Tag Archives: beer

Spring Events Roundup: May We Have Your Attention Please

When spring hits in Boston, it hits hard and fast, like a home run hit in Fenway park. Hard as the sound of a million boat shoes hitting the patio pavement. Fast as a bunch of rosé bottles being emptied into a slushy machine. If you blink, you might miss it and you’ll already be headed into the dog days of summer, sitting in traffic on your way back from the Cape.

As unpredictable as the weather can be here in New England, there are a few things we can rely on. There will be at least a few nice days. And there will be lots of events with great opportunities to try new things, whether it’s food, alcohol, or meeting new people. We’ve spent a lot of time shoveling, de-icing, and sitting indoors – spring means we’ve earned a little rosé on the patio time.

Plus, we had to get in on the action ourselves. Below, learn more about a dinner party at Steel & Rye and two events we are hosting in the store this spring.

Thursday May 4th $95
Steel & Rye House Party #3
Six stunning courses paired with wine from one of our favorite local importers, Oz Wine Company. Chef Brendan Joy will be cooking up a spring menu, and AP will be contributing with a cheese course. Space is very limited! Call S&R to reserve your spot.

Saturday May 6th 6-9pm FREE
Hip Hop & Rosé
Join us in the store to taste fresh wines and hear fresh tunes. We will be pouring samples, and DJ Ryan Brown will be spinning in the store while you shop and drink.

Saturday May 20th 6:30pm TBA
Natural Wines 101
When you think of additives and chemicals, you probably think of twinkies or lunchables – but do you ever think about what goes in mass-produced wine? Mike from Mise Wines will be here talking about their specialty – natural wines. What they are, what they aren’t, and what that word actually means when it comes to wine. Stay woke. Subscribe to our email list to stay in the know about when tickets are released for this event.

Now, check out some of these local chosen events with people, things, and places that we love.

APRIL

Saturday April 22nd 11am-10pm FREE
Pennypacker’s Pig Roast
@Night Shift Brewing
New England natives and beer brewing heroes Night Shift combine with Pennypackers, a culinary delight, to bring you this event at Night Shift taproom.

Sunday April 23rd 3-5pm $5
GUAC OFF
@the Painted Burro
Attention, guac lovers! Entrants to this event will put their best avocado forward in hopes to bring home the prize: a $400 gift card and the chance to grace the Painted Burro’s menu. Ticket proceeds will benefit No Kid Hungry. As an attendee, you will get to try and vote on your favorite guac(s).

Tuesday April 25th 7-9pm $30
DIY Spent Grain Dog Treat Class
@Slumbrew
At this informational class, learn how to use a beer brewing by-product to make healthy treats for your dog.

Saturday April 29-30th 10am-4pm FREE
SoWa Open Market Kick-Off Weekend
@450 Harrison Ave
Boston’s biggest outdoor market needs no introduction. With a farmer’s market, vintage sellers, plenty of food trucks, and live music; it’s no wonder this is one of our favorite spring/summer rituals.

MAY

Monday May 1st 7:30-9:30pm $30
Beers & Bites: Wings!
@Harpoon Brewery
Wings from 10 different Boston restaurants and 20 beers on tap!

Wednesday May 3rd 8-10pm FREE
Opinionation
@Sixth Gear Cask & Kitchen
This isn’t your typical trivia – teams guess the most popular answer to questions. The more popular the answer, the more points you get. And of course, there are prizes. If you’re a fan of Family Feud you have to check this out. This event happens every Wednesday.

Thursday May 4th 6:30-7:30pm $15
Tea Basics 101
@MEM TEA
This workshop will take you through the different types of teas, where they come from, the processing of the plants, and their health benefits.

Saturday May 13th 10am-5pm FREE
Bubble Party!
@Evy Tea
All patios aren’t just for alcohol – some have bubble tea and cold brew too!

Saturday May 13th 12pm-11pm FREE
Springtime Spectacular at the Lawn on D
If you’ve never been to or heard of the Lawn on D, it’s the place where everyone takes pictures on those luminous swings. This event will have all the bells and whistles an opening day should: food, music, drinks, and activities.

Saturday May 13th 12:30-4pm or 5:30-9pm $59.50
Beer Summit
@The Castle
This event is a must for beer lovers. Join local and international brewers at the Castle in Boston for their 9th year running.

Saturday May 13th 12-1:30pm & Sunday May 14th 2-3:30 $24-60
Mother’s Day Truffle Making Workshop with Taza Chocolate
@Boston Public Market
Learn how to roll truffles for mom at this hands on class. Taza Chocolate and The KITCHEN will provide the ganache, chocolate, and toppings. You’ll leave with a dozen truffles and a one of a kind gift for mom.

Sunday May 14th 10am-3pm FREE
Lilac Sunday
@the Arboretum
Lilacs only bloom once a year, and the Arboretum makes a day of it. Tours, family activities, food trucks, and dog watching are key parts of this festival.

Monday May 15th 9am-4pm members/non-members $100/$150
Sensory Evaluation of Cheese Workshop
@Boston Public Market
MA Cheese Guild collaborates with The KITCHEN on this intensive one-day workshop. This course, offered by cheese educator Dr. Montserrat Almena, is an opportunity for anyone serious about cheese to improve sensory skills and understanding of cheese quality.

Saturday May 20th 11am-4pm FREE
Kite & Bike Festival
@Franklin Park
Come ride bikes and fly kites at this historic annual event. Franklin Park’s opening day will have food trucks, music, and Boston Bikes will be supplying bikes to ride.

Friday May 26th 6:30-10:30pm FREE
Friday Brass with Boycott and the Hartford Hot Several
@Aeronaut Brewery
This monthly brass band show series caught our eye because the hosts are our friends at Aeronaut Brewery. Definitely one of our favorite taprooms in the Boston area, Aeronaut has options on tap for every beer lover, from IPAs to sours. Have a beer and put some brass in your step.

Hopefully this list gets you started with some spring fun, but when in doubt: spend a day hanging out on the Charles, walking through the North End, people watching in Boston Common, or enjoying an American Provisions Italian while watching the waves at the M street beach. Have a specific event or must-do thing in spring? Leave a comment below.

February Beer & Wine of the Month Club

Beers To Love

The slightly cynical, male driven nature of the beer world makes us hesitant to fill this box with fruity, romantic beers just to meet the status quo of the Valentine holiday that drives this month. Having said that, these beers are all beautiful and somewhat “Valentine-esque” in their own way…even if it’s a stretch.


Driven by enchanting natural scenes, passion filled ingredients, and simply the color red — these beers will romance you with their killer flavors, seducing textures, and overall attractiveness. Whether you are spending this V-Day alone or sharing these “love” themed goodies, we wish you a happy February — one month closer to spring!

Omnipollo Fatamorgana DIPANamed after the Arthurian shape shifting enchantress Morgan le Fay, a Fata Morgana is a superior mirage that occurs above the horizon. Henok Fentie, one of the founders of Omnipollo Brewery, named this Swedish IPA after the optical phenomenon he witnessed on one of his many trips to Ethiopia when he stumbled upon an hidden oasis deep in the middle of a dry savanna. Mystic and enchanting, this double IPA will hopefully be a luscious haven of tropical fruit scents and flavors in the midst of our New England winter. A generous dry hopping with Columbus, Centennial, and Citra creates a plethora of tangy flavors like mango, pineapple, and clementine, which are beautifully matched by piney floral hops and a slightly sweet oaty body.    ABV {8%}

Brouwerij De Dochter van de Korenaar Crime Passional Belgian IPAWhile not exactly a crime of passion, this Belgian IPA may be guilty for stealing some characteristics from different beer styles. Almost all of the beers coming out of Brouwerij De Dochter van de Korenaar have this unique similarity in that they are very difficult to categorize, while all stunningly crafted by this talented small brewery. Although labeled an IPA, Crime Passional does have signature Belgian wheat beer qualities, such as a dough like sweetness, as well as notes of spicy herbs like coriander, white pepper, and juniper. The hops do make their presence known with a good amount of grassy, citrus bitterness, as well as a dry finish.  ABV {7.5%}

Alesmith Brewing My Bloody Valentine Red Ale:  While the other beers in this box are subtly romantic, this choice brew may go overboard with its heavy connotations towards the Valentine season. Despite the somewhat violent exterior to this bottle, the interior is nothing but smooth sweetness and balanced hops. AleSmith Brewing Company puts this crimson colored ale out every February as a tribute to all the go it alone singles on Valentine’s day. But that doesn’t mean that anyone can’t enjoy (and share!) this handcrafted ale. True to it’s name, My Bloody Valentine pours a dark ruby, almost bloody color, but boasts bright fruit and pine driven hop aromas. Slightly creamy and medium bodied, this bottle offers all our favorite flavors: sweet caramel malts, bittersweet chocolate, and fruity bitterness! ABV {6.66%}

Vino

Wine makes romantics of us all. Whether you’re sipping it alone for a sappy movie night or sharing the liquid wealth with your boo, this powerful concoction is too enticing to deny. So let us wine and dine you with this February box –we’ve covered all the bases:

A bursting bottle of bubbles for a celebratory start; a sensuously textured, incredibly vibrant white wine just waiting for it’s bivalve buddy from the sea; and a drop dead gorgeous lady-in-red bottle of wine with a presence so commanding it has us falling in love…

Celine et Laurent Tripoz Cremant de Bourgogne Nature: Start off your second Valentine’s celebration with a bottle that will beautifully display your affection for that special someone. This gorgeous bottle of 100% Chardonnay comes to us from the organic, small run estate of husband and wife team Celine and Laurent Tripoz in the revered Mâconnais region of Burgundy. Their Cremant de Bourgogne Nature is made with a process very similar to Champagne méthode traditionnelle but with slightly reduced levels of carbon dioxide, which produces a wine with a creamier mouthfeel and soft, luxurious bubbles. Bright notes of crisp green apple, buttery brioche, and fragrant white flowers fill the palate after a sip of this lovely wine.

André-Michel Brégeon Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine 2014For the month of love, we wanted to find a wine that essentially begs to be paired with one of nature’s strongest aphrodisiacs: oysters. And for such decadent sea offerings, the wine that comes to mind is Muscadet. Made from the Melon de Bourgogne grape, Muscadet wine is known for being fresh, citrus driven, and young. There are those who are challenging this particular notion however, by keeping Muscadet for as long as seven years! Michel Brégeon is the fun loving crusader who is expertly lengthening the sur lie time of his wines — producing complex offerings with such unexpected freshness and depth that the critics can’t comment on his processes. This 2014 Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine does not spend seven years on the lees, yet it is far from ordinary with its seductive texture, enticingly tangy citrus notes, and savory acidity.

Domaine De Le Bergerie La Cerisaie 2013: These wines have ranged from pretty to seductive, but now — for the romance. Fall in love with “La Cerisaie”, a lovely bottle of red wine from Domaine de Le Bergerie, an estate run by the 7th generation of the Guégniard family. Nestled in the heart of Côteaux du Layon in central Loire Valley, Domaine Bergerie produces highly crafted, organic, fascinating wines by adhering to strict sorting and vinification processes. That standard of excellence is evident in this gorgeously expressive bottle of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. The deep garnet colored body glistens attractively with dark purple tints, while wafting an enticing aroma of ripe blackberries and cherries. Rich and full, this elegant red displays great fruit and depth – perfect for a romantic dinner for two.

The Goods

Askinosie Chocolate Malted Milk Bar & Crunchy Sugar Crystals & Vanilla Bean Bar: Besides being uber typical Valentine-esque, chocolate is just downright delicious..so we hope you enjoy these interesting bars from an even more interesting producer: Askinosie Chocolate. The founder of this Missourian company is Shawn Askinosie, who created the company in 2005 after quitting his grueling job as a criminal defense attorney. As one of the first to source beans directly from farms, a practice we now know as “bean to bar”, Askinosie Chocolate does everything in house from pressing their own cocoa butter to molding the chocolate.The Malted Milk Bar is a collaboration with Jeni’s Ice Cream, giving the bar a creamy malted milk texture. The Crunchy Sugar Vanilla bar is made with unrefined sugar which gives the bar an added extra crunch.

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Weak Knees Gochujang SrirachaGo weak in the knees this V-Day with this traditional Korean spicy sauce! Based on Gochujang sauce, this fermented condiment is created from red chili peppers, glutinous rice, soybeans, and salt. Made in Brooklyn, NY,  MixedMade has created this Sriracha sauce hybrid by adding sugar, garlic, and vinegar. The simplicity of this recipe is a testament to MixedMade’s mission to let their beautiful, natural ingredients shine. This adorable squeeze bottle is perfect for squirting into Bloody Mary’s for an added kick, mixing into eggs for a spicy morning, or as a hoppin’ topping on some succulent oysters!

Obere Mühle Co-operative Chiriboga BlueThis cheese is truly the result of a love story; one that involves an Ecuadorian man falling in love with a Bavarian woman to make beautiful cheese together and live happily ever after… That might not be exactly the whole story but we’d like to think so. This Ecuadorian man is Arturo Chiriboga, who heads up the Obere Mühle co-operative dairy, which is based in the Bavarian Alps. This pasteurized cow’s milk blue that Arturo stamped with his own name is one of the most decadent, creamy blue cheeses you may ever taste. We suggest pairing this rich hunk of goodness with some of the Askinosie chocolate in this box, for a pairing that was “made to be”!

Opinel N°09 OYSTER KnifeThere is really no excuse to not buy your own bag of fresh oysters to accompany this month’s wine box. You already have the perfect wine for the succulent aphrodisiacs, and now you are equipped with the ideal oyster knife! Not only are these Opinel knives beautiful to use and look at, they come with over 200 years of history. The Opinel line can be traced back to the 1800’s when Victor-Amédée Opinel first set up his blacksmith workshop. Two generations later, in 1897, Joseph Opinel manufactured a line of 12 different size knives, which would become the foundry of many more to come. Following a tradition that King Charles IX put into place in 1565, Joseph added the Crowned Hand emblem to the Opinel blade to signify their origin and quality. The N°09 OYSTER knife you have before you is a 6.5 cm long blade, perfectly crafted to gently open oysters and shellfish. Made with a handle of a compact African wood called Bubinga, this gorgeous knife also sports the Opinel invented Virobloc® system, which allows you to lock the blade while open for added safety.

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!

Photos all taken by Caley Mahoney

January Wine & Beer of the Month Boxes

New Year’s Resolutions….

…you may have set them for yourself — you might even be keeping to them still! At American Provisions we have resolved to ignore any pressure to diet and to just keep consuming what we like. Resolve to live for today (or at least that is what we are telling ourselves as we continue to consume meats, sweets, beers, and CHEESE)!

Seasonal guidelines suggest we should only be drinking stouts and porters during the winter months…well, we think these guidelines are a little too restricting. So, we will be enjoying our hoppy IPAs with no shame, and no hesitation, as these bottles carry enough weight to keep you just as warm in these chilly temps as the dark porter will. So go for a run! But then come home and enjoy these beers with no regrets in the New Year!

Dem Bottles

Foley Brothers Prospect Imperial IPAQuietly nestled down an unpaved road in quaint Brandon, Vermont, the Foley Brother’s small facility looks more like an extra garage next to an eldering Victorian house, rather than a killer beer making facility. It is in this magical Northern oasis that quintessential Vermont-esque beers are crafted by the hard working team of Foley Brothers Brewing. Prospect, a double IPA, is yet another example of the excellent quality we have come to expect from Foley Brothers, who have rightfully earned a coveted spot among the Vermont “must haves” of the beer world. Citra and Galaxy hops satiate this beer with profusely strong tropical fruit flavors. Candied mango, passionfruit, and pineapple notes ride a soft wave of creamy carbonation towards your taste buds, along with a touch of biscuit-y malts. Prospect will have you gladly looking to the future, because with beers as good as this, the new year looks bright. ABV {9%}

Crux Fermentation Project Half Hitch DIPACrux Fermentation Project is aptly named because of the constant innovation and creativity of this Oregon brewery when it comes to challenging the way beer is made. Brewmaster Larry Sidor and his team use a plethora of non traditional methods in their brewing process, which is not only risky but difficult if not done right. Thankfully for us, these guys are awesome at what they do, which makes their “project” results even more enjoyable. With their double IPA Half Hitch, they challenge the idea of what an Imperial should be, first off by cleverly hiding its boozy 10% content. The use of Mosaic hops ramps this beer up with incredible tropical fruits like mango, peach, and lemon, all floating on a fluffy medium body. ABV {10%}

Ithaca Beer Co. 18th Anniversary Baltic PorterThere had to be one dark beer in this January box, and when we say dark, we mean DARK. To celebrate their 18th year of brewing, this Finger Lake brewery released their version of a historical beer style, the Baltic Porter. Pouring out as black liquid velvet, Ithaca’s 18th Anniversary Baltic Porter, has that “coat your insides” quality we look for during the colder months. We recommend giving this big bottle some time to open up in order to fully enjoy the nose of light cocoa, chocolate, and coffee notes. Smooth and sultry, this Baltic Porter is full of sweet toffee, caramel, and interesting dark fruit flavors like notes of cherry from the use of cherrywood smoked malts. ABV {7%}

Winter Wines

Winter wines, mean cracking into the older, aged bottles we have been saving. The colder months may force us into hermitdom, but as long as we are stuck inside, we might as well enjoy ourselves with a few bottles of rich red wines. Drinking seasonally in the winter can fashion a sophisticated experience as we dive into reds with loads of complexity and flavors that have been carefully crafted over several years of aging.

Despite our enjoyment in drinking seasonally, we also wish to challenge the resistance to white wines in the winter. White wine, with enough body and acidity, can be the perfect companion to cut through the rich roasts and fatty foods we consume throughout the chilly days.

Domaine A. Chopin et Fils Cotes de Nuits Villages Blanc 2008Chardonnay may seem like the obvious choice for a winter wine box, but this is no oaky, butter laced California Chard that you will be enjoying. From the esteemed Cotes de Nuits Village of Burgundy, we have for you the 2008 Boncourt from Domaine A. Chopin et Fils. Currently in the talented hands of Arnaud Chopin, this noted domaine was purposefully downsized in order to better focus on the best parcels of land out of which the Chopin family is handcrafting a smaller number of truly classic, elegant wines. With a lengthy bottle aging, Chopin’s Boncourt Les Monts is immensely rich and complex; full of toasted oak notes and vibrant citrus fruit, this 100% Chardonnay is ready and able to stand up to a hefty January meal.

Domaine Thunevin-Calvet Cuvée Constance 2009:The seductive aspect of high quality soil and vines in the Roussillon region of the Languedoc is what influenced Jean-Luc Thunevin to buy a few hectares there in 2000. It was at this time that he partnered up with the native winemaker Jean- Roger Calvet to begin their Cuvée Constance project. When they began this fortuitous partnership, they were making their wines in something genuinely resembling a garage. Many vintages later, we have the current display of their hard work in this 2009 blend of Grenache and Carignan. Pouring an inky dark violet color with ruby edges, the 2009 is earthy with notes of juniper and cool stone among the textured fruit flavors of black raspberry and plum.

Le Calle Poggio D’Oro 2005The final and eldest bottle in this January wine box comes to us from Tuscany’s coastal village Montecucco, where Le Calle resides. Riccardo Catocci, the owner of Le Calle, makes his wines from certified organic grapes, a practice that he utilizes in the growing of the several other agricultural products on his farm. Unlike an entry level Rosso blend using Sangiovese grapes that is fresh and juicy, this straight Montecucco Sangiovese is an excellent display of how dark and rich this variety can become. Le Calle’s 2005 vintage is dry and intense, due to extended aging in small oak barrels. The muscular body of this Sangiovese is filled by dark cherry and herbaceous notes, perfect for a rich meal by the fire.

Treats

Willow Hill Farm La FleurieScrew resolutions this year and dive right into the oozey butter round of cheese from Willow Hill Farm. Another spectacular cheese producer from Vermont, Willow Hill farm is run by a husband and wife team who make and age their handcrafted cheeses on site of their Burlington farm. All of their cheese are aged in an unique underground cave that was built eight feet underground into the natural bedrock of the landscape! La Fleurie is their only bloomy rind, cow’s milk cheese, similar in style to a French Camembert. La Fleurie is bright and fruity when young, while showing notes of rich mushroom as it ages.

Red Table SalbandoIgnoring dieting resolutions continues and gets easier when you come face to face with the exceptionally made cured meats from Red Table Meat Co out of Minneapolis. This small farm to fork company was the predestined product of Minnesota native Mike Phillips. His passion for carefully crafted products, as well as his dedication to humane livestock practices are key factors that make Red Table meats so great. This hunk of meat you have before you is a spicy Sopressata style salami called Salbando. Made with black pepper, red pepper, garlic, and white wine, the subtle spice of Salbando will creep up on you, as a killer addition to your morning eggs or just chunked off straight into your mouth.

Sweet Lydia’s Stout & Pretzel Marshmallows:  We hope that even wine lovers can appreciate the last treat in this January box: locally made Stout and Pretzel Marshmallows from Sweet Lydia’s. A local sweet shop that started at out as a small kitchen operation for friends and family of the famed Lydia, this small business in Lowell is cranking out several varieties of custom made treats! From gourmet smores to handmade candy bars, Lydia’s creativity is only  matched by her delicious products. Exemplifying their hand crafted aesthetic and support for locally made products, Sweet Lydia’s stout and pretzel marshmallows are made using Ipswich Brewery’s Oatmeal Stout, as well as other high quality ingredients.

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!

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! 

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! 

 

 

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.

AP’s Connecticut Road Trip: Part 1

In all our local ramblin’, we’ve come across plenty of Western Mass. booths at farmers markets, tons of Rhody produce or Brooklyn condiments, and good lord, the sheer volume of Vermont cheeses.

We’ve noticed a void, though, just beneath our great state. A void that, thankfully, has started to fill up over the past year. So we decided to celebrate the growing food scene in Connecticut by paying a visit to two of our favorite Nutmeg State artisans: Two Roads Brewing and the Mystic Cheese Company.

BarPeopleDrinks2We had to get some food in our stomachs so we hit up Mystic first (which you can read all about next week). Then we made our way to Two Roads in Stratford, CT, where they were hosting Sourcopia, an event to celebrate the release of three new sour beers (a kriek, gueuze, and balsamic ale). Continue reading

Seasonal Stories: German Style Beer

October is my favorite month. Sure, I fight against the inevitable change of season when August begins to end; all through September I lament the loss of the strong sunshine and lazy green days of summer. But once October nears, my disappointment is replaced with excitement. October means mild days and cool nights; red and orange leaves decorate the view out my car window; boots and scarfs hidden deep in closets are unearthed once again. The placement of my October birthday also adds to my love of this month, but the real reason I eagerly rush to meet the change in season is what October means to me: great beers.

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I know, I know, you think I mean pumpkin beers. October means Halloween and ghosts and pumpkins, you say. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy and appreciate a good pumpkin beer around this time as well. But the style I crave at the end of every summer, are the malty, full bodied, amber colored, infamous Oktoberfest beers. Continue reading

Feel-Good Beers of the Summer

photo-39Listen, I know what you’re thinking. I was thinking it, too, when we started this assignment. But after tasting, like, way too many of them, I came to this conclusion: summer beers aren’t boring. 

I didn’t think it was possible, either. Sure, we drink them happily, but people have come to understand them as thirst-quenching light beverages you can have six of when survival depends on constantly having a frosty can in your hand. To borrow a phrase from the rosé-verse, it’s #summerwater.

And for the avid beer enthusiast, “water” is not a word you want anywhere near your malty hop concoctions. But fret not! We tasted a very wide selection of the ones on our shelves, and lived to tell you this: these guys have some serious flavor.

photo-38And really, we should expect no less from the innovative brewing outlets making this bunch of seasonal offerings. From fruit beers & sour ales to lagers & hefeweizens, just about every refreshing style is represented here, all in unique presentations that challenge our basic notions of what a summer beer should taste like. Read on to find the one that suits your palate and needs, whether you’re the IPA lover going camping this weekend, or the Blue Moon-advocate trying to appeal to your friends on the golf course.   

  • Harpoon Summer—To start, the lightest of the bunch is definitely this 4.8% kolsch brewed by Rich & Dan of Harpoon after they visited Germany and fell in love with the style. It drinks like a lager, with an ultra-smooth buttery body, lemony hop bitterness, and an aroma reminiscent of some of the bigger-name crushable pale ales & lagers (which we won’t name here).
  • Brooklyn Summer Ale—Brewed in the style of lighter “dinner ales” (also known as family ales or luncheon ales) popular in England in the 1800s, this faintly earthy & spicy beer uses English barley malts to attain a flavor like fresh bread, while German & American hops give a crisp floral finish. This is not a beer jam-packed with flavor, but the ones present are subtle and balanced, making it a perfect beer to have with a meal. 5%photo 5
  • Cisco Summer of Lager—A classic Bohemian pilsner, brewed in the traditional Bavarian style common in colder climates (where you can pretend to be while you enjoy this bottom-fermenting lager from Nantucket). Bready malts and an assertive noble hop finish offer nothing fancy, just an elegantly-executed take on an archetypal beer. 5.5%
  • Baxter Summer Swelter—Not quite a wheat beer and not quite a fruit beer, this canned offering starts with the standard summer base of wheat malts and citrusy hops, then throws caution to the wind by adding kaffir lime leaves, lemon & lime peel, and lemongrass. Unfiltered and medium-bodied, the sweet cloudiness of this beer is cut by conspicuous dry lime peel. It transports you to a tropical climate, and made us immediately crave coconut curry. Enjoy with Indian, Thai, Mexican—any cuisine that features limes prominently. 4.7%
  • Peak Organic Summer Session—Summer beers showcase the myriad things brewers can accomplish with the basic formula of wheat malts and fruity hops, and Peak’s summer crusher shows us just how much a difference farm-fresh ingredients make. Using several local farms to grow their wheat & hops (some of whom we get produce & grain from at AP), Peak has created a summer beer for IPA lovers, with vegetal aromas, crazy fresh leafy flavors, and a sweet Amarillo hop profile. This beer is cloudy with a complex mouthfeel, and straight up smells like a salad. 5%
  • Mayflower Summer Rye Ale—A spicy little number from Plymouth, MA that employs rye to keep bready malts dry & refreshing. This ale is smooth, with a faint fruity bitterness, thirst-quenching sour notes, and a lean finish that makes it great with food. 3.8%photo 1
  • Anderson Valley Summer Solstice—And now, for something completely different. This beer is summery in the way that frappes are—milky & soft, with a faint aroma of bourbon and a finish that is all caramel. It’s easy to see why Anderson Valley refers to this as adult cream soda. Darker than the others, this beer has a touch of spice and a malty body, with flavors nearly identical to our Big Picture Farm caramels. Drink this one ice cold to guarantee refreshing summery brightness, or let it linger in your glass on a cool night to really capture all of its nuanced flavors. 5%
  • Ithaca Cayuga Cruiser—It wouldn’t be a summer beer list without a Berliner Weisse, and we’re pretty into this 4.2% one, which was brewed by Ithaca for the 2014 SAVOR craft beer fest in Washington, D.C. Presenting right out of the gates with a lactic tang and faint sweet fruits like apricot & banana, this beer finishes dry & tart, optimal for the all-day, err-day lemonade drinker (if it’s too tart, do like the Germans and add a little fruit syrup to any Berliner Weisse to make it more palatable—we like the Quince & Apple Rhubarb Hops or Tart Cherry Grenadine).
  • Mystic Hazey Jane—A summer saison! A style not otherwise represented on this list, from a brewery in Chelsea, MA who have dedicated their livelihood to perfecting it. This wild-yeast-infused wheat beer is kept crisp with citrusy American & Japanese hops, for a profile that is all funk, pepper, melon, & candied citrus peels. A style originally brewed for migrant farmers who worked in the fields all day but didn’t have potable water, this 6% saison wants to be your summer water.photo 3
  • 21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon— A lot of shade gets thrown at fruit beers. And for a while, it was rightfully so—in the infantile stages of the American craft brewing scene, the ones on the market were almost intolerably sweet & syrupy. But just as the white zinfandels of the 80s & 90s have blossomed into a sophisticated rosé trend, we think fruit beers are ready for their comeback. And no one is more suited to be their ambassador than this dangerously drinkable summer-in-a-can from San Francisco’s 21st Amendment. Made with 100% pure fresh watermelon & pale white wheat malts, this is sweet yet dry, crisp yet oh-so-fruit juicy. A wheat beer that isn’t thick, a fruit beer that isn’t cloying—in short, not too far from perfection. 4.9%
  • Uinta Sum’r— A citrusy American blond ale, brewed with Japanese Sorachi hops. This 4% golden brew is fresh, clean, and smooth, with a pleasant hop presence that takes a backseat to the dominant light malts. A hazy pale straw body and fluffy, creamy head make it oh-so-inviting on a hot day.photo 2
  • Port Brewing SPA—The highest ABV on the list at 6%, and by far the hoppiest, San Marcos, CA’s Port Brewing has crafted a Summer Pale Ale with a massive dose of West Coast hops to really make you feel like you’re partying in the Golden State. Subtle pine and a tangerine bitterness on the finish make for a food-friendly beer that we think belongs on your porch on those nights when it’s too hot to sleep inside.
  • The Bruery Hottenroth— One of the best parts of Berliner Weisse (and sour beers in general) is their ratio of alcohol to flavor. If you shy away from summer beers because weak ABV often equals weak taste, try this 3.1% (3.1%!) lacto/brett fermented mother pucker, where a golden low-gravity wheat beer with zero hop bitterness somehow manages to pack more flavor than practically anything on this list (think Sweet Tarts & Sour Patch Kids).photo 4
  • Narragansett Del’s Shandy— Aside from the obvious seasonal ingredients required to make a good summer, Narragansett has landed on one here that is ubiquitous, though not discussed much when it comes to crafting a beer—nostalgia. No one goes through summer without a few glimpses into summers past, a few walks down an ancient boardwalk or enjoying an ice cream treat that was invented decades ago. If you knew Del’s as a kid, or if you were practically a Narragansett shareholder in college (or both), this beer is a real treat. Cereal grain malts keep it classic ‘gansett, while sticky sweet lemon make it Del’s. We recommend drinking this freezing cold on a hot day. 5%

Continue reading