are getting set to release their new album WYLD which after a sneak preview, I can tell you is frickin’ awesome. And by the way, goes great with a tall glass of bourbon.

Right now they are gearing up for their upcoming show at the Mercury Lounge and are offering discounted tickets at their site here. Check out Mountain and buy a ticket now!

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But Canon Logic isn’t the only band being cultivated by the Nobler Experiment (I can take credit for this right?). This Saturday night I got to see Dan (who you know from a few guest blogs here and here) and Luke (who you know from his awesome beer blog here) as the Wild Stallions kicked some ass at Hank’s Saloon. I paired these guys with a few whiskey, club sodas and proceeded to question why I’m slowly becoming the only one in the Nobler without and musical abilities….

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Great Stress Free Wine Advice for Thanksgiving!

November 19, 2012

I may often paint my fellow Noblers as booze-fiending, loyal followers of the experiment but…Well that’s true. However, some of them can write…

Thanksgiving is quite possibly my favorite holiday, from  the food, to the football, to the cocktails and, of course, to the wine.  There is nothing more enjoyable than getting together with friends and family to share a meal and drink great drinks. That said, this meal comes with a lot of pressure, so my hope is that at least in the wine department, I can rid you of some of that stress.  

Over the past few decades a trend has developed around our tables. Wine writers have declared that, because Thanksgiving is an American holiday, we really should drink an American produced wine.  In the 80’s and 90’s, this meant the wine was probably a good Cabernet that came from California’s Napa Valley. As we moved into the 21st century, the wine became Pinot Noir from Oregon, and Pinot is still the dominant wine that is suggested every year.  But I am here to tell you that there is another great American wine that everyone is overlooking, and it should definitely be on your Thanksgiving table. That wine is Cabernet Franc from New York’s North Fork wine region.  
Cabernet Franc has historically been known as a blending varietal that is used in Bourdeaux, but out on New York’s North Fork, it is proving itself to be a varietal that was destined for much more than just a grape to be blended with other grapes. Cabernet Franc is light in color and can have lovely notes of pepper, raspberry, tobacco, and violet, perfect for pairing with the Thanksgiving meal.    
Over the past ten years, the Cabernet Franc has really thrived out on the North Fork and many would now argue it’s the wine for which the region will become known, much like Napa for Cabernet or Mendoza for Malbec.  There are a lot of wineries on the North Fork producing excellent Cab Franc, but since I can’t list them all, here are some of my favorites:
Shinn Estates – $39
Bedell – $35
Clovis Point – $27.50
Paumanok – $24.00
Happy Thanksgiving!
-Adam
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Need Help, In a Wine Bind

October 23, 2012

I may often paint my fellow Noblers as booze-fiending, loyal followers of the experiment but…Well that’s true. However, some of them can write…

A ton of us have been in this scenario before: we’re on our way to a friend’s house for dinner and we forgot to pick up a bottle of wine beforehand from our go-to store.  We pop into the closest place we can find that is selling wine and we’re at a loss of what to buy.  While there is a ton of amazing wine out there, there’s also a lot of plonk, and if you too have been in this situation before, you’ve probably found yourself wondering if the hosts would be ok with you bringing a nice six-pack of craft beer instead of risking a bad bottle. DON’T DESPAIR! If you follow these five scenarios, you’ll make it out just fine, with good bottle of wine in hand:

Scenario 1:  As my friend Keith Beavers, of Alphabet City Wine Company, always says: trust the wine merchant.  If you’ve happened upon a true wine shop and you didn’t have to pop into a corner liquor store or a big box spot like Kroger, there is a good possibility that the guy or gal behind the counter has tasted the majority of the wine they are selling.  Don’t be afraid to go right up to them, tell them what type of wine you like and what you are willing to spend and let them recommend a bottle.  They want to make sure you’re happy, so don’t be intimidated, just ask.
Scenario 2:  So you aren’t in a wine shop and the guy behind the counter seems more well-versed in wines like Boons Farm than Merlot’s from California’s central coast. What do do? First take a quick survey of the store and see if they have anything from the Languedoc region of France.  The guy behind the counter probably won’t know what you are talking about, so you’ll have to check the labels, but Keith taught me a long time ago that the most consistent affordable wine comes from this region of France, so you’re safe with a bottle from here.  This trick goes for wine lists too!
Scenario 3:  Shit, you looked at the back of the labels, talked to the stock boy/girl and still no luck.  At this point you just want to grab a red and get out of there.  One of the most crowd pleasing reds is Malbec, so see if you can’t find one from Argentina.  One winery I particularly like is Punto Final. If you can find it, grab it.
Scenario 4:  You hate red.  So, grab a white Bordeaux.  It’s crisp, clean and you can generally find a really nice one for under 20 bucks.  It’s a reliable go-to, especially nice if you know your hosts aren’t red drinkers.
Scenario 5:  You found a store that doesn’t sell wine at all!  In this case, a nice IPA always does the trick! 
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To Smell or Not to Smell

September 27, 2012

I may often paint my fellow Noblers as booze-fiending, loyal followers of the experiment but…Well that’s true. However, some of them can write…

Why do we smell wine?  It’s a question so many people have, yet are often too embarrassed to ask.  It’s amazing that no other beverage releases as much anxiety around its enjoyment as wine does, and the reality is that the practices we go through, like smelling the wine, just help us enjoy it more, not make us better or worse than those who don’t smell a particular “scent”. Seriously, if someone actually judges you because you say you smell a certain something in the wine that they think is incorrect, take their glass out of their hand and dump it on their head.  Wine should not be pretentious, and if people must revert to childlike actions such as making others feel inferior, they are clearly not mature enough to be drinking in the first place. The fact of the matter is, you will only smell what you know, and each person has their own repertoire of “smell memories” to pull from, so naturally each person’s experience with smell will vary. 

When wine is first poured into your glass, the first thing you should do is swirl the liquid around a bit.  Swirling the liquid allows the wine to come in contact with oxygen and “opens it up,” therefore allowing many of the aromas to be released.  After you swirl the wine, stick your nose into that glass. Just close your eyes and sniff.  When you smell, think about what you are smelling: Do you smell tropical fruits, dark plums, cherries and strawberries or do you notice smells that would be more at home in a barnyard?  What you smell offers your brain a preview of what you’re about to taste, and actually helps you enjoy the wine more. For additional proof, take a sip of the wine while plugging your nose, and then take a sip of the wine normally.  Notice how different the experience is?

So, while smelling a wine can look snobby, it’s actually an integral part of your overall wine experience.

– Adam

 
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