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Bring on the Funk. French Ciders, Now in Stock!
Written by Mike Reis   
Monday, 14 July 2014 19:31

The barrels at Domaine de Kervéguen

Bring on the funk. French ciders, now in stock!

The first French cider I ever had was at a little crêperie in Paris. Sounds great, right? Well...I didn't really..."get it." I was 20 years old and my exposure to fine cider had been limited to Martinelli's and a two-liter plastic bottle of Strongbow I once regrettably plowed through in a single night. So I didn't exactly know what to expect from the little ceramic bowl that sat in front of me, full of what appeared to be miso soup. It was bracingly sour and smelled a bit like a barnyard. I only pretended to like it.

Since then, I've grown to love French cider, with all it's yeast-driven complexity, apple skin tannin, and lively acid. It's one of the most beautiful beverages on this planet.

It'll be a while before I make it back to any charming Parisian cafés, but I'm happy to relive the liquid part of the experience whenever possible. Fire up those imaginations and join me, friends. We've just received a shipment of four incredible French ciders.

Now available:

The 16th century home that houses the cellars at Kervéguen

Domaine de Kervéguen Cidre à l’Ancienne Brut
Domaine de Kervéguen produces wonderful ciders. So wonderful, in fact, that they supply the French presidential cellars at the Palais de l'Élysée. Cidre à l’Ancienne Brut is dry and elegant, expressive of the oaken barrels in which its fermented and the tart and tannic apples from which it's pressed. Earthy stuff that's worthy of contemplation.
96 on RateBeer!

Domaine de Kervéguen Cuvée Carpe Diem Prestige
A stunning, lower-alcohol (3% ABV) dessert cider made from late harvest apples. Juicy and lush, with overripe stonefruit-like aromatics and a round, smooth mouthfeel. Moderately sweet but amazingly balanced, as gentle tannin and soft acidity creep in on the finish. Owner Eric Baron claims this is his favorite vintage of the past 20 years! Drink now, or cellar for up to 5 years.
Jacques Chirac's favorite!
98 on RateBeer!


Txopinondo Sagarnoa
A Basque cider for lovers of the funk. Tannic and exceptionally tart, with a whole lot of briny wild yeast earthiness.
99 on RateBeer!

Clos de la Fontaine Hugo Cidre de Thiérache Brut
A musty, dry cider unlike anything produced in the United States. Made with no added sugar!

No kiwis were harmed in the making of this post.
Written by Mike Reis   
Sunday, 06 July 2014 17:00
8 Wired:
1 pallet Hopwired bottles
1 pallet Fresh Hopwired kegs
1 pallet Abundance Baltic Cherry Porter bottles
1 pallet Age of Raisin quad bottles
1 pallet Armageddon bottles
3 pallets Hop Zombie
2 pallets mixed between 12/500ml bottles of regular Apple Cider, Red Apple Cider
(pink fleshed apples give it a pink color), and Hopped up Pippin (apple cider with
NZ hops)
No kiwis were harmed in the making of this post.
...just Kiwi beers. And a few ciders too.

There are some wildly exciting beverages coming out of New Zealand these days, driven by a talented crop of brewers and cidermakers working with some of the island nation's wonderful agricultural products, from crisp and bright apples to hops bursting with tropical fruity aromatics. We've just received a rare, super-fresh, direct shipment of a whole bunch o' beers and a handful of the appley stuff from our friends down south, from four of our favorite producers.

Check it out:

8 Wired
You know how Danish brewers are kinda tearing up the worldwide beer scene? Well, their reach extends well beyond the borders of their little Scandinavian country. Danish biochemist and sea urchin expert Søren Eriksen knows that well. On a visit to Australia's Little Creatures Brewery, a lifelong interest in beer was born. In 2008, Søren went pro, starting 8 Wired Brewing Company in his new home country of New Zealand. Since then, he's been making bold beers and earning a reputation for his masterful work with the highly flavorful hops of New Zealand.

Now available:
Hopwired - 99 on RateBeer!
An IPA brewed to showcase the best of New Zealand beer agriculture. Made with NZ-grown pale malt and a boatload of tropical-fruity hops: Nelson Sauvin, Southern Cross, and Motueka. Juicy and lush with a hearty maltiness.
Now available in 500ml bottles.

Fresh Hopwired - 98 on RateBeer!
That's right, wet-hopped beer in July! Southern Hemisphere hop harvests occur in the Northern Hemisphere's spring, so we get to enjoy this refreshing treat in the early summer. Made with the same recipe as regular ol' Hopwired, but made entirely with undried ("wet") hops, straight from the fields.
Now available in kegs.
Located in the heart of NZ's Marlborough wine-growing region, Renaissance Brewing Company always has something to prove. Their aim is to bring respect to beer by producing examples that rival the region's wines in quality. They're doing a killer job.

Now available in 500ml bottles:

Abundance Baltic Cherry Porter
A smooth, slightly sweet Baltic porter brewed with cherries. Earthy and roasty, with an assertive but not overwhelming presence of cherry flavor amidst some serious malt depth.

Enlightenment Series: The Age of Raisin
Aw yeah, a punny beer name that has nothing to do with the word "hop." This one is an easy-drinking raisin-spiked Belgian strong dark ale at 6.5% ABV. Bursting with dried dark fruit and pomegranate molasses flavor that reads as sweetness at first, but develops into a dry finish.
As their name would imply, Epic Brewing Company makes big beers. And they love hops. Most of their beers are absolutely loaded with the leafy stuff, showcasing American and New Zealand hops in all their epic glory. We've just received a fresh load of two of our favorite Epic IPAs, Armageddon and Hop Zombie.

Now available in 500ml bottles:
Armageddon - 98 on RateBeer!
Inspired by a trip to San Diego, this is straightforward West Coast IPA, hopped with Cascade, Centennial, Columbus, and Simcoe. Epic's tasting notes on this one are too good not to share: "Hops! hops! hops! Citrus, Grapefruit."

Hop Zombie - 99 on RateBeer!
North meets South in this undead IPA brewed with 4 top secret hop varieties from the US and NZ. Pine, peach, passion fruit and guava aromatics with a smooth caramelly maltiness. Worth reanimating for.
The Pacific Northwest gets all the cider glory in the United States, with hat tips for inspiration usually going to the UK, France, or Spain. But what about our friends down south? Where's their credit? New Zealand's Nelson region, famous for its wines and hops, also produces some amazing apples. Zeffer Cider Company uses exclusively NZ-grown whole apples to produce ciders made to preserve the fruit's natural character. Now, go find a hat to tip their way, for once!

Now available in 500ml bottles:
Apple Cider
Made entirely with green apple varities, this is a dry and simple cider with a refreshing tannic bite that will keep you reaching for your next sip. Built for summer.

Red Apple Cider
Soft pink in color, this lightly sweet cider is designed to taste like biting into a fresh red apple. Made with red-fleshed Nelson-grown Mahana Red apples.

Hopped up Pippin
A bright golden cider made from Nelson-grown Sturmer Pippin and Cox Orange Pippin apples and dry-hopped with Riwaka, Nelson Sauvin, and Motueka hops from the same region. Balanced, off-dry, and hugely citrusy and tropical in flavor.
Go West, Young Man (Ladies Too!)
Written by Mike Reis   
Friday, 11 July 2014 23:56


Go West, young man (ladies too!)

Brouwerij West doesn't make IPAs and they don't age beers in barrels. Instead, they make the beers that owner Brian Mercer wants to drink. That means dry, drinkable, Belgian-style beers brewed of Belgian ingredients from simple recipes.

They use only base (paler) malts, coaxing color for darker styles from caramelized candi sugar. But despite their simplicity in recipe, the resultant beers have remarkable depth, thanks in part to distinctive yeast character across the entire lineup. They taste great and come in beautiful packages designed by some of Brian's many talented artist friends.

This summer, Brian aims to open his new brewery in Los Angeles, complete with 17,000 square feet of outdoor space and a 200+ seat restaurant. We can't wait to check it out, but for now, bottled beer will have to do. Thankfully, we've just had our stock refreshed with three of Brouwerij West's finest.

Now available to Northern California in 500ml bottles:

Saison Extra
Uninterested in attempting to improve upon the perfect and classic Belgian saisons that he so loves, Brian has created a riff on the style that is all his own. Saison Extra strikes an elegant balance between assertive yeast flavor and a hefty dose of floral and earthy noble hops. Extra tasty. 6% ABV.

Rich and aromatic, with pineapple, pear and banana-like esters up front that develop into an aggressively spicy and dry finish, emphasized by a warming touch of alcohol. 8.5% ABV.

Mør Mør
Mør Mør is a lush and fruity Belgian quadrupel that, like many Brouwerij West beers, is dry and unusually bitter for the style. 10% ABV.

A Gigantic Gigantic Saison
Written by Mike Reis   
Monday, 07 July 2014 16:26


A gigantic saison, from Gigantic.

Described as "a delightfully spicy, fruity summer saison," Volta is Gigantic Brewing Company's newest seasonal, just released in bottles and kegs for our hot weather enjoyment. It is, appropriately, a gigantic example of the style, weighing in at 8.4% ABV and bursting with flavor. Think big-time maltiness supporting a whole host of fruity-tasting yeast esters and peppery phenolics. Bonus points for the funky label art by Portland-based mixed media artist j.shea!

Also available from our buds at Gigantic:

Gigantic IPA
Gigantic's one-and-only year-round beer. A perfect IPA brewed with Cascade, Centennial, Crystal and Simcoe hops. Big and drinkable!
97 on RateBeer!

Gigantic Firebird Smoked Hefeweizen
A wonderful hefeweizen that marries the banana and clove-like aromatics of a classic Bavarian hefeweizen with a gentle smokiness from beechwood-smoked malt.
96 on RateBeer!

Bay Area Beauties from Iron Springs
Written by Mike Reis   
Thursday, 26 June 2014 21:48


If you're a Bay Area beer drinker, you know Iron Springs.

You know, the lil brewpub in Fairfax that wins all the awards? Those guys. Their beers are delicious, affordable, and reliable--everything you want in your local brewery. You also want your local beer to be fresh, right? Well, we just received a fresh load of bombers from our Marin County brewin' buddies, and are ready to get 'em in your hands.

Now available in 22oz bottles (except in San Francisco, Alameda, & Marin Counties):

Casey Jones Imperial IPA
A BIG double IPA with pine-like and heavily citrusy aromatics. 9.3% your speed!
96 on RateBeer!

JC Flyer IPA
Named for Bay Area country rocker J.C. Flyer, this IPA is a local favorite in the brewery's hometown of Fairfax. Assertively bitter with all the citrusy aromatics you'd expect from a classic West Coast IPA.

Epiphany Ale
Brewed with 100% Cascade hops, this is an aromatic amber ale that hits all the right spots. Caramelly, toasty, floral, and citrusy. Way drinkable!
2006 World Beer Cup bonze medal winner!

“When is the last time you had an epiphany?” A Pacific Northwest Hoppy Amber Ale. 100% Cascade hops.
Bronze medal winner 2006 World Beer Cup“When is the last time you had an epiphany?” A Pacific Northwest Hoppy Amber Ale. 100% Cascade hops.
Bronze medal winner 2006 World Beer Cup.“When is the last time you had an epiphany?” A Pacific Northwest Hoppy Amber Ale. 100% Cascade hops.
Bronze medal winner 2006 World Beer Cup..
Sless’s Stimulating Oatmeal Stout
A rich and super creamy stout brewed with whole oats. Heavily roasty and rich, but oh-so-smooth. 8% ABV.
2014 & 2008 World Beer Cup gold medal winner!

Kent Lake Kölsch
A Fairfaxian take on the classic German Kölsch. All German ingredients except for the water. That's from Kent Lake.
2011 Great American Beer Festival bronze medal winner!
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