Tag Archives: Belgian beers

December Beer & Wine of the Month Boxes

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

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

Libations

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

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

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

Vino

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

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

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

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

Presents

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


 

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

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

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

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!