Monthly Archives: May 2015

GUEST POST! GUEST POST! Mr. Dylan Marx reviews CUPCAKE ANGEL FOOD CAKE wine (3 out of 5)




This is a guest post by my friend, Mr. Dylan Marx. Most of you who read and follow this blog know him by “D”. I have a habit of giving nicknames to my closest friends. I’ve known D since 2003, when he started working at the Western Springs BAM with me. We used to have cart races- and no, I don’t mean sitting around on carts rolling around the store and jousting- ALTHOUGH that thought did occur! We used to each take a cart and see who could shelve it faster. In time, we began hitting restaurants and trying different wines. D and I differ in one major way; I love reds and he loves whites. That hasn’t stopped many discussions on the pros and cons of both; nor has it stopped him from getting me new reds to try. About a month ago, the blog got sponsored, so now I’m being paid to post these reviews. I told Dylan, as he was trying this very wine that he’s reviewing here. They encourage guest posts, and I’m really ashamed that I didn’t think of this sooner, honestly. So, due to the fact that he’s a oenophile and a good friend, he gets the first guest post here. Here’s Dylan’s review of Cupcake Vineyards Angel Food Cake Wine. This is largely his review; I tweaked a few things here and there, with his approval.

Cupcake Vineyards Angel Food Cake Wine is an enjoyable bottle of wine. It’s got a nice label and an enjoyable aroma with a very pleasant fruity taste. What does Cupcake Vineyards have to say about this wine? “Angel Food is a luscious, aromatic and delicate blend based on Chardonnay, with a small percentage of esoteric white varietals. Experience flavors of baked Granny Smith apple, hints of toasty vanilla and caramel, which leave a long creamy finish.” That’s verbatim. What does Dylan say about this wine? “Most importantly- WHATEVER YOU DO FOR GODSAKE, CHILL THIS BEFORE DRINKING! GET IT COLD ASAP!. Otherwise that Chardonnay/Granny Smith kicks you a kick of sour aftertaste when you swallow your first sip of this wine. Definitely a pleasant sipping wine more suitable for summer, and to be served ICED COLD with a fruit plate or soft, mild cheeses. If I didn’t stress this enough, then fine, but you will regret drinking this wine warm!”

My reaction? “Chardonnay base? Blegh!” I did, however, try a couple of sips warm, and it wasn’t a smart move on my part. It’s fine at first, but that aftertaste? Similar to drinking liquefied sour apple mash! Once Dylan poured it over ice cubes and let it chill a bit, it was much more bearable, but again, not my real area of joy. It boasts a 13.0% alcohol rating, so it can mess you up if you drink enough and eat too little (guilty as charged, your honor). Cupcake recommends pairing it with pancetta wrapped dates, Chinese food, fondue or peach cobbler- so NICOLE, this is the perfect wine for you! I think D and I had gluten-free lasagna that evening, and it went ok. Never mind that I had another red going, that never stopped me before. D stuck with the this one, and ended up liking it- but CHILLED. Like most whites, if you drink it warm, well, don’t expect the fruity flavors to flourish. Except them to flounder. So- Dylan gives this one 3 stars out of 5, because it’s a pleasant momentary diversion, but not a long lasting courtship.

This is Dylan and I at Salt Creek Wine Bar, in Brookfield, back in February, 2011, for their annual Mardi Gras celebration. Thank you, Dylan, for being an incredible accomplice in many culinary and wine adventures over the years. To those who weren’t aware, Dylan was also the person who suggested this blog and actually ended up naming it. So, he really is to thank for this even existing. Thanks, D!


Kennebunkport Brewing Company (KBC, not TCB) Blueberry Wheat Ale (0 out of 5)



I saw “Blueberry Wheat Ale” and thought- Mother of Greek Toast, THIS is the infamous Blueberry beer that Dave M. got me hooked on at some infamous gathering of the former bookstore crowd years ago! Now I wish I had listened to him (not something I say often; those who know Dave know why I say that). This was definitely NOT the blueberry beer I was seeking. I spotted this at TJ’s and thought “It’s got to be”. I think I may have made a joke that “KBC” is close to “KFC” and hopefully didn’t suck as bad. Remind me not to joke again of such matters. BLECH!

Kennebunkport (Kennedyphiles will be thrilled with that) Brewing Company’s Blueberry Wheat Ale is NOT only weak and watery, but it’s barely got enough flavor to qualify as ANYTHING besides some light ale with a tinge of blueberry. It’s supposed to be 4.6% ABV(Alcohol By Volume) but I find that hard to swallow-literally! I drank most of it, but there’s only so much watery piss that I can choke down before I give up and find another more satisfying ale. This was the case here. Thin blueberry flavor is not an attractive attribute in an ale that markets itself as a “fruit beer”. This almost tasted like light pale ale with blueberry flavored liquid enhancer added. THAT is not a good thing, friends. Nothing about this tasted great. It was an all around flat tasting ale. I wouldn’t even call it ale. I would call it Coors Light with Blueberry Flavoring. And a funky, skunky smell once you pop the cap. No joke. If I didn’t know better, I’d say one of my former pothead exes was there in spirit, emanating from the bottle. The label- no great shakes, friends. Not to distinguish it from the next ale on the shelf at TJ’s. Maybe that’s because there’s no reason to call it special.

So my strongest advice would be to not even give it a fair swing at the ballpark. It’s not worth the attempt, even. I’m sad that I thought this would be the blueberry ale to end all blueberry ales. Instead, it was the worst fruit beer I have tried thus far (not many, but really, it’s fucking awful, stay away). STAY AWAY.

Primal Roots Red Blend (5 out of 5)



Oh boy, this is my NEW favorite red wine! I think I got it simply because I had never heard of it, and it reminded me of “Primal Scream” (the practice of, the excellent Motley Crue song, and the band with Mr. Bobby Gillespie as its lead. All three? I am huge fans). No matter that the name of the wine is Primal Roots, which then led me to think of “Roots” by Sepultura (you can’t win with my taste in music). The label is elegant and understated; dark with crimson lettering. The wine itself? Similar in color to the lettering on the label.

Immediately, upon looking at it, it looks like a Pinot Noir would (the color). The fragrance is mild and not overpowering; I smell a lot of luscious fruit in this bottle. The blend itself is Merlot, Syrah, and Zinfandel. I think the last wine I had with that unbeatable combination was the Kendall-Jackson that D
got me hooked on last year. This has a very sweet, mellow, and nice fruity flavor. It’s not overpowering for a blend, and it’s also not short on flavor, nor do you have a nasty aftertaste, as there often is with a blend of Merlot and Syrah with anything. I can definitely taste accents of boysenberry, black currant, cherries, blackberries, and a little bit of vanilla. Considering the alcohol content is 13.5%, this stuff should fuck your shit up. Not at all! It’s like mellowship slinky (RHCP, forgive me for using your song title. It’s the first thing that popped in my head). Goes down smooth, stays smooth, and as I said, you don’t have the taste of vinegary dirt in your mouth when you’re done drinking it. It’s a pleasant experience; this wine. I urge you to buy it, drink it, and recommend it. I found it at Jewel for $8.99; when I went to Trader Joe’s the other day, they had it also, so you likely can find it at other stores as well. I recommend you doing what you can to find it. It’s well worth the hunt!

Changes, Changes, Changes..AND TWO BROTHERS WOBBLE PALE INDIA ALE (4 out of 5)


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This is me on just a teeny bit of this Two Brothers Wobble India Pale Ale. WOO HOO. I LIKE this stuff. It does NOT beat Laguintas, but it’s pretty fucking close. And great.

NOW…before I go further, I get to break news to you- my blog is now being sponsored! So that means starting June 1st, you will see some ads pop up. Don’t worry, be happy, drink whatever you’re drinking, and ignore them. It’s all part of the process. The most exciting part of this is that I now get paid to blog about wine…as with all major changes, the format, the layout, the font, everything about the blog will be changing. Instead of just wine, I’m now blogging about wine, beer, and other spirits. I’m opening up the realm more and inviting fellow drinkers to guest blog on here. You will see my ugly mug because the sponsors want the readers to see me with whatever I’m drinking and blogging about. NOT all of them, thank goodness, or I’d lose y’all! But anyhow- big changes are coming. I was going to do a huge changeover at the same time, but time is not on my side, so I’m doing a little at a time. The title of the blog will stay the same. So- any recommendations, ideas, etc..are MOST WELCOME! I look forward to your thoughts, my loyal followers.

Now, back to this evening’s selection. Let me tell you a bit about Two Brothers. They’re a local brewery and family owned business located in Warrenville, Illinois. They’ve been around since 1996; but by some weird consequence, I had never run into them until this year. That’s when my friend Raz’s girlfriend Karen guided me toward their gluten-free beer (review coming later this week). I ran into several other of their brews at Trader Joe’s when Nicole and I went shopping a couple of weeks back. This one has 6.3% alcohol content and an IBU (International Bittering Unit) of 69 per 12 oz. bottle. The label is pretty cool; it has a ying yang symbol in full wobble; and a lime colored label. Very easy to spot on the shelf in a Trader Joe’s, especially as dark as the one by me is at times.

This ale really grew on me quick. I’m still working my way around beers; I’m more of a wine person usually. However, in the summertime, I almost always drink beer. Now I have an excuse to really branch out and try some new brewski. This is a solid golden color. It tastes like grapefruit and citrusy tones, with some finishing tastes of mint. At least it tastes like mint. So it goes from citrus to mint. There’s also some tinge of bitter aftertaste; and still something that I cannot identify that’s a bit heady. (Pine?). Again, I’m new to this so if this review sounds ludicrous, please, by all means, let me know what word I should be using. Anyhow, it’s a light, distinguishable taste and not at all like any that I’ve had. The thing that killed it for me was the bitterness after the initial tasting. There’s a whole lotta malt taste to this ale, so be prepared for that. But I did like it quite a bit, considering I’m new to this sort of ale. I will have to investigate more of the Two Brothers beers. I really did enjoy the complexity of the ale and would definitely recommend it again.