December Beer & Wine of the Month Boxes

Tis the Season, to drink and be merry. It is the holiday season, a time in which we come together with family and friends – to share, to indulge, and to celebrate everyone’s traditions. Traditions like Christmas are ones we have adopted from European origins, which is why we see fit to celebrate the holidays by recognizing some truly traditional beer styles from our comrades overseas. With hundreds of years of brewing excellence under their belts, Germany and Belgium are the quintessential countries to source beers that defy alteration by standing the test of time.

While keeping up traditions is important, the holidays are also filled with a plethora of the New and the Shiny. After paying homage to the foreign greats, we can’t help but exclaim excitement for the eye catchingly new bottles of beer from a distinctively unique American brewery. And because it’s almost Christmas, we have thrown in an extra beer in this month’s box! So get ready to deck the halls, to sip slowly from special selections, and to beer geek out with your shiny new bottles!

Libations

Mahr’s-Bräu Christmas BockTis the perfect season to enjoy this new offering from one of Germany’s oldest breweries: Mahr’s Bräu. Only a few hundred cases of this Christmas Bock were produced for the U.S., making it an exciting addition to this December box. Mahr’s Bräu is a family owned operation with roots in baroque Bamberg dating back to 1895. This brewery prides itself on producing  high quality beers in the traditional methods of which this area is known for. This Christmas Bock fulfills the historically expected qualities of German bocks with its intense malty characteristics, blended fruit flavors, and sweet caramel tones. An impressive balance of sweetness comes from the assertive hopping, which gives the beer a spicy herbal liveliness, as well as a slightly citrus, pepper finish .ABV {6%}

Rodenbach Vintage 2013From possibly the most well known Belgian brewery, Brouwerij Rodenbach, we have for you their Vintage 2013 – a Flanders red ale created by mixing the best of young and aged batches. Started by the four Rodenbach brothers in 1821, the Rodenbach Brewery has been thriving in the West Flanders province of Belgium for almost 200 years. Flanders red ales are distinguishable by their unique coloring and distinctive sour sweet flavoring. Creating a beer of this style is no easy feat, which is why we love to marvel at the consistently delicious vintages put out by Rodenbach. Vintage 2013 exceeds expectations with the perfect balance between the sweet notes of rich oak, cherry, and caramel that dance alongside acidic bites of balsamic vinegar and sour apple. ABV {7%}

Stillwater Contemporary Series Mono & SurroundFresh out of a new line of beers called the Contemporary Series, the last two beers in this box fall into the shiny and exciting part of the holidays. Maryland based brewery Stillwater Artisan Ales are known for their  line of unique Belgian style ales decorated in macabrely beautiful illustrations that are meant to enhance the entire experience and inspire contemplation. With the Contemporary Series, Stillwater has changed the mold again by introducing their own aesthetic into the modern brewing culture. Mono, a Galaxy Dry Hopped Pilsner, is created with a method that is seen widely in the beer market nowadays , but infrequent from the Stillwater cellars: single hop brewing. Having said that, this brightly bitter pilsner is also hopped with Centennial and Sterling which help to enhance the Galaxy’s clean notes of tangerine rind and fresh grass. Surround, an Imperial Oak Smoked Wheat Stout, does as it’s name implies and engulfs your taste buds with flavors of smoky meat, dark chocolate, and earthy tang. ABV {5.2%} ABV {10%}

Vino

To celebrate the holidays we have chosen an extremely limited bottle of sparkling wine that was created by immense passion and devotion. The white wine in this box is not just a pretty package (although it is), but a specially selected bottle on the list of one of the best wine importers in the world. And finally, not to be overlooked is the elegant bottle of red Sardinian wine. Made by two wise Sardinia locals, we are sure that this wine will fill your hearts with warmth and happiness during this joyful time of year.

Buronfosse La Mouscaille Brut RoséThe first bottle in this December wine box is meant to be shared with loved ones; a celebration of family, dedication, and a fierce love of the land – all factors that played a part into creating this bottle of Brut Rosé! From the small town of La Combe in the Jura region of France, Peggy and Jean-Pascal and their three children live off the land as much as possible. Beyond making their livelihood as vignerons, the Buronfosse family raise their own animals and grow their own produce. Not expecting to become a well known winemaker, Peggy stumbled into the revered occupation out of necessity. She slowly became more involved as she began renting small amounts of land to experiment with, until finally taking over her own vineyard and producing her first vintagein 2001. This 2014 vintage “La Mouscaille” Brut Rosé is dry, but lively with delicate fruit flavor from the Pinot Noir grapes.

Von Winning “Winnings”  Riesling 2014The gorgeous star speckled bottle of Riesling in the December box is the 2014 vintage from Von Winning winery in the Pfalz region of Germany. Historically known for producing unique, elegant wines, the Von Winning was founded in a joint estate in 1849. In the modern wine world, Von Winnings is quickly gaining recognition, mostly due to the obsessively attentive workings of winemaker Stefan Attman, who joined the production in 2008. The pristine soil and climate of this tediously cared for vineyard produces incredibly high quality grapes. Enter the biodynamic principles and minimalist approach of Attman and it’s no wonder the Von Winning wines are praised for a distinctively indigenous quality. For the 2014 vintage, the Riesling grapes give the wine it’s lovely notes of honey, apple, pear, and tangy pineapple. Wonderfully balanced between dry and sweet, this almost effervescent bottle is beautiful and refreshing.

Cantina Lilliu Cannonau di Sardegna Presciu 2014The last bottle in our December wine box is meant to be gift not only for your taste buds, but for your heart as well. The locals on the Mediterranean island of Sardinia have been known to live well past 90 years old, possibly due to the antioxidant rich compounds found in the indigenous varieties of wine they drink. Husband and wife Pietro and Roberta, both born and raised on the island, strongly believe and defend the immense wealth of the Sardinian land. The philosophies and goals behind their winemaking include a harmonious approach to the earth in order to yield the most natural and best quality grapes possible, while still giving back to their environment. Presciu 2014 is made from a blend of Cannonau de Sardegna (the local name for Grenache), Bovale, and Syrah. This stunning bottle of red wine oozes of plush red fruit and tender spice. Drink to your health and drink up!

Presents

Antica Torroneria Piemontese Soft Nougat with CherryThis time of year we indulge in sweets and treats that we normally wouldn’t..and if you’re going to indulge yourself, what better than with authentic nougat from Italy? This Torrone Morbido Con Ciliegie (soft nougat with cherries) is made with only the best ingredients, specifically Piemontese hazelnuts by the Sebaste family. Started in 1885 by Giuseppe Sebaste, Antica Torroneria Piemontese is currently run by the fourth generation with the same amount of passion for the craft and appreciation for the fruits of the land. Chewy and soft, this decadent nougat is gluten free, made from only honey, sugar, and egg whites.


 

La Casera Robiola di Capra di FicoGet ready to open presents with this little gift of cheese in this December box. This Robiola di Capra is literally wrapped like a present in the fig leaves that help it ripen for 15 days. Made with only goat’s milk from small farms in the Piedmont region, this soft ripened beauty is a classic example of the traditional Italian excellence bursting out of the family owned La Casera company that has been based in Verbania for several generations. The fig leaves packaging of this Robiola imparts a slightly vegetal taste into its fudgy white paste.

Ames Farm Honey BuckwheatIn an effort to spoil you this club box, we have added an extra item to our regular snacks! In mini form, your first stocking stuffer is a teeny jar of Buckwheat honey from Ames Farm Honey in Minnesota. Despite its size, this jar holds a whole lot of flavor – notes of dark brown sugar, cherry, plum, and even tobacco! Ames Farm harvests their honey from Carniolan bees, a Slovenian variety of bees that are well suited to the Minnesota climate. These bees are known for their gentle nature and superior sense of orientation, and of course for producing delicious single source honey perfect to drizzle on soft goat or blue cheeses!

Quince & Apple’s Pear with Honey & GingerStocking stuffer #2 is also a Midwest product – made by small batch production Quince & Apple out of Madison, Wisconsin. Owners Matt & Clare pride themselves on crafting preserves from locally and organically produced ingredients. As these jams are made in Wisconsin, one could rightfully assume that they pair well with cheeses! This bitty jar of Pear with Honey & Ginger is a delightful sampling of a sweet and tangy jam begging to top an oozey bloomy rind or fresh goat cheese like the one in this box!

Butternut Squash & Poblano Pepper Chili

butternutblog7The recent cold snap has put us here at AP in the mood for some delicious comfort food. I decided to take some of the latest local offerings from Enterprise Farm out of western Massachusetts to put together a hearty chili to warm up from the inside out. Beautiful poblano peppers and seasonal butternut squash are the stars of this cozy dish.

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For the chili:

2 tbsp olive or coconut oil
1 whole red onion, chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic
3 large poblano peppers
1 large butternut squash
5 stalks celery
1 can black beans, rinsed
1 lb ground beef *
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cinnamon

 

on top:

sour cream or crème fraiche
sliced avocado
l’amuse signature gouda
salt, to taste
lime juice, to taste

 

1. Roast the poblano peppers in the oven at 425 degrees for 10-15 minutes until the skin is just starting to look blistered. Peel and cube the butternut squash into ½ inch pieces while they’re cooking.

2. De-seed the poblano peppers and chop roughly into ½ inch pieces. Chop stalks of celery.

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3. Chop the onion and garlic. Throw onion into a large pot with your oil on medium heat. Stir every couple of minutes, waiting until fragrant, about 5-10 minutes. Add in the butternut squash and poblano peppers. Stir. Add in the celery.

4. Let everything cook on medium high heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the ground beef and brown in the pot for a couple of minutes.

5. Add the can of tomatoes, black beans, and tomato paste. Season with chili powder and cinnamon. Stir, cover and cook on medium low heat for 15-20 minutes.

6. After the chili cools, top with lime juice, sour cream, sliced avocado, salt, and for extra brownie points shred a little (or a lot) of l’amuse gouda on top!

* if you are a vegetarian or don’t want beef, another can of black beans works just as well in its place.

Enjoy!

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October Beer & Wine of the Month Boxes

Pumpkins dominate the month of October. They infiltrate our homes and porches, our lattes and pies, and most significantly, our beers. We at American Provisions are great supporters of fall gourds and of their rightful place in this wonderful season. Despite this fact, we believe that their rightful place is not necessarily in our beers. The over soaked market of pumpkin beers and ciders throughout the fall season have us searching for alternative alcohol expressions for the month of October. For this month’s beer box we are not just creeping away from pumpkin spiced brews, we are sort of ignoring them all together…
So how do you properly represent October without orange bottles and spiced ales? October in New England is a month that can range in various days of unwarranted heat to surprisingly chilly nights. If we can accept such variety in terms of weather, then why not in terms of beer styles? This logic will prevail for these three bottles as we stretch the concept of what “fall beers” can be. For these beers, we are drawing inspiration from our rustic New England surroundings, our desire for anything barrel aged during the cooler months, and finally, we are embracing a firm refusal to miss out on any opportunity for lots of hops.

Da Beers

Crooked Stave  Vieille Artisan SaisonWe are incredibly psyched to start our October beer box off with a bottle from the small production speciality brewery from Denver, Colorado – Crooked Stave Brewery. Since starting Crooked Stave Brewery in 2010, Chad Yacobson has been unable to keep up with the demand of his beers due to their almost instant following. For a brewery that specializes in Saisons and wild yeast beers, this is an amazing accomplishment in our predominantly hop driven craft beer world.  This  brings us to the small gem you have before you – Vieille Artisan Saison. This truly rustic Saison earned it’s name Vieille, meaning “old”, because it comes from a blend of various barrel aged batches, all of which have been fermented with Brettanomyces – a wild yeast strain that adds a great complexity to the Vieille. Six long months of aging and light dry hopping results in this funky complex beer that will intrigue your taste buds with its yeasty spice, fizzling carbonation, and slight lemony tartness. ABV {4.2%}

Breckenridge Brewery 471 Double IPAThe second bottle for October also comes to us from Colorado, but this time from the charming town of Breckenridge. In 1990, Richard Squire started Breckenridge Brewery, which at the time was Colorado’s third craft brewery. For over 25 years Breckenridge has been dedicated to creating unique, but approachable hand crafted beers. This dedication can especially be seen in the time and care they took to make the bottle in this box – 471 Double IPA, which they created with laborious processes like dry hopping the beer every quarter while transferring it back and forth from whiskey barrels to tanks each time. This time intensive methods pay off in the final result of a beer that is simultaneously oaky and rich, but also pleasantly hopped and bitter. 471 DIPA is hopped with the unique variety Hüll Melon, which strays from the typical citrusy aromas of most hop varieties and instead accents this brew with flavors of honeydew melon and apricot. These bright hop fruit flavors mingle nicely with light whiskey spices in a malty barrel aged body, making this beer a strong October beer contender. ABV {9.7%}

Revolution Brewing Mosaic Hero: For our last bottle in the October beer box, we not only have for you a delicious specialty beer, but also a Halloween costume idea! This year dress up as your favorite new super hero: Revolution Brewery’s Mosaic Hero! This literal Hop-Headed Hero draws his strength from big hop varieties like Warrior and Zythos, which are added in the brew kettle to create an intensely herbal, earthy base. The superpower of the newest addition to Revolution’s Hero Series, however, stems from the generous amount of dry hopping of the rare and unique variety: Mosaic. Mosiac hops give this beer a funky range of tropical fruit flavors like grapefruit, orange peel, and pineapple, as well as surprising notes of earthy pine. Revolution Brewing opened in Chicago in 2010 with a mission to provide beer lovers with a wide variety of unique beers loaded with big flavors,, which is exactly what you’re getting here with Mosaic Hero IPA. This specialty brew is mostly about the hops, but we believe that its respectable malt backbone of wheaty spice and its  toasty orange color can earn it a place in an October beer lineup. ABV {7.5%}

Cooler months call for warmer foods, and with warmer foods come fall flavors, spices, roasted meats, and root vegetables. This shift in season also affects the way we think about the wines we drink. No longer will we look for lean racey bottles of white or light fruity reds – Tis the season for fuller, more complex white wines with bigger bodies; rich reds with heft and spice to stand up to the bigger meals we are eagerly consuming.

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This box will slowly move you towards the heavier offerings that the cold months demand. The white bottle in this box is a 2003 vintage – a unique example of a white with significant weight and funk. The reds as well will be a slow transition into the darker, denser bodied wines we have been secretly waiting for all summer long. Get ready for fall with toasty oak and spicy fruit flavors in this October wine box!

Vino

Fabien Coche Bouillot Meursault Charmes Premier Cru 2003The wine region of Meursault in France is one of the most well known and sought after areas for Chardonnay production in all of Burgundy. Luckily for you, that is exactly where the first bottle in your wine box is from. From Domaine Coche Bouillot, vineyard run by Fabien Coche – the third generation owner of the estate. The vineyard is noted for their award winning white wines known for excellent balance and fruity freshness. Their Premier Cru from 2003 is incredibly full bodied and complex, with toasted, nutty notes from extended oak aging, but enough powerful fruit to create an elegant balance and lively structure. Many white wines are not built to be aged this long, which is why we hope you enjoy this rare opportunity to experience this extremely unique bottle from Meursault.

Mas de Libian Vin de Pétanque Vin de Pays des Côteaux de l’Ardèche 2014The Thibon family fondly named this wine Vin de Pétanque, as it is the wine they drink while playing a game of pétanque – the French equivalent of bocce ball. Jean-Pierre, his wife Jacqueline, and their three daughters tend to the vines of their terraced land in Southern Rhône. This loving family uses certified biodynamic practices in their winemaking, even using their family horse Nestor to tiddy between their vines. Though deemed perfect for consumption while playing bocce ball, this vibrant Rhône red is good to drink any time. A blend of mostly Grenache and some Syrah, this Vin de Pays is rich with pretty strawberry and blackberry fruit. A maceration period of five days gives the wine its intense crimson color and silky mouthfeel. Enjoy the herbaceous notes of thyme and rosemary, as well as pepper and spice of this beautiful red on a crisp fall day.

Scagliola Frem Barbera D’Asti 2013The last wine for our October box takes a step towards heavier, deeper reds. This Barbere D’Asti from the Scagliola family is a deep inky color, ready to face the cooler air of fall nights. From Calosso, a small village in southern Piedmont, Italy, the 2013 Frem is crafted by brothers Maggiorino and Mario, who co manage the estate their grandfather started in 1945. Il cane e frem means the dog is pointing – the dog on this label alludes to the focused, energetic nature of this wine. Frem is aged in large oak barrels for 12 months, which gives the wine a silky smooth medium bodied texture, with bright acidity. Aromas of ripe plum and wild currant meet your nose upon opening this bottle, followed by flavors of dark red berries with significant spice, reminiscent of fall meals and flavors.

Snacks

Big Spoon Roasters Chai Spice Nut Butter: Spices play a large roll in fall cuisine, which is why we wanted to incorporate a product that was chock full of them. Cue the Chai Spice Nut Butter from Big Spoon Roasters, which is made with a blend of traditional Masala Chai spices like cloves, ginger, cinnamon, vanilla, and black pepper. This southern nut butter company believes in only using ingredients from trustworthy producers who follow their philosophy that food should be delicious and nutritious. These beliefs are core to Big Spoon Roasters’ founder Mark Overbay, who started the company in 2011 with a desire to recreate the honest hand crafted nut butters he experienced while in the Peace Corps in Zimbabwe. Mark follows the techniques he learned abroad like freshly roasting and grinding different varieties of nuts, to which he adds simple ingredients like local wild honey and sea salts. The Chai Spice in this box is made from a simple mix of milled peanuts and almonds but is perfected by the warming blend of spices.

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Jasper Hill Farm WilloughbyThe one orange item you will find in this October box is the gorgeous washed rind of Vermont made Willoughby cheese. From the hailed “Northern Kingdom” of Vermont, or Greensboro, as it is geographically known, Willoughby comes to us from Jasper Hill Farms, a spectacular working dairy farm and creamery. Jasper Hill Farm strives to set a high standard quality with their cheese making, which they achieve by sourcing directly from their own or local farms. Their motto, taste of place, rings true as not only a representation of the Vermont landscape, but also as a supporter of it as they often help other Vermont businesses with their cheesemaking processes. Willoughby for instance was originally a creation of Ploughgate Creamery that Jasper Hill continued to develop after a fire at Ploughgate ceased their production. Jasper Hill Creamery thankfully revived the making of this pudgy washed rind cheese, which you are lucky enough to now taste. Roasted aromas of fall shine in the gooey paste of Willoughby with its flavors of beef, onions, and herbal fruitiness.

Daniele Foods Uncured Meat ChubSpices being a prevalent theme through our October snacks, it should be no surprise to find the last product of locally made dried meats. Daniele Foods is a family run operation that dates back to 1945 when two Croatian refugees,  Stefano and Carolina Dukcevich, started their new life and meat business  in Italy. Their passion and traditional methods were carried on by their son Vlado, who moved the business to America in 1977. Dried Italian meats at this time were not well known, so selling this speciality product was a struggle for the Dukcevich family at first, but thankfully they kept at it and now sell to some of the finest delis and stores across the country. These uncured chorizo and sopressata chubs are dried with natural spices, sea salts, and coarse pepper.

Empire Mayonnaise Co. Smoked Paprika MayoAs a nod to the bright orange colors prevalent during the month of October, we have this beautifully natural neon orange colored mayo from Empire Mayo. A small artisanal production out of Brooklyn, New York, Empire Mayonnaise was founded by chef Sam Mason and designer Elizabeth Valleau in 2011. This hip duo only used pasture-raised eggs from happy cage free chickens, as well as strictly local and seasonal ingredients to flavor their small batch mayos. They usually do short runs of each flavor, which is why we are particularly excited about this Smoked Paprika mayo for our fall themed box! The smoked paprika gives the mayo a natural smoky and sweet complexity, which we think would pair with anything from roasted sweet potato fries to baked whole chicken.

Call the store at (617) 269-6100, email us at info@americanprovisions.com, or ask a staffer for more information on signing yourself or someone you love up for the Beer or Wine of the Month Club! 

September Box Club: Beer & Wine

The treasures you see before you are the result of an epic journey. Our journey to acquire the elusive royalty of Vermont made products. The beers in this box have earned world class ratings from those who have been lucky enough to try them. They are outstanding examples of their styles, as well as some of the best beers that the Green Mountain state has to offer. The hype and excitement displayed at a name drop of these breweries is enough to make anyone curious, but it isn’t until you experience the Vermont beer scene that you can really understand…

Until you wait in lines behind fellow travelers with large bags being filled with growlers; until you drive a few hundred miles across the state, hopping in and out at each store to check their supply…you can’t understand. For those two days of our journey, we became part of the devoted. We traveled far and waited patiently for these elusive gems. The Vermont beers and products in this box are a result of fierce devotion — the obvious devotion displayed by their fans, but more importantly, the devotion of their makers. It is their commitment to making local, stand out products, and their love of the craft that makes this Vermont box so incredibly amazing.

Some of Vermont’s Finest

The Alchemist Heady Topper Double IPA: Even John Kimmich, the co-owner and head brewer of The Alchemist, whose likeness is portrayed on the illustration on Heady Topper cans, could not have predicted the immensely positive reception of their double IPA by New Englanders. Heady Topper has been in incredibly high demand since it was first brewed back in 2003; this hop packed ale has a huge cult following, who luckily enough have a website completely devoted to tracking the beers’ whereabouts. Over 45,000 cans of Heady Topper are released to select stores and restaurants around Vermont and they usually sell out within a few hours. Heady Topper’s popularity can be attributed to the beers’ layers of complex hop flavors and aromas ranging from tropical orange to pine-y spice, but what really makes this beer a top tier beverage is the quality of execution – a factor that we have come to expect (and delight in) from Vermont breweries.

Lawson’s Finest Sip of Sunshine IPA: The only way we could follow a world class beer from Vermont is with another world class beer from Vermont. Lucky for you, we were able to collect a few precious cans of Lawson’s Finest Sip of Sunshine IPA! This bright yellow tall boy is one of the many small batch brews that Lawson’s Finest cranks out at their microbrewery in Warren, VT. After one sip of this Sunshine IPA, the quality of this beer is undeniable. Pouring a hazy golden color with a short creamy head, Sip of Sunshine bursts with tropical fruit scents. Notes of fresh squeezed oranges, grapefruit pith, and mango fruit sweetness mingle with perfection among leafy hop bitterness and whispers of pine. The smooth, round body of Sip of Sunshine is so light and creamy, with almost a nitro like quality – making it seriously hard for the sipping to stop.

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Hill Farmstead Brewery ArthurOur last beer from our Vermont journey strays from the previous IPA styles, but it is in no way inferior in terms of quality or taste. From an equally revered Vermont brewery, we have for you – Arthur from Hill Farmstead. A true local resident of Vermont, Hill Farmstead Brewery sits on the land that belonged to the brewers’ grandfather and his 13 siblings. Following traditional methods and using locally sourced ingredients is incredibly important in the creation of Hill Farmstead beers. Arthur (the youngest brother of 13) is brewed with their distinctive farmhouse yeast, American malted barley, and water from their own well. Described by many as a meticulously excellent example of a saison, Arthur has a full doughy malt body with notes of  yeasty funk. The earthy malts are matched wonderfully by zesty lemon tartness , subtle grassy hops, and a clean, refreshing finish.

 

September Wines

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September is the border month between summer and fall. Lovely cool nights follow sporadically hot days as the weather awkwardly transitions. To help with the temperature confusion, we offer these bottles as a liquid transition. For these lingering hot days, we have a powerfully refreshing white wine that can stand up to the heat. As the nights get chilly and our palates become ready for something with a little more weight, you’ll need this full bodied red with some serious substance. And for the awkward in between days, find comfort in a gorgeous bottle of red wine, so light and lively it can even stand to be slightly chilled for those porch sipping times.

Château de l’Oiselinière de la Ramée Muscadet 2013Muscadet is the highest produced wine in the Loire Valley of France, with the Chéreau family being one of the most prominent names in its production. Today Château de l’Oiselinière is run by Bernard Chéreau, the son of  Monsieur Chéreau and Edmonde Carré, who combined their names at the start of their estate in 1960. Created by organic farming and indigenous yeast, this Muscadet is aged for 6 months on the lees. This process gives the wine its slight bubbly quality, which mingles perfectly with an abundance of acidity. Lively citrus flavors of grapefruit and lemon are balanced by white flowers and salty freshness in this high quality bottle.

Broc Cellars Love Red 2014A great transitional wine, Broc Cellars’ third release of Love Red is full of incredibly fresh juicy fruit. This sultry dressed bottle contains three grape varieties – the majority being Carignan, with a little of Valdique and Syrah. The belief at Broc Cellars is that minimal intervention is necessary for their wines to develop a specific character and complexity. For Love Red, malolactic fermentation was allowed to happen naturally, giving the wine a soft, round body. This softness however, is merely an understatement to the lively acidity and red fruit flavors of red berries and spicy anise. Enjoy this gorgeous bottle of wine at room temperature or slightly chill the bottle for a fun early fall drink!

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Chateau d’Archambeau Graves Bordeaux 2010This red will get you ready for the colder nights with this big bottle of Bordeaux. The Dubourdieu family have been running Chateau d’Archambeau in Graves for several generations. The Graves region of France is named such because of its gravel filled soils – a factor that gives the wines such strong minerality. An equal blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, this 2010 Bordeaux has a rich full taste, with plump roundness and soft tannins. Pair this Feminalise Gold medal winner with your first batch of roasted fall vegetables and a hearty protein.

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Snacks

For New England, September is a beautiful month in which to enjoy the pleasing temperature and changing landscape. We picked the state of Vermont as the quintessential New England representation,  mostly because of the scenery, but also because of the killer local products that the state produces. Many of the products at American Provisions are the result of a fierce passion and a love for locally made goods – several of which come to us from Vermont. The three snacks in this box are Vermont made, which could also be titled “Made with Love”.

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Big Picture Farm Cider Honey Caramels: Big Picture Farm is an insanely idyllic piece of paradise hidden away in the windy back roads of Townsend, VT. A true labor of love, the 87 acres of farmland making up Big Picture belong to two of the kindest, most creative, and inspiring people you will ever meet: Louisa Conrad and Lucas Farrell. For a little over five years, Louisa and Lucas have had a hand in every aspect of their business of creating goat’s milk caramels and cheeses. From personally herding, feeding, and caring for their 40+ goats, to designing each beautiful illustration on the caramel boxes, not to mention tackling everyday problems like jams in their rolling machine or plumbing issues from expanding construction that affect cheesemaking. These tedious issues don’t stop them from creating many many delicious goat caramel flavors, like the one in this box: Cider Honey, which is made with a local Vermont cider jelly and honey.

Poor Farm Collective Maple Syrup: Poor Farm Collective in Vershire, VT is, as their name implies, supported by a community of sugarmakers in the Vershire area. Poor Farm was started by Sam Kelman and Makenna Goodman with a mission of creating a local product with sustainable methods. Their syrup is made with wood-fired evaporators – an old fashioned and more traditional method than larger producers of syrup use. The magical time for syrup in Vermont happens mid March to April, when the sugarmakers bring life to the woods with their tractors and horses, ready to carry away gallons of freshly tapped sap. It took about 2.5 gallons of sap to make the one half pint bottle of distinctively tasty Vermont maple syrup in this box.

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Jasper Hill Cellars OmaOma, the washed rind, tomme style cheese in the boxes this month, is not only a personal favorite, but also a prime example of a Vermont made product. For over three generations the von Trapp farm has been a certified dairy farm and have more recently  become a cheese making operation in Waitsfield. Their fellow cheesemakers at Jasper Hill Farm, assist the production of Oma by housing many wheels of it in their cellars in Greensboro. In the specifically calibrated vault #6 of the Cellars at Jasper Hill, wheels of Oma slowly ripen into an earthy orange rind covering the pungent buttery paste full of rich flavors of roasted nuts and cured meat.

Call the store at (617) 269-6100, email us at info@americanprovisions.com, or ask a staffer for more information on signing yourself or someone you love up for the Beer or Wine of the Month Club!  

August Beer & Wine Club Boxes

We can’t face it — the inevitable countdown of summer days. We openly deny the drop in temperature signaling the inevitable approach of September. Our knowledge of New England unpredictability gives us hope for prolong summer temperatures, possibly till as late as October.. But the truth is, that we are approaching the end of the summer season – undeniable wisps of fall linger around the corner. We are having a hard time facing this truth, so we decided we aren’t going to. This box is going to be a firm plea to remain in summer – to hold out a little longer to this glorious season with it’s bright flavors, ripe fruits, and refreshing possibilities.

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These wines will help you do just that. Wines that scream fresh fruit flavors, tantalize with loads of acidity, and quench with refreshing palpability. There will be a white wine with a scary looking name you won’t want to pronounce, but once you taste it, you’ll be searching for this Spanish variety everywhere. A summer send off wouldn’t be complete without a rosé, so why not the nicest looking bottle we could find from the island of Corsica? And for the third bottle, we have found the most perfect summer red that you can even serve it chilled!

To prepare you with what lies ahead, we have created a beer box bursting with the full strength of summer. These beers will invigorate with tart liveliness, refresh with satisfying fruition, and awe as direct representations of nature. These bottles show a wide and impressive range of beer making techniques that are inspired by historical traditions, distinct beer styles, and even draw inspiration from the beauty of the earth itself. Use these beers to soak up as much summer as you can to keep for the months to come.

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Libations

Dr. Fritz Briem 1809 Berliner Weisse: We begin our ode to summer with an incredibly refreshing style of beer that has been enjoyed since the early 1600s. This bottle, was made specifically to be a recreation of the Berliner Weisses that existed in 1809, when French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte and his troops drank them to celebrate their Prussian victory. Napoleon famously called it the “Champagne of the North”, speaking of the beer’s highly effervescent and spritzy qualities. 1809 Berliner Weisse was created by Dr. Fritz Briem at his experimental brewery in the Doemes Institute in Munich. The professor has created the ideal Berliner Weisse – a light wheaty ale that tingles the tongue with flavors of white grape and green apple. Traditionally, Berliner Weisses were served “mit Schuss” or with flavored fruit syrups like raspberry or woodruff to minimize the sourness, but we think 1809 is perfect, just as is. ABV {5%}

Enlightenment Ales VerdanceEnlightenment Ales is a truly unique Massachusetts brewery dedicated to crafting artisan ales that are interesting and inspired. This gorgeous bottle of Enlightenment’s Verdance was inspired by artist Liz Jacobs’s painting, which adorns the front label. Drawing inspiration from the beauty of New England’s forests, Enlightenment has crafted this rustic wheat saison to convey the “lushness of the natural world around us”. The use of wild yeast strains and bottle conditioning give Verdance a liveliness and complexity, which make this beer remarkable. Verdance pours a golden orange hue with a fluffy white head that emits scents of barnyard funk and wheat. The refreshing flavors of tart peach and spice are a beautiful reminder of the nature we are enjoying throughout the summer months. ABV {4.4%}

Allagash Brewing Cuvee d’IndustrialLast, but by no ways least, we proudly and eagerly present a specialty release from Allagash Brewing: Cuvée d’Industrial. Known for their production of traditional and creative Belgian style beers, Allagash Brewery started off as a one man operation in 1995. Cuvée d’Industrial is one of their specialty cage and corked bottles that are incredibly sought after in the New England beer scene. To make this beer, specific barrels ranging in age from 1 to 5 years, from their wild beer cellar were chosen to be blended together. The resulting blend is this wonderfully complex, funky tart beer you have before you. We urge you to breathe in the complex scents of stone fruits, apple cider, vanilla, and oak when opening the bottle. The silky smooth body of woodsy sour lemon and tropical fruits will fill your mouth with immense satisfaction and then slowly dissipate into a lingering fizz. ABV {7.5%}

Bodegas Ameztoi Getariako Txakolina 2014The first wine in our end of summer box is a variety that many are unfamiliar with, but is one that couldn’t be more perfect for hot weather sipping. From the Basque region of northern Spain comes this 2014 Txakolina from Bodegas Ameztoi. Pronounced “chock-oh-lEE-na”, this very traditional style of wine is known for being refreshing and invigorating. The Ameztoi family is one of the top producers in the province of Getaria and has been producing wine for seven generations. Their Txakolina is made from the indigenous grapes Hondarribi Zurri and Hondarribi Beltza, which create a mineral driven wine with fruit flavors of grapefruit and lemon lime. Txakolinas are bottled with a small amount of residual carbon, giving the wine its distinctive natural spritz. So don’t worry about pronouncing the grapes, pop up this delightful bottle and enjoy.

Close Signadore Patrimonio A Mandria Rosé 2014Now that the summer is ending, we don’t need to entice you with whimsical bottles of pink  wine. We believe you’re ready for this seriously elegant rosé from the gorgeous island of Corsica in the French riviera. Christophe Ferrandis’s estate Clos Signadore strongly focuses on organic viticulture and in portraying the unique terrior of Patrimonio. The mostly limestone soil of Patrimonio and stainless steel fermentation are both evident in the ample acidity of this rosé. A Mandria rosé is made from 50 year old vines of the indigenous grape Niellucio, a variety that is closely related to Sangiovese. It’s juicy strong body has enough character to pair with a nice dinner, while its savory notes of raspberries and rose petals will leave your taste buds satisfied.

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Château Tour Grise Chenin Noir 2013: Wanting to keep these wines as refreshing and summer-y as possible, we searched for a red wine that would stand up to the challenge. From Château Tour Grise in the Loire Valley of France, we bring you Phillippe Gourdon’s 2013 Chenin Noir. This gorgeous pale ruby wine is made as a red wine, despite it’s rosé appearance. It is made from the not well known variety Pineau d’Aunis, which used to be widely planted in the Loire region but has now almost completely disappeared. Phillip Gourdon farms his vineyard with bio dynamic practices, using only natural processes and yeasts in his winemaking. The Chenin Noir is a youthful, effervescent wine with textured flavors of blood orange, sour cherry, and pink pepper. Serve this bottle slightly chilled for a unique, perfectly summer appropriate experience.

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Snacks

Bonnie’s Jams Peach Pepper Jelly: The summer months yield bountiful amounts of ripe fruit that can fortunately be preserved in order to save the bounty and warmth of the season into the colder months. Bonnie Shershow yields this power of preservation with great care as well as wonderful creativity. A local maker in Cambridge, Bonnie has been making jams since she was a little girl who helped her mother pick fruit from around her home in Southern California. Her love for jams & preserves only grew as she traveled the world tasting different fruit concoctions from places like France, Peru, & even Shanghai! This Peach Pepper Jelly is a quintessential representation of summer with its simple juicy flavors of ripe peaches and hot habanero peppers. Spread this sweet and spicy treat on creamy cheeses or make it into a marinade for grilling!

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The Farm at Doe Run Batch #10: Much like with wine or beer, cheese has the unique ability to represent the land (and animals) it comes from. So to eat a cheese from a sustainable run farm and creamery in Pennsylvania, you are literally experiencing a taste of that place and the animals that graze upon it. For Batch #10 washed rind cheese, that place is Farm at Doe Run in Coatesville, PA. The hard working crew at Doe run strives to produce the highest quality cheeses they can from their herds of pasture raised cows, goats, and sheep. They also have a little fun with a limited, specialty batch of cheeses called the Creamery Collection series. The cheese you have before you is Batch #10, a goat’s milk wheel that was washed in a local rhubarb spirit, the latest batch in this series. The earthy brightness of the goat’s milk contrasts beautifully with it’s boldly fruity rind.

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Olympic Provisions Loukanika: As often as we praise local products, we know how to recognize great makers, which is why we order many of our charcuterie items from Olympic Provisions (very recently Olympia Provisions) in Portland, Oregon. Olympic Provisions specializes in authentic hand made charcuterie, using old world techniques that are seldom seen in the states. Their Salumist, Eli Cairo, a first generation Greek-American, used his father’s recipe to create this Loukanika salami as a homage to his homeland. A Greek style dry cured meat, Loukanika, is a pork base made with earthy garlic, nutty cumin, and sweet and sour orange zest.

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Call the store at (617) 269-6100, email us at info@americanprovisions.com, or ask a staffer for more information on signing yourself or someone you love up for the Beer or Wine of the Month Club! 

 

July Beer & Wine Box Club

Getting outside is a mutual goal for all of us during the summer months. The good weather begs us to be in it and it is during these months that we are forced to appreciate our surroundings. We feel closer to nature as we walk and run in it, breath it in, and soak it up. This month’s boxes are a tribute to nature and to the remarkable benefits we reap from it. Nature gives us the raw materials we need in order to make the bottles in this box, but it also provides us with living tools like bacteria and yeast that in turn can be skillfully manipulated into unique and natural wines and beers.

Yeast is one of the four ingredients necessary to make beer, but not all yeast is the same. Wild yeast strains are unpredictable, mysterious, and hard to control. Skilled brewers have learned to tame, or perhaps, assist these wild yeast strains into a somewhat controlled brewing process. The unpredictability of wild yeast is what makes these beers so unique and sometimes not for everyone. But for the adventurous drinker, a well brewed beer with wild yeast can be an exciting adventure for the taste buds, as well as a fascinating representation of the nature that helped create that beer.

The Libations

Picobrouwerij Alvinne Cuvee Freddy – Special Dedication to SofieIn our opinion, Belgian breweries take the cake when it comes to sour beers. The daunting process of creating sour beers requires the use of microorganisms that other brewers avoid completely – wild yeasts like Brettanomyces and lactic acid bacteria. These microorganisms make for a very un-traditional brewing yeast with a high risk for producing unappealing flavors, which is why a correctly brewed  Belgian sour can truly be a magical marriage of natural ingredients and human ingenuity. All of these unpredictable and living ingredients have taken a part in the creation of this Belgian sour, Cuvee Freddy – Special Edition Dedicated to Sofie. This Flanders red ale from Picobrouwerij Alvinne is a strange, yet pleasing mix of flavors. Tart, sour notes of cherries and grapes meet your tongue first, followed by funky layers of oak and chocolate. ABV {8%}

Mikkeller It’s Alive: Gypsy Danish brewer Mikkeller is known for their risk taking and out of the norm style of brewing. Which is why a Belgian style beer brewed with wild yeasts is no surprise coming from Mikkeller. But that doesn’t stop us from being excited about this colorful bottle of It’s Alive! Brewed as a tribute to the popular trappist beer Orval, Mikkeller’s wild ale is a strong pale ale with a considerable amount of hops. The use of Brettanomyces as a wild yeast is not as obvious until the end of a sip, whereas flavors of caramel malts and funky esters are more predominant. Not as sour as one would expect a wild ale to be, It’s Alive proves its name by tingling the tongue with consistent carbonation and tantalizing flavors of ripe fruit, pepper, and lemongrass. ABV {8%}

The Wild Beer Co Iduna Cru: This last bottle is definitely a beer, although you might want to take the brewery’s suggestion and serve Iduna Cru in a champagne glass in order to accommodate the tremendous amount of bubbles you are about to let loose. The Wild Beer Co. is an English brewery that believes brewing should not be restricted to rules or styles, instead driven by passion and creativity. Iduna Cru is definitely a result of their creativity – a Belgian style saison that has been brewed with a hefty amount of New Zealand hops, Somerset apple juice, and wild yeasts. Named after a Greek goddess of beer, Iduna Cru goes through a secondary fermentation with the addition of champagne yeast. This additional process creates a light bodied beer with infectious carbonation, funky notes of wheat, apple, and spicy fruit with a long dry finish. ABV {9%}

The process of natural winemaking is literally just that: a natural occurring fermentation from the indigenous yeast found on the grapes, as opposed to a controlled introduced yeast. These wines are made without intervention and with minimal additives. Natural wine also means that the vines have been cultivated organically or biodynamically, which as a process can result in lower yields for wineries, but with the reward of extremely high quality. The wines in this box meet all of these standards, yet they are more than just a process, they are a true expression of the nature they were created from.

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Domaine Laurent Barth Muscat 2013: When it comes to natural winemaking, Laurent Barth is not only an advocate, but an extremely skilled practitioner of the process. An avid traveling winemaker, Laurent finally took over his father’s estate in a very old village in Alsace, France. His approach to vinification is as natural as possible, because although the process may result in imperfections, he believes that they are part of the wine’s identity and that it is the only way to respect the grapes and the land from which they come. The grape in this wine is Muscat, specifically a blend of Muscat a Petits Grains and Muscat Ottornel. Notes of honeysuckle will greet your nose upon opening this bottle. This wine flows heavy and viscous on the first sip with juicy white grape flavors, as well as notes of tangy stonefruit. The soft full quality of the Muscat is finished by a tart tingle of racy acidity.

Domaine Montbarbon Viré-Clessé Les 3 Terriors 2013: The Viré-Clessé Les 3 Terriors from Domaine Montbarbon is an excellent example of natural wine from an area that is world renowned for its high quality of expressive Chardonnays. The indication of “three terriors” on this bottle refers to the three appellations that provided the grapes which were blended to create this cuvée. The efforts of Jacky and Martine Montbarbon are evident in the creamy fullness and depth of this wine, which can be attributed to their use of bâtonage. The bâtonage process is a labor intensive one that involves stirring the lees (residual yeast) at the bottom of the tanks, once a week for over a year. This tedious, yet traditional method gives the wine its intense complexity – with layers of yeasty, woody aromas and round acidity complemented by flavors of white flower and yellow fruits.

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La Stoppa Trebbiolo Rosso: For the final wine in this box we wanted to find a naturally made red wine that had as much vibrancy and life as the whites beside it. Thankfully the dedication and passion of Elena Pantaleoni and Giulio Armani have created La Stoppa, a winery in NW Emilia-Romagna that focuses on organic farming and traditional methods. From La Stoppa we have found Trebbiolo Rosso, a blend of Barbera and Bonarda, two excellent Italian varieties. Fermentation takes places in only stainless steel after a 20 day period of maceration with indigenous yeasts that give this wine its wild and earthy aromas. Notes of blackberries, sweet leather, and meaty spice are on the forefront of this youthful bottle. The dry palate and refreshing acidity is begging to be paired with dried cured hams and salty cheeses.

The Snacks

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Bee Local Oregon Buckwheat: For this box we needed to find a product that could match the level of purity and natural goodness of the wines we picked. We believe we found that product with this Buckwheat honey from Bee Local. Bee Local was founded in Portland, Oregon in 2011, by Damian Magista, who wanted to contribute to our country’s honey production by sourcing the most sustainable and healthy honey possible. A pure creation of nature, this Oregon honey is comparable to Manuka honey because of its incredible medicinal qualities from its high levels of vitamins and minerals. Dark and smoky in appearance and taste, this raw Buckwheat honey is a perfect pairing for mild cheeses or as a base for a savory sauce.

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Nathan Miller Salt & Wafer: Natural, sustainably sourced ingredients play a huge part in the creation of the Nathan Miller chocolate bar in this box. Nathan Miller, a well known pastry and dessert chef, started his chocolate company in 2010, using only Fair Trade, organic, great quality cocoa beans from small farms. His extensive culinary experience has allowed him to create chocolate bars that test the imagination and please the taste buds.The Salt & Wafer bar is 45% buttermilk chocolate made with a crispy wafer and Himalayan pink salt, which give the bar a tangy and salty flavor. The cocoa beans for this bar are from Oko Caribe, as small co-op in the Dominican Republic and the paper the bar is wrapped in was handmade in Nepal. 

Meadowood Farms Strawbridge: From a farm older than a 100 years, comes this natural bloomy rind sheep’s milk cheese called Strawbridge. Meadowood Farms in Madison County, NY is incredibly focused on sustainability. When it comes to their herd of Galloway cattle and flock of East Friesian sheep, the Chard Family maintains a high level of care and commitment, via controlled mowing and a strict non use of pesticides on their 225 acres of land. The sheep whose milk you will be enjoying in cheese form, lazily graze on lush fields of of orchard grass, rye, and clover. The vibrancy of the land at Meadowood Farms comes through in the fresh and herbal flavors of Strawbridge. The natural formed bloomy rind gives this cheese its amazing buttery, gooey texture – perfect for spreading on crispy baguettes.

Call the store at (617) 269-6100, email us at info@americanprovisions.com, or ask a staffer for more information on signing yourself or someone you love up for the Beer or Wine of the Month Club! 

June Wine of the Month Club

The Heat is here. Finally after so many months of cold, we have begun our forceful journey into the arms of Summer. Raw hot sun beats down on our greedy faces as we all flock to any outdoor activity we can think of. Grills have become our go-to cooking method, as eating inside becomes unnecessary. Inspired by the heat, we have decided to fill this box with a symbolic essence of summer: smoke. Each snack in this box will present this essence in very different ways; be it in form of ground spices, preserved fruits, or a block of cheese.

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Instead of being inspired by the season, the wines this month are driven by a sense of place. Each of these wines truly express the terrior in which they are grown, as well as beautifully displaying the masterful techniques required to make them. Made with authentic methods and paying homage to the traditions of the regions, all three wines are incredibly unique. From Oregon, with German inspiration, we have a bright and fruity bottle full of zest; from the Abruzzo coast comes a bottle as full and intriguingly golden as the sun; and finally from the slopes of a Sicilian paradise, comes a fiercely fresh red born out of the vines surrounding a volcano.

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The Libations

Teutonic Wine Company Willamette Valley White 2014: Olga and Barnaby Tuttel, of Teutonic Wine Company, continue to impress us with each new bottle we sample. Which is why this will be the third bottle from Teutonic that we picked for our wine of the month boxes. Hopefully our obvious devotion to this small company from Oregon will assure you of the quality of this Willamette Valley White wine; although if we can’t convince you, we are confident this bottle will. From a company whose beginning was inspired by German wines, old world methods, and a strong desire to express terroir – you have here a bottle of wine that meets all of these factors. This 2014 white blend is made from three grape varieties: Pinot Noir,  Müller-Thurgau, and Chasselas. The later two grapes provide this wine with beautiful aromas of lemon lime zest, candied fruit, and bright citrus. Round and so supple, this wine softly hugs your taste buds with juicy apple flavors, as well as intriguing notes of earth and funk.

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Tenuta Terraviva Solobianco 2014Tenuta Terraviva translates from Italian to “living earth”; an exceedingly appropriate name for the organic winery started by two friends, Pietro Topi and Martino Taraschi. The gorgeous earth beneath the estate is found in the Teramo region of Abruzzo, less than a mile away from the Adriatic Sea. Pietro and Martino recognized the potential of this land to produce incredible, quality wines that represented the region’s traditional styles in an honest and pure fashion. Solobiano 2014 is a very unique example of these traditions, as well as a unique style of wine. Meaning “only white”, Solobianco is what is called an orange wine. Made from Trebbiano, Chardonnay, and Malvasia grapes, this style of wine is created in the same method as a red wine, (prolonged skin contact) but with the use of only white grape varieties. This method produces a wine with body and tannic qualities similar to reds, but with the fruit and minerality of whites. Solobianco is incredibly elegant with fresh notes of banana and hawthorn, followed by a persistent finish of balanced acidity.

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Cantine Valenti Norma Etna Red Wine 2011: Each of these wines have strongly represented the land in which they are produced, but perhaps the most impressive thus far will come to you from one of the most unique places to grow vines on: an active volcano. Cantine Valenti of Sicily is the producer of our last wine, Norma, a red wine created from grapes grown in the volcanic landscape of Mt Etna. From a paradise of vines so closely surrounded by the threat of old lava flows, this wine is made from Nerello Mascalese, a true red variety of the volcano. The adamantly organic practices of Cantine Valenti elevate the already premier cru quality of the Nerello Mascalese grapes in this beautifully natural bottle of wine. The super volcanic quality of earth in which the 100 year old vines are grown, make this wine intensely mineral driven, with notes of fresh cut rose petals and dark red fruit on the palate. The volcanic magic that surrounds Cantine Valenti has infused this bottle with a fiery freshness, making it an incredibly unique representation of Sicilian wines.

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The Snacks

Mustard &  Co Smoky BBQ: Justin Hoffman, a co founder of Mustard & Co. knew from the beginning that a plethora of fancy ingredients were not necessary to make great mustard; all he needed was good quality, freshly sourced spices. Following this mindset, Justin and Bryan started this company to create mustards in an honest, no fuss manner. Their Smoky BBQ mustard is a new addition to their lineup, perfectly timed for the summer months! Made with sweet and spicy ingredients, as well as a healthy dose of concentrated smoke, this BBQ sauce is begging to be doused over ribs on the grill or as a marinade for some baked beans.

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Anarchy in a Jar Grapefruit & Smoked Salt Marmalade: Anarchy in a Jar was started by Laena McCarthy, whose passion for jams started back in her childhood. Laena started this Brooklyn company with the goal of combining modern advantages and old world jam making techniques. Using only the freshest fruits from local farms, Anarchy in a Jar creates preserves that are unique, fun, and most importantly, wicked tasty. From their selection we have chosen the Grapefruit & Smoked Salt Marmalade for you to try. The bright grapefruit citrus flavors blend perfectly with the smoked salt, creating this smoky sweet spread with a seasonably appropriate touch of tartness!

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Boston Post Dairy Smokin Goud: If you haven’t noticed our smoked theme among the snacks in the box, you will definitely be convinced by the smell of this goat gouda. Despite the name, Boston Post Dairy is a small family run farm up in Enosburg Falls, Vermont. The farm is named for the Boston Post Stagecoach which used to travel straight through the property. Run by Robert and Gisele Gervais (and their four daughters), Boston Post Dairy makes a variety of cow and goat cheeses, as well as other typical Vermont products like maple syrup and goat milk soaps. This particular cheese was smoked with corn cobs, giving the cheese a potent smell, but a more naturally subtle smoke flavor.

Call the store at (617) 269-6100, email us at info@americanprovisions.com, or ask a staffer for more information on signing yourself or someone you love up for the Beer or Wine of the Month Club!

May Beer & Wine Box Club

Summer is Coming, but not just yet. We are still enjoying mild temperatures and cool nights. The heat has yet to make us curse at the sun (despite our intense desire for it all winter long..) Before it becomes necessary to huddle in the shade or crank the AC, we are still able to sit outside for long periods of time, sipping on refreshing beverages in in the utmost comfort. And we are here to bring you those beverages.

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This wine box is a continuation of the last, as it is providing you with wines to enjoy outside, but this time with a slightly more sophisticated approach. Two wines come to you from the banks of Austria’s largest body of water, Lake Neusiedl. The magic this lake has imparted on these two very different wines will convert you into an Austrian wine devotee. Then from one of the best regions in the world for Chardonnay, we bring you a 12 year old bottle of wine that will make you rethink the possibilities of a white wine.

This month’s beer box has a strong emphasis on local brewers, specifically the East Coast. Starting super local, from Massachusetts, we have a limited release IPA from the once solo brewer – Brewmaster Jack. From  Two Roads Brewery in Connecticut, an barrel aged saison took the road less traveled to arrive in this box. Finally, thought up in New York City and brewed at someone else’s brewery, an extremely unique Cherry ale from a fascinating brewing duo called Grimm.

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The Libations

Brewmaster Jack The Little Brother: Limited edition offerings from local breweries are always a welcome addition to our beer boxes, because they are showing the best of what we know. You may be familiar with the year round beers coming out of local favorite Brewmaster Jack, but it is always exciting to snag one of the more limited releases. Here we have a double IPA named for the younger brother of the brewmaster himself, Tyler Guilmette. Tyler started his solo adventure in 2011 with a mission to create high quality, readily available craft beers, using unique hop varieties and local grains. This DIPA features two unique hops: Cintra and Simcoe, from which the beer gets its tangy citrus flavors of pineapple, apricot, mango, and sweet melon. These tropical fruits keep the bitterness of this double in check, as does the fuller body with its slightly malty base. ABV {8.5%}

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Two Roads Brewery Worker’s Stomp Saison: Another local limited release comes to us from Two Roads Brewery in Stratford, CT. The theme of this brewery is taking “the road less traveled”, which is a motto they live up to by creating beers that are incredibly unique, adventurous, and carefully crafted. For this special bottle, Two Roads has taken their regular saison, Worker’s Comp, and as they say “stomped all over it!” This Stomp-ed saison has been aged in white wine barrels, which give the beer a wonderful round texture of woodsy oak flavors. Open this beer carefully for the cork holds back loads of carbonation which will top the honey colored brew with huge fizzy head. An aroma of farmhouse funk and graham cracker toastiness will greet you after the foam settles, followed by slightly tart notes of lemon, peppery spice, and floral saison qualities. Pair this aged delight with it’s Conneticut neighbor: Mystic Cheese Co’s Sea Change. ABV {7.5%}

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Grimm Artisanal Ales Cherry Oak Shapeshifter: Last but certainly not least is a very exciting newly released beer from Grimm Artisanal Ales: Cherry Oak Shapeshifter! Joe and Lauren Grimm are the mastermind duo behind Grimm beers, which was started in 2013. Acting as “drifting brewers”, the couple develops recipes in their kitchen apartment in Brooklyn, NY, before traveling to use the facilities of other breweries on the East Coast. Grimm Artisanal Ales epitomises the experimental spirit of American craft brewing by pushing the boundaries to create complex limited edition beers. The gorgeously designed bottle of Cherry Oak Shapeshifter is yet another example of their ingenuity. This wee heavy style was aged with Montmorency cherries for six months in used brandy barrels. Pouring a deep mahogany hue, Shapeshifter releases scents of cherries and toffee that waft off of some healthy carbonation. Tart cherry flavors continue in the taste, accompanied by malty caramel, woodsy oak, and decadent notes of marzipan and vanilla. Enjoy this fascinating beer as a cold and refreshingly tart beverage to be sipped on a spring evening. ABV {8.3%}

Fabien Coche Bouillot Meursault Charmes Premier Cru 2003: The wine region of Meursault in France is one of the most well known and sought after areas for Chardonnay production in all of Burgundy. Luckily for you, that is exactly where the last bottle in your wine box is from. From Domaine Coche Bouillot, vineyard run by Fabien Coche – the third generation owner of the estate. The vineyard is noted for their award winning white wines known for excellent balance and fruity freshness. Their Premier Cru from 2003 is incredibly full bodied and complex, with toasty notes from extended oak aging, but with enough powerful fruit to create an elegant balance, and lively structure. Many white wines are not built to be aged this long, which is why we hope you enjoy this rare opportunity to experience a bottle from Meursault.

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Sattler Zweigelt Rosé 2014: The shockingly fuschia colored bottle standing out in this month’s box is a very special rosé from the Burgenland in Austria. Vintner Erich Sattler is the 4th generation owner of his family’s estate in the village of Tadten, which has been in operation since 1999. The Sattler’s vineyards are located on the east side of Lake Neusiedl, an important body of water that moderates the warm air and growing environment of the vineyards.This bottle is made from 100% Zweigelt grapes – Austria’s most widely planted red grape variety. The vivacious pink color might make you feel silly, but believe us once you take a sip, the infectious quality and texture of this rosé will wash all your cares away. Juicy acidity and a zippy body of candied strawberry and watermelon flavors dominate the palate, followed by a delightful herbal mint quality. This wine is perfect to be enjoyed in the beautiful spring weather; the fabulous color might even inspire you to jump up and go frolic around in the sun!

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Judith Beck Blaufrankisch 2013: Here we have another wine influenced by Lake Neusiedl of Austria. Judith Beck’s estate, also located on the eastern side of the lake, is washed in very warm sun throughout the growing seasons. The high temperatures of this region are known to produce some of the country’s finest full bodied and dry red wines. Beck’s 2013 vintage of Blaufränkisch is a beautiful representation of the region, as well as a testament to the profoundly elegant and authentic style that Judith Beck has become known for. The grapes at her estate are hand picked and sorted; the Blaufränkisch grapes for this wine were taken from vines around 15 years old, grown in Seewinkelschotter soil (sandy limestone gravel). The result is a superb wine with luscious flavors of dark cherry and plum, notes of herbs and pepper, and a slight minerality within a plush textured body. This wine is an extremely versatile option to pair with, so go ahead and picnic with it with cheese and a baguette or add it to a fancy night of filets!

The Snacks

Quin Candy Rosé Gumpdrops: Spring time in candy form is possible with these rosé gumdrops from Quin Candy out of Portland, Oregon. Quin Candy is a small operation out of Portland, dedicated to making re-imagined versions of old timey candy with modern, high quality techniques. Lovingly handcrafted, these gumdrops are made with rosé wine from Union Wine, another Oregon company. The wine is cooked first to reduce it and then again to make it sweet, removing any alcohol as well. The result are these pale pink drops of luscious tropical fruit covered in a fine coating of sparkling sugar! Pop one or two in your mouth for a sugary blast from the past.

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Lilly’s Hot Mess Sauce: To prepare you for the hot mess that will be our New England summer, we have decided to equip you with Lilly’s Hot Mess sauce, a hot pepper sauce from Chicago, Illinois. This bright colored concoction started as a hot pepper vinegar that was marinated with pickled cayenne peppers for five days. After the peppers are removed, the leftovers create quite the mess – hence the aptly named “Hot Mess” result. Also in the blend are pimientos, dried scotch bonnet peppers, and cane sugar vinegar. This sauce is an excellent representation of traditional Southern cooking and can be used on pork, chicken, steak, shrimp, and even vegetables! At AP we mixed this hot sauce with some mayo to create our own spicy aioli for sandwiches.

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Mystic Sea Change: The ridiculously unique methods of cheesemaker Brian Civitello have been impressing cheese eaters all over New England and we at American Provisions are steadfast followers. A learned student of cheesemaking, Brian’s techniques stem from Italian influences, as well as his own desire to let the flavor and unique quality of the milk reign supreme with minimal intervention. He also made killer decisions concerning the imagery and literature inspired names for his cheeses. Sea Change, for example, is named after a verse in Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Similar to the Robiola styles of Northern Italy, Sea Change is a bloomy, soft rind cheese with a buttery elastic texture. The subtle fruit and yeasty qualities make Sea Change an incredibly easy cheese to continuously snack on, perhaps paired with a luscious red like Beck’s Blaufränkisch or with Two Roads’ Workers Stomp Saison.

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Call the store at (617) 269-6100, email us at info@americanprovisions.com, or ask a staffer for more information on signing yourself or someone you love up for the Beer or Wine of the Month Club! 

 

 

Rosé All Day, Erryday

“Rosé all day” has not only become a popular new expression, a trending hashtag, & a recurring t-shirt logo, but it is also a forceful motto of the warm weather seasons. As soon as April rolled around, the shelves and fridges at American Provisions grew immensely brighter in color — that color is pink. Pink wine has carried a negative connotation for many years, but is now becoming one of the most sought after styles for wine drinkers. This major shift in rosé popularity can be attributed to a rise in rosé quality, a consistent level of affordability for such quality, and the all around versatility and general awesome-ness that is rosé wine.

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Ain’t no party like a rosé all day party…

At American Provisions we are currently carrying 15 different rosés, with an expected half dozen more in the very near future. We are loving the fact that the store is covered in pink wine, so much so that we are becoming pink wine pushers. Haunting memories of cloyingly sweet bottles of white Zinfandel still linger in the minds of customers as they gaze at the rows of pink wines on our shelves. We are determined to wipe away those memories and replace them with a shared love and acceptance of the misunderstood rosé wine. We are here to suggest – nay – INSIST, that you not be blinded by the bright colors, but instead embrace them and join us while we revel in their glory.

Despite all the praise and insistence I have just placed on rosés, I do believe that not all rosés are created equal and therefore not all worthy of our love. We understand the wary approach when it comes to choosing a bottle from the rows of pink wines, which is why we have taken upon ourselves to taste all the rosés in order to safely guide you through your choices. It was a lot of hard work, but here they are, and You’re Welcome.

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“Ooh la la”

We will start with France, as it is arguably the most well known and abundant producer of rosé wines:

Domaine le Clos des Lumières 2014: A classic example of a Southern Rhône blend, the Lumières  rosé contains Syrah, Grenache, Cinsault, & Mourvèdre grapes. This pretty pale salmon rosé is light weight and full of bright strawberry and tangerine flavors. The sunny climate of Southern Rhone shines through this wine with its rich characteristics, as well as subtle notes of wet stone. Pair this bottle with a salad of crunchy greens and ripe tomatoes to get a completely fresh experience.

Couly Dutheil Rene Couly Chinon 2014: The Chinon region of Loire Valley is known for producing mostly red wines made from Cabernet Franc grapes. This rosé is no exception, made of 100% Cab Franc, it boasts a medium body full of red berries, rose petals, & strawberries. This Chinon rosé has a strong personality, but is very approachable with its soft palate and light acidity.

Domaine du Petit Clocher Rosé d’ Anjou 2014: A new bottle to join our shelves is this Loire rosé from the family run vineyards of Petit Clocher. This wine is made from an indigenous grape variety called Grolleau; a variety that is primarily grown in the Loire Valley of France and is almost strictly used for making rosé wines. These deep black berries produce light, elegant bodies with noticeably high acidity, which is why this rosé carries some residual sugar for balance. Now I know what you’re thinking, but this is NOT a sweet wine! It may not be bone dry like some of the other options we carry, but the slight sweetness from the berry fruits only helps to offset the acidity — steering this wine towards the middle of the road as a very balanced option of our rosés.

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And representing the US of A…

To transition to domestic wines, we will start with a Provençal style that is made in California:

Bonny Doon Vin Gris de Cigare Rosé 2014: This wine’s light coloring is owed to a very light pressing of the grapes, which were harvested at the specific maturity for this style — less ripe than necessary for red wines. Elegant and crisp, Bonny Doon’s rosé has a savory acidity with notes of strawberry, mint, and subtle bergamot characteristics. Made with a typical base of red Rhône varieties such as Grenache and Mourvèdre, this rosé is also composed of some traditional white Rhône varieties like Grenache Blanc and Marsanne, which give the wine an unexpected richness. The flying UFO over the vineyards on the label and alien eyes on the screw cap are also unexpected, if you are not familiar with the quirky style of vintner Randall Grahm.

Matthiasson Rose 2014: From a family run vineyard that likes to explore classical styles of wine, we have a unique expression of the California landscape that can easily match its foreign competitors. This creatively labeled bottle holds a blend of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Counoise. A truly elegant wine, this rosé is light bodied with delicate acidity that will perfectly compliment springtime fare. Bright flavors of white peach and grapefruit will quickly seduce you, if the packaging hasn’t already.

Tuck Beckstoffer Hogwash 2013 (soon 2014): Made as a byproduct from a vineyard that mostly produces serious reds, Hogwash is a lighthearted offering for the summer months (specifically those times when it is too hot out to drink heavy reds during a pig roast). From 100% Grenache grapes, this rosé is vibrant and bone dry, with flavors of ripe melon, grapefruit, and wet granite. It is reminiscent of a a light red but seriously refreshing and beautifully concentrated.

Illahe Estate Rose 2014: From a slightly warmer site than most vineyards of the Willamette Valley, the Illahe rosé is made from 100% Tempranillo grapes. At the Illahe estate they whole-cluster press the Tempranillo grapes; a process that is more time consuming, yet produces wines with greater clarity. In this case it has produced a delicate wine with a crisp strawberry palate and a fleshy body that is begging to be paired with tangy goat cheese, like any of the offerings from Twig Farm in Vermont!

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“Bastante en rosa”

Martinez Lacuesta Rioja Rosé 2014: From a bodega more than 100 years old in Rioja, Spain, the Martinez Lacuesta rosé is made of 100% Garnacha. Know also as Grenache from France, this variety of grape originated in Spain and produces fresh, fruity wines. This rosé is lively with a supple medium body. Bright notes of mandarin citrus, strawberries, and roses will happily meet you mouth and liven your taste buds!

Ostatu Rosado 2014: Another offering from Rioja, the Ostatu rosé is a blend of Tempranillo and Garnacha. This is a very modern variation of a classic Rioja style, made from some of the oldest vines in Ostatu and fermented in stainless steel. A store favorite, the Ostatu rosé is medium bodied, tart, and lively. It runs the gamut for fruit, with notes of red berries, watermelon, cherries, and light citrus. This is one of three offerings we carry from the Ostatu vineyards, and believe us, they are all on point!

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“Il dolce far niente”

Cantine Mucci Valentino Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo 2014: From Italy’s eastern coast, Cantine Mucci is a vineyard that is run and loved by three generations of the Mucci family in the unique landscape of Abruzzo. This rosé is made from 100% Montepulciano, a dark, luscious grape. The particular method of reducing contact time between the skins and the juice of the Montepulciano grapes, is what gives this wine its lovely cherry-like color, hence the name Cerasuolo, which means cherry in Italian. This method also gives this rosé its bright and fruity (cherry & blackberry) characteristics, which stand out within its soft, full texture.

Colli di Salerno Reale Getis Rosé 2014: The deceivingly dark bottle of the Getis Reale rosé may have some thinking it is a red wine, but it believe us it’s not! This wine pours a beautifully rich orange-y crimson color, releasing a prominent scent of fruit and flowers. The incredibly pillow like texture of this rosé slowly rolls over your tongue, accented by very soft bubbles of carbonation. Made from two indigenous grapes, Piedirosso and Tintore, this wine shows off dark Mediterranean fruit like raspberries and strawberries. If you let it, this wine will hug you warmly like an sweet Italian grandmother.

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Fuschia and coral and crimson, oh my!

Next up: Austria!

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Schloss Gobelsburg Cistercien Rosé 2014: This authentically classy looking bottle comes to us from the vineyards around castle Gobelsburg in Kamptal, Austria. Pouring out a glowing hue of pale coral, this wine has quite a commanding presence for such a light body. The blend of Zweigelt and St. Laurent grapes are softly pressed and fermented in a manner that nudges this rosé closer to a white wine style. The fruit presence is minimal, yet there are whiffs of fresh berries and wild cherries beneath loads of bright acidity. This rosé will awaken your senses with its slight tingle of carbonation, as well as thoroughly impress you with its unwavering elegance.

Sattler Zweigelt Rosé 2014: Last but certainly not least,we have a Terry Theise selection from the Burgenland region of Austria. Erich Sattler’s rosé is produced in the traditional saignée method, where after a short period of maceration, the juice is separated from the must and then vinified similar to a white wine. This method produces the vibrant fuchsia color of Sattler’s rosé, as well as giving the wine a fuller body. The Zweigelt grape gives this wine zippy notes of raspberries and wild cherries, as well as herbal flavors like mint. The color of this rosé is so pink it is almost ridiculous, but believe us, the taste will make this a pink drink no one will be embarrassed to sip!

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Armed with this new knowledge, we expect you to embrace these colors and make bottles of rosé your summer long companions. Come pick a lucky bottle from our selection or maybe grab a bunch and do what I did on this beautiful Wednesday — rosé all day!

April Beer & Wine of the Month Club

Spring is finally here, but it has not been an easy journey. The length of this winter has been brutal, not only on our cars and commutes, but also on our spirits. It is time to shed layers and sit outside in the grass or maybe even by the ocean! With spring comes fresh possibilities and rejuvenation. What better way to celebrate spring than with beers & wines chock full of bright flavors that will awaken our senses from their long winter slumber??

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With spring comes plans for patio sipping, picnic basket vinos, & all around outdoor drinking. We are craving sunshine to drink rose in, warm temperatures to cool off with crisp whites, & fresh foods to pair lively reds with. We’d like to believe that this box has met all of these expectations and more. We showcase two domestic superstars, who give their foreign counterparts a run for their money. As well as a classic Italian red with fruit that is begging to be shared and paired. The wine box will help you welcome spring with all the excitement and finery that it deserves.

To commemorate the bizarreness that was this winter and the transition into spring, we found beers that are a little out of the ordinary. These beers are invigorating for sure, but they also put your senses to the test, making sure you are fully awake and ready for this season. Lingering flavors of smoke and funk are a common theme, melding alongside of a whole bunch of tartness and fresh citrus!

The Libations

Siren Craft Brew Collaboration Limoncello IPAFrom three different breweries, this collaboration beer has bridged the divide between beer and liquor. Siren Craft Brew in the UK has called upon gypsy brewer Mikkeller from Denmark & Vermont local Hill Farmstead Brewery, to rethink the classic Italian beverage, Limoncello. Wanting to recreate the bright lemon citrus flavors & smooth mouth feel of Limoncello, this trio put the base beer through a 24 hr sour process, after which they added lactose for sweetness. Aggressive dry hoping of Sorachi Ace & Citra hops gives the beer its carbonation & skunky hop bitterness. This daringly citrus beer is begging to be sipped outside under the sun, but watch out for the carefully disguised alcohol percent. ABV {9.1%}

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Dollnitzer Ritterguts Original GoseA traditional German style beer, goses have been brewed for over a thousand years, originating in Goslar, Germany. This is a top fermenting beer; brewed with coriander & salt, as well as lactose bacteria that is added after the boil. With the rising popularity of the sour movement, the gose style is seen more frequently, but as the name states, Ritterguts’ Gose is an original; a solid example of the gose style that you will be hard pressed to find elsewhere. Funky notes of mildew & sea salt will greet your nose upon opening this bottle. A hazy golden pour will boast flavors of lemon, herbs, & toasty grains. Low alcohol & funky tartness will certainly win you over, if the reliable balance & complexity of German brews hasn’t already! ABV {4.2%}

Birrifico del Ducato Brett Peat DaydreamYou might think you’re dreaming when you sip this concoction from the Italian microbrewery Del Ducato. Get your taste buds ready to be seriously confused, as well as delightfully surprised. Daydream is a mix of three different brews: a peated barley style ale, a rauch marzen partially aged in Scotch whisky barrels, & a Brett fermented ale. With that many factors coming into play, it is amazing how wonderfully balanced, complex, & simply tasty this beer is. On the nose there is smoke from the peat, funky earthy spice from the Brett, & a curious musky scent. From the first sip to the last there is a continuous collision of sour & smoky, tart & sweet, & fruit & funk. This is seriously one of the strangest beers we have ever come across, but we love it!  ABV {7%}

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Teutonic Sprockets White 2014From Portland, Oregon we have a white blend consisting of 50% Scheurebe, 25% Huxelrebe & 25% Pinot Noir. Teutonic Wine Company is the successful result of an intrepid couple, Barnaby & Olga Tuttle. Inspired by Riesling wines from the Mosel region, the Tuttle duo took the leap to start their own vineyard in Oregon in 2005, in order to recreate their beloved Germanic wine styles but with expressions of the local terroir. The long & cool growing season in Portland gives a great complexity to Teutonic’s vines. Complex & full of rich minerality, Sprockets will enchant you with fruity notes of orange zest, apricot, & spice all wrapped in a honey like texture.

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Matthiasson Rose 2014We couldn’t not include a rose in the wine box this month, as come spring, so comes ROSE season! Our shelves will soon be overflowing with rose wine, but this enticing bottle is in a class of its own. Matthiasson vineyard out of Napa Valley, CA is a family business run by Steve & Jill Klein Matthiasson & their two sons. With their sustainable approach to viticulture & traditional wine making methods, they have created some of the most graceful Rhone style wines in California. Their rose is a classic Rhone blend of grenache, syrah, mouvedre, & counoise. From this barely pink wine floats wispy notes of grapefruit & white peach, before washing over you with delicate acidity, bright floral blossom flavors, & a refined elegance. You don’t need sunshine to enjoy this gem, but of course we won’t say no to some rays.

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Cantina Del Clicine La Dormiosa 2008Rounding out the wine box, we wanted to find a red that would mirror the fresh possibilities that spring brings, as well as pair deliciously with our April offerings. A classic Italian grape, Barbera D’Alba is excellent for pairing with a wide range of food. From the small town of Neive, winemaker Roberto Bruno has created a Barbera that is vigorous in flavor, dry, & pleasantly tart. Following old local traditions, Cantina Del Clicine adds about 10% of Nebbiolo grapes to the Barbera during fermentation. This mellows the wine & enhances its bouquet. By law, the wine is aged at least one year, and we think this 2008 vintage still has enough bouncy fruit to find a place in your picnic basket.

The Snacks

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Neattle Meadow Three Sisters“Happy Goats. Great Cheese!” is the slogan on Neattle Meadow Farm & Artisan Cheese’s home page. We’d have to assume that the goats out there in Thurman, New York are mighty happy, because they do indeed make some killer cheese. In the case of this cheese, the cows & sheep must be livin’ it up as well, in order for Three Sisters to be made. This multi-milk soft cheese has a fresh & complex flavor profile, a bloomy rind texture, & is perfect for spring time meals. Crumble this cheese on a salad to liven up your lunch or spread it a baguette while you sip on the Limoncello IPA!

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Jacobsen Salt Co. Smoked SaltTo counterbalance the bright citrus flavors from the wines & food in this box, we decided to treat you to a more savory option. From the cold waters of Oregon’s coast, this pure sea salt is harvested by Ben Jacobsen, the proprietor behind the Co. The salt is slowly smoked over Oregan Cherrywood. This provides the petite chunks (and whatever you sprinkle it on) with an incredibly rich flavor. Embrace the inspiration that spring brings & pair this smoky salt with something tart or citrusy! Perhaps a lemon & smoked salt haddock is in the future for your summer menu. Or maybe some fresh slices of melon wrapped in prosciutto would beg you to sprinkle some Jacobsen salt on top & enjoy!

Bonnie’s Jams Raspberry Lime RickeyAnother great example of opposites melding into perfection comes in a jar of Bonnie’s Raspberry Lime Rickey jam. Locally made over in Cambridge, the raspberry lime rickey expertly marries the sweetness of raspberries with the tart bite of limes. Bonnie Shershow has been jammin since she was a little girl who helped her mother pick a plethora of fruit from around her home in Southern California. Her love for jams & preserves only grew as she traveled the world tasting different fruit concoctions from places like France, Peru, & even Shanghai! Bonnie suggests making breakfast smoothies with the Rickey jam or throwing it into the mix for an exciting mojito! She also loves to pair her jams with cheeses & we think that this jam with Three Sisters cheese (and Teutonic Sprockets?) would be a combination that Bonnie would approve of.

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Call the store at (617) 269-6100, email us at info@americanprovisions.com, or ask a staffer for more information on signing yourself or someone you love up for the Beer or Wine of the Month Club! 

March Beer & Wine of the Month Club

Believe it or not, we did not search far and wide for Irish-made beers & wines this month (do Irish wines exist, even?) We can’t all be Irish, but we think that, in this otherwise bleak time, everyone deserves to get caught up in celebrating heritage. So rather than focus our attention on strictly Irish-style edibles this March, we sought out beers that speak to taste of place everywhere. What we found were brewers appropriating other country’s styles to make a beer all their own, and others sticking purely to a style that’s been enjoyed seasonally for centuries. We found a Haitian women deeply influenced by Irish culture, and a mad scientist using Scotch whiskey to lend meaning to a sweet tooth.

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 presetThe palate of a wine-drinker is even harder to please in March—we’re still layering up and cuddling under blankets, but the days are getting noticeably longer and we’re starting to see tiny batches of asparagus instilling hope into the supermarket produce section . We wanted these wines to represent the bipolarity of this time—we crave fresh earth & floral bounty, yet we aren’t kicking a velvety Spanish red out of bed. We’ve assembled a a selection of wines made by real back-to-the-landers, hippie vintners whose passion for the earth is right in line with our yearning for the year’s first tulip bud. These guys live and die by the soil—at Illahe they use horse-drawn carts to transport grapes, while Case Corini is run by a former soil scientist.

There is still plenty of the dark, brooding richness we reach for in colder months here, but we’re starting to see the lighter styles making a comeback, too. Much like the slow-but-steady thaw occurring outside, these drinks leave behind the faintest glimmer of hope—hope that these sunny days might stay, hope that daffodils might be just around the corner, and hope for the crisp pale ales, zippy whites, & refreshing golden suds of summer.

The Libations

Birra del Borgo ReAle Extra: An American Pale Ale from an Italian brewery? We research beer a lot here, but we honestly couldn’t predict how this one was going to taste. A hoppier variation on this brewer’s traditional pale ale, it is made in the commune of Borgorose in the Lazio region of central Italy. It explodes with aromas of pine & citrus, and surprises you with simultaneous malty tropical sweetness and a bone dry, clean mouthfeel. Crisp with a rich foamy head, this light brown ale pours lively and robust and will offer refreshing comfort to the heat of your Craic Pikliz. ABV {6.2%}

IMG_2955Aecht Schlenkerla Fastenbier: Fastenbier literally means “lent beer,” and it is brewed for enjoyment during the 40 days between Ash Wednesday & Easter. This traditional German Rauchbier (a smoked style) is only available for that select period each year, and is brewed at Brauerei Heller-Trum in Bamberg according to Bavarian Purity Law enacted in 1516. Made with spelt and plenty of malts to give it a hefty body, this unfiltered beer has the “Brotzeit included,” which is a German word for afternoon snack. It has only faint smokiness, redolent of pork rinds and beechwood, and kept in check by dried fruit flavors & mild hop bitterness. This one is complex enough to serve as a substitute for whatever you gave up for lent! ABV {5.5%}

Innis & Gunn Irish Whiskey Cask Stout: This English Stout from the U.K. (Scotland, to be exact) is, like most other things in this box, not specifically Irish. But then neither are most of the drunkards stumbling around this time of year, right? Deep brown and velvety smooth, it hits you right away with a nose full of whiskey, before revealing a medley of sticky toffee, espresso, dates, vanilla, and charred wood on the palate. The sturdy Scottish stout is special to begin with, even before it matures on American Heartwood that’s been infused with Irish Whiskey. This award-winning beer has extremely limited availability, so we’re happy to present you with it at such an appropriate time! Plus, we hear if you drink it while wearing green, you won’t get a hangover…but don’t quote me on that.  ABV {7.4%}

Case Corini Monferrato Rosso Bricco 2009: Crafted on the vine by soil scientist and vintner Lorenzo Corini in Piedmont’s Monferrato region, this field blend of Barbera & Nebbiolo was grown on hillsides at the highest peak of the Case Corini vineyards. Lorenzo’s background in the sciences translates to wines that represent the entire ecosystem they hail from, and this 100% organic vineyard’s terroir is at the forefront of Corini’s wines. This wine is dense with dark, complex fruit. Its production is so natural, you might find a bit of a prickle to it upon opening—nothing a little decanting or vigorous swirling won’t fix! Pair this earthy beast with your Hubaner cheese for a good time.

Domaine Ventura Vina do Burato 2012: The 100% Mencía grapes for this wine are grown in damp, slate-rich soil, in one of Spain’s most stunning landscapes, the Ribeira Sacra. Families have grown grapes there since the Romans, despite the difficulty in utilizing the steep terraces lining the gorgeous canyons. All farming at Domaine Ventura is done by hand by Ramón Losada and his family using natural, organic methods. The grapes are monitored closely for maturity, only indigenous yeast is used to start fermentation, and none of the wines are filtered. Medium-bodied with notes of rose petal and red fruits, this wine is framed by fresh, assertive tannins. Pair with your Pikliz and a fresh cheese.

IMG_2961Illahe Viognier 2014: From Willamette Valley vintners Illahe, who focus on making wines that capture the variety of soils on their stunning 80 acre estate, comes an effusive bottle full of apricot, honeycomb, and peach flavors. The 100% Viognier grapes are sourced from Goschie Farms in Silverton, Oregon, and Plagmann Vineyards near Albany. The wine is 100% sustainably farmed, from the hand-harvesting and de-stemming to the use of solar panels and two horses, Doc & Bea, who mow and bring grapes to the winery at harvest. Subtle acidity and floral notes remind us of lime and gardenia, instilling in us a hope for brightness soon to come! Pair with your Hubaner cheese or caramels.

The Snacks

Sennerei Huban HubanerMade from the raw milk of 34 small dairy farms (average herd size is 15 cows), this silky mountain cheese is aged eight months. Bearing a strong resemblance to Appenzeller & Raclette, the Hubaner packs a less pungent punch than its Alpine brethren. Its paste is unbelievably smooth & clean, speckled throughout with pea-sized holes. Redolent of cooked butter, toasted hazelnuts, and fresh-mowed grass, this cheese balances sweetness and meltability with a slightly spicy sharp finish. Rich and creamy, it is excellent washed down with anything chilled, but we think it shines particularly well beside the Illahe Viognier or nutty brown ales like the Innis & Gunn.

IMG_2957The Craic & Blonde Haitian Pikliz“The Craic” is the Irish spice of life, their word for excitement, entertainment, joie de vivre. And for Blonde Beauchamp, who is Haitian, studied in Ireland, and now cooks in a JP kitchen, that sentiment seemed like the perfect way to capture her outlook on life. Blonde first brought her effervescent personality and ebullient spirit into our shop last December, overflowing with excitement over her new product, Haitian pikliz (pron. pick-lese). She makes this fiery slaw at the Crop Circle Kitchen in JP using cabbage, habaneros, carrots & onions, and recommends using it on everything from eggs to bloody marys to guacamole. It was cultural fusion that brought Blonde her dream company, and she encourages everyone to use her pikliz to do some fusing of their own!

McCrea’s Highland Single Malt Scotch Caramels: Ok, we know Scotch is not technically Irish/March-appropriate, but I doubt you’ll be splitting hairs when you bite into one of these soft, boozy chews. They are crafted by chemist Jason McCrea, who brings a scientific determination and specificity to his goal of creating the most perfect caramel possible. Dedicated to honesty and integrity in our food systems, too, Jason and his team make their caramels out of Hyde Park, MA and deliver them to us fresh. For this flavor, they slow-cook sugar to a precise temperature to ensure smooth, creamy texture, then add a Single Malt Scotch with a hint of peat, to play against the sweetness and produce a lingering, smoky finish.

Call the store at (617) 269-6100, email us at info@americanprovisions.com, or ask a staffer for more information on signing yourself or someone you love up for the Beer or Wine of the Month Club! 

Drink Craft Beer & Cheese Fest 2015

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Random people who wanted their picture taken.

Say “Cheese!”

…was the completely appropriate, albeit admittedly corny phrase I shouted to the attendees of Drink Craft Beer & Cheese Fest, on Saturday, February 28th. Although I was not press coverage for the event, the large camera and flash I was toting around were enough to prompt fellow fest-goers to request pictures of themselves (which I happily obliged).

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Clockwise from top left: Toby from Peak Organic, the booth at Pretty Things Brewery, & Cricket Creek Creamery.

I have a love/hate relationship with beer festivals. On the one hand, they’re wonderful because you get to try so many beers from talented brewers all in one setting, while mingling with fellow beer lovers. Yet the same applies to why they’re loathsome: you try so many beers in a short period of time that it becomes difficult to remember said beers, therefore diminishing their uniqueness (not to mention the inevitability of a giant hangover the next day). Drink Craft Beer & Cheese Fest, however, was a different story. As the beer buyer at American Provisions, I got to attend this event as a representative of my store, an individual with a purpose (other than getting smashed at a beer fest). I was there to try new beers from several of the breweries we support, connect on a personal level with these companies, and witness any interesting pairings happening between the beers and cheeses that we love.

And despite what my boss may believe, I did not show up at work with a hangover the next day!

This was the first beer AND cheese event for Drink Craft Beer, so it was very exciting to see so many of AP’s beloved breweries and creameries all under the same roof. Uncertain of where to begin the epic event, I hung back by Toby of Peak Organic, who graciously started me off with a soothing cup of their cask-conditioned Nut Brown Ale. Peak Organic is a killer brewery from Maine, focused on local ingredients and awesome brews. Their line up that night included Hop Noir (a black IPA), Espresso Amber Ale, which was continuously pronounced “X-presso” (much to Toby’s chagrin), and Citrus Saison, a Belgian style saison that invigorated me with the promise of warmer days to come.

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Clockwise from top left: Al Snape from Far From the Tree Cider, many happy festival-goers, Joe & Erin for Vermont Creamery, and Mayflower Brewing. 

Armed with Nut Brown Ale, I set off into the crowd, ready to taste. Thankfully, I didn’t have to wander far to find a familiar face: Al Snape from Far From The Tree Cider was at a nearby booth, sampling up four new cider concoctions that we have been eagerly waiting to try since our visit with them back in January (read about it here!) The new cider offerings were Lust, a cherry cranberry cider; Cord, an oaked maple cider; Juno, a maple ice cider; and Milanowski’s Nightmare, a sour dry-hopped cider. While they were all delicious & seriously unique, Juno stood out with its velvety consistency and intense depth of flavor (check back with us in a few months to see these new products on our shelves).

We were stoked to see more familiar faces in the form of former AP-staffers, Joe Quintero & Erin McIver, at the Vermont Creamery table. Joe left AP to become the New England sales rep for VC, while Erin now works as the marketing coordinator for hip food site BostonChefs.com. This dynamic duo was shelling out samples of Coupole, Cremont, & Bonne Bouche, three of our favorite goat and cow cheeses. According to Erin & Joe, the creameries attending the event each brought 100lbs of cheese for the three sessions of the Drink Craft event (a bit of an over-estimate, in Joe’s opinion). A few other creameries I spoke to had an excess cheese leftover at the end of the night—it seems that Drink Craft Beer was following the Boy Scout motto to always be prepared!

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The booths of Bantam Cider, Smuttynose Brewing, & Allagash Brewing.

The event was filled to the brim with a wide range of local cheeses. Narragansett Creamery, for example, challenged the norm by serving up a hot sample of their Mediterranean-style grilling cheese. Old classics held strong in the form of aged cheddars from the ladies at Cabot Creamery—they encouraged you to pair these sharp and sweet hunks of cheese with hoppy libations like Wormtown’s Be Hoppy & Notch’s Left of the Dial. The crew at Jasper Hill Cellars pulled out all the stops with an array of cheeses—Alpha Tolman, a nutty Alpine style; Bayley Hazen Blue, one of the best blue cheeses around; and Moses Sleeper, a Vermont take on the classic Brie style. Their table display also provided attendees with an anatomy lesson on the source of all things good: the cow.

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Clockwise from top left: Narragansett Creamery, Cabot Creamery, the anatomy poster from Cellars at Jasper Hill, and Robinson Farm. 

My next cheese stop was a very special creamery, Robinson Farm from Hardwick, MA. Raymond & Pamela Robinson were not at the event, but Pamela’s son Ben was there promoting the farm’s cheeses. It was because of Ben (who lives in Southie) that the Robinson’s cheese, Tekenink Tomme, became one of the first cheeses ever to be sold at American Provisions. I was able to chat with Ben and his crew while enjoying samples of Tekenink, Barndance, & Arpeggio—their strong bloomy rind cows milk cheese, which paired especially well with the always wonderful Wunderkind cider from Bantam.

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Clockwise from top left: Chris from Notch Brewing, Otter Creek Brewing Co., Idle Hands Craft Ales, & the folks at Rising Tide.

Many more stellar pairings between cheese and beer were formed that night, several of which I don’t remember or was not witness to, but the spirit of the fest makes me believe they existed. Some of the pairings that I do remember were suggested in Drink Craft Beer’s fest guide, while others were born out of mere fate. Otter Creek’s Kind Rye IPA was quite the match against several cheddars in the house, specifically the suggested Grafton Village’s Extra Mature Cheddar. I discovered my own pairing between Notch Brewing’s luscious Černe Pivo (Notch’s founder Chris Lohrig explained to me the name is Czech for “black beer”) and a creamy piece of Berkshire Bloom from Cricket Creek Farm. Over at Idle Hands, I indulged with Triplication—their Abbey style tripel—which provided the perfect amount of spice and fruity flavor to complement the buttery, nutty notes of Jasper Hill’s Alpha Tolman (and the guys at Idle Hands were kind enough to inform me that a Wild Turkey barrel-aged version of Triplication will be out in a few weeks!)

Now, it was probably around this time in the night that my conversations were becoming less focused, my notes were barely legible, and my camera felt like it gained 20lbs. This is also when my distrust of beer festivals began to surface. Though abundant and delicious, cheese samples can only sustain a fest-goer for so long. Which is why I (and I bet many others at the fest) was psyched to remember that, strategically stationed in the corner of the event, were the stands of KO Pies & Roxy’s Grilled Cheese. The employees of these two companies didn’t need to try very hard to entice buzzed attendees, as each beer sample we consumed made the idea of a savory pie or grilled sandwich seem more and more desirable. The intoxicating smells wafting from Roxy’s grills and the mesmerizing glow from KO Pies’ cases didn’t hurt either.

KO Pies, Ben sampling Robinson Farm cheese, Roxy's Grilled Cheese, & cheese sample from Jasper Hill Cellars

Clockwise from top left: The always tempting KO Pies, Ben sampling Robinson Farm cheese, beautifully plated samples from Jasper Hill Cellars, and Roxy’s ladies slinging their grilled cheese.

As claimed before, I did not leave this event completely hammered, despite what usually happens at beer festivals. We can’t say the same for other attendees that night—the crowd increasingly became livelier as the night stretched on, and inhibitions were thrown to the wind with ease. I began to wonder how the inevitable intoxication of fest-goers was being perceived by the very people responsible, the brewers, so I decided to ask them.

The best response I received was from Billy Morrissey, the sales rep for Allagash Brewing. Now, I’d like to believe that Billy and I were equally excited to meet each other—I was extremely excited to learn that he was the reason AP receives specialty Allagash beers, while his excitement might have been directed at the awesomeness that is American Provisions generally, and reminiscing about visits there. I don’t mind taking the credit, though—but I digress.

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Clockwise from top left: Random fest-goers, volunteers, Drink Craft Beer tattoos, and Billy from Allagash Brewing.

As streams of drunken attendees pushed past us to sample more beers, Billy explained to me his feelings about their debauchery. He suggested that there was a difference between drunken fools at a festival and beer lovers who are enjoying themselves with their favorite brews. Honest interest and enjoyment of the beers is what was important to Billy. He reminded me that our shared love for craft beers (and artisan cheeses) was what brought us all together. And it is that experience that is so integral to the craft beer world. Cheers to that!

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Guy who needs a beer, and my best friend Lindsay (in the glasses) posing with Wormtown Brewery.