Welcome back for another edition of Sip Northwest’s Bar Tab, the weekly selection of what to drink in the Northwest now. This week, we throw the notion of themes out the window and open the door to a list without rhyme or reason. So, if you’re looking for diversity in drinks, you’ve clicked on the right place. Come on in, belly up to the counter and order a metaphorical drink on us.
Bad Granny Hard Cider || Washington State’s 11th designated wine region is also home to a handful of cideries, and wineries trying their hand at cidermaking. KARMA Vineyards, Lake Chelan Valley’s resident house of bubbles, has recently released its cider brand, Bad Granny Hard Cider, focused solely on local area apples. An even starker focus is on the variety itself: Bad Granny gets her name (and sharp attitude) from the tart Granny Smith apple. Juicy, bright and slightly tangy as promised, this cider is an easy, hot-weather sipper and quaffable entry to the industry from the folks at Karma.
Soos Creek Wine Cellars 2013 Palisades Merlot || The Boeing Employees Wine and Beer Club has been producing home winemakers since 1971 but it wasn’t until David Larsen, a joining member of the 1987 class, that the club would produce its first commercial winery. Larsen launched Soos Creek in 1989 and worked at Boeing for another 15 years before committing to the winery full-time. Based in Kent, Washington, the 2,000-case winery is still positioned on small batches expressing Eastern Washington fruit, one of the strongest being the 2013 Palisades Merlot. Typicity is key in this wine, and in many of Larsen’s wines: You know you’re drinking Washington Merlot. Built on fruit from the Yakima Valley’s westernmost site, Slide Mountain Vineyard, the wine expresses aromas of tight berries (boysenberry and red currant), scorched earth and dustings of cocoa. If texture is your jam, you will not be disappointed in this silky young wine that bounces with acidity and softly squeezes with fine-grained tannins.
The Commons Brewery Flemish Kiss || This cult-status Portland brewery first found its footing in a garage in the booming beer city. Originally named Beetje Brewery, for the Flemish word beetje meaning “little” or “little bit,” the beers were produced on a one-barrel nano system and were already receiving acclaim at its start in 2010. Today, revamped as The Commons, the brewery functions at max capacity — which is still on a modest 15-barrel system — and produces contemporary ales, with a tight-knit European influence. Amid the seasonals and Beetje Series beers, a few year round staples make the cut, like the Flemish Kiss, a pale ale that undergoes a secondary fermenatation with Belgian yeast Brettanomyces bruxellensis. Five weeks later, the result is a fruit-forward, tangy and floral ale that bridges the gap for West Coast beer drinkers to come over to the slight sour side.
Ransom Wine & Spirits Old Tom Gin || Aimed at historical accuracy, distiller Tad Seestedt collaborated with cocktail historian David Wondrich to find the precise measurements to make a gin of spirits past. The recipe resulted in a throwback to the English gin of yore, the Old Tom — a style of the spirit that was originally concocted in the 18th century to sit between malty Dutch genever-style gins and London Dry styles, typically seen sporting more sweetness, less botanicals and aged in barrels. In this rendition (the first of its kind in the United States), Ransom’s final distillation run of the gin goes through an alambic pot still for texture and is then aged in French oak barrels for up to one year. Familiar gin aromatics of juniper berries and forest floor surface from the glass while the darker, sweeter malts emerge slowly with air and the palate develops into silky textures and spicy flavors to balance the malty richness.
DRY Soda Co. Serrano Pepper DRY Sparkling || Culinary creations are more often than not seen on the plate — not in a bottle. Seattle soda juggernaut DRY Soda begs to differ with the normal and strives to either match or mimic their plated culinary counterparts. From lavender and ginger to cucumber and apple, one of the latest seasonal productions is the Serrano Pepper DRY Sparkling. With the spice to complete BBQ, the heat to liven up a fruity cocktail and the complexity to stand alone, add this sparkling soda to your sipping arsenal while you still can this summer.