MIKE RICE

is Fish & Game’s beverage director.


At our home base in the Hudson Valley, this summer was marked by a tropical turn. Oppressive heat and humidity took what felt at times would be a permanent hold. The hoards descended on our little city upriver (because when it’s hot here at least it doesn’t smell quite so strongly of garbage and urine, and swimming holes are near). But through all of this, there were a few cold beverages I rarely let out of sight. Don’t worry - we’re starting to pick up the pieces now that the cooler breeze is blowing. Autumn, with its fleeting few weeks of sun kissed days and cool nights, of continued harvests and hurried preservation, has us thinking inspired thoughts and tasting and purchasing excitedly for new seasons of drinking and sharing bottles. As Jori won’t stop saying - glass of wine in hand, staring off vaguely into the distance - ‘winter is coming.’

For now, here are two of the dear friends that helped us through the dog days.

 

Laurent Saillard, ‘Pop’, 2015

Fuck, man.  Laurent did it again. And this time ‘it’ is a pet nat rosé of Cabernet and Pineau d’Aunis. It arrived stateside from the Loire promptly in July, along with the rest of the rosé that’s fit for drinking. This is one of those happy-making wines. It’s juicy, with great acidity, and each sip begs for another. I don’t like to say things like “wine of the summer” but if I did I would probably say it about Pop. We poured it at F&G, pink bubbly glass by pink, bubbly glass, until it was gone. It’s absence in our glasses and our cellar actually makes me pine for those steamy days gone by.

 

Suarez Family Brewery, ‘Palatine Pils’

OK, this isn’t wine. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that there are in fact other beverages out there, and that some of them are worthy of consumption. This beer is a quick reminder. Dan and Taylor opened their little family brewery a few months ago, and luckily for us they’re only about 15 minutes up the road. Their focus is on unfiltered lagers (like this one) and crispy little pale ales. I’m certainly looking forward to the release of the mixed fermentation beers currently waiting patiently in barrels at the brewery, but a mug of delicious, flavorful, proper pilsner isn’t such a bad consolation. This beer was a mainstay of the lineup at BackBar all summer, and now that the season has changed, we’ve transitioned easily to the equally delicious black lager (‘Bones Shirt’) that the Family concocted for autumn’s cooler nights. It’s delightful that supporting the local brewery can be so fucking delicious.