Meet Alex McIlwee – our brand-spanking new (female!) Beer Manager. (Not many ladies hold that title. Anywhere.) She’s been with Bottles for the past 2+ years and we’re so excited for her new role. Alex is a Scranton, PA native (yes, where The Office takes place and yes, where Joe Biden is from – she’s very proud of both those facts), but says she’ll probably never leave Rhode Island. When she’s not at the store she’s most likely doing something involving food: cooking food, eating food, pairing drinks with food, or reading about food. Any other shred of free time is spent with her pets whom she loves dearly, or exploring every nook and cranny of our beautiful state. Oh, and drinking beer. She does that a lot.
1. Fave beer in the store right now?
Two Roads Passionfruit Gose. It is wicked tart and dangerously chuggable in those tall boy pounders. Especially tasty with raw littlenecks.
2. What beer trend is about to explode?
I’m enjoying all of the sour beer releases, and I’ve noticed the rest of my generation is, too (I chalk this up to shoving handfuls of Sour Patch Kids and Warheads in our mouths as kids). On the opposite end of the spectrum, quality coffee in beers is poppin’ which is so freaking smart. Brewers combined two of the world’s biggest vices (caffeine and beer) and did it really well. I respect that!
3. The beer/food pairing you crave the most is…
Whole belly clams and fries with a New England style IPA is arguably the best pairing in the universe.
4. What are your plans for the Bottles beer program for the next 6 months?
Showcasing the big seasonal products and limited edition items is vital but I strive to provide as much local product as possible. Being able to sell a brand that I believe in while simultaneously knowing the hands and people that put work into it is such a simple concept yet so profound to me.
5. This summer we should be drinking…
Session IPAs. Great beers that have those admirable IPA qualities but with softer flavors and a lower ABV that pair beautifully with mowing the lawn, fishing, and sitting on the porch.
6. What’s your desert island brew?
Ahhhhh this is hard. Allagash Hoppy Table Beer or Jack’s Abby House Lager. Simple, no-frills, delicious.
7. What excites you most in today’s beer world?
Canning! A lot of local businesses are investing in canning systems (Revival, for instance) and a lot of bigger craft companies that swore they’d never can are canning (looking at you Dogfish Head!). Cans are crushable, portable, and better for the environment. It is a no-brainer.
8. The most underrated beer or style of beer is…
Definitely ciders. They get cast aside and bad reps for being fruit bombs or “chick beers” but they’re bursting with character and make killer cocktails.
9. Fave style of beer?
I love super sour and funky gose, but at the end of the day a good lager is all I really want.
OK, so that was more than 5 questions, but Alex is such a font of good beer info that we couldn’t help ourselves. Be sure to ask for her next time you’re in store and what to know what’s new, tasting good, and what to drink.