Sauce Hound April Newsletter: What We’re Sipping This Spring

Spring is here and warm, sunny weather is just around the corner. But, of course, there is that old maxim about April showers, so we’re not completely in the clear. We do have some staff picks, however, that’ll cover whatever the weather throws your way. These are interesting products that typify our aesthetic of constantly bringing in stuff we love and are intrigued by and hope that you will be, too!

We also wanted to let you know that our second Extreme Beer Tasting at the Whole Beast & Village Butcher in Oak Bay is officially scheduled for Thursday, April 30, 7pm. This will once again be MCed by local writer, Adem Tepedelen, author of the Brewtal Truth Guide to Extreme Beers. This time we will focus on Belgium and we have put together a lineup of 10 Belgian and Belgian-inspired brews that are pretty special. These will be paired up in five flights with an accompanying tasty meat morsel. Tickets are $25 and are available online, or here at Cook St. Liquor. The Whole Beast and Village Butcher will also have a small number for sale.

Glenn Barlow & the staff at Cook St. Liquor
Finnriver Fire Barrel Cider 500ml $19.90
Finnriver is a small cidery located on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula producing a wide range of unique ciders. Their Fire Barrel Cider is a traditional apple cider that has been aged in charred Kentucky Bourbon barrels. The cider is rich and smooth with a touch of sweetness and has distinct notes of oak, vanilla, caramel and spice from its time in barrel. With beautifully balanced acidity, this is a cider to be savoured.
Domaine Bobinet 2013 “Les Gruches” Saumur $41.90
The most interesting wine I’ve had in a long time—100% Chenin Blanc grapes from the Loire Valley and bone dry! This wine is part of a shift towards more “natural wines”: organically grown grapes fermented with indigenous yeast withoutany additions other than a tiny splash of sulphur at bottling. Aromas of quince, grapefruit, wet wool and smokey minerality. On the palate it offers beautiful acidity with amazing freshness and length. If you try this and fall back in love with Chenin like I did, check out the Chateau Graudelle 2013 Vouvray ($31.90) or Spice Route ($29.90) from South Africa.
Hilliard’s Pilsner 4-pack $14.60
Hilliard’s Beer is a very high quality operation out of the Ballard neighbourhood of Seattle. Their modern, minimal, yet classic Eastern European-esque designs on the 4-pack tall-boy cans really help the product shine on shelves. Personally, the Pils is my favourite of their year-round offerings. It delivers proper Czech-style hopping, maintaining a real honeyed, biscuity flavour with a hint of citrus, all while ringing in at 5.9%.
Odd Society Bittersweet Vermouth 375ml $24.90
Vermouth, a fortified wine flavored with various botanicals, was traditionally used for medicinal purposes back in the 18th century. It came into vogue as an apertif and cocktail ingredient in Europe during the 1800s, and has since been a standard in any well-stocked bar. Most vermouths have traditionally been styled as either sweet or dry. Vancouver’s Odd Society puts a modern twist on things with their Bittersweet Vermouth. The name says it all: a complex mix of 25 different botanicals resulting in a sophisticated balance of citrus and bitter. Try it in your favorite cocktail, pour it in a tall glass with ice and soda, or just have it on its own with some rocks. And just remember, it’s for medicinal purposes.
rogue sriracha hot stout
Rogue Sriracha HOT Stout 750ml $14.90
Great craft beer offers the opportunity to taste something incredible that you’ve never experienced before. Rogue seems to thrive on offering craft enthusiasts this opportunity with each new release. This beer is not only brilliantly packaged to look like a bottle of Sriracha hot sauce, it is brewed with that spicy, garlicky elixir, as well as “sun-ripened Rogue Farm ingredients.” It’s savoury, spicy, a touch sweet and perfectly balanced. Pair with your favourite HOT Asian cuisine and prepare for your mind to be blown.
Los Siete Misterios Mezcal Jove $31.90
Mezcal is still a bit of mystery to North America. Like proper tequila, it’s distilled from 100% agave, but mezcal is made from the magueyplant (a type of agave), not blue agave, like tequila. This difference in ingredients produces some interesting and unique characteristics. Los Siete Misterios, like most mezcal, offers enticing smokey character to the fruity, musk melon aromas and flavours. The finish is long, hot and peppery. Enjoy it neat or on the rocks.
Gazela Vino Verde $11.90
This slightly effervescent, cheap-and-cheerful white from Portugal is one of my go-to’s for a crisp, low alcohol refresher. Awesome for spring and summer picnics or sipping on its own after a hard day at the salt mines, its clean, young pear, grapefruit (with a hint of minerality) palate is accessible. Well under the $15 line, it’s at a price and quality point that is hard to beat! Yum!
Persephone/Yellow Dog
Lightly Smoked Pils 650ml $7.40

Finally a brewery that makes my tail wag! Yellow Dog may be all the way up in Port Moody, but this beer was brewed with Persephone in Gibsons. I can’t actually drink the stuff, but it sure smells nice and smoky, even a bit meaty. And everyone here at the shop sure raves about how it has, “just the right amount of smoke and is super-drinkable, refreshing, delicious and blah blah blah…” Fine, but would someone just take me for a walk, please?