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Ludicrous news

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It's hard to believe that it's already been three years since Half Pints Brewing Company opened its doors, bottled some beer and hit the city's shelves. Where does the time go?

They quickly became a hit among fans of craft beers and the like, and have quickly expanded both in size (they quickly outgrew their initial location on Keewatin) and distribution - Half Pints can now be found on tap and in the bottle across as well as western Canada.

In celebration of their first anniversary, they brewed up the double IPA Humulus Ludicrous, and are doing so again for their third anniversary. Stop by the brewery (550 Roseberry Street) and pick up some of this sought-after brew, and take a tour of the facilities while you're at it.   

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Normally I take part as a judge in Wine Access magazine's International Value Wine Awards. The competition was held in early June, however, and I figured my wife wouldn't be too pleased at me taking off to taste hundreds of wines around the same time we were expecting the birth of our son Owen. So I skipped it this time around.

Anyway, I just got a press release featuring the top ten wines under $10. They are as follows, listed by score (out of 100), and average national price. Bolded products are definitely available in Manitoba - I'm looking into the rest:

  1. 90 Castillo de Monseran 2006 Garnacha (Aragon, Spain) $9
  2. 89 Montalto 2008 Pinot Grigio (Sicily, Italy) $10
  3. 89 Lujuria 2006 Monastrell Merlot (Valencia and Murcia, Spain) $10
  4. 88 Mezzomondo 2007 Negroamaro (Puglia, Italy) $9
  5. 88 JJ McWilliams 2007 Shiraz Cabernet (South Eastern Australia, Australia) $10
  6. 88 Billyrock Station 2006 Limited Release Selection Shiraz (South Eastern Australia, Australia) $10
  7. 88 Argento 2008 Malbec (Maipú, Mendoza, Argentina) $10
  8. 87 René Barbier 2008 Blanco Seco Classic (Penedès, Cataluña, Spain) $10
  9. 87 Sonora Ranch 2007 Chardonnay (Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada) $9
  10. 87 Aliança 2007 Foral Tinto (Douro Valley, Northern Portugal) $9

Interesting to note that over half (including the top four) are Old World (ie. European) countries, but none are from France - three from Spain, two from Italy and one from Portugal.

I've had a few of these - I reviewed the Castillo de Monseran about 18 months ago, but I'm going to have to pick up a bottle and revisit it.

Follow me on Twitter: www.twitter.com/WFPuncorked

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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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