In these frightening times at least we don't have to worry about hungry raptors
By Steve Siciliano
Each spring melting snow and April showers turn the low spot in the back corner of our yard into a swamp. It's not very a big swamp and it's not very deep but it's big enough and deep enough to allow a pair of mallards to splash-land and paddle around in the water. I have always had the somewhat romantic notion that it was the same drake and hen that took advantage of the temporary wetlands each year until recently reading that mallards, unlike some other species of waterfowl, are rather promiscuous. Apparently monogamy isn't embedded in their DNA.
It's my opinion that every male and female mallard looks the same, quacks the same and waddles on dry land the same so naturally I assumed that the web-footed love birds appearing in the backyard each spring were the same. Incidentally, I also happen to think that there's not much in nature more comical than a waddling duck.
Anyway, before Ellie Mae, our lovable but idiosyncratic pit bull/lab mix, punched her ticket to doggie heaven, the mallards would waddle just beyond the boundary of the electric fence. Somehow they instinctively knew that Ellie was too wimpy to cross the line. After Ellie passed on, the ducks felt free to amble around the yard despite the fact that Miss Lizzie, our overweight and sedentary golden retriever, was still alive and kicking. Somehow they also instinctively knew that Lizzie wouldn't chase a chipmunk if it was an inch away from her snout.
Those waddling ducks don't have to worry about dogs in our back yard anymore but they had better keep their eyes open because a few days ago I spotted a hawk lurking by a bush that a family of bunnies calls home. I'm guessing it was the same predator responsible for the large tuft of rabbit fur next to the crab apple tree. We humans have to be concerned about Covid-19 but, unlike bunnies, chipmunks and waddling ducks, at least we can cross off our worry list the possibility of being eaten by a hungry raptor.
Featured Wines of the Week
Two K, 2017 Estate Riesling, Michigan, $18.69/750 ml - "Medium-bodied, moderate acidity, with flavors of stone fruit and citrus. Some richness, moderate acidity, and crisp finish." (Source)
Covela Edicao Nacional Avesso, 2016, Portugal, $18.29/750 ml - "Silver with hints of straw in color, dry with fresh acidity and intense yet delicate and complex aromas of citrus, floral, herbal, tree and dried fruits with a slight minerality." (Source)
Troublemaker red blend, non vintage, California, $16.99/750 ml - "This intensely rich wine is deep purple in color and radiates aromas of black fruit, cherry, and spicy black pepper. On the palate loads of vanilla, caramel, and black currant gracefully evolve into soft supple tannins and a signature zing that balances the wine. " (Source)
Castelmaure, Col Des Vents, Corbieres, France, 2018, $12.49/750 ml - "Brambly berry, cherry and raspberry, spices, black pepper ... all are present in this authentic French country wine. There are also some aromas of Garrigue (Rosemary, thyme and lavender) giving a minty, herbal notes, that are quite refreshing as well." (Source)
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Featured Spirits of the Week
Plantation 3 stars rum, Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad, $23.09/1000 ml - "Plantation 3 Stars is a tribute to the historic rums produced in the Caribbean, with a suave blend of the region’s three primary terroirs: Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad. While Barbados delivers richness and a balanced palate, Trinidad adds finesse and Jamaica provides an emphatic structure. A perfect rum for Daiquiris." (Source)
Glenlivet Caribbean Reserve, non vintage, $44.19/750 ml - "To create whisky with a tropical feel, our makers finished a portion of our smooth whisky in barrels that previously held Caribbean rum. The result is a well balanced and exceptionally smooth whisky. Single malt, meet summer. Sweet notes of pear and red apple meet a fabulous tropical twist of ripe bananas in syrup. Rich caramel toffee notes, followed by flavors of tropical fruit. " (Source)
Pabst Blue Ribbon White Whiskey, $13.19/750 ml - "An 80 proof, no-nonsense white whiskey with a smooth, clean finish." (Source)
Teremana Tequila, Blanco $31.59/750ml and Reposado $34.69/750 ml- Blanco - "Notes of bright citrus with a smooth, fresh finish."
Reposado - "Notes of oak and vanilla with a smooth, rich finish." (Source)
Ekuanot- $3.19/1oz pk - Brewing Application: Aroma and flavor in IPAs, sours, wheat beers, and other styles requiring strong flavor contribution from hops. Ekuanot® has been featured in many single-hop beers. Its high oil content (favoring myrcene and humulene in particular) make it a good candidate for late, whirlpool, or dry hop additions.
Sensory: Ekuanot® is known for delivering a complex array of aromatics, suggestive of lime, apple, melon, berry, cedar, papaya, bay leaves, eucalyptus, clove, sage, and tobacco.
Loral- $2.29/ 1oz pk - The aroma profile of Loral™ has been described as a “super noble hop” with its wonderful floral and herbal notes followed by a backdrop of citrus and earthy character. A touch of sweet fruity aroma rounds out this well-balanced hop. In beer, the floral notes are accentuated yet complemented nicely by fruity and citrus with just a hint of herbal. Don’t expect an in-your-face fruity character with Loral™ as seen with some recent U.S. variety releases - this hop is approachable and balanced. Great for distinctive IPAs and pale ales but perfect for sessionable and lager-style beers.
Sabro- $2.99/1oz pk- Sabro™ brand HBC-438 was developed by the Hop Breeding Company and released in 2018. Sabro is an aroma hop that is notable for its complexity of fruity and citrus flavors. It imparts distinct tangerine, coconut, tropical fruit, and stone fruit aromas, with hints of cedar, mint, and cream. Sabro’s pedigree is the result of a unique cross pollination of a female neomexicanus hop. With a robust brewing performance, Sabro proves to be a strongly expressive hop that translates its flavor incredibly well into beer.
New and returning Beer
Hopewell-Clover Club Raspberry Sour/12oz/$3.29 - "Clover Club is a Sour Ale brewed with raspberry and a blend of five botanicals. Fruity, citrusy and herbaceous with a spritzy tartness, reminiscent of the pre-Prohibition cocktail of the same name. Brewed in collaboration with The Whistler and Letherbee Distillers." (Source)
Hopewell&Hop Butcher-Alphabetical Srata hopped Lager/16oz/$3.99 - " Alphabetical is a Double Dry-hopped Lager featuring the recently developed Strata hop. A weighty base of Pilsner malt sets the stage for big pops of strawberry lemonade, mango and dank herbs. Brewed in collaboration with Hop Butcher." (Source)
Hopewell-Foeder Pils/16oz/$3.79 - "This English-style pilsner was fermented in a large oak vessel known as a foeder. Freshly made from Missouri white oak, this foeder adds slightly more depth and complexity while keeping balance with its Pilsner base and moderate hop profile. 4.9% ABV." (Source)
Hopewell-Foeder Pale/16oz/$3.79 - "This English-style Pale Ale was fermented in a large oak vessel known as a foeder. Freshly made from Missouri white oak, this foeder adds slightly more depth and complexity while keeping balance with its malt-forward base and moderate hop profile." (Source)
Urban Artifact-Otto Cycle Balatan Cherry/12oz/$4.39 - "A rare Midwest Fruit Tart offering, made with a single varietal of sour dark cherry, The Balaton Cherry. A newer varietal of tart cherry, this beer was designed to highlight all the wonderful depth this cherry has to offer." (Source)
Urban Artifact-Kaleidoscope Pineapple Orange Guava/12oz/$3.59 - "Midwest Fruit Tart wtih clean, tart finish. 1,500 lbs of pineapple, 600 lbs guava & 500 lbs of orange per 30 bbl batch." (Source)
Urban Artifact-Sauv Blanc Grape Fruit Tart/8oz/$3.59 - Sour/Wild
Shacksbury-Top Spin Cider/16oz/$3.99 - "Ready for a rematch? Cider, meet Nelson. Topspin is a bone dry cider that brings the thunder with fresh Nelson Sauvin hops from New Zealand. The nelson lets you know it's there to play without hitting you over the head or putting you under the table. We built this cider to be the perfect pair for casual recreation. Drink cold and fresh." (Source)
Shacksbury-Gin BA Vermonter/16oz/$3.89 - "Our ode to the Green Mountain State. Aged in former Barr Hill gin barrels from Caledonia Spirits in Hardwick, Vermont. Local apples from Sunrise Orchards in Cornwall, Vermont. Blended with our friends at the Farmhouse Tap and Grill in Burlington, Vermont. (Source)
Stone-Soaring Dragon/12oz/$3.19 - "A few of our brewers took a side trip to the famous Tianshan Tea City market to experience the legend themselves. They were blown away. Inspired, they began experimenting back home, learning how well the delicate, floral qualities of these teas worked in combination with certain hop varieties. This imperial IPA loaded with White Tea is the result of that bountiful trip and the resulting experimentation. The amazing aromas and flavor profile of this beer are witness to the joy of experimentation and a testament to making time for side trips." (Source)
Deschutes-Neon Daydream/12oz/1.79 - Luminous skies. Lucid waters. Keep dreaming. Explore the unexpected with this style-defying ale that’s glowing with citrus hoppy goodness." (Source)
New Belgium-1985 Mango IPA/12oz/$1.99 - No commercial description
Jolly Pumpkin-Calabaza Blanca/16oz CANS!/$3.39 - "Calabaza Blanca is a low-calorie farmhouse witbier brewed in Belgium's bière blanche tradition. Spiced with orange peel and coriander, you'll find it refreshingly tart, with a wonderfully dry finish. A year round favorite for sure!" (Source)
Jolly Pumpkin-Hyrrokkin/16oz CANS!/$3.69 - "Hyrrokkin is a lush, tart, oak-aged saison blended with ginger and blood orange juice, finishing with notes of lime soda and clove." (Source)
Big Lake-Tropical Ale/16oz/$3.19 - "A beautifully crisp, fresh, low cal ale brewed to tasted like your favorite sunset. Sunset, and berry, if that’s a thing…" (Source)
Short's-Refreshin' Session 12pk/$15.89 - "Refreshin’ Session is lo-cal, lo-carb, and lo-abv variety pack featuring Local’s Light, Furry Buddy, Lil’ Huma, and Soft Parade Seltzer. It’s truly Short’s guide for the long game, with something for everyone." (Source)