International Beer Day
Today is International Beer Day, and we are celebrating the international drink of getting the weekend started. And it’s Friday, how fitting! Let’s highlight some of the breweries that bless our Northeast region with quality, refreshing beverages for every and all seasons. Not all heroes wear capes, some of them concoct awesome brewskis.
Brooklyn Brewery – Brooklyn, NY
When good beer is hard to find, sometimes you have to make it yourself. That’s exactly the story of Brooklyn Brewery. In 1988, Steve Hindy took his homebrewing knowledge from his days as a foreign war correspondent and started the business with his friend Tom Potter. Together they hand-delivered the first batches of Brooklyn Lager to a handful of local bars.
Today Brooklyn’s beers now travel to more than half the U.S. and over 30 countries. Brewmaster Garrett Oliver, a James Beard Award winner, and his team brew everything from classic styles to bold experiments, collaborating with their peers across the globe to keep pushing the boundaries of beer.
Popular Brews: Brooklyn Lager, Brooklyn East IPA, Brooklyn Summer Ale
Saranac Brewery – Utica, NY
In 1985, Saranac 1888, named after the iconic Saranac Railroad, was the first concoction to don the brewery name. The Saranac Railroad line connected Utica to the Adirondacks. Similarly, Saranac’s Utica location connects with the Adirondacks through the tastes and experiences provided by their brews.
In fact, back in 1991, Saranac’s Adirondack Lager was awarded the top premium lager at the Great American Beer Festival, chalking the Lager up as Saranac’s first brewing home run. Naturally, the brewery focused in on making this beer their main priority for the time being.
Today, Saranac Brewery has a plethora of beverages showcasing their name. Blueberry Blonde Ale and S’more Lager are perfect for the essence of summertime. While Pale Ale and Adirondack Lager are two of the company’s year-round staples.
Popular Brews: Saranac Pale Ale, Blueberry Blonde Ale, Adirondack Lager
Stony Creek Brewery – Branford, CT
The pride of Branford, CT, Stony Creek Brewery was rebranded by co-founder Ed Crowley in 2015. Prior to the rebranding, Stony Creek was a small-scale contract-produced craft brand, mainly known for their IPAs named after Connecticut’s two area codes, 203 and 860. Stony Creek became much bigger after their rebrand, and they opened up their first brewery right along the Branford River.
The brewery’s 30,000 square foot size makes it the second largest brewing facility and taproom in the state of Connecticut. One of its unique features is a 2,500 square foot tasting room with 23-ounce glass mugs hanging on the wall behind the bar as part of the brewery’s Mug Club. The “Mug Club” is a way of giving back to devoted customers by giving them “their own little piece of the creek,” according to Ed Crowley Jr!
Popular Brews: Big Cranky Double IPA, Cranky IPA, Stony Joe Mocha Stout
Magic Hat Brewing Company – Burlington, Vermont
Stirring up some mysterious concoctions in the heart of South Burlington, Vermont, Magic Hat is a well-known local brewer. They refer to their brews as elixirs, and their most popular potion is #9. It’s not quite a pale ale, but it runs across your tongue with notes of fruit and floral hop bitterness, bringing an unusual and curious palate. As they say at Magic Hat, #9 asks more questions than it answers. You’ll just have to see for yourself.
Popular Brews: #9, Elder Betty, Circus Boy
Frog Alley Brewing – Schenectady, NY
Frog Alley Brewing is just a short trip down the road from our Schenectady headquarters. As the city’s newest brewing powerhouse, Frog Alley is the key piece of the new Mill Artisan District. This downtown revitalization effort through intriguing new, hip food and drink spots hopes to bring more craft beer lovers and foodies back to the area.
Frog Alley founder JT Pollard put together two of the best brewing minds he could find in Rich Michaels and Drew Schmidt. Michaels and Schmidt used their expertise and years of experience to build Frog Alley’s refreshing, star-powered roster of brews. Included in this list is Mohop #5, a tasty New England IPA with Mosaic hops, featuring notes of mango, stone fruit, and a concoction of more earthy and tropical tones. They also provide Skull Frog, a loud DIPA that is certainly not shy with the Chinook, Columbus, and Simcoe hops.
Popular Brews: Mohop #5, Skull Frog Double IPA, Re4resh IPA
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Cozy Cocktails & Beverages for the Holidays
Good drinks and beverages are key to a good celebration. As you continue to celebrate into the New Year, let’s get you set up with some fun drink recipes to keep the party going. Check out some of our favorite at-home drink recipes.
Cucumber Mint Mock-Jitos: This refreshing mock-jitos are perfect for sipping on during the holidays. Especially, if you’re not looking for an alcoholic beverage. These mock-jitos bring the same essence, alcohol free.
Slushy Punch: This slushy punch features frozen lemonade and orange juice mixed with vodka or gin, with red gelatin for festive coloring. (21+)
Citurs-Basil Spritzer: This Citrus-Basil Spritzer uses sparkling water for a bubbly, refreshing, easy-to-sip on concoction.
Spiced Pomegranate Mulled Cider with Cinnamon Ginger Stirring Spoons: This Spiced Mulled Cider is super tasty and very comforting. The Cinnamon Ginger Stirring Spoons are a fantastic touch.
Bourbon-Cherry Smash: Featuring bourbon, your favorite orange-flavored liqueur and some flavorful additions this Bourbon-Cherry drink will be a smash hit all holidays long! (21+)
Also, make sure to check out this wonderful Blackberry Gin Fizz (21+) recipe below…
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Celebrate with Cheese Pairings!
For many, cheese is a staple when it comes to celebrating, especially during the holidays. Luckily, our in-store delis provide a plethora of tasty cheeses, perfect for pairing with a relaxing drink. We’ve created a list of some of our favorites, each with their ideal beverage pairings. Try these options below and find your new favorite combination!
Vermont Creamery Honey Goat Log: Vermont Creamery Clover Blossom Honey Goat Cheese takes Vermont’s classic, mild fresh goat cheese and blends it with sweet clover honey. The honey pairs perfectly with the tart creaminess of fresh goat cheese. Try it with Barbera wine, Founders All Day IPA or a Belgian Tripel Beer like Ommegang’s Three Philosophers.
Fleur de Franco Brie: A beautiful wheel of French double cream Brie, Fleur de Franco is pleasantly mild and approachable, yet fully flavored with a buttery interior and soft, fluffy rind. Pair it with a sparkling wine, Chardonnay, or a German pilsner like Saranac Adirondack Lager.
Grafton 2 Year Old Cheddar: Fits the classic profile of a New England Cheddar: buttery notes with a bold, sharp tang and a long, nutty finish. The aroma is lactic and bright, with flavors of sweet cream, freshly mown hay, and tangy, cultured milk. Completed by a moderate acidity. Pair it with balanced, full-bodied wines such as Merlot or White Burgundy, or brews such as Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Brown Ale, Brooklyn Brewing Bel-Air Sour Beer, or even Angry Orchard Hard Cider.
Market 32 American Grana by BelGioioso: Made from freshly gathered local raw milk, this premium American Grana Parmesan cheese is allowed to mature a minimum of 18 months on wooden shelves in special caves. During this process, each wheel is hand-turned to ensure proper aging and development of its deep, nutty flavor and granular texture. Try it with bold Cabernet Sauvignon or a bock beer like Shiner Bock.
BelGioioso Creamy Gorgonzola: Handcrafted and aged 90 days in special caves, master cheesemakers hand-rub each wheel with salt and pierce small holes into the rind of the cheese, allowing air to penetrate and facilitate the growth of beneficial mold. This care and craft creates an exceptionally earthy flavor and creamy texture. Cut right through the thin rind and spread on a baguette. Great when paired with a Harpoon Rec League or other light IPA’s.
Any of these ideas pique your interest? Visit us online or at your local store to find all of these pairing items!