Happy Hallo-WINE! Wine Costumes and Candy Pairings

skeleton Halloween

We’re so glad people have come to the conclusion that wine can pair with anything and make it more enjoyable – we couldn’t agree more! The good news is you don’t have to go blindly into the cauldron of pairing Halloween candy with wine – we’ve found the perfect info-graphic for you!

Below is a chart from VinePair that details exactly what type of wine, beer, or other alcohol you should pair with your Halloween candy (or your kid’s leftovers!) Cheers!

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Forgot to pick up a costume?

Don’t worry, there’s still time! Here are a few last-minute wine-themed costume ideas you could pull off:

wine-goddessBacchus – Roman god of wine

Drape a white sheet over yourself Toga-style, and add grape and vine embellishments as you please! Try a crown of grape leaves. Don’t forget your prop – a delicious bottle of wine!

A box of Franzia

Find a large box and cut out the bottom, then cut arm holes in the sides and a place for your head to peek out the top. Print out some Franzia labels and tape them to the box. Bonus points for adding a pour spout!

wine-snobWine snob

This is an easy one for the gentlemen. Wear a white button down shirt with a nice blazer. Add a neck scarf (ask your wife or girlfriend for help). Slick back your hair. And, carry a big glass of wine (the bigger the better!)

bubblyYour favorite bottle of wine

Go as your favorite bottle of vino! Just print off a photo of the wine’s label and tape it to the front/back of your shirt. Wear all white (if it’s a white wine), pink (for rosés), red or purple (for red wines). Bonus points for incorporating corks! Try adding a cork garland, or make a cork hat!

Stock up on Haunting Halloween wines!

halloween-wine-all

Stop by your local WineStyles store to find the right wines for your Halloween activities – whether that’s handing out candy while watching classic horror movies, hosting a costume party, or trying out some of those wine and candy pairings once the kids have hit the sack! Find your local WineStyles store here.

Eat, drink, and be scary! Happy Halloween!

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German Beer Video Round-Up!

Oktoberfest is already in full swing in Germany!  Grab a glass and RSVP for our upcoming Wine & Beer Boot Camp Class “Exploring German Beer”!  Spruce up on your beer knowledge and check out these informative and fun videos about German beer. Prost! (Cheers!)

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EXPLORING GERMAN BEER: In this Wine and Beer Boot Camp class, you’ll learn the ins-and-outs of German beer, its origins, how it’s made, and how best to enjoy it. The best part of learning is the tasting! Join us for a delicious and educational German beer tasting. As part of our Boot Camp series in 2016, the more you LEARN the more you EARN in delicious wine tastings! Join us for multiple classes and you’ll be rewarded:

Stamper
3 STAMPS = Free Wine Tasting for 2 people
6 STAMPS = Free Wine Tasting for 4 people
8 STAMPS = Free Wine Tasting Party, up to 20 people
11 STAMPS = Boot Camp Survivor T-shirt
Please RSVP at your local WineStyles location. Seating space is limited, so make your reservation as soon as possible!

*Please note: Classes and Boot Camp rewards may vary at different WineStyles locations. See your local WineStyles Tasting Station for details. Find your local WineStyles store here.

Video 1 German Beer – Centuries of Tradition

This video talks in-depth about the German brewing economy. It details how much beer is sold in Germany each year, and the number of breweries the country has. (Statistics as of 2013). You’ll hear from a Professor of Biotechnology from Berlin’s Technical University, as well as a student in the field, and how they feel about the ongoing use of the German Beer Purity Law, “das Reinheitsgebot”. Enjoy the views of Oktoberfest tents and crowds towards the end. It really is a big celebration!

Video 2 – Top 10 German Beer Styles

This video gives a great overview of the 10 most common German beer styles. The host, from Beerland Diaries, also peppers in some great German beer-drinking cultural norms, such as the two-man beer race called “Bierkasten Rennen”, and how to properly toast with a Weizen.

Video 3 – Beer Geek – Germany Part 1: The Reinheitsgebot

This third video is very approachable, from an avid beer-drinker and self-proclaimed “beer geek”, Oli Haydon. Oli will walk you through the Berliner Weisse beer style, as well as the German Beer Purity Law and what it means in Europe today. If you want to continue learning about German beers, follow Oli’s YouTube channel here as he continues with his series on German Beer.

Video 4 – Ein Prosit – Oktoberfest Song Karaoke

Now for a German beer drinking song! Oktoberfest isn’t complete without crowds of people sloshing around huge beer steins loudly singing together traditional German beer-drinking songs. This one is often heard in large Oktoberfest tents in Munich, and all over Germany. It’s titled, “Ein Prosit der Gemütlichkeit” which roughly translates to “A Toast to Good Cheer”.

“Ein Prosit”, means “A Toast”, but “Gemütlichkeit” is one of those untranslatable words from German to English. It isn’t just one thing. It’s cheer, and warmth, and belonging, and acceptance all rolled into one – rather fun to pronounce – word.

Of all the German beer drinking songs, you’re sure to hear this one should you visit Germany for Oktoberfest. It helps keep the party going, because each time it’s played, guests are invited to stand up, toast each other, and chug!

Ein Prosit der Gemütlichkeit – German lyrics:

Ein Prosit, ein Prosit
Der Gemütlichkeit
Ein Prosit, ein Prosit
Der Gemütlichkeit
OINS! ZWOI! DREI! G’SUFFA!

A Toast to Good Cheer – English lyrics:

A toast, a toast
To cheer and good times
A toast, a toast
To cheer and good times.
ONE! TWO! THREE! DRINK UP!

Thanks for reading, and Happy Oktoberfest! Prost!

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Mother’s Day Gift Ideas to Match her Style!

MothersBlog

Nothing can bring us together like our moms. From the very beginning, they have been there for us; through many successes and failures, loves gained and lost, and all the trials and tribulations that come with growing up.

Moms can be counted on, whether they’ve been stuck with us since birth or shown up later in life and taken it upon themselves to mother us. The world is a better place, because moms everywhere do what they can each and every day to make it so.

What WineStyles team members have to say about their mothers:

My mother inspires and encourages me no matter what I set out to do. She’s always in my corner, and it’s important to have someone who’s always in your corner.
-Ashleigh R.

I adore my mother. Anyone who put up with me as a kid, deserves more than a 1-day holiday…
– Tami S.

I’d like to thank my mom for not strangling me as a child.
– Nick L.

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I appreciate the balance of freedom and structure my mother created for us kids. She always pushed me to do more and try more new things. I could go on and on about silly stories of my mom when we were growing up. And she never missed one of my games!
– Andrea M.

I love my mom for many reasons, but I would have to say I love her most for always being selfless. Her daughters have always been, and continue to be, her main priority. She would do anything for us. I distinctly remember times when I wasn’t feeling well, or hurting, and she would say, “I wish I could trade you places so you could feel better.” I can only hope I am as positive, selfless and good-hearted as she is for my own kids one day!
– Jordyn W.

It’s only right to have a holiday dedicated to showing appreciation for our moms. In honor of this special day (coming up fast on Sunday, May 8th!) we want to help you find the perfect gift! Of course your mom already knows you love her… She knows her hard work raising you – your kids, grand kids, neighbors kids, anyone within a 5 mile radius – is appreciated, BUT it’s still nice to hear. 😉

So to help you out, below are a few ideas for finding the perfect way to say “I love you, mom” this Mother’s Day. Call or stop by your local WineStyles store for help creating the perfect gift basket, or finding a great bottle of wine to go with Mother’s Day dinner.

For the mom with the secret stash of chocolates she protects like a pot of gold:

Nab some gourmet chocolates, one of her favorite bottles of wine (use a colorful gift bag), Wine-A-Rita Frozen Drink Mix complete with a statement wine glass koozie, and voilà! Add flowers, if you please.

Mothers Day Sweet Gifts

For the mom with the “she shed” to decorate with all her favorite things:

Help her decorate with wine-themed decor! A rustic wood and metal “drink” sign, a “wine” cork holder, brightly colored multi-purpose glasses, and don’t forget the wine!

Mothers Day Decor Gifts

For the mom whose stove top is always hot and table open to all:

Assemble a foodie-themed gift complete with artisan cheeses, jam, cheese tray, and salt holder. Ask a store employee to help you pick the perfect wine to pair. Now mom can entertain in style!

Mothers Day Gourmet Gifts

For the mom who’s more into craft beer:

Pick out a montage of her favorite beer styles! She’ll appreciate that you know her so well. Add a fancy Spiegelau IPA beer glass for those times when she wants to be more presentable at the dinner table, and throw in a fun beer cake mix or other beer accessory!  Really impress Mom, and top off her glass with Gift membership to our Beer Club!

Mothers Day Beer Gifts

For the mom who will make a 2nd trip to the store because she forgot the wine:

(Who needs milk, anyway?!)

Get her a Wine Club Membership*! Each month she’ll be introduced to new and different wines from around the world, from various appellations, varietals and wine styles. Plus she’ll enjoy all the perks that come with our wine club memberships, such as 10% OFF her wine purchases and 15% off featured wine club wines.  Plus, she’ll be invited to our clubhouse to attend special wine tastings and events. It’s the perfect opportunity for her to Taste, Learn and Enjoy® great wines all year long! (No more making second trips to the store).

Gift memberships or Gift Cards can be purchased at your nearest WineStyles Tasting Station location.

Moms Want WC

Thanks for reading, and a Happy Mother’s Day to all!

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* Please see local store for membership details and local benefits.

Beer and Chocolate Pairing Guide

In our last post (click here to read), we celebrated National Chocolate Fondue Day with tasty chocolate fondue recipes, fun chocolate quotes, and our wine and chocolate pairing guide! We hope you enjoyed it, and will practice your wine and chocolate pairing skills all year long.

But, why should wine get all the attention? Let’s talk about BEER!

beer-chocolate-pairingSo, to all our craft beer lovers out there, we have good news — beer and chocolate go great together, too! In this post, we will discuss the basics of beer and chocolate pairing, and offer some tips for creating a match made in heaven.

Like wine, craft beer is a very complex product of ingredients, time, and art. There is a wide, and ever-growing, variety of craft beers being introduced into the market every day. Craft beer brewers are taking matters into their own hands, mixing and matching ingredients like we’ve never seen before. This new age of craft brewing has truly become an art form all its own.

Sweetshop Truffles WineStyles

Sweet Shop USA truffle assortment from WineStyles Tasting Station

Likewise, one bite into high quality chocolate and you’ll immediately realize the difference. Each variety of chocolate contains its own unique set of flavor profiles just like wine and craft beer. Similar to grapes, cacao beans and their subsequent flavors can be the result of a multitude of variables including topography, weather, soil conditions and harvesting processes.

Who ever thought that chocolate would pair well with beer? Let’s break it down: to put it very simply – chocolate and beer pair well together, because there is a desirable interaction between the richness of the chocolate, and the carbonation of the beer.

Think back to when we advised you to try champagne or sparkling wines with any type of chocolate in the chocolate and wine pairing guide. The carbonation in the bubbly, or beer, provides a round and full mouth-feel when paired with the fatty feeling of the cacao butter on your tongue.

As we move on, remember the best part of any pairing is the experience, the joy of experimenting and trying different flavors together. We’re here to give you a basic road map to help you along that journey.

Beer and Chocolate Pairing GuideStout Glass Craft Beer WineStyles

You may have guessed it – richer, bigger, and overall maltier beers typically pair the best with gourmet chocolate. These styles are known as porters, barley wines, sours, stouts, and barrel-aged beers. The rich flavors of these brews easily bring out the nuances in fine chocolates.

Beer with a higher alcohol content is better able to cut through rich cacao butter (this is especially important to heed if pairing with white chocolate, as it is higher in cacao butter).

It’s a good rule of thumb to first seek to match the intensity of the chocolate. If you’re opting for a dark-as-night gourmet chocolate bar, it would best be paired with an equally intense beer, such as a Russian Imperial Stout. Sours pair well with most milk chocolates, because they balance out the sweetness.

Sweetshop Milk Pecan Brag WineStyles

Beers with nut and caramel flavors pair well with a Sweet Shop USA gourmet Milk Chocolate Pecan Brag

If you’re unsure how intense your beer might be, or want to try another route, try matching up similar flavors. For example, IPAs are notoriously difficult to pair with chocolate, due to the bitterness of the hops used in making them. They do, however, tend to embody notes of summertime citrus. Match those citrus notes with a chocolate that has added lemon or orange zest for a pleasant pairing experience. Are there caramel or nutty notes in your chosen beer? Try pairing it with matching flavors — a delicious caramel truffle, or a nutty gourmet chocolate.

We know what you’re thinking — is there a universal pairing? One beer that can be paired with nearly any chocolate of choice? Yes, indeed, one beer rules them all when it comes to versatility! That king of beers is the fruit-infused Lambic. Kriek (Cherry) or Framboise (Raspberry) are great selections for a spot-on chocolate pairing 99% of the time.

Like we said in the beginning, it is the journey that is the most fun. If you’re a beginner, try casually picking up a gourmet chocolate truffle the next time you head to your local WineStyles to pick up craft beer. If you’re already ahead of the game, invite friends over for a fun beer and chocolate pairing night. Have fun picking out which chocolates to pair with your favorite craft beers. You may just love what you find!

Love Craft Beer? 

BeerClubLogoJoin our exclusive Craft Beer Club* and you’ll be among fellow beer lovers across the country. Each month you’ll discover remarkable craft brews, each with different beer styles such as Ales, IPA’s, Pilsners, Porters or Stouts. Monthly beer selections are chosen locally, focusing on beers from small independent brewers to regional microbrewers to international brewers using time-honored brewing methods. Plus you’ll enjoy all the perks that come with our Craft Beer Club memberships! It’s the perfect opportunity to Taste, Learn and Enjoy® amazing hand-crafted beers all year long! Gift memberships can be purchased by visiting your nearest WineStyles Tasting Station location.

*Craft Beer Club is not available at all WineStyles locations. Please see your local WineStyles for details and information. (Click here for store locator).

Thanks for reading, 

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Live Webcast Stone Brewing Tasting October 13

Stone Brew Webcast Tasting Event

SBC_LOGO_horz_KSPECIAL EVENT

Tuesday, October 13th
6:00pm CST / 7:00pm EST

>> RSVP at your local WineStyles <<

Join us for a LIVE virtual beer tasting event with Stone Brewing’s craft beer guru, “Dr.” Bill Sysak.  In real-time, taste 6 Stone craft beers along side “Dr.” Bill and ask him your questions online.  Seating is limited – call your local WineStyles to RSVP.

“Dr.” Bill  Biography

Dr-Bill-Bio-BubbleBill Sysak, or as he’s more often referred to, “Dr. Bill,” is the Craft Beer Ambassador for Stone Brewing Co. “Dr.” Bill is a Certified Cicerone® and has proven expertise in selecting, acquiring and serving craft beers. He received his nickname through his work as a medic in the military Army National Guard, and the moniker has stuck with him throughout his career in the craft beer industry. At Stone, he’s responsible for setting the beverage standard and ensuring the beverage philosophy is followed at all Stone Brewing Co. venues. “Dr.” Bill is widely considered one of the foremost experts in 24carrotgolden_Bottle_Thumbthe field of pairing beer with food. He suggests the beer, wine and food pairings for the menus at our restaurants, and also coordinates and hosts many Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens events including: Beer & Cigar Dinners, Master Pairing events, Sour Fest, Oakquinox, Stone Pour it Black, and Rare Beer Breakfast. Sysak has been featured in such publications as New York Times, Draft magazine, Imbibe, Los Angeles Times, and Food & Wine.

He is on the San Diego State University “Business of Craft Beer” Advisory Board and is the instructor for the “Exploring Craft Beer” course.

“Dr.” Bill can also be found on the popular Internet podcasts, “New Brew Thursday” where he does a “Master Pairings” segment each week and “Expert Drinking,” where he educates his fans on the best of craft beers, cigars, fine wines, and spirits.  Learn more about “Dr.” Bill on Stone’s Blog here.

STONE BREWS TASTED:

  • Stone 24 Carrot Golden Ale
  • Stone Go To IPA
  • Stone Pale Ale
  • Stone Ruination Double IPA
  • Stone Coffee Milk Stout
  • Stone Smoked Porter

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LIMITED SEATING
Contact your participating local WineStyles to RSVP!

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When Dogs Fly

Matt_Brophy_FlyingDogs

Interview with Matt Brophy, Brewmaster & COO of Flying Dog Brewery

Since opening as a brewpub in Aspen, Colorado in 1990, Flying Dog Brewery has taken the craft beer world by storm.  Today they ship more than 800,000 cases a year, across the world from their state-of-the-art facility in Frederick, Maryland.  Matt Brophy, Flying Dog’s Brewmaster and COO, shares with us what makes craft beer so unique.

What makes craft beer different from other beers?

Craft beers draw their inspiration not from the factory profit-driven-machine mentality but from the creative desire to produce a product that is unique to its creator, the brewer, and enjoyable to the customer.  Although beer is very simple in that is contains only four ingredients – water, malted barley, hops and yeast – it’s the nontraditional ingredients such as the use of spices, fruits, sugars and alternative cereal grains that has found its way to craft beers.

How does Flying Dog brew their beer?

Flying Dog brewers use traditional brewing techniques and all-natural ingredients.

FlyingDogs-PaleAleWhat are some of the different flavor profile you can find in a craft beer?

Generally speaking all beers are a balance of malt sweetness and hop bitterness.  A good brewer can manipulate ingredients to produce aromas and flavors ranging from crisp and quenching to much bolder sensory experiences.

With the Super Bowl coming up, can you recommend special beers that pair well with Super Bowl food/snacks?

Our hoppy Snake Dog IPA pairs with a spicy-hot pepper jack cheese but it will also do well with hot wings, spicy salsa or queso dip. Dog Schwarz is brewed using smoked malt and has a moderate amount of smoke in the aroma and flavor.  This beer pairs great with smoked or grilled meats.  A malty American amber lager like our Old Scratch goes great with some brats from the grill.

What tips do you have for pairing craft beer with food?

The simplest and best advise I have is to have fun and experiment.  There is no “right” or “wrong” pairing as long as it tastes good to you.

Winter Brews

BobBrewmasterInterview with Bob the Brewmaster

Our own craft beer enthusiast, Bob the Brew Master, has been keeping busy scooping out the latest in the world of craft beer. Today, he shares with us the latest trends and pairing ideas for the big games and the holidays.

What are the latest brew trends we’re seeing this winter?

Winter brings out the higher alcohol beers that are typically darker and often spiced. Although with the popularity of IPA’s I’m looking forward to some aggressively hopped double IPA’s this winter.   This Saturday, November 8th is International Stout Day — another beer style to consider this season.  While stout beers appear dark, most are creamy and rich, sometimes even sweet. If you’re traveling this holiday season, I highly recommend tasting some regional stouts when you are in town.   Whether you pick up a local brew at the nearest WineStyles or local brewery, it’s all about “taste, learn and enjoy”.    I recently had the opportunity of enjoying a St. Ambroise Oatmeal Stout in Montreal, a rich brew punctuated by espresso and chocolate notes, topped with a thick, creamy head with just a hint of mocha.

What beers would you recommend to enjoy with big games?

There are some great seasonal beers available now, like Goose Island Mild Winter, Bells Winter White Ale, Sam Adams Fat Jack and Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale. These are great selections on game day.

rogueturkeyAny recommendations for which craft beers to pair with a Thanksgiving feast?

Malty beers tend to go well with turkey & stuffing things like Stone Brewery Levitation Ale, Flying Dog Old Scratch or Oskar Blues Old Chub and for dessert Southern Tier Choklat Stout.

Any recommendations on what beers would make a great gift for beer connoisseurs?

Seasonal Holiday beers always make a great gift basket or stocking stuffer like Rogue Santa’s Private Reserve.

 Why do you think the beer club is a great idea?

Having a beer expert suggest fantastic new craft beers for me to enjoy every month – what’s better than that?

Want to learn more about craft beer or submit a question to Bob? Send your questions to info@winestyles.net to be considered for the next posting. Cheers to your holiday celebrations!

Fall for Great Beers this Season

BobBrewmasterInterview with Bob the Brewmaster

Our own craft beer enthusiast, Bob the Brew Master, has been keeping busy scooping out the latest in the world of craft beer. Today, he shares with us the latest trends and pairing ideas for autumn.

What are the best beers to enjoy this fall?

Fall means Oktoberfest. The cooler fall weather makes the craving for hearty more flavorful and substantial beers arrive. As the leaves gets darker on the trees, so does the trend of enjoying darker beers and flavors that are typically more toasty and malty.

What are the newest flavors we’ll find on shelves this season?alltech

More and more craft brewers are showing off their brewing talents with some great pumpkin ales, brown ales, black IPA’s, Porters and Stouts.  Warmth inducing, stronger flavor and higher alcohol beer is great for cool weather.    Kentucky Pumpkin Barrel Ale is aged in fresh bourbon barrels, the sweetness of caramel and vanilla are imparted upon the brew and complement its spicier base.  This robust, limited release seasonal makes for a flavorful sipping beer to slowly warm up with as the weather cools.

Pumpkin Patch Ale Product ShotWhy do you think pumpkin and other strong flavors have taken over as the newest fall traditional beers?rogue_farms_pumpkin_patch_ale

Beer geeks are always looking for new unique flavors and extreme beers.  American Craft Brewers continue to push the envelope on taste and style with pumpkin ales, strongly hopped double or Black IPA’s, higher alcohol beers and chocolate and coffee stouts.   I’m especially impressed with Rogue Ales, who grow their own ingredients from “patch to batch”, just look for their GYO label (Grow Your Own).  Whenever you see the Rogue Farms label, you’ll know they are farming their own ingredients.   Such as their Pumpkin Patch Ale, made with their own hops and pumpkins grown at Rogue Farms in Oregon, and brewed with a touch of ginger, cloves, vanilla bean, cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg.  This craft beer pairs especially well with pork or desserts.

 What’s your favorite craft beer and cheese pairing for the fall?

I like to pair a nice hoppy IPA like Stone Ruination IPA with an aged Gouda or an Oskar Blues Ten Fidy with a Strong Blue or Asiago cheese.

Oktoberfest Beer Picks

Fall is in the air and with the change of season brings new combinations of entertaining options, seasonal ingredients and fall flavor combinations.  As the summer heat begins to recede into cooler fall temperatures, the cooler weather generally allows our taste preferences to transition into more EARTHY craft beers that highlight the seasonal fall flavors.  Here’s a few picks for pairing with grilled kielbasa, bratwurst or pork chops:

AutumnBeerPicks

Smashed_PumpkinShipyard Brewing Co. Smashed Pumpkin (Maine)

Smashed_Pumpkin_labelA big-bodied beer with aromas of pumpkin and nutmeg. The Pale Ale, Wheat and Light Munich malts combine with the natural tannin in pumpkin and the delicate spiciness of hops to balance the sweetness of fruit.

Pumpkinhead_AleShipyard Brewing Co. Pumpkinhead Ale (Maine)

Pumpkinhead_Ale_labelA crisp and refreshing wheat ale with delightful aromatics and subtle spiced flavor.

Ayinger Oktober Fest-Märzen (Germany)

Ayinger_OktoberAyinger is one of Germany’s most famous and historic brewery’s. The  Oktober Fest Märzen has a deep golden color tinted with amber. It is lightly sweet with a malty nose balanced with floral hops. Its medium to big body and alcohol is not overpowering.

WeihenstepFestbierhan Festbier (Germany)Weihenstephan_label

A full rich bodied, hoppy, seasonal lager. Especially brewed for the Festbier season. This beer truly represents the Bavarian way of celebrating. Deep gold color, great mouthfeel and lots of flavor. Prost!