Microbrewed Beer of the Month Club Review

microwbrews

 

When you’re tired of the mass-produced brews that line the grocery store shelves, you may want to give craft beers a chance. The Microwbrewed Beer of the Month Club is a cool way to try creative craft beers chosen by professional Brewmasters. This spring selection introduced me to a couple of new favorites that I can’t wait to stock in my fridge.

Saratoga IPA – Bittersweet Experience

Saratoga_BeerofMonthClub

Saratoga was the strongest tasting IPA I’ve ever tasted. It poured a deep golden into the glass and had an idle foam. The first sip blew me away, as I wasn’t expecting such robust flavor, which lingers. While the earthiness overwhelmed me initially, I eventually tasted the notes of citrus.

NOTESStyle: IPA | Serving Temp: 45-50˚ F | ABV: 6.8% | Suggested Glassware: Pint Glass or Mug

 

Kwaremont – A Strong First Impression

Kwaremont_BeerofMonthClub

As the Club suggested, my boyfriend and I drank Kwaremont at a warmer temperature. It has an amber hue with a big head. The first sips were a little off-putting, but it grew on us. My bf likened it to a better-tasting Heineken.

NOTESStyle: Belgian Blonde Ale | Serving Temp: 45-52˚ F | ABV: 6.6% | Suggested Glassware: Tulip, Snifter, Goblet

 

Praga Premium Pils – A Real Winner

Praga_BeerofMonthClub

Praga Premium won the World Beer Championships Gold Medal, and I can see how. This pilsner was delicious! Apparently, the Czechs produced the first pilsner-style beer in the 1800s. So, they know a little something about beer. At one point in time, I was all about the Beck’s (a pilsner from Germany), which had a real earthy taste. After tasting Praga Premium, I questioned that life’s choice.

The pour of the Praga Premium was golden and dreamy. It had a strong hoppy aroma that I actually liked. The Beer Club suggested pizza as a pairing, so I had to oblige. Praga and spinach-cheese-pie – now, that’s a good life choice.

NOTESStyle: Czech Pilsner | Serving Temp: 42-47˚ F | ABV: 4.7% | Suggested Glassware: Pilsner Glass or Flute

 

Black Bavarian – Dark & Lovely

BlackBavarian_BeerofMonthClub

I unknowingly saved the best for last. The pour of the Black Bavarian was sexy – luscious dark brown liquid cascaded into the glass and was topped with a thick, sudsy tan top. I was like a kid drinking a (spiked) milkshake. Black Bavarian was a sumptuous beer with a slightly bitter aftertaste, but it didn’t remain. This black beauty had a delicious chocolatey-fruity taste that needed no pairing. I’ll definitely stock Black Bavarian for the summer.

NOTESStyle: Schwarzbier | Country: United States | Serving Temp: 47-55˚ F | ABV: 5.86% | Suggested Glassware: Pilsner Glass or Mug


International Wine of the Month Club Review – Bordeaux

Bordeaux

My mother considers herself to be a wine enthusiast, so it didn’t take much arm-twisting for her to join me in taste-testing a selection of wines from the International Wine of the Month Club.

With a membership in the International Wine of the Month Club, you receive a monthly delivery of two bottles of wines, including hard-to-find vintages. You can customize your membership at any time and select two reds, two whites or one of each. The International Wine of the Month Club also makes a memorable gift.

Mom and I sipped on a Château Chanteloiseau Cuvée Jean Jules Graves Blanc 2014 and a Château Ducasse Graves 2012 from France.

 

Château Chanteloiseau Cuvée Jean Jules Graves Blanc 2014 – Zesty and Crisp

Chateau Chanteloiseau

Honestly, I couldn’t tell anything about the Château Chanteloiseau Cuvée Jean Jules by the delicate citrus aroma, so I had no choice but to dive in for a taste. I poured the straw-colored cuvee in my favorite stemless glass. The first sip was zesty and went down dry and crisp.

The Château Chanteloiseau Cuvée Jean Jules is a Bordeaux blend of the classic white-wine grapes of Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon. Sauvignon is recognized for having a grassy aroma, and I do like a good Sauvignon Blanc.

My mother found the Château Chanteloiseau Cuvée Jean Jules to be “pleasant,” but not for “easy drinking.” Huh? “It’s a good wine that I’d drink with a chicken and pasta dish,” she said, “but not if I’m just sitting around and want to drink the wine by itself – you know, easy drinking.” Okaaay.

This wine was easy like Sunday morning- if Sunday morning was a brunch with shrimp and grits and unlimited glasses of this wine! Experts at International Wine Club recommend pairing Château Chanteloiseau Cuvée Jean Jules with rich fish dishes and poultry.

The Château Chanteloiseau is a bolder wine than I prefer, but I’d balance it with a subtle dish such as chicken with lemon butter caper sauce.

NOTES – Country: France | Vintage: 2014 | Grape Varietals: Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc | ABV: 12% | Serving Temp: 40˚F | Winery: Château Chanteloiseau (“Song of the Bird”)

 

Château Ducasse Graves 2012  – “Now, this is easy drinking!”

chateau-beauregard-ducasse-graves-rouge-2012-bottle

A red Bordeaux screams France to me and conjures images of the country I have fantasized about since I was a tween. In those dreams, I spend endless days shopping, eating delectable food and drinking red wine all day. I don’t have much experience with Bordeaux, but my mother was more than happy to teach me.

Mom and I more than tasted this bottle – we finished it one sitting! We followed her rules and let the wine aerate first. The Château Ducasse Graves 2012 Graves was right up her alley. “Now, this is easy drinking!” she exclaimed. “I can relax and drink this and eat popcorn.” That made sense because she favors more what I consider “robust,” earthy wines such as Cabernets and Merlots.

The Château Ducasse Graves was smoky but had a nice berry tone. It felt luxurious in my mouth, like Paris in the spring. Ahhh. I can see it now – I’m sitting at an outdoor restaurant eating steak frites and drinking a bottle of Château Ducasse Graves. I know, so clichéd – don’t judge me.

NOTES – Country: France | Vintage: 2012 | Grape Varietals: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc | ABV: 13.5% | Serving Temp: 60˚-64˚ F | Winery: Château Beauregard Ducasse


Beer of the Month Club Review – Troubadour Westkust and Sly Fox 20

 

TroubadourSlyFox20Beerofmonth

I am not a beer connoisseur by any means, but I do enjoy a good pint (or two!) on balmy spring nights.

Coming home to an especially warm April evening after a long day, I thought it a perfect time to try two selections from the Rare Beer Club - part of the Microbrewed Beer of the Month Club.

SlyFox20Troubadour

When you choose the Rare Beer Club - part of the Microbrewed Beer of the Month Club, each month you’ll receive two, 750 ml bottles of exclusive and rare beers from around the world and a newsletter with detailed tasting notes, beer profiles, brewery histories, and suggested food pairings.

Troubadour Westkust – Dark and Handsome

TroubadourBeerofthemonth

The Troubadour Westkust is a black IPA from Ursel, Belgium. I’m a huge fan of Belgium beer (especially Witbiers such as Hoegaarden), so I was excited to taste Troubadour. It is a Black Imperial Pale Ale (IPA) that’s fermented in the bottle and brewed with 100% Belgium Westkust hops. This beer was surprising for me, as I’ve only seen light-hued IPAs.

The label referred to the Troubadour Westkust as a black and bitter Ale with hoppy flavors and barley malt.” The beer had a velvety pour, layering into the glass with a thick beige head. Its rich chocolate color reminded me of Guinness stout, which I thoroughly enjoy on occasion. But unlike the thick Guinness, Troubadour was light on the tongue. The bitter aftertaste of coffee was indeed noticeable but not unpleasant after a few sips.

At 9.2% alcohol by volume (ABV), the full-bodied beer packed a punch. I enjoyed the first sips alone, but after a while, I craved some strawberries. Sweet, fresh-picked berries went well with the Troubadour’s assertive flavor. Beer of the Month Club suggests pairing chocolate or grilled meat. Nexttime, I think I’ll have chocolate-covered strawberries!

Drinking the Troubador Westkust took me back to a beer garden in Nolita (New York City) where my friends and I would gather during the summer after work. We’d soak in the warm air and suds with pints of Guinness and the occasional Irish Car Bomb :).

NOTES – Alcohol by Volume: 9.2% | Club: Rare Beer Club| Suggested Glassware: Snifter, Tulip, or Pinot Glass | Country: Belgium | Brewery: Brouwerij The Musketeers

 

Sly Fox 20 – Sneaks Up on Ya!

SlyFox20Beerofthemonth

With a pop of the cork, I was ready for the Sly Fox 20. The golden ale poured hazy with a massive sudsy head. Those bubbles were huge!

Sly Fox 20 is a Belgian-style ale from the Sly Fox Brewing Company, a family business in Phoenixville, Pa. The brewery produced this limited edition in celebration of its 20th anniversary (1994).

The 6.6% ABV of the Sly Fox 20 is more my speed, as I can comfortably drink without fear of becoming tipsy after one pint. But this tasted way more like an 8-9% to me. The citrusy aroma was enticing, and I noted some sweetness at the end of a sip with a crisp finish.

I thought Sly Fox 20 could stand on its own, so I didn’t pair it. Beer of the Month recommends “buttery, fattier pairings,” such has chicken or duck to complement the Sly Fox’s “effervescent carbonation and pepper.”

NOTES – Alcohol by Volume: 6.6%| Club: Rare Beer ClubSuggested Glassware: Tulip, Chalice, or Pinot Glass | Country: United States | Brewery: Sly Fox Brewing Company

Enjoy and drink responsibly!