Wine. Food. Reviews. Recipes. Lap it up.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The New Albanian Brewing Company

New Albanian Brewing CompanyLast Saturday evening we made our way to The New Albanian Brewing Company, a brew pub / pizzeria / public house just off SR 111 (Grant Line Road) in New Albany, Indiana.

It took us a little while to find it because our out-of-date information had us looking for Rich O’s Public House, which is what the place was called before it became NABC in 2002. When we finally did find the place, it was immediately apparent that it had been well worth looking for!

The New Albanian Brewing Company is a modern, rambling building that houses several components, including a brewing operation, Rich O's Public House, Sportstime Pizza and Prost, a special events and meetings facility. The operations all overlap somewhat — the pizza is available to beer drinkers, the beers are available to restaurant patrons. There are rooms for families, and there's the adults-only inner sanctum, with its bar, comfy leather sofas and ash trays.

If your idea of a good beer runs along the lines of Budweiser or Coors Light, you may as well go someplace else, because they don't have them. What they do have is several excellent brews of their own, as well as 250 or so bottled beers from all over the planet, as well as some meads and ciders. If you absolutely have to have it, some wines are available but they don't mention what they are. The closest thing they have to a "regular" beer is Corona, which they grudgingly serve with a 50-cent fruit wedge whether you want it or not. Bottled beer prices range from $3.50 to $34.75 for a 750ml bottle of Lambic ale.

I only sampled a couple of NABC's brews, their Hoptimus (mighty hoppy!) and the Elector Ale, a somewhat over-the-top IPA, which is just the way I like them. The label art and amusing name made me want to try their Flat Tire, but that'll have to wait until next time. We did get a bottle of ’96 Samichlaus, which given its sweetness and its 14 percent(!) alcohol level is about all you'd want, for a reasonable $7.50.

We tried one of their Herbivore pizzas (mushroom, onion, green pepper, black olive,
green olive, spinach, banana pepper, diced tomato and roasted garlic) and found it excellent and inexpensive. Two hours is a long trip just for pizza and beer, but I like this place so well I just may do it.

The good news is that NABC is preparing to open a second location in downtown New Albany, and after they do there's a good chance that their brews will be available closer to home. Until then, I'll make it a point to stop in anytime I'm in their neighborhood.
Anonymous, 10:03 AM | link | 0 comments |

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Tuesday briefs

Tuesday BriefsFans of The Glass Chimney and Deeter's restaurants in Carmel should be pleased to learn that they are both reopening tomorrow, June 25. According to a recent email from the restaurant, two new owners with strong local ties have taken over and the "vast majority" of the kitchen and wait staffs will be returning. Also back is The Glass Chimney's popular $14 bar special dinner.

As Feed Me / Drink Me reported yesterday, there is soon to be a second Cork & Cracker. It will be in southeastern tip of Boone county, in the Marsh shopping center on the northeast corner of 106th and Michigan Road. (Specifically, in the strip of stores on the eastern edge of the property that includes a UPS store and a vacuum cleaner shop.) It should be up and running by late July.

The Lobby Lounge at the Brick Street Inn in Zionsville is donating a portion of its revenues from Tuesday evening sales to an Indiana flood relief fund. You can have a drink or two, and send a little help to someone who got sloshed in the worst possible way.
J. Silverheels Gray, 9:53 AM | link | 1 comments |

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Zaza Garnacha Rosé 2007

Zaza RoséWe had our annual treat of Copper River Salmon a couple of nights ago ($16.99 per pound!) and it was delicious, as usual. Normally I serve it with grilled asparagus and thinly-sliced sweet onions, but this time substituted leeks for onions, with excellent results.

The perfect accompaniment for our salmon was the Zaza Garnacha Rosé 2007 from Campo de Borja, Spain. Grenache is a pretty powerful grape and this is a robust rosé, offering a snootful of raspberries and the flavor of a strawberry-rhubarb tart without the sweetness. Served cool on a warm evening, it's delicious and refreshing — and at $10 a bottle, a great deal.

We also sampled some of the Simon Hackett Old Vine Grenache 2005, and found that it got along wonderfully with the salmon too. It's a big, smooth, robust Aussie red, full of luscious dark berries. An easy wine to enjoy, it's about $14 per bottle.
J. Silverheels Gray, 9:59 AM | link | 0 comments |

Bernie's lament

Bernie's Lament

For more of Hilary Price's humor, surf on over to Rhymes with Orange.
J. Silverheels Gray, 9:26 AM | link | 0 comments |

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Spirits sales suffer from economy; wine holds steady

Cheap BoozeSpirits sales are suffering from the slowing economy, according to a report from Citi Investment Research and data from AC Nielsen.

The growth of super-premium brands is slowing to the benefit of bottom-shelf brands, Nielsen's research indicates. Part of the reason is that consumers aren't going out as much, and they tend to drink lower-priced brands at home than when enjoying a night out.

Not everyone agrees that consumers are becoming more value-oriented. Fortune Brands, parent of Beam Global Spirits & Wine, says it hasn't seen any trading down outside of the most housing-depressed markets, such as Florida and California. This is somewhat supported by a Nielsen study that says that 80 percent of consumers reports spending the same amount on alcohol as they did last year.

Wine sales are still enjoying growth, although not at as a high a rate as in 2007 and 2006. The United States now consumes more wine than any other country except France, though the adult per-capita consumption of 9 liters in the U.S. falls far short of France and Italy, at 52 and 46 liters respectively.
J. Silverheels Gray, 10:07 AM | link | 1 comments |

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

THINGS TO DO (6/14 – 6/15)

Big FunHere is the most recent installment of Evan Finch's occasional Things to Do for People Who Do Things email newsletter.

Independent Music + Art Festival
Harrison Center for the Arts
Saturday, June 14

The Independent Music + Art Festival is held in the courtyard of the Harrison Center (which is just a little south of the Redeemer church at 16th and Delaware). The IMAF is a free, day-long outdoor festival featuring visual artists and local musicians, such as: Mudkids, Highway Magic, Mandy Marie, HenriHenrietta, Everything Now, Missing Six, The Impossible Shapes, State, Mardelay, and a bunch more bands whose names I don’t have the energy to type this early in the morning. The first band (Mudkids) starts at 11 AM, and the last band (Mardelay) starts at 8:45 PM. Did I mention it’s very, very near the Talbot Street Art Fair?

Phone: 317.396.3886

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Talbot Street Art Fair
Harrison Center for the Arts
Saturday, June 14 – Sunday, June 15

If you’re going to attend just one major art fair in Indianapolis, this is probably the one to go to — mostly because this one’s free. Talbot Street Art Fair is held on Talbot Street (natch) between 16th Street and 19th Streets. It’s held from 10 AM to 6 PM on Saturday, and from 10 AM to 5 PM on Sunday. Did I mention it’s very, very near the Independent Music + Art Festival?

Phone: Not that I’m aware of

* * *

LonPaul Ellrich Memorial/Rupert Ellrich Benefit
Fountain Square (Second Story and Radio Radio)
Sunday, June 15

On May 7, longtime local musician LonPaul Ellrich passed away. This coming Sunday, Musical Family Tree ( is sponsoring a multi-band tribute to LonPaul, with all proceeds going to benefit his young son, Rupert. Things will kick off with an all-ages acoustic show at Second Story (1043 Virginia Avenue, Suite 4), featuring performances by Richard Edwards, Kenny Childers, Chris Kupersmith, Sophia Travis and Marty Green. Following that, Radio Radio (1119 East Prospect Street) will host an over-21 show with performances by Margot And The Nuclear So And Sos, Pravada, the Zero Boys, Marmoset, the Vulgar Boatmen, Lines Of Nazca, Uvula, The Humans, PJ Christie and Vess Ruhtenberg.

Second Story will open its doors at 4:30 PM, with music running from 5 PM ’til 7 PM. Radio Radio will open its doors at 7:30 PM, with music going from 8 PM till midnight. It looks like the all-ages show is accepting donations at the door (I’m not sure how much they’re asking, but I’d bring $15 just in case.) Tickets to the Radio Radio are definitely $15, and may be purchased at the door — or in advance, from

Just scroll down until you see the clickable link reading “Buy A Ticket.” I’m guessing that the “in advance” option might be a safer bet than the “at the door” option, since this event could sell out. Your tickets will be kept at Radio Radio’s “will call” window (and MFT suggests that you bring your printed receipt with you to the door).

Finally, if you’d like to read some memories of LonPaul, you can find 138 of them here:

Phone: Not that I’m aware of

* * *


Do you love hip-hop? And martial arts? And chess? Well, that works out nicely.

Also, in case you’ve been pining away for a personalized Kleenex box, here’s the promotion for you, under the heading “Let Out Your Creative Juices.” Ewwwww.

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J. Silverheels Gray, 8:38 AM | link | 0 comments |

Monday, June 09, 2008

France wakes up, modernizes wine classifications

French Wine RegionsIn what can be described as a Very Big Deal, France has (finally!) hit upon a modernization plan to help its wines compete in the world marketplace, in which it has been steadily losing customers to New World wineries.

Up until now, tradition had ruled in France, and wines were known by they regions from which they came, rather than the grapes from which they were made. This made their labels largely inscrutable to many consumers who are more used to the straightforward method of labeling used for wines made in the majority of wine-producing countries. (There were some exceptions to the French rules; wines made in Languedoc, for example, could be labeled with the names of the grapes used.)

The new system will consist of three classes, Vignobles de France, Indication Géographique Protégée, and Appellation d'Origine Protégée. While the traditional regional labels will be maintained, winemakers will also have the option of explaining what grapes are in the bottle.
J. Silverheels Gray, 11:08 AM | link | 0 comments |

Monday, June 02, 2008

Hollyhock Hill featured in Saveur

Hollyhock HillHollyhock Hill, the venerable family-style restaurant on Indianapolis’ north side, is one of the subjects featured in a coast-to-coast culinary road trip in the the July 2008 issue of Saveur magazine.

The editors loved the place, pronouncing it "the world's best fried chicken" and giving it more than three full-page color photos. They also print Hollyhock Hill's fried chicken recipe, which seems too simple to be accurate: Season with Kosher salt and refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight, dredge chicken in flour and fry in a 12" cast-iron skillet with 3/4" of lard or shortening heated to 350°F; fry for about 10 minutes, turning occasionally, then reduce heat and fry about 10 minutes more until done; drain and serve. (I've never made fried chicken that I was happy with, so I'll try it!)

Another stop for Hoosier food was made at the Strongbow Inn in Valparaiso. The editors liked it too, and published the inn's recipe for Turkey Noodle Soup. Not making the cut for the wrong reasons was the Nashville House, which the editors skipped because it didn't look "authentic" enough. They'll get letters....
J. Silverheels Gray, 4:49 PM | link | 1 comments |