Red, Wine & Brew Is Here For You


There is a little beverage store in Chesterland, Ohio that you would never know was there unless somebody told you about it. The outside does this little town gem no justice. It’s not until you step inside and see all the wonders the store holds behinds its doors. The place is huge and you can literally find any kind of beer, wine or cigars that you want or can think of.

Red, Wine & Brew Sign

Image courtesy of redwinenbrew.com

This store is called Red, Wine & Brew and was started four to five years ago with only three employees. The three employees were its owner Sam Shah, his father Anil Shah and their friend Bob Patel. They are still there today greeting everyone with a smile as they walk in the front door.

“Customers are our number one priority,” owner Sam Shah said. “There are many people that have been coming here since we opened and we wouldn’t be where we are today without them.”

Over 800 Cigars

Image courtesy of redwinenbrew.com

Since the place opened Shah has expanded his store a couple of times over the years. Whenever a space became available next to his store he was able to add it on and bring in more products so customers could have more variety to choose from. The store is a giant maze now and if a new customer doesn’t get the tour they offer of the place (just an overview of where stuff a located at), generally a newbie can get lost quickly.

Over 6000 Wines

Image courtesy of redwinenbrew.com

Today the store boasts over 6,000 wines, 2,000 beers and 800 cigars. It is all broken down by import beer, domestic beer, import wine, domestic wine, big bottles of wine and a cigar area. There are roughly ten employees who work there now that are just as helpful with the customers as the original three are. Every Friday and Saturday the store hosts a moderate wine tasting so customers can try different wines and beers plus learn about them from the stores assistant manager Alex Bossard.

Over 2000 Beers

Image courtesy of redwinenbrew.com

Bossard is the stores “wine guru” and knows a ton about wine. He is there Tuesday thru Saturday to help customers with different brands and varietals of wine. Wine is Bossard’s hobby and you can tell by the way he talks how much he loves his wines.

The store mainly promotes its self by word-of-mouth and recommendations from past and current customers. They give out business cards to customers when they make their purchase and ask them to hand them out to their friend. Shah has also placed ads in local papers such as the Scene and Chesterland News. Plus, they have taken out ads in West Geauga’s sports teams brochures.

Red, Wine & Brew has a website but it’s not totally functional yet. They have done a decent job getting the word out about the place yet they could do so much more. It truly is a diamond in the rough. I highly recommend checking out for all your beer, wine and cigar needs.

Red, Wine & Brew Logo

Logo courtesy of redwinenbrew.com

Disclaimer: Please don’t drink until you’re 21 years old. If you do drink, please don’t drive!

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Pumpkin Beer Is Not For Everyone Part Two


A beer and a pumpkin

Photo courtesy of Craftbeer.com

Al, Madison and I had very different opinions on how the beers tasted and what we thought of them. I am going to run down what the brewers said about their beers and what we felt about the beers.

Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Ale: It is an amber-colored ale that is brewed with a bounty of fall favors like vine-ripened pumpkin, allspice, cloves and nutmeg. Together with a touch of wheat, Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Ale has a smooth, lightly spiced finish. It pairs well with beef dishes and seasonal soups.*

Al’s opinion: “It’s not terrible but it gives you an aluminum taste in the back of your mouth after a second.”

Madison’s opinion: “No smell.”

My opinion: “There is a bit of a pumpkin skin after taste and kind of waxy.”

Pumking: It is an ode to Púca, a creature of Celtic folklore, who is both feared and respected by those who believe in it. Púca is said to waylay travelers throughout the night, tossing them on its back, and providing them the ride of their lives, from which they return forever changed! Brewed in the spirit of All Hallows Eve, a time of year when spirits can make contact with the physical world and when magic is most potent. Pour Pumking into a goblet and allow it’s alluring spirit to overflow. As spicy aromas present themselves, let its deep copper color entrance you as your journey into this mystical brew has just begun. As the first drops touch your tongue a magical spell will bewitch your taste buds making it difficult to escape.**

Al’s opinion: “Someone made pumpkin pie with water and made this beer.”

Madison’s opinion: “It’s like someone scooped out the entire pumpkin pie filling and mad a beer with the leftovers.”

My opinion: “After you take a sip the taste hits you immediately and you can breathe out the flavor.”

Ichabod Pumpkin Ale: Ichabod combines malted barley and real pumpkin with cinnamon and nutmeg in a delicious and inviting brew. A rewarding complement to many dishes, Ichabod pairs well with autumnal foods such as poultry and root vegetables.***

Al’s opinion: “Not that great.”

Madison’s opinion: “Slight pumpkin taste.”

My opinion: “Tastes like lightly fermented pumpkin bread.”

Post Road Pumpkin Ale: This beer is available at the beginning of August through November. Pumpkins are blended with barley malt. Hundreds of pounds of pumpkins are blended into the mash of each batch; creating a beer with an orange amber color, warm pumpkin aroma, biscuit malt center and crisp finish. It pairs well with holiday dinning.****

Al’s opinion: “Not bad. Tastes like a sweet light beer.”

Madison’s opinion: “Has a nuttier flavor with a slight nutty after taste.”

My opinion: “Smells like roasted pumpkin seeds.”

Punkin Ale: A full-bodied brown ale with smooth hints of pumpkin and brown sugar. We brew our Punkin Ale with pumpkin meat, organic brown sugar and spices. It is released right around September first each year. It pairs well with turkey, roasted duck, lamb, stuffing and dessert dumplings.*****

Al’s opinion: “I like this one. It’s better than the rest we tasted.”

Madison’s opinion: “The after taste stays with you and then it tastes pumpkinish.”

My opinion: “No smell really. A weird twang taste when you first take a sip.”

Small Patch Pumpkin Harvest Ale: Nothing on their Website to reference to because it’s too new to post the facts about. You can find opinions about the beer on other Websites but I’m not posting anything that doesn’t come straight from the brewery.

Al’s opinion: “It’s sweet and cinnamonish and tastes like ass.”

Madison’s opinion: “The molasses over powers the spices.”

My opinion: “Smells line cinnamon and you can taste the molasses.”

St- Ambroise Pumpkin Ale: It just brewed once a year in the fall and distributes a limited amount. It embodies a blend of pale and caramel malt, hops and spices. It’s an original taste made by original people.******

Al’s opinion: “After you let it sit for a while there is a weird taste in your mouth.”

Madison’s opinion: “After taste of raw pumpkin.”

My opinion: “Taste more pumpkin in this one.”

Please remember that these are only opinions that were expressed by each of us. Everyone has one and is entitled to one. I wanted to contrast between what the brewery described and what we thought, but please don’t let it discourage you from trying new beers.

*Content taken from the Blue Moon Brewing Company’s website

**Content taken from the Southern Tier Brewing Company’s website

***Content taken from the New Holland Brewing Company’s website

****Content taken from the Brooklyn Brewery’s website

*****Content taken from the Dogfish Head Craft Brewery’s website

******Content taken from the Brasserie McAuslan Brewery

Disclaimer: Please don’t drink until you’re 21 years old. If you do drink, please don’t drive!

Pumpkin Beer Is Not For Everyone Part One


The pumpkin beer taste testing did not go over as well as I thought it would. We tried seven different pumpkin beers that actually make my stomach sick. I have to admit, it is definitely an acquired taste.

Friends Drinking Beer

Image courtesy of Jupiter Images

Since most of my friends thought I was nuts trying out different pumpkin beers, I was only able to have three judges on my panel. Do you think its nuts that I wanted to try pumpkin beer? I thought it would be something different to taste and write about. Would you still have had a taste testing with three people? I thought if I waited any longer to have the testing the other two judges would of backed out of it too.

First was Al Wozniak, who is a 25-year-old street foreman for the village of Burton. He is by no means a beer coinsure, but was willing to give pumpkin beer a try. He usually drinks Yuengling, Bud Light, Bush or Coors Light.

Next was my friend Madison Miranda, who is a 25-year-old graduate from Kent State University. She isn’t a big drinker, but she agreed to help me out since all my friends backed out. Madison prefers sweet drinks or wines over beer or sour/bitter tasting drinks.

Last was me. I have never tried pumpkin beer before, but I figured for the sake of my blog I would give it a shot. I am a 28-year-old former bartender who loves trying new stuff, especially when it comes to alcohol. I now work at beverage store, so instead of making drinks all day, I talk about booze all day. Definitely a change of pace as compared to the last couple of years.

The lineup of Pumpkin beer is as follows:

Name

Brewery

Price pre bottle

Ounces

ABV

Al

Madison

Me (Katie)

1.

Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Ale

Blue Moon Brewing Company

$1.79

12oz

5.7%

4

3

3

2.

Pumking

Southern Tier Brewing Company

$8.99

22oz

8.6%

6

6

6

3.

Ichabod Pumpkin Ale

New Holland Brewing Company

$2.29

12oz

5.2%

5

5

5

4.

Post Road Pumpkin Ale

Brooklyn Brewery

$1.99

12oz

5%

1

1

1

5.

Punkin Ale

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

$2.99

12oz

7%

2

4

4

6.

Small Patch Pumpkin Harvest Ale

Tommyknocker Brewery & Pub*

$2.19

12oz

5%

7

7

7

7.

St- Ambroise Pumpkin Ale

Brasserie McAuslan Brewery

$2.99

12oz

5%

3

2

2

*It’s so new that I couldn’t even find the specifics of the beer on their website.

We ranked the beers on the best (which I labeled as number 1) to the worst (which I labeled as number 7). We all had different opinions on what we tasted and why we picked the numbers we did for the different beers.

Since there is so much to write about what happened, I will be continuing this post in to my next post. To Be Continued….

Disclaimer: Please don’t drink until you’re 21 years old. If you do drink, please don’t drive!

It’s Pumpkin Time


Pumpkins and Beer
Photo Courtesy of Anne Holcomb

The fall season is upon us, so it’s time to start hiding in the house more as the weather slowly creeps a little bit colder each day. The leaves are changing, pumpkins being picked, wagon rides boasting with screaming kids, corn mazes open and seasonal drinks are being served. One in particular is pumpkin beer.

There are more than 300 different types of pumpkin beer brewed all over the world. I wanted to show you a chart of the different kinds of pumpkin beer, but that would over load my blog. I decided instead to give you the top ten as ranked on BeerAdvocate:

 

Name of Beer

Brewery

Classification

ABV

Rating

1

Pumpkin Ale

Selin’s Grove Brewing Company

Pumpkin Ale

5.60%

A

2

The Great Pumpkin

Elysian Brewing Company

Pumpkin Ale

8.10%

A

3

Schlafly Pumpkin Ale

Saint Louis Brewery / Schlafly Tap Room

Pumpkin Ale

8.00%

A-

4

Pumpkin Ale

Williamsburg AleWerks

Pumpkin Ale

8.00%

A-

5

Treat (Imperial Chocolate Pumpkin Porter)

Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

Pumpkin Ale

7.80%

A-

6

Good Gourd Imperial Pumpkin Ale

Cigar City Brewing

Pumpkin Ale

9.00%

A-

7

Pumking

Southern Tier Brewing Company

Pumpkin Ale

8.60%

A-

8

Kuhnhenn All Hallows Ale

Kunhenn brewing Company

Pumpkin Ale

6.50%

A-

9

Great Pumpkin Ale

Cambridge Brewing Company

Pumpkin Ale

4.20%

A-

10

The Horseman’s Ale

Defiant Brewing Company

Pumpkin Ale

5.20%

A

Pumpkin beer has been around since colonial times. It was more of an American thing than a European thing: pumpkins were a native plant in the Americas. At harvest time farmers would have an abundance of pumpkins because they grew very easily. The meat of the pumpkin took the place of the malt and other spices were added to take the place of the ingredients they didn’t have.

Pumpkin beer continued to be brewed until the 19th century when pumpkins weren’t viewed as a wonderful thing in beer anymore. Malt, barley and other ingredients became accessible which replaced the pumpkin and it’s friends. There was a brief glimmer of hope in the 1840s, but didn’t become popular like it had been before.

Buffalo Bill's Pumpkin Ale
Photo Courtesy of BeerAdvocate

Buffalo Bill’s Pumpkin Ale from Buffalo Bill’s Brewery revived the pumpkin beer craze in the mid-80s. Since then, most breweries have made versions of “pumpkin ale” or what they think is pumpkin ale. If you are looking for true pumpkin ale, read the ingredients. I don’t know how many times I have picked up a pumpkin beer to try, read the ingredients and then put it back because it wasn’t even made with pumpkin.

Today’s trend seems to be going more to pumpkin pie tasting beer rather than actual pumpkin beer, but every one is different. To get the pumpkin spice taste brewers will add nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves.

Next week, I’m going to have my own taste testing with a couple of my friends. I am going to buy a variety of pumpkin beers and have each one of us rate them. I will talk about all the ingredients in the beer and try to explain the actual flavors I taste. We will be drinking a true pumpkin beer all the way over to the other end of the spectrum of trying a true pumpkin pie beer. If anyone has suggestions on what we should try please drop me a note and I’ll try to find the beer to try.

Also, I wanted to find pumpkin wine, well if some body makes it, and compare it to apple wine. Apples are another big item for this time of year. If any one knows, please let me know.

I only mentioned a brief history of pumpkin beer in my blog this week. If you want a more complete history of pumpkin ale, check out Serious Eats.

Disclaimer: Please don’t drink until you’re 21 years old. If you do drink, please don’t drive!