// Beer or wine, let's kiss 2016 goodbye, and find some positives to start the new year. //
I reached out to four industry friends to see what their recomendations for new year's celebrations were. Neil Witte formerly with Boulevard Brewing and now out on his own with Craft Quality Solutions, and Nate Sellergren with Nebraska Brewing Co. tackled the beer category, while West Coast wine buddies Laura Booras with Riverbench Vineyard & Winery and Bertony Faustin with Abbey Creek Vineyard handled vino suggestions.
Neil Witte // Craft Quality Solutions // Kansas City
Sierra Nevada Nooner - When I go to a New Year's party I need to have something I can drink a few of early on in the night. And, of course, it needs to be great beer. At 5.2% ABV, Sierra Nevada Nooner fits that profile. It typifies the new American Pilsner beer - light, crisp and refreshing, but with just a bit more bitterness than your typical Pils. Sierra Nevada is one of my favorite breweries, and this one has been a staple in my fridge this year.
Founder Backwoods Bastard - Once I'm settled in where I'm going to be for the night, I want something bigger to warm me up. Founders Backwoods Bastard, the barrel-aged version of their Scotch ale, Dirty Bastard, is luscious and warming and the perfect sipper for a cold night. It's a special treat from a brewery who's lineup is solid from top to bottom.
Duvel - Once it's time to bring in the New Year and everyone esle is popping champagne, I need something that's going to steal the show. Duvel does it by being both approachable and complex at the same time. It's light and crisp enough to win over the champagne drinkers and has the depth of character to appeal to even the most discerning beer drinker. I'd grab a 1.5L and share with the room.
Image from Duvel's Facebook page.
Bertony Faustin // Abbey Creek Vineyard // North Plains, Oregon
Sparkling Rosé - The 1st wine I would choose is a sparkling rosé. Bubbles make everything more fun! A rosé to break tradition a bit from the standard white bubbles. and most importantly, honeys like pink bubbles, so 'nuff said!
Beaujolais - A Beaujolais to remind us not to take wine, or things too seriously. Who cares about terrior, againg, and other bullshit. Life is short, so celebrate with young fresh new wine. It's a new year!
10 yr+ Pinot Noir - The closer wine would come out when all the riff-raff are gone. One might even enjoy it solo. I'd go with an aged pinot noir, 10 years old or more. A nice reminder of where you have been before going into the new year.
Laura Booras // Riverbench Vineyard & Winery // Santa Barbara County, CA
Dosnon Champagne Récolte Brut – This is my favorite Champagne, hands down. Owner Davy Dosnon and his friend Nicholas run this place from the vineyards to the final product, and do it will class and elegance. They are amazing people and their property is absolutely gorgeous, in a more remote part of Champagne. The wine itself has pretty notes of marzipan, lemon zest, and pear. It’s fresh and lively, but complex and intriguing at the same time. It’s a little hard to find in the US because their production is so small, but most states get a small allocation. It’s totally worth seeking out.
2012 Riverbench Blanc de Noirs – If you want to stay domestic, of course I’m going to recommend Riverbench bubbles, because it’s made in the style of grower Champagnes that I like, but with a California kick. Riverbench uses only their own estate grown fruit, which is of the highest quality, and the wine is all Pinot Noir, so it’s beautifully delicate and multi-layered. The palate has a hint of pomegranate and maybe tangerine, but some apple notes and a bit of yeastiness as well. It’s a delightful way to celebrate the new year.
2014 Domaine Pral Beaujolais – This wine isn’t super expensive and it’s just a blast to drink. Beaujolais is made from the grape Gamay, which is similar to a lighter, more fun Pinot Noir. Serve it a little on the cool side, and since it’s got great acidity and a fun palate, it will be refreshing and unique. It pairs with almost any food, especially cheeses, cured meats, and pasta with meat sauce.
Billecart Salmon Brut Rosé- This is another awesome bubbly, but one that’s really easy to find anywhere in the country. Billecart is a wonderfully made wine – they own some vineyards and also buy from a few others, but their Champagnes are consistent and flavorful. Rich, elegant, and smooth, this rosé is beautifully colored and looks so pretty in flutes on New Year’s Eve. It’s always a favorite.
Image from Vins du Beaujolais' Facebook page.
Nate Sellergren // Nebraska Brewing Co. // Omaha, NE
When picking beer for New Year’s Eve, I enjoy the pomp and circumstance of a 750ml bottle, plus it’s a great size to share with friends! I like to share beers all my friends and family will like, so I choose based on who is at the event. New Year’s Eve is a night to look back at 2016 and forward to the year ahead, so this year I will be sharing something sweet, something sour and something stout.
New Glarus Wisconsin Belgian Red - First up, the New Glarus Wisconsin Belgian Red. This beer is one of my favorites - a crowd pleaser for all drinkers! It’s bright red color is festive in a glass and it’s sweet/tart cherry flavor is second to none!
Kumquat Weiss (or other Crane beers) - Next on the docket is something sour, do yourself a favor and grab anything from Crane Brewing. They are making some amazing beers. Everything from Tea Weiss to Beet Weiss and my personal favorite of Kumquat Weiss. Great people making great beers.
The Bruery Black Tuesday - Finally, The Bruery’s Black Tuesday at a huge 19% ABV. This bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout will help you forget that first Tuesday in November.
Nebraska Brewing Co. Pils - My last suggestion would be to have on hand a case of amazing crisp, clean pilsner, I personally like our Pils. This style has made a large resurgence in 2016 and I don’t see it slowing in 2017.
Several great ideas here to help guide you to a better New Year's Eve celebration. Plan ahead and here's a toast to a good 2017!