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Archive for the ‘Wine’ Category

For unseasonably warm November weather. So thus, wanting to take advantage of the gorgeous, sunny, mid-60s temperatures, we went on a little daytrip last Saturday to hike Wildcat Mountain in Fauquier County, between Marshall and Warrenton.

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It was a challenging hike, with some pretty steep elevation gains. Of course, we had gorgeous sights to keep us company along the way:

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Hmmm oh yeah, and some gorgeous scenery sights too 😉

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And of course, when we finally reached the end of the hike, I felt like this

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VICTORYYYY! So of course, since this was Saturday, it meant pre-hike brunch instead of traditional breakfast and lunch. And of course, intense hike + only brunch under our belts + a pile of exhausted but triumphant bones = a winery stop, in my book! See, not only do I love beer (obviously), but in recent years, I’ve really come to appreciate wine as well. Maybe not to the extent that I really understand and appreciate beer, but I’ve been becoming more and more turned on to the depth of flavor and body profiles afforded by the canon of wines out there. And, maybe somewhat surprisingly, Virginia has a booming wine industry. There are 166 wineries in Virginia, so it was easy to find one on our way home.

Enter: Winery at La Grange in Haymarket, VA!

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So why am I telling you this? Well, as usual, a post in Pete Brown’s Beer Blog got me thinking. That particular post showcases the winning essay on “Why Beer Matters,” and dare I say, the author, Mark Dredge, explains why in a heartfelt and moving manner. You can go read his essay, so I won’t summarize, but I will say that I completely agree. There’s something so comforting in our memories of beer, something so nestled in our coming of age, that those tastes become a part of ourselves, a part of our stories. Settling in with a hearty, bubbling brew will always remind me of those early days of my living away from home, cloistering myself in a dorm room or in Dan’s apartment before he was even my boyfriend, with a group of people who felt like a self-formed family, absorbed in a world of our own making that morphed along with us as we transformed, bit by bit, into who we ended up being now. It always reminds me of warmth, of singing, of laughing, of an excuse to say to hell with my hesitations, of the funny shock of emerging into the outside world- usually a cold, snowy, windy one in our months at school- still feeling the glow of what we created indoors, over those brews.

Similarly, wine to me will always feel appropriate in the outdoors. For some reason, a good wine (like that of Virginia’s native grape, the Norton),

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a pungent, creamy hunk of cheese, and a dense, chewy loaf of bread

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will always feel right to me on a day like last Saturday. A day when I’m weary, dirty, imbued with that splendid feeling of being simultaneously filled with the exhilaration of the natural world and your own body’s triumphs in relation to it, and hollow with the empty ache of hunger- for food, for drink, for more adventure. To me, this is a perfect time to sample the rich tastes of wine and gaze out at the sunset

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before finally journeying home again.

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Which made this weekend’s beer of choice an interesting contrast. Though we’re having unseasonably warm temps more appropriate, in my mind, to hiking and wine than cozy fires and winter warmers, winter beers are what’s on the shelves, so winter beers are what’s in our house!

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For our cozy, cloistering enjoyment upon returning home, we have Anchor Brewing’s Christmas Ale! Because of crappy lighting, here are a couple fixed up photos of the beer that each look a bit off, each in a unique way:

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(Beer from hell!!!)

(Sorry about that last one, had to!)

This is just about THE most wintry, spiced-tasting beer I’ve ever sipped on. It tastes like sipping on a Christmas-y potpourri…in a very good way. Each year Anchor Brewing releases a new Christmas Ale, with a new recipe, and a slightly different label. Of course, each year they also withhold any and all information on ingredients and brewing techniques used in the creation of that year’s beer.

Whatever it is, it tastes like warmth. It tastes like things baking and evergreens staying ever green. It tastes like cocooning yourself inside on a cold winter day. It tastes like the comfort those early days of our drinking stir in us.

Cheers, y’all 🙂

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