Thanksgiving Beverage Guide!

Planning for holiday gatherings can be stressful and complicated, so we wanted to take some of the stress out of your beverage shopping with our Thanksgiving Beverage Guide. Whether you’re planning for two or 20, we’re here help you choose the perfect lineup. Below you will find our quick list of sure-fire winning drinks for your Thanksgiving meal. And, as always, the F44 staff is here to help you select your wine, beer, and spirits for any occasion! Stop by this week and let us help you find the perfect bottles. 

Wine

Loveblock Sauvignon Blanc 2021 - $21.99

Loveblock is made by Kim Crawford, the inventor and namesake of one of New Zealand’s best-selling wines. After selling the company that bears his name, he and his wife started Loveblock. This wine’s bright acidity and flavors of lemon, grapefruit, pineapple, and white floral notes make it the ultimate refresher for the dishes at Thanksgiving. It also pairs particularly well with any vegetable dish (green beans? no problem!) or salad you may be having. 

Frank Family Chardonnay 2020 - $39.99

Chardonnay is one of the “Big Three” when it comes to Thanksgiving wine (alongside Pinot Noir and Gamay). Chardonnay is versatile, crowd pleasing, and often rich enough to stand up to Thanksgiving classics. The Frank Family Chardonnay comes from vineyards in Carneros at the southern end of Napa Valley. It is barrel fermented in partial new French oak, giving it a lovely hint of toasted oak and vanilla. The wine showcases aromas of brioche, baking spices, and candied lemon. On the palate, it is full-bodied and creamy yet balanced by its lively acidity with nuanced flavors of yellow apple, lemon curd, baked pear, and melon.

Planet Oregon Pinot Noir 2021 - $27.99

Planet Oregon Pinot is made by one of our all time favorite producers out of Oregon: Soter vineyards. From the highly regarded Willamette Valley, this pinot noir offers classic aromas of cherry, cranberry, and a hint of cinnamon. Light and lithe on the palate, fresh red fruits dominate a clean and mineral finish. Pinot is an iconic pairing to just about everything at your turkey dinner – especially the turkey! 

Splurge Wines!

Marc Hebrart Cuvee de Reserve Brut - $69.99

The Icon. Champagne is still the considered and recognized as some of the best sparkling wine in the world. The name and the wine itself is tied to celebration and gathering together. Marc Hebrart has long been a favorite producer amongst our staff, and is sure to pair delightfully with just about anything on your Thanksgiving table. 

Remelluri Rioja Reserva - $47.99

Thanksgiving reds don’t always have to be a light & chillable. I have found that the wines of Rioja play particularly well with the traditional Thanksgiving dishes as a richer and more robust red wine option. Remelluri is one of the all time greats when it comes to wines from Rioja. The Reserva is somehow both powerful and elegant — youthful, yet still complex. It has notes of dark cherry, plum, tobacco, and dried herbs, with a long and dry finish. Not having Turkey? It’s a great wine for ham or lamb as well. 

Beer

Modist 'Foeder 44' DDH Pilsner - $11.99

We teamed up with Modist again to make another great, exclusive beer. Is it a Hazy IPA?? Nope. It’s a Pilsner! But not just any Pilsner. This one is hopped with Nelson Sauvin & Wakatu, then aged in their oak foeders and then double dry-hopped with more Nelson Sauvin, Strata and Citra Cryo hops. Wow…..that’s a lot of hops.  

Trust me when I tell you that this is pretty, pretty, pretty good! 

Spirits

Dashfire "Ready-to-Drink" Old Fashioned - $31.99 (750ml Bottle) ---- $5.99 (100ml Can)

You may want a cocktail after Thanksgiving dinner, but in the midst of a food coma, who has the energy to make one from scratch?
Dashfire’s ready-to-drink bourbon old fashioned should be what everyone is thankful for this year. Using a blend of four bitters, natural sugar cane juice, plus a hint of cherry and vanilla, this is a high quality after dinner drink that you only need to pour over ice and enjoy. 

The Red Wines of Austria

by Adam

The last few days aside, fall weather is here and winter is coming. The days are getting shorter, the nights are getting longer and colder. “Hunker down” season is upon us in the upper midwest. If you’re a seasonal drinker like myself, you start to move away from the crisp acidic white wines of summer, and find yourself roaming the aisles of France 44 looking for a good bottle of red wine. Austria may not be a country you think of when you are searching for that bottle of wine, but it probably should be. 

This week we are featuring three red wines from Austria made from the lesser known grapes: Blaufrankish, Zwiegelt, and St Laurent. Though the three wines are made from different grapes and each offers its own unique nuances, in a broad sense these wines are just right for this time of year. They have the right amount of fruit balanced by the perfect amount of earthy tones. They have the right amount of acid while also having soft rounded tannin. In terms of a seasonal beverage, you could say these wines are very much like the third bowl of porridge in the story of Goldilocks, everything about them is just right.

Heinrich Blaufrankish 2019 - $25.99

Although it goes by Lemberger in Germany (and the US) and Kékfrankos in Hungary, Blaufränkisch’s true home is in Austria. The warm climate of Burgenland ensures a deep, full-fruited expression of the grape and a rich purple color to match. Blackberries, herbs, and spices round out the complexity of this wine, made so thoughtfully by Weingut Heinrich. This biodynamic producer has been on the forefront of developing off-the-beaten-path regions as well as adding fame to their Burgenland home.

Esterhazy Zweigelt Classic 2017 - $22.99

The laboratory lovechild of St. Laurent and Blaufränkisch, Zweigelt was brought into the world in 1922 at the famous Klosterneuburg Institute. The structure of St. Laurent and the deep-fruited notes of Blaufränkisch are apparent in this wine, which is now Austria’s #1 planted red grape. The history of the House of Esterházy goes back to the 13th century, and wine growing has been in their genes for over 250 years. Today, the winery boasts state-of-the-art equipment and a commitment to producing authentic, classically-styled wines.

Zantho St Laurent 2019 - $15.99

Zantho is a cooperative effort between Josef Umathum and Wolfgang Peck, two superstar winemakers in Burgenland known for their pure, honest expressions of red wines. Zantho’s objective is to work closely with small farmers to produce high-quality grapes that speak truly of varietal detail and place. Their St. Laurent is gorgeously silky with bright red berry fruit, a hint of gentle earthiness, appealingly fresh acidity, and no hard edges.

Our Maker’s Mark Private Select Barrel has arrived!

by Tom

The wait is finally over: we have received our Maker’s Mark Private Select Barrel! Maker’s Mark has one of the most interesting single barrel programs ever where you can customize a ring of staves that are dipped into the barrel for a finishing time period of nine weeks. A few years ago we landed on the perfect blend of staves for our palates. With the addition of ten staves with five different staves to choose from, there are a daunting 1,001 different possible combinations.

The Staves to Choose From

The five staves made specifically by the Independent Stave Company to choose from are the following:

  • Baked American Pure 2- the only American Oak in the bunch, giving it brown sugar, vanilla and spice.
  • Seared French Cuvee- This stave is ridge-cut and seared with infrared heat, this stave gives off toasty caramel.
  • Maker’s 46- the classic. This stave gives off dried fruit and caramelized spice.
  • Roasted French Mocha- toasted on high heat in a convection oven, giving off big maple, chocolate, and toasty char.
  • Toasted French Spice- toasted on both high heat and low heat giving off smoke and cinnamon spice.

 

The F44 Private Select Single Barrel

As you can tell, we had a long and arduous task ahead of us. Blending up different combinations of staves to see what we liked best, I mean twist our arms, right? We quickly realized Maker’s Cask Strength is nowhere as sweet as classic Maker’s Mark, so we went for a more creamy and fruity profile while also falling head over heels for the Roasted French Mocha staves. We ended up with the following:

  • 3 Baked American Pure 2 staves for Vanilla
  • 4 Roasted French Mocha for chocolate and maple
  • 1 Maker’s 46 for cherry
  • 1 Toasted French Spice
  • 1 Seared French Cuvee

Here’s the exciting wrinkle, unless you have used our beloved French Mocha Staves in a past recipe, you cannot use it use it. It was been retired and archived so you can only use it in past recipes, so this is the only place to grab this special bottle we have cooked up for you!

Bottled at 109.1 proof,  it smells like chocolate covered cherries and tastes like creamy caramel and vanilla, but why don’t you stop in and grab a bottle and see what you think?

Spooooooky Cocktails!

 

We’ve got some spoooooky cocktails for all your Halloween shenanigans!  Some might push you to try something a little more complicated, but don’t be scared!  They will be worth the work.  And some will be perfect to share with friends at your next séance or ghoul gathering.  Let those skeletons out of your closet, it’s time to party!

Violet Delights 

  • ½ oz Liber & Co grenadine
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 2 oz Empress gin (must use for the color)
  • Fever Tree Club soda

Fill a highball glass with ice, add grenadine, lemon juice, gin, top with soda water and a cocktail cherry.


 

Kitchen Witch Smash 

Mezcal is the star this week for a spooky smoky cocktail.  This one is a little extra work but will be worth it!  For an extra witchy vibe, repeat a mantra or set some good intentions while you muddle your ingredients.  Or hex someone, we won’t tell.

  • 8 fresh blackberries, plus more for topping
  • 1-2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, plus a sprig for serving
  • Juice from half of a lemon
  • ½ oz Código Agave Nectar
  • 2 oz Lu Luna Cupreata Mezcal
  • a couple dashes of Regan’s Orange Bitters
  • Fever Tree Club Soda

In a mixing glass, add blackberries, rosemary, lemon juice and agave nectar. Muddle the ingredients together, squishing everything to release the juices.  Add ice, along with the mezcal and orange bitters.  Stir for 20 seconds and strain over ice into a mason jar. Top with club soda and garnish with fresh rosemary and blackberries.

 


 

Phantom Vehicle

By now you probably have some apple cider sitting in the fridge ready for a new spin.  Here’s a fun fall take on the classic sidecar.  If you’re feeling adventurous, try this warm during your next chilly evening by the fire.   Or if you’re feeling lazy, simply warm up the apple cider, add cognac, and top with whipped cream for an easy treat.

  • 2 oz. fresh apple cider
  • 2 oz. Pierre Ferrand 1840 Cognac
  • 1 oz. Cointreau
  • 1 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • Lemon peel and Griottines brandied cherries, for garnish

Add all liquid ingredients to a cocktail shaker, top with ice, and shake until the shaker starts to frost and feels very cold to the touch (20 to 30 seconds).  Strain into a coupe glass and top with zest and brandied cherries.

 

 

 


 

Cachaça Zombie 

Trick or treat!  What’s this new creature at your door?  It’s cachaca, a Brazilian liquor made from distilled sugarcane juice.  This cousin of rum is a little funky and earthy and makes for a great cocktail.  But don’t worry, after a few of these you’ll be the fun kind of zombie not the brain eating kind.

  • 2 oz Novo Fogo Silver Cachaça
  • 1/4 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao
  • 1.5 – 2 oz On the Fly Tropical Cocktail Mixer
  • 1 dash Angostura or Bittercube Trinity
  • Absinthe rinse (optional but recommended)
  • lime wedge and mint sprig, for garnish

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Rinse an oversized whiskey tumbler with absinthe, add crushed ice, and pour in your strained cocktail.  Garnish with a lime wedge and mint sprig.

 


 

Spooky Sangria 

You probably still have some apple cider; we all make the same mistakes every fall, nobody is perfect.  So here’s a great recipe to share with your ghoul and goblin friends at your haunted gatherings.  Use up that cider and that dusty bottle of pinot grigio you never got to in the summer, and bring the shenanigans to the party!

  • 1 bottle pinot grigio
  • 2.5 cups apple cider
  • 1.5 cup Schweppes Club Soda
  • .75 cup Velvet Falernum liqueur
  • 3 honey crisp apples chopped
  • 3 pears chopped

Combine all ingredients in a punch bowl, stir, and chill for one hour before serving.

What the heck is a Bagnum?!

by Melissa

As you have passed through our cooler, you may have noticed two bag like things in the cider section. They may have piqued your curiosity, but they were just too unknown to spend the money on. I am here to demystify them for you! Introducing – the bagnum!

Let’s start with the word “bagnum” first. It is a bag that holds a magnum, 1.5L, of liquid so it was given the moniker bagnum. (Insert eyerolls and giggles as you see fit.) This clever design is very portable, recyclable, has less of an environmental impact than bottles or cans, and can be refilled with water if someone wants to reuse it. That makes it great for taking hiking, camping, boating, sitting by a bonfire, or any other outdoor activity in addition to all things indoor.

Now that you are curious, you are wondering, what’s the catch? Why are there only two? First of all, bagnums can only hold still (not sparkling) cider. This is not something every cider maker makes. It’s a slightly different process that has different labeling laws because it usually comes in at higher alcohol rates. That means a lot of extra government paperwork. Add a non-traditional format and you are adding more paperwork. Only four cider makers feel this is worth the effort, two of them are here in MN! One bag is equivalent to two 750ml bottles. They are higher in alcohol than a lot of the ciders we have, but still lower than most wine. You could get one of each and compare the two for your own tasting!

Milk and Honey was the first to bring the bagnum to MN. This year, they have given us a single varietal Golden Russet. These acidic apples are full of tropical fruit flavor. Each sip provides a slightly different experience. This cider comes in at 9.5% alcohol and 0 grams of sugar.

When Keepsake saw what Milk and Honey was doing, they worked with them to get bags and started making their Adventure series that the sales of benefit Clean River Partners. This year, they put together a blend of Golden Russet, Grimes Golden, Keepsake, Dabinett, Arkansas Black, Chestnut, Goldrush, and a few others to create a dry cider that has a good balance of tannins and tropical fruitiness. They used their wild yeast, unfiltered, unpasteurized, no added sugar method and ended up with a cider that came in at 8% alcohol.

You’ve Just Got to Visit: The Finger Lakes of New York

by Amy

In case you missed it, we hosted the most bewitching class at TMORA last week.  Focused on the immigrant story or Dr. Konstantin Frank, we went into a deep exploration of the Finger Lakes wine regions of New York.  An area of small, family-operated producers with a rich history of quality winemaking, dating back to the middle of the 19th century.  A place for nature, generous hospitality and fine wine.  An esteemed American wine region and yet, it’s rare that I encounter anyone who has made the trek.  I was in the same boat until my visit in May made me a proud ambassador for this enchanting wine region.   

I admit that before my visit, I knew very little about these lakes.  Located south of Lake Ontario, these 11 ‘finger’ lakes are the direct result of glacial activity some 2 million years ago.  This activity, carved out long, narrow, deep lakes that stretch north to south like fingers reaching up to Lake Ontario.  The extreme depth of these lakes (Seneca is 630 feet deep!) creates a moderating climatic influence on the vineyards of the region.  This special lake effect helps make viticulture possible.  

Grape growing here is diverse with a mix of American, Hybrid and European varieties planted throughout.  Concord (as in Welch’s grape juice) is the most widely planted grape but last week’s class centered on Dr. Konstantin Frank’s efforts to successfully grow European (Vinifera) grapes in the region.  He’d had great success with these grapes in Ukraine and had the foresight to push for them in the Finger Lakes too.  Now well-established with European varieties like Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Gewürztraminer and Chardonnay: Riesling has become the region’s calling card and it’s no secret that I LOVE Riesling.  

While there, I also fell in love with the natural beauty of the region, good food and warmhearted hospitality.  Vineyards and tasting rooms, usually run by the owner or family themselves, are intermixed throughout the countryside with waterfalls, forests and hiking trails. My highlights were Taughannock Falls state park on Cayuga Lake (see picture), Lakewood Vineyards & Tasting Room and Graft Wine & Cider Bar both on Seneca Lake.

Doing good while making excellent wine is nothing new for Red Tail Ridge, a small Finger Lakes operation started by Nancy Irelan and Mike Schnelle. Working from their LEED-certified winery, the couple crafts cool-climate Chardonnays, Rieslings, Pinot Noirs, and more from their exceptional New York state terroir.  Located on the western side of Seneca Lake, their tasting room is warm and inviting with a gorgeous view of the lake.  This Blanc de Noir is precise and tart with a soft bubble and flavors of orange peel and ripe cherry.

Dr. Frank established his vineyards on Keuka Lake in 1957, establishing his ‘Vinifera Revolution’ and elevating the New York wine industry from a state of happy mediocrity to a level that today commands world attention.  Rkatsiteli, a native variety of Georgia that he’d worked with in Ukraine, does well on the southwestern side of Keuka Lake, exhibiting flavors of apricot, pineapple, ginger and spice.  The Dr. Frank estate offers a variety of elevated tasting experiences from the southwestern shore of Keuka Lake, just north of Hammondsport.

Forge Cellars dove head first into the terroir of its Finger Lakes vineyards with a rigor and intensity that elevates it from most East Coast wineries. Usually focused on single-vineyard expressions, ‘Classique’ blends several sites from the southeastern side of Seneca Lake near their picturesque tasting salon.

‘Classique’ is dry and distinct with notes of yellow apple, quince and jasmine.  

The France 44 Uniform: A Cocktail

by Tom

Guys, our events team has fallen in love with a cocktail. Over the past few weeks our desks upstairs have been buzzing and we felt the need to share it with you guys. Somewhere in between a Last Word, Margarita, and a Negroni, lives what we’re calling The France 44 Uniform. It can go by a different name, but you’ll have to come in and ask to find out. We have changed up the ingredients a few times to find the exact right mixture of libations that also align with business ethos. It’s easy to make and comes in four equal parts so there is no math involved in this endeavor. Definitely our end of summer cocktail, balancing summer and fall flavors, keeping things herbaceous and refreshing. Here we go: 

The France 44 Uniform

In a cocktail shaker combine:

  • 1oz Banhez Mezcal, a beautiful agave spirit made by 36 families in a co-op in Mexico with the right amount to citrus and smoke perfect for any cocktail. 
  • 1oz Vikre Herbal Liqueur, much akin to Yellow Chartreuse but cheaper, locally made in Duluth, and readily available. It is bright and herbaceous, filled with notes of Chamomile, Thyme, honey, douglas fir, and mint. It gives off incredibly complex fall vibes. 
  • 1oz Negroni Aperitivo Sixteen, our new favorite Aperol replacement. Just a pinch more rich and bitter than Aperol and locally distributed. It also has some rhubarb which we love. It’s our new go-to for spritzes and lighter style negronis.  
  • 1oz freshly squeezed lime juice, which at this time of the season, is one whole lime. 

Since this drink has fresh citrus, shaking it over ice and straining it is the best way to wake up all the flavors. While this is easily batchable for a party, it should be made the same day of the party since it has all that fresh lime juice. Or batch it early and add the lime juice later. This drink will transition you from Summer to Fall effortlessly, let us know what you think! 

Brewery Spotlight: Steel Toe Brewing

By Bennett

Tucked underarm by the Highway 100 and Highway 7 interchange in St. Louis Park sits a small, industrious brewery that has been fundamental to our success as a craft beer store. Steel Toe Brewing opened its doors eleven years ago after a decade of planning from owner Jason Schoneman and his wife Hannah. We were fortunate to be one of their first two retail accounts. Over the last decade, Steel Toe has built a reputation for near-unrivaled quality and consistency.

Jason’s dreams for owning a brewery began like many, as an avid homebrewer whose carboys of fermenting beer began to take up too much space. Landing a cellarman job in Montana led to assistant brewing, more brewing education, and eventually another cellarman role at Pelican Pub and Brewery in Oregon, where he “got his wings” and worked his way up to head brewer (see what I did there). After gaining this experience, the couple decided to head back to the Midwest to start their dream brewery. Steel toe boots, Jason’s preferred footwear for work, became the name, illustrative of the hard work ethic required for brewing great beer.

With “big dreams of staying small”, Steel Toe has only gradually increased their distribution over the years. They have kept their stable of beers small, focusing mostly on hop-driven pale ales with a discernible Pacific Northwest influence. You won’t see them brewing the latest smoothie-style sour, milkshake IPA or pastry stout. Heck, it wasn’t until last month that they “finally” released a hazy IPA. A few modern craft beer enthusiasts might be irritated by the purposeful absence of these experimental styles on their tap list. Steel Toe doesn’t bother with fads. Contrarily, they have preserved a reverence for beer styles that are oft-ignored in today’s craft market, such as Hefeweizen, Scotch Ale, Black IPA, and Imperial Red Ale. This conviction for well-made traditional craft styles is the thing I most admire about Steel Toe.

The impetus for this long-overdue brewery spotlight is the very recent release of two of my favorite Steel Toe beers: Rainmaker Double Red Ale and Douglas Cascadian Dark Ale. Otherwise known as a Red IPA and Black IPA, both beers exhibit the fine balance between caramel and dark malts and aggressive hop character. Perfect beers for the hoppy beer lover to enjoy on crisp fall Sunday afternoons watching football and raking leaves. So stop in to grab some for yourself, or swing up to their taproom less than two miles northwest of us!

Douglas Cascadian Dark Ale – $13.99/6pk Can

Rainmaker Double Red Ale – $13.99/6pk Can

Provider Ale – $8.99/6pk Can

Size 4 Session IPA – $10.99/6pk Can

Size 7 IPA – $11.99/6pk Can

Sticker Fight Double IPA – $13.99/6pk Can

Split Point Pilsner – $10.99/6pk Can

Sommer Vice Bavarian-Style Hefeweizen – $9.99/6pk Can

France 44 Single Barrel Bourbon Picks!

by Tom

We’re Kicking off Bourbon Heritage Month Early! The two single barrel bourbons that we picked out from our recent trip out to Kentucky are here! We couldn’t be more excited to share these both with you. Check them out below. 

Tom’s Pick: Rebel Wheated 120 Proof Single Barrel Bourbon 

We just received one of the first barrels of Rebel Single Barrel Bourbons to hit the state of Minnesota! This Single Barrel of Rebel we picked out is wheated, meaning they took out the classic spicy rye grain and replaced it with wheat as the secondary sweeter, softer grain. I’m always on the hunt for good wheated bourbon, and it’s not always easy to find. There are always two staples: Maker’s Mark and Larceny, then there are the mysterious unicorns in Weller and Van Winkle which are impossible to find. This barrel reminds me a lot of Larceny Barrel Proof, another rare bourbon we seldom get. Bottled at 120 proof, this bourbon is both bulky and silky. Bold vanilla and caramel on the nose with an extremely textured oily mouthfeel that coats the palate. The finish has a warm apple with just a hint of cinnamon baked in. With water added, the caramel tones brighten up and the oak spice finally comes through on the finish. Adding an ice cube unlocked a shocking level of complexity tying together the vanilla, oak spice, and fall apples.                                                         

When a trip down to Kentucky presents itself, you always pull the trigger. We stayed in Bardstown, a quiet town situated 41 miles south of Louisville. It’s one of the biggest hubs for bourbon in Kentucky. It’s perfect for making bourbon due to its high elevation that leads to optimal temperature fluctuation for aging and its many limestone springs used as their pure water source. If you ever hit the bourbon trail, please feel free to come in and talk to Tom to get tips and ask questions! Large bourbon hubs such as Bardstown and Frankfort are smaller towns even though Frankfort is the ironically the capital of Kentucky. We love going down to bring our customers back awesome whiskey we otherwise could not get our hands on as well as figure out the tips and tricks of the bourbon trail!                                           

This bourbon absolutely shines in a mint julep. Its caramel and vanilla come through with the crushed ice taming the high proof. 

Rebel Mint Julep:

  • 1/4oz simple syrup 
  • 2oz Rebel Single Barrel Bourbon 
  • 1 small bushel of 6-8 small mint leaves 
  • Pebbled/crushed ice 
  • Copper/metal cup (optional but does help with keeping everything ice cold.) 
  • Garnish: more fresh mint 

Instructions: combine the simple syrup and mint at the bottom of the glass and GENTLY muddle. You aren’t smashing the mint into salad, you are waking up the essential oils of the mint. Add bourbon and pack the glass with fresh ice and stir till the glass is chilled. The garnish is important, you want to slap the mint a little to get that mint going becoming more fragrant. Plus its fun. Place the mint across from your nose so it’s the first thing you smell when you go to take a sip. Enjoy! 

Tashi's Pick: Ezra Brooks 120 Proof Single Barrel Bourbon

Tashi here to talk about our Single Barrel of Ezra Brooks! I wrote all about our trip to Kentucky back in April, which you can read here. I tried to keep our Luxrow barrels a secret and I’m sure ya’ll figured out that’s where we went based on the photos, but here we are: the big reveal! This was my first trip with France 44 and my first time on the bourbon trail.  I was pretty nervous at our tasting, even though I came prepared having just finished my WSET Level 2 Spirits Certification. It was a huge privilege to accompany Tom, and for him to agree with my Ezra Brooks pick. So this is my baby, truly Tashi’s pick.

I enjoy this single barrel the most after I’ve let it breathe for a while. This one is gonna hit ya with some rye spice immediately either way, but have some patience and you won’t regret it. On the nose I get vanilla and toffee, on the palate caramel and spice with a warm lingering finish. Once it’s opened up I akin it to fresh baked coffee cake. I think this single barrel is gonna surprise you! I hope you venture for a bottle and please let me know what you think of my pick, I would love to hear your thoughts.

The Lagers are Coming!

By Bill

Ok It’s Lager time!  
Right around this time of year, our beer coolers get overrun by Lagers. Don’t fear…your Hazy IPAs aren’t going anywhere. They just have to share some of their space (oh…and it is their space) for a bit.  
 
I fully understand it’s the middle of August, but the beer industry doesn’t care it’s still 80 degrees outside. The Fall beers are rapidly showing up with lots more to come in the next few weeks. Are you ready? OK then, let’s go!
 
Spearheading the Lager charge are the Märzen Octoberfest brews. Within the next few weeks, we’ll have almost 50 different Oktoberfest beers for you to choose from. That’s up from the one Oktoberfest beer we carry year-round. I’m not very good at math, but that’s like, 50 times more Oktoberfest!  
 
So, what can you expect from a classic Märzen Oktoberfest beer? A balanced, malt driven beer very similar to a Vienna Lager. Biscuit-like maltiness and flavor with just a hint of hop bitterness to keep the malt in check. It’s a classic style. It’s my favorite of all the seasonal beers styles that get released each year. There’s no better beer to enjoy outside while the leaves are changing color.
 
2nd up in this Lager attack are the Festbiers. The sibling to the Märzen Oktoberfest Lager.  Festbiers are typically golden versions of the Märzen style. Slightly lighter on the malt breadiness and a bit crispier. It’s what you’d most likely be drinking under the tents in Munich. I love both of these styles equally.   
 
Last on Lager takeover, we have the triumphant return of Junkyard’s Grandpa Bill’s Pils — Pilsner purists should skip this next paragraph.
 
This is Junkyards wonderful interpretation of an American Craft Pils. What separates this Pils from the pack is that Junkyard used only Citra Hops to brew is Lager. Citra is most commonly used to hop Pale ales and IPAs. Using his hop to brew a Pilsner puts a great twist on a very traditional style. Is it a textbook example of the style? No. Is it absolutely delicious? Yes. We sold out of this beer a few months ago and I’ve been begging for more. Here it is!
 
Look, I get it. You love IPAs. I love IPAs! We sell soooooo many IPAs! BUT, (here comes the Hot Take) when it comes down to it, there is no better beer than a well-made Lager. Think about it.  Stranded on a desert island? Lager. Mowing the lawn? Lager. All those fun college parties from 25 years ago? (I’m old)…but the answer is…Lager. I can go on and on. Tailgating? Wedding? Writing a beer blog for work the night before it’s due? Lager, Lager, Lager! Trust me, I’m a professional at this.   
 

NEW SEASONAL LAGERS IN STOCK NOW:

  • Alesmith Oktoberfest
  • Central Waters Octoberfest
  • Earth Rider Festbier
  • Excelsior Oktoberfest
  • Fair State Festbier (already sold 1/2 of our allocation)
  • Firestone Walker Oaktoberfest 6pk
  • Lupulin Oktoberfest
  • Half Acre Lagertown Oktoberfest
  • Lift Bridge Okotoberfest
  • Oliphant Festbier
  • Paulaner Oktoberfest Marzen
  • Sam Adams Octoberfest
  • Schell’s Oktoberfest
  • Spaten Oktoberfest
  • Summit Oktoberfest
  • Surly Oktoberfest
  • Utepils Receptional Festbier
  • Weltenburger Kloster Anno 1050 
LOTS and lots more are coming very soon—like next week or so (including one of the staff favorites, Ayinger Oktoberfest!!)
 
Oh…fair warning. Some of these beers listed above will sell out before you actually want to buy them. No pressure, but now is the time to plan ahead. Get shopping and throw them in your basement until the flannel shirts come out.