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Einhorn der hopfenhammer German IPA and Rolph Family Vineyards' Grapes of Rolph 2010 Grenache 

Like a warm sweater passed down from your grandfather, this is the local beer you want to have on-hand during those chilly December nights. Einhorn’s amber-hued German style rye IPA exudes a big rye aroma laced with floral hops, and if you are like me, you will be compelled to sniff the heck out of its frothy head. Side note: Why is it weird to sniff beer but not wine? The pilsner malts and expressive hops strike a harmonious balance on the palate, with the “rye” flavor sitting pleasurably in the mix (aka not hijacking my taste buds). The short, clean finish doesn’t overstay its welcome—and at 6.8 percent—this is a drinkable holiday brew that stands up to Worcestershire-drizzled meatloaf and hearty cruciferous veggies. Seriously. You don’t get to finish your Einhorn IPA till you have three more bites of those Brussels sprouts, missy.

• Einhorn der hopfenhammer German IPA—$5.99 for a 22 ounce bottle; Lincoln Market, 496 Broad St., SLO.

True story: I recently played white elephant at my husband’s Central Coast Soccer 35-plus League party, and I struck red gold. We are talking about four bottles of Argentine wine that looked—well—fancy as all get out. However, I had just unwrapped my spoils, when another wine-loving woman stole my perfect gift away, and I was left with a pair of candles that smelled a lot like fruity urinal cakes. Luckily for me, my hubby chose his white elephant gift ultra-wisely, and I was back in action yet again! My delicious prize: a bottle of Grapes of Rolph 2010 Grenache, packed with chocolate, plum, and lingering spice. Located in Paso Robles, Rolph Family Vineyards is a true “family” operation, with hands-on owners who actually work their 30 acres planted to nine varietals. I can’t wait to get my hands on another bottle, although as far as I can tell, I must make a trek to their sprawling Westside estate winery to do so. Well, I guess someone’s got to do it. Anyone want to carpool?

• Rolph Family Vineyards’ Grapes of Rolph 2010 Grenache—Price unknown; 7710 Adeleida Road, Paso Robles.

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