Friday, July 10, 2015

Two Lions Winery & Palm Harbor Brewery hosts ribbon cutting this month

A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held for Two Lions Winery's new Palm Harbor home and concept.

Posted By on Fri, Jul 10, 2015 at 11:44 AM

Two Lions Winery, established six years ago on Main Street in Dunedin, relocated to Palm Harbor with a fresh name and project.

Now known as Two Lions Winery & Palm Harbor Brewery, the expanded concept at 1022 Georgia Ave. plans to celebrate its official launch at 5:30 p.m. Friday, July 24. The ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place at 6 p.m., and refreshments will be offered.

On the brewery side of the new venture, which can feature up to 20 beers on tap, patrons can expect offerings like the Hop Gone Wild double IPA and the Brown Wheat dunkelweizen.

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Friday, June 26, 2015

Drink More Wine: Give mead a chance

A look at honey wine, an ancient drink that's experiencing a revival.

Posted By on Fri, Jun 26, 2015 at 3:52 AM

HISTORIC SIPPER: Honey wines, or meads, can range from still and dry to sparkling and sweet. - TOBIAS RADESKOG
  • Tobias Radeskog
  • HISTORIC SIPPER: Honey wines, or meads, can range from still and dry to sparkling and sweet.
I’ve always found history fascinating. After all, there’s much we can learn from those who came before us. In the realm of food and wine, it’s interesting to track the evolution of items we need for sustenance. We’ve gone from the necessity of finding a pristine spring or capturing rainwater to designer bottles of H2O.

Wine and beer entered the food chain because potable water was hard to come by. Paul Lukacs’ 2013 book, Inventing Wine: A New History of One of the World’s Most Ancient Pleasures, makes it clear that ancient wine was vile, nasty, vinegary stuff. However, because water and milk carried disease, people drank it by necessity.

Mead (honey wine), it turns out, is the oldest alcoholic beverage out there. The drink is made by converting sugar into alcohol via fermentation with yeast, and instead of transforming grape juice, it uses honey and water. It may be still, carbonated or sparkling; dry, semi-sweet or sweet. Noted French anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss makes a case for mead’s invention as a marker of the passage “from nature to culture.”

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Sunday, June 21, 2015

Jug & Bottle Dept. premieres to Seminole Heights

Score wine, beer and specialty goods like cheese and coffee from Seminole Heights' Jug & Bottle.

Posted By on Sun, Jun 21, 2015 at 8:42 AM

  • Jug & Bottle Dept. via Instagram
Jug & Bottle Dept., a Seminole Heights newbie, opened its doors to the Tampa neighborhood Saturday afternoon.

The cozy shop at 6201 N. Florida Ave. offers local and hard-to-find craft beer alongside a collection of wine. Specialty coffees, teas, cheese and gourmet condiments are sourced from vendors on both sides of the bay as well as out of state.

Patrons may snag growler fills from Jug & Bottle, too. While the beer offerings rotate, Florida beer makers like 7venth Sun Brewery, Barley Mow Brewing Company and Funky Buddha Brewery are included on the initial lineup. Commune + Co. and Mother Kombucha are available in growlers as well.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Drink More Wine: A rosé by any other name

'Tis the season for this underappreciated class of wines.

Posted By on Wed, May 27, 2015 at 2:30 PM

Don’t confuse quality rosé with “grandma wine.” - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • wikimedia commons
  • Don’t confuse quality rosé with “grandma wine.”

I don’t know about you, but this winter I felt particularly lucky to be living in Florida. As a former Yankee with friends all up and down the East Coast from DC to Boston, it was hard to stifle my glee as I followed my friends’ frigid tales of horror on social media. And with our temperatures now spilling into the 90s, it’s hard to remember that for much of America, Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer.

I always remember one friend saying “gin and tonic is the taste of summer.” And I had to laugh when another friend posted this week that he’d had his first G&T of the season, when I’ve been drinking them for months.

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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Eat, drink wine slushies on Pine Avenue in Anna Maria Saturday

Food and Wine on Pine to offer 20-plus food spots' Florida-driven dishes. Oh, and wine slushies.

Posted By on Thu, Apr 30, 2015 at 1:38 PM

Food and Wine on Pine hopes to draw more than 8,000 people this year. - DARA CAUDILL ISLAND PHOTOGRAPHY
  • Dara Caudill Island Photography
  • Food and Wine on Pine hopes to draw more than 8,000 people this year.

For those venturing over the Sunshine Skyway this weekend, the 5th Annual Food and Wine on Pine will run from 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Saturday along Anna Maria Island's Pine Avenue. With a $2 entry fee, the culinary-cultural event expects to draw a crowd of more than 8,000.

Twenty-plus Bradenton and Sarasota area food-slingers will be featured, including Tsunami Sushi & Hibachi Grill, Sage Biscuit Cafe, Two Scoops Ice Cream Parlor and Michael's On East. Their dishes will highlight local, seasonal Florida offerings like Gulf seafood and fresh-farm produce.

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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Drink More Wine: Vintage finds

When Mother Nature gives you great grapes, pay attention.

Posted By on Wed, Apr 29, 2015 at 2:38 PM

Certain vintages shine when nature cooperates with vineyards. - ETHAN PRATER VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Ethan Prater via Wikimedia Commons
  • Certain vintages shine when nature cooperates with vineyards.
Wine is a living thing. It’s not Coke that is formulaic and exactly the same from batch to batch. It evolves in the bottle.

We are, however, able to produce wines of remarkable consistency, a glorious boon for consumers. There is little totally undrinkable plonk on the market. Make no mistake, though — you get what you pay for. But quaffable bargain wines abound.

Even with the advent of modern technology that allows winemakers to manipulate their harvest from year to year, bottles of wine reflect the growing conditions from a particular season. The farmer’s goal is optimal ripeness, but Mother Nature dictates what happens to the grape clusters. Did the vineyards get enough sun? Was there a cold snap when the berries were young? Did heavy rains close to harvest swell the grapes and dilute their juice?

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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Weekend fests galore: SeaGrapes, Green Thumb & more

Food- and drink-inflected festivals to keep your bellies full throughout the weekend.

Posted By on Thu, Apr 23, 2015 at 3:37 PM

  • The Florida Aquarium
On top of Three Palms Brewing's community-driven Everything Local Spring Fest, the annual spicy foods spectacle that is the Pinellas Pepper Fest and the family- and pooch-friendly Festival of Flowers at Geraldson Community Farm, three other food and drink festivals plan to tantalize the region's taste buds, and affinity for local, this weekend.

The Florida Aquarium's 14th Annual SeaGrapes Fine Wine & Food Festival will take place 8 to 11 p.m. Saturday with more than 150 wines and eats from more than 25 area restaurants.

The cocktail attire affair, which will benefit the aquarium's youth education and conservation programs, allows guests to sample while discovering the many sea creatures featured at the aquatic destination. This year, a wine market headed by Bern's Fine Wine & Spirits will also be featured, along with live entertainment and a silent auction.

General admission tickets are $95 in advance, while VIP entry costs $225.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Two mid-week tastings for New Port Richey, St. Pete wine buffs

Experience #WineWednesday in real life at Sea Salt and Dulcet Restaurant & Lounge this week.

Posted By on Tue, Apr 21, 2015 at 4:15 PM

  • Picjumbo
Wine enthusiasts, rejoice! Sea Salt in downtown St. Pete and New Port Richey's Dulcet Restaurant & Lounge are set to host palate-pleasing wine samplings Wednesday evening.

Sea Salt's $20 event, from 5 to 7 p.m., will showcase a New World versus Old World face-off in its Himalayan Lounge. Ten wines, including chardonnay, pinot noir and sauvignon blanc, will highlight destinations like France, Oregon and Washington.

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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

On the menu: Ybor City's Festa Italiana tradition

Experience Italian wines, cocktails and local eats during the annual Festa Italiana Weekend in Ybor.

Posted By on Wed, Apr 1, 2015 at 6:47 AM

One of the wood-fired pies Tre Figlie crafted at last year's Festa Italiana. - KIMBERLY DEFALCO
  • Kimberly DeFalco
  • One of the wood-fired pies Tre Figlie crafted at last year's Festa Italiana.

The three-day Festa Italiana Weekend will kickoff at Ybor City's Italian Club of Tampa from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, April 9. The annual tradition, benefiting the club's restoration fund, continues through April 11 and 12, with food samples, craft cocktails and other Italian delights.

Featuring more than 70 wines from Italy and eats like antipasti and dessert, the kickoff, which costs $60 for non-club members, also acts as the fest's Wines of Italy tasting. A silent auction will also highlight prizes.

Later, starting at 11 a.m. Saturday, the free admission Bocce Ball Invitational at Centennial Park, as well as the Italian Club's Italian Idol sing-off and Homemade Vino Competition, will take place throughout the afternoon.

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Drink More Wine: Wine-volution

Breaking down the bottle variation phenomenon.

Posted By on Thu, Mar 26, 2015 at 2:55 PM

Cork and air ingress contribute to differences in the same bottles of wine. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • Cork and air ingress contribute to differences in the same bottles of wine.

Recently, a friend related the all-too-common story of how a wine that enthralled during a special trip to (insert romantic vacation destination here) was a disappointingly different experience when she opened the “identical” wine at home.

Perhaps the differences may be ascribed to the emotional dislocation of the moment. I mean, doesn’t everything taste better in (insert romantic vacation destination here)? However, bottle variation is a real phenomenon, with a complex matrix of causes.
Unlike, say, Coca-Cola, which tastes the same from can to can, wine is alive.

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