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Light, crisp, refreshing and easy to drink — both the Pinot Gris wine varietal and the Pilsner style of beer are perfect beverages for warding off the sweltering heat of summer.

hot

This linear pairing is unique in that both beverages are almost identical in color. Both are very light & clear, ranging from pale to golden yellow in color. In addition to similarities in color, both beverages are also light-bodied with relatively low alcohol content. They are both known for having herby, crisp, lightly acidic — and sometimes slightly sweet — flavor and aroma characteristics.

pilsner

As a result of universal “drinkability” and world-wide popularity, both of these beverages tend to be mass-produced (think boxed/jug wine and corporate/adjunct beer). Despite the unfortunate “bastardization” of these styles by the bigger corporate beverage producers of the world — both the Pinot Gris varietal and the Pilsner style can be artisanally crafted into rather complex and dynamic beverages.

grape stomp

These two styles are easy to drink by themselves, but also pair very well with food. Since both are very light in texture, body and mouthfeel – they typically pair well with lighter fare such as fresh seafood, cheese, chicken, shellfish and citrus. In addition, both beverages are a “slam dunk” for MUSSELS and compliment spicy food extremely well.

mussels

And as per usual, I am going to go a little deeper into each …

THE VARIETAL: Pinot Gris

PinotGris

This whole time I’ve been referring to this grape varietal as Pinot Gris — however, it is more commonly known as “Pinot Grigio.” Poh-TATE-To … Poh-TAUGHT-To, my friends.

The Pinot Gris grape is a “white” clone of the Pinot Noir (researchers at the University of California-Davis have determined that Pinot Gris has a remarkably similar DNA profile to Pinot Noir). The most signifcant difference between the two is color — most likely the result of a genetic mutation that occurred centuries ago. Pinot Gris grapes are typically bluish-grey to light pinkish-brown in color and produce very light-colored wines that range from pale to golden yellow.

pinot-grigio

The name “Pinot Gris” is French and its roots are assumed to originate in Burgundy, France. “Pinot” translates to “pinecone” — this aspect of the name seems logical since the grapes grow in small pinecone-shaped clusters. “Gris” translates to “gray” — which also makes sense because the grapes are often bluish-gray in color.

pinot_gris

This varietal grows best in cool climates and matures relatively early with high sugar levels. As with every other varietal, wines made from the Pinot Gris vary greatly and are extremely dependent on both region of production and wine making style. Most Pinot Gris is meant to be consumed early, however some can age quite nicely.

Food and PG

Wines made from the Pinot Gris varietal pair exceptionally well with cheese (especially goat, sheep’s milk & smoked), chicken (especially fried, grilled & roasted), clams, fish (especially white), ham, MUSSELS, pasta (seafood pasta!!!), pork, proscuitto, salad, salmon, scallops, seafood dishes, shellfish and vegetables.

THE STYLE: Pilsner

pilsnerThe Pilsner style was originally developed in the city of Pilsen (hence the name) in what was formerly known as Bohemia — a German-speaking province in the old Austrian Empire.  Today, Bohemia comprises most of the Czech Republic.

bohemia

Until the mid-1840s, most Bohemian beers were top-fermented (ales). They were typically dark, cloudy & less than satisfactory. In 1839, the citizens of Pilsen decided to found and build a brewery of their own, which they called Bürger Brauerei (Citizens’ Brewery). The citizens decided to brew beer according to the Bavarian style of brewing — which required bottom-fermentation.

Bürger Brauerei

In addition to adapting the Bavarian style of brewing, Bürger Brauerei decided to use newly available paler malts. The Bavarian method of lagering using the new paler malts in combination with Pilsen’s remarkably soft water and Saaz noble hops resulted in a clear, golden beer that has been ridiculously popular since its onset.

pilsener

A modern Pilsner has a very light, clear color that ranges from pale to golden yellow.  They posses a distinct “Saaz” hop aroma and flavor. Czech Pilsners tend to be lighter in flavor while the German style can be more bitter or even “earthy” in flavor. Pilsners pair remarkably well with cheese, chicken, fish (especially fried), hamburgers, MUSSELS, pizza, pork, sausage, shellfish & spicy dishes.

Fish and Chips

So there you have it. Another pairing in the adventure through No Man’s Land – Pinot Gris & Pilsner. Both are very light in color, body and texture — possessing unique and characteristic flavors and aromas. These beverages are best when served ice cold, both are super refreshing and both compliment the same foods.

Cheers!

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As with most humans, contraversial news always attracts my attention. Especially, when said controversy is in the beer community.

Mexican beer company, Cervececia Minerva, has recently been criticized for its new beer named Malverde – after Jesús Malverde, the “Narco Saint.”

Jesús Malverde is a folklore hero and celebrated folk saint in the Mexican state of Sinaloa. He is particularly celebrated among those involved in drug trafficking. BUT, Malverde is not officially recognized as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church.

For many people, Malverde is more than just a “Narco Saint.” He is revered by many across Mexico and the United States as a protector and defender of the poor. To them Jesús Malverde is the “Generous One,” or “The Angel of the Poor.” Many equate Malverde to Robin Hood.

The existence of Malverde is not historically verified. Biographical details of Jesús Malverde are sketchy at best. However, his story has gone to inspire thousands upon thousands of Mexicans.

Today, Jesus Malverde is most commonly known as the patron saints of drug dealers. Many drug traffickers carry symbols of him and Mexican prison cells are often decorated with his image. There is even a shrine dedicated to Malverde in Culiacán, Mexico – which attracts thousands of devotees each year.

Minerva Brewery is donating 1 percent of its profits to a chapel dedicated to Malverde in the city of Culiacán. The company says the beer is not meant to glamorize the drug trade.

“We’re just trying to honor a Mexican legend, that’s all,” said Jesús Briseño – the Minerva Brewery’s general manager.

Briseño said he got the idea for the beer after visiting Malverde’s chapel.

The name Malverde literally translates to “green evil”  – also considered a youthanism for marijuana.

Malverde’s green label features a hops plant, the mustache-wearing Malverde and the slogan “A hero, a legend, a beer.”

The beer itself is described as being a malty, European-style pilsner – with some of the barley being imported from Wisconsin. It is about twice as expensive as other Mexican beers.

The release of Malverde beer comes at a peek time of drug related crimes and turmoil in Mexico. There have been 2,000 drug-related murders in Mexico this year, including scores of ghastly beheadings. Hundreds of victims have been police officers.

Many civic groups in Sinaloa, including Los Mochis Area Business Owners’ Association, are outraged by the Malverde beer and have expressed sincere criticism and disdain towards it and the Minerva Brewery. Wal-Mart of Mexico has refused to carry the beer due to the connection between its name and the drug trade.

Some of you may be aware of my [ultra negative] sentiments towards Wal-Mart. Needless to say, if Wal-Mart [the KING of globalization and international controversy] is refusing to carry a product … it MUST be RIDICULOUSLY controversial.

From a marketing perspective, the name of the beer and the label design are quite clever. While the story of Malverde is interesting,  this is probably not the appropriate time for such a marketing stint – considering the huge turmoil and devastation that Mexico is currently experiencing.

News Source: The Arizona Republic

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