Friday, May 29, 2009

Berbiglia Wine Tasting

Stella and I decided to go to the big Berbiglia (not Beerbiglia) wine tasting that I read about on Fat City yesterday. It promised to have 75 wines to sample and while I didn't count them, I would say they were pretty close.

We decided to spend the $10 to get a couple of Riedel wine glasses because the thought of drinking nice wines out of a 1 oz. medicine cup made me gag just a little bit. Quite a few people were also enjoying the wine tasting meaning every table full of wine required a little bit of effort to sidle up to. It took a good minute to get each pour of wine.

As Stella and I were drinking our first or second sample of wine near the front door, Owen from Fat City walked in the door. Watching Owen walk in the door of any establishment is a little like watching the opening credits sequence of “Reservoir Dogs” or the scene in “Dazed and Confused” when Wooderson, Mitch, Don and Pink walk through the pool hall with the Dylan classic “Hurricane” blaring. Everything just kind of slows down and everyone turns to watch the Owen strut which practically screams “F you, I work for the Pitch”.

Owen and I discussed some of bloggy goings on around town, some of our posts from the past couple of weeks and discussed the ownership of Savvy. I would disappear for a minute or two to get another wine sample and we would pick up our conversation. At one point Owen went to look at the beer and brought back a bottle of Boulevard Two Jokers (which was also a wine at the sampling). Owen jokingly thought about opening it and drinking it in the store, “I don't think they would mind” was his justification.

As Stella and I proceeded to hit more tables we ended up near a beer cooler*. I had been telling Owen how I found O'Malley's beer offerings completely sub-par and basically bad mouthing O'Malley's quite a bit. Stella came up and told me to watch what I'm saying because the O'Malley's guy was in the next aisle pouring samples. I'd hate to get a beat down in the middle of a wine tasting. I suspect it would look a little like the fight at the end of “Bridget Jones Diary” but I don't know, the O'Malley's guy may be Irish which would mean the fight might look a little like Tyson-Spinks with me being Spinks of course.

*I noticed on the cooler door to the Boulevard selections a flyer that said something negative about Big Sky Moose Drool while trying to sell Boulevard products. Something to the effect of "Moose Drool, sounds tasty right? Drink Boulevard, a local beer, instead". I don't know if this sign was Berbiglia's idea or Boulevard's or even some joker who took an opportunity with a full store to post a sign. I do know that I considered it bad form to denigrate another microbrew in furtherance of another microbrew's sales. It's bush league, beat them on the merits of your beer. Moose Drool is a fine beer and shouldn't be singled out for ridicule by Boulevard or Berbiglia. I hope I don't see such a sign again.

I went over to the O'Malley's table to try their new Sunryes Ale, sticking to my rule of trying every Rye beer I come across. After drinking it, I stick to my assessment that O'Malley's beer is completely unacceptable. I had trouble drinking my ounce of the Sunryes, I can only imagine how I would get a 12 oz. bottle down.

In all, I tried about 15 wines and 1 beer, with the Michel-Schlumberger Cab and Chateau Montelana Cab (made famous by the "Bottle Shock" movie) being the star performers. We found a couple of malbecs that we liked which would be good for everyday drinking. I have a tough time recommending wines because I'm not an oenophile and don't pretend to be one. I think wine is much more personal, everyone likes different things in a wine and wines I don't like, might be great to someone else. Since this is a beer blog, I try not to enter the wine fray.

For $10 (the price of the 2 wine glasses which we got to keep) the Berbiglia wine tasting was quite nice. Stella and I had a good time with only one incident. Some lady complained to Stella that I cut in front of her (I did not), not knowing that Stella was with me. She bad mouthed me for a minute before Stella told her that I was with her which led the lady to backtrack a little. It was kind of a funny little incident because the lady was completely wrong (I think she was trying to jump ahead of me, but I never even noticed her since she was behind me). The event was a little crowded at times (not at the O'Malleys table) but well worth it. To be notified of Berbiglia events in the future you can subscribe to their email list here or for other dining events you can sign up for the Pitch's Dining newsletter here.


  1. While I feel similar about O'Malley's beer (other than Drop Kick Ale) I think their bar is one of the best I've been to. If you get up there while a good band is going it can be a lot more fun than your typical city brew pub. Especially because you are like 3 stories below ground.

  2. did Owen brazenly bring his bike inside the store?

  3. Hophead, 100% agree about O'Malley's the bar. One of the best bars in the KC area.

    DLC, no bike this time, but he did bring in a can of Diet a wine tasting. It struck me as funny.

  4. I was really glad to see you and Stella there and regret I couldn't stay longer but damn, I had to drink that two jokers somewhere. (I'm glad we didn't open it up in the store, I joked about doing that at the front with the clerk and from his reaction, they wouldn't have found it amusing.)

    And another thank you for mentioning the dining newsletter. Even I get sick of promoting that now and again, but I do put a lot of work into it so thank.

    Also, I like the Dazed and Confused reference but don't think my diet coke baby would exactly fit in with the "cool" look.

  5. Oh and p.s. while I'm glad we didn't run into the O'Malley's guy, I wouldn't have backed down. That sunryse beer was plain bad (flat, not many flavors. Certainly not any I associate with a witbier or other summer beer.)

    us two against one of him I think would be about even.

  6. O'Malley's makes some of the worst beers around. They are the only local brewery where I would say buying the Flying Monkey recipes is actually a marked improvement on their normal offerings.

  7. Chateau Montellena was made famous by the fact that it supplied the Chardonnay that defeated the French in the '70s. "Bottle Shock" was just a movie reflecting the event.

    Totally agreed about O'Malley's. Plus, you can get Smithwick's on tap there. Basically anything they make there on a regular basis is bad, Food & Drink, unless it is Irishfest and they have Corned Beef Sandwiches on Marbled Bread out front. Love IT!