Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Old Salem offers a look back at N.C. cultural background


By Dathan Kazsuk | November 22, 2016
Twitter: @TriangleAT | Facebook: Triangle Around Town | Instagram: @trianglearoundtown

Known as a living museum, Old Salem is a restored Moravian community on the outskirts of downtown Winston-Salem. The village was originally settled by the Moravian Church, who started construction of the buildings as far back as 1766. Some of the highlights of this old village includes such places as the Salem Tavern, where General George Washington stayed while passing through North Carolina; the Single Brothers' house and the T. Bagge Merchant shop.

While taking a stroll down the half-mile main street of Old Salem you can't help but get thrown back in time while viewing the aged buildings and early Germanic architecture. The village is also the site of Home Moravian Church, a functioning congregation as well as Salem College and Academy.

Tickets to view the inside of several of the buildings at Old Salem can be purchased at the Old Salem's Visitor Center. Tickets aren't required to walk along the streets of Old Salem, and can lead to some great photo opportunities as well as learning a thing or two about times of the past.

The Tavern Smokehouse once rested here behind the Salem Tavern.

Tavern Smokehouse
For centuries the smokehouse was a common sight in backyards during this time. Smokehouses such as the one that once stood here played a vital role in providing meat year-round to the patrons of Salem. Typically a small, enclosed, windowless structure with a central fire pit inside, smokehouses would suspend meat from poles for curing. Usually packed in salt for anywhere up to six weeks before hung over the fire for one or two weeks to complete the curing process.


The Tavern offers lunch, supper and Sunday Brunch.

The Tavern
The Tavern in old Salem was built in 1816 as an annex to the historic 1784 Tavern in Salem. The restaurant is a family-operated establishment which features dishes inspired by Moravian families living in the 19th century.

The J. Blum house was built in 1815.

J. Blum House
Part of your admission to Old Salem includes the J. Blum House. This house was constructed in 1815, while partially being restored in 1980. John Christian Blum built this house, which became Salem’s first print shop. In addition to local papers printed here, Blum also printed the Farmers and Planters Almanac back in 1828. The house was originally only a story and a half tall, but was later built up to two stories by his sons after Blum’s death.


Samuel Shultz tried many occupations after giving up as a cobbler.

Samuel Shultz House
Named after Samuel Shultz, the Shultz house is a two-and-a-half story building equipped with a full cellar. Shultz was a shoemaker and operated his shop from his home until 1827 when he decided to build a new shop north of his home. After leaving the cobbler’s bench, he tried other occupations such as raising silkworms and becoming a hard liquor dispenser.

The John Vogler house is one of many you can explore when visiting Old Salem.

John Vogler House
Constructed in 1819 this structured housed John Vogler and his wife, Christina Spach. Active in community services in the town, Vogler was a silversmith and along with his wife had three children. Once inside the house, one can view the private living space along with John’s shop, bake oven and smithy.


The T. Bagge Merchant offers many gifts and crafts from local vendors.

T. Bagge Merchant
Built in 1775 the T. Bagge Merchant was a store to serve the entire community of Salem. The shop, still open today gives visitors an opportunity to buy
crafts some select vendors. It also offers educational toys and books for children.

The Single Brothers operated a brewery back in the day ... we wonder if they crafted any IPAs.

Single Brothers’ House
It was common for Moravian men to live by the choir system, in which unmarried men lived together in the same building. The Single Brothers lived, worshipped and ate in this building. They also had a plantation and garden, while operating a bakery, brewery, distillery, tannery and a slaughterhouse.

Old Salem has many private residence homes, including the Bello House.

Belo Home
This home was constructed in 1849 by one of the wealthiest residents in Salem. Edward Belo ran his mercantile business on the first floor and lived on the second floor.


The old gun shop lies quiet on the streets of Old Salem.

Timothy Vogler Gun Shop
The gunsmith shop displays fine artistry of gunsmithing, including a working forge for metal work, woodworking and tooling. Vogler lived in a house adjacent to his shop. The gun shop was constructed in 1831 and restored in 2002.

The Vierling House is close to the old Moravian church and graveyard.

Vierling House & Garden
Dr. Samuel Vierling lived here with his wife Martha Miksch Vierling and their children. Veering was trained in Berlin, and was called across the sea to Salem in 1790 to become the town’s physician. His apothecary was located inside the house.

Old Salem's Visitor Center is located at 900 Old Salem Road in Winston-Salem. Tickets range from $25-$28 and can be purchased by going here

Friday, November 18, 2016

Olde Hickory releases Event Horizon Spectrum

By Dathan Kazsuk | November 18, 2016
Twitter: @TriangleAT | Facebook: Triangle Around Town | Instagram: @trianglearoundtown

I’m not one to wake up early. I’d rather stay sleeping in a warm bed then get up at anytime before 8 a.m. You won’t catch me up early to go jogging or to hit the gym. You won’t even see me up early to make breakfast for my wife if she needs to leave town for work.

Because of this reason, I’ve never been found of getting up early just to stand in line for beer. So when I decided that I was going to get up at 4:00 a.m. on the morning of November 12 and drive 2.5 hours west to Hickory, North Carolina for a bottle release – Jen must have thought I was crazy.

But that’s exactly what I did. Along with my friend, we hopped in my car and were on the road at 5 a.m. on the dot.

Our conversations were based mainly on beer, which was a good thing. It kept me motivated as to why I was up this early. That, and the beer we were going to get was Olde Hickory’s Event Horizon stout … but with a twist. The folks at Olde Hickory took the stout (which is by far one of my favorite stouts in the state) and divided it up four ways – known as the Event Horizon Spectrum.

Spectrum No. 1 was blended with coffee and cinnamon. Spectrum No. 2 was blended with orange and cocoa. Spectrum No. 3 was blended with coconut and vanilla. And Spectrum No. 4 was blended with espresso and mocha.

It was a few minutes before 8 a.m. when we arrived at the brewery. The doors were to open at 9 a.m. and I knew there would be some die hard beer drinkers out there who probably set up camp at around 3 a.m. – but I wasn’t expecting the line to be what it was when we arrived an hour before the posted time.

From first glance the line didn’t seem that long. Just right down to the corner of the street. But the closer we got to the brewery we saw the line turned up the road and kept going and going and going. I wasn’t sure how much beer Olde Hickory had on hand, but deep down, before we even said anything to one another, we were already thinking, “Did we leave to late?”

For almost two hours we stood in line waiting to get inside. The brewery then handed out 240 wristbands, that guarantee the full allotment of beer (which was 3 of each one of the Spectrum releases). We did not receive a wristband – falling 9 back from the last wristband distributed for the day. So the two of us started counting people coming out of the brewery with open boxes. In our reasoning, that meant they probably didn't purchase a full allotment.

But all seemed well when we saw Olde Hickory's head brewer Steven Lyerly look over the last of the crowd and mention to us that we'll all get our full allotment. Now we were able to relax!

Once we bought our beer and took them back out to the car, it was time to come back to the brewery and try what we've spent 5 hours in line and in the car to come and get. We were not disappointed! Each beer had nice flavors – some, like the coffee and cinnamon might need to rest for anywhere from 6 to 12 months. But others like the orange and cocoa tasted great freshly opened. Out of the four we drank that day, we both agreed that the espresso and mocha stout was the best of the Spectrum.

We have enough to try these beers at 6-and 12-months of aging and are looking forward to the day these will be opened to consume. Until then, I'm always OK opening other OH beers such as Lindley Park, Event Horizon, Wavell Gun or Death by Hops.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Beaujolais Nouveau Midnight Madness Tasting at 101 enters third year of celebrating young wine


By Jennifer Primrose | November 17, 2016
Twitter: @TriangleAT | Facebook: Triangle Around Town | Instagram: @trianglearoundtown

Le nouveau est arrivé!

That’s right, folks! It’s time once again for the release of Beaujolais Nouveau. Just in time for Thanksgiving!

Beaujolais Nouveau is a young, simple wine made from Gamay grapes and produced in the Beaujolais region of France. Every year, on the third Thursday of November, this wine is released in grand fashion throughout France and the rest of the world. Some places host parties the night before the release, some at midnight and others throughout the remainder of the month in celebration of this new vintage.

Celebrations are not lost here in the U.S. or even in North Carolina. Three years ago, Joe O’Keefe, owner of Wine & Beer 101, and Rufus Hoffman, beer manager at Wine & Beer 101, came up with the idea to host a celebratory release party by popping open the new vintage of Beaujolais Nouveau for their customers at the stroke of midnight on, you guessed it, the third Thursday of November.

Glasses of Beaujolais Nouveau line the bar, waiting until Midnight to sample.

Customers trickled in here and there, some just happy the shop was open during later hours, and others intrigued by a tradition not as widely known here in the U.S. As the shop enters its third annual Beaujolais Nouveau Midnight Madness Tasting, we thought this would be the best time to sit down with O’Keefe and ask him what made him decide to start this tradition at his store.

"I saw an artist wow about how the French were celebrating BD with customers in Asia. I thought, hey, we are allowed to serve until 1 a.m., why not give it a shot," says O'Keefe.

It doesn't hurt when one of your favorite watering holes is open late at night, serving up wine and beer. Die-hard loyalists of the shop trickled in between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m., hanging out with O'Keefe and Hoffman, sharing stories of wine and beer

And when the clock struck midnight the glasses of 2016 Beaujolais Nouveau were passed around to everyone in the room. After a quick toasting of the glasses, we all sniffed, swirled and sipped. Some teased that the wine had no "legs," while others swirled continuously until they saw tiny transparent legs run down the side of the glass.

O'Keefe, who has sampled many a Beaujolais, described this new release as very green. "The Beaujolais always tastes very green, as most young wines do regardless of the grape or region," says O'Keefe. "I thought this year's tastes less green and has a distinct bubble gum taste. This kind of wine is always better with food."

He mentions that a possible Beaujolais food pairing could be in the works for next year.

But in the meantime, you can now head into any Wine 101 and pick up the latest bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau for $14.99 a bottle. And let's not forget to pick up a Beer Advent box that the store is selling for $65 a box. This is a perfect gift for the beer drinker – 24 assorted 12-ounce bottles of beer – a perfect idea to drink your way into Christmas.

Joe O'Keefe and Rufus Hoffman wrapping up the Beer Advent Boxes

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Autumn in N.C. Wine Country welcomes two new wineries

By Jennifer | November 16, 2016
Twitter: @TriangleAT | Facebook: Triangle Around Town | Instagram: @trianglearoundtown

As the weather begins to cool down and the leaves begin to change, there is no better time to head to the Yadkin Valley for a day or two of wine tasting with friends or your significant other. The views are spectacular with the vibrant fall foliage and makes for a perfect Saturday or Sunday afternoon. North Carolina has a lot to offer these days when it comes to wineries and this Fall, Yadkin Valley has welcomed two new wineries to its collection of over 40 wineries and 150-plus statewide.


If the name Westbend sounds familiar, that's because it is. The original Westbend, which was open for more than 20 years, closed its doors back in 2014. We had visited Westbend a handful of times and were sad to see it close. Much to our delight, Westbend was purchased by Walt and Sonia Breathwit of Houston, Texas.

We were fortunate enough to be able to visit during the grand opening on October 22. We arrived promptly at noon right as the doors were opening as we were greeted by a host of tasting room employees ready and waiting to welcome visitors. The tasting room is an old farmhouse that was originally on the property and adds to the character of this newly refurbished winery and brewery. With a fire in the fireplace and the warmth of the wood paneling, this winery lends itself to a perfect Fall day with a glass or bottle of wine whether in one of the private rooms or out on the patio listening to live music as the day wanes on.

We decided to do the full tasting which included seven wines for $10.  We were both pleasantly surprised by the quality of wines and both enjoyed the Chambourcin enough to buy a bottle and have the wine maker sign it for us. Then we moved on to the beer. We shared a flight which consisted of an IPA, a brown ale and a Wheat (which taste a lot like a Wit). With Dathan the “beer guy” and me more the “wine girl” I can definitely say, I am not an IPA girl. I find IPAs to be entirely too hoppy for my taste. So, imagine our surprise when the IPA was my favorite of the three.  Now, don’t let that deter any IPA fans out there. The subtleness of the hops, made this one more enjoyable for  this “wine girl.” The beer flight was $5. When we returned a couple weeks later, they were just releasing their Blonde ale. The “beer guy” gave it a two thumbs up! 

Overall, we had a very enjoyable time at Westbend and plan on making more stops on our journey’s through NC wine country.  The staff is friendly and knowledgeable and the scenery is great.  Check out their Facebook page for events, such as Weekends at Westbend featuring live music, food trucks and of course, beer and wine.


It was truly a fluke that I stumbled across a new winery in the Swan Creek AVA online one day - Midnight Magdalena Vineyards. I initially took a double-take. A new winery? We must go check them out!

Midnight Magdalena is the seventh winery of Swan Creek joining the ranks of Laurel Gray, Dobbins Creek, Shadow Springs, Windsor Run, Raffaldini and Piccione. This winery is family-owned and operated, producing such wines as Riesling, Traminette and Merlot. We stopped by the weekend after the grand opening not knowing exactly what to expect. With a friend following behind and wondering where we just guided him to, we turned up the gravel drive to come upon a small, charming tasting room. The first thing we noticed, however, was there were no vines. We asked the owners the question and they replied that the vines were actually across the road from the tasting room, with plans to plant more in front overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains. Mystery solved.

The tasting room was beautifully and tastefully decorated with a Southern wrap-around porch, perfect for sipping a glass of wine taking in the scenery. When you visit, be sure to ask about the construction of the tasting bar as well as the wine glass and wine bottle pressed into the bar top. It is magnificent and unique. What else I loved about this winery was hearing the stories behind what brought these owners to where they are today and the background of the name, Midnight Magdalena.

We decided on the full tasting and enjoyed each and every wine we tried that day. Following the tasting, we decided to take a break, purchase a glass, and sit outside. With a rosé, a white and a red, we took in the scenery, discussed the wines, and in the back of my mind, I was already planning another trip back in a couple of months.

They, in conjunction with the other wineries of Swan Creek, will be hosting a Barrel Tasting Red Riedel Event and Holiday Open House on November 19- 20.  Tickets are $35 per person.  This is a gourmet food and red wine pairing event with Riedel wine glasses, which all of us know, make wine taste even better!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Traminette grape starts to gain popularity in N.C. with Yadkin Valley winemakers

Medaloni Cellars' owner/winemaker, Joey Medaloni, addresses the crowd during a meet and greet tasting.

By Dathan Kazsuk | November 14, 2016
Twitter: @TriangleAT | Facebook: Triangle Around Town |
Instagram: @trianglearoundtown

A couple weeks ago, while on a wine run in North Carolina's Yadkin Valley, we paid visit to Lewisville's Medaloni Cellars to enjoy a glass of wine before making the drive back home to Raleigh. While enjoying the crisp evening with a bottle of Entourage red, Madaloni's owner/winemaker, Joey Medaloni, approached us to ask if we were enjoying the wine.

With the fall breeze coming in through the tasting room, along with the vibrant light of the setting sun – it made for a perfect evening. We told Joey that all was well as he informed us about a meet and greet at the winery on November 5 to sample the latest release from him and Lodi, California winemaker, Markus Niggli.

Known as the Flight Series – this was the third release between Medaloni and Niggli. And since it was falling on the same weekend as our wine pickup party at Jones von Drehle Vineyards, we decided to take him up on his offer.

So on that chilly evening of November 5, we once again paid visit to Medaloni Cellars for this special event. The sun was slowly setting as we made our way to the outdoor tasting patio. The smell of burning wood filled the air as we checked near the fire pit in the middle of the patio. Joey greeted the two of us, thanking us for attending the event, which played host to around 40 attendees – most of which were already enjoying a bottle or two on the patio.

Slowly, as everyone settled in, Joey made his presence known, as he introduced himself to the crowd, standing behind a cart of labeled and unlabeled wines, which we all knew we'd soon be tasting.

Personally, I wasn't sure what to expect. I've been to other winemaker events in the past, where someone pours the wine while the winemaker makes his or her way around the room asking your thoughts on their creation. This was a little different.

Medaloni led the way, introducing himself and Niggli, while giving us a brief history behind the Flight Series and how the two of them formed this collaboration. For many not familiar with Niggli's background, he is currently the winemaker at Borra Winery, and has found a love for fruit such as the German Kerner and North Carolina Traminette grapes.

Markus Niggli of Borra Winery in Lodi, California

And that leads us into our first wine of the evening – an unfiltered Traminette. This grape, which is related to the popular Gewüztraminer, is a grown grape here in the state of North Carolina. Not only does Medaloni produce wine from this grape, but other local wineries in the likes of McRitchie, Adagio, Roaring River and Divine Llama produce wine from this very distinct-flavored grape.

The unfiltered Traminette was just taken from the tank no more than a day prior to drinking, according to Niggli, who explained to us that this wine was in its "raw" stage. But what exactly does that mean? Well, an unfiltered wine just refers to its lack of clarity. A filtered wine, when looking through the wine glass will always appear clear. While an unfiltered wine may appear cloudy with possible sediment floating around in the glass.

While it's a toss up as to what wine purist like best, I rather enjoyed the taste of this wine. And most of the 40-plus in attendance felt the same way. It was so good that one individual asked Niggli why he wouldn't consider doing a limited run of an unfiltered Traminette.

"The reason myself or Joey wouldn't do something like that is because it would all come back to our name," says Niggli. But what does that mean, exactly? Well, most wine aficionados will store their wine at 55 degrees, when possible, and if you store your unfiltered wine at anything higher than that, you might run the risk of having live bacteria living in that wine.

"Say you have that wine in your cooler at 55 degrees," says Niggli to the guest. "Then you give it to a friend who doesn't have a cooler, and then they serve it to friends. That wine has mine or Joey's name attached to it." So when that wine tastes like a horrible mess, everyone drinking it will associate that wine with the winery and the winemaker. Hence, the reason unfiltered wines should only be left to the purist who knows how to property store said wine and drink it at the right time."

We then followed the unfiltered Traminette with ample pours of Medaloni's 2015 Traminette and a white-blend from a previous year's Flight Series. And then it was on to the reds. Joey and Markus poured an incredible wine that was made with 100 percent Chambourcin – another grape that's seeing an uptick in the state of North Carolina. Joey promised the people that this wine will be released by Medaloni in the months to come. We also sampled an upcoming red wine straight from the barrel as well as the latest red blend from the Flight Series – which we bought a couple bottles of to add to our wine collection at home.

During the two hours we were at Medaloni Cellars for the event, we tasted some great wines, learned a lot about the grapes used in the wines, as well as some of the latest hype in the viticulture world.

Events like this don't come around too often, so keep a look out on Medaloni's website or Facebook page for upcoming events.

Joey Medaloni, left, pours wine straight from the barrel to one of the attendees at the
Meet & Greet event on November 5 at Medaloni Cellars