Just when we think our fair city has reached its pinnacle with new and interesting drinkin’ establishments, another one comes along and knocks our socks off! It seems that while we were all squirreled away in our covid bubbles, the building and the booming downtown didn’t take a break. And now that we are on the brink of full quarantine release (please…we are optimistic), we have found the perfect place for bustin’ out! Perched high above our old Greenville News stomping grounds, Juniper – NOW OPEN on the top floor of the brand new AC Hotel – is about to be the “next big thing”!
A little something for everyone…
No matter the mood, the crowd, or the appetite, Juniper has it covered (or uncovered). This rooftop spot offers every kind of seating imaginable…bar, table, indoor, outdoor, quiet, buzzy…with cocktails and nibbles to match. Let Baileigh, lead mixologist extraordinaire, work her magic behind the bar with one of her cocktail creations and let the kitchen wow you with one of their shareable plates, then just take in that view and let the magic begin.
Risk it for Hibiscus…
While immersed in this upscale, vine-covered oasis with a view like no other, it would only be right to sip on an equally intoxicating cocktail. Inspired by a memorable hibiscus olive oil cake that Baileigh baked in culinary school, this tequila-based beverage is as tasty as it is beautiful with edible glitter, hibiscus sugar rim and a cloud-like topper. Maestro Dobel Silver tequila, house made hibiscus simple syrup, lemon juice and a blood orange olive oil come together perfectly to create a divine flavor and texture -and the foam is actually made from aguafaba, a vegan alternative to egg whites – who knew? This stunner is like sipping on a beautiful sunset!
All She Wrote….
This elixir is a take on The Last Word, and this take is clearly an elevated version! An herbaceous St. George gin is mixed with Chartreuse, lemon juice and Italicus Bergamotto liqueur (bergamot is a very sour lemony orange and is a main ingredient in Earl Grey Tea – fun fact) and finished with a spritz of Absinthe on the glass. And just when you think it can’t get any better- hand-spun cotton candy tops it off creating a magical experience as the colors turn from green to blue as it slowly dissolves. The heady, aromatic flavor and smooth, velvety finish create the ultimate sensory experience.
Kings & Jokers….
Named after a college drinking game, this beverage will bring back fond memories and create some really fun new ones! Havana Club Anejo Blanco rum, Chinola passion fruit liqueur, butterfly pea flower infused rum (for color), and lime are combined and blended with a house-infused papaya shrub (a healthy drinking vinegar) to create a unique and adventurous experience. This one will kickstart your tastebuds in the best way possible!
Hop that trolley….
Now, we have seen our share of table-side “shows”…guacamole, Caesar salads, the occasional Baked Alaska…but a cocktail trolley?! Be still our hearts!! Juniper will delight guests with special table-side mixology sessions with a brilliant Gin Trolley featuring (of course) every imaginable gin along with the accoutrements to create mind-blowing bespoke cocktails. Now, if that trolley could only add our streets to its route!
The old Greenville News home place…with a giant upgrade…
Although it was bittersweet to see the old, iconic Greenville News home-place go, we could gush on about this place…and the space. The artwork alone (featuring some of our favorite local talents) is a sight to behold. And stay tuned for more on “The Press Room”, a speak-easy with a clever nod to our iconic employer.
Make your reservations now…Juniper is calling your name!
Juniper. 315 South Main . Greenville . junipergvl.com . 864-720-2950
Angi Einstein and Alex Ryan. http://www.therarebelle.com
Our TALKGreenville cocktailin’ experience this month was easy-peasy…chill, pop, drink. While this might sound a bit ho-hum, it was anything but!! Created back in 1952, the The Finnish Long Drink, a top-selling category of alcoholic beverage in Finland, is a relative new-comer to our U.S. shores…much to our delight. A refreshing “citrus soda with a premium liquor kick”, the long drink comes all nice & tidy in a can – making drinkin’ on the go easier than ever (think picnics & tailgating) for those of us who just never took to drinking beer on the regular. Although this refreshing creation has quite the back-story, we are most interested in the here and now – immediate imbibing!
Those brilliant Fins…
As we said earlier, this belle-ringin’ cocktail has actually been around for a while. As Finland prepared to host the summer Olympic Games in 1952, they had a conundrum. As a country of just 4 million on the world stage, they didn’t want to have any “slip-ups”. Of course, they had to pay attention to venues, lodging, and transportation…but one the most important concerns was how to serve beverages (of the alcoholic variety) to the throngs of visitors. We wouldn’t want folks waiting in long lines left empty-handed, now would we?! They brilliantly came up with a citrusy grapefruit and gin concoction that could be canned or kegged and voila…refreshing cocktails in a snap! (And lots of happy tourists!)
This cocktail in a can is long on flavor, short on prep! Imagine refreshing grapefruit soda (think Fresca) with a juniper punch, striking a nice citrusy, earthy balance that is slightly sweeter than your typical gin & tonic. (Speaking of Fresca, if Coca-Cola is reading this – please bring Tab back – it was truly cruel to discontinue such an icon in a pandemic – just sayin’). Now, back to business. Drink it right out of the can or take it up a level with a glass and some fresh lime. Either way, this is your opportunity to let the legend continue – and you will surely want to Finnish it!
The Zero Sugar…
We found this version to be a bit more crisp and less sweet..an all-around win for a “diet” beverage. Oddly, it also seemed to be slightly more effervescent…which is always a good thing in our opinion. The Zero Sugar option is a bonus for those who are working on maintaining a slim figure as it packs the same great taste with a lot less guilt – truly a winner on every front!
While the original features the citrusy-but-not-too-sweet grapefruit, cranberry brings a tart yet sweet edge to this version. Reminiscent of dark cherry, the cranberry flavor brings a surprising and decidedly refreshing twist when mixed with the gin. Along with its counterparts, the cranberry version is the perfect sporting beverage for gatherings, tailgating, and many other celebrations. We are pretty sure you will get a kick out of this can!
The long journey across the pond…
The Fins and their visitors have been enjoying the Long Drink for nearly 70 years. Sadly, tourists would fall in love with the delicious “national drink” only to pine away for just one more when their stay came to an end. However, things took a turn about five years ago giving folks the chance to take a sip outside of Finland’s borders. In 2015, it went on shelves in several other European countries, then quickly entered Asian markets. Now, at long last, The Finnish Long Drink is ours to enjoy right here in the good ol’ USA – and with impeccable timing. In this era of social distancing, the long drink is a novel idea from the past that we can embrace in the here & now – a mixed cocktail all ready to go…no need to share liquor bottles and mixers!
With a 5%-8% alcohol content, the canned long drink is kind of like drinking a beer or one of those über-popular flavored seltzers…only better. While the usual canned beverages like beer and seltzers give you that full, bloated feeling, the Finnish Long Drink won’t make you feel like a blow-fish. However, imbiber beware…this delightful beverage is sooo smooth, you might forget there’s real liquor in that can! Let’s pace ourselves, folks. Kippis!
The Finnish Long Drink . longdrink.com .
Check the website for local availability.
New year, new TALK Greenville cocktailin’ adventure..
We are true fans of almost anything “française”, so Bonjour Crepe on Main Street has been on our “to-do” list for quite a while. We had visited for lunch and brunch to partake in their authentic, to-die-for crepes, but we had not given cocktail hour a try…and you know that’s our thing! We paid Mayra and her team a visit to get the scoop on what’s happenin’ behind the bar, and we were très content…even en extase! Read on for our faves and more…
Bonsoir mes amis…
Mama always said, “don’t judge a book by its cover”. Well, unless you are “in the know” (and consider yourself as such as of now), Bonjour Crepe might sound a bit like a daytime-only go-to, but don’t be fooled. The dinner menu at this lovely little place is truly divine!! Start with the charcuterie and then go for the scallops (in a saffron orange sauce – yum!), the peppercorn steak, or the très français Escargot Bourguignon…or any of the other outstanding dinner selections. Trust us, bells will be ringin’!
As for the behind-the-bar action…
The bubbly classics…Kir Royale & French 75 …
We started our tasting with two mainstays in the champagne cocktail arena. The Kir Royale is simple yet inspired in its elegance. Balance is key here, and these bartenders add just enough crème de cassis to achieve perfection. Created by the French as a festive cousin to the Kir cocktail with Nazi resistant wine, the Kir Royale will have you declaring “vive la resistance”! But the bubbles don’t stop there! The French 75 is another winner with the addition of gin, lemon juice and sugar. While the Italian aperol spritz has enjoyed more buzz in recent years, the French 75 is front and center here…and for good reason. Santé!
The French Martini…
We belles learned a little something on this adventure as we had never heard of a French martini – shocking we know – but we can all use some enlightenment now and then. This is where you see the alchemy behind the bar and a twist of creativity. Made with vodka, chambord and pineapple juice then filled to the brim with champagne this drink hits a new level of modernity. We loved the citric and floral aromatic elements of this magic potion. We are thinking you will too!
The New Fashioned…
Fondly known here as “Emilee’s finisher”, this boozy beverage might go down in history. As a twist on the basic old fashioned, this mouth-watering combination of Makers Mark, cherry liqueur and chocolate bitters will have both the experienced and novice bourbon drinker singing its praises. With its hint of chocolate added to the caramel notes of the bourbon, it makes the perfect last cocktail of the night -thus, the finisher
Never a dull moment…
Mayra and her team like to keep things interesting, so they are a threat to bring in a belly dancer or two! Guests love their “Arabian Nights” (that’s where the dancers come in), and they do “Boozy Bingo” on Sundays along with bottomless mimosas for brunch and “ladies nights” on the regular. Be sure to follow along on Facebook or Insta for details on what they have up their sleeves next!
Open every single day, this “crepery & more” is ready and waiting for you!
Bonjour Crepe . 20 South Main Street . Greenville . 864-509-1090 . @bonjourcrepegvl
Cheers! Alex & Angi
Here’s what we have goin’ on in TALK Greenville this month…
Who’s ready for a new year, a fresh start, a hard reboot?? We are for sure! As we enter the final month of this terribly topsy-turvy year (finally, right??!), we are ready to pop some corks and let the bubbles flow! We sat down for a little tutorial a few weeks back at a Champagne masterclass at Foxcroft Wine Co., and came away with a fresh supply of the sparkly stuff – all chilled and waiting for the celebration to begin!
a delightful “accident”…
Believe it or not, ol’ Dom Pérignon spent much of his life trying to kill the fizz in his wines! Wines produced in the Champagne region of France (the only wines that get to be called Champagne with a capital “C”) have the natural tendency to bubble, but early French wine makers saw this as a major drawback…a sign of wine gone bad. The English actually took a liking to the sparkles, shipping barrels across the channel in the early 1600’s, well before the French realized they were onto something – and we are so glad they did!
Pierre Moncuit “Delos” 2006…
It was a privilege to taste this 2006 Grand Cru which is comprised of grapes from only that year. The 37-acre Moncuit operation started producing champagne in 1860, and they pride themselves on their custom balancing (no stiff, stuffy formula here) for flavor and character. We belles love anything custom, so high points for making us feel special!
Lilbert-Fils Blanc de Blancs
This delicious creation comes from a small vineyard (only 8 acres) that began producing champagne in the 1700’s – so they certainly have experience on their side! Using exclusively Chardonnay grapes, they produce only 2500 cases per year, so it was a special treat to sip this broad, well-rounded, yet fresh and ripe result. We especially enjoyed the smaller boules or bubbles that tickled our tastebuds. One word of advice…once the cork is popped and this lovely champagne is exposed to air, the aroma and taste change dramatically; so be patient, give it a swirl, and enjoy every sip!
Jacquesson No. 743…(our FAVE!)
This is the champagne that Napoleon took along as an “essential provision” on his many campaigns, even taking it with him on his ill-fated invasion of Russia, thus introducing Moscow to the merits of the bubbly elixir. In fact, on his visit to Jacquesson in 1810, Napoleon awarded them with a gold medal in recognition of “the beauty and richness of its cellars”. With a change in ownership in 1990, Jacquesson has continued that award-winning tradition. (Don’t we all love a winner?) With this kind of stellar reputation, consistency is key, and they’ve got it figured out -just sayin. And if it’s good enough for the Emperor, it’s good enough for us!
some champers trivia…and a challenge
When the clock ticks down at the end of this month…putting the final nail in the coffin of 2020…we will most definitely be celebrating with a bottle (or a case)! Conveniently, December 31st happens to be National Champagne Day, after all. Here are a couple of interesting facts about the sparkling elixir…. First, there are approximately 49 million bubbles in the average 750ml bottle. We will take their word for it! Second, the longest flight of a cork on record is 177 feet. Our challenge to you…see how far you can make one fly (responsibly, of course) at the stroke of midnight as you welcome what we hope and pray will be a healthy, prosperous, harmonious 2021!
Thanks to the folks at Foxcroft for the education and their extra-special hospitality. Stop by and let them show you around their collection of wines (with and without bubbles) and stay for a bite – you will not be disappointed! They sure know what they are doing. And our special message to you…we wish you all the happiest of holidays and a very happy brand-spankin’ new year!
Foxcroft Wine Co . 631 S Main Street . Greenville . 864-906-4200 . foxcroftwine.com/greenville
Happy, Happy!! Alex & Angi
Check out our latest cocktailin’ contribution to TALK Greenville…on stands (and online) now!
Our fair city never ceases to amaze us! While these past few months have been challenging to say the least, we continue to witness greatness in the making in the cocktailin’ & culinary business. Our most recent discovery…recent newcomer Urban Wren Winery. We had been hearing lots of hoopla about the food, the drinks, the vibe – so we had to go check it out for ourselves. One recent afternoon, we sat down with Nick (owner) and Eric (GM and resident sommelier) for a chat and some sips & samples. It was quite the belle-ringin’ experience!!
Eric certainly knows a thing or two about the world of wines, and he has curated a list with a world focus. He set out to create a “sense of place” for folks from near and far, accomplishing his goal with wines from six of the seven continents (impressive!). Stop by for a glass (or a bottle) from his collection – and stay tuned for news on some eventual wine-making action!
While we were tempted to have Eric choose his favorite bottle for us to savor, we just had to show the bartenders some attention. They did not disappoint! Here are three of our favorites…
The White Negroni…
The sophisticated yet cool atmosphere of Urban Wren lends itself to this upscale classic. A large, single cube tinkles in the glass, a soaked cherry enhances the look, while the blend of Lillet Blanc and Suze create the perfect balance of strength with a soft finish. “Simply divine, make it mine”, your tastebuds will cry! It’s the perfect starter drink before what is sure to be an incredible meal.
Papa Don’t Peach…
Woodford Reserve and grilled peach simple syrup combine to enhance the smokiness of this beverage as it is smoked “en place” to add a touch of drama. This delightful creation smells like a warm fire and a cozy conversation, yet the flavor is subtle. Papa can preach all he wants as long as we can have one of these in our paws!
This delicious concoction, garnished with pickled cactus and lime, is refreshing, well-rounded, balanced and sure to keep you and your palate intrigued. We are fans of a good, smoky Mezcal, but the smokiness in this case is perfectly tempered by citrus juices, a delicious mango puree, roasted poblano, and honey. Perfection!
As if the beautiful indoor bar & table seating and patio space weren’t enough, Urban Wren has even more room to “social distance” and celebrate in their special events loft! They host their own larger gatherings with wine tastings and culinary/mixology classes; but it’s also the perfect space for small-ish wedding receptions, rehearsal dinners, birthday gatherings, corporate events…you name it, they can do it!
get social & have a nibble…
The bar at Urban Wren is front & center, just waiting for guests to slip in and join the conversation. And bring your appetite, because the bar bites are not to be missed! We highly recommend the to-die-for lamb tacos and the mobile charcuterie (a Tuesday evening treat) with a heavy dose of their witching sticks, but you can’t go wrong. Gather your gang and book a table for dinner to get the full experience. Bon appetit!
Urban Wren . 116 N Markley Street . Greenville . 864-626-6336
Cheers!! Alex & Angi
Check out our latest cocktailin’ experience for TALK Greenville…currently in the September edition…
There’s a new kid coming to one particular Main Street block, and he’s creating quite a buzz! Reid’s for Fine Foods will soon be completing its overhaul of the former Caviar & Bananas space on Laurens Street (just off of Main) in downtown Greenville for its first South Carolina location! Our friends up the highway in Charlotte have long sung its praises…and now we can get in on the action!!
It’s Five O’Clock somewhere…and other goodies
Over the years, we have been the recipients of many a container of Reid’s now-iconic “Five O’Clock Crunch”…much to our delight (and obsession)! While they offer this delectable snack mix and many other private-label offerings, Reid’s is a fully-stocked specialty food market and restaurant with all the bells & whistles. With a full-selection meat counter, deli, cheeses and wines galore, you’re gonna need a bigger basket!
And they not only stock some of the hottest wines out there, they go to great lengths to create their own private-label wines that have become major crowd-pleasers! We sipped a few…read on…
Smooth, refreshing, and easy-going, this is a white wine that even the most staunch red drinker can embrace. The grapes for Reid’s Chardonnay are selected when ripe and bursting with flavors to fashion a rich, bold, luscious wine that then rests in used French oak barrels. Marci’s Reserve has a unique creaminess that flourishes with stone fruits kissed by delicate lemony notes. Its long, lovely, vanilla finish makes it irresistible.
Reid’s Pinot Noir…
This is a crowd-pleasin’ red! While the Chardonnay is the white wine for red-drinkers, this is the red that the die-hard white-wine-drinker could fall for. Fruit flavors, structure and minerality are the key components in this Pinot Noir. Layered in flavors driven by Bing to black cherry, rhubarb, and Reid’s signature spice component, it has incredible dimension and depth. The subtle minerality enhances its structure providing its exceptional ability to pair with almost any food.
Leyla Rutherford Bench Cabernet Sauvignon…
This is a beautiful wine, folks…from start to finish! Made from vines grown in the complex soils of the famous “Rutherford Bench” in Napa Valley, it bursts with the aromas and flavors of dark cherry and plum. These generous flavors take center stage on the palate, while cinnamon, clove, and dark chocolate gracefully add a layer of complexity. The integration of French oak and fine-grained tannins complete the taste of this incredibly elegant creation. We want to keep this one flowing…beggin’ darling please, Leyla!
Burger Tuesday and more…
“Burger Tuesday” has become a cult-favorite in Charlotte, so we know where we will want to be on Tuesdays from now on! And there will be something to draw fans throughout the day, every day. From coffee and breakfast offerings to “hand-built” sandwiches & salads for lunch to the seventy-five seat wine bar (and the potential for live-music at times), we might just need to move in!
If you drop by for dinner, you can grab a wine off of the shelf and enjoy it with no corkage. (Beer & liquor drinkers, take note…they have you covered in that area as well!) And as they have done in previous stores, they will be offering fully-prepared holiday meals for your home-dining pleasure. Just plan to order early!!
Opening is currently scheduled for mid-October, but check out the website (reids.com) for all the latest news (and sign up for their daily updates while you are at it). The Greenville location will be similar to the Myers Park store in Charlotte, so take a look at their menus and other offerings if you want a preview of things to come. Hours are currently slated for 7 am – 10 pm, so once they cut the ribbons and open the doors, you have no excuses!
Reids for Fine Foods . 1 North Laurens Street . Greenville . reids.com
Our latest TALK Greenville contribution – currently in the June issue…
Well…it has certainly been an interesting couple of months to say the least! “Social distancing” and “sheltering in place” caused quite a few unforeseen challenges – especially in terms of our drinkin’ habits! On one hand, we have been far less social lately with no big weddings, galas, or other shindigs to attend. On the other hand (for some of us), staying home with nothing else to do for weeks on end has driven us to drink a bit more than usual. A belle needs something to look forward to…just sayin’.
We thought we would share what we have found to be an excellent way to drink up any wine you might have left in the cellar…with the potential to serve a crowd (if we ever get to serve a crowd again!). And – it just happens to be perfect for those hot summer days to come. Sangria!
First – a bit of history…
Sangria started out of necessity centuries ago as wine, fruits, and spices were mixed into bacteria-filled water. That little touch of alcohol made the water safe to drink…and the fruits and spices made it tolerable. The Spanish named it “sangria” (blood) because of the red wine they were using. These days, under European law, all sangria must be made in Spain or Portugal – but the very best sangrias are made right in your kitchen!
Red, red, sangria…
This is perfect for those who might be trying to avoid too much sugar (can you say quarantine 15?). This particular version uses lemon, lime and orange juices along with agave nectar to add just the right amount of sweetness with a bit less guilt. It sits it the fridge overnight – or you can keep adding to it for weeks on end so that you never run out! Raspberries and sparkling water are added at party time for a surprisingly balanced sweet, savory & fruity elixir.
- 1 bottle red wine
- 1 lemon (cut into wedges)
- 1 lime (cut into wedges)
- 1 orange (cut into wedges)
- 1 cup raspberries (fresh or frozen)
- 1/2 cup agave nectar
- 2 cups sparkling water (club soda)
- Pour the wine into a pitcher. Squeeze the juice from the lemon, lime and orange wedges into the wine. Toss the fruit wedges into the pitcher (leaving out the seeds if possible). Add the nectar and stir well. Chill overnight. Add sparkling water and raspberries before serving over ice.
Everything’s coming up rosé…
It’s actually hard to drink rosé ALL day – well, for some, but not all of us! This sangria might make it a bit easier! Simply pour a bottle of dry rosé into a pitcher and add lime juice, sliced strawberries, lemon-lime soda and a bit of sugar. Cut several mint leaves into thin strips and add to the pitcher for a savory, herby touch. The result is a crisp, slightly sweet refresher that is sure to be a crowd-pleaser (again…if crowds are a no-no, just pretend you have friends around and down the whole thing yourself – no one would blame you!)
- 1 bottle dry Rosé
- 1 cup strawberries (sliced)
- 4 cups lemon-lime soda
- 3 limes (squeeze juice of two limes, keep one lime thinly sliced)
- 2 – 3 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons mint (fresh)
- Gather the ingredients. Place sliced strawberries, lime juice, sliced lime and rosé in a pitcher. Cut the mint into thin strips and add to the pitcher. Add the sugar and soda, stir, and serve.
In these crazy times, we sometimes need a cocktail that is immediately available to wet our whistles and calm our nerves. This delightful instant sangria only needs a few ingredients and a little freezer time to be ready at a moments notice. Simply freeze blended fruit and ginger ale in ice trays and keep them on hand. Drop them in your favorite red or white wine, stir for a quick bit, and you are well on your way to a refreshing respite from this other world we’ve been living in. And bonus points here…the kiddos can enjoy the little ice pops right from the freezer!
- 1 lemon
- 1 lime
- 1 orange
- 1 cup raspberries
- 1/2 cup strawberries
- 1/3 c sugar
- 2 cups ginger ale
- 1 bottle wine (red or white)
- Peel the lemon, lime, and orange, removing the seeds. Put the citrus fruits into a blender with the raspberries, strawberries, sugar, and ginger ale. Blend all of the ingredients (except the wine) together, until it is “slushy.” Pour the slush into ice cube trays and freeze. When the mixture is completely frozen, pop the cubes into a plastic freezer bag and keep frozen. At drinkin’ time, pour yourself a glass of wine and plop 3 to 5 Sangria cubes into the glass. Stir and enjoy!
Grab a pitcher and a bottle of wine (your choice) and get busy! We are here for you, belles!!
While we are always up for a good cocktail (duh), we took a step away from the hard stuff again this month for our drinkin’adventure, spending a leisurely afternoon with Richard DeBondtat Northampton Wine and Dine. Tucked away under the Church Street bridge near downtown, it’s one of our favorite haunts!
History and experience…a winning combo
The original Northampton opened in 1975 (same year disco arrived on the scene for a bit of trivia) and has been going strong ever since – with a couple of location changes. Richard and Robert Warth were working at Sonny’s Steak House out on Wade Hampton way back then. Sonny’s had an incredible wine list which sparked their interest. They opened their own shop, and the rest is history. Richard and David E. Williams own and run the current version with a few more bells and whistles thanprevious iterations. Still stocking that impressive array of wines, they have been serving up fine food and even selling liquor for nearly 20 years now. Obviously, they know a thing or two about this biz.
As for the drinkin’ part of this assignment, instead of highlighting three different wines – because personal preference is the name of the wine game – we thought we would give you three different reasons to visit this old-school gem…
By the glass…
Need to take a quick afternoon break – or occupy yourself for a couple of hours when “consumption” is an option? There’s a seat at the bar with your name on it. On any given day, Northampton will have 20+ bottles lined up for your by-the-glass choosing. And these are not just any old wines – or their attempt at cost-cutting. Their pour-on-demand bottles are chosen based on their merits and highlight some of the very best of each variety. It’s like all your favorite candies in a row, just waiting to be savored!
You do you…
One thing that David and Richard like to focus on in the wine-purchasing area is finding and offering the best of what each distinct wine region has to offer. They choose to purchase from vineyards who do what they do really well, producing the latest, greatest wines that represent and highlight the nuances of theirarea. Not everyone needs to attempt to produce a Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, or any other variety, just because it might sell…kind of the “you do you” of the wine world!
20,000 and counting…
Walk in and take a gander. Those cubbies are stocked to the gills with over 1600 different wines…that’s around 20,000 bottles on hand and ready to be enjoyed! Stop in and give them an idea of what you might be cravin’ – they’ll have it. Purchase by the bottle to enjoy with dinner on-site or take it home – or stock up on a couple of cases! And if you need some coaching, they offer 50-80 wine tastings each year (almost every Friday). We can all stand to learn a thing or two!
Dine with your wine…
Whether you’re just popping in for a quick bite on the more casual “bar side” or you’re looking for some fine dining on the more “formal” side, you will not be disappointed with their from-scratch, first class menu. And if you want to bring a real crowd, their private room seats up to 40! Regardless of the size of your party, the wine makes it more intimate. The sharing of a bottle – and the chatter surrounding it – just brings folks together.
Open every day except Sunday, Northampton definitely has its “regulars”, but they are always happy to make new friends! And one special note for this month in particular…it’s a great spot to consider when planning that romantic evening with yoursweetheart come the fourteenth – hint, hint.
This month’s cocktailin’ adventure involves no fancy flourishes or complicated concoctions. We headed out to visit Terri and Tom Davis at Thomas Creek Brewery for a super relaxed brew-tasting experience…and ended up with a surprise or two. One of us has simply never developed a taste for beer…and has, therefore, never, ever drunk a whole beer in her life. Well…never say never! This chick got her brew-groove on in a big way and is now totally on the Thomas Creek band wagon!
When bacteria is your friend…
So what could cause a non-beer-drinkin’ gal to fall in love with what – for all intents and purposes – is a “beer”? Terri, in all her infinite brewing wisdom and experience, explains that dedicated wine drinkers are usually the biggest fans of a good sour. A sour is made with wild bacteria and yeasts, while beers are made in sterile environments with specific yeast strains. Thus, in this case, bacteria rocks! Dedicated beer fans tend to enjoy the unusual flavors in a sour while those who typically don’t take tobeer at all are pleasantly surprised by its kinder, gentler side.
We did some sampling…here’s how it went…
Feelin’ Berry Peachy…
This beer is the lightest of all our samplings. It’s important to note if you are taste–testing, start with this one or you won’t be able to taste its subtle undertones. A touch of blueberry adds some tartness, peaches add a sweet nuance and there is a hint of saltiness on the back end which we thoroughly enjoyed.
This nitro’s name means cherry in Zulu. True to one of these belles’ South African roots, it was an obvious choice both in name and flavor. Distinct but not overpowering, hints of cherry come to the forefront as you sip this creamy, delish, surprisingly dark creation. The name came a long time before the actual brew. We can firmly say this one was worth the wait!
Third up on the agenda was the Sour IPA which is a pretty doggone perfect brew! It melds a sour and an ipa in a very balanced fashion..no easy task in the brewing business. This beer (along with pretty much any beverage on the menu) would be perfect with what claims to be the world’s best Reuben (the key is a mix of pastrami and corned beef…what else would we expect from these masters of blending?).
Deep Water Stout…
The Deep Water Stout was the last, but in no way the least, masterpiece we tasted. Folks often equate a dark beer with a very heavy finish and a strong bitter taste. Not here! Roasted barley is what makes it a stout with a slight hint of coffee flavor. Malt creates the color and adds no bitterness. We found this to be our surprise favorite of the lot, but they are all winners in our book! (And our book is getting pretty big…just sayin’)
After operating Thomas Creek for a full 20 years, Terri and Tom decided to take it a step further in January of 2019 with the opening of their kitchen. Now they are serving up some pretty substantial nibbles to accompany the brews! We are saving up on our calorie and carb counts so that we can treat ourselves to “Peggy’s Pou’tot’” (tater tots topped with cheese curds and brown gravy) and maybe a pizza or two. And if the smoker is goin’ the chopped pork is to-die-for!!
Whether you are heading out there for a quick sip or planning an event, don’t hesitate for even a sec! Their indoor and outdoor spaces work beautifully for casual events, and they are almost always open. No excuses…just go!
Open Sunday 1-8pm and Mon-Sat 10am-8pm
Thomas Creek Brewery . 2054 Piedmont Highway . Greenville . (864)605-1166 . thomascreekbeer.com