Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Around the Corner

We appreciate the dedication of our craft beer shoppers. Of everything we do on the Internet, craft beer news is always among the three of four topics that get the most hits, shares, and likes. And that keeps us looking for additional way of connecting you with useful information. So don't forget to follow us on Twitter, where we publish a money-saving (usually craft beer) coupon every Thursday. Spoiler alert: this week's Twitter coupon will be for Boulevard Brewing.

Twitter for Lawrenceville
Twitter for Woodbridge

Unless your Twitter feed is NSFW, we do follow back. Same goes for our new Instagram accounts:

Instagram for Lawrenceville
Instagram for Woodbridge

But you're here to talk about craft beer, so here's a look at what's new at Joe Canal's in Lawrenceville and Woodbridge.

Carton S.S. C.R.E.A.M. "Brewing with Barrier is almost as cool as drinking with Barrier. Every time we get together Boat and Money are passed back and forth. We drink merrily while lamenting not having a tank to play in together. For this ensemble effort we took the things that make us happy together and put them together. Barrier and Carton took the Need a Bigger Boat recipe to Smuttlabs. We swapped American 6-Row in for the base malt, fermented cold with both beer’s common Kolsch yeast, held it cold for a while, then dry-hopped it within an inch of its life with Money’s hops. Drink C.R.E.A.M. because collabs rule everything around me."

Availability is extremely limited! S.S. C.R.E.A.M. is already available in Lawrenceville, with a 2 can/person limit. It should arrive in Woodbridge within the next couple of days, with a one can/person limit.

Westbrook Brewing Gose. This is our interpretation of Gose (pronounced “Gose-uh”), a traditional German-style sour wheat beer brewed with coriander and salt. Once nearly extinct, this very refreshing style is making a comeback. 4% ABV, 5 IBU.

Southern Tier Tangier Double IPA. Tangier has inspired thousands of legendary stories. It is a land that has fallen under
Roman, Arab and Portuguese rule, and it’s home to legends tall and small. It is written that before his battle with the giant Antaeus, Hercules rested in a nearby cave. It is said that the city is a haven of spying and espionage. The city is an enigma with a history unlike any other and it’s a worthy namesake of our 2XTangier.

A Double India Pale Ale with spicy citrus aromas and stone fruit flavors. These flavors, with the addition of lightly roasted malts and brilliant hop bitterness, make 2XTangier a beverage as refreshing as it is exotic. 2XTangier is brewed as a stronger, bolder ale than its older brother, Tangier. It shares the same synergy between tangerine peel and spicy, citrusy, Mosaic hops. Enjoy 2XTangier in celebration of your epic adventure.

Particularly tasty with soft cheese, mild cheddar, burgers, grilled fare, spicy dishes, shortbread, cakes and fruit tarts.

Ellicottville Brewing Pantius Droppus. "IN CERVISIA VERITAS"... This full malty bodied beer is brewed with loads-upon-loads of glorious flavor. Features a robust aroma and bitterness, with an infusion of orange zest to compliment its high alcohol and green hop additions. Finished with a dry hop process; Pours clear medium Amber.

Bear Republic Mach 10. Pass through the event horizon with this IPA2. American Cascades meld a citrus blast with spicy English First Golds. Savor an intense hoppiness, smooth bitterness and subtle malt character. Prepare to
go hypersonic! 9.2% ABV, 100 IBU, 22oz bottles.

Pair with spicy or savory dishes, hard or aged cheeses. Very limited availability, only in Woodbridge.

The fine print: Quantities are always limited on craft beer selections. If you're wondering about the availability of any particular item, please call the store directly. In this post, we've highlighted just a few of our newest arrivals; more are available in-store.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Here's Your Mother's Day Reminder

Yes, Mother's Day is this Sunday, and we like to be helpful with little reminders like this. Joe Canal's is the place to shop, whether you're buying a gift, or wine to enjoy with mom for Sunday brunch or dinner. To start your shopping process, below are a few staff recommendations.

Capriccio Prosecco. Do you prefer a Mimosa or Bellini for Sunday brunch with mom? We vote for both. Either way, you need a sparkling wine that can stand on its own, but is priced right. Wine Manager Kevin Saunders suggests the Capriccio Prosecco, saying, "it has a vibrant bouquet of apples, white peach and exotic fruits. The finish has hints of melon and gingerbread." Only $10.96 in the Bottle Club®.

Aubry Brut Champagne. Maybe you'll have dinner with mom, or maybe you're looking for a nice gift. Aubry Champagne checks both of those boxes for you. This is a favorite of Senior Wine Manager Brandon Bartfalvi. "It's a rich, full-bodied effort, revealing flavors of citrus, peach and apple with strong mineral undertones. Lively, firm and absolutely delicious!!"

Aubry Brut earned 92 points from Wine Advocate: "With increased acreage and experience, the unorthodoxy of “unknown” cepages has now trickled down to the level of Aubry’s 'basic' NV Brut Disg. 4/2013. This contains just one-quarter each Chardonnay and Pinot; 45% Meunier; and a mixture of Arbanne, Petit Meslier and Fromenteau (a.k.a. Pinot Gris). Nearly half of it is reserve wine, and more than half of that from a solera going back to 1998. If that sounds like a recipe for delivering complexity, you’re right and won’t be disappointed! Bittersweet perfume suggestive of gentian and iris mingles with intimations of fresh lime and sea breeze that in turn manifest themselves on a seductively silken palate in both juicy, vivacious exuberance and mouthwatering saliva-inducement. A scallop-like sweetly saline and mineral amalgam takes hold in a vibrant finish that leaves me caught between the urge to linger and Wine Spectator. At $35.99 in the Bottle Club®, it's also one of our lowest-priced Champagnes.
the urge to take the next sip. This exceptional value by appellation standards is almost sure to prove worth following for several years, even if, sadly, few wine enthusiasts are likely to put that prediction to the test." And Aubry scored 90 points from Wine Spectator.

Domaine Castillon Costieres de Nimes Rose 2015. Springtime is rose season, and this one is definitely mom-approved. This is a blend of 50% Grenache, 25% Syrah and 25% Mourvedre, showing a classic saltiness and high quality raspberry, strawberry, spice and rising bread nuances. Medium-bodied, balanced, delicious and fresh, it leans a little bit towards the richer end of the spectrum, but stays lively and is highly drinkable. Drink now. Only $9.96 in the Bottle Club®.

Acre Twenty One Chardonnay. You're probably going to need a white wine, whether it's brunch or dinner. This is another of Kevin's favorites. His description: "Soft aromas of apple, apricot and wild white flowers. Lovely, light flavors of peach, yellow pear and nectarine, with a touch of sweet oak. This is a medium bodied chardonnay, to be enjoyed with chicken and white fish dishes such as cod and sea bass." Only $9.97 in the Bottle Club®.

Moonbeam Sweet Riesling. Your blogger will have one of these on our table on Sunday. It's refreshingly sweet with stone fruit aromas and layers of honeyed peach, ripe tangerine and hints of jasmine. The wine's natural acidity adds balance and structure with a refreshing finish. This versatile food wine pairs well with spicy dishes, Asian cuisine, strong cheeses or desserts. Also only $9.97 in the Bottle Club®.

Twelve Barrel Ranch Pinot Noir. A really versatile wine, this will pair well with salmon or duck. This California Pinot is fresh and fruity, with a warming bouquet of red berries, cherry cola, cloves and dark chocolate. The medium-bodied palate is smooth and balanced with fine acidity and soft tannins. Pinot Noir often appeals to both red and white wine drinkers, which makes it the perfect suggestion for special occasions. Like Mother's Day. Only $9.97 in the Bottle Club®.

Eaglewood Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon. We know that many of you will be grilling on Sunday, and that usually means steak or lamb are on the menu. Whether it's for mom or yourself, this outstanding Rutherford district
Cabernet should be on your table.

It's full-bodied, elegant and vibrant with a fragrant bouquet of ripe dark plums, violets, cigar box and black pepper. The lush palate boasts black cherries and spice with structured tannins and a memorable finish. Aged for 18 months in new French and American oak. Brandon recommends decanting for an hour, so plan ahead with this. $29.97 in the Bottle Club®.

We know that many of you will be celebrating with craft beer on Sunday. Check back here tomorrow to see what's new in out craft beer department.

Friday, April 29, 2016

AprilMay Grab Bag

April went by pretty quickly, and we'll hope that the weekend doesn't move as quickly. With the 3rd Annual Art Show & Wine Tasting at our Woodbridge store on Sunday night, we think that's a perfect way to close the weekend. You don't have to be a regular shopper at our Woodbridge store to attend the Art Show, and proceeds benefit David's Touch, a charity that delivers hope and joy to children at their greatest time of need. Admission is only $10. Click here for more information on the Art Show & Wine Tasting.

Speaking of events, we detailed the upcoming schedule for both stores in our blog post yesterday. Click here for that post.

New Products

We go in-depth with new craft beer every Tuesday in the Craft Beer Corner. Click here for the latest post.

Acre Twenty One Merlot. Warming aromas of ripe dark cherries, cedar & tobacco followed by a medium-bodied palate filled with ripe dark fruits balanced by round tannins. Enjoy with burgers or on its own. This new addition to the Acre Twenty One portfolio is only $9.97 in the Bottle Club®. From Washington.

Cedilla Liqueur de Acai. Cedilla Açai Liqueur is created with hand-picked Organic Sambazon Açai berries from the Amazon, macerated and blended with the highest quality alambique Cachaça. A rich fruity flavor with complex chocolate, spice, and berry notes.

Wine Enthusiast, 88 points: "New to the U.S. market, Cedilla is made by infusing cachaca with acai berries grown in the Amazon region. Intense, plummy color with a sweet grape-soda aroma and flavor balanced out by a tartness on the finish and a faint cinnamon note. It goes down easy straight up, but would also be good mixed with sparkling wine or gin-or possibly cachaca."

The Açai Caipirinha
2 oz Leblon Cachaça
1 oz Cedilla
½ oz simple syrup
6 lime wedges

In mixing glass, muddle the limes and simple syrup. Add Cedilla and Leblon Cachaça. Fill with ice, shake well and pour all into a rocks glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.

New Belgium Slow Ride Session IPA. Kicking back and relaxing with a session beer requires little more than a couch, some free time, and a few pals. SLOW RIDE SESSION IPA is up for this easy-going challenge, starting with a pour of sheened gold and plenty of fluffy, white foam. A blend of eight hop varieties, led by exotic Mosaic and Nelson Sauvin, twist together brilliant tropical scents of melon, peach, lime and grapefruit for a vividly fruity aroma. The flavor mirrors the aroma, while balancing a malty-sweet yet clean start and hoppy bitterness in the back. Light bodied and extra quaffable, this sessionable India Pale Ale brings the finish line to you. 4.5% ABV, 40 IBU. Currently available only in Woodbridge.

VISUAL: Clear, but with all dry-hopped beers, expect a very slight sheen on this light golden beauty.
AROMA: Lots of fruit up front with orange and lemon citrus, apricot, blueberry, mango and papaya; floral and some cedar complement in the background.
FLAVOR: Juicy, fruity sweetness up front and balanced with a clean hop bitterness.

Lazos Malbec. A fresh palate of ripe raspberry, blueberry & plum with hints of truffle, mocha & vanilla. Velvety tannins are balanced with a hint of spice & toasted oak. Pair with ribs or BBQ chicken. Only $8.97 in the Bottle Club®.

                                                  News You Can Use

It's only six days until Cinco de Mayo, making this weekend the perfect time to shop. You know the beer choices: Corona, Modello, Dos Equis, Presidente. We have plenty of Tequila choices as well, including Camarena, Siete Leguas and Milagro, along with Cuervo and Patron.

Don't pass up the delicious tequila and coffee liqueurs, which are perfect for after dinner or after the party. We carry several Patron Cafe selections, as well as the new Cafe Del Mar. You don't even need the excuse of Cinco de Mayo to enjoy these.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Weekend Preview

Most Thursday's, we like to give you a little something to look forward to, and preview our in-store events for the coming weekend. We do have the best store events in New Jersey, and your participation is what makes them so. 

Don't miss the Harley-Davidson raffle, starting in June. Our Woodbridge location is one of only four stores in New Jersey that will have a brand-new Harley-Davidson motorcycle on display during the month of June. That bike will be raffled off at the end of the summer, and we will accept raffle entries at both stores. We'll post more information as soon as it becomes available.

Here's a look at what's coming up at Joe Canal's in Lawrenceville and Woodbridge.

Events in Lawrenceville

It's a wine plus weekend in Lawrenceville. On Friday, we welcome back Robert Cavanaugh, who will present his Beaujolais educational tasting program. Beaujolais wines are ideal for the summer, especially because they can be served when slightly chilled. It's also a perfect wine for your weekend BBQs. This event runs 5-8pm, and is free. Click here for complete information.

On Saturday, we'll have our regular wine tasting, from 2-4pm.  

With more than 20 events currently on our calendar, you can be sure that there's something for everyone. Let's look at next Saturday, for just one example. We're hosting a "Netflix and Chill" tasting, featuring the wines
of Charles Smith. 

One of the most innovative houses in operation today, the Charles Smith Wines portfolio includes K Vintners, Wines of Substance and Charles & Charles. That special tasting runs from 2-4pm, so you can still get home in time to watch the Kentucky Derby.

Looking a little further ahead, we have bottle engravings on the schedule, just in time for Father's Day and college graduations. For a complete listing of our upcoming events, please click here.

Events in Woodbridge

It's another very busy weekend at Joe Canal's in Woodbridge. We start on Friday with a special tasting of Habarita Cocktails. Habarita habanero craft margarita mixes are made with real fruit juices and natural flavors. The calendar says that Cinco de Mayo is next week, so this sampling event is at the perfect time. Click here for more information.

Look for our regular wine tasting on Saturday, from 1-3pm. Click here for the tasting menu.

The biggest event of the weekend, of course, is Sunday's 3rd Annual Art Show and Wine Tasting, to benefit David's Touch.

The Art Show is an exclusive opportunity to get up close and personal with some of New Jersey's hottest artists and purchase directly from the artists. We'll have some great wines available for sampling and there will also be snacks for you. Tickets are only $10.

This is an after-hours event, running from 7:30-9:30pm. Begun in 2009, the mission at David’s Touch is to spread David’s contagious smile by delivering hope and joy to children at their greatest time of need. Click here for more information about David's Touch.

Next weekend, we have a double celebration of the Kentucky Derby, with Mint Julep samplings on Friday and Saturday, along with a Leinenkugel's tasting on Saturday.

There are more than 20 events currently on the schedule in Woodbridge. For the complete listing, click here.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Nothing Old, Something New

We're really going for plural with "new," but we couldn't keep the wedding theme, so we'll just leave it as an almost mixed metaphor. Today, we'll take a look at some of the newest arrivals at Joe Canal's in Lawrenceville and Woodbridge. Yesterday's post was the Craft Beer Corner. where we introduced several newly-arrived craft beers. Click here to review that post.

Chateau Puyanche Francs Cotes de Bordeaux Blanc 2014. 90 points from Wine Enthusiast. "This 75% Sauvignon Blanc and 25% Sémillon blend has hints of toastiness and spice along with ripe yellow fruits. It is still young, the texture coming together with acidity and spice mixing with the fruitiness. Drink this fragrant wine from the Arbo family's tiny 3.7-acre vineyard from 2016." Only $13.96 in the Bottle Club®.

Platinum 7X Vodka. Distilled seven times for exceptional purity and a smooth, polished finish, Platinum 7X Vodka has raised the bar on what it means to be smooth. This is an American-made vodka (from grain) with a smooth, clean and crisp style. Sip it chilled or enjoy it in a cocktail. Available in 750ml and 1.75L sizes.

Bodegas El Nido "El Nido" Jumilla 2013. The grapes for this wine are made from 12 Ha -29.65 acres- of Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards and 32 Ha -79 acres- of very old Monastrell, with a very low yield. The grapes are harvested with small baskets to prevent bruising. The bunches are brought to triage tables where the best ones are selected. It spends 24 months in French and American new oak barrels where it gets a very typical complexity.

Glass-staining purple. Explosive, alluring scents of blueberry, boysenberry, pipe tobacco, licorice and vanilla bean. Lush and broad but juicy and firmly built, with suave candied dark fruit flavors accented by sexy floral and Asian spice qualities. Finishes broad, juicy and impressively long, with echoing boysenberry and spice notes.The blend is 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Monastrell.

Food pairings: Rice, pasta, (noodles, spaghetti, macaroni), vegetables, mushroom, stewed meat, sausage, pork, roast meat, red and/or white meat with sauces, grilled meat, short or medium cheeses. Only 4 bottles available per store. $106.99 in the Bottle Club®.

Epic Brewing Sour Apple Saison. Sweet, yet dry and tart, apples spiced with coriander, grains of paradise, anise, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger. There is no wrong way to enjoy this Saison Belgian Style Farmhouse Ale! Serve in a pint or tulip glass. Pair with savory and fatty meats, salads, and tart desserts. Limited availability, in 22oz bottles.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Cold Corner

Your blogger will admit to being a baseball fan, where third base is called the "hot corner." We may like beers that are "hot" sellers, but we generally want a cold craft beer. And if the weather is finally
staying warm, today's six pack plus of new brews will pair perfectly with the outdoor season. Here's what's new at Joe Canal's in Lawrenceville and Woodbridge.

Sixpoint Jammer. The Mad Scientists kept tweakin' that Jammer till it rocked so hard. Bygone brewers, repping the Sixpoint star, provided the concept and our friends at Jacobsen Salt hooked us up with the key ingredient. It's salty, it's sour, and it's slammin'. It's Mad Science. 4% ABV, 16 IBU's. In 6-pack, cans.

Fort Collins Brewer's Lunchbox Variety Pack. It's the year round lineup in a 12-pack of 12oz cans!

-Red Banshee: Created with German malts for a rich, nutty sweetness while noble hops provide an herbal spiciness. A strong, bitter backbone balanced by an intense maltiness and moderate caramel notes. Pair with mac & cheese or creme brulee. 5.3% ABV, 37 IBU's.
-Major Tom's Pomegranate Wheat: Tart pomegranate hits you first, but is quickly balanced out by the residual sweetness from the malted barley and wheat. Provides a slightly sweet tart finish. Enjoy with steamed mussels or lemon meringue pie. 5.1% ABV, 34 IBU's.
-Far Away IPA: A moderately high bitterness refreshes the palate. Exotic tropical fruit nose, juicy piney  body and slight cracker malt presence. Pair with carne asada or carrot cake. 6.5% ABV, 70 IBU's.
-Shot Down Chocolate Stout. A blend of caramel, bittersweet chocolate, select roasted malt flavors and a heavy dose of oatmeal results in a rich, creamy mouthfeel. Moderate alcohol and restrained bitterness round the sweetness. Pair with pork mole or cinnamon
coffee cake. 5.8% ABV, 31 IBU's.

Horny Goat Tango Delta Tangerine IPA. This citrus bomb starts off as a light bodied IPA brewed with craft hops and malts.  It then goes all renegade on your palate, with the addition of fresh tangerine juice that adds a slight sweetness to complement the bold hop presence. 6.8% ABV, 69 IBU's. 4-pack, cans.

Big Muddy Vanilla Stout. A traditional Milk Stout infused with pure Madagascar vanilla. Subtle vanilla flavor throughout with roasted notes and a slightly sweet, smooth finish. 6% ABV. In 22oz bottles.

Epic Brewing Brainless® Belgian-Style Golden Ale. Brainless® Belgian-Style Golden Ale has a rich and complex malt flavor balanced with a little bit of spicy noble hops and strong influences of fermentation esters from the Belgian yeast used. Various Belgian-like Rock Candies, hops and grains are employed to express variations within the style. Deceivingly drinkable, some liken these ales to the Devil sneaking up on you, so consume responsibly. In 22oz bottles.

Glassware: Tulip. Food Pairings: Spicy foods, seafood, fatty meats, and fruity desserts.

Kuka Ginger Mango IPA. An extremely refreshing session IPA offering bold mango sweetness in the aroma and spicy ginger mingling with bitter hop to calm
your nerves and excite your senses. 5.2% ABV. Very limited availability. In 4-pack, bottles.

All of the usual caveats apply: Products are in limited supply, so please call before making a special trip for any one item.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Nuts and Bolts

We know that our stores can be a little overwhelming for a new shopper, so every now and then we like to step back and offer some updates, tips and pointers for everyone. This is one of those days.

Online Ordering. This was probably the most requested subject in the last couple of years, and it's now available at both stores. This time-saver is pretty simple. Log onto your account at www.jcanals.com, select your items, checkout, and the order will be ready for you, usually within 24 hours or less.  Get to the store, go to Customer Service and pick up your order.

Social Media. We've recently started posting on Instagram, while we've been on Facebook and Twitter for some time. Click to find us:

Lawrenceville Facebook
Lawrenceville Instagram
Lawrenceville Twitter

Woodbridge Facebook
Woodbridge Instagram
Woodbridge Twitter
Woodbridge tasting area, with floor displays

Wine, Beer and Spirits Tastings. You'll notice that we've moved the tasting locations at both stores. This allows for better traffic flow in the stores, and better access to the tastings. In Lawrenceville, we're usually at or near Customer Service. In Woodbridge, we're in the middle of the store.

Weddings and Events. Did you know that Joe Canal's can help you with beverage selections for your wedding, college graduation party, or other special event? Our experts can help you select the best products for your budget, as well as the right amount of beer, wine or spirits, based on your guest list. Click here for more information in Lawrenceville, and click here for Woodbridge.

Harley-Davidson Raffle. We're about a month away from the display being set. In the month of June, a Harley-Davidson motorcycle will be on display inside Joe Canal's in Woodbridge. Throughout the summer, that bike will also be on display at only three other locations in New Jersey. At the end of the summer, that bike will be raffled off. We will accept raffle entries at both stores, but the bike will only be displayed at our Woodbridge location. We will post more about this promotion as the information comes in.

Shelves. How we arrange the products on the shelves is, we think, a common-sense approach. Wine, in general, is arranged by country, then region. French wines, for example, are all in one section, with Bordeaux, Burgundy, and the Rhone regions side-by-side. Bordeaux, for one, is then further divided into appellations like St. Emilion, Medoc, etc. The same applies to the other regions.

It's likely that we carry more wines from California than any other area. We divide CA wines by varietal, since that's the way most people will shop.

Racking system
In the aisles, we have regular shelf displays, floor displays, and what we call "racking," where our fast-selling wines are available. The racking lets us display full cases below the wine bottles, for self-serve shopping. Since a case of wine weighs about 40 pounds, our staff members will be happy to help place a case in your shopping cart.

Spirits are grouped by category. All the Scotch whisky is in one place, and vodka is in another, and so on. Craft beer is next to the national beer brands. Our refrigerated cases hold both beer and wine. We have smaller refrigerated units for cheese and meat products.

We hope this brief primer/reminder is helpful. Please don't hesitate to ask us questions.