Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Wine writer weizens up

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First off, a clarification - in Saturday's column on sake/rice wine I said:"Here are some of the things you wouldn't have found in Winnipeg 10 years ago: an National Hockey League team, a street without potholes, an IKEA and sake."What I meant to say/should have said was:"Here are some of the things that would have been hard to find in Winnipeg 10 years ago: an National Hockey League team, a street without potholes, an IKEA and sake. "There was sake available in Manitoba ten years ago (and long before, as well) - I was just trying to convey the difficulty one might have in finding any decent selection a decade ago. Apologies for the misunderstanding.On a somewhat-related note: I had some great sushi for lunch today from Asoyama on Academy. See their website here or a recent review here.Yet another blunder on my part was brazenly proclaiming that the Habs would beat the Leafs on Saturday. This prediction only serves to remind me why I'm near the bottom of my hockey pool.So, of course, I had no reason to celebrate/crack the Half Pints Weizenbock on Saturday night, so I saved it for last night, when I toasted Team Canada's win at the Ford World Women's Curling Championship. Congrats to Team Jennifer Jones for their deserved win! It's a good thing I decided to not jinx them by predicting their victory.And now, my tasting notes...Half Pints Weizenbock (Winnipeg, Canada - $2.59/341ml, available at Liquor Marts... although it's a seasonal brew, so move it or lose it!)Dark copper in colour, the Weizenbock has a great nose of pistachios, toffee, and a hint of chocolate. It's quite smooth, with the nut and toffee components shining through on the palate. There's some good weight to the Weizenbock; the colour and flavours make me glad I took it out of the fridge about 20 minutes before drinking it. My impression is that chilling it down too much might kill/mask some of the more nuanced flavours. It's a strong beer (6.2 per cent alcohol), but nothing is overpowering - flavours, alcohol, or otherwise.

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About Ben MacPhee-Sigurdson

When he wasn't bashing on a drum kit in local punk rock bands, Ben spent the mid '90s hucking cases of wine around to pay for two English degrees. Now he's the Winnipeg Free Press wine columnist and blogger.

The extent of Ben's wine experience in the mid-90s was memories of accidentally leaving a bottle of White Zinfandel in the freezer overnight, and the ensuing mess he was left with. Between 1996 and 2005 Ben absorbed all he could about wine while working at wine shops to pay for school. Meanwhile, he was churning out papers for his BA and MA in English (from the Universities of Winnipeg and Manitoba, respectively).

Ben became the Winnipeg Free Press' weekly wine columnist in 2005, and two years later joined Wine Access magazine as a contributor, a member of their national tasting panel and a judge at the Canadian Wine Awards and International Value Wine Awards until the magazine closed up shop in 2013.

In 2013 Ben joined the Winnipeg Free Press as a copy/web editor.

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