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Full Sail ahead!

We are entering a handful of weeks where beer after beer -- all new to Savannah -- will be streaming into the marketplace.

Full Sail, a legendary Oregon brewer, docked last week and has already made waves among local beer drinkers. It's no surprise when you know the Full Sail story, a tale laced with passion, enthusiasm and dedication to the brewer's art.

It was quite a different picture today than in 1987 when the infant brewery moved into the old Diamond Fruit Cannery. Hood River, Oregon, offered a picturesque backdrop for the brewery that was about to embark on a path festooned with awards, revolutionary business practices and, oh yeah, awesome beer.

The brewery is wholly employee-owned since 1999, runs on four 10-hour shifts to reduce water and power consumption by 20 percent and uses 100 percent recycled cardboard in their packaging and office paper supplies. Hops and barley come from local farmers, water from a spring on Mount Hood.

That leaves plenty of three-day weekends for the Full Sail crew to surf, snowboard or, oh yeah, drink beer.

Speaking of beer, finally, here's what you'll find on local shelves:

Full Sail Amber: It's the brand's best selling beer and won the brewery's first medal: A gold at the 1989 Great American Beer Festival. As it was in the beginning, Amber is a sweet, malty, medium-bodied ale with a spicy, floral hop finish. In all, it has won 12 Gold Medals at the World Beer Championships

Full Sail IPA: Generous hops make this classic-styled IPA a real thirst quencher. It has a full, malty body and there's even a hint of fresh citrus. Thank goodness the Brits' beer went bad sailing around the horn of Africa -- or we may have never invented IPA!

Full Sail Pale Ale: The Pale Ale relies on a mysterious and secret blend of two Northwestern hop varieties to create a clean, crisp ale that finishes clean, has a great hops aroma -- but comes up slightly sweeter than IPA. Consider it IPA with training wheels.

Full Sail Session: And consider this craft beer for your friends who still think bigger means better. It doesn't take a team of Clydesdales to roll this little 11-ounce bottle to the table. Its lower alcohol level (5.1 percent) makes this Pilsner perfect for a "session" beer. Again, this is a good introduction to American craft beer for your friends who buy their beer based on last week's NASCAR sponsor. Smooth, easy-drinking and imminently enjoyable -- with real beer flavor.

By today, you should also be finding these beers on your retailers' shelves: New Belgium Brewing Co. and its cult classic Fat Tire Amber, Vermont-based brewer Magic Hat and Michigan craft beer pioneer Bell's -- with its thirst quenching Oberon and award winning Amber.

A rose is a rose

I continue to beat the drum for dry Rose wines. I revisited one at a tasting recently that deserves attention.
South African Slowine Rosé is made with a blend of Pinot Noir, Shiraz and Pinotage grapes. It is salmon pink in color, with scents of ripe strawberry and ripe cherries. I enjoyed the acidity, which insures a crisp, lively and refreshing finish. Chill it well for a perfect summer wine.

This wine violates my usual "no animals on the label" rule, but the tortoise has a story, which you can learn about online,, and the wine is a winner.

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