Visit a winery during the harvest season and you're bound to find beer — often a keg. Well, after putting together this week's What We Drank, it is clear to me that it must be harvest season — even the wine writers are drinking beer.

Ithaca_Cascazilla_RedAleFrom Bryan Calandrelli: Ithaca Brewing Company Cascazilla Red Ale

They say it takes a lot of beer to make good wine. Well I'm following their
advice this week with all the crushing, punching down and pressing going on.

My fellow Niagara NYCR contributor enthusiastically recommended Ithaca
Brewing Co.'s Cascazilla Red Ale. With a sweet Irish Red style body and an
unrelenting attack of hops that resembles a west coast IPA, this beer keeps
your palate busy with every sip. Subtlety is not this beer's style and the
same can be said of the person who put it on my radar.

All in all a fun beer that quenches my parched palate at the end of a long
day of wine making. Best served slightly chilled and consumed in a vineyard
on a cool autumn post harvest evening.


From Julia Burke: Lagunitas Brewing Company Hop Stoopid Ale

Beers_hopstoopid_maintemp-738110 I was lucky enough to experience this bombshell of an American Double
IPA in cask form. I've found this to be a surprisingly perfect way to
enjoy a well-balanced IPA, and Hop Stoopid, the badass member of
Lagunitas's "Farmhouse" lineup, was no exception.

From the handpull Hop
Stoopid pours a cloudy, rusty hay color and settles with a creamy
one-and-a-half-finger head. A surprisingly subtle nose of fruit esters
(banana and some peach), lemon/honey, light malts, and yeast gave way
to layer after layer of hoppy goodness, always in harmony with the
sizeable malt presence that this temperature brings out in a good beer.

The label warns that this beer is "so hoppy it threatens to remove the
enamel from one's teeth," but there's no soapy resin, no dishwater, no
signs of over-hopping, despite the brewery's use of an amazing 5 lbs of
hops per barrel when making this beer.

In the bottle, carbonation
exacerbates bitterness and could skew this beer into the unbalanced,
but it's so well-suited to the cask I highly recommend seeking it out
in this form.

TroegenatorFrom Lenn Thompson: Troegs Brewing Company Troegenator Double Bock

As many of you know, I'm an obsessed Pittsburgh Steelers fan, which means that I very rarely miss watching or listening to the games every Sunday. I'm also a man of many superstitions.

When I watch the game at home, I typically drink wine, but at least one beer must be consumed, preferably a PA-made brew, from a particular Steelers beer glass with the logo facing the television (I'm not joking). The rules are a little different when I'm on the road (I don't take my glass with me) but the PA-born beer is still a must.

Luckily, Croxley's Ale House, where I met up with my buddy Aaron to watch the early games yesterday can be counted on for at least one beer made in my home state. Yesterday, it was this Troegenator Double Bock from one of my favorite breweries in the east — Troegs Brewing Company.

I didn't love this one though. It was a little too sweet for me, the rich maltiness was a little out of balance. Maybe I was just craving some added hoppy bitterness?  I did like the spiciness though.

And, the Steelers won, so it's possible that I'll drink this beer again, superstitious guy that I am.

Channing-daugthers-mosaicoFrom Evan Dawson: Channing Daughters Winery 2007 Mosaico

don't obsess over which wine to pair with which meal every evening, but
this past weekend required some thoughtful consideration.

We were
invited to dinner — more like a four-hour food relay — where our
hosts had prepared a stunning lineup. They had already selected a 1999
Brunello to pair with the pork tenderloin. They asked us to bring a
white for the earlier courses.

The menu
included oyster shooters, focaccia pizza (pictured), prosciutto-wrapped
scallops, and gouda / cheddar / beer soup (pictured). With seafood on
the menu, we pored over our half-case from Channing Daughters.

the whites at Channing Daughters practically begged for seafood, so we were confident
that this would be a good choice. The Mosaico, a blend of blend of pinot grigio, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, muscat, tocai friulano, and gewurztraminer, was beautiful, nicely
complementing the various courses without stealing the show.

From Tom Mansell: Thirsty Owl Wine Company 2007 Syrah

TosyrahA little while ago, Evan wrote a story about growing syrah in the Finger Lakes and Thirsty Owl is one of my regular stops
on the Cayuga Wine Trail, so I gave this 2007 Syrah a shot.

It starts out with a little funk (H2S?) on the nose, which blows off
eventually. The lovely pepper character of cool-climate syrah the makes
itself known, followed by some dark fruit.

Fresh blueberry and more
pepper on the palate, with stark acidity, almost to a fault. If these
guys could keep the acid down a bit, this wine would really be

A great example of the potential of this variety in the
Finger Lakes.