The “I Don’t Cook” Guide to Beer Pairings

A good food and beer pairing can be a wonderful experience.

On one end of the spectrum, you’ll see a lot of beer pairings for foods such as mussels, gruyere cheese and Belgian endive salad. These are all well and good, but mussels take some effort, and Belgian endive salad requires having Belgian endive on hand.

Sometimes you just have to open a bag or pop something in the microwave. For the culinary slacker in all of us, there are still plenty of good pairing options.

For example…

Frozen Bean & Cheese Burrito: Ayinger Altbairisch Dunkel

Ayinger and Burrito

A staple of any lazy cook’s kitchen, the frozen bean and cheese burrito calls for a malt-forward, medium-bodied beer.

Ayinger Altbairisch Dunkel, a classic German dark lager, is a perfect accompaniment. There are plenty of aromas and flavors on hand here: toffee, caramel and coffee, to name just a few. The usage of Munich malt also imparts a bready character that adds an extra layer to the overall goodness of your bean and cheese burrito.

(Alternative: A brown porter, such as Samuel Smith Taddy Porter, is another dark, medium-bodied beer that will highlight the fine bean and cheese flavors.)

Leftover General Gao’s Chicken: Jolly Pumpkin Calabaza Blanca

Calabaza Blanca and General Gaos

While the merits of reheating many foods are up for debate, there is little question that Chinese food is one of the best microwaveable options out there.

General Gao’s chicken starts with some tangy sweetness before giving way to a pleasantly spicy finish. A complex leftover demands a complex beer, such as Jolly Pumpkin’s Calabaza Blanca.

A witbier aged in oak casks (as are all of Jolly Pumpkin’s beers), Calabaza Blanca has a refreshing tartness and plays off the General’s various traits brilliantly. The coriander lends additional depth to the spice of the chicken; the beer’s citrusy notes do the same for Gao’s tanginess.

(Alternative: We’ve always enjoyed brown ale – particularly one with a mild sweetness, like Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar – with our Chinese food.)

Cold Pepperoni Pizza: Tripel Karmeliet

Tripel Karmeliet and Pepperoni Pizza

We’ve all had that party where we order too much pizza, or our friends are too conscious of how they’ll be perceived if they eat six slices in one go like they normally would at home. Now, you’re left with some leftover pizza in the fridge for tomorrow.

Since microwaving leftover pizza is an abomination, it’s time to just eat it cold. But what beer to pair with it?

Tripel Karmeliet is a wonderful complement. Its full body and subtle spice notes will play off the pepperoni beautifully. And, while complex, it won’t take anything away from the experience of cold, delicious pizza.

(Alternative: Pale Ales and pizza of any temperature are a guaranteed hit. Try Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale or another hop-forward American Pale.)

Entire Bag of Potato Chips: Sierra Nevada Nooner Pilsner


It’s 3 p.m. on a lazy Saturday afternoon and you’re looking for a snack to hold you over until dinner. That bag of chips calls to you. ‘I’ll just have a handful,’ you say to yourself.

We know how that goes.

If you’re going to down an entire bag of potato chips, you’ll want a beer that’s not too heavy, but still has enough character to balance that salty goodness.

Sierra Nevada’s Nooner, a recent addition to the California brewery’s stable of world-class beers, fits the bill. A German-style pilsner with a notable, spicy hop bite and clean finish, it will leave you wanting more.

Sorta like that bag of chips.

(Alternative: A good hefeweizen, such as Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier.)

Microwave Mac & Cheese: Boulevard Tank 7

Tank 7 and Mac & Cheese

Ahh, the classic. Few among us haven’t craved the gooey goodness of microwave mac & cheese. A true “I don’t cook” treat demands an equally great beer.

Boulevard Tank 7 is one of the finest American-made farmhouse ales out there. Lemon-like citrus notes and a moderate hop profile lead to a nice, dry finish with hints of pepper that marry quite well with mac and cheese.

The substantive body of Tank 7 will stand up to the creamy cheese, but won’t overpower the soft macaroni.

(Alternative: A big IPA with a resinous character – such as Lagunitas Hop Stoopid – to cut through the thickness of the mac and cheese and can provide a completely different, but equally tasty, beer/food sensation.)

What’s Up with Saisons?

The Craft Beer Cellar Style of the Month for April 2015 is Saison!

So…what is a saison?

Staff Beer Geek Mark from Belmont breaks it down for us.

It’s one of the more difficult questions our staff beer geeks answer on a regular basis, as saison is arguably the most complex of beer styles and defies easy classification.

walloniaThe history behind the style is simple enough. Saison – French for “season” – was a beer made as refreshment for farm workers during the warm summer months. With its origins in the French-speaking Belgian region of Wallonia, saisons were brewed in the winter, with cooler temperatures more desirable for fermentation.

Back then, brewers would use whatever was on hand at the farm to make the beer, meaning the beer often varied widely from one farm to the next. While brewing methods have obviously changed – and brewers will make saisons year-round now – the great variety from one to the next still largely holds true.

Generally speaking, saisons showcase a dry, rustic finish, relatively high carbonation, with citrus and spice notes and a moderate hop profile. The degree to which these traits come through can vary greatly from one saison to the next.

Perhaps more than any other style, you can try 10 different saisons and come away with 10 completely different impressions.

“Those who like their beer styles neatly arranged in narrow categories will find attempting to pigeonhole Saisons an exercise in frustration,” writes Phil Markowski in The Oxford Companion to Beer.

Two Roads, Phil MarkowskiAnd Markowski – a 25-year brewing veteran and current brewmaster of Two Roads Brewing in Stratford, Conn. – would know. He wrote the book on it.

Not surprisingly, many American breweries (and some Belgian ones, such as Fantome) have pushed the boundaries of the style. Session, barrel-aged, dark – and, of course, hoppy – saisons are not hard to find.

Saison Dupont Vieille Provision, brewed by Brasserie Dupont in Tourpes, Belgium, is widely regarded as the benchmark of the style. Citrus, spice, and even a little bit of earthy funk are present in the nose. Peppery notes and a little bit of spice give way to a super-clean, dry finish. A slightly resinous hop flavor lingers after each sip.

Saison DupontIn short, it’s everything you could ask for in a beer.

Another beautiful aspect of saison is its ability to pair well with just about any food. Just about all saisons have enough body to stand up to the heartiest of dishes but, thanks to its dry and effervescent properties, won’t overpower lighter fare.

Not sure what saison to try next (or first)? Ask a staff beer geek next time you’re in one of our stores. If you ask me, I’ll recommend my personal favorite, Great Divide Colette, or others like North Coast Le Merle and Allagash Saison.

Ask someone else, and you’ll likely get a completely different answer. That’s just part of the fun.

Craft Beer Cellar’s #CBConTour to Rushing Duck Brewing Co.


photo 2-smOn St. Patrick’s Day, the most often mentioned (and consumed) stout is Guinness Draught. As the most famous beer out of Ireland and a defining beer of the Dry Stout style, it’s only natural. It’s also the best selling stout and one of the most successful beer brands in the world. While we at Craft Beer Cellar love us a good pint of Guinness, we also love to poke around and see what’s happening on the local level. Since Stout is our Craft Beer Cellar Style of the Month for March, we’re excited to take a peek at what’s going on in the realm of stouts in the Hudson Valley of New York.

RD-photo-3_smOn Saturday February 28, 2015, the Head Suds Boss and Chief Hoptologist (Maggie and Mike Keller respectively) of CBC Warwick ventured to Rushing Duck Brewing Company in neighboring Chester, NY to check out their limited brewery only release of Ded Moroz Russian Imperial Stout. Both styles (Vanilla and Coconut) were on draught at the brewery and bottles were available for purchase.

As they entered the brewery the wonderful aromas of fresh beer greeted them. They were met hospitably at the tasting room bar by Josh, Rushing Duck’s charismatic beer geek!  “The cold air dissipated and the fine aroma of beer started to make my mouth water” said Mike as they entered the brewery and the door slowly closed to begin the event.

Rushing Duck Ded Moroz“Truly fantastic” were the first two words that came to mind when Mike described the Coconut Ded Moroz (silver wax) and Vanilla Ded Moroz (white wax). Both were fairly light bodied for an 11.2% ABV stout and had a similar sweetness as they warmed. “I definitely smelled and tasted the vanilla up front” said Mike of the Vanilla Ded Moroz. “There was a bit of lovely lingering chocolate taste with a very slight hop flavor. They both finished off with really nice dark caramel notes. MOST DEFinitely worth the trip, YO!”

“It is terrific to see Nikki visiting our store as well” said Mike about a recent store visit by Rushing Duck Co-Founder Nikki Cavanaugh. “It brings me great joy every day to see the appreciation of people in the beer community when they come to visit our store. Although I always see places for improvement, I am so grateful when our new and returning loyal customers rave about our selection and hospitality.”

Craft Beer Cellar Warwick has had Rushing Duck’s Kroovy Imperial Red Ale and Beanhead Coffee Porter on draft in the past. As of 3/31/15, they have Baby Elephant Session IPA on draft for growler fills. Check the website HERE for the latest inventory as things are always changing!

Pictured below are Nikki Cavanaugh, Co-Founder, Operations Officer and partner of Rushing Duck’s Dan Hitchcock, the Founder and Head Brewer; Dan’s lovely mother, Mary; and Josh.

Rushing Duck Tap Room


Craft Beer Cellar Style of the Month December 2014: Trappist Ales

Style of the Month: Trappist

December isn’t exactly an easy time to find “moments of quiet reflection” in Craft Beer Cellar stores, but we’re proud to take some inspiration from a more reverent group for our final “Style of the Month” of the year. Trappist Ales are produced by only 10 breweries in the entire world, all certified by the International Trappist Association as upholding strict criteria:

  1. The beer must be brewed within the walls of a Trappist monastery, either by the monks themselves or under their supervision.
  2. The brewery must be of secondary importance within the monastery and it should witness to the business practices proper to a monastic way of life.
  3. The brewery is not intended to be a profit-making venture. The income covers the living expenses of the monks and the maintenance of the buildings and grounds.  Whatever remains is donated to charity for social work and to help persons in need.

- (accessed: 1 December, 2014)

Trappist Ales

Throughout the month we’ll be exploring the beers of Achel, Chimay, La Trappe, Orval, Rochefort, Westmalle, Stift Engelszell and The Spencer Brewery, both online and in-store. Westvleteren (of “Westy 12: One of the Rarest Beers in the World” fame) and Zundert (brewed in the Netherlands and not currently available in the US) won’t likely be making appearances on our shelves, but perhaps we’ll check in with friends across the pond for their stories about these beers!

This holiday season, we invite you to stop in and learn more about these fantastic beers with a rich history.

Craft Beer Cellar Certified Cicerones® Save Thanksgiving!

The Beer Geeks of Craft Beer Cellar are fond of pairing craft beer and, well, everything. From doughnuts to music, we believe a thoughtfully selected beer enriches any experience.

So naturally (and with a giant hat tip to the great work being done by our friends at Serious Eats in their “Ask a Cicerone” series), we picked the brains of our Certified Cicerone® staffers for their Thanksgiving beer recommendations:

Suzanne Schalow: Craft Beer Cellar Director of Human Things
Dish: Green Bean Casserole
Suggested Beer Pairing: Session IPA

This is a weird dish… Cream of Mushroom Soup, Green Beans, Crispy Fried Onions! Who knew? I like to mix it up with fresh haricot vert, bacon, fresh lemon juice, light cream, a plethora of mushrooms (shiitake or cremini, oyster & button), and of course those pesky fried onions. There are a lot of complementary flavors here: the crisp snap of the fresh beans and a light bodied session beer, the citrus character of the hops and fresh lemon juice, and the earthy character of the mushroom with a solid malt bill.While bacon and cream just make everything better, a light hop character will also cut through the fattiness of both of these ingredients.

One to consider: Notch Brewing Left of the Dial (In a freakin’ CAN) I like this one because it’s local to the Boston area and I can get it just about any time. I dig what they are putting down and love drinking local. Light on the palate and light on the head (if you’re planning on hangin’ in there for the holidays), but with an aroma that’s super bright, citrusy, and piney – some of my favorite hop characters!

(Extra note: You’ll never use Cream of Mushroom Soup, again. Hit me up if you want the recipe. Word!)

Left of the Dial IPA

Walter Miska: Head Beer Geek, Craft Beer Cellar Westford
Dish: Sweet Potatoes
Suggested Beer Pairing: Belgian-Style Blonde Ale

Let’s face it: for Thanksgiving dinner, we are not only pairing beer with food – but with our relatives/in-laws/etc. I’m looking for something with a little bit of a kick here. Belgian Blonde Ales are fruity, aromatic and warming ales which will fit perfectly on my Thanksgiving table. My pick: Ommegang Gnomegang, an award-winning selection fermented with Chouffe yeast and bottle-conditioned with Ommegang yeast.

Sweet potatoes are a Thanksgiving classic, and one of the world’s healthiest foods! Rich in beta-carotene, sweet potatoes provide you with powerful antioxidant protection. Whether baked, fried or mashed these delights add just a touch of sweetness and substance to your Thanksgiving dinner. The mouthwatering aroma from the Belgian yeast, and lingering sweetness from just the right balance of hops and fruity esters make this one righteous pairing. Add to that the scrubbing effect from the highly effervescent beer, and you are ready for another bite.

Marc Marino: Minister of Beer, Craft Beer Cellar Westford
Dish: Thanksgiving Dinner
Suggested Beer Pairing: Saison

My strategy in this situation is to select one beer to pair with the entire meal. My table (and stomach) doesn’t have the room to support that sort of “a glass for each component” approach. In a perfect world, I’d have saved a half dozen bottles of Saison du Buff, made in collaboration by Dogfish Head, Victory and Stone for Turkey Day. The intensity of the saison matches well with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and gravy, the major players at any Thanksgiving table. The rosemary, thyme, and parsley from the beer mirror the seasonings on the turkey and stuffing. The herbs in the beer will also simultaneously enhance the earthiness of the potatoes, and develop a nice contrast with the sweetness in any yam that you put out on the table.

Honorable mentions include Rosemary for Remembrance brewed by Idle Hands Craft Ales and 10 Commandments from The Lost Abbey. Other beverages for consideration include Smoking Wood from The Bruery and Fatty Bampkins Dry Cider.

Boulevard Tank 7

Kevin Wood: Staff Beer Geek, Craft Beer Cellar Westford
Dish: TANKsgiving Dinner (Except Pumpkin Pie)
Suggested Beer Pairing: Saison

My strategy is similar to Marc’s – to pair one beer with the whole meal (except the pumpkin pie because we usually do dessert as a separate course in my family). Boulevard Tank 7 was one of the beers I served to family last Thanksgiving and was well-received. The saison style is my choice because the relatively high carbonation cuts through the richness of the potatoes, stuffing, and gravy.The fruitiness and spiciness from the farmhouse/saison yeast blend nicely with the green bean casserole and cranberry sauce as well. I find Tank 7 finishes dry and refreshing enough with a light/medium body to wash down this hearty thanksgiving meal, but has enough intensity from the hops and spicy/fruity esters to match everything in this meal, except for the pumpkin pie. The earthiness and spiciness in this beer are a nice contrast to the sweet and savory flavors in the potatoes, gravy, cranberry, and turkey.

I also am motivated by trying to convert a wine-drinking family to beer and I think Tank 7 has that conversion potential, so I chose a cork & caged 750 ml bottle that makes a nice presentation. I would serve it in stemmed glasses, and be considerate of serving sizes, given the 8.5% ABV.

A consideration for pumpkin pie pairing would be Our Finest Regards from Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project. A nice, smooth barleywine would be my style choice for the dessert course.

Kate Baker: Craft Beer Cellar Hoperations Manager
Dish: Turkey and Stuffing, Deviled Eggs, Pumpkin Pie
Suggested Beer Pairing: Saison, DIPA, Stout/Porter

I think we’ve all learned the “when in doubt, go Belgian” recommendation; I personally love this, because thinking about something like a Belgian Table Beer (Avril) or Mystic Table Beer, with the scrubby bubble character, light spice and citrus flavors, and low alcohol, it’s a perfect beer style to go with most any food! Not exactly what I’d drink with Pumpkin Pie, but, most other Thanksgiving Day foodstuffs!

Stillwater Cellar Door

I like Stillwater Cellar Door for the stuffing and the turkey, as a complementary matchup. Cellar Door is brewed with white sage, so you could even reduce the amount of savory and aromatic spices used in the food, and make up for it with the beer!

Deviled Eggs, I can’t do Thanksgiving without them! I would pair a higher alcohol Double IPA with the eggs; the bitter bite and higher octane of the beer will slash right through the fatty, rich character of the egg, particularly the filling! Use gorgonzola, bacon, avocado, you name it, in the filling, to add a little something extra!

For Pumpkin Pie, a Chocolate Stout or Porter, would be awesome! The coffee and chocolate flavors of a sweeter stout or porter would stand up nicely to the darker sugar, molasses, and spice flavor of the pie. A roasty brown ale can make your pie crust sing, especially if your crust is made out of graham crackers and chocolate cookies!

Ok, that’s me! Happy Thanksgiving!

Harpoon Grateful Harvest

Craft Beer Advent Boxes are BACK at Craft Beer Cellar!

Craft Beer Advent Box


Last holiday season, the Craft Beer Cellar Westford crew introduced a Craft Beer Advent Box, a gift box of twenty-four individually wrapped and numbered beers, thoughtfully selected by our Staff Beer Geeks.

The response was INCREDIBLE! Immediately after the announcement, phone calls started coming in to all of our stores asking when the boxes would be available. Our ‘elves’ worked around-the-clock to make sure that requests could be filled, and that we could spread a little beer-y joy each evening from December 1st to Christmas Eve. For the many of you that have been asking if/when these gifts will be available this year, we have good news…

We are proud to announce that Craft Beer Cellar stores will once again be offering Craft Beer Advent Boxes for sale beginning TODAY, November 1, 2014, for pick-up beginning November 15. Since individual store pricing (based on beer selection and availability) may vary, contact information for all stores is listed below.

Supplies are limited, so get yours early!

Belmont, MA
51 Leonard St
Belmont, MA 02478

Braintree, MA
28 Commercial St
Braintree, MA 02184

Brandon, FL
1937 W. Brandon Blvd
Brandon, FL 33511

Clayton, MO
8113 Maryland Ave
Clayton, MO 63105

Nashua, NH
108 Spit Brook Road
Nashua, NH 03062

Newton, MA
1243 Centre St
Newton, MA 02459

Portland, ME
111 Commercial St
Portland, ME 04101

Warwick, NY
93 Main St
Warwick, NY 10990

Waterbury, VT
3 Elm St
Waterbury, VT 05676

Winchester, MA
18 Thompson Street
Winchester, MA 01890

#CBConTour: Great American Beer Festival!


With over 700 breweries pouring more than 3,500 different beers, The Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Colorado represents the largest collection of U.S beer ever served. If you followed #CBConTour earlier this month, you got a first-hand look at this MASSIVE festival (October 2-4, 2014 was the 22nd GABF, and it has grown every year since its inception), along with some of the beer-y happenings throughout the “Centennial State” (hop puns appreciated).

Prepared with some insider knowledge from past GABF attendees (including many of our own Staff #BeerGeeks), we dove head first into the Saturday afternoon “Brewers Association (Craft Beer Cellar is a proud member of the BA)/ American Homebrewers Association (AHA Memberships are available for sale at many CBC stores)” session, which came on the heels of the GABF Awards Ceremony. (Special “CBC Style of the Month” Congratulations are in order to Wolaver’s Organic Brewing for taking home the GOLD MEDAL in the Pumpkin Beer Category.)

They say a picture is worth 1000 words… Here is our “Magnum Opus” from #CBConTour #GABF 2014:

Tickets for next year’s event go on sale July 29/30, 2015 (members pre-sale/general public). See you there?

And if you made it to GABF this year, we want to hear YOUR top beer picks, comments/recommendations for the event itself, the “outside-the-festival” events that you loved, and anything else we should know for a future #CBConTour visit!



Craft Beer Cellar Style of the Month October 2014: Pumpkin Beers!

Craft Beer Cellar Style of the Month:

Pumpkin Beers!

CBC Style of the Month: Pumpkin Beers

This October, the “Beer Geeks” of Craft Beer Cellar are proud to showcase some of our favorite pumpkin ales, lagers, and ciders as we (tearfully) accept that the days are getting shorter, the leaves are changing colors, and fall is indeed here again.

For the second year in a row, our customers supported our company-wide decision to refrain (as best we could) from putting pumpkin and other fall seasonal beers on our shelves before September 1st. As a token of our gratitude, many Craft Beer Cellar stores have already hosted “Pumpkin Parties” (check out some neat “Pumpkin Preference Data” from the CBC Nashua Facebook page, and see pictures from events at #TheWinch#TheMothership, and #TheLanding). And while there was a noticeable ‘orangification’ in our stores throughout September, we opted to feature Märzen/Oktoberfest beers last month to coincide with the start of the festival in Munich (September 20), and because, quite frankly, there is a lot of internal debate about whether or not September is still too early for Pumpkin Beer.

But October belongs to you, Pumpkin Heads! Many of our stores will be hosting special “Style of the Month” tastings (see individual store pages for more event information), and we’ll be providing you with some cool content both online and in-store.

Pumpkin Beer!


“Mrs. Young’s Pumpkin Bread” recipe from Craft Beer Cellar Braintree

A special nod to All About Beer Magazine‘s John Holl whose “The American Craft Beer Cookbook” has some fun pumpkin-related recipes (pgs. 136, 286; we know because we have the book in a lot of our stores ;) ).

This Library of Congress blog post from September 29, 2014 where the roots of Pumpkin Beer in America are explored.

And this Boston Globe piece featuring the “He Said, He Said” Pumpkin Beers from 21st Amendment Brewery and Elysian Brewing Company, as well as our friends Alexandra and Nicola, the founders of @RATEMYPUMPKINS!


Now we need YOUR input. What Pumpkin Beers top your list? Have you found a new favorite this year? Tell us in the comments, yo!

Beer Geek DIY: Shandy (A “CBC Style of the Month” Presentation)

If you’ve stopped by a Craft Beer Cellar store in these first few days of July, you’ve probably noticed the “Style of the Month” tags hanging next to some our favorite combinations of beer and fruit juice/soda. We’re featuring shandies and radlers this month, fun drinks with roots in UK and Central European pub culture (“radler” is German for cyclist, a reference to the beverage’s popularity as a mid-ride thirst quencher that’s low enough in alcohol not to inhibit a short bike ride home).

While there are many pre-packaged options available from Stieglbrauerei zu Salzburg, The Traveler Beer Company, and more, it’s also fun to DIY. Craft Beer Cellar Newton‘s recent “Shandy Shakedown” event with Stacy’s Juicebar and Downeast Cider and the upcoming Drink Craft Beer Summerfest “B. Good Burgers Shandy Station” got some of our own Staff Beer Geeks thinking (and testing) combinations that we hope you’ll find refreshing!

From Craft Beer Cellar Belmont‘s “Beer Geek Mark“:

After weeks of thinking about it, I convened my first homemade radler experiment, mixing Jarritos grapefruit soda with Two Roads Ol’ Factory Pils and Unibroue Blanche de Chambly.

“A witbier radler?” you say.

Oh yes, I wanted to go a little unconventional with at least one of these. Blanche de Chambly, in my opinion, is a great beer on a par with any of the other witbiers on the market. But how would it blend with grapefruit soda?

Blanche Radler
Using one part soda and two parts beer – measured very unscientifically – it turned out to be a generally pleasant experience. It was a little on the sweet side, understandably, but not annoyingly so. The carbonation from the soda, combined with traditional witbier flavors (orange, coriander), made for a unique, pretty tasty combination.I wonder if it would have been better with the bitterness of grapefruit juice rather than the sweet soda. Perhaps in my next experiment.
Pils Radler

As for the Ol’ Factory radler… I would drink this all day.

On its own, Ol’ Factory Pils is nice and crisp, with a notable hop finish from its dry-hopping. This, in combination with the soda, made for an incredibly delicious, pleasantly bitter grapefruity flavor that went down easy on a warm summer evening. I used the same ratio of soda to beer as in the witbier radler, and I wouldn’t change a thing about it.

Editor’s note: Unibroue Blanche de Chambly is available in all Craft Beer Cellar stores nationwide, while Two Roads Brewing Company Ol’ Factory Pils is currently only available in Craft Beer Cellar stores in Massachusetts. But their Stratford, CT brewery is DEFINITELY worth a visit. Tell ‘em we sent you, yo!

Let’s Talk About Pumpkin Beer

In July. Ugh.

It’s unfortunate that we have to have this discussion right now. Summer has just broken in New England, and while the heat and humidity aren’t exactly conducive for enjoying multiple beers on the patio [raise your hand if you’ve stuck your head in the freezer at least once already this season], it sure beats the alternative:

So we’re not complaining.

This, on the other hand, is really, really frustrating:

Just look at that grin. It's practically obscene.

Just look at that grin. It’s practically obscene.

First, a plea: If you’re frustrated by the fact that pumpkin beer has landed on the shelves at your local retailer already (or will be very shortly), be considerate in how you voice your opinion. When we held off on selling pumpkin/fall seasonal beer before September 1st last year at our Belmont and Winchester locations, we learned A LOT about the nature of “Seasonal Creep” (the preferred industry term for the phenomenon of seeing orange beer in July). Multibillion-dollar market forces (can) drive brewers (and distributors, and retailers) of all sizes to buy/sell beer “early.” It’s frustrating as heck, but to some degree we are all complicit in it. Thus, a proposal:

Be civil. Brewers, distributors, retailers, bar owners, and consumers that make, sell, buy, and drink pumpkin beer in THE BLAZING HEAT OF SUMMER aren’t bad people.

Don’t judge, please. We’re going to file this one under “Craft Beer Cellar does what Craft Beer Cellar does.” To each their own.

Ask questions. What can we help clarify?

Vote with your dollars. About pumpkin beer or anything else. Consumers yield TREMENDOUS power and influence. Exercise it.

On that note, we at Craft Beer Cellar are proud to say that, once again, no pumpkin or fall seasonal beer will hit our shelves before September 1st. This is a decision that we do not make lightly, and we appreciate the input and support from our brewer, distributor, store owner, and customer partners in making it. In the interest of full disclosure, we may buy some particularly sought after or “top staff pick” beers when they become available, so that we can offer them to our customers in September. If we do, they’ll go to the back room, basement, and off-the-floor coolers. But/So, if you’re jonesing for a particular pumpkin beer a little early, feel free to ask and we’ll help the best we can.

Oh, and there will be parties. Oh yes, there will be parties.

Enjoy this GOURDgeous day. [Cricket ;)]