Category Archives: Learn About Beer

Black Hog Brewing Co.

blackhog_cansWe’re rolling out the welcome mat for cans of Black Hog Brewing’s terrific beer.

Made just down a ways in Connecticut (Oxford, to be exact), the popular craft brewery with the super hot label art is the creation of three beer-loving pals: Tyler Jones, whose brewing chops were honed at Mercury Brewing, Smuttynose and Portsmouth Brewery (NH), and brothers Jason and Tom Sobocinski (the latter a PC alum!), owners of the fantastic New Haven-based cheese shop & bistro Caseus, the award-winning bar Ordinary, and Smoke Box BBQ.

We love their Granola Brown Ale, which is brewed with a mix of oatmeal, grains, hops and roasted malts. The guys say they were inspired to make this beer on the hikes they take before beginning one of their legendary pig roasts (which they do often, hence the brewery’s name). While hiking and munching on crunchy granola they decided to incorporate the oat flavors into their beer. It’s smooth and malty, and finishes with – you guessed it – notes of chocolate and raisin.

Their Easy Rye’ Da is an “easy drinkin’” low ABV rye India Pale Ale. They cut back the ABV on this session style rye so that, according to their (really awesome) website, “you can cruise on it all day long, take it easy, have a few and remember what it’s all about.” It’s hoppy, with sweet and spicy citrus notes.

And check out the super hot Ginga’ Ninja, a red India Pale Ale brewed with 6 lbs of fresh ginger in every batch, and named after Tyler’s fiery-haired wife. It’s all ginger up front, and finishes with a lasting hop flavor.

In addition to images of their vibrant design-forward cans, the Black Hog Brewing website is chock full of strong pairing suggestions. And, not surprisingly given Tom and Jason’s background, lots of terrific cheese pairings are offered.

Black Hog Brewing Co.’s cans are on sale for the month of March at Bottles. Come give them a try!

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Drink Your Chocolate

Skip the chewable chocolate this Valentine’s Day and give your sweetie the sippable sort. We’re crushing on a few bottles made with real chocolate and genuine skill, those that are good enough to be enjoyed year-round.

Meletti Cioccolato
Thick, dark, creamy, this Italian liqueur is pure pourable decadence. It’s made in Italy with milk and Dutch chocolate, sugar and alcohol, and is intensely rich and smooth with a balanced sweetness. We’re crazy for the Cioccolato any way it’s served: cold & neat (think adult pudding pop), warmed, over ice cream, or as a mixer in any number of cocktails.
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Young’s Double Chocolate Stout
This full-flavored dark beer made with chocolate malt and real chocolate is luxurious without being overtly sweet. It’s certainly a satisfying treat on its own, but for something special, consider combining it in a frosty mug with vanilla ice cream and bourbon for the ultimate grown-up float.
vday_stout

 

Nickle Creek Decadence
A Rhody original, from Foster! This beautiful bottle, reminiscent of Port, has warm flavors of cherry and plum that make way for a dark, bittersweet chocolate finish. It’s a delicious way to end a romantic dinner.
vday_decadence

Cheers and Happy Valentine’s Day!

Super Bowl Party Pairings

So your team hasn’t made it to the big game. So what. We can think of at least one reason why this could be a good thing: You now have more time to pay attention to the food on the table and the drink on the bar than the action on the field. And sure, yes, ok, your standard suds will be just fine with traditional game day fare. But put in a touch of extra effort, people – it’ll make game day that much more delicious.

Here are the brews we’ll be drinking when watching the two teams vie for their big fancy rings.

superbowl_snack_sausage

Smokey Sausages with Doppelbocks. The German beer’s big, strong and dark maltiness is a natural fit with the smoky meaty flavor of cocktail sausages & pigs in a blanket. We’re reaching for the  Weihenstephan Korbinian Doppelbock for its figgy, nutty roastiness.

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Bowls of Chili with Big IPAs. A classic marriage of a hot-spicy chili with the hop-spicy IPA. We’re going for the sticky, hoppy, bold Lord Hobo Boom Sauce IPA.

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Buffalo Wings & Blue Cheese Sauce with German Pilsners. The crisp, floral and refreshing German pils will balance out the wings’ addictive cheesy, spicy goodness. And the classic Bitburger Pilsner fits the bill for us every time.

superbowl_snacks_dip

Potato Chips & Onion Dip with Saisons. Nothing’s easier than ripping open a bag of chips and dipping them into a can of good old creamy, herbal onion dip. Nothing, that is, except cracking opening a bottle of a saison, whose herbal and spicy notes will balance that creamy dip. Allagash Saison, anyone?

Enjoy the game and may the best team win!

Top 5 Fall Beers

 

Top Fall Beers 2015 - Pumpkin

At the end of summer, there is a sudden and abrupt change in season, at least in the beer world.

Though we may not be ready for it, we are inundated with mountains of pumpkin, harvest, and fest beers, even though it’s still warm outside. Each year, the familiar arrivals are joined by a growing roster of newbies, and it can be easy to overlook some unfamiliar gems.

So here are some of our favorites for your perusal. We hope that, when you’re ready, you’ll be able to find a new favorite from the mix. Cheers! – Liam, Bottles Beer Manager

1. Grey Sail Autumn Winds

What’s better than Grey Sail’s award winning Captain’s Daughter? A Grey Sail beer you can actually find! This rich & bready brew is a great way to usher in another New England fall, especially with the sausages you barbecue before packing up the grill for another season.

2. Mayflower Autumn Wheat

Mayflower’s perennial favorite among the Bottles’ staff. A dark wheat ale, it has the richness & complexity of a robust ale, but with the lightness of a wheat beer. It’s the perfect brew for those in-between days, when it’s not quite summer & not quite fall yet.

3. Ayinger Oktober Fest-Marzen

When in doubt, go for a classic. Ayinger makes a benchmark Oktoberfest beer. Deep amber in color, with a crisp, clean, & refreshing maltiness. Drink like a German!

4. Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale

Smutty pumpkin makes the list because it’s one of the driest, purest pumpkin beers out there. It tastes like a real beer, with just a smattering of spice & toasty pumpkin. With a dry, lightly hoppy finish, it accentuates the best flavors of the season without a cloying finish.

5. Two Roads Roadsmary’s Baby

On the other end of the pumpkin spectrum is this surprisingly quaffable rum barrel-aged beast of a beer. We think everything Two Roads makes is liquid gold, and this beer is no exception, striking a very tasty balance of spice, oak, & malt.

BONUS BEER!

Allagash Saison Beer

Not ready for summer to be over? Can’t find your favorite summer ale in midst of the pumpkin conflagration? Try one of our favorite Saisons as an alternative to the autumnal madness. Allagash Saison is available year round, and tastes like sunshine in a glass. Cheers!

 

How to throw an Oktoberfest party!

How to have a Oktoberfest Beer Party

Friends! Let us beckon the arrival of fall and cooler weather by throwing an Oktoberfest party! Brisk autumn evenings provide the perfect back drop for having a casual get together with friends and family.

Historically the first Oktoberfest was held in celebration of Prince Ludwig’s marriage to Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen on October 12, 1810. Citizens from all over Munich were invited to come and join in the celebrations.

Traditionally Oktoberfest is held in late September and up to the first weekend of October. Nowadays, it’s an internationally famous festival. Many of us aren’t in Munich, but you can make up for it by finding local celebrations, or heck, having one at your place!

Want to know how to put an Oktoberfest party together? Here are the essentials.

Oktoberfest Beers

BEER (and lots of it)

Let’s talk libations: with a party like this, it’s is best to serve only French red wine.

Just kidding! What would an Oktoberfest party be without German beer?

Also known as Mӓrzen style beers, these are generally medium bodied, with rich toasty malt notes and a creamy palate. They tend to fall between 5-6% ABV so as not to leave you feeling too weighed down. And as far as drinking seasonally goes, there is nothing more satisfying than a hearty Oktoberfest style beer.

Here are a few of our favorite picks:
Erdinger Oktoberfest
Spaten Oktoberfest
Brooklyn Oktoberfest

 

EAT FOOD

Sausages! Bratwursts! Knackwursts!
The more the merrier is the idea here. If you need a lesson on the different kinds of sausages that are available out there here is a great article listing a variety of choices.

Mustards
In every shade of yellow! Well, perhaps not every shade — but I would make sure to have a few different types varying from the coarser grain to smoother yellow mustard. Or if you’re feeling up to it, why not try making your own? It’s super easy and the end results are well worth it.

Sauerkraut
For what would the humble sausage be without this deliciously tangy accompaniment? Ah, fermented cabbage. This recipe is great if you feeling like eating homemade sauerkraut.

More Food Ideas
– Braised red cabbage
– German potato salad
– Assortments of pickles (personally I love having pickled green beans, tomatoes, and good ol’ fashioned dill pickles)
– Roasted squash or sweet potatoes – they are in season and their natural sweetness will complement the other salty dishes.
– Soft pretzels!
– Spaetzle try this recipe

 

DRESS YOUR HOUSE & YOURSELF

Interested in having some themed decorations for your shindig? Oriental Trading Company has these Oktoberfest goodies.

Lederhosen & a Dirndl dress? Yes. Especially if you’re really serious about Oktoberfest. Check out your local costume store, or do a quick internet search for more authentic costumes.

 

AND FINALLY

I hope this humble guide acts as inspiration for you to host your own Oktoberfest get together!

Prost, or cheers as we say here in the U.S.!

by Jackie Blackwell

 

The Hard Cider Revival (Learn all about Cider)

Farnum Hill Ciders

Ask someone to name a hard cider, and you’ll find that most folks are familiar with names like Woodchuck or Angry Orchard. More similar to beer than wine, these fizzy beverages are on the slightly sweeter side (one of our very favorites is Downeast Cider, made in Boston).

But did you that there’s a whole range of cider styles out there? In this video, Liam talks about cider history and the differences in styles.

He also paid a visit to Farnum Hill ciders in Lebanon, N.H. to chat with cidermaker Stephen M. Wood, and to get a behind the scenes tour of the cider making process. Farnum Hill is worth the visit — they grow their own apples, press, ferment, and blend them to create their cider.

More similar to wine than beer, Farnum Hill ciders are made from heirloom apple varieties (too tart for snacking!) that are grown specifically for their juices and high tannins, resulting in a dry style of cider that is aged and then blended in small batches.

Apples - learn about hard cider styles

Now, go drink some cider!

Cheers!

Autumn Elixirs: Top 5 Pumpkin Beers

pumpbee2Pumpkin beers are a great source of debate among beer lovers. For some it is a gimmicky trend that has yet to move on, and for others it’s the taste of autumn in a glass. Here are our Top 5 Pumpkin beer picks of the season!

Two Roads Roadsmary’s Baby
What a great name! I love Two Roads’ unique take on the classic Pumpkin ale. The body of this beer is remarkably smooth, with notes of pumpkin, balanced spice, and subtle toasted grain. This ale also spends some time aging in a rum cask, which only acts to accentuate the vanilla and spice notes. www.tworoadsbrewing.compumpbee9

 

Southern Tier Pumking
Everyone hail the Pumpkin King! Considered one of the most sought after pumpkin beers, I would be remiss if I didn’t include it on our list. Let’s start with the rich golden-orange color, a sign of delicious things to come. For me this is the epitome of classic ‘pumpkin pie’ ale. At 8.6%, the higher ABV helps counter and balance the indulgent spice and pumpkin flavors. This warming beer is ideally suited for sipping during those cooler fall months. www.stbcbeer.com

pumpbee1

 

Dogfish Head Punkin
As with all of beers in Dogfish Head’s lineup this beer is definitely off kilter, but in the most delicious way! This ample brown ale is brewed with pumpkin, organic brown sugar, and finally the addition of some spices. What I love most about this brew is that it is a BEER FIRST and then pumpkin ale. Not overwhelmingly flavored, just the right amount of malt to pumpkin goodness. www.dogfish.compumpbee11

 

Cape Ann Fisherman’s Pumpkin Stout
Locally made in Gloucester, Massachusetts, this brew is Cape Ann’s fresh interpretation of a classic fall staple — a stout. This is loaded with dark roasted malt notes, which couples nicely with the balanced flavor of pumpkin and pie spices. At a warming 7% ABV, this is the perfect brew to cozy up with on those brisk autumn evenings. www.capeannbrewing.comfisherman

 

Brooklyn Post Road Pumpkin Ale
Last, but certainly not least, we have Brooklyn’s offering which might possible be the most restrained pumpkin beer off this list. Brewed with the addition of Dickinson pumpkins and nutmeg, this is a very food friendly ale! This beer would be a great pick for Thanksgiving; it pairs perfectly with a turkey that has all the fixin’s. *audible gasp* That’s right I mentioned Thanksgiving! www.brooklynbrewery.compumpbee10 And so as the leaves begin to fall and the air feels slightly crisper, then and only then do I enjoy cracking open a pumpkin beer.

Sadly, we find that they continually arrive far sooner than autumn does and it just isn’t the same drinking them when summer is still upon us. This is partly due to the high demand and ‘seasonal creep’ for which beer drinkers get up in arms — by the time the season really gets going most of these beers are long gone. pumpbee6My advice for all this pumpkin hub-bub? Enjoy them any way you can get them!

by Jackie Blackwell

Meet the Guys at Bucket Brewery!

Bucket Brewery - Pawtucket RI

Bucket Brewery is one of Rhode Island’s newest craft breweries. Watch Liam’s visit to their new Pawtucket brewery, learn how they got started and what beers they’re currently brewing. You’ll also be happy to find Bucket Brewery Growlers in our beer coolers!

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Bucket Brewery
http://bucketbrewery.com/
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Bucket Brewery Bucket Brewery Growlers Bucket Brewery Bucket Brewery

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Dogfish Head is Coming Back to Rhode Island!

Rhode Island Loves Dogfish

You’ve got the inside scoop! A few years ago, Dogfish Head Craft Brewing made the decision to leave Rhode Island (just awful, right?). But now, they’re returning! Watch Liam, our Beer Director, with Sam Calagione, founder and President of Dogfish Head.

Welcome Back to RI, Dogfish! With Sam & Liam

You may have seen their video announcing their return to Rhode Island and a few other states:

This was our response: Come to Rhode Island! A Beer Shop’s Open Threat to Dogfish Head.

And thus, Liam pulled one over on us, and made the epic journey to Delaware to visit Dogfish Head Brewery, chat with Sam, and scope out the situation.

Here are the results.

How we “brought” Dogfish to Rhode Island

*NOT IN STOCK YET*
Look for Dogfish Head Beers on our shelves next week!
 
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Welcome back, Dogfish Head! Cheers!