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ENBF: Recap

scott

Low clouds threatened all morning to cast the day in a gray warm gloom. First thing: we had been shorted a table, and for a breathless quarter-hour we waited to find out whether we'd be crammed seven at a time into six square feet of sodden grass. Busying his hands on the hem of his brown jean jacket, Will turned to the sky and let out a nervous laugh. "It's a little cold, isn't it?" At our knees sat an assload of beer (and a firkin of cider), nearly all of which was clocked for spring weather—the kinds of seasonal quaffers that quench best on a heat-drawn thirst.

When a third table appeared we made quick work of rearranging the jockey boxes and lining up the kegs for tapping. We taped labels, set up swag, scrawled out a schedule, and before long our man Tyler came loping through the day's first show of sun. A most welcome and radiant countenance, and with it came the first glint of the festive mood that marked the rest of the day. As if to punctuate the shift, Will hoisted the six liter and cracked a boyish smile.

We finished off the fine details of setup and about 11:45am we poured our first glass, a dram of Schneider & Brooklyner Hopfen-Weisse. The day felt suddenly light, and as the tap mechanics from Ajax-Turner cranked the last regulator into place, the flood gates opened bringing a surge of expectant faces and off we all went together in a deluge of some of the world's finest beer.

East Nashville Beer Festival

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It's important to note that while only about half of what we poured on Saturday is "high-gravity" by Tennessee standards, all that's about to change. You may have heard about the new legislation. One of the fun changes for us: As of July 1, we'll be able to sell all gravities of beer (I'm looking at you All Day IPA!). So whatever your favorite beer from the festival, we can make that available in the shop come summer!

Some of these beers (denoted by an *) are already available to us, and those are highlighted in previous blog posts. But for completion's sake, below is a full list of beers we poured at the 2014 East Nashville Beer Festival.

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DRAFT *Petrus Aged Pale (Belgium) *Petrus Aged Red (Belgium) *Wild Beer Co. Bliss (UK) Wild Beer Co. Iduna (UK) Cuvée de Jacobins (Belgium) *Ichtegems Grand Cru Flemish Red (Belgium) 1809 Berlinerweisse (Germany) Banhof Pineus Gose (Germany) *Schneider & Brooklyner Hopfen-Weisse (Germany) *Uerige Doppelsticke Altbier (Germany) Birra del Borgo ReAle Extra (Italy) *Birra del Borgo & Dogfish Head My Antonia (Italy) *St. Feuillien & Green Flash Belgian Coast IPA (Belgium) *De Glazen Toren Saison d'Erpe Mere (Belgium) *Vapeur Saison de Pipaix (Belgium)

FIRKIN *Etienne Dupont Cidre Bouche (France)

BOTTLE *St. Feuillien Tripel (Belgium) *De Glazen Toren Saison d'Erpe Mere Lentebier (Belgium) Hanseens Oude Geuze Lambic (Belgium) Hanseens Experimental Cassis Lambic (Belgium)

* * *

And certainly not least. . . A HUGE thanks to all of our volunteers for doing such a bang up job and making the day more than we could have hoped for. Clay, Alanna, Nathan, Blye, Thomas, Shelby, Jared and Jessica: you all really brought it! We could not have had such a wild success (nor so much delicious fun) without you. Thanks!

ENBF: Wild Beer Co.

scott

Introducing one of the boldest lines of beer I've seen in a while. Wild Beer Co. is a British company remixing continental tradition with innovation and looking for a new third way through. On Saturday we'll unveil two of Wild Beer Co.'s strange saisons, 'Bliss' and 'Iduna.'

Bliss (not yet available in bottles) is a darker, hardier interpretation that is loaded with apricots in the boil. Adding the fruit at this stage (rather than later, during fermentation) means a big fruit presence without the sweetness. To make things even stranger, Brettanomyces is added to give the beer a very dry, very funky and very complex palate. This is a beer that will develop over time, evolve into something wildly different. Not sure how old the keg we're getting will be, but no doubt it's going to be like nothing else at the festival.

Iduna (11.2 oz bottles — $10) is maybe a smidgen more traditional, but just a smidgen. It too is a saison with fruit, in this case Somerset apples. Wild yeasts are allowed to develop and a boatload of New Zealand hops are added. The final touch? Champagne yeasts to condition the beer in bottle (or keg). Dry, spritzy, delicate and really a surprise on your tongue. This one will wake you up!

Both of these beers just landed in the shop yesterday, and we'll have them both on tap tomorrow at the East Nashville Beer Festival. You won't want to miss them. Quenchers with a singular sense of style.

Wild Beer Co. Bliss 6.0% ABV

Wild Beer Co. Iduna Cru 9.0% ABV

And to close things out, one of the strangest (wildest) Flintstones episodes ever.

ENBF: Belgian Coast

scott

There's a pretty serious love affair going on between the San Diego brewery Green Flash and the Belgian house of Brasserie St. Feuillien. St. Feuillien was an Irish monk martyred in the charcoal forest near Le Roeulx in 655 AD. Nearly 1400 years later we drink a beer named for this traveling holy man. The brewery is in this same town, and the Friart family are the heirs of the abbey brewing tradition that is so rich in this part of the world. They founded the brewery in 1873 and have been making world class beer ever since.

When Chuck Silva visited the brewery several years ago, he knew special things were happening. Belgian Coast IPA (12oz bottles — $5) is now the third collaboration between the breweries. Another trans-Atlantic marriage of styles—old meets new and we get the best of both!

Who knew a beer could unleash this much thunder. . .

It turns out Belgian Coast is not nearly as tame as it sounds. This is a totally stormy, totally seductive brew: very fragrant, a touch fruity, intensely bitter, rich through the finish. No doubt this keg will kick fast on Saturday.

Also, be sure to keep up with what we're tapping as we tap it on the day of the festival. Follow us on twitter @woodlandwine or with the hashtag #woodlandtaps. We'll be doing it live all day.

St. Feuillien & Green Flash Belgian Coast IPA 7.5% ABV

ENBF: My Antonia

scott

A look backward into the past, trying to reconcile its pastoral beginnings with its current big shot trans-Atlantic prestige. . . Like the namesake Cather novel, My Antonia is a beer that scaffolds its complexity atop a simple and rustic foundation. Here's Dogfish Head brewer Sam Calagione and his grandmother discussing their boozy Italian-American roots.

Calagione hooked up with Italian brewery Birra del Borgo to produce this masterclass in innovating style. They call it an Imperial Pilsner, basically a big hefty East Coast craft version of the crisp lager style born in western Czech Republic. It's continually hopped, and as such deeply aromatic in the glass. All the refreshment of a pilsner, all the muscular flavor you've come to expect from Dogfish Head.

But Dogfish Head doesn't distribute in TN, you say. True. How do we have it? Birra del Borgo is distributed by one of our favorite importers, B. United. Thus we go end-around for one sweet little sip of glory. Come get you some!

Dogfish Head - Birra del Borgo collaboration My Antonia Imperial Pilsner (750ml bottles - $18) 7.5% ABV

ENBF: Vapeur Saison de Pipaix

scott

My colleague Kelley-Frances just told me, "I like to sweat a lot." Who knows what she was talking about (...) but I'm going with her desire for a thirst-quenching beer. Today we're talking Saison de Pipaix from La Brasserie à Vapeur.

Saison as a style was created way back as a potable way to hydrate migrating farmhands in the French/Belgian countryside. It also doubled as payment (I've heard figures as staggering as 5 gallons per day!). The Pipaix was first created in 1785, and is the only beer Vapeur has kept in its arsenal over the subsequent centuries.

Pipaix (750ml bottles — $11) has been a favorite here since we first started carrying it last year. It's one of those beers that has a crisp lunchtime appeal, with a little touch of animal wildness in the aromas and flavors, a little spice to clean things up. It's more tart than other, simpler Saisons (almost like a full-bodied geuze), and its complexity is deceptively subtle. Never had this one on draft before... It'll be one to come back for on a second round.

Brasserie à Vapeur "Saison de Pipaix" 6.5% ABV

ENBF: Petrus Oak Aged

scott

Up to your ears in sour! Petrus Aged Pale is aged for 24-36 months in large oak barrels. During that time, millions of micro-organisms interact with the beer and create lactic acids. The result is an incredibly dry and complex beer, something akin to Brut Champagne. sour_face_answer_7_xlarge

The first sip will pucker you up quick. But sips 2 and 3 open the gates to beer heaven (hence Petrus, the Latin name for St. Peter). The Aged Pale is the 'mother beer' for the Petrus brand, meaning they blend this beer into all of their other beers to add signature style and complexity. At some point, beer guru Michael Jackson convinced Petrus to bottle the Aged Pale on its own... Thank Peter he did! Enjoy this one on tap Saturday.

Petrus Aged Pale (11.2 oz bottles — $6) 7.3% ABV

ENBF: Bosteels Tripel

scott

Ostensibly the only Belgian tripel brewed with three grains (oats, barley & wheat). Bosteels' Tripel Karmeliet is a modern classic, one that inspires us to keep brewing, and of course, to keep drinking. Hopefully we all stop a little short of what happens to this guy. But who knows, with this one on draft at the East Nashville Beer Festival, it might get loud!

What he said.

The recipe is from 1679, and Bosteels has been around for more than 200 years. With that kind of provenance, I guess I should expect nothing less. And yet still, every next first sip comes over me as powerfully as the last. I swoon for this one.

Brouwerij Bosteels Tripel Karmeliet (750ml bottles - $13) 8.0% ABV

ENBF: Uerige Dopplesticke

scott

We'll have this one on tap at ENBF. UerigeDoppelsticke

To love Doppelsticke is easy, but to understand it takes time. Let's go back to the mid-1800s, in Germany. With the rise of refrigeration, Bavarian-style lager beer has suddenly swept across the land and threatens to wipe ales nearly out of existence. In the west, traditionalists hang on by a thread. Cologne begins making Kölsch (a top-fermented ale conditioned at cold temperatures to mimic the crispness of lager) and Düsseldorf begins making Altbier. Or, rather, continues making the same beer it has always made, but begins calling it Altbier, or "old beer," to distinguish it from the new trendy bottom-fermented beers called lagers.

Sticke is a special style of Altbier derived from the happy accidents of brewers. The word sticke derives from the local dialect word stickum ("secret"), meaning the secret recipes these brewers found by messing up their regular beer and having to add more malt and hops to find a balance. Eventually it became a thing, and today sticke is brewed twice a year by only a few breweries in the city of Düsseldorf. And only one of them brews a Doppelsticke ("double sticke"), Germany's answer to the barleywine ale.

Zum Uerige is a brewpub, a corner bar in the heart of old town of Düsseldorf. And they just happen to make some of the best ales in Germany. Dopplesticke is their invention, a one of a kind, big, rich, aromatic dark beer with a hop bitterness unlike anything in its class. You really have to see and taste this one to believe it. Yowzers. We've had it for a while in bottles (11.2 oz - $11), but on draft? Hells yeah. Can't wait!

ENBF: 10 Days & Counting

scott

The East Nashville Beer Festival is but 10 short days away. If you didn't already know, Woodland Wine Merchant will be there in style this year. We'll have 10 taps flowing, rotating through more than 20 of Europe's finest brews. Plus, a mammoth surprise you won't want to miss. To whet your appetite, I'm going to post a beer a day for the next 10 days. So check back and get a little taste of what we're up to. You will not be disappointed.

First, a bit of ephemera from the past to get us going:

No, Heineken will not be present at the ENBF, but I do hope my beer glass rings so pure as theirs. Cheers, ya'll!

Saison_dErpe-Mere_Lentbier

I'll start with a beer that's only available in bottles (we'll have some on hand to taste). It's a special seasonal brew from KleinBrouwerij De Glazen Toren, "Saison D'Erpe-Mere Lentebier." If you know their year-round D'Erpe-Mere then your mouth is already watering. This version sees a more vigorous fermentation with more sugars and yeasts to create a whopping 9.0% beer. It's hopped in the boil using the same spicy Hellertaur hops as it's little sister, but then "late-hopped" with hop flowers near the end of conditioning to give it that special Lent season flavor. And of course, it's bottle conditioned. Just hit our shelves this week (750ml - $15).

Rich but dry with lots of fruity and spicy esters. It wears its hefty 9% ABV like an unbuttoned coat. The freshness just keeps billowing up inside. Perfect for early spring.

Yes, We Can

scott

You may have noticed the quiet invasion, over the last few years, of aluminum cans into the world of craft beer. I mean, if you drink beer there's no way you haven't. And while some breweries are really getting innovative with their canning, others are just shooting straight. There are many reasons to love drinking craft beer in cans, especially on Memorial Day Weekend. Here's a short list:

6 Reasons to Drink Craft Beer from Cans this Memorial Day Weekend

1.  Bobbling a cooler and chair with one arm while walking sandle-clad past a sign that reads "No Glass," and stopping to savor the moment as you tip back a cold can of Dale's;

2.  Feeling the aluminum give way in your grasp as you lift your arm in the air victorious, little foam bits of Saison raining down on your sundappled face and crowning you All-Time Cornhole Champion of the World;

3.  Stomping down on an empty and hearing the snappy crunch of collapse, and the feathery weight of the recycling bin as you drag it to the alley the next morning;

4.  The tight spiral of the Torpedo can sailing from the starboard deck ten yards into the open hands of a gently floating friend;

5.  Buying Monkeynaut at a dollar off;

6.  Nostalgia aside, it's way better than Pabst.

Craft Beer Week recap

woodlandwinemerchant

All in all a great week. We had two in-store tastings, a beer dinner down at Marché, and we held our own as the only European beer contingent at the East Nashville Beer Festival. We were lucky the rain held off til the end, and we didn't quite run out of beer (believe it or not!). We even popped a jeroboam (3L bottle) of St. Feuillien Tripel, which went over pretty well with the crowd. Pics after the jump.

St Feuillien Tripel St Feuillien Tripel

 

Thursday night we hung out with with Dan, brewer at Straight to Ale, who was in the store for a couple hours. We opened all of their high-gravity selections, including a special release collaboration between Straight to Ale, Blue Pants and Yellowhammer (all from in and around Huntsville, AL). They split costs on a bottling line and came together for a series of four brews. Liberation is a smoked Doppelbock that tastes about like banana pancakes with maple bacon on top. Holy wow. Only a few cases made it into Nashville. As of this writing we have about a case left in stock.

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Special Release Beers

woodlandwinemerchant

Continuing with Nashville Craft Beer Week... We're ramping up to Saturday's East Nashville Beer Festival. Once again, we'll have a tent with eight different Belgian beers. Here's what we're pouring:

  • Brouwerij Bosteels Tripel Karmeliet
  • Omer. Traditional Blond
  • Brasserie St. Feuillien Saison
  • Brasserie St. Feuillien Grand Cru
  • Brasserie St. Feuillien Brune Réserve
  • Gulden Draak (Dark Triple)
  • Poperings Hommel
  • De Leyerth Brouwerijen Urthel Samaranth Quadrupel

Also, we currently have a few really special bottle releases that will likely be gone by the week's end.

Brooklyn Silver Anniversary Lager

Brooklyn Brewery just put out their Silver Anniversary Lager, bottled in 750ml bottles with caged corks, and weighing in at a hefty 9%. It's been 25 years since they brewed their first batch... And they're (rightly) making a pretty big show of all the success. Check out the brewery blog for the full story... Or stop by the shop to snag a bottle of brewing history.

Speaking of really successful breweries, New Belgium is stirring things up, too. The current selection of their Lips of Faith series features four high-gravity beers (compared to the usual two).

Lips of Faith

That includes the La Folie 2013, which is up over the TN h/g mark for the first time ever (at 7% abv). Watch out, it's even more sour than usual.

Nashville Craft Beer Week

scott

Three great events this week. Plus, we'll have a tent at the East Nashville Beer Festival on Saturday! We're going to be pouring up some of Belgium's finest ales. Which means we'll probably be the day's only European beer contingent. I think everything else is pretty well focused on American craft ales. Stop by for a dash of old world charm. Also this week, we have two free in-store tastings and a beer dinner in collaboration with Marché Artisan Foods. More after the jump.

Tuesday, March 19 5:00 — 7:00pm

North Coast Brewing Co.

Tonight we're hosting North Coast Brewing Co. for 90 mins of free-flowing beer. It's going to be awesome. Here's a list (in no particular order) of the beers we'll be pouring:

  • Acme India Pale Ale
  • Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout
  • Pranqster Belgian-style Golden Ale
  • Brother Thelonious Belgian-style Abbey Ale
  • Le Merle Belgian-style Farmhouse Ale

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Wednesday, March 20 6:30pm @ Marché Artisan Foods

Lagunitas

Beer dinner with Lagunitas Brewing Co.

Five courses & five beer pairings. $40 You'd seriously be crazy not to go... Call (615) 262-1111 for reservations.

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Thursday, March 21 5:00 — 7:00pm

Straight to Ale

 

Thursday we're hosting regional up-and-comers Straight to Ale. These guys are from Huntsville, AL and just hit the Nashville scene at the end of last year. And... they pretty much can't be stopped. If you haven't had their beer, it's good on a level that transcends what you might think about Alabama beer (and hell, the entire Southeast really). Come chat 'em up. Here's what we're pouring:

  • Monkeynaut India Pale Ale
  • Laika Russian Imperial Stout
  • Unobtanium Old Ale
  • Intimidator Doppelbock
  • Hellfire Quadrupel
  • plus a surprise NEW RELEASE!

Barrel-Aged Beers

woodlandwinemerchant

rasputinNCWEBNorth Coast Brewing Co. Barrel-Aged Old Rasputin XV Russian Imperial Stout aged in Bourbon barrels >twenty bucks

Every year North Coast ages a special batch of its Old Rasputin in Bourbon barrels. Prior to 2012, this beer was only available at the brewery. In this 15th edition, as its popularity has grown across the nation, this top-rated brew is available for the first time in Nashville. Very limited release.

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blackopsNCWEB Brooklyn Brewery Brooklyn Black Ops Stout aged in Bourbon barrels >twenty bucks

Production ramped slightly for this year's release of the much balyhooed Black Ops. 1200 cases, up from last year's 1100. Bottle conditioned with Champagne yeasts and aged in Woodford Reserve barrels for four months. Pours like engine oil, tastes like boozy heaven. Limited release.

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unobtaniumNC2WEB Straight to Ale Unobtainium Old Ale aged in Bourbon barrels >twelve bucks

When Straight to Ale finally made it to TN, I was surprised how consistent their beers are. From the RIS Laika to the fresh & clean IPA Monkeynaut, these are undersung craft beers from an unlikely place—Huntsville AL. This Old Ale is full of rich, sweet booziness. One to share over a sliver of Stilton. Limited release.