Sunday, March 10, 2013

stanky cheese

Hi folks,

Greetings at the end of another wonderful week in VT.  Spring is just around the corner - I had my first whiff of manure in the air the other day - so to celebrate, I took a road trip with a good friend over to visit Shaun Hill at Hill Farmstead where I had the great pleasure of bringing home some Biere de Norma and a growler filled with his new DIPA, Society & Solitude #6, which if you haven't tried is absolutely sublime. 

On the way back, my friend and I picked up some Jasper Hill cheese to bring to our significant others.  My lovely wife is pregnant with our first so I made sure to pick up something pasteurized, Harbison by Jasper Hill Farm, a bark-wrapped bloomy rind cheese, deliciously runny and ripe.  I paired this pungent treat with some Oude Gueze Tilquin à L'Ancienne by Guezerie Tilquin, which is a must for those who love all things sour and funky.  From BeerAdvocate - "Oude Gueuze Tilquin à l’Ancienne (6.0% alc/vol) is a spontaneous fermentation beer, produced from the blending of 1, 2 and 3 years old lambics. It is unfiltered and unpasteurized, and refermented in the bottle for at least 6 months. The lambics used were fermented and oak aged in our installations. These lambics are coming from worts brewed by Boon, Lindemans, Girardin and Cantillon breweries."  What this means is that Tilquin is a blender in the same way that scotches are made by master blenders.  He creates blends of gueze wort from heavyweight lambic producers to create his own unique and brilliant product. 

Tart, acidic, citrusy, grassy, earthy and funky, Tilquin was a fantastic pairing to the deep funk of Harbison by Jasper Hill Farm.  The two worked together in a way that toned down some of the more aggressive gamey notes and highlighted the nuttiness of the cheese and the well balanced acidity and minerality of the gueze. 

And while this is a departure from the world of beer, another great match with the cheese was M. Chapoutier Les Vignes de Bila-Haut 2009 Cotes du Roussillon Villages, a lovely and shockingly affordable blend of Grenache, Syrah, and old bush vine Carignan from one of the great Rhone producers.  On its own, Bila-Haut was medium bodied and bright with punchy menthol and herbal flavors.  With the cheese, the herbal notes were tamed and a subtle berry flavor emerged.

So grab a wheel of stinky cheese and some good beer and wine and go have yourself an adventure!


Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Hi folks!

It's been a little busy around the warehouse this week - what's new? - but I wanted to make sure and put down a solid blog post before the week gets away from me.

As most of you know, we got a pretty sick Shelton Brothers delivery last week.  Most notably, a bunch of great Mikkellers, Prairie Artisan Ales from OK, and a trickle of Fantome Saison.  A lot of other great beers came as well, so I wanted to feature one that might have gotten lost in the shuffle....


hop enlightenment
Beer Here is a Danish contract brewery started a few years ago by Christian Skovdal Andersen, distributed via Shelton Brothers, and currently well represented on the shelves at the Beverage Warehouse. 

Kama Citra intrigued me for two reasons - 1) I love citra hops and 2) this seemed like a cool and unusual way to brew a beer with citra hops.  This is basically a nut brown with a load of citra hops.  My introduction to good beer was via English bitters and browns so a beer like this is always going to tickle my fancy.  It also reminded me of Stone's TBA collaboration, a Texas Brown Ale, hoppy and nutty, but sadly not one that flew off the shelves.  (Can't win 'em all.)  I was quite the fan of TBA and I've enjoyed everything we've had from Beer Here so I was looking forward to Kama Citra.

Did not disappoint!  As advertised, citrus-y, big punchy hop bitterness, and delicious almost creamy nutty malt but not too heavy in body.  I could easily drink this with a shepherd's pie or after some good skiing. 

So pick up a bottle of Beer Here's "Kama Citra" and don't forget to try "Lupulus" (chewy pale ale), "SOD" (rich Baltic porter), and "Dark Hops" (roasty black IPA).


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

To Heady...or not to heady...or Super Bowl happy fun time!

Hi folks!

*FYI, I started this February 3rd.  Published it today.  Aaaaaaaand all of the updates I made did not publish and were deleted.  Which SUCKS!  So I'm trying to quickly put together a lot of information that got lost.  ARGH!!!!**

I started this post on February 3rd, aka Super Bowl Sunday (do they air the Super Bowl in Canada?), a day...FOR BEER!

And wouldn't you know it - our little state of Vermont has the #1 beer in the world (Heady Topper) and the #1 brewery in the world (Hill Farmstead) according to Beer Advocate and RateBeer respectively.  (Keep in mind, Vermont has the second smallest population of all fifty states....seriously...)

So, a day for beer in Vermont is usually a good day:)

Speaking of Heady Topper...

As many of you know, the Alchemist is in the final stages of expansion.  (There is an awesome short film of the installation of the new tanks here.  The expansion will mean more Heady Topper for everyone.  Let's all think about this for a minute.  There are thousands of beers brewed across the world and on the major beer aggregate rating website, Heady Topper is #1.  Ranking .05 points (as of 2/3) higher than Westy XII and Pliny the Elder.  And in that stratosphere, .05 points is miles.      And they, The Alchemist, are not only going to brew more, but they are committed to servicing their current accounts, ourselves and others, in the great state of Vermont - not brew more to send out to other states, but to keep here in VT.

So, to the many folks who are understandably frustrated that Heady sells out quickly - sometimes in minutes - take into account everything above...and BE PATIENT!  Good things will come:)

In the interim, I wanted to put together a list of IPAs to try in the event that Heady's sold out.  Which happens more than not.  (This list leaves out Hill Farmstead and Lawson's Finest Liquids which are equally as difficult to get.)  Swing by the Beverage Warehouse today and pick one of these up!

Ballast Point Sculpin - currently #37 on BA's top beers and the highest rated American IPA in the world.  All grapefruit and citrus.

Lagunitas Sucks - the long-awaited follow up to 2011's Brown Shugga substitute, Sucks is biscuity lemon deliciousness at an extremely affordable price.  A limited seasonal.

Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA - #180 on BA's top beers.  Maltier and a little more full-bodied than Sculpin.

10 Barrel Apocalypse IPA - fruity and piney with some pretty bitter hop flavors

Sixpoint Resin - a powerfully bitter 12 oz 4 pack of slim cans from this Brooklyn-based brewery.

Southern Tier 2xIPA - solid all-around, citrusy and malty sweetness.

Beer Here Lupulus - a chewy sessionable pale ale that packs a huge amount of bitterness in under 5%.

***OK, here's where the rest of the post was lost.  Which SUCKS!  So due to time constraints, I'll just post a list of all the new cool Shelton Bros stuff that's coming in tomorrow.  These are beers that haven't been in the store recently or at all.***

Mikkeller 19 - 19 different hops.

Mikkeller Frelser - an homage to the original doppelbock, Salvator.  Frelser means "savior."

Mikkeller Monk's Brew - a Belgian strong dark ale in homage of his travels through Belgium.

Mikkeller Yeast Series 2.0 - same pale ale, different yeast strains.  The two we're carrying are Brettanomyces Brux and Lambicus.  We're definitely going to age some of those bad boys.

Mikkeller Single Hop Citra

Fantome Saison - soooo excited.

Epic Epicurean - imperial oatmeal stout with fig and coffee

Epic Hop Zombie DIPA - it looks like they had to go heavy on US hops this go around because of an NZ hop shortage per their website.

Prairie Artisan Ales - new brewery out of Oklahoma!  First Oklahoma brewery in VT if I'm not mistaken.  Unfiltered, bottle conditioned.  Prairie Standard 6pks, sessionable saison, Prairie Ale, Brett-conditioned saison, and Prairie Hop, dry-hopped saison.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

2012 in a nutshell

Hi Folks!


It's been VERY busy at the Bevie...let's take a moment to reflect -

1) of the many limited beer releases, two took the cake.  Switchback finally released bottles for retail, and Westvleteren released a limited amount of their coveted XII.  The latter  - we've received dozens (if not hundreds) of phone calls since the release on 12.12.12 with many different takes on the name Westvleteren.  (Westy; Westletrn; the Saint Sixtus beer; that monk beer; the Belgian beer you can't get.)  We opted to take reservations via Facebook and the response was overwhelmingly positive.  The former - we sold over 500 cases on the first day Switchback was available and continue to sell out within minutes of every delivery, and while it remains a limited and hard-to-get item, it's still a wonderful thing to see such a high demand for a local brewery.  Speaking of which...

2) the demand for The Alchemist's Heady Topper knows no limit.  As with Switchback, we continue to sell out sometimes within thirty minutes of our delivery.  (Many regular customers remember when our HT supply would last through the weekend.  Now it doesn't even last a day.)  That said, it is only a matter of time until they finish their expansion and are able to deliver more beer.  Keep your fingers crossed.

3) Vermont breweries continue to impress!  We've discussed Switchback and HT already.  Hill Farmstead, Lawson's Finest Liquids, and Bobcat Cafe & Brewery continue to send us amazing and innovative beers ranging from raw wildflower honey saisons to double IPAs with new NZ hops to a barrel-aged sour stout.  New breweries continue to pop up, including our friends at Foley Brothers Brewing in Rutland County and the in-works Burlington Beer Co.  Old standbys keep pushing forward with new offerings, including Otter Creek's Russian Imperial Stout, Long Trail's Imperial Pumpkin, Harpoon's Rich & Dan's now in 6 packs, and more.  It's a reminder of how lucky we beer lovers are to live in a state where the bounty of good beer is endless.

4) beyond Vermont, our tiny little store (ha!) is buckling under the weight of the MANY breweries that have started distributing in Vermont!  Ballast Point; Alesmith; Goose Island; Breckenridge; Boulder; Three Heads; Element; Mystic; Jester King; and more!  We've also been fortunate to receive a wider variety of breweries from the Shelton Bros and 12% Imports.  Beer Here; 8 Wired; Nils Oscar; Nogne O; Haanbrygerreit; Evil Twin; etc, and a larger supply of Anchorage, Mikkeller, Jolly Pumpkin, and more.

What does this mean for 2013?  Looks like more of everything, breweries, beer, limited releases, and the such.  For now, keep your eye out for Lagunitas Sucks and Green Flash Palate Wrecker, coming very soon to a warehouse near you.

Lastly, one of our esteemed beer representatives asked me what breweries I would like to see distributed in Vermont.  Good question, esteemed beer representative!  I have my wish list but I'm curious what you guys want.  What breweries would you like to see distributed here in 2013??  Maybe...if you keep your fingers'll happen:)

Until next time (and hopefully sooner),

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sandy...Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and...Worry More

Hi folks!

The winds have started to pick up so I figure I'd bang out a post before the lights go down.

Many of my friends and family are without power in NYC and the surrounding area.  The Facebook posts continue; flooding is everywhere; ConEd plant blew's some scary stuff.

So, what to turn to?


Tonight, I'm enjoying an old favorite - Hoppin' Frog's "B.O.R.I.S. the Crusher," an oatmeal imperial stout from Ohio.  Sadly, the Frog (as they're known at the warehouse) is not distributed in VT and this bottle was something of a gift, perfect for a night like tonight.

(For those who are Hoppin' Frog fans and want to see them in VT - please contact them directly and let them know!)

Got me thinking - what other big a$$ stouts are out there that I could quaff on a windy night like tonight?

How about...

Southern Tier Oat?  Much richer than the Frog, thick, rich, and licorice-y.

Alesmith Speedway Stout?  Buy two - one to drink and one to age.  A beast of a stout, hot as h-e-doublehockeystix, bitter hoppy and lots of coffee.

Stone Imperial Russian Stout?  (THAT'S RIGHT - WE STILL HAVE SOME!!!)  Just...the best.  Everything you want in a big stout.

North Coast Old Rasputin?  Sadly this has been unavailable from their distributor for weeks but when it's in, it's a must-get.  To me, the best year 'round imperial stout available.

Founders Imperial Stout?  2012 is coming out.  Meh.  We've got 2011 - aged a year to mellow out the alcohol and smooth out the rough edges.

Beer Here Kremlin Crude?  From Denmark, some serious smoke paired with roast and sweet flavors.

De Struise Black Albert?  13% ABV, 100 IBUs?!?!  Yeah...very rare, and now available at the Beverage Warehouse.

There's a few to mull about.  What are your favorite stouts????  Let us know on our Facebook page!


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

one beer wednesdays!!!

Hey everybody,

Hope everyone is enjoying the lovely fall weather!

Trying out a new series - One Beer Wednesdays!

...why One Beer Wednesdays?

Well, I closed the store on Wednesday nights so by the time I get home, only have time beer!

And it's a fun way to spotlight something new with (hopefully) regularity!

Today's one beer is...
Fun note - the ABV on this label is for the cask version.  The bottle is 5%.


WHO? - Adnams Southwald, imported by the venerable Shelton Bros, is a brewery/distillery/hotel group based in Southwald on the eastern coast of England, about 2.5 hours northeast of London that brews a wide variety of beers with an international influence but squarely based in UK brewing tradition.  Fun factoid - Adnams has won multiple awards from their sustainable business practices! 

WHAT? - Explorer has been described as a blonde and a golden ale.  Personally, I think blondes have a bit more oomph and I'd place Explorer in this category.  Explorer is the result of the travels of the head brewer Fergus Fitzgerald in the United States and the US influence here are the two primary hops, Chinook and Columbus, but the beer still uses Pale and Cara malt for balance. 

YUM? - Yes!  As some of you may know, I'm quite the fan of the English beer and in Explorer, I may have found the perfect balance of English malt and American hop.  The nose is both sweet bready malt and spicy pungent hop flavor with a touch of bitter green herb and pith.  The taste mimics the nose, only more hop forward.  Bitter hop flavor and pith are balanced by a subtle malt sweetness. 

OVERALL - I couldn't be more pleased with this beer.  It retains its English identity while at the same time incorporating new world brewing techniques. 

So, make sure to stop by the Beverage Warehouse to pick up some Adnams Explorer and while you're at it, try their Bitter and Broadside!


Saturday, September 29, 2012

the pumpkin post

what's up?  i'm a pumpkin.  i'm delicious.
Hidey hoooooooooo!!!!

It's been a while...


months... wife and I moved to a new house!

say hi to Milo!
...and we adopted a wonderful puppy!

And things at the warehouse are busy busy busy!  We've had some great tastings these past couple of months - most recently Lagunitas and Stone Brewing.  Coming soon - Sixpoint, rolling out their forthcoming Autumnation, a wet-hopped pumpkin/harvest beer in their fantastic 16oz cans, and Sierra Nevada!

Needless to say, I'm happy to finally sit down and have a chance to pick up where we left off:)

I don't know about you, but my favorite season is fall.  I love a crisp fall morning where the air is damp and the lawn is covered in orange leaves.  And I love...pumpkin beers!

Pumpkin beer - those who hate them, well, I never begrudge anyone's preference...but...what is fall without a pumpkin beer?  What's a better way to finish a fall evening than a hearty pumpkin ale?  So, to those who hate pumpkin beers, SORRY, and hopefully my future wet-hopped beer post will appeal!

First, the elephant in the room.  As many of you noticed, our shelves began filling up with pumpkin beers in the late summer going back to early August and, if memory serves me correctly, late July.  The FAQ - why?  Why are breweries releasing pumpkin beers when we haven't even finished with summer releases? 

why you wanna hate on me yo?
It's not a simple answer.  Just like brewing is not as simple as, "Hey, wanna make a pumpkin beer?"  Much has to do with you, the customer.  In a perfect world, a brewery would release a seasonal beer at the beginning of a season.  And customers would buy that beer down to the last bottle.  In reality, there is a very short selling window for pumpkin beers, and with so many breweries making pumpkin beers, the best way to ensure that their year's supply is sold through is to release it early.  Think about it - better to release it early and sell out before the end of the season than release it at the beginning of the season and have some leftover come time for winter releases, right?  Another question is - where do the breweries get their pumpkin if they're releasing in August?  Some of you may have seen a recent Twitter post by Sixpoint calling out early release pumpkin beers and questioning the sourcing of the pumpkin.  While I admire Sixpoint's dedication to freshness, breweries use everything from flash frozen pumpkins to squash (grown year round) to canned pumpkin, all of which IMHO are more than acceptable.  I greatly admire any brewery that can release a beer using that year's pumpkin harvest as it would be quite an undertaking.

So, in short, pumpkin beer will continue to be released early every year as more breweries vie for space in the consumer's fridge.  If you love a pumpkin beer and want to have it through the pumpkin season, order a case, lest it be gone the next time you stop into the warehouse:)

Here's a round up of some of the great pumpkin beers we have in the store -

Shipyard Pumpkinhead - without a doubt, the most popular of all the pumpkin beers, and newly canned!  Brewed since 2002, Pumpkinhead uses wheat malt and spices to make a very easy drinking beer.

Harpoon UFO Pumpkin - the most recent addition to the Harpoon's unfiltered series, this is a little sweet, a little earthy, and very smooth.

Wolaver's Pumpkin - another easy drinking pumpkin beer, mildly spiced with a beautiful hazy orange color from our friends at Otter Creek.  I believe they use local VT pumpkins but don't quote me on that.

Rock Art Pumpkin Imperial Spruce Stout - a pumpkin beer where the meat of the pumpkin is used for texture.  This is a bold and chewy stout where the predominant flavor is the piney herbal taste of local spruce.  A delicious example of a pumpkin beer that doesn't aim for pumpkin pie spice.

Dogfish Punkin - continues to be my go-to pumpkin beer.  Thick and rich with a gorgeous mixture of brown sugar and molasses and spice.  I've had many pumpkin beers but I'll always come back to Punkin.

Southern Tier Pumking - no pumpkin conversation is complete without Pumking.  A boozy punch of vanilla, caramel, and a subtle hop note at the end.  The benchmark of outrageous pumpkin beers.

Long Trail Pumpkin/Imperial Pumpkin - I'll confess to not yet trying LT's Pumpkin but I've thoroughly enjoyed their Imperial Pumpkin, the latest in the always excellent Brewmaster's Series.  Like Rock Art, this is more textural but with a bit more pumpkin spice, and deceptively drinkable despite an 8% abv.

Smuttynose Pumpkin - what separates Smutty's pumpkin is a more aggressive hopping which makes this excellent release punchier than the rest.

Sam Adams Fat Jack - released for the first time last year and now folded into the "Small Batch" 22oz series, Fat Jack is part Punkin, part Pumking.  Boozy and rich.

Jolly Pumpkin La Parcela (currently sold out but more coming soon) - kind of necessary to have a pumpkin beer when your brewery is called Jolly Pumpkin!  Subtle pumpkin, cacao, and spices mix with a slight tinge of sourness from JPAA's wild yeast and secondary oak fermentation.

These are only a few of the pumpkin beers that we currently carry.   Hopefully I'm not missing too many others.  Wachusett Imperial Pumpkin, Southhampton Pumpkin, Woodchuck Pumpkin Cider, Blue Point...probably a few I'm blanking on!

So there you have it.  Go out and try a pumpkin beer while you can and hopefully you'll find one you love!