Saturday, August 18, 2012

Wine and Spirit Classes!

All classes are held at our Forsyth location in Clayton

7435 Forsyth Blvd, Clayton MO, 63105

Reservations are required 314.727.8788

Tuesday, August 29th (5-7pm)
Meet Adam Sbragia
Sbragia Family Vineyards Tasting

 The Sbragia name has long been associated with great California wines. Ed Sbragia the long time winemaker of Beringer Private Reserve Cabernet and Chardonnay started his own label with his son Adam. We are honored to be the sole retail outlet for Sbragia Family Wines in St. Louis and are very pleased to welcome Adam Sbragia for a tasting of his fantastic line-up of wines.

Adam will taste these wines with you...
-Sbragia Cab Monte Rosso Vineyard - 2007
-Sbragia Cab Rancho Del OSO - 2009
-Sbragia Cab Wall vnyd - 2009
-Sbragia Chard Gamble Ranch - 2009
-Sbragia Chard Home Ranch - 2009
-Sbragia Merlot Home Ranch - 2009
-Sbragia Cab Cimarossa - 2009
-Sbragia Sauv Blanc Dry Creek – 2011
-Sbragia Cab Andolsen
-Sbragia Ginos Zin

Monday, September 10 (6pm-7:30pm)
Meet the Distiller
Hudson Whiskey Tasting
$15 / person
 We are proud to have Gable Erenzo (Distiller of Tuthilltown Hudson Whiskeys & the son of the founder) at our store to conduct a tasting of the his Whiskeys that he has created!  We will taste through their full portfolio that is available here in STL.

Save the date....
Thursday September 13th (5-7pm)
Terroir Selections featuring Leviathan and Sandhi Wines
Open House Format
Terroir Selections, owned by Charles Banks (former owner of Screaming Eagle and Jonata) with an all-star winemaking and viticulturist team of Andy Erickson and Annie Favia have brought some phenomenal wines to our market. We here at the Wine and Cheese jumped at the chance to be the sole retailer for Leviathan Red Wine in St. Louis and were blown away by the quality of the Sandhi Wines. Please join us in welcoming Natalie Vaclavik of Terroir Selections for a special tasting event.
Leviathan Cabernet Sauvignon...$47.99

The new issue of The Wine Advocate just reviewed the Sandhi Wines...
we don't have the exact list of what we will taste, but check out some of the wines.
These two will be tasted for sure -- they are in stock now...
2010 Sandhi Chardonnay Rita's Crown...$53.99 Rated 94/100 The Wine Advocate
2010 Sandhi Pinot Noir Bien Nacido...$45.99 Rated 92/100 The Wine Advocate
The rest are still yet to be determined -- stay tuned, but check out these scores on the 2010s
Sandhi Chardonnay Bent Rock Rated 94/100 The Wine AdvocateSandhi Chardonnay Bien Nacido Rated 94/100 The Wine Advocate
Sandhi Chardonnay Sanford & Benedict Rated 93/100 The Wine Advocate
Sandhi Pinot Noir Evening Land Tempest Rated 94+/100 The Wine Advocate
Sandhi Pinot Noir Sanford & Benedict Rated 94/100 The Wine Advocate

Wednesday, September 26th (6:30-8pm)
Duckhorn Tasting $30 per person
Join us in welcoming Ashley O’Leary of Duckhorn Vineyards as we taste through her outstanding lineup of wines. This tasting will feature the classic Napa Valley wines of Duckhorn Vineyards as well as the Estate grown Anderson Valley wines of Goldeneye and Migration.
Wines to be Tasted:
2010 Duckhorn Sauvignon Blanc $27.99
2010 Migration Chardonnay $29.99
2009 Migration Pinot Noir $33.99
2007 Goldeneye Pinot Noir $44.99
2009 Duckhorn Vineyards Merlot $49.99
2009 Duckhorn Vineyards Cabernet $65.99
2008 Duckhorn Vineyards Monitor Ledge Cabernet $89.99

Friday, August 17, 2012

Mauro Vergano Americano

In stock now at Forsyth - new Vermouth/Bitter Aperitif

Mauro Vergano Americano...$39.99
I would like to describe it as a traditional Vermouth/Bitter Piedmontese aperitif. The use of
Grignolino as the base wine was one of my (few!) good intuitions; naturally, the choice of producer could only fall to the Grignolino from Casina Tavjin: a wine with an intense, dry fragrance that has the right body and isn't particularly tannic. In a word: the best Grignolino that I have ever tasted.  Like all Vermouths, the extract contains Absinthe (in this case a mixture of the Maggiore, Gentile and Pontico varieties). But in order to transform a Vermouth into an Americano you have to integrate the herbs at its base with other more bitter ones like Gentianella, citrus zest like Bitter Orange and Chinotto.

A brief description of the production cycle which all the products share:  The first step is the preparation of the extract or "concia". This is done by leaving a mixture of chopped herbs and spices in alcohol for about 20/30 days. Then the extract is filtered and left to age for a few months.
The second step is the actual preparation of the product. To make the product I mix the extract,
sugar and alcohol. The last step is clarification followed by filtering which produces a clear product with long-term stability.

Chinato, Americano and Vermouth blended to perfection by retired chemist Mauro Vergano.

Rare Dom Rose

2000 Dom Perignon Brut ROSE...$299.99

The 2000 Dom Perignon Rose is a flashy, ripe Champagne that screams Pinot to a degree I have never encountered in another vintage of this wine. A dark, intense color leads to a Chambolle-like nose followed by endless red berries, flowers and spices, all backed up with plenty of muscle, richness and density. The wine continues to blossom on the palate, with utterly beguiling detail, clarity and polish, all qualities that resonate on the rich, expansive finish. The 2000 Dom Perignon Rose is 45% Chardonnay and 55% Pinot Noir, of which 25% is still Pinot. Geoffroy says his goal was to make a statement with the 2000 Dom Perignon Rose; he has done that?and so much more. In fact, the 2000 seems to signal a stylistic shift towards a more important, serious style of rose. This superb wine is not to be missed, but readers should note this is no easygoing rose, rather it is a Champagne that demands serious attention. The 2000 will test the limits of what readers expect from a Dom Perignon Rose, but the wine is simply marvelous. I loved it. This bottle was disgorged in 2008. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2025.

Rated 96/100 The Wine Advocate

New batch of Schlafly

Schlafly AIPA bottled 7/17/12 arrived today at our Forsyth location. 

and it is on sale $7.99 / 6pk -- until tomorrow!

Schlafly PUMPKIN

Just hit at Forsyth....

Schlafly Pumpkin Ale
Schlafly Oktoberfest
Schlafly Porter

Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Mixed 12 pack

Sierra Nevada Beer Camp....$18.99 /  Mixed 12 pack

We got another 8 - 12 packs ---

We are selling them now as 12 packs -- call 314.962.8150 to reserve

Sertãozinho Weiss Retail Release Party!

Enlightenment Series
Urban Chestnut  Kaldis Coffee Sertãozinho Weiss....$7.49 / pint
"Sertãozinho Weiss - The very specific purpose of our first coffee-bier collaboration was to unequivocally break the convention of traditional heavy-roasted, dark coffee beers. To do this we've taken a berry-nosed and earthy Brazilian coffee (Sertãozinho) and merged it with a traditional, clove and banana-estered, Bavarian Wheat Beer (Weissbier). The result – a stimulating infusion marked by overtones of sweet and tart fruit balanced by a subtle-but-not-bitter roast of rich tannins." -- label 

Next Friday (8/17) is the release official release party and tasting
Urban Chestnut Sertãozinho Weiss retail release party...

The Wine and Cheese Place
7435 Forsyth Blvd.
Clayton, MO 63105  314.727.8788

Friday, August 17 (4pm-6pm)
Reservations are not required - but let us know your coming on Facebook

Urban Chestnut Beer and Kaldi's Coffee Tasting!
Meet the owners of Urban Chestnut and Kaldi's Coffee

We are proud to have Florian Kuplent,  Brewmaster & Co-Founder of Urban Chestnut, along with Josh Ferguson and Tyler Zimmer, owners of Kaldi's Coffee Roasting Company at The Wine and Cheese Place on Friday August 17th from 4pm-6pm to introduce their new beer and coffee Collaboration. This is the first in the Urban Chestnut Enlightenment Series.

The tasting will include

  • Urban Chestnut Enlightenment Series No.1 with Kaldi's Sertãozinho Weiss
  • Kaldi's is also bringing Toddy Sertaozinho. You get a chance to taste the coffee that was used to create the beer
We will also taste
  • Urban Chestnut Zwickel
  • Urban Chestnut Winged Nut 

More information about the project...

Urban Chestnut & Kaldi's Announce Beer & Coffee Collaboration Series  

St. Louis, MO—
Urban Chestnut Brewing Company, a St. Louis' craftbeer brewer, and Kaldi's Coffee Roasting Company, the renowned St. Louis specialty coffee roaster, are excited to announce a new series of coffee beers.

Entitled the "The Enlightenment Series"this new endeavor from Kaldi's and Urban Chestnut is a collaboration between the two local artisans to purposefully create coffee beers that go beyond the traditional dark and heavy-roasted styles that are most commonly brewed.

As the label on the bottle reads, The Enlightenment Series is "A coffee - bier collusion intended to inform and enlighten the collective of passionate coffee AND beer drinkers to the possibilities of 'bean-meets barley'."

​"Our initial intent is to create some unique beers that really accentuate the complex flavors of both the coffee bean and the intrinsic beer style. We hope to expand both the notion and the enjoyment of coffee beer." says, Florian Kuplent, Brewmaster & Co-Founder of Urban Chestnut.

​Josh Ferguson, co-owner of Kaldi's, added, "At some point, we'll certainly play around with some heavier roasts and darker beers, but just like with craft beer there's a lot of taste complexity in a coffee bean that many people have yet to discover.  The first beer in our series demonstrates this perfectly."

The first beer in the series is a blend of a Brazilian coffee, Sertãozinho, and a traditional Bavarian Weissbier.  The end product is a complexly flavored, lighter-bodied beer with subtle notes of fruit and coffee.

Urban Chestnut Brewing Company (UCBC) is an unconventional-minded yet tradition-oriented brewer of craft beer. Founded in early 2011 and located at 3229 Washington Avenue in the Midtown Alley are of St. Louis,it brews both small batches of artisanal, modern American beers (their Revolution series) and classically-crafted European styles (their Reverence series).  The founders are Florian Kuplent and David Wolfe.  Kuplent is a German born and trained brewmaster with extensive experience atboth small breweries, worldwide, and with the world's largest, Anheuser-Busch InBev.  Wolfe is a 20-year beer industry memberwho was with Anheuser-Busch as wellprior to joining Kuplent in founding Urban Chestnut.

St. Louis' local award winning artisan coffee roaster 
"Kaldi’s Coffee is dedicated to creating a memorable coffee experience for our customers and guests, committing to sustainable business practices, providing educational opportunities, and supporting the communities that we serve. It is our mission to exceed competition and continue company growth by executing the above fundamentals. Kaldi’s Coffee will strive to develop team members, build our brand, and promote our products." - Kaldi's Website

Bargain Rose Sparkler....

Mirabelle Brut Rose...$22.99
A rosé with serious intentions, this has a delicate pink hue and floral strawberry and spicy yeast roll aromas. The flavors show good focus, offering raspberry, Gala apple, ginger and fig flavors. Drink now through 2012. 3,000 cases made. –TF 
Rated 93/100 The Wine Spectator

Talley Oliver's

Amazing bargain from Talley

2010 Talley Oliver’s Vineyard Chardonnay Edna Valley...$25.99

Compare to $32 at Talley Winery

"100% Oliver's Vineyard fruit. The bright citrus flavors continue through the palate where the taut acidity and wet stone minerality combine to produce a wine of elegance and freshness.
Beautiful aromas of mandarin, lemon zest, and fresh cut flowers define this vintage of Oliver's Chardonnay. The bright citrus flavors continue through the palate where the taut acidity and wet stone minerality combine to produce a wine of elegance and freshness. Hints of toast and white peach round out the finish. This wine pairs well with delicate whitefish dishes." -- winery

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Beer update....

Update on new beers....

Urban Chestnut / Kaldi's Collaboration
In stock at all four locations

Boulevard 80 Acre Hoppy
In stock at all four locations

Boulevard Collaboration No. 3 Stingo -
Forsyth only right now
Should hit other stores tomorrow

Perennial Peach Berliner Weiss
Forsyth - out of stock, hoping for more
Rock Hill - in stock now
New Ballas - in stock now
Ballwin - not yet

Caldera IPA

Caldera IPA in stock!

I am told this could be it for awhile as Caldera cannot keep up with production
Get it now!

Amazing tasting with Adam Sbragia!

Tuesday, August 28th (7-8:30pm)
Meet Adam Sbragia
Sbragia Family Vineyards Tasting
only $20 per person
 The Sbragia name has long been associated with great California wines. Ed Sbragia the long time winemaker of Beringer Private Reserve Cabernet and Chardonnay started his own label with his son Adam. We are honored to be the sole retail outlet for Sbragia Family Wines in St. Louis and are very pleased to welcome Adam Sbragia for a tasting of his fantastic line-up of wines.

Adam will taste these wines with you...
-Sbragia Cab Monte Rosso Vineyard - 2007
-Sbragia Cab Rancho Del OSO - 2009
-Sbragia Cab Wall vnyd - 2009
-Sbragia Chard Gamble Ranch - 2009
-Sbragia Chard Home Ranch - 2009
-Sbragia Merlot Home Ranch - 2009
-Sbragia Cab Cimarossa - 2009
-Sbragia Sauv Blanc Dry Creek – 2011
-Sbragia Cab Andolsen
-Sbragia Ginos Zin

This is an amazing line up of wines and Adam Sbragia is one of the nicest winemakers in the industry!!!

reservations are required -- sign up now
or call 314.727.8788
Class is held at our Forsyth location in Clayton

Perennial Artisan Ales Peach Berliner Weisse

Sold out at Forsyth -- another batch is coming soon, don't worry. 

Perennial Artisan Ales Peach Berliner Weisse....$ 11.99 / 750ml
"Our Peach Berliner Weisse is a German-style tart wheat beer that's perfect for the hot summer months. We violate traditional German beer production methods in every way by adding hundreds of pounds of Midwest-grown peaches to each batch. We hope you enjoy the irreverence as much as we do." - Perennial

2nd Shift Ratsalad

We only got in 1 case of this batch, 
so I am just going to do in store pick up only, no reservations.

2nd Shift Ratsalad...$11.99 

Just love making IPA's, so here's another one that uses a new hop blend called Zythos that is just delicious and should be enjoyed with a blow-up doll or something similiar.
It is 8.5% ABV

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Beer news...

These should all arrive tomorrow (8/16) at The Wine and Cheese Place

Exciting beer release Friday!!

Friday, August 15, 2012
The Wine and Cheese Place
7435 Forsyth Blvd, Clayton, MO 63105

Urban Chestnut / Kaldis Beer Release Party this Friday from 4-6pm at Forsyth.
Meet the owners of two great St. Louis artisan producers and taste their new product 

"In other new-beer news, the people who created Urban Chestnut Sertaozinho Weiss will lead a tasting of the coffee beer from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday at the Wine and Cheese Place (7435 Forsyth Boulevard) in Clayton.
  Urban Chestnut brewmaster and co-founder Florian Kuplent will be present to discuss the beer side of the equation, while Kaldi's Coffee co-owners Tyler Zimmer and Josh Ferguson will talk about their involvement. The tasting also will feature a cold-toddy version of the Sertaozinho coffee used in the beer. Bottles of Sertaozinho Weiss will be available for $7.49 each.  
This one I have had a chance to try, and it's a fantastic expression of coffee wrapped in velvety wheat. (Yes, that description brought me some good-natured ribbing on Twitter)." -- Evan Benn, St. Louis Post Dispatch.

Plus we will be tasting these 3 new spirits on Friday from 4-6 at Forsyth also.


Gonzalez Byass Chinchón Anisette ...$29.99 / Liter
Chinchón de la Alcoholera is produced using the traditional process of the Chinchón region of Spain.   Chinchón anisette is produced using time-honored craftsmanship dating back to the 17th century, and with only the most natural ingredients of extremely high quality.

Clean, intense and frank aroma and taste of distilled anisette. Sweet and warm on the palate.

Gonzalez Byass was founded in 1835, in the town of Jerez, Andalucia, in southern Spain. Still in the hands of the founding family—now in its 5th generation, it has always based its business policy on one principle: pursuing excellence in providing the highest quality spirits, a passion handed down from the company’s founder, Manuel M. Gonzalez, who was known for the supreme excellence of his wines.  There is only one way to characterize From the proactive management of the vineyards, to ardent quality control in all stages of production, Gonzalez Byass delivers a comprehensive range of spirits from Spain, each sure to please even the most sophisticated spirits consumer

Palabra Chinchon
1 oz  Gin
1 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
1 oz Chinchon Sweet Anis
1 oz fresh lime juice
Shake with ice and double strain
into a cocktail glass.

Spanish Brandy

We are proud to introduce to St. Louis...

LePanto Solera Gran Reserva Brandy...$45.99
"The refined taste and rich character of Lepanto selections match the rich and colorful history of their Spanish homeland.

Lepanto is produced from Palomino grapes grown in the Gonzalez Byass vineyards located in the best areas of Jerez. Grapes are picked early to obtain high acidity and an alcoholic level between 10-12% vol. The wines are distilled in two 25 hectolitre alembic pot stills of the Charentais type. The spirit is twice distilled, a process that lasts 10 hours, requiring constant attention and great expertise to ensure that the “holandas” acquire the perfect characteristics and quality required for Lepanto. Lepanto’s quality is best appreciated when served in a balloon brandy glass at room temperature. Satisfyingly complex and dry, it is ideal at the end of a good meal or whenever the occasion calls for the unhurried enjoyment of a first class drink.

Topaz in color with golden reflections. Dry and delicate on the palate, with a wide array of flavors including caramel, vanilla, dried almonds and raisins.

Bronze Medal - 2012 NY World Wine and Spirits
Bronze Medal - 2011 San Francisco World Spirits Competition
Gold Medal - 2008 Concurso Internacional De Vino y Espirituosos
Gold Medal - 2011 Femmes Et Espiritueux du Monde Monaco

Lepanto is produced by the Gonzalez Byass Company.
In 1835, a young man named Manual Maria Gonzalez Angel came to Jerez hoping to find a place in the thriving and booming Sherry Industry. Motivated by the constant growth in exports, he purchased that very year a small winery where he started producing and exporting his own wines. In 1885, 20 years later and given the increasing success of his company, Mr. Gonzalez decided to associate with Mr. Robert Blake Byass, his agent in England. From that, the Gonzalez Byass Company was born.

from the importer

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Duncan Taylor 1992 Jura 18 Year Cask #5914

Rare Auld Collection
Duncan Taylor 1992 Jura 18 Year Cask #5914....$89.99

ABV: 52.9%
312 bottles produced
Distilled November 1992
Bottled November 2010

Rare Auld Collection
The critically acclaimed and award winning Rare Auld collection represents Single Malt and Single Grain Scotch whiskies of outstanding quality from Scotland’s prime whisky producing regions - Speyside, Islay, Highland, Island, Lowland and Campbeltown.

The majority of casks within this range are over 30 years old. They include a variety of cask types including Sherry, Port, American Oak Bourbon and wine.

The whiskies are bottled as single casks at cask strength with no chillfiltration or colouring. Each bottle of this collection is individually identified with information detailing the distillery and region or origin, distillation date, cask number, cask strength, date bottled and individual bottle number from the limited number available in each cask.

Each hand-selected cask is matured at the original distillery to allow it to age in the environment in which it was distilled. A cask is only bottled when it reaches its optimum age and quality.

In 1963, the spirit sprang from the Jura stills for the first time since the turn of the 20th century. Despite the relative close proximity between Islay and Jura, the whiskies are rather dissimilar. Jura whiskies offer power, but none of the intense peat smoke of its Ìleach cousins from across the narrow channel between the two isles.

Dry Dock - Tomatoes and Eggs

Here are today's tomatoes ---
Heirloom Tomatoes from Dry Dock Farms

Customers in the store swarmed on him when they arrived 
-- these are good tomatoes.

Plus Dry Dock Farms Farm Fresh Eggs arrived today -- laid 8/14/12 (yes, that is today, they are kind of FRESH!)

Pretty Things Collab with Boulevard Stingo

The 3rd Collaboration from 
Boulevard's Smokestack Series.  

Boulevard / Pretty Things Beer Collaboration
Smokestack Series No.3 English Style Stingo....$8.49

"O Yorkshire, Yorkshire! thy Ale it is so strong, That it will kill us all if we stay long."
--The Praise of Yorkshire Ale, 1697

"For the third installment of Boulevard Brewing Company's Smokestack Collaboration Series, Boulevard brewmaster Steven Pauwels joins forces with the husband-and-wife team of Dann and Martha Paquette, the driving force behind "gypsy brewer" Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project.  Together, the brewers have produced a modern version of the traditional English Ale known as "Stingo."  This rarely-seen, barrel-aged style originated in the north of England, with historical references dating back to the 17th century.  The name itsel if a slang term for sharp, old beer, so called because it "stings" the palate.  The Paquette's own experience brewing in Yorkshire inspired the unusual choice, suggested to Pauwels (fittingly enough,) over a beer at the American Craft Beer Festival in Boston.
Pretty Things beers originate from Somerville, Massachusetts, but don't go looking for the front door of the brewery.  A self-described "project," Dann and Martha formulate and produce their beers as "tenant brewers" in host breweries throughout their region.  More of their story, along with descriptions of all their eclectic beers, can be found at

Rich and robust, Collaboration No.3 is the result of complex brewing regimen and patient cellaring.  Expect notes of wood and fruit to intertwine with slight sour characteristics to compliment the dramatic malt flavors. This beer will pair exceptionally well with wild game, smoked meats, strong cheeses, or heavily seasoned dishes.  A more complete sensory description will be made available to release." - Boulevard press release

From Pretty Things Website
A Story of Stingo and Collaboration with BoulevardPosted on Monday, July 30th, 2012 at 4:41 PM.

Written by Dann
The Story of Collaboration Number 3. Stingo.

When entering a Boston-area beer bar the night before one of‘s festivals, you’re bound to spot some of the great brewers of the world. Just as I did when I entered Lord Hobo in Cambridge last fall the night before the Belgian Beer Festival. Pushing aside the great red velvet curtain I was stopped in my tracks by a mass of beer drinkers, filling every conceivable space between me and the bar. Through the gloom, the first person I saw was brewer Jeremy Danner ofBoulevard Brewing Company from Kansas City, Missouri. Jeremy was the first Boulevard guy I met and he’s really a great one… Jeremy introduced me to the guy standing next to him, the famed Boulevard brewmaster Steven Pauwels. ”Great to meet you Dann,” he said, and without missing a beat, “I hear we’re brewing a collaboration together.”

The first I heard of Steven Pauwels and the Boulevard collaboration beers was actually from a Trappist monk, our dear friend Brother Brian. Boulevard’s “Collaboration No. 1″ was with Jean-Marie Rock, Brewmaster for the Trappist brewery Orval, which is easily one of the most revered breweries in the world. This beer, an “imperial pilsner”, sent shockwaves through the monastic brewing community and the old world met the new world in Kansas City. Collaboration number two was with Deschutes Brewery of Oregon. Together, Boulevard and Deschutes pretty much created a brand new type of beer: white IPA. So just so we get this straight: the first collaboration was with one of the revered breweries on the planet, the next one was with a brewery literally one-hundred times our size, and now I’m hearing, “Great to meet you Dann, I hear we’re brewing a collaboration together.” I’m fishing for a little sympathy here people. For us it was a little like having the Rolling Stones come to your gig at the VFW hall and Mick Jagger inviting you to open for them at Wembley. Yes it was.
Anyway, you can’t open for the Stones playing Stones covers – which is pretty much like what it would be proposing a Belgian beer style to a Belgian brewmaster. So if we were going to come up with a great idea for a collaboration beer it would have to come from somewhere else. Since Martha is from Yorkshire and because I’ve been dreaming about this old beer style I read about in the book “In Praise of Yorkshire Ale” written by George Meriton in the late 1600′s called “stingo”, Martha and I wondered if they would go for it.

The idea of a sour English style that goes back this far really ignited excitement for me. A sour English beer seems strange to us today, but if you’ve been following our Once Upon A Time series of historical brewing then you know almost anything is possible in England’s glorious brewing past. Then you look over at an article on Rodenbach, written by Peter Bouckaert, former Rodenbach brewer and present Head Brewer at New Belgium brewery in Colorado. Rodenbach is a venerable old brewery that still produces magical, dark sour beers in Belgium that were dubbed”Flanders Reds” byMichael Jackson. Peter wrote this about Eugene Rodenbach in a piece on the history of the beer:

“Eugene learned the job of brewer around 1860 in Northern England. Returning to Rodenbach he copied two things he had seen: the kiln construction, but still more important is the way of making beer. During the time he was in England, a pub could buy fresh beer in a brewery. But there were traders who kept the beer for some years stored, and sold it for the double of the price. “
Is Stingo the original Flanders Red? I’ve been all around the Rodenbach brewery and I’ve seen photos of plenty of wooden fermenters in old English breweries. There are a lot of similarities between breweries in this period anyway. De Dolle Brouwerij in Esen, Belgium is like a close cousin to the T & R Theakston brewery in Masham, Yorkshire. Green King still uses “rounds”, wooden vessels similar to the classic Belgian “foeder” to make its Olde Suffolk ale. I don’t claim to be making an academic study, just observations. But I’d love for someone to look into it further.

It’s a fascinating question and the folks at Boulevard liked it as well. So with many emails back and forth we and Steven came up with a recipe that featured 100% Yorkshire malts from Thomas Fawcett & Sons, a Yorkshire ale yeast and a couple English hop varieties that Steven admitted he once threw out of his brewery for smelling too weird! So we really pushed out the boat and tried to marry our two influences: English beer ingredients and brewing history, with current fantastic Belgian beer styles.
On April 25th and 26th our crazy rinky dink brewery group: Me, Martha, Anya and Bocky stand-in, radio personality John Funke drove to Boulevard’s Kansas City brewery and spent two days brewing our beer. We milled in, blended the preliminary batches, tweaked the ageing and ingredients, and most importantly ate more barbecue than any four people should ever eat. Steve Mills, Chief Operating Officer of Boulevard knows all the great places to eat and drink in the area and made certain we got to them. I can’t tell you how much fun we had eating and drinking Boulevard beers in Kansas City!

The one thing I should say is that prior to our visit Boulevard did not have any foeders to speak of (although I believe they have a few now). So we endeavored to recreate this beer with the “sting” coming from a bacterial fermentation in the brewhouse. This was achieved by adding lots of dry ice to the brew kettle, bringing the temperature down so the bacteria could flourish and pitching a known lactic acid-producing strain. Steven called it a “cold boil” as it literally boiled and steam went everywhere. Over a period of hours the lactic acid was produced and the wort was cooled and fermented with the traditional Yorkshire yeast and with wooden cubes to give it a subtle flavour.
Three times in the intervening months we were shipped large boxes containing various champagne bottles of unblended and test-blended versions of the Stingo. They were all flat beer and we played around with different ways to get the final blend and then called Steven. One of these shipments happened while we were spending a week at UC Davis taking an intensive brewing course. So we were pleased that our host let us use many of her wine glasses and a measuring cup to help make these blends happen. Our overall goal was to make a believable facsimile of what this beer would have tasted like in the best of situations. A little too much sourness and the big malty nose goes away, too little and the sting is gone. The same with the fermentations that took place with large amounts of wood in the tanks. We needed an almost neutral wood character, but one which would be detectable in the beer. Easy to imagine but difficult to achieve. I think we did a pretty good job. Even better was the fact that Steven was always on the same page, or we were always on the same page as Steven. Either way we made a beer that we all contributed too and were pleased with.

We were insanely impressed by the folks at Boulevard. They’re such a friendly, capable and impressive group of people. The brewery itself is a spectacular German-designed facility that ingeniously fits into Boulevard’s urban footprint. The level of automation slightly surpassed my imagination. One night I saw Jeremy Danner checking out a current brewing session from his iphone. We were in a beer bar across town and he told me if he needed to he could brew from his phone. I convinced him to email me a screenshot of his brewery-control panel on his phone and set it as my lock screen. Later on I noticed Steven Pauwels nervously following my right hand as I gestured wildly in the middle of a story, he thought I was messing with his brewery!

For me this was a fantastic experience and the beer not only tastes great, it has achieved every goal we set for it. I’m also proud that my name is not only next to Steven’s but to Martha’s. She’s always been around my brewing career but a couple of years ago she began forging her own, quitting her job as scientist (it’s actually Dr. Martha you know) and jumping into brewing like she was born for it. Back in Yorkshire we went to my brewery on the weekends together to top-crop yeast from the open fermenters. Now she’s the one more likely to try to solve issues in the brewery with a microscope.

Here’s to our first ever collaboration!