A sip of local Brasserie Saint James ale helps a boy get a nutritious meal.
A taste of Jordan Winery cabernet sauvignon helps a girl play in a sports league.
And hoisting a tiki drink featuring Buffalo Trace whiskey, not the standard rum, helps youth learn about the arts, technology, self-confidence, social skills and healthy living.
When you partake of adult beverages at Barrels & Bites, the annual Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits fundraiser, you do more than get a buzz — you also help the Boys & Girls Club of Truckee Meadows make life better for thousands of area youth.
BARRELS & BITES
What: Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits fundraiser for Boys & Girls Club of Truckee Meadows
When: 4 to 8 p.m. Nov. 11
Where: Tuscany Ballroom in the Peppermill Resort Spa Casino, 2707 S. Virginia St.
Features: 600 wines; themed areas for beer, spirits and specialty cocktails; food; silent and live auctions; and Veterans Day raffle
Cost: $50 in advance from www.barrelsandbites.com, $65 at the door
This year’s event is Nov. 11 in the Tuscany Ballroom of the Peppermill Resort Spa Casino. Southern has presented a charity tasting for more than a quarter century, “and for us, it’s always the biggest event of the year,” said Tony King, the head of the distributor’s Reno office.
“Anything we can do for the Boys & Girls Club, we do — it’s always a great cause.”
Lots of grape juice
This year, about 600 wine have been donated, via Southern, for Barrels & Bites.
“It’s the most wines we’ve ever had,” King said.
“We’ve had to add at least a dozen more booths. Our suppliers that missed the event in the past few years heard how cool it was and wanted to be a part of it again.”
Jordan Winery, the Sonoma County house popular for its cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay, is one of these returning producers. Hawk and Horse Vineyards, however, is a new participant. The winery farms organically and biodynamically in Lake County, Calif.
Flowers Vineyard & Winery, a Sonoma Coast maker of pinot noir and chardonnay, also is appearing at Barrels & Bites for the first time.
Other wineries to look for: Beau Joie Champagne (at the bubbles station), Domaine Drouhin, locally owned Double Bond and Ferrari-Carano, Joseph Phelps, and John Anthony, with the main label, the Farm label, and the wildly popular Butter, Jam and Toast wines.
I love the nightlife
Beer and spirits at Barrels & Bites are once again being featured in several themed areas.
Besides Saint James Brasserie beers, the beer garden is showcasing pours from producers like the Depot Craft Brewery Distillery and Great Basin Brewing (both local), New Belgium, Victory Brewing and Strongbow Hard Apple Ciders.
The Peppermill, the host property, is staging Pep’s Tiki Hideaway in which it’s bringing back a trio of tiki-inspired drinks served this past summer in the Terrace Lounge, said Peppermill mixologist Ilona Martinez.
There’s a painkiller — “a jazzed up piña colada,” as Martinez put it — mingling spiced Bayou Rum, coconut cream, lilikoi (passion fruit) juice and other fruit juices.
A lilikoi ‘Lo, named for Martinez, offers her take on a classic mai tai with Don Q Cristal Rum, lilikoi lavender syrup, orgeat almond syrup and fresh lime. The Buffalo Trace tiki drink, mentioned at top, is aptly named the carouser.
The spirits attractions continue at Barrels & Bites with a tequila cantina and silent disco. Do a shot of Casa Noble, then don your headphones and dance in the middle of the surrounding booths.
The whiskey corral is bringing the brown with Suntory Japanese whisky, Eagle Rare whiskey, Belle Mead Bourbon, Four Roses Bourbon and local Francovich Distillers Manhattan.
On the clear spirits front, think highly regarded Rutte Celery Gin from the Netherlands and Hanson vodka from Sonoma County.
“Hanson is a really cool distillery,” said King, the Southern Glazer’s executive. “It’s organic. They purchase organic grapes and make it themselves.”
The Moscow mule “mountain” features a dozen vodkas, including local Tahoe Blue, and a slew of ginger beers to finish the cocktail.
Barrels & Bites also is elevating its food game this year.
“It’s more upscale in the past, more upscale food, more sushi, additional food lines,” said Katie Silva, corporate communications director of the Peppermill, which is donating the venue for the event, the food its chefs are preparing and the labor set up.
Dishes from the Peppermill’s five themed food stations include carved-to-order pork steamship (pork leg) tacos jabbed with pickled cabbage and roast breast of duck nestled against a rich swirl of crème fraiche mashed potatoes.
Other food providers are first-time participant Campo (with its famed budino, plus “something pork), Kimmie Candy, Raley’s and Trader Joe’s.
One new highlight at Barrels & Bites beyond food and drink is the military raffle.
The event falls on Nov. 11, Veterans Day, so members of the military (active or retired) who present valid military ID will be entered into a raffle for a wine country trip donated by Trinchero Family Estates of Napa Valley.