September Beer & Wine of the Month Club

We always get a little emotional when we see the first “Back-to-School” displays in stores, or articles on the newsstands. It’s a strange nostalgic mix of remembering how different each fall felt as a kid, knowing that another summer has gone by too fast, and as a New Englander, anticipating the upcoming symphony of colors on the trees. It isn’t entirely a bad feeling—but it’s poignant, stirring, wistful. Maybe we’re just too sentimental, but it’s a watershed moment at which we love to pause and reflect on both past and future.

photo 2 (1)To celebrate this turning point, we’ve assembled a Back to School box for you, full of a few teaching moments, homages to simpler times, and some esoteric products that win you over in time (think of all those books you hated reading in high school and love now). Peanut butter & jelly take a gourmet turn, an uncommon cheese is made user-friendly, and some organic, biodynamic wines and one-off brews challenge our interpretation of classic styles. So dive in, note-taking is optional, and your only homework is to taste it all. And best of all—there will be no test!

The Drinks

The Lost Abbey Anniversary Ale The Ten CommandmentsA hefty ale, weighing in at 12% and brewed to remind even the saintliest beer drinkers that there’s a sinner in all of us. Brewed with chocolate and dark caramel malts, saison yeast, honey, blackened raisins, and rosemary, this beer hews closest to a Belgian Strong Ale, though it kind of defies categorization. You’ll notice a faint herbaceous quality from the rosemary, plenty of honeyed sultry sweetness, and aromatic phenols from the Brett yeast–all culminating in that boozy familiar warmth on its way down. Drink this beer while reading The Lost Abbey’s 10 Commandments on the back of the bottle, a list sure to inspire you in one way or another.      ABV {12%}

Avery Brewing Company Twenty One: Imperial India Style Brown Ale: Another anniversary ale, brewed to honor Avery turning 21. While this “legal” age is a special year for any bootlegger, Avery is particularly stoked to be breaking ground on a brand new, much larger brewing facility this year. To celebrate, they created a hop bomb of a brown ale. Sparse amounts of chocolate, caramel, & honey malt provide a lean backdrop for this cocktail of Columbus, Chinook, Simcoe, & Amarillo hops, giving it an 8.3% ABV. Though they’re calling it an Imperial Brown Ale, don’t be fooled by this beer’s color–it is a black IPA through and through, and will probably please the hop lover more than fans of malty, caramel brown ales.      ABV {8.3%}

Night Shift Sour TeaA part of Night Shift’s limited-run Art series, in which they try to foster creativity and experimentation through small batches of crazy ideas. This is a sour version of their popular Bee Tea, a wheat beer brewed with orange peel, orange blossom honey, and green tea leaves from local importer Mem Tea. It has a tangy, vinegary quality, balanced out by a frothy thick white head and the honeyed sweetness of the original Bee Tea. Weighing in at 7.5% and pouring a dark gold, this wild ale is fuller bodied than your average, low ABV sour, and packs tons of fruity funk. Enjoy with the aged goat cheese in your box for a wild blend of out-there flavors.    ABV {7.5%}photo 3 (1)

Domaine Bernard Fleuriet et Fils Sancerre Rouge 2008The Sancerre region of France’s eastern Loire Valley is most commonly associated with the Sauvignon Blanc grape, but the other 20% of their vines produce a light Pinot Noir grape that is not to be missed. Made from vines planted in deep clay-limestone soil, this wine is full of fruit & finesse. Half of the wine is barrel-aged, which lends intensity & toasty nuance. It boasts a lean body and dry, refreshing flavors of strawberry and raspberry. From a vineyard operating since 1991 that plants their grapes on southeast-facing slopes in the three main terroirs of the Sancerre, this Domaine bottles their wines on site, and the resulting quaffs boast great complexity & elegant subtlety.

Jasci & Marchesani Riesling Histonium 2010: Produced in the Casalbordino region of Italy, this 100% organic Riesling is hand-harvested, then aged in stainless steel barrels for six months. It pours a pale straw yellow, with a bouquet of fruity tropical aromas and a dry, soft feel on the palate. Operating for over 50 years and organic since 1978, Jasci & Marchesani own several estates and produce this Riesling on their largest, a vineyard also dedicated to the growth of Chardonnay, Vermentino, & Montepulciano. A perfect match for seafood and fresh cheeses, they’ve held onto this special bottle in their dark cellars for quite some time, and feel it is at its peak this fall.

Azienda Agricola Il Palagio Chianti Classico 2011: This 100% organic blend hails from a bio-dynamic, sustainable wine estate that has been in the same family for generations. Situated in the Conca d’Oro [golden basin] of Panzano, Italy, the vines grow in soil that is rich in clay & marl. Mostly Sangiovese with just hints of Merlot, this wine is aged in oak barrels for a year before further refining in bottle. The result is a ruby red cocktail of elegant oak & red fruits, well-structured and medium-bodied with a savory durable finish. Harmonious & persistent aromatics give way to well-polished tannins, making this wine a more refined riff on the classic bold style. Best with red meat or aged, full-flavored cheeses, you can also go the classic route with this Italian staple and whip up a batch of your favorite pasta.

The Snacks

Better Off Spread Every Rosemary Has Its ThornDreamt up by a Brooklyn couple who hang out with their cats and listen to metal when they aren’t throwing crazy ingredients in their blender. Jenny & Jonny tend to ignore general rules about what can go in nut butters, with crazy concoctions like Key Lime Cashew Butter & Jalapeno Peanut Butter. Their only stipulations are that all ingredients be non-GMO certified organic, and that every spread have a ridiculous pun in its name (Sweet Child of Lime, Enter Cinnaman, Ace of Spice—you get the idea). Here you have their dark chocolate rosemary almond butter, a spread that is sweet, savory, and super versatile. Try it on toast, sure, but don’t be afraid to let it venture beyond breakfast—we wouldn’t kick it off our cheese plate.

Betara ServilletaA raw aged goat cheese from the valley beneath Spain’s Pyrenees mountain range, this cheese’s name means “napkin” in Spanish—it’s a reference to the way it gets tied up in cheesecloth to strain during aging, which results in the wheel’s funky bulbous shape. Aged goat cheeses can be a gamble, and are often overwhelmed by musty, goaty aromas & flavors. This wheel, however, is crisp, clean, & refreshing. Pure white, smooth, & light-bodied, it picks up plenty of floral notes from the Betara goats’ diet in the Lluçañés valley where they graze. Pair this with your Sour Cherry Preserves and a pretty pink 1 (1)

Russell St. Deli Kick Out the Jams Sour Cherry PreservesWe’ve been kind of overdoing it on fresh cherries all summer, and there’s no better way to transition to a winter stock of preserved cherries than with this jam from Detroit, Michigan’s popular lunch counter Russell St. Deli. These guys started making jams out of local, seasonal produce for use on their sandwiches and started jarring the stuff when their customers wouldn’t stop asking them to. In unique flavors like Tangerine & Sour Cherry, these spreads go great with cheese. You could also try pairing it with your Better Off Spread for a grown-up PBJ, washed down with one of the more robust brews in your box.

if you’re interested in becoming a member of the Beer or Wine of the Month Club, please email for more details! 

If you’re already a member, please feel free to leave your tasting notes or suggestions in the comments! 

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