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Mixed Bag
Back in Black, from from San Francisco's 21st Amendment Brewery

New products are beginning to trickle to market, early arrivals for the anticipated fall rush. Stay tuned for new flavored whiskeys, more new beer labels and what seems like an unending stream of new wine labels – and new offerings from familiar names.

Back in Black

A few weeks ago, I told you about a couple of brews from San Francisco’s 21st Amendment Brewery – Hell or High Watermelon Wheat and Brew Free or Die IPA. Now, the brewery’s newest beer – Back in Black IPA – is hitting shelves in Georgia.

This beer pours deceptively. Its dark as night color suggests a stout or porter. The creamy, dimpled head suggests the same.

But the first taste and you know you’ve strapped onto a classic IPA that also delivers a nicely toasted malt backbone. In fact, that’s where the color comes from: Dark malts that deliver a goth look with a hint of caramel goodness. The beers scores moderate bitterness with 65 IBUs; 6.8 percent ABV.

Look for Back in Black in boxed six–packs of...cans! Remember, 21st Amendment cans all of its beers, just like long–time favorite, Colorado brewer Oskar Blues.

A Summer Rose

I’m like a moth to flame when Spanish wines are on the table. From rich Tempranillo to floral Torrontes to luscious Garnacha – I love ’em all.

I was particularity pleased last week when I sampled Artazuri, a Garnacha Rose from Spain. Remember, 21st Century Rose is not the cloyingly sweet predecessor we sipped while watching our lava lamps in the 1970s. Artazuri is no exception.

It has a nice fruit forward presentation and then subsides with a gentle finish and enough acidity to make it a perfect pairing for your favorite grilled summer foods – even the lowly hamburger.

Give this one a nice chill – and revel in the bargain. It’s gonna be around $10–$11. I found mine at Savannah Market; Quality Wine and Spirits is the distributor.

A new Lodi wine

The wine label “Robert Reynolds” make not be a household name, but at $13 or less, this Lodi, California–based winery makes juice well worth attention.

Truthfully, historic Oak Ridge Winery is home to the Robert Reynolds label. The line – which includes Viognier, Merlot, Cab and Zin – as well as a Pinot Nero (The Italian equivalent on Pinot Noir) has emerged as a market favorite with its well–made and affordable wines.

I sampled the 2008 Chardonnay. Initially, the aroma is lush with tropical flowers, then yields to juicy Chardonnay fruit and the tiniest hint of oak. It is well–balanced and drinks far bigger than its $13–ish price tag.

A check around town found the Chardonnay, Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon at Johnnie Ganem’s Package Shop. New distributor Big Boat Wines is the seller.