Jumper K wrote:You can get Pabst in Tesco now. Its in the craft beer aisle.
That's funny. For some reason, those old, cheap beers have become fashionable among hipsters. The first one I remember them serving in bars was Rolling Rock, which is not very good. That was in the late '80s and early '90s. But there have been cycles of old timey bad American beers that have cycled through at times as fashionable. Pabst is terrible. Americans will get this reference, but it's between Bud and Old Milwaukee in quality.
I was in the UK mid '80s and Budweiser had just started a promotional and distribution push in the UK. English guys my age were buying it at pubs and supermarkets. I remember seeing them and thinking, "This is what I was trying to get away from."
Like High Tea writes, Oregon, because of its cold climate is very good for pinot noir and are very protective of their viticulture and branding. They are suing a winemaker right now who is using the Oregon appellation on his wines.
But I take it he likes red wines. Napa is the home of Cabernet Sauvignon, mainly because it pays out an inordinately large amount to other grapes. Double or triple pinot, for example.
But I tend to white wines for casual drinking. The best area, in my estimate, is the Paso Robles area for their varieties. After Kid P, his girlfriend and I toured Hearst Castle a few years ago, we hit three or four wineries before they closed. A very enjoyable time.
As for craft brewing, Oregon is champ, but California is catching up. As I mentioned, the two or three best beers in America are brewed north of San Francisco in the Russian River area, also home to lots of wineries as well. I tell people, if you want to go wine tasting and have fun, avoid Napa and Sonoma, which are both crowded and expensive, and head up to the Russian River area. Like Paso Robles, lots of smaller wineries every half mile or so, which are much more fun and informal. And just as good.