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Drink Beer Inspired by an Ancient Recipe at Chicago's Field Museum

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Love history, archaeology, and obscure craft beers? Thanks to Chicago’s Field Museum, you'll soon be able to combine all three. Starting in March, museum visitors will be able to sip on Wari Ale, a single-batch limited-edition brew based on a recipe that the Wari people of southern Peru enjoyed more than 1000 years ago.

The Wari Ale will be officially released at one of The Field Museum’s quarterly tasting and beer-science Hop To It events. Named after the Wari—who once ruled parts of modern-day Peru and northern Chile—it’s what the museum calls "a purple chicha de molle (corn and pepper) beer" and contains traditional ingredients.

Brewers from Chicago’s Off Color Brewing collaborated with Ryan Williams, associate curator of anthropology at The Field Museum, to create the “beer-like drink with a dry, grainy funk and pepper spiciness," according to Off Color Brewing's site.

The ale is inspired by an archaeological find. In 2004, scientists from the Field Museum announced that they unearthed an ancient brewery while excavating the mountaintop city of Cerro Baúl (600 to 1050 CE). The facility predated the Inca Empire by at least four centuries, and its size indicated that the Wari once produced—and enjoyed—massive quantities of an alcoholic, beer-like drink called chicha, NBC News reported. However, ceramics excavated at Cerro Baúl showed traces of maize and molle berries, which suggests that Wari brewers mixed the two ingredients to make a zestier—and more potent—libation than regular chicha.

Researchers believe the ancient brewery once produced 1500 to 2000 liters of the brew in a single batch, according to a museum press release. The Wari guzzled it at large parties thrown by ruling officials to thank subordinates for their service to the state.

The Field Museum’s Hop To It event on March 3 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. won’t be as beer-soaked as these early Peruvian fetes (attendees receive one glass of beer per ticket). Open to the public, ages 21 and up, the event will feature a beer tasting and lectures as well as a display of Peruvian beer vessels from 600 AD and artifacts from the brewery in Cerro Bau'l. Tickets are $35 for Field Museum members, and $40 for non-members.

Can’t make it? Starting on March 7, the Wari Ale will be available on tap and in bottles at the Museum’s Field Bistro. For more information, check out the museum’s website.

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Alexa Can Now Help You Find a Wine Pairing
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Even if you enjoy wine regularly, you may not know exactly how you’re supposed to pair it with food. But you don’t have to be a sommelier to put together a good pairing at home. According to Lifehacker, you can just ask Alexa.

An Alexa skill called Wine Finder is designed to help you figure out which wine varietal would go best with whatever food you’re planning to eat. You just have to ask, “What wine goes well with … ”

Created by an app developer called Bloop Entertainment, the Amazon Echo skill features a database with 500 wine pairings. And not all of them are designed for someone working their way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking. The skill will also help you find the proper pairing for your more casual snacks. In one demo, the skill recommends pairing nachos with a Sauvignon blanc or Zinfandel. (Note that the latter also goes well with Frito pie.)

You can also ask it to find you the perfect wine to drink with apple pie and pizza, in addition to the meats, cheeses, and other wine-pairing staples you might expect. However, if you ask it what to pair with hot dogs, it says “water,” which is an affront to hot dog connoisseurs everywhere.

There are a few other wine-pairing skills available for Alexa, including Wine Pairings, Wine Pairings (two different skills), and Wine Expert. But according to user reviews, Wine Finder is the standout, offering more and higher-quality suggestions than some of the other sommelier apps.

It’s free to enable here, so drink up.

[h/t Lifehacker]

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Richard Brendon
This $56 Glass Is Perfectly Suited to All Styles of Wine
Richard Brendon
Richard Brendon

People who take their wine seriously tend to own different glasses for different types of wine. Decor website Home Stratosphere, for instance, identified 18 wine glasses—each shaped differently to complement the unique flavors and fragrances of a Bordeaux, a Burgundy, and other kinds of red, white, and dessert wines.

If you don’t want to spare the expense or the cupboard space for all those glasses, you may want to check out Richard Brendon’s $56 wine glass, which is said to be suited to all types of wine. As spotted by Fast Company, the “1 Wine Glass” is the result of a collaboration between Brendon, a London-based product designer, and wine critic Jancis Robinson.

Robinson said that when Brendon asked her to help design a range of wine glasses, she was “insistent” that they design one single glass. “I love white wine as much as red and have never understood why white wine glasses are routinely smaller than those designed for red wine,” Robinson said in a statement, adding that white wines can be just as complex as reds. “It just seems so obvious and sensible to have one single wine glass for all three colors of wine—especially when so many of us are short of storage space.”

To get it just right, they toiled with the thinness of the glass, the length of the stem, the curvature, the opening, and the overall practicality (Robinson said it had to be dishwasher safe, and indeed, the finished result is). The result is a 125ml handcrafted glass that can be used for all types of wine, including champagne, port, and sherry. The duo also designed a stemless water glass and two decanters. The items can be purchased on Richard Brendon's website.

[h/t Fast Company]

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