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ENBF: Recap


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

* * *

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.


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.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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!


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.

Four Roses: Two Recipes


Over the last several months we've been bouncing back and forth between a score of delicious barrel-sample bottles of Four Roses Bourbon. We narrowed it down to two, each a distinct recipe. Now you get to come taste both and pick a favorite (or not). It's like Choose Your Own Adventure, but with booze. In the past we've visited the distillery to select and purchase a private barrel, but this time, I have to say, it was pretty nice to have the factory come to us.

Fanatics will know about the ten proprietary recipes Four Roses uses (newcomers read here). Basically, they have two grain bills and five separate isolated yeast strains, which in combination give them a multitude of styles.

Quickly, they have one recipe that uses 35% rye (labeled "B") and another that uses only 20% rye (labeled "E"). The rest is more or less corn with a dash of malted barley. Their yeast strains are each labeled by a letter as well, and generally denote the sorts of flavors that one can expect them to produce.


This is the recipe that is standard in their flagship "Single Barrel" offering. It's bottled at 100 proof (50% ABV) and is renowned for its balance of hardiness, sweetness and spice. Ever consistent, the OBSV is an old favorite. This time they sent us a total of ten samples (each from a different barrel) and eventually, after much discussion and delay, we picked a favorite.

As I've mentioned before, it's always amazing how different these barrels can be. I liken it to siblings in a family: certain prominent features persist, like wide-set eyes or a prominent nose, but each has a totally distinct personality. In my estimation this is pretty classic Four Roses Bourbondusty aromatics, rich fruit core, elegant spiciness and a lingering finish. But what set it apart is how all the elements come together in this barrel in nearly perfect proportion.


This is a recipe they reserve mostly for their older whiskeys. The barrel we chose came to us after twelve years, eleven months on the rack. That's some old ass whiskey! Because of its age and placement in the warehouse, and whatever other alchemy goes on in that place, this barrel lost over 70% of its original contents to evaporation. So in the end, it came out at 123 proof (61.5% ABV) and we only got 84 bottles from it. But I'm here to tell you: what it lacks in quantity it far and away makes up for in taste. Very complex.

Nose in the glass, I'm immediately overwhelmed by rich aromas of tobacco barn and creamed corn. The thing about this whiskey to note is that it's very high proof and yet eminently drinkable. The palate has an inviting sweetness that gives way quickly to a big spicy tobacco component. The flavors keep developing all the way through, ending with a slightly smokey and very dry, almost Scotch-like finish. Holy cow!

Come taste with us. Find what you like. It's free, casual & delicious. Saturday, November 16 3-5pm

Pre-sale: Epic Vintage!


The critics are raving. In recent years, Port producers have begun fortifying their wines not with bland neutral spirits as they had in bygone decades, but with quality brandies that impart a newfound complexity of flavor. In addition, the conditions in 2011 were objectively perfect for the production of this fortified wine: the sun shone, the rains came, the harvest was dry and warm. Everything timed out just right. The upshot? Oporto's greatest vintage on record. And critics are going wild about the results. Here's the thing: everyone's keen on the epic nature of the vintage, and so if you want any at all you're going to have to act now. Port, the fortified red wine of Douro, Portugal, is a classic gift for weddings, anniversaries, births and special occasions of all stripes. Why? Because the bottles are all but indestructible, and the longevity offered in a quality Port is the stuff of legend. I once tasted a Port from 1927 that nearly sprang from the bottle, alive and ready to play. It's an amazing thing, old port. I can only imagine what such a perfect set of conditions would look like fifteen, fourty, seventy-five years from now...

So anyone looking for a gift to embody the year, this is your chance. We're taking orders for a pre-sale, which means you commit now and your bottle(s) arrive in the fall. Years from now, folks will be talking about these 2011 vintage ports. It's a matter of you being on the ball or not. If you want in, email or call the shop by Thursday 3pm and we'll place your order directly.

Options below. Email us [] or call us [615-228-3311] with questions, or to place your order.

What It Means

I don't often turn to Robert Parker for wisdom, but in this case I think it's appropriate to quote from someone who's at least tasted the stuff...

Taylor Fladgate

"The palate is sweet and sensual on the entry, plush and opulent, with copious black cherries, boysenberry and cassis fruit, curiously more reminiscent of Fonseca! It just glides across the palate with a mouth-coating, glycerine-tinged finish that has a wonderful lightness of touch, demonstrating how Vintage Port is so much more accessible in its youth nowadays. But don’t let that fool you into dismissing the seriousness or magnitude of this outstanding Taylor’s."


"The palate is silky smooth with not a rough edge in sight, though not a typically voluptuous Fonseca because of the keen thread of acidity and the structure that lends this mighty Port wonderful backbone. A slight viscosity on the finish lacquers the tongue and indicates a core of sweet fruit is ticking away underneath that will surely explode several years after bottling. A tincture of salted licorice on the aftertaste is very attractive. This will turn out to become an outstanding Fonseca, the growing season taming its exuberance with spectacular results. So much potential, but just 6,000 cases were produced."


"It has a beautiful, quite extravagant bouquet with copious black and red fruit, Indian spice, and hints of menthol and orange rind that unfold wonderfully in the glass. The palate is a sumptuous affair, one that is beautifully balanced with velvety smooth, plump tannins, copious black fruit with a harmonious, white pepper-tinged finish that is a decadent delight. This is one of the finest of the declarations of 2011 Vintage Ports, a sublime expression of the vintage you would be foolish not to buy. This is Dow at its best. 5,000 cases have been declared."

Taylor Fladgate 2011 [375ml] — $58 Taylor Fladgate 2011 [750ml] — $115 Taylor Fladgate 2011 [1.5ml] — $230
Fonseca 2011 [375ml] — $58 Fonseca 2011 [750ml] — $115 Fonseca 2011 [1.5L] — $230
Dows 2011 [375ml] — $47 Dows 2011 [750ml] — $90

Craft Beer Week recap


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.

IMG_3674 IMG_3676 IMG_3681

Special Release Beers


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


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


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


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.


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!