Tag Archives: craft 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.

July Beer of the Month Club

Summer lovin, we want things to be fresh, bright, crisp, refreshing… It is this major season in which we literally feel the heat; the heat that rejuvenates, invigorates, aaaand makes us sweat. We want to be outside catching the rays, which is why we need light, refreshing foods and drinks to balance the heat!


These beers are juicy, tart, full of zest and of joie de vivre! They are truly aestival, making use of summer ingredients and flavors. Ready to drink and enjoy now, these beers are choice refreshers for a hot day in the sun; ideal as cool accompaniments to crunchy summer cuisine. Speaking of cuisine, we’ve got you covered with these prime ingredients to create cool pasta salads and fresh fish dinners on the grill.

Beeahss

Almanac Brewery Hoppy Sour: MandarinaAlmanac Brewing has gained an impressive reputation as a producer of unique farm to barrel brews. Although Almanac brewers follow historically traditional brewing methods, they elevate their beers and truly represent Northern California with the addition of locally sourced fruit. Inspired by local cuisine and terroir, Almanac brewers create beers that support their environment by collaborating with farms in the area. This Hoppy Sour is a display of traditional methods, with the use of the Bavarian hop variety Mandarina; Germany’s answer to the bold varieties found in the West Coast. It combines the citrus aromas we expect from a California brew, but with the subtle spice of German varieties. Tart and funky, this barrel aged saison base shows notes of earth and oak, which are accented by the lime and tangerine-esque flavors from dry hopping! ABV {7%}

Kent Falls Brewing Alternate World GoseA personal favorite style for summer drinking is the historically traditional German created Gose. Though American breweries have had varying results with this style, Kent Falls can be labeled a success with their Alternate World Gose. Named after their home in Kent, CT, this brewery is yet another socially and sustainably conscious player in the beer world. Starting with the land they are on, (a former dairy farm that left them with super nutrient rich soil), Kent Falls is part of the Brewery Supported Agriculture association of the area. They make it their mission to support and collaborate with the farms in the area to conserve the land and eliminate fuel usage. So as you sip this uber refreshing, pucker inducing, lemon filled Gose with a wheaty finish, you can daydream about the bountiful, sunny world that Kent Falls is helping to preserve. ABV {4.6%}

SingleCut Beersmiths Mo Shuggie Soulbender IPAOur final spot for a sun filled sipper goes to Mo Shuggie, a super hazy IPA from New York brewery SingleCut Beersmiths. As a relatively new brewery to New England residents, the offerings we have received from SingleCut have all been consistently awesome and meticulously made. Started in 2012 by founder Rich Buceta, SingleCut is known for their IPAs, which are all high quality, but vary widely in taste due to the many different combinations of hops they use for each brew. The use of New York City tap water and their own secret strains of cultivated yeasts also adds to the quality and uniqueness of every SingleCut beer. Mo Shuggie Soulbender was amped up with New Zealand hops, which provide loads of tropical fruit notes – guava, tangerine, mango – all floating lazily in the hazy, soft textured body with a slight bite of bitterness. ABV {7.4%}

Backyard Bites

Consider Bardwell Farm SlyboroTo accompany the lively, tart beers you’ll find in this summer box, we wanted a soft cheese with a touch of sweetness. We think that Consider Bardwell’s washed rind goat’s milk cheese, Slyboro fits this bill quite nicely, with its paste-y texture and notes of bright grass and apple. Consider Bardwell Farm was founded in 1864 in Pawlet, Vermont as the first cheese-making co-op. A century later and you’ll find the same hand made small batch cheeses made from the milk of their Oberhaslis goat herd, as well as cow’s milk from neighboring farms. Not only are the cheeses at Consider Bardwell delicious and high quality, they are also made with milk that is completely hormone free and from non animal rennet!

The Chili Lab The Garden Blend Chili ButterThe fresh bounty of the summer season can be found in this Garden Blend Chili Butter from The Chili Lab. Based out of Long Island, NY, the Chili Lab uses spicy chili peppers to create products that help home cooks to easily explore their interesting flavor combinations and uses. By using diverse peppers from around the world, they discovered that aleppo peppers from Turkey are slightly fruity, round, and smell like sundried tomatoes, whereas dried guajillo chiles from Mexico are more sultry, deep, and earthy. It is the slightly sweet tomato flavors of the aleppo peppers that you will experience in this Garden Blend, along with soft roasted garlic and pepper spice. This addicting chili butter can be used to liven up a baked potato, as a sauce with grilled shrimp and polenta, or use it as a lightly spiced dressing on top of a cold pasta salad of basil reginetti from Sfoglini!

Sfoglini Pasta Shop Basil ReginettiSeasonal ingredients and practiced traditions both fuel the processes behind Brooklyn based pasta shop Sfoglini. Started in 2012 by Chef Steve Gonzalez and Scott Ketchum, Sfoglini Pasta Shop operates out of the country’s first Pfizer lab building, alongside many rockstar food artisans. The makers behind Sfoglini are determined to emulate the Italian traditions and spirit by using fresh, local ingredients from green markets and local farms in New York. The name Sfoglini, also pay tribute to the tradition of handmade pasta, as it is the word for generations of ladies in Bologna who make pasta by hand. Their pasta is extruded through a bronze die, a metal attachment not used in commercial pasta making, which gives it a distinct rough texture and porous surface that helps the pasta to cook more evenly, as well as allowing for the maximum amount of sauce to cling to each bite! This made in summer basil reginetti is begging to be served with juicy heirloom tomatoes and drizzled olive oil.

All photos taken by Caley Mahoney.

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

March Beer and Wine Club Boxes: NEW YORK

BEERS from the BIG APPLE

Craft beer culture is very strong in the New England region, and as residents of this area, we are fiercely supportive and proud of our local brewers. That being said, we would be sorely remiss to ignore the killer beers being brewed by our neighbors in New York City. To pay homage to the Big Apple, we have chosen and procured (with some difficulty), beers from three breweries that many craft fans would include on a top 20 best breweries of New York list.

These breweries are extremely hip, from their image and branding to their board game filled warehouses, but they are also extremely dedicated and passionate about their craft. Through much experimentation, diligent brewing techniques, and endless creativity, these NYC breweries are pushing the envelope of craft beer in general, while churning out some damn tasty brews.

Finback Brewing Oscillation 3 DIPA Beers from Finback Brewing are definitely a rarity among these parts, so you can only imagine how psyched we are to have this special one time brew: Oscillation 3! After a lot of searching around New York, the crew at Finback finally found a warehouse space in Queens in 2013. Their passion for brewing and experimentation is evident in their wide array of beer styles – a factor much appreciated by the Finback fans who make the trek out to the hip, hidden brewery. As for the rare can in front of you, it is the third release in their rotating IPA series; a double IPA that was hopped with Mosaic, El Dorado and Citra hops. Pouring a super light shade, this double is very light but jam packed full of tropical fruit flavor, sweet citrus hops, and smooth sunshine haze. ABV {8.4%}

Transmitter Brewing S6 Rye SaisonWith a focus on tradition and technique, Transmitter Brewing may be one of the coolest breweries producing the humble farmhouse style. Founders Rob Kolb and Anthony Accardi bring a whole new level of creativity and passion to their brewing process by experimenting, but also by securing quality in the use of traditional Belgian, French, English, and American yeasts. This Long Island brewery is challenging the current status of beers from NYC, as well as adding to the conversation of craft beer in general. We are humbled to present one of their saisons: S6, an amber rye ale that has gone through a sour mash and was hopped with Pacific Jade. The resulting ale is a complex combination of earthy yeast accented by sweet melon and citrus flavors and notes of rye spice. ABV {6.8%}

SingleCut Beersmiths Heavy Boots of Lead Imperial StoutAnother hidden gem of a brewery from Queens is SingleCut Beersmiths. Although two hoppy offerings have graced our shelves from this New York brewery, we decided to go darker for this last bottle, mainly because we super impressed that the quality of their stout matched that of the two IPAs before it! This imperial stout, Heavy Boots of Lead, may seem intimidating at 11.2%, but don’t let that scare you away from the incredibly smooth, chocolate filled concoction inside. This impressive brew hits all the right notes for a stout: smoky vanilla, bitter coffee, and roasted cocoa, but the complexity continues with an interesting dose of hoppy presence amongst the silky smooth liquid. ABV {11.2%}

WINES from the “ISLAND”

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American wines are most popularly produced on the country’s west coast, where California Cabs and Oregon Pinots reign supreme in the eyes of serious vino consumers. Yet this month we decided to create a box of all American made wines, not from the West Coast royalty, but instead from the not so humble state of New York.

Although not particularly famous for its wines, New York is home to a significant amount of vineyards and wineries. The significantly cool climate and interesting terroir of New York state has been compared to that of Bordeaux, while the wide range of lakes, rivers, and coastal bodies of water give the state a distinctive, if unconventional influence on grape varieties. This influence, as well as persistent care and patience from the winemakers, can result in very unique interpretations of wine styles we thought we knew.

Forge Cellars Riesling Finger Lakes Classique 2014The well known varietal from the state of New York is of course Riesling. The Finger Lakes are commended for their cool climate as an ideal location for the grape to thrive in. And thrive it does, especially in the hands of the three friends behind Forge Cellars. These gentlemen focus only on the Riesling and Pinot Noir varieties, in order to create the best possible wines they can. With a lot of patience, hand picking methods, and gentle pressing, they have created this 2014 Classique. Noted acidity, as is expected from the Finger Lakes region, greets you upon the first sip, which is laced with lovely flavors of white peach, melon, and yellow apple.

Bedell Cellars Chardonnay 2014This next bottle from New York is of a varietal known (and mastered) worldwide – yet it is one we would probably not expect to be coming out of Long Island. From the acclaimed Bedell Cellars, we assuredly offer you their 2014 Chardonnay. If one were not able to decide between a Californian oak laced Chard versus the honed acidity of a white Burgundy, then one might turn to this New York Chardonnay, which we would argue is a happy middle ground. Bedell’s Chardonnay is fermented half in steel and the other half in neutral French oak, which gives the wine that pleasant round mouthfeel, while still maintaining the sharper qualities of a stainless ferment. The coastal terroir of Long Island is evident in the mineral salinity of this wine, but does not overpower the gentle creamy body of citrus and tart apple.

Bedell Cellars First Crush Red 2014This last bottle will be the second from Bedell Cellars in Long Island. After impressing us with their unique Chardonnay offering, we couldn’t resist including this truly interesting bottle of red, which really represents the style of the winery, as well as the terroir of the region. Bedell Cellars was first started by Kip and Susan Bedell in 1980, who have been sustainably farming the winery since. In 2000, the winery was bought by Michael Lynne, an esteemed film executive and art collector. It is his influence that the bottle you have before you is dressed with an eye catching collage by NY artist Mickalene Thomas. This 2014 bottle First Crush Red, embodies the Long Island emphasis on art and beauty, as well as the importance of technique and quality. A blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc, this “Cool” New World red will entice you with cool sips of elegant red fruit and marked acidity.

EATS

Empire Mayonaise Co Everything Bagel MayoTo represent New York City properly, we needed an example of the quintessential artisan maker in the city. Enter the fashionable, tattooed, hipster couple Sam Mason and Elizabeth Valleau – the two masterminds behind Brooklyn based Empire Mayonnaise Co. This duo of half chef, half designer, concocts small batches of unique homemade mayos, with emphasis on natural, seasonal ingredients and happy cage-free eggs. For the quintessential mayo flavor, we of course chose the Everything Bagel mayo; a flavor that was inspired by the many trips Elizabeth and her grandfather used to take to a classic Lincoln center deli for those savory New York Everything bagels smeared with cream cheese.

Charlito’s Cocina Campo SecoAs one of the major cultural melting pots on the East coast, NYC has a reputation of maintaining traditional methods, especially when it comes to meats and charcuterie. Charles Samuel Wekselbaum is a perfect example of this – raised in a Cuban household in NYC, Charles traveled to Spain to study the art of curing meats. Equipped with the nickname “Charlito” and traditional curing knowledge, Charles returned to Long Island in 2011 to open Charlito’s Cocina. His goal was to keep historical gastronomic techniques alive by creating the best quality, shelf stable, (and not to mention tasty!) cured meats he can. This Campo Seco is an excellent display of such practices – a rustic, yet sophisticated style of meat made with simple, fresh ingredients.

Crown Finish Caves & Spring Brook Farm TubbyAlthough this cheese originally hails from Reading, VT, the aging process, name origin, and flavors were too awesome to not include in this New York box. This Alpine style cow’s milk cheese is made by Spring Brook Farm, then transported to the Crown Finish Caves in Brooklyn, NY. That’s right, 30 feet below the streets of Brooklyn, there is a cheese aging facility made out of the beer tunnels from the 1850’s! These historic brick tunnels can hold up to 22,000 pounds of cheese! It is in these tunnels that our big buddy Tubby is washed regularly with a brine solution as it ages. Named after famed Brooklyn architect William Bunker Tubby, this smooth pasted hunk of cheese is milky sweet and fruity, with notes of caramelized shallots and tiny crystal bits.

All photos taken by Caley Mahoney. 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! 

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!

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! 

 

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

The 2013 American Provisions Gift Guide

Thanksgiving came late this year, which means the tides of yule are carrying us to Christmas faster than we can keep up with. Feel like you’re already drowning under the weight of wish lists, wintery mixes and crazed shoppers? Luckily for you, we’ve been stockpiling a catalog of perfect presents for nearly everyone on your checklist since well before Halloween. Below, you’ll find a nearly-comprehensive index of our fallout shelter, a peak into the myriad ways you can put smiles on the faces of your loved ones this holiday season (whether or not they’re foodies).image-17

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A Visit to AP’s Pumpkin Patch

photo-26It seems like they show up earlier every year. You swear you’ve got one last beach trip left in you, until you see that orange label in the fridge at your corner package store, and it’s all over. Resistance is the first impulse, and understandably so. It isn’t just the beer snobs who turn their nose up at these squashy beacons of fall. Even if you’re one of the folks who gets googly-eyed over a cinnamon sugar rim, it’s usually with a heavy heart that we accept the arrival of pumpkin beer. Continue reading

Libation of the Month Club: September Edition

Beer connoisseurs and winos alike delight in a special kind of palate cleanse this time of year. New options open up not just in your closet (the sweater-obsessed, rejoice!) but in your cellar, your fridge and, especially, your local specialty shop. It isn’t hard to love fall when you’re living in New England, but the contents of these boxes could convert folks from either coast to get pumped for the turning of the leaves. Continue reading

Libation of the Month Club: August Edition

photo (1)Thinking inside the box this month lead us down two divergent paths, where the beers catching our eye had one very special thing in common and the wines shared an entirely different trait. Read below for details on how we developed this month’s themes, what we think you should eat with each bottle, and what makes all these selections truly one of a kind. Continue reading

5th Annual Vermont Cheesemakers’ Festival

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After you pass the entrance gate at Shelburne Farms, a certain suspension of disbelief becomes utterly necessary. As the road winds along, alternating between pavement, dirt, & gravel, the sheer wealth of the color green hits you hard while pristine yet ancient mansion barnhouses appear around each bend. Just as you’re trying to snap a photo of a row of cows in shady stalls that you swear are smiling, the dense rows of jade green summer foliage give way to a shimmering body of water that starts just feet from the road, with a simple row of pebbles where a beach would be. That body of water is the Shelburne Bay off of Lake Champlain, and despite sensory evidence to the contrary, this place is very real. Continue reading