Tuesday, February 19, 2013

New Arrivals

Over the last several weeks we have received some great new items. Take a look at the list below. (and be sure to give the Absinthe a try!)


Andersen Valley Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout
Darkness. The deep ebony color, voluptuous mahogany head and bold, roasty flavors in our Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout are what serious beer drinkers expect from this style. Aromas of freshly baked bread, espresso, and dried cherries meld seamlessly with rich toffee flavors and a creamy mouth feel to create an unparalleled drinking experience.

Dales Pale Ale
America’s first hand-canned craft beer is a voluminously hopped mutha that delivers a hoppy nose, assertive-but-balanced flavors of pale malts and hops from start to finish. First canned in 2002, Dale’s Pale Ale is a hearty (6.5% and 65 IBUs), critically acclaimed trailblazer that has changed the way craft beer fiends perceive canned beer.

Shipyard Applehead
Shipyard Applehead is a crisp, refreshing wheat ale with a delightful apple aroma and subtle cinnamon flavor.

Tape Brewing:
Leathlerlips IPA
The brewing process by itself contains enough Nugget and Chinook to satisfy the most seasoned hop head. But they couldn’t leave it alone. Once fermentaion is complete we add a massive hop bag to the bright tank that is bursting at the seams with whole cone Centennial for an aroma that you just can’t get any other way.

Johsua Norton Imperial Stout
You love stouts. Or you love colonial swords and this color scheme. Either way, ours is different. We add just a touch of smoked malt for another layer in an already intensely deep and roasty brew. The name: Joshua Norton was the self-proclaimed emporer of the United States. He was crazy and probably fun to talk to -- like us.

Sassy Rabbit Rye Ale
Our brand new, year-round rye ale. The second we looked at the grain bill and said “That’s enough rye” -- we immediately doubled the amount. A peppery bite from the malt, and plenty of alpha acid from the Chinook and Glacier hops. They all come together into a brew that we’re ecstatic to share with a certain type of people; people who love things that are awesome.

Wychwood Brewery Hobgoblin Ale
Traditionally craft brewed with Chocolate & Crystal malts and a blend of Styrian, Goldings & Fuggles hops to produce a full-bodied, Ruby beer that delivers a delicious chocolate toffee malt flavour, balanced with a rounded moderate bitterness and an overall fruity, mischievous character.

Marston's Pedigree
It has a dry hop aroma with a full range of complex flavours. The melding of nut, fruit and winey flavours create a smooth and very drinkable satisfying whole.

Port Brewing Wipeout IPA
Honey gold, slightly hazy, huge persistent head like a dollop of meringue and loads of lace. Smells of mandarins, tangerines, key limes, honey and toast. Taste is orange citrus, papaya, honey cakes, pine. Creamy mouthfeel with a nice bitter bite and perfect carbonation. Wet and refreshing, clean moderately bitter finish, extremely drinkable and delicious. Very nice.

Bear Republic: 

Big Bear Black Stout
Big Bear is a big, black, stout you can really sink your teeth into. The bold, roasty, caramel malt flavor is balanced by Centennial and Cascade hops.

Racer 5 IPA
This hoppy American IPA is a full bodied beer brewed American pale and crystalmalts, and heavily hopped with Chinook, Cascade, Columbus and Centennial.

Monty Python Holy Grail Ale
Ten years later on the 40th anniversary Holy Grail is still going strong. With more hops than a killer rabbit, it's a full-flavoured golden ale with a distinctively fruity flavour followed by the Black Sheep signature dry finish.

Arrogant Bastard Double Bastard Ale
The taste is HUGE and BOLD. Lots of lemon bitterness thrown against tons of malt. It maintains a great balance. The texture is smooth with moderate carbonation. A big beer with still keeps it together.

Rogue Dead Guy Chocolate Stout
Ebony in color with a rich creamy head. The mellow flavor of oats, chocolate malts and real chocolate are balanced perfectly with the right amount of hops for a bitter-sweet finish.

New Planet Gluten Free Raspberry Ale
Its refreshing and crisp ale-like taste, complemented by pureed Oregon raspberries, makes it the perfect summer treat.

Hop Notch IPA
A 7.3 percent beer with an entrancing pale gold color and dense, fluffy head of foam. There’s a massive aroma of peaches and mangoes, with creamy oatmeal maltiness and tangy hop resins. Bitter hops and rich fruit dominate the palate with a strong backbone of clean, juicy malt. The finish has some pleasing malty sweetness but it’s balanced by tart and tangy hop resins and a continuing rich yet mellow fruitiness.

21st Ammendment:

Sneak Attack
The perfect antidote to the big beers of winter, Sneak Attack is crisp, dry and palate cleansing. It pairs perfectly with the rich and warming foods of winter: Bouillabaise, sausages, smoked meats and full flavored cheeses.

Hell or High Watermelon
Hell or High Watermelon Wheat is our summer seasonal beer available from April through September in six pack cans and on draft. We start by brewing a classic American wheat beer, which undergoes a traditional secondary fermentation using fresh watermelon. A straw-colored, refreshing beer with a kiss of watermelon aroma and flavor.

Lindeman's Framboise Lambic
Long before hops were common in most beers, various fruits and vegetables were used to season beers. The acidity of Lambic beers blends perfectly with raspberries. Magnificent aroma, delicate palate of raspberries with undertones of fruity acidity; elegant, sparkling clean natural taste.

Jack's Abby:

Jabby Brau
Deep golden in color, this low ABV lager balances Pilsner and Munich malt with an aromatic American hop aroma. This beer starts hoppy but finishes unexpectedly malty with very low bitterness. Impressively flavorful and drinkable for the lightest beer we brew. We dub this beer a "Session Lager," as we once again brew a lager in a beer style of its own. Uses local Soft Red Winter Wheat from Four Star Farms.

Smoke & Dagger
Cloaked in mystery, this dark black beer skirts the line between a schwarzbier and smoked porter. The use of a small percentage of traditional Beechwood smoked malt adds complexity and balances the liberal use of chocolate malt. Notes of roasted grains, beechwood smoke, and coffee accompany a full bodied-and sweet chocolately malt character. Smoke & Dagger uses locally grown unmalted barley from MA.


Lucid Absinthe
Lucid is the first genuine absinthe made with real Grande Wormwood to be legally available in the US in over 95 years. Lucid is made with full measure of Grande Wormwood as well as other fine European herbs. Recommended!

Karlsson's Gold Vodka
Karlsson’s Gold Vodka is a blend of several different varietals of Virgin New Potatoes from Cape Bj√§re, Sweden. It is handcrafted, single-distilled and unfiltered to preserve the flavor and character of this rare and expensive raw ingredient.

Midnight Moon Moonshine
The Midnight Moon fruit inclusions are hand-packed in traditional moonshine jars with real, honest-to-goodness fruit. No artificial colors or flavors. Just as moonshiners have done for generations, the real fruit ages in the jar, and all of the delicious flavor comes from the fruit itself – just as nature (and moonshiners) intended. Our all natural, real fruit inclusions are available in the following flavors: Apple Pie, Blackberry, Blueberry, Cherry, Cranberry & Strawberry.


Vampire Merlot
Picked at peak ripeness, our Merlot is fermented on the skins for two weeks, with three-times-daily pumpovers, the traditional method of extraction which brings rich color and supple tannins to the new wine. Aged with a combination of both French and American oak, our Merlot develops graceful fruit flavors in the cellar, complemented by subtle shadings of vanilla and toast from the oak.

Big Woop Red
A blend of Grenache, Shiraz and Petit Verdot packaged in a 1-Liter bottle. Just slip into layers of smooth, palate pleasing, medium bodied, fruit of the vine.

Red Newt Riesling
Peach, apricot, mango and pineapple fill the palate and linger throughout. Structured and balanced acidity with a mouthwatering finish.

Sharpe Hill Ballet of Angels
A light and refreshing semi-dry white wine with a delicious floral bouquet. This wine has wonderful refreshing citrus flavors reminiscent of peaches, pears and sweet grapefruit.

Tolosa "1772" Pinot Noir
This wine has the classic medium density ruby red hue of Pinot Noir. The fruit aromas are ripe to jammy strawberries. There are some violet notes as well as wet earth. The deeper layers are of spice, briar and baking bread. The flavors on the palate are fruity and toasty with blackberry dominating. The structure of flavor is still youthfully awkward and tense. There is a pleasant dryness and cinnamon like character to the finish.

Dreaming Tree Crush
A blend of the North Coast's finest varieties, this wine pulls you in with a smoky berry note and then jumps up with a raspberry jam.

Terra Noble Gran Reserva Cabernet
Vintages Wine Panel: Colchagua Valley is quickly developing a reputation for producing full-flavoured, well-balanced red wines, such as this Cabernet Sauvignon. Try this bold beauty. My note: A phenomenal wine for the money! Dark fruit and savoury, meaty flavours. Smooth and deeply, truly, madly delicious. Food matches: barbecued steaks, ribs.

If You See Kay (an Italian red wine)
Kay smells amazing; she’s soft, creamy, juicy, rich, and powerful all at the same time. A dark and brooding wine, hints of imminent danger, ripe with confidence and purpose; on a mission. She’s more than a mouthful, but never wasteful – like handfuls of juicy ripe blackberries dripping from your hands, so perfectly ripe that you have to go back again and again for another taste.

Adesso Cagnina Dolce
Adesso Cagnina di Romagna is soft garnet in color. It is medium in body with a pleasant nose of red berries and flavors of black raspberries, cherries and spice. It is nicely balanced to enjoy now and over the next 3-4 years. This wine is long and silky smooth on the finish and easy to love.

Mosca Mango Moscato
An innovative blend of Moscato with mango fruit pulp from Italy. Refreshing, bubbly and delicious; Perfect for desserts, fruit drinks or by themselves, Mosca wines are made with high quality ingredients and are ideal for any occasion; Shake gently before serving

90+ Cellars
90+ Cellars was created because we like drinking great wine anytime we want. We wanted an everyday “go to” wine that tasted like one usually reserved for special occasions, a delicious wine that we could open any night of the week or whenever friends arrived. Unfortunately, that wine didn’t exist or just took too much time to find.

If there's a craft beer or wine you'd like us to purchase for you, let us know by emailing us at gilbertswineandspirits@gmail.com. Cheers!

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Friday, February 15, 2013

Limoncello: The National Drink of Italy

Italian Limoncello(lee-mohn-CHEH-loh)

If you have ever been to Italy, you'll instantly know about Limoncello. Lemons seem to be one of the important staples in the food of Sorrento. The most famous product is Limoncello. Every store or restaurant has it’s unique or favorite brand of Limoncello for sale or to taste. It is wonderful as a palate cleanser or as an after dinner drink. Limoncello is the generic name for an Italian citrus-based lemon liqueur that is served well chilled in the summer months. Limoncello is now considered the  national drink of Italy and can be found in stores and restaurants all over Italy.

We recommend putting your bottle in the freezer and enjoying it as an after dinner sipping drink

There are a number of recipes on the internet for cooking with limoncello. Pinterest has a great collection. Click here for a great starting point

One of our favorite recipes in the collection is Limoncello Lemon Cake. 

Limoncello Lemon Cake
adapted from Erika Kerekes

Moist and tender this cake is a ray of sunshine sent from heaven!  

2 eggs
1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
zest of 1 lemon
3 Tbs Limoncello (or lemon juice)
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 to 2 Tbs Limoncello or Lemon Juice (adjust as necessary)
1 tsp lemon zest

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, yogurt, sugar, oil, lemon zest and 3 Tbsp limoncello or lemon juice.  In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, stirring just until incorporated, 15-20 stirs, being careful not to over mix.

Spray an 8.5 x 4.5-inch loaf pan (or alternatively 3 mini loaf pans, 5 3/4 x 3 inch) with cooking spray.  Pour the batter into the pan.  Bake about 40 minutes for the larger loaf pan or 30-35 minutes for the smaller loaf pans, or until a tester comes out clean and the top of the cake is golden. Cool the cake in the pan for about 5 minutes.  Remove from pans and continue cooling on a wire rack.

When the cake is cool, whisk the powdered sugar with 2 Tbs limoncello or lemon juice in a small bowl until smooth.  Drizzle the glaze over the cake.

Another delightful way to enjoy your Limoncello is paired with a lemon biscotti.

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Friday, February 1, 2013

The Best Craft Beer in New England

Boston Magazine tasted samples from 33 of our finest regional breweries to find their favorite beers in 15 styles, from refreshing light lagers to kick-you-in-the-teeth imperial ales. These picks were heads above the rest.

We have a great selection of craft beers which we frequently update.  Please let us know if you need a special order.

1. Farmhouse Ale/Saison: Jack D’Or

Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project, Somerville
Traditional saisons are rustic “farmhouse” beers: unfiltered, dry, and way too easy to drink. While Jack D’Or isn’t meant to be the spitting image of its European counterparts (the brewer calls it a “saison Americain”), with a bright-but-not-bitter hops flavor, crisp mouth feel, and subtle tartness, it captures the spirit of its Belgian predecessors impeccably.
Runner-up: Mystic Brewery Saison

2. Imperial/Strong Ale: Audacity of Hops

Cambridge Brewing Company, Cambridge
With its potent 8 percent alcohol content and generously piney nose (owing to the 10 hop varieties used), this Belgian-style IPA has a name that rings true. At the same time, it’s surprisingly subdued. Bonus: Though CBC has long been draft only, they’re now bottling this ale for sale at other retailers.
Runner-up: Long Trail Brewing Company Double Bag Ale

3. Pale Ale: Steel Rail Extra Pale Ale

Berkshire Brewing Company, South Deerfield
Though mild and light-bodied, it has just a bit more heft than a session ale — in other words, we’re as likely to sip it fireside at a ski lodge as we are to gulp it on a sweaty summer day. With moderate hops, a faint citrus aroma, and a bit of breadiness, it’s a beer you can pair with practically any cuisine.
Runner-up: Maine Beer Company Peeper Ale

4. Porter: Porter Square Porter

Slumbrew, Somerville
The experimental branch of Somerville Brewing Company, Slumbrew teamed up with its neighbors at Taza Chocolate to create this complex porter loaded with coffee and chocolate flavors. (They use Taza cacao nibs in the conditioning process.) Skip dessert and order one of these instead.
Runner-up: Otter Creek Brewing Stovepipe Porter

5. English Pale/Bitter Ale: Old Thumper

Shipyard Brewing Company, Portland, Maine
Fun fact: Bitter was a term used in ye olde England to differentiate pale ales from their sweeter, less-hoppy counterparts, such as mild ales and porters. This beer, originally created by Ringwood Brewery in England (the brewer there mentored Shipyard’s Alan Pugsley), has a malty backbone with a fruity nose.
Runner-up: Redhook ESB

6. Belgian-Style Tripel/Quad: Baby Tree

Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project, Somerville
Though Pretty Things stopped using dried plums in its Baby Tree recipe last summer, its burnt-sugar aroma, smooth taste, and notes of sweet, dried fruit on the finish are still hallmarks of this incomparable abbey-style ale. Peppery top notes, a medium body, and a dark, coppery-brown color add to its delightful richness.
Runner-up: Allagash Brewing Company Tripel

7. Brown Ale: Dark Ale

Ipswich Ale Brewery, Ipswich
If you think you don’t like brown ales — or that you can’t drink them in the summer — pick up a sixer of the Dark Ale from Ipswich Ale Brewery, a.k.a. Mercury Brewing Company. Totally smooth with a medium body, it has toffee and dark-fruit flavors that make it the perfect companion to anything char-grilled.
Runner-up: Wolaver’s Organic Brewing Brown Ale

8. Stout: Mean Old Tom

Maine Beer Company, Portland, Maine
A jet-black American stout that’ll knock you off your feet, Mean Old Tom is one of the finest stouts we’ve tasted. Nano-brewery Maine Beer Company (run by two brothers working in a small rented space) ages the beer with vanilla beans, turning out a round, soft brew that’s surprisingly easy drinking despite its 6.5 percent ABV.
Runner-up: Wolaver’s Organic Brewing Oatmeal Stout

9. White/Wheat Beer: White

Allagash Brewing Company, Portland, Maine
It’s a classic witbier: cloudy and showing hints of clove, banana, citrus, and ample amounts of visible yeast. But while beers with this many flavor elements can get out of whack fast, Allagash’s version is balanced by its super-smooth, creamy texture, so the last sip is as subtly complex as the first.
Runner-up: Slumbrew Happy Sol

10. Amber Lager: Fisherman’s Brew

Cape Ann Brewing Company, Gloucester
Like most good Bostonians, we drink Sam Adams like it’s water from an endless stream. Cracking this amber lager, then, was a reminder that the style can take many tasty forms. Toasty, malty, and just a bit sweet, Cape Ann’s version is a lovely break from our routine.
Runner-up: Samuel Adams Boston Lager

11. Session Ale: Pamola Xtra Pale Ale

Baxter Brewing Company, Lewiston, Maine
Easy drinkability is paramount in a session ale. This bubbly, crisp brew starts out caramelly and malty, but thanks to the dry finish, it’s refreshing rather than cloying. That makes for a beer that’s almost too easy to throw back in large quantities — and we’d like to consume Baxter’s version by the barrel.
Runner-up: Smuttynose Brewing Company Star Island Single

12. India Pale Ale: IPA

Smuttynose Brewing Company, Portsmouth, New Hampshire
If you avoid beers with bite, this isn’t your brew. But for lovers of IPA — a style defined by the ample use of hops — this version is downright craveable. Five different hop varieties lend it lip-smacking bitterness and a tannic finish, while a lemony, herbal aroma keeps it from being one-dimensional.
Runner-up: Maine Beer Company Lunch IPA

13. Amber Ale: Red Rock Amber

Opa-Opa Brewing Company, Southampton
After drinking far too many amber ales with just a single flavor — malt! — Red Rock was a pleasant departure. It’s nicely balanced, with a good kick of hops to balance out the inherent sweetness. We’d crack one open on a brisk night, just to ward off the cold.
Runner-up: Baxter Brewing Company Amber Road

14. Pilsner/Light Lager: Session Pils

Notch Brewing Company, Ipswich
Bright and crisp with grassy, citrusy notes (and delicious ice cold), this pils is made for drinking on a porch (though a South End stoop will do). Toasty malts keep it from feeling harsh on the palate, and the low alcohol content justifies going back for another…and another.
Runner-up: Narragansett Lager

15. Fruit Beer: #9

Magic Hat Brewing Company, South Burlington, Vermont
Some samples tasted like Jolly Ranchers; others, blueberry muffins. Why do most fruit beers seem designed for 14-year-olds? Then there was #9: a faintly nutty pale amber with a dried-apricot aroma.
It’s beer first, fruit second — the way it should be.
Runner-up: Wachusett Brewing Company Blueberry Ale

Originally posted: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/articles/2012/05/new-england-craft-beer-guide-best-new-england-beer/ 
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Tips for Letting Your Wine Breathe: Aerating Your Wine

The whole concept of letting wine breathe, or aerate, is simply maximizing your wine's exposure to the surrounding air. By allowing wine to mix and mingle with air, the wine will typically warm up and the wine's aromas will open up, the flavor profile will soften and mellow out a bit and the overall flavor characteristics should improve.

Which Wines Need to Breathe
Typically red wines are the ones to benefit most from breathing before serving. However, there are select whites that will also improve with a little air exposure. In general, most wines will improve with as little as 15-20 minutes of air time. However, if the wine is young with high tannin levels, it will need more time to aerate before enjoying. For example, a young Cabernet Sauvignon will likely require around an hour for proper aeration and flavor softening to take place. Not that you cannot drink it as soon as it is uncorked, but to put its best foot forward give it more time to breathe. Mature wines (8+ years) are another story all together. These wines will benefit most from decanting and then will only have a small window of aeration opportunity before the flavor profiles begin to deteriorate.

How to Let Your Wine Breathe
Some erroneously believe that merely uncorking a bottle of wine and allowing it to sit for a bit is all it takes to aerate. This method is futile, as there is simply not enough room (read: surface area) at the top of the bottle to permit adequate amounts of air to make contact with the wine. So what's a Wine Lover to do? You have two options:  

Decanter or Wine Glass Decanter - use a decanter,a flower vase, an orange juice pitcher, whatever - any large liquid container with a wide opening at the top to pour your bottle of wine into. The increased surface area is the key to allowing more air to make contact with your wine. Keep this in mind while setting up proper "breathing" techniques for your favorite wine.

The Wine Glass - Pour your wine into wine glasses and let it aerate in situ. This is certainly the low-maintenance method and typically works quite well. Just be sure to keep the glass away from the kitchen commotion, while it breathes in peace. * Tip, for pouring wine into glasses make sure that you pour into the center of the glass with a good 6-10 inches of "fall" from bottle to glass to allow for further aeration during the actual pour.

In general, the Aeration Rule of Thumb: the more tannins a wine has the more time it will need to aerate. Lighter-bodied red wines (Pinot Noir for example) that have lower tannin levels, will need little if any time to breathe.
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