15 May

Urban Hops at Urban Grape

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Lately I’ve been out and about with friends and someone always asks, “How did you meet X?” and the inevitable answer is “the internet!” especially in the beer community.

A couple of months before I even step foot in Urban Grape, I connected with Hadley, one of the owners on Twitter. Partially for my work with High & Mighty, mostly for our obsession with the Real Housewives. We hit it off and I over the moon excited for their announcement of a store opening in the South End. Granted, I don’t live far from Chestnut Hill but a girl can never have too many options. I attended their anniversary party last summer, saw plans for the new store, and I met Ben Bouton, their beer manager. (Gentlemen take note, Ben proposed to his fiance at the Samuel Adams Brewery!) Ben’s excitement for beer is contagious, which makes the launch of Urban Hops that much more exciting. We connected with him on the 5 beers he’s most excited to have in the shop and at the tasting this Sunday, 2pm – 5pm at BOTH locations.

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Brasserie St. Feuillien Saison- It’s true, the famous St. Feuillien is now in cans!! Absolutely perfect for your trip to the beach or the lake this summer. Established in 1873, St. Feuillien has become one of Belgium’s most well known and respected breweries. This slightly tangy, earthy saison is considered a ‘terroir driven beer’, its spicy notes evoking the beautiful farmland of Belgium from which it was inspired. Crisp and refreshing, St. Feuillien’s Saison (in cans!) is sure to be a summer favorite for all!Brauerei Plank Pilserl- Currently under the direction of the 16th generation Michael Plank (brewery was established in 1617!), this German pilsner is an absolute benchmark of the style. This beer captures the essence of German noble hops with a balanced spiciness to go along with the traditional pilsner malt. This beer doesn’t need to be showy, it is absolute perfection in a bottle!

Stillwater Artisanal ‘Cellar Door’- Coming from Baltimore, MD, this elegant American Farmhouse Ale is perfect for sipping outside on the porch. The hops lend herbal and citrus notes to the nose and palate. The ale is finished with white sage, which brings an earthy spice to the beer. Featuring Stillwater Artisanal’s house saison yeast, this beer is dry and refreshing on the hottest of days.

Prairie Artisan Ales ‘Prairie Ale’ Saison- Out of Tulsa, Oklahoma, relative newcomer to the craft beer scene, Prairie Artisan Ales, got their break through Kickstart! This saison features a blend of both ale and wine yeasts, with some brettanomyces added in for its drying qualities. Both spicy and fruity, this beautifully crafted (and labeled) farmhouse style ale will keep you hydrated and happy!

Binding-Brauerei Schofferhofer- Total guilty pleasure beer! Weighing in at a modest 2.5% ABV, Schofferhofer is a blend of German hefeweizen and grapefruit juice! An homage to traditional German ‘Radler’ (a mix of hefeweizen and lemonade), this beer lends the bitterness of the grapefruit, and refreshing quality of a hefeweizen. I know I’ll be throwing these back all summer!

Wait, grapefruit juice? I kind of love this idea. Since the weather has warmed up I’ve been dreaming of summer brews, a shandy or two, and saisons by the 6 pack on patios. Okay fine, maybe I’ve been drinking some on my roof. But summer might be the best season for beer (and yes, I will say that again about fall beers. Every season is the best, really).
I honestly could talk forever about how great Ben, Hadley, TJ and the entire staff are, how much I love Urban Grape, how you need to stop by one of their stores just because of how gorgeous they are. Thankfully, you can see it all for yourself on Sunday. Stop by the South End store (where I’ll be!) or Chestnut Hill for the Summer Beer Fest, 2pm – 5pm.
Some more info from their press release on Urban Hops:
The Urban Grape, a modern boutique wine store in Boston’s South End and Chestnut Hill, will launch Urban Hops, an expanded, dedicated and curated craft beer program in both locations this spring. Because of the increased interest from customers in the craft beer movement, the Urban Grape is meeting demands with an amplified commitment to the beer program. With over 50 new brands in-house tallying to 300 varieties, Urban Hops will offer both large format and smaller format local and regional nano and micro-brew beer choices. Beer Manager, Ben Bouton, will spearhead the program, and aims to follow the Urban Grape philosophy: offer an exclusive selection of diverse and progressive bottles, while still remaining accessible, approachable and affordable.

Unlike wine at the Urban Grape, beers will be organized by region. From a beer that is aged with raspberries in
Sauterne barrels, to the latest release by well-known local craft brewers, Urban Hops hopes to strike a balance
between the more extreme and everyday beer offerings. Education is always at the forefront within the store, and
Urban Hops will be no different by hosting monthly tastings with brewers and events.
“People have realized that beer is not what it was twenty years ago, and their idea of what makes a great beer is
expanding,” explains Beer Manager Ben Bouton. “And like a lot of great wine that we feature at the Urban Grape,
much of this beer is not prohibitively expensive. One of the most sought after craft beers in the world is only $6 a
bottle.” Ben has completed the first level of the Cicerone Certification Program, which provides credentials to
people who work with beer, providing proven expertise in the selection, acquisition, and serving.

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20 Sep

Delicious Dark Beer

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I know for a fact I’m not alone in my love of fall and the epically delightful beers that come with it. Whether you’re a lover of the pumpkin flavors or the Oktoberfest styles, fall holds a special place in many beer-lovers hearts.

In preparation for the shift away from the hefeweizens and witbiers, the NC Girls are hosting a dark beer appreciation night. We’ll be at Bub O’Malley’s in Chapel Hill next Wednesday, September 26th from 7-10pm. Chris Creech, the man behind NCHomebrewing.com, a certified beer server and a seasoned homebrewer will be leading us in a tasting of three distinct dark beers. We’ll also have some food on hand to further entice the palate and help you pair your beer with your snacks. And Chris will give us a little history lesson on each of our three styles–

  • porter: with a tasting of Fuller’s London Porter,
  • brown: demonstrated by Sweet Josie brown ale from Raleigh’s own Lonerider Brewery, and
  • stout: with a sample of the Highland Oatmeal Stout delivered from Asheville, NC.

Let’s here it for two NC breweries!

Each tasting will include a 6-8oz pour of the beer plus a small food sample provided by NCGPO. Enjoy the flavors, the education and the company!

This event will be $10 for NCGPO members and $14 for non-members. Wanna learn more? Got questions? Check out the Facebook post for details and to RSVP (we wanna know how much food to bring!) http://www.facebook.com/events/442010822507652/.

Hope to see you there, and in the meantime enjoy the flavors of fall!

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23 Jan

AZ Beer Week with AZ Girls’ Pint Out

Nearing the end of our second year as a chapter of Girls’ Pint Out, and with a lot more members than we started with, we’ve set up an awesome list of events for this year’s AZ Beer Week to make sure everyone has something to do, with or without their significant others.  Before I go into the AZ Beer Week events, however, we have one small event coming up this week to ease into the new year (and save our livers some damage before the epic-ness that is Beer Week):

Thursday, January 26th, 6:30-8:30pm
AZGPO Happy Hour at Four Peaks Brewing Company
1340 E 8th St., Tempe 85281
Happy Hour prices on all brews
We’ll have a portion of the restaurant sectioned off,
So no reservation necessary, just show up and join us!

After that, we will be eagerly awaiting AZ Beer Week, which begins on Saturday, February 18th with Strong Beer Fest and concludes on Saturday, February 25th with a good smattering of final tastings and celebrations.  The best part about this year’s Beer Week will be our participation in it as a recognized group at multiple interesting events.

Naturally, we’ll start our week off with a booth (in conjunction with Arizona Society of Homebrewers) at the Strong Beer Festival, where we will be selling t-shirts and other AZGPO goods, so make sure to stop by and say hi:

Saturday, February 18th, (12:00 VIP) 1:00-5:00pm
Strong Beer Festival
Steele Indian School Park, Phoenix
Tickets: $10 Designated Driver, $30-$40 VIP & General

As for the rest of the week, we have events almost every day.  While I will post them here so everyone can easily get and share the information, our AZ Girl’s Pint Out Facebook page will have the events listed there so you can RSVP to them or invite other people on a wider platform.  All of these events are also listed on the Arizona Beer Week website, except for the Beer for Brains dinner, but once we finalize everything for that, it will be posted there as well.  So, without further ado, I present AZ Girls’ Pint Out’s Second Annual Beer Week list of events:

Tuesday, February 21st, 6:30-8:30pm
Bell’s Brewery Tasting at Boulder’s on Broadway
530 W Broadway Rd, Tempe 85282

AZ Girls Pint Out will be featuring an evening with representatives from Bell’s Brewery out of Kalamazoo, MI.  Attendees will enjoy Two-Hearted, Amber, Kalamazoo, Oberon, Third Coast, and Hopslam! This event is ladies only, will cost $25, and you will need to RSVP either on the Facebook event or through email (azgirlspintout@gmail.com).

Wednesday, February 22nd, 6:00-9:00pm
The Love of Beer Premier with ASH at Film Bar
815 N. 2nd St., Phoenix 85004

Join local women in the Arizona brewing community for the Arizona premier of “The Love of Beer”– a feature length documentary celebrating the women in the Pacific NW beer industry produced by Alison Grayson.  “The Love of Beer” is an intimate portrayal of craft beers female forerunners.  Staying true to cinema verite, these women tell their stories in their own words and through their own actions.  A panel, which includes the ladies listed below, will precede and follow the screening to answer questions about brewing and the opportunities for women in the craft brewing movement:

  • Alison Grayson, the film maker
  • Melissa Osborn, notable brewer at Four Peaks Brewing
  • Maureen Basenburg, founder of Arizona Girls Pint Out
  • Members of the Arizona Society of Homebrewers (ASH)

The Love of Beer from Lingering Illocutions on Vimeo.

Look for a special tapping of Four Peaks D-Dub Robust Porter to be announced during Arizona Beer Week.  Price TBD. (Facebook event)

Thursday, February 23rd, 6:30pm
Beer for Brains & AZGPO Unique Ale Dinner at Rico’s American Grill
7677 N 16th St., Phoenix 85020

After a successful beer dinner last year during Beer Week, AZ Girls’ Pint Out has been invited to partner with local charity organization, The Beer for Brains Foundation, and host a unique beer dinner at Rico’s American Grill.  Local breweries, including SanTan, Sonoran, and Papago are donating kegs for this special dinner.  This event will be co-ed, and price is $45 ($10 of the $45 will go to BFBF to promote Brain Cancer Research).

Official Press Release:

On Feb. 23, guests of the ‘Unique Ale Dinner’ will enjoy four rounds of fine food paired with local craft beers all in an effort to knock out brain cancer. The event begins with a 6:30 p.m. appetizer reception followed by a seated four-course meal prepared by Rico’s Executive Chef Kenneth Arneson. Chef Ken and his staff have teamed with local breweries, including Sonoran Brewing, 1702, Papago Brewing and more, to skillfully match the menu items with the specialty ales. At the start of each course, guests will be greeted by Chef Ken and a brew master to explain the pairing of the dish. Menu highlights include:

  • Jambalaya risotto cakes with blackened shrimp and crispy fried chicken.
  • Beer -raised lamb shank with brick-oven blistered root vegetables, garlic and rosemary pomme frites.
  • Chocolate chili brownie sundae with Pasilla Negro housemade marshmallow and pale ale ice cream.

“It has been a pleasure to work with these great groups as they combine a love for local craft beer and charitable giving,” said Chef Ken. “I think our guests will love indulging in fine food while being able to learn about beer and supporting a great cause at the same time.”

Event proceeds will benefit the Beer for Brains Foundation, a Peoria-based, non-profit organization that brings together craft beer lovers in the battle against brain cancer. This is the third charity dinner Rico’s has hosted for the Beer for Brains Foundation since early 2011. The festive beer-paired dinner is priced at $45 per person, plus tax and gratuity, and requires reservations.

For more information, and to make your reservations for this special event, call 602-997-5850 or visit www.squawpeakhilton.com.

(Facebook event)

Friday, February 24th, 6:30-9:30pm
Beer & Dessert Pairing at Sun Up Brewery
322 E Camelback Rd., Phoenix 85012

SunUp will be offering a beautiful dessert spread and beer flights to all the ladies in the group.  Some desserts will be made with their beer in it, while others will compliment the tasting notes of the beer. Local bakeries will be providing the fantastic desserts that will be paired with SunUp’s beer.  SunUp will also be tapping one keg of their Barley Wine, which will be available for everyone.  Price is $25. (Facebook event)

Desserts that will be available:

Lemon Ricotta cookies with a hefeweizen lemon glaze.
Shortbread cookies with white chocolate and blueberries
IPA peanut brittle
Bread pudding and whiskey sauce
Porter brownies
Stout coffee cake
And, of course, cupcakes!
1. The Brewers Cupcakes – chocolate malted cake with malted frosting
2. Coconut or Red Velvet (still deciding!)

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If anyone has any questions regarding any of the events listed above, please get in touch with Maureen, Alyssa, or Kristine through azgirlspintout@gmail.com, leave a comment here, or contact us on our Facebook page.  We are very excited for AZ Beer Week and we hope to see you at some of our events!  Cheers!

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22 Sep

PumpkinFest – October 5, Tommy Doyle’s

There’s no secret about my love for pumpkin beer. It’s true. I LOVE IT. There, we’ve got that out of the way.

Nicole from Tommy Doyle’s (Harvard Square) dropped a fancy email my way about the upcoming event for October (pumpkin beer ALL month long!) at the Crimson Lounge at Tommy Doyles. We hung out at TD’s for a Lagunitas tasting a couple of months back and we’re fans. Great people, good food, great craft beer. So, what’s on tap for October?

  • Cape Ann Pumpkin Stout
  • Dogfish Head Punkin’
  • Wachusett Imperial Pumpkin
  • Post Road Pumpkin
  • Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin
  • Uinta Pumpkin
  • Harpoon Pumpkin UFO
  • Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin
  • Saranac Pumpkin
  • Wolaver’s Organic Pumpkin
  • Smuttynose Pumpkin

Pretty great, right? The kick off is on October 5th. $25 to get in gets you a 5 ounce (yes, 5) tasting cup for ALL the beers, as well as unlimited access to a variety of pumpkin-focused dishes like pumkin soup, ravioli, pie, etc. There will be a live blues band as well as a DJ, plus plenty of free swag given out. This is going to be a FUN event.

RSVP on the Eventbrite – http://pumpkinfest11.eventbrite.com/  Hope to see you all there. :)

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