There’s a holiday meme going around. It reads, “It’s always a merry Christmas for the owner of the liquor store closest to your parents’ house,” and this is indeed a truism. Unfortunately, even booze acquisition can add stress to the already hectic holidays, whether you’re trying to figure out the perfect wine to accompany the Christmas goose (a $20 pinot noir will do nicely), a spirits gift that will impress your boss at his holiday gathering (scotchy, scotchy scotch) or a local beer that will impress your beer-snob cousin without turning off your Bud Light-loving father-in-law (Little Harpeth’s Chicken Scratch). See, with just a little good advice, it’s not too terribly tough to get through the holidays. Follow along, and hopefully we can make your spirits bright.
Since the holidays are a time of giving, it’s even better if you can give something back to the community while doing your shopping. Thomas Haehn of Hi Def Wines is Nashville’s top expert on German wines, and his brother is actually the winemaker at his family’s winery in the Mosel region of Germany. Haehn and his brother have come up with a line of wines to benefit the city’s less fortunate under the FOH label — “Feed Our Homeless.” The proceeds from these wines benefit four local organizations that provide support and services from Nashville’s homeless people and pets: Room In The Inn, Safe Haven, East CAN and SAFPAW Nashville.
If your impression of German wines was formed by drinking syrupy-sweet cheap rieslings, clear your mind, because the FOH wines exhibit a complexity and depth that those $7.99 “blue bottle specials” could never hope to achieve. Pet lovers on your gift list will appreciate FOH’s Underdog line of wines, which features a label rendering of Sam, a beloved rescue dog who found his way off the streets and into a loving home for his sunset years. The two Underdog wines are a dry riesling and a dry rosé made from pinot noir grapes. Both are extremely food-friendly and also drink just fine on their own.
The flagships of the FOH brand are their two Rockin’ Rieslings. Sourced from grapes grown in the rocky soil of the Mosel, Rockin’ Riesling is on the sweeter side and offers nice stone fruit aromas and flavors. FOH also offers a single-vineyard expression of the same wine under the label Rockin’ Riesling Weissenberg. By selecting the grapes from one particular location, an even clearer demonstration of the terroir comes through in this elegant and well-balanced wine.
It’s really not that hard to come up with a wine menu for your holiday soirée. Billy Joel laid it out clearly when he sang, “A bottle of white, a bottle of red. Perhaps a bottle of rosé instead.” Well, maybe you’d better make it a mixed case of all three, but as long as you offer some options, you should be in good shape. It’s not as simple when it comes to beer.
Some people love hoppy IPAs, while others prefer a gentler light lager. If you try to buy individual six-packs of a bunch of different beers, you’ll end up with trashcans full of cans and bottles to dispose of the next morning. If you decide to go with a keg, odds are you won’t be able to please everyone and will get stuck with a half-empty keg to schlep back to the beer store.
So why not consider setting up a growler bar instead? Fill up a cooler with eight different 64-ounce growlers, and your guests will be able to try cups of different beers throughout the course of your festivities. Unlike the party-killing depression of blowing a keg, when a growler is empty, just take it out of the cooler and nobody has to be any the wiser. They can just sample something different. Leftovers at the end of the evening? Send the dregs home with your guests as party favors that they can refill on their own in the New Year. It’s a win-win proposition.
Fortunately, with the recent explosion of growler-filling locations, there’s probably an option near you no matter what neighborhood you live in. Craft Brewed (2502 Franklin Pike) has become a bit of a clubhouse for craft beer lovers, and they always have a nice selection of local and regional brews on tap. The Filling Station (1118 Halcyon Ave. and 904-B Main St.) takes care of growler needs for 12South and East Nashville residents, and The Picnic Tap (900 Rosa L. Parks Blvd.) is waiting for you on your next trip to the Nashville Farmers’ Market. Even Donelson has become hipper with the addition of the Homegrown Taproom and Marketplace (2720 Old Lebanon Road). If you need advice on what to put in those growlers, be sure to ask the helpful employees manning the taps at your local market.
While wine and beer make excellent holiday gifts, a nice bottle of booze (continue reading)