Bar Tab: 4 Holiday (Drinkable) Finds
by Erin James

Welcome back to Sip Northwest’s Bar Tab, our editor’s weekly selection of what to drink in the Northwest now. This is a week of celebration, merriment and good times, which, for us, equates to the inclusion of food and drink in said happiness — by way of holiday pairings. Come on in, belly up to the counter and order some digital holiday cheer on us.

Cheese Plate and Pemberton Distillery Barrel-Aged Apple Brandy || About a half hour north of British Columbia’s esteemed mountain resort town of Whistler, Pemberton Distillery produces organic spirits and liqueurs, using BC-grown ingredients that result in certified organic and BC Certified Craft spirits. This apple brandy uses fruit from Riley Creek Farm, located another hour and a half north, which also homes in on organics and offers its McIntosh apples as the base for this refined, oak-aged, European-influenced spirit. Sharp cheese be warned, this is the tipple for you.

Herb-roasted Vegetables and Dragon’s Head Cider Perry || Champions of island community, this family-owned cidery on Washington’s Vashon Island was able to locate enough island fruit to stay true to their ethos for their first run of perry. Taylor’s Gold pears and seedling pears unique to the island —planted by homesteaders nearly a century ago — were blended together for this off-dry and delicate sipper. Obvious pear aromatics are mixed in with earth, white flower, sweet herbs and blueberry, with melon and more pear on the clean, bright palate. The mostly dry, cleansing and herbal qualities of the perry make it a solid contrast to the sweet and fat flavors of the roasted vegetables.

Pork Roast and Fielding Hills 2010 Cabernet Franc || Third generation fruit grower Mike Wade aimed his inherited farming skills toward wine in 1998 when he planted Riverbend Vineyard, now in Washington’s Wahluke Slope AVA. His foray into wine production was in 2000 with 400 cases of Bordeaux-style wines, a design he still follows today at his Lake Chelan hillside winery. Wade releases the red wines each fall when he sees fit, most bottlings more mature than those seen on the shelves today, like the 2010 Cabernet Franc from the inaugural vineyard. This wine that aged 24 months in 80 percent new French and American oak is bold yet elegant, red fruit-forward yet savory in herbs, tart with acid yet rich with silky texture and a watermatering finish. Set a glass of that next to some equally savory, juicy pork and enjoy.

Christmas Fudge and Deschutes Brewery Black Butte XXVIII || Not all desserts are reserved for Santa and neither is this anniversary, limited-edition porter from Bend, Oregon, flagship brewery Deschutes. The family-and employee-owned brewery (which also has a pub in Portland) releases their regular recipe with a special holiday twist: an imperial, barrel-aged version of the classic porter. Among several others, chocolate malts meld with the cocoa, vanilla bean and sweet orange peel that is also added to the multi-layered winter beer. Dessert in a glass with opulent flavors, creamy textures and a satisfying kick at the end, the beer complements a rich, chocolaty treat.

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