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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! 

February Beer & Wine of the Month Club

Whether you’re celebrating Cupid or damning his name this month, it’s never a bad thing when society gives you an excuse to indulge. The February classics—oysters, chocolate, bubbles, lush cheeses and rich steaks—are just as enjoyable eaten on the floor during a Netflix binge as they are when shared with the one you love. We’ve put together a box of goodies that will make you feel pampered, and we don’t care if you enjoy the contents with your best friends, with your lover, or with no one at all (who says you have to share?)

From luxurious sour cherry wild ales and chocolate oyster stouts to suggestively-titled red Burgundy, this box hits all the usual suspects and then some. We also have a spicy horchata milk stout that we trekked through blizzards to procure for you, a sparkling pinot noir, and gorgeous marshmallows for impromptu fondue. We hope these treats find their way to an intimate, personal table topped with candles, cartoon Valentines, or just dozens of bottles of nail polish. This February, raise your glass to the most deep, undying connection in all our lives—the love of good food. photo (28)

The Drinks

Foolproof Brewing Shuckolate: A limited edition Valentine’s Day brew from Pawtucket, Rhode Island’s Foolproof Brewing, the Shuckolate is a salty-sweet combo made for lovin’. A romantic collab between Walrus & Carpenter Oysters and Garrison Confections, this oyster stout is brewed with 300 oyster shells! This mineral brininess provides a perfect counterpoint to the sumptuous velvety chocolate, resulting in a beer that screams decadence. Put on some Barry White or Frank Ocean, let your cheese come to room temperature, and this seductive brew will wash away all your troubles. ABV {6%}

Night Shift Brewing Art #20: El Lechedor: Boy, let me tell you the lengths we went to get you this beer! From Night Shift’s limited Art series, the El Lechedor was released on January 28, two days after the first big blizzard. The boys at Night Shift told us there wouldn’t be enough to give us a case, but that we could come to the release party and try to snag a few bombers. Our beer buyer Caley braved the Orange Line and the snowdrifts along Route 16 in Everett (a treacherous walk any time of year) and returned to the shop victorious! We got just enough for you guys in the Beer Club, which is the kind of magic this club was made for. We are now proud to give you Art #20, a Mexican-style Horchata Milk Stout brewed with poblano peppers, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla beans, and fermented in oak barrels. Spicy, creamy, and sweet, this bottle smells like fresh green chilies and tastes like a sunset near the equator—drink it in. ABV {6.9%}

Allagash Brewing Midnight BrettTo round out our collection of sensual experiences, the Midnight Brett from Portland, ME’s Allagash Brewing is a master of seduction. We were stunned by its beauty when it first graced the Allagash Instagram a few weeks ago, cloaked in dark, sultry shadows. Blood-black in color but full of ripe, red fruit flavor, this beer is fermented in stainless steel tanks with the Allagash house strain of brettanomyces. It has a sour cherry character tempered by a tart dryness, and is slightly more light-bodied than your average Flemish red. Wilder than Monk’s Cafe or Duchesse de Bourgogne, yet rich enough to be on par with those titans, we think this beer is a dream date for the cheese and chocolate in your box. ABV {7.3%}    photo 1

Leitz Spätburgunder Weissherbst Sekt Brut 2013: From the Rheingau vineyards of Johannes Leitz, a winemaker growing in esteem every day, we get this stunning bottle of sparkling Pinot Noir (Spätburgunder in German). The de-stemmed grapes go directly to press where they macerate for 3 hours before being gently pressed. From then on out, they undergo a white wine process. Secondary fermentation occurs in stainless steel tanks, leaving us with a light and sprightly bottle overflowing with ripe grapefruit and sharp acidity. Every bottle we’ve gotten from the Leitz estate has blown us away with its remarkable sense of the dry and lively German terroir, and this bubbly rosé is no exception. A surefire way to impress your Valentine, even if you’re your own Valentine.

 

Paul Janin-et-Fils Moulin-a-Vent Séduction 2007: All the bottles from Paul Janin et Fils are marked with a stoic windmill that has overlooked their vineyards since the 15th century. In the same silent, consistent way, this family of winemakers has tended their vines for generations. The Janins farm in flaky, pink granite soil that produces structured and powerful age-worthy wines. This 2007 bottle of single-estate Cru Beaujolais boasts a spicy nose with hints of mint. Romantic floral notes of jasmine and rose play on the palate with faint red fruits, before finishing dry on notes of wet leaf and rustic earth. This red burgundy provides an enticing partner to any of the amorous foods you enjoy this month.

 

Tenuta Ponte Grecco di Tufo 2009: A gorgeous winter white from central Irpinia, where the Greco & Coda di Volpe are grown on hillsides with good exposure and excellent soil. Delicate, full-bodied, and round with a pale golden hue and an intense, lingering finish, this food-friendly wine from the Campania region pairs excellently with the cheese in your box. With a hint of biscuit on the nose and bold flavors of peach and apple, it’s easy to see why the whites of Tenuta Ponte are regarded as some of the best in southern Italy. This wine has a refreshing minerality ready to wash down anything from oysters to indulgent steaks and rich, creamy sauces—in other words, the perfect Valentine’s Day white.

The Snacks

Ruggles Hill Creamery Ada’s Honor: Last month, we received our first cheeses from Tricia Smith & Michael Holland, goat farming wizards and national-award-winning cheesemakers. These guys raise their Oberhasli and Saanen goats in the beautiful historical relic that is Hardwick, MA. These idyllic surroundings are where the goats grow up, and where Tricia and Michael hand-craft all of their cheeses with a care and attention to detail that shines through in the finished product. Ada’s Honor, named for their first herd queen, is a bloomy rind goat cheese modeled after a French Chabichou. The earthy rind complements the compact citrusy body. The taste is mild yet complex, reflecting the exquisite milk produced by these happy, grass-fed goats.photo 3 (2)

Mast Brothers Chocolate Sheep Milk Bar: Bean-to-bar chocolate began as a move away from milky candy bars, over-sweetened stuff that bore no resemblance to cacao beans. Lately, though, the call for a craft milk chocolate has grown louder, and the makers are finally listening. But would you expect Brooklyn’s premier chocolatiers, Rick & Michael Mast, to do basic milk chocolate? Of course not. These Iowa brothers, known for sailing a ship across the ocean to personally source their beans, have released three milk bars this year that really flip the script. The line contains a sheep, cow, and goat milk bar, meant to highlight the milk itself as an ingredient worthy of spotlight. Each pairing of milk type and cacao origin is a deliberate match to coax out nuance. This bar pairs sheeps milk with the Peruvian cacao, releasing flavors of fig, mushroom, & walnut. A great match for Ada’s Honor.

Sweet Lydia’s Assorted Marshmallows: These adorable gourmet mallows are hand-made in Lowell, MA by Sweet Lydia herself, a woman who got started crafting sweet favors for friends and family. Lydia’s business took off when she made mallows for her own wedding, a lucrative business move that sweetened the deal with her husband and got her name out there in the confection world. In raspberry, mocha, vanilla, and toasted coconut, these mallows are incredibly versatile—they can be toasted, s’mored, plopped into a cup of hot cocoa, or dipped into some chocolate fondue (our personal Valentine’s Day favorite).

 

 

July Beer of the Month Club

For this patriotic month,we couldn’t help but assemble a box of comestibles that come to you from all across this great nation. From San Francisco to South Carolina and the great plains of Missouri, Oklahoma and Michigan in between, the goods in your box are a country-trotting bunch. And what better way to celebrate our country’s Independence than with fried pork skins and Bruce Springsteen beer!photo (21)

Tangential characteristics aside, the beers in our July collection have something else in common—brettanomyces. These bottles don’t have a wild side, they are wild on all sides. And really, what more do you need in a July beer? Everyone is trying to let loose this month—be it partying on a boat, wearing clothes you’d scoff at the rest of the year, or going skinny-dipping at midnight. These beers live life on the edge, and they encourage you to do the same. Continue reading