Brewing Saison beer and Cool Wine Friday
Colin Burbidge, of Lancashire Wine School, writes about Philadelphia's Tired Hands Brewing Company
We all know about the silly season when the media report a stream of quirky stories, usually during August when political news is quiet (did that happen this year?). Well, in the drinks business we sometimes seem to get a run of stories that catch the eye for their idiosyncratic draw.At the Las Vegas Convention, Lexus showed off a dark red concept 2019 Lexus E 350 with a six-bottle wine cooler installed in a recess at the bottom of the boot space. There is also a compartment next to the cooler designed to hold four wine glasses. Glad to see they are being responsible, as this is a five-seater so no glass for the driver. This car is wine themed with an oak framed boot space with sliding table to safely serve the wine. The passenger floor mats are made of wine cork. One for Motorsport days perhaps? Meanwhile, Philadelphia’s Tired Hands Brewing Company reveals its weekly team meeting takes place in the form of a ‘Cool Wine Friday’ where only wine is drunk and the team not only muse on the week’s highs and lows and plans for the future, but also how the wine production concepts might apply to beer. This may well be why they produce a Saison beer, SaisonHands, aged in French oak and another Saison beer made with oats fermented in oak with used Pennsylvania Merlot grapes. Now that is quirky. These innovations build on Dogfish Head’s 1996 ‘Raison D’Etre’ brewed with beet sugar and raisins to make a red-wine-like brew.More serious news in the industry sees beer and spirits duties frozen once again, which is great news for British beer brewers, ginsters and whisky producers but singling out wine for a duty rise may not be so patriotic …English Wine producers need to lobby harder!If you’re looking for the perfect gift that leaves the recipient wondering what to do with, Costco are selling a 46-inch tall wine glass for about Â£60. You can spend the next few years filling it with all your used corks, use as a terrarium or do the silly thing and see just how many bottles of red you can get in there for entertainment at your New Year party. If fashion is your thing, how about wine-coloured hair? Apparently the deep purple ‘mulled wine’ effect is all the rage. Ask your hair dresser for a wine list as you may prefer aged Barolo garnet or Shiraz purple.Finally, the emergence of flat wine bottles on to the market has drawn a lot of attention. These PET plastic bottles take up less than half the storage space of a traditional shape, giving lower environmental impact and getting everyone re-estimating the number of bottles they can get into their case or car on the way home from the continent, perhaps. I’ll think over these things as I sit down to dinner with a bottle of Rioja poured from a traditional glass bottle, I’m sure, and in my dining room not my car boot.