Sam's Wine

Stock Up Chicago!

boozeWell, in case you missed it, Chicago (actually all of Illinois)  is implementing yet another tax and this one affects your drinking, sweet tooth, and, for some of you, sanitary habits.  Yep, starting Tuesday, Illinois is raising taxes on booze, candy, and dandruff shampoo.  However, not all taxes or items are created equal in Illinois!

The dandruff shampoo is the clearest – unless a doctor prescribes the shampoo, you’ll see a tax increase to 6.25%.  On the other hand, what constitutes candy is up for grabs.  Chocolate bar = candy (6.25% now).  Chocolate covered peanuts = food (so no tax increase and stays at 1%).  Makes sense, right?  Only in Illinois!

The highest tax increase, though, affects booze and is based on the product’s alcohol content and is calculated by the gallon.  Technically, the distributor is the only one facing a tax increase; however, I think we all know that the tax increase will quickly make its way to all of us.  So, just how much is this tax increase? A six pack of beer goes from 10.4 cents to 13 cents, a bottle of wine increases from 13 cents to 28 cents, and a fifth of most spirits jumps from 90 cents to $1.71 – ouch all around!

For those who wonder where this money is going, the state plans to use it for public works projects like roads and schools.  I’m sure they’re starting with the giant pothole right outside my house.

So, if you live in Illinois, spend today (Monday) stocking up on dandruff shampoo, candy (if you can figure out what is candy and what is food), and booze before the latest in a series of tax increases takes place.  Or, have a flaky scalp, cavity-free teeth, and a happy liver and use your money savings for other vices!

Thanks for reading Bright-Yellow!

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Some Summer Cheese for your Wine

I’m not reaching too far to come up with today’s post – it’s what we enjoyed last night. Jeff & I have friends in from out of town (with more coming) to enjoy some Cubs games. Two friends, Deb and Donna, arrived last night and since Deb lives near a fantastic farmers market in Michigan, she brought a bounty of fresh fruits and veggies (and home made bread from her friend Alice) for us to enjoy. Jeff and I stopped by Sam’s Wine to pick up some cheeses and wine to accompany the spread.

We selected our wine after attending a sauvignon blanc tasting at Sam’s a couple of weeks ago. After the tasting (and subsequent recovery), I declared Saint Clair Vicar’s Choice by favorite of the night (Jeff loved it, too). If you enjoy a fruity sauvignon blanc with a lot of juicy flavor, you’re sure to enjoy this wine, too!

As for the cheese, we simply guessed. We bought a tasty cheddar and a jack with chives from the cheese case. The only pre-packaged cheese, though, was the hit of the evening. We easily polished off the Moondarra honey pistachio cheese on the home made french bread – YUM! Jeff & I randomly chose the honey pistachio flavor but now I’m excited to try some of the other flavors, like fig and walnut (I don’t like figs but my mom makes a yummy cheese spread with figs so I guess I like them with cheese!) and mango and melon, that Sam’s carries. BTW – for the out of towners – you can order both the wine and the cheese from Sam’s Wines – just click here for the Sam’s site.

Now that we’re in full-on summer, consider the Saint Clair Vicar’s Choice and the Moondarra honey pistachio cheese for your next outdoor picnic or rooftop gathering.

Now I want to hear from you – what are your favorite summer wines and cheeses? Add them to the comments section and I’ll post them all together next week!

Thanks for reading Bright-Yellow!

Beer, Beer, Beer – and some Cider!

Yesterday Jeff and I were fortunate to be invited to a beer expo hosted by Chicago’s largest distributor. When I was at WXRT, I did a lot of work with the distributor and the station provides the music and some prizes for the event. Jeff’s part-time job at Sam’s Liquor was also a bonus at the event as different brands were suddenly very interested in talking with us once he mentioned that he works there (for those outside of Chicago, Sam’s is one of Chicago’s largest beverage retailers).

For Jeff, the expo was like his birthday and Christmas combined. Seriously, his eyes were huge when we entered – I think he felt like he got a taste of what heaven would be like for him! We sampled many different beers, some for the first time and some were old favorites. We even got to meet Jim Koch of Sam Adams!

When we got home, I asked Jeff what was his favorite beer he tasted. We both agreed that our favorite was Peak Organic. Jeff loves the IPA (I’m not an IPA fan but I have to admit that Peak’s is mighty tasty!) and I’m a fan of the pale ale. I admit that I was skeptical that organic beer would really taste all that different but, indeed, organic beer has a cleaner, crisper taste than most non-organic beers. Peak was created by a couple of home brew pals and it is a relative newcomer to the beer world. I know you can find it along the east coast (they’re based in Maine), Oregon, parts of California, and, of course, Chicago (preferably, at Sam’s).

The other stand out at the expo was Crispin Cider. Crispin, based in Minneapolis, is an all-natural cider that you drink over ice. We sampled the light, original, brut and unfiltered. I really enjoyed the original but I think I would have also really loved the light if I hadn’t tasted it side by side with the others. In that context, it definitely tasted “light”. Again, since it’s all natural, the clean flavors really came through when tasting.

For those of you in Chicago, if you are looking to expand your beer repertoire, Sam’s is hosting a beer tasting night on June 30 at the Lincoln Park location. For $25, you can sample up to 150 beers (you’d better have cab fare!) and meet some folks from the brands. To order tickets, just click here.

Thanks for reading Bright-Yellow. Remember, it’s all about giving each other ideas to share so remember to post in the comments or just send me an email.