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Published: Sunday, December 15, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Local beer, wine and spirits make tasty gifts

  • Local beer, wine and spirits make great holiday gifts.

    Jennifer Buchanan / The Herald

    Local beer, wine and spirits make great holiday gifts.

Sure, Italians make fine wine.
Germans make great beer.
And there's no denying that those blokes in England know how to make gin.
But some great-tasting sauce is made here in Washington, right in our back yard and on our waterfront.
Here's a toast to local winemakers, brewers and distillers. Bottoms up!
Beer
Phil Bannan Sr. never wanted to run out of beer. So he started a brewery.
He wanted to keep his wife happy. So he named it after her: Scuttlebutt.
Her real name is Cynthia, but she was nicknamed "Scuttlebutt" by her father before she was born because it was the scuttlebutt (gossip) at the naval base where he was stationed that they were going to have another baby. The nickname stuck until her 13th birthday, when, at her request, the last syllable was dropped. Her husband later added it to the brand.
Beer by Scuttlebutt Brewing Company, (www.scuttlebuttbrewing. com), based in Everett, is sold worldwide.
A popular seasonal ale is 10 Degrees Below; it's $7 a six-pack.
Wine
Spend a little. Spend a little more. Spend a lot more.
A bottle of Everett's Port Gardner Bay's 201 Red will set you back $19.
Prices start at $15 a bottle at the family-owned downtown winery.
"Everything is done old-school Italian-style," manager Tiffany Syltebo said. "Everything is hand-driven in the entire process from the harvest to the bottle on the table."
Want to learn how to DIY? The winery has winemaking classes several times a month, with gift certificates and deals on local online coupons (www.portgardnerbaywinery.com).
The town of Woodinville has dozens of wineries, and is a tasting playground for everyone from novices to wine geeks. Many grapes are crushed, pressed and bottled in the Warehouse District, where Patterson Cellars winemaker John Patterson makes about 5,000 cases of wine a year in his 3,500-square-foot winery (www.pattersoncellars.com). He likes to change it up every year, with bottles starting at $17.
Wine bottles can be as interesting to read as cereal boxes.
A $50 bottle of Ashan Cellars Chardonnay Kestrel Vineyard by Woodinville winemaker Chris Gorman (www.gormanwinery.com) lists the vine spacing, exposure of slope, elevation, prominent geology, number of barrels produced (just six) and other vitals. Other Gorman wines have names such as Big Sissy, Evil Twin and Cry Baby.
Spirits
Bluewater Organic Distilling (www.bluewaterdistilling.com) began distilling gin and vodka about a year and a half ago in small batches at the Port of Everett's Waterfront Center.
"We use an organic approach and never use additives or artificial flavors," owner John Lundin said.
Flavor it up with ciders and juices. A bottle of vodka is $29.50. Gin is $34.50.
Story tags » WineChristmasAlcohol

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