Farmer Willie’s Ginger Beer

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Recently I was at Wequassett for Foolproof Brewing and I was placed right in between a Cape Cod Great White Rum, and a series of unmarked, brown bottles that reminded me of homebrew. Now, I don’t drink hard alcohol so I was a little disheartened to be at the rum cocktail table, however when I found out the mysterious brown bottles contained alcoholic ginger beer, I was in for a night of next level dark and stormys.

But what was this alcoholic ginger beer only available on my part of Cape Cod? How had I never heard of it? Enter Farmer Willie’s, the new libation in town. Based out of a Cape Cod kitchen way out in Truro by the wrist of the Cape, farmer Willie Fenichel began home-brewing alcoholic ginger beer, which he shared at local beaches and soon became a cult sensation. Co-founders Nico and Max got ready to share his ginger beer with the masses, and Farmer Willie’s began.

The water in Truro is good for lots of things, sharks, erosion, surfing, but unfortunately not for brewing. So Farmer Willie’s is brewed in collaboration with Downeast Cider in Charlestown, MA. After raising over $20,000 on Kickstarter to get off the ground and purchase cold storage and a delivery van so they can roll out 30,000 cans for summer, the beer is available at locations all over the Mid-Lower Cape from farmers markets to liquor stores. My choice location would be Cranberry Liquors in Harwichport, because if you’re the type person who is chasing down craft ginger beer, you probably also like to chase down craft beer, and they have the best selection in this part of the Cape.

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And now onto the beer itself:

Made with ginger, lemons, and something secret, this beer pours a very pale straw color, it sort of looks like a cloudy ginger ale. The smell of ginger is the first thing you notice, it;s a very sweet and earthy smell.

It tastes like a solid ginger beer, not to fizzy, not to sweet, only the kicker with this one is that it has alcohol in it. Aside from a slight warming sensation, the alcohol doesn’t impede the taste at all which would make this a great addition to dark and stormys, or, if you’re like me, to drink a cold glass of this with a sprig of mint, while chilling on a hammock.

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New Brewery- Devil’s Purse Brewing Co. in South Dennis

Devil's Purse Brewing Co.

Devil’s Purse Brewing Co.

Homebrewers Mike Segerson and Matt Belson are opening up Devil’s Purse Brewing Co. in South Dennis this Memorial Day weekend. Inside the brewery bags of malts- Vienna, Crystal, Pilsen, Simpons are stacked high to produce their malt-forward European influenced beers.

Matt and Mike both started out as homebrewers, were successful at it, which lead to the formation of Devil’s Purse. Mike had worked at a winery, taken classes at B.U. for wine tasting, and worked at Truro Vineyards, where he began to get into beer. Matt, a former journalist for the Cape Codder, had gotten a homebrew kit for a wedding project that sat dormant for years, the two were introduced through their wives, and “no exaggeration, once we started homebrewing together it was all we did,” said Matt. They researched, brewed, and bottled, with the support of their friends and families.

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Their next step? Opening a brewery. “Every day is a challenge, every day is rewarding, and we are exceptionally lucky to have people support us and cheer us on since day one,” said Matt. Their name, Devil’s Purse, comes from the skate egg pouches found on many a Cape beach. “I used to collect them on north beach, it’s one of my earlier memories,” says Mike, “I found out what they are called, and thought, that’s awesome.” They tossed around the idea of the name at a 2am brew session and it stuck. Their logo combines a devils purse with a surfmans check badge, which are given to highly skilled mates in the coastguard. These used to be given to the lifesavers at Monomony, and Race Point, to name a few.

Their beers and philosophies pay homage to the past and history of the cape. The beers themselves have nautical names as well- Handline Kolsch, Skatemouth Pale Ale, Surfmans Check ESB, and their Light Vessel IPA series named after notorious rips in the area- like Pollock and Cross.

They hope to see the Cape become a craft beer destination, and the town of Dennis was excited to welcome the 7-barrel brewhouse to town, and their new location sits in a spacious industrial bay on Great Western Road. It features a tasting room that does growler fills, and better yet, crowler fills. Not only is it fun to hold a 32oz. giant can of beer, it’s also much better for the beach and boat life.

I’m pretty excited to see another brewery grace the shores of Cape Cod where things seem to move at a painfully slower pace than the rest of the state. Let’s keep the ball rolling, who is going to be next?

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Memorial Day Weekend Opening Hours at the brewery

Friday, May 22 from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

 Sat. May 23 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

***CLOSED Sun. May 24 & Mon. May 25***

Their beer has also begun distribution at local bars and restaurants.

Address and Contact info

Devil’s Purse Brewing Company

120 Great Western Rd.

South Dennis, MA 02660

(508) 694-7171

 For more information visit: www.devilspurse.com

FACEBOOK and TWITTER

163. Slumbrew Yankee Swap 2014

Slumbrew 2014 Yankee Swap

Slumbrew Yankee Swap 2014

I think this is my first post in ten months, but now that the book is in the hands of God, AKA the publisher, and I’m done wedding planning, I am back with a review of Slumbrews 2014 Yankee Swap. It was a cold January day when I wandered into the bottle shop and this victual popped out to me…nay, it was calling to me:

This 2014 imperial stout is the SECOND EDITION in our Yankee Swap series. It’s aged in Turkey Shore Distilleries run barrels to create a unique flavor profile that continues to develop with time. A perfect accompaniment to holiday doldrums, in-laws or all bouts of holiday boredom. If you collect bottles, we suggest you cellar a second bottle or two of this ale to serve with next year’s edition of our Yankee Swap.

Doldrums? Check. In-laws? Yes, one in particular, check. Boredom? Check.

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162. Berkshire Brewing Cabin Fever Ale

BBC Cabin Fever2Commercial Description: A well-balanced, medium-bodied ale brewed to sustain you over the long New England winter. Its rich malt profile is reminiscent of an English Pale Ale, while the spicy and fruity hop finish, from German Tettnang hops, gives it a warming and welcoming feeling to bring you back in from the cold. Copper-amber in color, this offering is available all winter long.

I left this beer sitting for a while and when I returned to it, the head was still there, leaving ample lacing on the glass; creamy, off-white and well-formed. It poured an amber/brown with copper highlights. Overall, just a very fresh, nice-looking beer with great clarity.

BBC Cabin Fever3The nose is full of that rich and flowery Tettnang hop presence, followed by some soft, bready malts with a light toffee sweetness. On first sip, before even really noticing any of the flavors, the first thing I reacted too was how nice this beer is on the palate; very creamy and soft, but still has a bit of weight to it.

The taste matches the aroma in almost every way – toasted bread, light caramel, as well as a touch of fruit and spice, almost like a cinnamon quality. The earthy hop flavor is apparent and is in nice contrast to the soft and bready maltiness. At 6.3%, there is no discernable alcohol presence. Cabin Fever finishes slightly dry, with flavors that linger.

BBC Cabin FeverI wish this was a bad-idea of a beer; one where you lose interest immediately because the flavors are confused and counterproductive, only so I could relate it to the movie Cabin Fever. Eli Roth, grumble grumble. But I can’t. It’s a well put together, very drinkable beer, but for me, lacks the qualities that would make it a stand-out winter warmer. If anything, I see this being a go-to year round beer, rather than a seasonal. Though if you’re looking for a winter beer that’s not an overly-spiced, imperial malt bomb, then this might be the beer for you.

148. The Tap Brewing Co. Swanny Boy Maple Porter

Going to Craft Beer Cellar is always so risky for me. I don’t get to go there often, so when I do go, I tend to blow my monthly beer budget in one visit. They have such a wide variety of craft beers, and they have local things that never even make it down to my area, take for example this bottle of Swanny Boy Porter. I had never heard of The Tap, based out of Haverhill, MA, but apparently they’ve been around since 2003. The beer is made with maple syrup from Ben’s Sugar Shack in Temple, NH, so I liked that it was locally made, with one of our local products that Northern New England prides themselves on. Plus, maple syrup in the winter always brings back memories of these:

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It’s worth picking up an alpine sport just to experience skiing or riding up to a Waffle Cabin

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132. Sam Adams Vixen

IMG_4612This short and sweet summer has ended and fall has wasted no time settling in. We aren’t even through the first full week of September and I’m sitting here in a sweater drinking Mexican hot chocolate, whereas just a week ago I was out on the boat for days on end. If you like things a little spicy Mexican hot chocolate will make you never look back at the regular stuff, take your Swiss Miss and shove it, I ain’t drinkin’ that no more! You can buy pre-made tablets (Ibarra and Abuelita are the easiest to find, but if you have Taza near you I highly recommend them- they’re local to Massachusetts and pair up with Night Shift brewing sometimes for tasty collabs), but if you live in an un-diverse food area like me you’ll have to make your own, it’s just equal parts cocoa powder and sugar (I do about 4 tbs each), a mug of milk, a little bit of vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and chiles (dried or power), and chopped bittersweet chocolate all melded together.

And for all you Mexican hot chocolate beer lovers, Vixen, a chocolate-chili bock, by Sam Adams (8.5% ABV, 20 IBU) captures this essence. This beer was my summer equivalent of Mexican hot chocolate. It pours really deep brown, but when you hold it up to the light it’s a deep garnet color. There was a dark cream colored head on the glass too. But honestly, I didn’t fuss around much with appearance because all I wanted to do was try this brew. There’s nothing worse than snapping photos of your beer as you watch the temperature rise and the head shrink.

I definitely got a scent of musty unsweetened cocoa from this beer which is muddled in with the dark roasted malts with faint hints of spice. It kind of fell flat on the caliente expectations I had. Some spicy beers tease your pallet when you smell the, singe your nose hair, yadda yadda, and well, this one didn’t.

As for taste, there were faint hints of chocolate and choclatey malts, but it was very subtle and watery. The chipotle peppers make their presence known via their smokey heat, which leaves a post-sip tingle on your tongue when combined with the cinnamon in the beer as well. I wish the beer was a little thicker because I feel like it was “thin” (does that make sense?) and because of this I couldn’t really get as much flavor out of it as I could have. It just didn’t have much in the way of mouthfeel and left a lot lacking.

Vixen was okay, I am glad I tried it but I wouldn’t buy it again. However, if you are interested in checking out a spicy chocolate beer, I recommend Clown Shoes Luchador en Fuego

Expected fiesta, got a siesta.

Expected fiesta, got a siesta.

127. Night Shift Viva Habanera Batch 12

Night Shift Viva Habanero

Night Shift Viva Habanera

More often than not spicy beers are a bit of a let down for me. It’s almost as though they brew the beers with the hot peppers intended to be nothing more than a selling point along the lines of, “We put in an 8th of a chile pepper, therefore we can list it on the bottle” or “all peppers! no beer!” (ala “Ghost Face Killah) as opposed to an actual flavor asset. Night Shift Viva Habanera is not one of those beers.

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