Friday, August 28, 2015

Hooray Weekend!

We're paying a small tribute to our friends at Red Stripe with that headline. It's Friday, so our blog post is, as usual, a grab-bag of information you need to make it through the weekend.

Store Events

We have so much going on at both stores that we devoted yesterday's blog post to the subject. Please click here for that post, which covers upcoming events at both stores. If you're only interested in knowing about the events at the Lawrenceville store, please click here. For the Woodbridge store, please click here.

New Products

Meletti Limoncello achieves the perfect balance of sweetness and freshness by combining alcohol, sugar, and lemon peel. Meletti selects only the finest lemons from Sorrento’s coastal groves. The lemons are harvested in mid-October and quickly brought to Meletti’s distillery to create a pure and natural citrus liqueur with no coloring or stabilizing additives. A rich, full mouth feel with inviting aromas and flavors of fresh lemons that are pronounced but not harsh, and balanced by a delightfully sweet finish. According to Italian tradition, Limoncello is the elixir of life. Folklore holds that this liqueur had healing virtues capable of curing everything from bad breath to a bad love life.

Troegs Hop Knife Harvest Ale recognizes the meticulous, time-honored tradition of hand-harvesting hops at the peak of maturity. Our HopCyclone process creates an inward spiral of hop dispersal during fermentation, releasing a bounty of citrus, resin and tropical aromas.

Hop Knife works well with strong flavors like garlic, onion and ginger. Pair with bold fatty cuts of meat or spicy Thai dishes that use curry, coconut milk and lemon grass. 6.2%ABV, 87 IBU's.

This seasonal ale is only available for a short time.

Domaine Jean Bousquet Cabernet Sauvignon Tupungato 2012. This is an intense reddish purple wine with aromas of blackcurrant, and tobacco. In mouth it presents berries and spices, toasty and mineral notes. The end is long with fine tannins and hints of mocha. This wine has a very elegant style with a good intensity and a nice finish.

Wine Spectator rated this 90 points. "This concentrated red shows a savory side to the dark cassis and black cherry puree notes, with hints of underbrush, tarry mineral and mocha lining the long finish. Drink now through 2016."

Only $13.96 in the Bottle Club®.

Next week, look for the arrival of Fulton's Apple and Pumpkin Liqueurs. These are also seasonal favorites that will be around for a limited time. It's still summer, but if you want these on your Thanksgiving table, you should grab a bottle soon!

Ripped from the Headlines

A Champagne Bottle Model Gets Her Own Cuvée. Lanson International is adding some more sparkle to its Champagne portfolio. Fashion model Adriana Karembeu, the brand ambassador of the Lanson-owned Chanoine Frères Champagne Tsarine, is launching her own cuvée, Tsarine by Adriana, a bubbly boasting “exceptional freshness and lively lemon aromas.” Made in collaboration with Chanoine cellar master Isabelle Tellier, Karembeau’s Pinot Noir-based Champagne comes in a spiraling gold bottle inspired by the architecture of Russia's onion domes.

Tsarine by Adriana will be available exclusively at British-owned Crazy Bear Group restaurants and hotels beginning Sunday until December, when the $450 bottles will be available at retail. The former Victoria’s Secret model will kick off the launch at the Oxfordshire Stadhampton Garden Party benefiting Macmillan Cancer Support.

No word on whether this will be available in New Jersey.

Courtesy Wine Spectator.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Save the Dates

Because we've recently added a number of new events to the calendar at both stores, we thought this would be a good time to highlight everything in one space.

We'll start with a Labor Day note. Our stores will be open from 9am to 6pm on Labor Day, which is Monday, September 7. We will be open our regular hours otherwise.

Events in Lawrenceville

We start the weekend with our Friday wine tasting, 4-6pm. On Saturday, look for a Don Julio Tequila tasting and etching.

There will not be a scheduled tasting over the Labor Day weekend. We'll return to our regular weekend wine tastings the following weekend.

Customer Appreciation Weekend will be September 18-19-20. There will be a variety of events throughout the weekend, including a tasting of Elysian Brewing on September 19. On Sunday, we're hosting the Eagles Kickoff Event, from noon-2pm. We'll have free hot dogs and a visit from the Bud Light Girls. Since the Eagles game is 4:15 that day, the timing is about perfect.

Click here for the full Event Calendar in Lawrenceville. You'll see scheduled tastings going into December.

Events in Woodbridge

Look for our regular wine tasting schedule this weekend, 4-6pm Friday, and 1-3pm on Saturday. Click here for the tasting menu.

We will be extra-busy on Labor Day weekend. Look for a wine tasting that Friday, September 4, from 4-6pm. It's then our turn for the Don Julio tasting and etching on September 5, from 2-4pm.
Then, if you're not going away for the weekend, stop in Sunday, September 6, for free hot dogs, courtesy of Bud Light. Look for the food truck in our parking lot.

We'll have our regular wine tasting on the following weekend, which will wrap up with a special after-hours event on Sunday, September 13.

As we've noted previously, one of our employees was seriously injured in a hit-and-run incident in Edison a little over a month ago. Click here for a news story from  Roman Stefaniw, our employee, was hospitalized for quite some time, and the medical bills are gigantic. To help Roman and his family, we're hosting a benefit/art class on September 13. The details are still being finalized, but you can stay current by clicking here.

Outside of Joe Canal's, Roman is a singer/songwriter, BMX rider and artist. Click here for his website.

Our full Event Calendar also includes a two-day Oktoberfest and Ladies Night Out. Click here for that calendar page.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Looking for This?

We'll stay away from the internet memes today and do some straight reporting on some of the newest products that we've received.

We've been reminding you about the way that beer seasons change sooner than nature's seasons. This week's deliveries were another confirmation of that, just in case you needed that. With Labor Day being two weeks away, you're almost out of time to get a summer seasonal beer.

Warsteiner Oktoberfest Special Edition. A truly German import brewed according to the German Purity Law, as are all Warsteiner beers, in limited quantities especially for Oktoberfest celebrations. This special edition has a well-balanced, mild and smooth taste with a uniquely soft, hoppy aftertaste and 5.9% alcohol.  So bring a bit of Germany with you to your next Oktoberfest celebration and bring a Warsteiner Oktoberfest Special Edition.

B. Nektar Kill all the Golfers. A Mead with black tea and lemon juice. Essential Elements - Gallberry honey, black tea, lemon juice. Appearance - Deep gold with a lacy white head that dissipates into a thin white rim. Aroma - Floral honey followed by robust black tea and sweet, rich lemon peel. Experience - Rich honey contributes a mild sweetness followed by bitter black tea and notes of sour lemon. Full-bodied with a tannic, dry finish and a fresh tobacco aftertaste.
Whether you're a mead devotee, or just interested in trying something that is at once new and old, we have the right mead for you.

Jameson Caskmates. We've seen craft beer aged in whisk(e)y casks, whisky finished in wine barrels, and now we have something new. What happens when Jameson Original is aged in oak casks that have been seasoned with craft Irish stout? The answer lies in this limited release Jameson Caskmates. Experience the culmination of this collaboration before this experimental edition whiskey is gone.

When the Jameson Master Distiller met the Master Brewer from Franciscan Wells for a drink, a plan was hatched to send a few Jameson casks to their brewery down the road for them to age their craft Irish stout. The time came for the casks to return home and our Master Distiller saw an opportunity which piqued his curiosity. He re-filled the stout-seasoned barrels with Jameson Whiskey, and Jameson Caskmates emerged; a whiskey that retains all the triple distilled smoothness of Jameson Original, with a truly unique finish. The subtle suggestion of hops, cocoa and coffee are signposts that it has bumped shoulders with stout; however, Caskmates is undeniably a member of the Jameson family.

Nose: The initial aroma of freshly mown Hay is complimented by a crisp Orchard Fruit character, Green Apples and Pears along with a twist of Lime Zest. Mild Pot Still Spices appear, deepening from Green Tea to Hazel Nut and Milk Chocolate. The lingering Hop influence combines effortlessly with Toasted Oak and Barley Grains to form a solid base.

Taste: As expected, there is the initial sweet mouth coating typical of the Irish Pot Still Whiskey inclusion. Then the effect of the Beer Cask finish becomes apparent with the subtle touch of Hops and Cocoa Beans. Some Marzipan and Charred Oak add to the complexity.

Finish: Long and sweet with Milk Chocolate and Butterscotch.

Hoppin' Frog Mean Manalishi Double IPA. Explore the extremes of hops, and experience all of their bitterness, flavor and aroma with this Double I.P.A. An extreme, super-assertive and satisfying amount of American hop character is balanced with a toasty, caramelized, intense malt presence. 8.2% ABV, 168 IBU's.

We get so many new products every week that it's impossible to mark every one. Please ask the store staff for assistance in locating our newest products.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

It's Crafty

Allagash Brewing Company started in 1995, as a one-man operation in a small space on the outskirts of Portland, Maine. Founder Rob Tod had worked in a brewery setting before and recognized a void within the craft brewing movement. While both German and British styles had become prevalent throughout the U.S., the ever-creative Belgian-styles were very difficult to find. Through his travels, Tod had sampled many of these unique beers and felt that the flavors and traditions of Belgium needed to be shared with the American drinking public. He designed a small 15-barrel brewhouse, gathered the finest array of authentic raw materials and began his quest towards the production of traditional Belgian style ales. Rob sold his first batch of beer in the summer of 1995.

Allagash brews a unique variety of traditional and experimental Belgian-style beers made with a dedication to craftsmanship and quality. All of the bottled beers at Allagash are bottle conditioned. This means that just prior to bottling; a fresh dose of yeast is added, along with a measured amount of candi sugar. After bottling, the beers are moved into a temperature controlled cellar, where the yeast will actually begin a new fermentation in the bottle. This new fermentation naturally carbonates the beer, and greatly enhances the traditional Belgian character. It is a long, expensive and traditional process... but we think it is worth it.

Hugh Malone is a blend of both Belgian and U.S. brewing traditions. This limited release Tribute Series beer combines the intense characteristics of American aroma hop varieties with the delicate esters of a Belgian style yeast. It is brewed with a blend of Pilsner Malt and Raw Wheat and fermented with the Allagash house yeast strain. Each year, the brewers work together to choose specific hop varieties, in order to impart the right balance of citrus, fruit, pine and spicy notes. We add a portion of hops to the sweet wort in the kettle, a technique known as "first wort hopping." As the boil begins a generous amount of Chinook and Warrior hops are added for bittering, followed by aroma hops (Centennial, Cascade and Ahtanum) in the whirlpool. During secondary fermentation in our conditioning tanks, we dry hop the beer, which instills a hoppy aroma with notes of pine and grapefruit. The dry hopping is done with Cascade, Centennial, Galaxy and Azacca hops.
Dry hopping. Safely.
This 7.8% ABV ale has a malty palate and a pronounced bitterness. It has a pleasant dry, hoppy finish. It wall pair nicely with Hanger Steak, Pommes Frites and Sharp Cheddar Cheese. Best enjoyed within six months.

With our Tribute Series beers, we honor and give back to organizations in our home state that make a positive impact in our greater neighborhood. Allagash will donate $1 from every 4-pack of Hugh Malone Ale to community gardens and others supporting sustainable agriculture.

This is a Limited Annual Release. Available in 4-pack, at $12.59.

Monday, August 24, 2015

David's Deuce

As a category, cocktails thrive year 'round. Of course, there are seasonal cocktails, but there's always something that you can return to, time and again. That's illustrated by the number of classic cocktails we see all around.

We turn, as we often do on a Monday, to our resident mixologist, Woodbridge Assistant Store Manager David Rudd. He has some tasty recipes today.

Vodka Sling

The simplicity of classic cocktails is what gives them such timeless elegance. The Vodka Sling is an example of such simple elegance. In a tumbler glass, dissolve a spoon a sugar in a spoon of water. Add a few ice cubes and the juice of ½ lemon. Stir in 2 oz. of Sir Reginald's Swill Vodka and finish with a dash of Angostura™ Orange Bitters. Garnish with a fat flamed twist of orange.

If you're not familiar with Sir Reginald's Swill Vodka, it has a light body and, although very smooth, it has a zesty citrus bite. It is 100% gluten free and is highly recommend by the staff at our Woodbridge store.

Rum Swizzle

I’m not giving up on swizzles until summer is over! This classic combines citrus and spirits into something between a julep and a sno-cone for grownups. Fill a Collins glass ¾ full with crushed ice and add 4 parts Appleton VX Jamaican rum, 2 parts fresh lime juice, and 1 part simple syrup.  Swizzle together and top to heaping with more crushed ice.  Finish with a dash of Angostura bitters, a pinch of fresh nutmeg and a sprig of mint.

                                                                 Watermelon Margarita

This is not one of David's recipes, but might be next summer.

1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup water
3 strips orange zest
2 cups seeded watermelon
3/4 cup Camarena Silver Tequila
1/4 cup lime juice
salt or sugar, to rim glass (optional)
1 lime, cut into wedges
crushed ice, as needed

Bring 1/2 cup sugar, water, and orange zest in a small saucepan to boil, stirring constantly. Simmer until sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Remove simple syrup from heat and allow to cool completely.

Place watermelon in a blender or food processor. Pulse until pureed.

Stir watermelon puree into a large pitcher with simple syrup, tequila, and lime juice.

Place a small amount of salt or sugar into a saucer. Rub edge of margarita glasses with a lime wedge to moisten. Lightly dip the rim of the glass into the saucer to rim the glass; tap off excess salt or sugar.

Fill rimmed glasses with crushed ice; pour margarita mixture into glasses and garnish with lime wedges to serve.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Friday Grab Bag

Although Labor Day is as late as it can be this year, September 7, it's still only two short weeks away. Please note that both of our stores will be open 9am-6pm on Labor Day, and we will be open normal hours for the balance of the weekend.

In-Store Events

Yesterday's blog post featured the upcoming events at both stores. Click here for that post. For events in Lawrenceville only, please click here. For Woodbridge only, please click here.

New Products

Earlier in the week, we talked about the end of the summer beer season and the start of the autumn beer season. Your blogger generally prefers the Oktoberfest-style beers, but not the cold weather. As before, if you want any of the remaining summer brews to enjoy over the Labor Day weekend, you should grab them this weekend.

Flying Dog Dogtoberfest Marzen. Brewed with 100% imported German ingredients, it will cut spice while pulling out sweetness. Flavor notes: Full-bodied caramel sweet with a light toasted and crisp, clean finish Pairs with: Mexican and Pepper Jack cheeses; sweet Asian sauces; spiced desserts; German foods. 5.6% ABV, 30 IBU's.

Nebraska Brewing Black Betty Russian Imperial Stout. Black as night and every bit Imperial, this RIS was originally launched to tremendous accolades.  Aged in Whiskey barrels, this barrel aged version meshes the rich chocolates and the coffee-like aromatics with the sweet whiskey nose and drying character of the oak.  Slightly behind on the palate are the hops, held in restraint by the wonderfully full mouth-feel and broad flavors brought on by the perfect blend of so many malted barley varieties. Ready to enjoy now and perfect for extended cellaring.

Available in 750ML bottles. 11.3% ABV, 67 IBU's.

Ripped from the Headlines

Apologies, but we were off-line for a while due to a power issue. Time to get this posted, so we'll skip the news.  Enjoy the weekend.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Update Your Calendars

Over the last few days, we've added several events to the schedules for both of our stores. We thought we should bring those events to your attention, so you can plan accordingly.

Events in Lawrenceville

For this weekend, we'll host our regular wine tastings. The hours are 4-6pm on Friday, and 2-4pm on Saturday. Next weekend, we'll have a regular wine tasting on Friday, but we're hosting a Don Julio Tequila event on Saturday, August 29.

Looking into September, we will not have a scheduled wine tasting over Labor Day weekend. Please note that both stores will be open from 9am to 6pm on Labor Day, September 7.

We're hosting a tasting of Elysian Brewing beers on Saturday, September 19, 2-4pm.

On Sunday, September 20, we're hosting an Eagles kick-off event, from noon-2pm. Stop in for free hot dogs and a visit from the Bud Light Girls. The Eagles have their home opener that day, at 4:25.

Save this date: Saturday, October 3. We're hosting a dinner event that features Neshaminy Creek Brewing. Some of the details are already posted here.

Also on our schedule, from late October through early December, are tastings of Shock Top Pumpkin, Bud Light Cran-Brrr-Rita, and Stella Artois. As always, please click here for the full Event Calendar.

Events in Woodbridge

For the next few weeks, we're sticking to our regular wine tasting schedule. Our hours are 4-6pm on Friday, and 1-3pm on Saturday. The new events start with a very special after-hours event on Sunday, September 13.

You may be aware that one of our staff members, Roman Stefaniw, was seriously injured by a hit-and-run driver last month, while he was riding his bike in Edison. Click here for the most recent news from Outside of Joe Canal's, Roman is an artist. Here he is, with one project:

As you might imagine, Roman's medical bills are enormous. To help Roman in his time of need, we're hosting a benefit, after hours on 9/13. We are still finalizing some of the details, but we wanted to announce the event as soon as we could. Click here for more information on the event.

We're hosting a two-day celebration of Oktoberfest, 10/3 and 10/4. On October 3, it's an all-day Growler event. We're tapping eight different seasonal kegs at the Growler station, and there will be tastings all day. On October 4, it's an after-hours celebration of German wine, food and beer. For more information about the Sunday event, please click here.

We'll wrap up the month with our annual Ladies Night Out, after hours on Sunday, October 25. Details will be posted shortly.
And please click here for our website's full Event calendar.