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‘Twas the Weeks Before Christmas…

‘Twas the weeks before Christmas, when all through France 44

All creatures were stirring, in and out the door

The bottles were stacked around the store with care

In hopes our wonderful customers would soon be there…

In case you haven’t turned on a radio or walked into a storefront since Thanksgiving (or even Halloween), the holidays are upon us! With only a few more weeks until Christmas 2019, we know you’re busy decorating houses, attending office holiday parties, videotaping holiday pageants, and of course, finding the perfect gifts for your loved ones. While we won’t be able to suggest whether you should buy the Frozen 2 Elsa Ice Castle or LEGO Star Wars Episode IX X-Wing Fighter, we can help you find the perfect bottles for Uncle Rico’s whiskey collection or Aunt Debbie’s wine cellar. But before whiskey and wine, let’s start with our favorite barley pops of the season.

With Mama and her IPA, and I with my ale

Had just settled in for a Christmas tale

When from the driveway came a shout

Papa was home! with a new barrel-aged stout

Great Lakes Christmas Ale | $11.99/6pk | The more things in beer change, the more Great Lakes stays the same–and we mean that in a good way. Great Lakes’ Christmas Ale is back, and it’s been decades since they’ve disappointed. Not to be mistaken for a hot toddy, this ginger, cinnamon, and honey golden strong ale will be pleasing all season long. Leave one out for Santa–he’s got a long night.

Bent Paddle Double Shot Double Black Barrel Aged Black Ale | $23.99/750ml | Up nort’ in Dulut’, Bent Paddle has released an absolutely wonderful stout year in and year out. Double Shot Double Black is a delectable black ale, actually the top rated black ale on Beer Advocate. Double the vanilla and double the coffee and subtle notes of bourbon and oak, this beer will keep you nice and warm through many a snowstorm.

Pryes Citra Snowcaps | $15.99/4pk | A rising star in the North Loop, Pryes is starts new series “The Cartographer Collection”, starting off with a winter. Themed Citra Snowcaps. This double dry hopped double IPA is as big as it sounds with enormous papaya and pineapple flavor, but laid beneath with a soft bill, it may be closely be compared to falling into a pile of fresh snow and making a nice little snow angel as you sip 16 ounces of unfiltered goodness.

More bubbly than Prosecco were the wine staff today, 

As they shouted the wines as they came in the way:

“Now, Cava! now Pinot–Noir and Grigio!

On, Syrah! on, Sherry! Cab Sauv and Sauv Blanc!”

Ken Wright Cellars Freedom Hill Pinot Noir | $49.99 | We wanted to find some more exciting wines–a few things off the beaten path (AKA not California Cabernets, sorry!). This bottle of floral, spicy Pinot Noir blends together fresh mossy, wet earth with dark raspberries and sweet cherry. The minerality and brighter acidity of this Oregon favorite comes through with a juicy, filling mouthfeel. Pairs well with warming up after building a snowman.

Smockshop Band Red Blend | $34.99 | Be bold this Christmas and give one of the finest natural wines on the market. Smockshop Band Columbia Valley Red Wine is not your average red, and not your average natural wine. Higher acidity but not overly funky, the bright fruit on the wine tastes like fresh raspberry and cranberry with fresh earth still covering the fruit. Farmed using no pesticides or chemicals, handpicked fruit, and fermented using ambient yeast, this wine is a gift to your friends and the earth.

Delot ‘Legende’ Brut Champagne | $44.99 | This is no ordinary Champagne, as this wine was made back in 2009. Think about whatever you were doing in 2009, and this is when these grapes were first harvested. The Champagne spent 72 months on the lees, meaning the yeast has been interacting with the flavors and aromas of this wine for 6 years. Apple, limestone, and a hint of almond, this creamy and fruity delight effervesces through the senses for an airy and elegant finale.

La Miraja La Ribota Vino Aromatizzato Alla China | $34.99 | Perhaps one of the most intriguing products in the store, La Ribota comes from the region of Piedmont in Italy. Each year, only 600 bottles of this Italian red are fortified and aromatized into this lovely vermouth-like treat. While a little more than vermouth, this is the perfect way to bring a Manhattan or a Negroni to the next level, or you can simply drink this over ice.

The last of the Belle Meade held tight to his chest

Uncle Rico tried a negroni, one better than the rest

He went to the store for bitter orange and Amaro

For it was Christmas Eve, and the store would be closed ‘morrow

Whistle Pig Rye Whiskey “Butter” and “Cherry” | $87.99 | Whistle Pig allowed us to choose not one but two single barrels. It can be hard to decide between the two. Cherry offers some nice dark, rounded fruit and a smooth experience, while Butter has a nice bright spice portrayed from start to finish. But why settle for one flavor or the other? Purchase both and fill a glass with a half pour each for a truly joyous occasion. A beautiful sight on your drink shelf, to help make you feel happy tonight, both of these Whistle Pig Ryes will leave you walkin’ in a whiskey wonderland.

1792 Single Barrel ($37.99) and Bottled in Bond Single Barrel ($44.99) | We’ve decked our halls and aisles with many a single barrel bourbon, but we wanted to specifically give notice to our 1792 bourbons. The first single barrel features an oily-esque mouthfeel, and notes of cola paired with orange and dark fruits. The bottled in bond’s higher proof brings out classic oak flavors of vanilla bean and caramel, but also plantain and banana esters. This is easily one of the most unique bourbons in the Minneapolis market.

St. Agrestis Amaro ($39.99), Bitter Orange ($34.99), Negroni ($6.99/200ml) | We highlighted St. Agrestis Amaro last month, but we wanted to introduce you to their siblings: the Inferno Bitter and Negroni. The Inferno Bitter is a digestif–an after-dinner bitter which pairs well with club soda post-Christmas cookie gorging, or orange juice for Christmas brunch (we won’t tell). The Negroni (and Amaro) now come in 200 ML bottles, which are perfect stocking stuffers for your children and grandchildren over the age of 21. Just make sure to pick out a few for yourself.

And just a quick reminder, we will be open our regular hours from now until December 23rd. On Tuesday, December 24th, we will be open from 9 AM to 5 PM, so everyone can enjoy Christmas Eve with friends and family. But we will be here every day ready to help you find the perfect gift for all your loved ones.

All of Linden Hills came for days until Christmas Eve

Until the clock struck five, we had to ask them to leave

But we all exclaimed as our customers drove out of sight:

“Happy Christmas from France 44, and to all a good-night!”