In Japan, unique ingredients define many of the country’s best beers. And thanks to America’s unquenchable thirst, more and more of these beers are being exported to the United States. I’ve traveled from northern Iwate all the way down to Ishikawa in search of beers made with special ingredients native to the Pacific island nation, and rounded up the best of those that can also be found in the United States. Seek out the following five delicious, intriguing brews to enjoy a taste of Nippon from the other side of the world.
I’ve taken Maynard James Keenan to New York’s downtown restaurant Manhatta, where two Master Sommeliers have built a musical meal around his wines. To help us all get a better understanding of Keenan’s work, Chef Jason Pfeifer and John Ragan—Wine Director for Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group in New York City—have paired unique dishes with five of Caduceus Cellars’ cuvees. Meanwhile, Andy Myers—Wine Director for José Andrés’ ThinkFoodGroup in Washington DC, and a well-versed metalhead and musician himself—has curated a soundtrack for each course. Best of all, Keenan will have the chance to play critic for once in his over-scrutinized life, giving feedback on every pairing.
Metallica’s new whiskey is crafted by spirits legend Dave Pickerell (former master distiller for both Makers Mark and Whistle Pig who, sadly, only very recently passed away), and blasted with “black noise” via Metallica’s music while aging in black brandy barrels. The obvious musical accompaniment to drinking such a dram is, of course, a Metallica album – but which one?
Fickle Nebbiolo is perfect for expressing subtle differences in terroir—especially in the Langhe subregion of Piedmont, where soils and microclimates can differ greatly within a few footsteps. In fact, as in Burgundy, a single Langhe plot might be divided up amongst multiple vineyards. Thus, growing the grape in Barbaresco or Barolo will produce very different wines—even though the two famous DOCGs are only fifteen miles apart.
These four wineries not only represent some of the best Piedmont has to offer—they also help illustrate the greatest differences between Barolo and Barbaresco, and the range of unique qualities one can find within each.
As it happens, some of the most noteworthy cider in the United States comes from its greatest wine regions.
“Not every plot of land in a famous wine-growing appellation is perfectly suited to grapes,” says Dustin Wilson, master sommelier and co-founder of Verve Wine. “Often, you’ll see other types of plants in areas that might not be as well-suited for quality grape growing.”
Here are five cider makers from the nation’s greatest wine regions.
Cider is seemingly everywhere these days, going well beyond its antiquated status as a tap option for the gluten-averse or people who say they don't like beer. Still, most people don’t think to order cider when out for a nice dinner, and that's a shame. Good ol’ fermented apple juice can be as complex (and expensive) as any craft beer or fine wine. The best stuff -- often “heritage cider,” made with cider-specific heirloom apple varieties and produced with traditional winemaking techniques -- is incredibly nuanced, with plenty of regional differences and unique flavors to go around.