- Ron Bechtol
Backyard Grillers and Canned Chillers // Want a beer with that burger straight off the grill? Fine with us. We don’t judge when it comes to backyard boozin’. Jack and ginger? We’re there for that, too. But if you’d like to up the outdoor ante with a wine or two, we’ve also got you covered. And not to worry — sluggability is more the goal here than subtlety.
Fortunately for the folks who just like the feel of a cold one in hand on a hot day, there’s good news: wine now comes in cans, too. Yes, it’s a thing. It all may have started with women slipping Sofia Coppola’s pink sparkler into their purses to sip on at the salon, but the bros, purse or no, cottoned on to the idea in time. There’s even a brand called Mancan, lest there be any virility issues.
So now nobody has to fear downing the canned stuff, fizzy or flat, in front of the familia or the fellas. To get you started, Frico, a lightly sparkling Italian white wine, comes in .187 milliliter containers adorned with the south end of a swine — perfect for downing while flipping ribs. Central Market has it in four-packs. (Trader Joe’s also has four-packs of two, own-label sparklers at $4 a pack, but they sell out quickly, so call ahead.)
Upping the ante, but only slightly, and available at TJ’s, Whole Foods and World Market, Union Wine Company offers three Oregon wines under the Underwood label — pinot noir, pinot gris and a rosé. The Infinite Monkey Theorem of Denver and Austin (“ridiculously good wine in a can you can drink anywhere” — but especially where glass is an issue) is available in generic white, red and rosé, also at the above purveyors.
So here’s the deal: you could just buy a selection, toss them all in a galvanized tub with ice, and take pot-luck — whatever can you grab first will likely be more than good enough with whatever you’re grilling. And as most cans are small, if the first one doesn’t please, just go on to the next. If you’d like to think about it just a little more, the sparklers would all be good with, say grilled shrimp — or anything with a little spice; the funky Monkey’s generic white has enough spunk to stand up to chicken or pork, as does the juicy rosé. Also think sausage and salmon. On the success of these, I’d give their red a try with burgers and steaks.
I was less thrilled with Underwood’s wines. They weigh in at a dangerous half bottle’s worth, and just lacked the cheeky sass a can seems to demand. Moving on to full bottles with cheek to spare, if you’re not yet ready to pop a top on wine, let me suggest just about everything made by Washington State’s Charles Smith Wines. Kung Fu Girl Riesling, Eve Chardonnay, The Velvet Devil Merlot, and Boom Boom! Syrah are all big wines with enough verve and attitude to take on anything coming off the grill. And you should be able to find them at prices ranging from around $11 to $17.50. Ounce for ounce, this is actually cheaper than some of the cans. Go figure. — Ron Bechtol
Busted Sandal Turns 4 // Does your weekend need more beer in it? Spend it with Busted Sandal as the Medical Center brewery celebrates turning four this Saturday.
The party starts at 4 p.m. with several beers on deck including a fourth Anniversary Wine Barrel Blend, Jeffeweizen, Hop Dong IPA, Watermelon 210 Ale, El Despierto Coffee Porter, Finding Friday Mexican Lager, Slippery Rock IPA, 210 Ale, Fire Pit Wit, El Robusto Porter. Three casks will be uncorked for the occasion, as well, so expect a Key lime pie blonde ale, watermelon tamarindo Slippery Rock IPA and a S’morter, a s’mores twist on El Robusto Porter.
Pack a chair and stop by for food for purchase by Malik’s Philly’s Phamous Cheesesteaks, popsicles from Steel City Pops and a cameo by Catherine Contreras of She’s Crafty Podcast.
Tickets, $25 in advance and $30 at the door, include one commemorative glass and seven 7-ounce pours.
Advance tickets are available Eventbrite.com. 7114 Oaklawn Drive, (210) 872-1486. — JE