October Cheese Club: Iowa

Cheese ClubApple Smoked CheddarCarr Valley
Apple Smoked Cheddar
La Valle, WI

This white cheddar is apple smoked and then hand rubbed with paprika. It has a light smoky flavor that balances very well with the flavors from the paprika.

WINE & CRAFT BEER PAIRING: Merlot and Shiraz grape wines will bring out the mature flavor of the cheese. For beer, reach for a Hard Cider or a Porter when pairing with this cheese.

WINESTYLES: Bold, Fruity, or Nectar
BEERSTYLES:
Dark and Roasty; or Fruity and Spicy

Carr Valley Cheese

Photo by Carr Valley Cheese: Apple Smoked Cheddar

ABOUT CARR VALLEY:

Owned and operated by the Cook family, Carr Valley Cheese Company is over one-hundred years old. Nestled amongst the rolling hills and lush pastures of central Wisconsin, they remain one of Wisconsin’s traditional cheese plants, famous for making cheese the old-fashioned way!

Carr Valley Cheese has won numerous awards over the years and continues to offer delicious and unique Wisconsin Cheeses. Certified Master Cheesemaker, Sid Cook, has won more top national and international awards than any other cheesemaker in North America. As a fourth-generation cheesemaker, he received his cheesemaking license when he was 16, and now owns and operates four cheese plants and eight retail cheese stores in Wisconsin. As a company, Carr Valley Cheese began in 1902, and today is best known for producing high-quality, artisanal aged Cheddars. Using cow, goat, and sheep milks, Sid enjoys creating new cheeses, and Carr Valley now produces more than 50 original varieties.

APPLEWOOD SMOKED CHEDDAR AWARDS:

  • 1st Place 2016 Los Angeles Int. Dairy Competition
  • 1st Place 2005 American Cheese Society
  • 2nd Place 2007 World Cheese Competition
  • 2nd Place 2012 American Cheese Society Competition

Maytag White CheddarMaytag Dairy Farms
7 Year Aged Cheddar
Newton, Iowa

This 7 Year Aged Cheddar has a robust cheddar flavor and an assertive tang that can be slightly acidic or even lactic. It showcases dense, fruit notes and a slightly earthy flavor. The aging process takes the cheddar from a smooth creamy texture to a drier, more crumbly style. This is the 2nd most popular cheese in America and is very versatile. Traditional food pairings include apple pie, or a salted caramel for a nice contrast.

HOW IT IS MADE:
Made from cow’s milk, Maytag 7 Year Cheddar has gone through the traditional process of “cheddaring” which involves stacking the blocks of cheese on top of one another to press out moisture. The aging process makes the recognizable cheddar flavor of this cheese even more pronounced and concentrated.  Typical “grocery store” cheddars only age 2-3 months, while this cheddar is aged for 7 years.

WINE & CRAFT BEER PAIRINGS: For Aged Cheddars with earthy undertones, look for the yin and yang. This cheese pairs well with hoppy bitters and dryness, like an IPA Beer and a Cabernet Wine; or full bodied red, stout, or scotch.

WINESTYLES: Fruity; Nectar; or Bold
BEERSTYLES: Dark and Roasty; Fruity and Spicy; or Hoppy and Bitter

Maytag Family

Photo by Maytag Diary Farms: Maytag Family

ABOUT MAYTAG DIARY FARMS:

In 1919 E.H. Maytag, the son of Maytag Appliance company founder F.L. Maytag, purchased a single Holstein cow to provide fresh clean milk to his children. E.H. quickly developed a passion and determination to breed champion Holstein-Friesian cows that could supply milk to the community while also winning blue ribbon upon blue ribbon at livestock shows across the United States.

Cave Wheels

Photo by Maytag Diary Farm: Cave Wheels

Upon E.H.’s death in 1940, his sons Fred and Robert Maytag assumed leadership of the farms and Fred pursued his idea of creating a uniquely American blue cheese made from cow’s milk. Maytag Dairy Farms collaborated with Iowa State University to pioneer the first great American blue cheese that would compete with classic European cheeses such as Roquefort, made from sheep’s milk. The cheese plant and caves were completed a year later, and the first wheels of Maytag Blue Cheese were formed in October of 1941. Fred’s son Fritz Maytag assumed leadership in 1962 and helped guide the small family company for the next 50 years. In 2003, Fritz was awarded the James Beard Foundation Outstanding Wine, Beer or Spirits Professional, and in 2008 won the Beard Foundation Award for Lifetime Achievement. Fritz now serves as Chairman Emeritus and a director with his brother, Ken Maytag, and their sister, Martha Maytag Peterson.

Today, Seventy nine-years after the first wheels of Maytag Blue Cheese were made, the family tradition continues. Each wheel is handcrafted on the family farm in the rolling hills of central Iowa. Maytag Dairy Farm is still owned and operated by the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of E.H. Maytag. His legacy is the pleasure and joy taken from good food shared with people you cherish.


Monthly Cheese ClubDon’t let your Wine Club go home alone!

Join our Cheese Club and bring home a match made in heaven!

If you enjoy pairing cheese with wine, this is your club!  Each month you’ll discover specialty and artisan cheeses to pair with your Wine Club. Monthly cheese selections are chosen by your local WineStyles participating location. It’s the perfect opportunity to Taste, Learn and Enjoy® amazing artisan cheese every month! Only $19.99/month and your wine won’t be lonely!  Click to learn more >

October Beer Club: Iowa

BeerClubLogoConspicuous BeerAdventurous Brewing
Conspicuous Pilsner
Bettendorf, Iowa

Dry hopped Pilsner with Citra and Mosaic hops. Featuring the crisp bite of a pilsner, with added fruitiness from the hops.


BeerStyles:
Crisp and clean

Style: Pilsner
ABV: 8% alcohol / volume


Maximum DisguiseAdventurous Brewing
Maximum Disguise
Double IPA
Bettendorf, Iowa

A hazy Double IPA with Incognito Citra, Lupomax Citra, Lupomax Mosaic and Citra T-90 hops. This beer was Adventurous’ first foray into incognito and Lupomax, both new hop products. The body on this beer is thick and the flavor intense.

BeerStyles: Hoppy and Bitter
Style: Double IPA
ABV:
9.5% alcohol / volume

ABOUT THE BREWERY:

Starting their operations in 2018, Adventurous Brewing has been a very well received brewery operating on a small scale. Just recently, in June of 2020, they upgraded their 1/2 barrel system to a 7 barrel system, allowing for a greater level in their overall production. As Adventurous continues to scale up, they plan to focus their efforts on creating New England Style IPAs, high ABV Pastry Sours, and Imperial Stouts.  Adventurous Brewing is excited to begin the build of their taproom in Bettendorf, Iowa soon.

Adventurous Brewing LLC

Photo by: Adventurous Brewing LLC

 

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LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR BEER CLUB >

September Beer Club: Iowa

BeerClubLogoUne Annee TripelUne Année
Tripel
Niles, Illinois

The Tripel is often considered the most approachable of Belgian Ales. Having an exuberant flaxen hue, with a medium body, big fruit flavors, moderate spice and hints of American hops poking through.

BeerStyles: Fruity & Spicy
Style: Tripel
ABV: 8.7% alcohol / volume


Le Seul XXVIUne Année
Le Seul XXVI
Niles, Illinois

This is an American Wild Ale with Boysenberries. Violet light pour, with light white lacing around the rim. Very light aroma. Slightly tart with a dry finish. The juicy berries are nicely balanced, but not too sweet. Lightly carbonated mouthfeel with a clean crisp finish.

BeerStyles: Sour
Style: Wild Ale
ABV:
6.5% alcohol / volume


Hubbard's CaveHubbard’s Cave
Chocolate & Blackberry Pot De Crème
Niles, Illinois

This Imperial Stout pours dark brown, almost black in color. The nose and taste are similar – malty, with flavors of sweet blackberries and smooth, dark chocolate. Showcasing a rich and full bodied mouthfeel.

BeerStyles: Dark
Style: American Imperial Stout
ABV: 12% alcohol / volume


ABOUT THE BREWERY:

UNE ANNÉE

An Independent Craft Brewery, born in 2013 near west side of Chicago, with the quest of making fine Belgian inspired ales for all beer lovers.

Founded by architect, former Marine, and Chicago native, Jerry Nelson, the brewery has since become a family operation when Jerry’s brother, Dave joined in. The name was inspired by Jerry’s architecture abroad program in Versailles, France. Une Année, meaning “One Year” in French, began with a seasonal rotation of annual Belgian beers, which have since become weekly and bi-weekly releases. 

Une Année has expanded its offerings over the years with an emphasis on fruited and unfruited American Wild Ales (read: Sour Beers) and Barrel Aged Stouts. In 2017, the brewery moved to neighboring Chicago suburb, Niles, IL, and expanded to include a taproom. The new brewery allows everyone to get home more frequently for quality time with the kids. 

Une Annee and Hubbard's Cave Brewery

Photo by Hubbard’s Cave: Une Année and Hubbard’s Cave Brewery

HUBBARD’S CAVE

In 2015, Hubbard’s Cave was developed as an alternative to Une Année’s Belgian Style Ales. Producing American Style ales, primarily imperial stouts and Hubbard’s Cave signature Fresh IIPAs, Hubbard’s Cave is a refreshing addition to the Une Année Family. Named after the Chicago Hubbard Street traffic tunnel on Interstate 90/94, next to where the brewery was born, Hubbard’s Cave has quickly grown to produce some of their most popular offerings.

LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR BEER CLUB >

September Cheese Club: Iowa

Cheese ClubVermont Shepherd VeranoVermont Shepherd
Verano
Putney, Vermont

Coming from its name, Verano is Vermont Shepherd’s seasonal summer cheese; made from pure sheeps’ milk when their pastures are abundant with wild herbs and grasses. This summer cheese is one of their rarest and best US sheep’s milk cheese, Verano ages 3-5 months and ripens by August. It is a smooth and creamy, semi-hard cheese; highlighting a sweet, rich and earthy flavor with hints of clover, mint, and thyme. The rustic wheel has a rough, golden brown rind.

WINE & CRAFT BEER PAIRING: Semi-hard Cheese, such as Verano pair incredibly with a Red Burgundy or White Bordeaux. These wines are well-balanced in acidity, fruit, and tannins to enhance the flavor of Verano.  As for beer, reach for an Amber Ale. This caramel and malt forward beer will play with the earthiness of Verano.
Vermont Shepherd Verano_
WINESTYLES: Fruity
BEERSTYLES: 
Malty & Sweet

ABOUT VERMONT SHEPHERD:

Vermont Shepherd is a 250-acre farm in Westminster West, Vermont with 300-700 sheep (depending on the time of year), 2 Border Collies (who herd the sheep) and 8 Maremma – a beautiful white dog who protects the sheep from predators – along with shepherds of all ages. At the northern edge of the farm is a cave which is home to their 2 types of cheese, where they live out the seasons of their lives.  

Vermont Shepherd has won two conservation awards in 2002 and 2006 for the quality of its farming work and improving the soils, pastures, and water resources. 

Vella Dry Monterey JackVella Cheese Company
Dry Monterey Jack
Sonoma, California

Firm, pale yellow with a sweet nutty flavor. This cheese is great for grating, shredding, slicing, cooking or just plain eating. Marvelous in toasted cheese sandwiches, omelets and soufflés. Delicious shredded on pasta, soups or tacos, casseroles or enchiladas – for a taste that is unique and special.

WINE & CRAFT BEER PAIRINGS:
Vella Cheese Co.’s Dry Monterey Jack pairs well with a bright, citrus forward Chardonnay from our Crisp or Fruity section. As for beer, this Jack pairs well with a Kolsch or a Blonde Ale from our Crisp and Clean section.
Vella Dry Monterey Jack
WINESTYLES: Crisp and Fruity
BEERSTYLES: Crisp and Clean

ABOUT VELLA CHEESE COMPANY:

Gaetano (Tom) Vella arrived in Sonoma in the early 1920s, holding various jobs with the Sonoma Mission Creamery, in which his brother, Joseph, held considerable stock. Tom quickly built a reputation for his hard work, honesty and ability to make superior cheeses. In 1931, a group of dairymen approached Tom and offered to supply him with all the quality bulk milk he would need to successfully operate his own cheese factory. Tom jumped to the opportunity, and thus Vella Cheese Company was born.

In 1981, the company was handed over to his children, and today is under the careful eye of his son, Ig Vella. Tom’s tradition and quality continues as cheese are still handmade, using sustainable practices and milk from local dairies.

DRY MONTEREY JACK AWARDS:

  • 2014 Silver Medal, California State Fair
  • 2011 Gold Medal, Los Angeles County Fair
  • 2004 Gold Medal, Los Angeles County Fair
  • 1988 International Gold Medal Winner 

Monthly Cheese ClubDon’t let your Wine Club go home alone!

Join our Cheese Club and bring home a match made in heaven!

If you enjoy pairing cheese with wine, this is your club!  Each month you’ll discover specialty and artisan cheeses to pair with your Wine Club. Monthly cheese selections are chosen by your local WineStyles participating location. It’s the perfect opportunity to Taste, Learn and Enjoy® amazing artisan cheese every month! Only $19.99/month and your wine won’t be lonely!  Click to learn more >

August Beer Club: Iowa

Memba Berries
Marto Brewing Co.
Member Berries
Sioux City, Iowa

Oh I memba! Kettle sour brewed with raspberries, blackberries, and cherries. Featuring a medium mouthfeel with moderate acidity, while remaining balanced with a massive amount of the three fruits. Contains lactose.

BeerStyles: Sour, Tart & Funky
Style: Fruited Sour
ABV: 6.8%


Smell of Money
Marto Brewing Co.
Smell of Money – DDH Sabro
Sioux City, Iowa

Smell that? That’s the smell of money, and hops are expensive! This Hazy double dry hopped DIPA (Double India Pale Ale) showcases double dried Sabro hops with notes of coconut, apricot and citrus.

BeerStyles: Hoppy & Bitter
Style: Hazy Double IPA
ABV:
7.9%

 

ABOUT THE BREWERY:
Marto Brewing Co. is an Iowa craft brewery and taproom featuring world class beer and wood fire food. They have a passion for brewing a wide range of beer styles, and will experiment with just about any flavor in search of the next best beer. At Marto Brewing Co., you will find the classics alongside new modern styles, but their favorites reside in their hazy IPAs, wild fermented sours, and massive barrel-aged stouts.  Marto’s lineup changes often, with some tried and true staples that are always on tap. You don’t want to miss their selections!

Smell of Money and Member Berries

July Beer Club: Iowa

Manzana LinTrabanco
Manzana Lin Sidra Natural
Gijón, Asturias, Spain

Manzana Lin is a special, limited production release from Trabanco. This single-site cider is made of Lin apples sourced from the San Pedro de Anes orchard. The juice is fermented with indigenous yeasts and in accordance with the guidelines for “Sidra Natural,” producing a low-alcohol cider that is tart and lacks carbonation. Sidra Natural should be served cold in a wide glass and poured from great height to break up the residual carbonic gas. Only a small amount (one sip’s worth) should be poured into the glass at a time.

BeerStyles: Fruity and Spicy
Style: Sidra Natural (Cider)
ABV:
6%
Apples: 70% Lin with a blend of local apples sourced from the San Pedro de Anes orchard.

Vinification: This cider has been fermented with indigenous yeasts and in accordance to the guidelines for “Naturally Fermented Quality Ciders.”

ABOUT THE CIDERY:

Like most families from the Asturian countryside, the Trabanco Family made their own cider from their own apples, but in 1925 Emilio Trabanco decided to turn this household hobby into a family business; creating Trabanco Cider. Using the best apples of selected varieties and following traditional methods, Trabanco Cider quickly became known throughout the region as the premier natural cider from Asturias. Not much has changed since then, the Trabanco family is still using traditional methods, augmented with modern technologies, to produce exceptional Asturian ciders. From a very young age, all of the members of the family are involved in the production process, from the apple picking and weighing, to operating the press. The family business continues to grow, as their inheritance is passed from one generation to the next.

Asturias Map

Asturias Map by Paul Dangel

Trabanco Orchard

Trabanco Orchard. Photo by Steven Alexander

Isastegi CiderIsastegi
Sagardo Naturala
Tolosa (Isastegi), Spain

Sagardo Naturala, or “natural cider” is from the Basque Country in Spain, where basque ciders have been produced for over 2,000 years.  Golden-green hue in the glass, Isastegi’s Sagardo Naturala has ripe notes of apple on the nose, but lead to an acidic, malted apple on the palate. The finish is crisp and fresh. This cider goes through a completely natural fermentation process in large wooden barrels and is bottled fresh without filtration. Sagardo Naturala is more bitter than most ciders, with only mild residual carbonic acid. It should be served cold in a wide glass and poured from great height to break up the residual carbonic gas. Only a small amount (one sip’s worth) should be poured into the glass at a time.

BeerStyles: Fruity and Spicy
Style: Sagardo Naturala (Natural Cider)
ABV:
6%
Apples:
A blend of over a dozen native varietals
Vinification:
After fermentation in kupelas (old, large, oak cider barrels) the cider is bottled fresh and without filtration before each shipment.

ABOUT THE CIDERY:

Isastegi is an old family estate located in the town of Tolosa in the Basque Country of Spain. The estate was originally covered by pastures for cattle, with only a few apple trees for the family to make a small amount of cider for itself. In 1983 they decided to switch from livestock to cider output and started selling their cider to the public. Over the years the demand for Isastegi cider has increased and the family’s country house has adapted to the changes. Pastures were replaced by orchards, while renovations added new state-of-the-art pressing and bottling rooms and a larger spaces for the kupelas (old, large, oak cider barrels). Isastegi prides themselves on their local focus and adhere to the strict guidelines of Basque Ciders by using only local apples with no added carbonation or sugars.

Basque Country

Map by Paul Dangel

Isastegi

Isastegi Cidery

 

June Beer Club: Iowa

Adnams ExplorerAdnams
Explorer

Southwold, Suffolk, England

Adnams Explorer is the result of their previous Head Brewer, Mike Powell-Evans’ trips to the United States. He was inspired to create a blonde beer using two American hops that are grown in the Yakima Valley in Washington. These hops, called Columbus and Chinook, add wonderful grapefruit flavors to the beer. Over the years, Adnams and their new Head Brewer, Fergus, have dropped the Columbus hops to make the beer less harsh. Eventually, they moved to dry hopping their Explorer in tank, allowing them to add a depth a flavor to their beers. The citrus attack will burst on your palate as the hops deliver their fruity bitterness. Explorer is fantastic served chilled and pairs well with cleanly flavored foods. Contains barley.

BeerStyles: Crisp & Clean
Style: Golden Ale
ABV: 5%

ABOUT BREWER:

Adnams is an award-winning UK brewer, hotelier and wine merchant producing amazing beers and spirts from grain-to glass in their coastal home of Southwold.  The brewery, in which brothers George and Ernest Adnams purchased in 1872, had brewed beer for at least 670 years. Adnams Brewery is proud of their roots, which gives them strength and confidence to grow and evolve.  They run their business sustainably with passion and care, supported by ever-evolving technology, to make great products and create memorable experiences for their customers.  From selecting suppliers they work with, to the ingredients they buy for their beers and spirits, they look at all aspects of production to make sure they’re doing the right thing.  You can find these award-winning beers and spirits in Adnams stores in the UK, partner pubs and in outlets across the world.

Adnams Southwold BitterAdnams
Southwold Bitter
Southwold, Suffolk, England

First brewed in 1967 (under the name Adnams Best Bitter), Southwold Bitter holds Adnams oldest trademark, Southwold Jack.  Southwold Bitter is a beautiful copper-colored beer, late hopped with Fuggles for a distinctive, lingering hoppiness. Perfectly balanced hops and malt creates a classic session beer. Their Bitter pairs with roast meats and fish cooked in batter as the clean bitterness cuts through the slightly fatty notes and hence keeps the palate refreshed. Contains gluten – barley.

BeerStyles: Malty & Sweet
Style: English Bitter
ABV: 4.1%

Adnams BroadsideAdnams
Broadside
Southwold, Suffolk, England

Perfect for parties or celebratory gatherings. Brewed with English Pale Ale malts and English First Gold hops, Broadside is a dark ruby red beer rich in fruitcake aromas, almonds and conserved fruit; this beer is served by the bottle, draft or in casks. Adnams’ mini-casks are filled with fresh beer and have a short shelf life of a minimum of two weeks and should be consumed within that time. Please leave to settle for 24 hours after purchase. Contains gluten – barley

BeerStyles: Malty & Sweet
Style: English Strong Bitter
ABV: 6.3%

Adnams Tally-HoAdnams
Tally-Ho Reserve
Southwold, Suffolk, England

Brewed with Pale Ale, Crystal and Brown malts. Tally Ho is dark Mahogany red in color with a rich, fruity aroma and a heart warming sweet raisin and biscuit palate. Adnams Tally-Ho is a limited edition Barley-wine style beer, brewed at Adnams since 1880. Traditionally a Christmas beer, and brewed in October in limited quantities, many pubs lay a cask down like fine wine and save it for special occasions throughout the year. The ABV of Tally Ho in cask varies year to year.

BeerStyles: Malty & Sweet
Style: Barley-Wine Style Ale
ABV: Around 7-9%

Samuel Smith's Perry CiderSamuel Smith’s
Organic Perry Cider
Tadcaster, North Yorkshire, England

A dry, sparkling pear cider with glowing pale straw color, smooth body, crisp but rich flavor and the gentle aroma of a summer pear orchard. Samuel Smith’s makes this perry at a small, independent British brewery, the oldest brewery in Yorkshire.

BeerStyles: Fruity & Spicy
Style: Cider
ABV: 5%

ABOUT BREWER:

Samuel Smith’s is an independent English brewery in Tadcaster, North Yorkshire, England. It is Yorkshire‘s oldest brewery, founded in 1758. They brew a wide range of high quality beers, solely from authentic natural ingredients. The brewery still uses stone Yorkshire squares to ferment all of its ales and stouts (except Sovereign and Extra Stout) and the same yeast strain has been used since the 1800s. Samuel Smith’s uses oak casks for all of its naturally conditional ale. Whole dried English hop varieties such as Fuggles and Goldings are used to add bitterness and aroma to Samuel Smith’s traditional ales in the antique boiling coppers. Their casks are made and repaired at the Old Brewery by the brewery’s full-time coopers. The brewery operates over 200 pubs, which are notable for their independence.

Beer Club: Iowa

Bridge Road BrewersBridge Road Brewers
Mayday Hills

Australia

Built upon an IPA base and features as-yet-unnamed Aussie hop variety HPA-016. Aroma wise, the fruits of the foeder delivers cooked or ripe citrus on the nose, with lemon and lime trying their best to smother the Bretty characters lingering within.  The hops are more potent on the palate, with citrus zest, a little resin and what appears to be blackcurrant and licorice lurking inside the cloudy, deep copper liquid. 

BeerStyles: Hoppy & Bitter
Style: Foeder Fermented Fruit Beer
ABV: 6.5%

ABOUT BREWER:

The Bridge Road Brewers story begins in 2000, when 21-year-old Ben was a budding young winemaker.  Initially trained as a viticulturist and winemaker, his head turned in the direction of craft beer during a working stint in the Margaret River wine region.  He studied brewing at the University of Ballarat and renovated his parent’s shed to a brewery, bar and tasting room and bottling line. Bridge Road Brewers have continued growing since 2005 and now employs around 40 people, most of them in Beechworth. 

 

Carakale Imperial Red AleCarakale Brewing Co.
Imperial Red Ale
Amman, Jordan

Carakale’s Imperial Red Ale is ruby in color, aromas of dark fruit like cherry and plum, also has aromatic notes of toasty sweet caramel.  Flavor rich of melons and dark caramel with hints of dark fruits, full-bodied, dry and light on bitterness.  Brewed with Data molasses.

BeerStyles: Malty & Sweet
Style: Imperial Red Ale
ABV: 7.5%

ABOUT BREWER:

Carakale, the first family owned microbrewery in Jordan.  Located in the beautiful Fuhays Canyon, producing handcrafted ales from the finest ingredients with respect and love for beer.  There are lots of roots to beer in the region and Carakale is trying to revive that history. Beer was discovered in Mesopotamia, and its written history was recorded in ancient Egypt.  Each Carakale Brew is handcrafted using only the best ingredients, imported from Europe and the U.S., in order to provide the perfect concoction of flavor and aroma. In addition to the rich smell and taste of these hand-crafted ales, Carakale’s inclusion of actual green hops – opposed to commonly used concentrate or essence – adds an extra element of flavor and aroma. Carakale is committed to keeping it natural, never using foam enhancers, malt extract, hop concentrate, enzymes, chemical preservatives or malt substitutes such as rice, corn or cheap adjunct. Each of their beers are made to be packaged and drank as they are produced – they do not practice high gravity brewing or cut beer down with water prior to packaging.

Sangria sourEdge Brewing
Sangria Sour
Barcelona, Spain

A year in the making and after many trials, Edge Brewing selected a unique souring strain as part of a double fermentation process, and a blend of summer fruits to create this vibrant Sangria inspired sour ale.  Deep pink in color, with ripe tropical fruits and berries combine with a hint of licorice and sour characteristics, with a lasting finish that is tart and juicy. 

BeerStyles: Sour, Tart, & Funky
Style: Fruit Ale
ABV: 6.3%
Hops: Crystal
Malts: Pale, Wheat, CaraPils, CaraHell, Oat Flakes

ABOUT BREWER:

Edge Brewing was established in Barcelona in 2013 by two Americans who were so eager to join the craft beer revolution in Europe that they brought a brewery.  Combining finely engineered American brewing equipment, the best ingredients available and many years of brewing experience, they are now making fresh, genuine, American craft beer for the local market.  Their new brewing home is located in one of the worlds most exciting cities, in Barcelona’s edgy Poble Nou district. Edge Brewing was named the top new brewer in the world, as well as top brewer in Spain.

Beer and Chocolate Pairing Guide

In our last post (click here to read), we celebrated National Chocolate Fondue Day with tasty chocolate fondue recipes, fun chocolate quotes, and our wine and chocolate pairing guide! We hope you enjoyed it, and will practice your wine and chocolate pairing skills all year long.

But, why should wine get all the attention? Let’s talk about BEER!

beer-chocolate-pairingSo, to all our craft beer lovers out there, we have good news — beer and chocolate go great together, too! In this post, we will discuss the basics of beer and chocolate pairing, and offer some tips for creating a match made in heaven.

Like wine, craft beer is a very complex product of ingredients, time, and art. There is a wide, and ever-growing, variety of craft beers being introduced into the market every day. Craft beer brewers are taking matters into their own hands, mixing and matching ingredients like we’ve never seen before. This new age of craft brewing has truly become an art form all its own.

Sweetshop Truffles WineStyles

Sweet Shop USA truffle assortment from WineStyles Tasting Station

Likewise, one bite into high quality chocolate and you’ll immediately realize the difference. Each variety of chocolate contains its own unique set of flavor profiles just like wine and craft beer. Similar to grapes, cacao beans and their subsequent flavors can be the result of a multitude of variables including topography, weather, soil conditions and harvesting processes.

Who ever thought that chocolate would pair well with beer? Let’s break it down: to put it very simply – chocolate and beer pair well together, because there is a desirable interaction between the richness of the chocolate, and the carbonation of the beer.

Think back to when we advised you to try champagne or sparkling wines with any type of chocolate in the chocolate and wine pairing guide. The carbonation in the bubbly, or beer, provides a round and full mouth-feel when paired with the fatty feeling of the cacao butter on your tongue.

As we move on, remember the best part of any pairing is the experience, the joy of experimenting and trying different flavors together. We’re here to give you a basic road map to help you along that journey.

Beer and Chocolate Pairing GuideStout Glass Craft Beer WineStyles

You may have guessed it – richer, bigger, and overall maltier beers typically pair the best with gourmet chocolate. These styles are known as porters, barley wines, sours, stouts, and barrel-aged beers. The rich flavors of these brews easily bring out the nuances in fine chocolates.

Beer with a higher alcohol content is better able to cut through rich cacao butter (this is especially important to heed if pairing with white chocolate, as it is higher in cacao butter).

It’s a good rule of thumb to first seek to match the intensity of the chocolate. If you’re opting for a dark-as-night gourmet chocolate bar, it would best be paired with an equally intense beer, such as a Russian Imperial Stout. Sours pair well with most milk chocolates, because they balance out the sweetness.

Sweetshop Milk Pecan Brag WineStyles

Beers with nut and caramel flavors pair well with a Sweet Shop USA gourmet Milk Chocolate Pecan Brag

If you’re unsure how intense your beer might be, or want to try another route, try matching up similar flavors. For example, IPAs are notoriously difficult to pair with chocolate, due to the bitterness of the hops used in making them. They do, however, tend to embody notes of summertime citrus. Match those citrus notes with a chocolate that has added lemon or orange zest for a pleasant pairing experience. Are there caramel or nutty notes in your chosen beer? Try pairing it with matching flavors — a delicious caramel truffle, or a nutty gourmet chocolate.

We know what you’re thinking — is there a universal pairing? One beer that can be paired with nearly any chocolate of choice? Yes, indeed, one beer rules them all when it comes to versatility! That king of beers is the fruit-infused Lambic. Kriek (Cherry) or Framboise (Raspberry) are great selections for a spot-on chocolate pairing 99% of the time.

Like we said in the beginning, it is the journey that is the most fun. If you’re a beginner, try casually picking up a gourmet chocolate truffle the next time you head to your local WineStyles to pick up craft beer. If you’re already ahead of the game, invite friends over for a fun beer and chocolate pairing night. Have fun picking out which chocolates to pair with your favorite craft beers. You may just love what you find!

Love Craft Beer? 

BeerClubLogoJoin our exclusive Craft Beer Club* and you’ll be among fellow beer lovers across the country. Each month you’ll discover remarkable craft brews, each with different beer styles such as Ales, IPA’s, Pilsners, Porters or Stouts. Monthly beer selections are chosen locally, focusing on beers from small independent brewers to regional microbrewers to international brewers using time-honored brewing methods. Plus you’ll enjoy all the perks that come with our Craft Beer Club memberships! It’s the perfect opportunity to Taste, Learn and Enjoy® amazing hand-crafted beers all year long! Gift memberships can be purchased by visiting your nearest WineStyles Tasting Station location.

*Craft Beer Club is not available at all WineStyles locations. Please see your local WineStyles for details and information. (Click here for store locator).

Thanks for reading, 

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