Bottle Share with Night Shift Brewing

Too fun not to share this one. Got this tweet last week from the crew at Night Shift Brewing:

Night Shift is in Everett, MA and doesn’t distribute much outside of the Boston area, so for my house in Loudonville, NY to be the #2 venue only behind the brewery itself is a pretty awesome. Elise has been saving a few bottles in the beer cellar and I had recently picked up a bottle of Taza Stout for myself, so when our friend Anthony was coming in from Boston I asked him to snag one of their latest beers, Citranation, and their blueberry berliner I missed out on. Thankfully he obliged and we had a pretty nice lineup of Night Shift beers for tasting, along with some other randoms from Pig Destroyer Jon and Jeff2, mostly because we’re Untappd badge whores. Check it out:
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Sours and Stogies at The Doom Saloon

It’s been a while since I’ve made it down to the Doom Saloon. The last time was for our epic IPA tasting over the summer. And while the IPA tasting was great, this week’s sour tasting with Ken, Cavedave, Merc, and Jeff2 definitely took the cake. The lineup for the night:

  • Sour Barrel Aged Burial at Sea by DC Brau Brewing Company
  • 2009 Raspberry Tart by New Glarus Brewing Company
  • Sans Pagaie by The Bruery
  • The Sauer Peach by Sloop Brewing
  • Tart Of Darkness by The Bruery
  • Barrel Select Cherry by Captain Lawrence Brewing Company
  • 2006 Doesjel by Brouwerij 3 Fonteinen
  • 2010 Classic Gueuze by Brasserie Cantillon
  • 2010 Gueuze 100% Lambic Bio by Brasserie Cantillon
  • Marrón Acidifié by The Bruery
  • The Vine by Cascade Brewing Company
  • Juliet (2012) by Goose Island Beer Co. (AB-InBev)
  • Madame Rose (2012) by Goose Island Beer Co. (AB-InBev)

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Zwanze Day at Novare Res Bier Cafe

Just got back from a pretty awesome weekend in Portland. I have a TON of pics to post up, but I wanted to get the ones from Zwanze Day up ASAP.

Heading up to Novare Res couldn’t have worked out better. We got there early enough that there were only 10 people in line in front of us (of course Ruth was one of them), got our tickets almost immediately and had just about every Cantillon available that I haven’t had yet. Adam and most of his crew even made it in time to get their tickets as well.

I didn’t know better, so after getting our Zwanze tickets and a couple of shirts, I grabbed a Rodenbach Grand Cru and a Smuttynose Herbaceous while we held down the table and waited for Adam, Eliz and crew to show up.

The bar was hopping from the very beginning of the day and it didn’t cool off until well after Zwanze was kicked and Mamouche was flowing.

There was a very cool room off to the side with some nice couches and an insane amount of Cantillon bottles along the shelves. Every single one of these were dead Loons:

I got back to the table and did a little more reading on the beer menu. They were already pouring the Cantillon Single Barrel 2 Year Lambic, and I had somehow missed it. I immediately got up to grab a couple of glasses and left the Smuttynose and Rodenbach to wait until later.

Cantillon Single Barrel 2 Year Lambic

Hold up, I read the menu wrong AGAIN. They also had some Zwanze (2010) Blanche de Quenast left. Only 5 bottles total were being opened which meant it was going to go quick. I went and grabbed another two, of course. We got the last of the 3rd bottle and some of the 4th. I poked Ruth real quick to make sure she got some and the 5th bottle kicked shortly after.

Cantillon Zwanze (2010) Blanche de Quenast

Cantillon Zwanze (2010) Blanche de Quenast

We had a pretty epic breakfast at Hot Suppa, but at this point, with this many beers, some grub was in order. Elise got some pasta with alfredo while I grabbed sausage plate with kraut that really hit the spot. The table next to us got this impressive cheese and charcuterie plate that I couldn’t help by try to grab a pic of:

Lunch was accompanied by some great bottles Adam chose: 2008 Pannepot Reserva and 2005 Pannepot Grand Reserva, both from De Struise Brouwers. Absolutely phenom, both of them, and I would never have thought about grabbing the bottles. Thanks for sharing them Adam!

I also wanted to order a bottle of the Cantillon Iris, but was waiting until after we got our Zwanze. In the meantime, Adam ordered another killer bottle: 2008 Ommegang Bier de Mars (Batch 2). I had this over the summer with Jon and was a big fan. At $18 for the bottle, it was hard to pass up.

At about a quarter of three the place really started to pack in with the anticipation of tapping Zwanze.

And finally after a grand introduction, we had Zwanze!

…which came right about the same time as my bottle of Iris…

…which I finished pouring right around the same time our Mamouche came along!

Damn. At this point we had about 16 glasses of Cantillon sitting on our table. It was pretty crazy. We took our time sipping on all of these great beers, but by the end of the day Adam couldn’t help but order another bottle: a 2009 Brasserie Dupont Avec Les Bons Voeux. Hey, there were going to be no objections coming from me!

Zwanze Day was awesome. I’m really glad I made the decision to make my way up to Portland and hit up a bunch of great spots this weekend. Novare Res was definitely the highlight of the weekend. I had a ton of fun with our group and the crowds and I got to tick FIVE different Cantillons I’ve never had before. My wallet may be regretting it this week but if I had the chance to make the decision again, it would have been the same.

Sour Beer Mail from Illinois

Man, the delivery guy has been treating me well this week. First Zombie Dust and BCBCS, now some Fou’Foune, Gilgamesh, Beat B5, and Cascade Blueberry, plus Bottleworks 13 and some New Glarus to top it off. With the Classic Gueuze versus Gueuze 100% Lambic Bio we did on Tuesday, and Zwanze Day coming up on Saturday, it’s a very Cantillon filled week! No complaints here.

Thanks makdeco!

Incredible Dining at Hen of the Wood


This one is going to be a doozy. I’ve been holding off writing this post because of the sheer volume it would entail to write. It’s a little daunting, honestly. Up until this dinner the most complicated and involving meal I’ve had was the Hill Farmstead Dinner at Armsby Abbey, and this one is even more lengthy, at an addition 7 more dishes. The overall stats of the meal totalled 18 different dishes, 2 carafes and one bottle of wine and a bottle of lambic. Let’s dive into it.

When I first made our reservation it was early in the evening, but as we worked out some kinks for an extra couple of tickets to the Harvest Festival at Hill Farmstead, Dave and Jill were able to head up with Elise and I the night before and join us for Blackback Pub, Prohibition Pig, and Hen of the Wood. To include the extra couple, our reservation was pushed back to 8:30, which admittedly was a little late for dinner but it gave us time for pre-dinner drinks, and it was no matter, our service was still impeccable even though we were the last table seated (and to leave).

If you’re going to be in Waterbury, have a reasonable amount of notice, and can get a group of three or four people, make a reservation a Hen of the Wood. With four people, you can easily split the four entrees, get a handful of dishes from each section of the menu, and really explore everything they have to offer. We grabbed three to four dishes from each course and kept the libations flowing all night long. By the end of the meal we were absolutely stuffed, but this is without a doubt the best way to experience the meal.

Our meal began with three “Bites”: Sweet corn fritters with dragonfly sugarworks maple syrup, Chioggia beets with basil, pine nuts and Bonnieview feta, Cucumbers and baby fennel with crème fraîche. All of the dishes were superb, but the corn fritters were too good to not get a second order.

We followed up the bites with some starters, including Vermont rabbit liver pate with red onion jam, grilled bread and whole grain mustard, Hen of the Woods mushroom toast with poached farm egg and grilled house bacon, whole day-boat calamari with zucchini, tarragon and smoked chili vinaigrette, and lastly duck sausage and local cornmeal polenta with sunny-side-up duck egg. Let me just say that anything with “liver” or “duck” in the name I’m going to be all over. Surprisingly, the Hen of the Woods mushrooms were great, and I’m not even a mushroom fan. The calamari was a first for me. I was a little taken aback, as I’ve never seen a whole squid presented on a dish like that and calamari really isn’t my thing, but at this point in the meal you just learn to trust that the chefs at Hen of the Wood can do no wrong and whatever ends up on the plate in front of you is going to be amazing.

There were a few sides available so naturally we got all three: Local cornmeal polenta with clothbound cheddar, crispy brussel sprouts with prosciutto and pine nuts, broccoli gratin with herb breadcrumb. At the risk of sounding like a broken record here, I don’t really go out of of my way to eat brussel sprouts but Hen of the Wood does it again, they were extremely flavourful and I would not have hesitated ordering them next time.

By the time we got to dinner, we were loosening our belts and we were running out of space on the table. We made way for plates of goat’s milk dumplings with chanterelles and sweet corn, pine nuts and sage, hook and line haddock with heirloom beans, braised fennel, and hazelnuts, smoked hanger steak with grilled carmen peppers and creme fraiche, and Vermont heritage pork with sweet corn, delicata squash and mustard jus. I can’t stress enough how skilled the Hen of the Wood kitchen staff is. Everything was absolutely perfect.

At this point of the night, we really couldn’t eat any more. There was maybe one or two other tables occupied but otherwise the majority of the restaurant was empty. I asked when we’re expected to clear out and the staff graciously replied we could stay as long as we’d like, and they’d be there as long as we were. Though full, we couldn’t help but try some of the dishes they have on the dessert menu, and after a short break, we ended our meal with vanilla-date pudding, butterscotch and walnut crumble, chocolate brownie cake with mint ice cream, and apple galette with honey-ginger ice cream. And of course I can’t see a bottle of Cantillon on the menu without ordering it, so I grabbed a Vigneronne Lambic with Italian muscat grapes to go with dessert as well. Do I really need to say again that everything was perfect? Can I even say that enough?

Hen of the Wood came highly recommended by several of my Vermont BA friends and even Shaun Hill himself. And of course I did my research before heading up there, and there isn’t a single bad thing out there written about the place. Often times in the reviews it’s referred to as being the finest dining in Vermont and one of the must-visit places before you die, so needless to say it had some lofty expectations to live up to. I’ll admit, it lived up to the hype. The entire experience was absolutely incredible. The food was perfect, the service was outstanding, and the ambiance was extremely well thought out.

This was without a doubt the best meal I’ve ever had. I’ve called Waterbury the beer Mecca of the Northeast before, and have suggested the trip to many of my beer nerd friends. But for those of you that can appreciate fine dining as well, I can’t recommend a visit to Hen of the Wood enough.


Hen of the Wood (link) | 92 Stowe Street, Waterbury, VT (map) | All Hen of the Wood Posts

Zwanze Day 2012 Locations Announced

Brasserie Cantillon just dropped an update. The locations pouring Zwanze this year are:

America – USA :

  • Armsby Abbey – Worcester, Massachusetts
  • Avenue Pub – New Orleans, Louisiana
  • ChurchKey – Washington, D.C.
  • Crooked Stave Barrel Cellar – Denver, Colorado
  • Holy Grale – Louisville, Kentucky
  • Hop and Vine – Portland, Oregon
  • Lord Hobo – Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Monk’s Café – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Novare Res Bier Café – Portland, Maine
  • REAL a gastropub – Honolulu, Hawai’i
  • Redlight Redlight – Orlando, Florida
  • Spuyten Duyvil – Brooklyn, New York
  • The Foundry – Kansas City, Missouri
  • The Trappist – Oakland, California
  • Toronado – San Diego, California
  • West Lakeview Liquors – Chicago, Illinois

America – Canada :

  • Canada – Montréal : Dieu du Ciel

I’m a little torn here. You guys know I love Armbsy Abbey, but I’ve also been meaning to get to Portland to do a proper tour of the great breweries and brewpubs in the area. Decisions, decisions…

Brasserie Cantillon Quintessence 2012

– Literally one of the worst picture gallery “video players” I have ever seen (like I need music and sound effects when looking at pictures?) but this album has some of the best insight into Brasserie Cantillon that I’ve ever seen. If you have a few minutes give it a whirl.