I am excited about what 2014 will bring. As the new beer buyer at Formaggio Kitchen Cambridge, I will be delving further into an area of food and drink that has fascinated me for a long time. I look forward to continuing our strong focus on American craft beers – at the same time, I will be reintroducing select imports to our shelves.
You might notice a few organizational changes in the beer section of the shop – my goal is to make it easier to find and explore our shelves. I have rearranged the beer section into local, domestic, and international sections. For now, I have divided the international section by style, not country, so you can better find your favorite styles or discover new ones. Over the next few days and the coming weeks, I’ll be adding additional signs, explaining a little bit about specific types of beer.
My goal with the international section is to showcase a variety of traditional styles – styles that are strongly linked to particular regions and cultural histories, with an emphasis on styles I feel are not as strongly represented by domestic craft brewers. German wheat beers, Belgian sours, and traditional English ales (like porters, sometimes called black ales), are examples of groups that I think merit representation.
My fellow buyers in the shop work with tiny producers all over the world. Similarly, my goal is to focus as much as possible on smaller scale brewers – sourcing brews that you won’t find in many other stores. I welcome your feedback on our selection and new layout. Feel free to ask for me or Daniela Coray (Assistant Beer Buyer), by name if you have any questions or requests. The beer section will always be a dynamic work in progress.
Of course, some of the best brewing in the world is to be found right here in our own backyard, and I intend to scour the market for the best domestic brews around. To that end, we just got in a few great domestic beers that I think are worth highlighting. Here they are:
The Mikkeller-Anchorage Brewing Company collaboration: AK Alive. Anchorage is a very small brewer in Alaska, specializing in barrel-aged beers bottles with Brettanomyces, a wild yeast. Mikkeller is a nomadic brewer based in Denmark known for their boundary-pushing beers. This is their take on a wild IPA, meaning it has farmhouse funky qualities (courtesy of the Brettanomyces).
Also new is Upright Brewing’s Saison 7. Based in Portland, Oregon, Upright specializes in brews modeled after French and Belgian farmhouse beers. This particular saison is big on yeasty fruitiness, balanced by crisp, herbal hops.
Finally, I’m really excited to introduce two beers from St. Somewhere a very small, quirky brewer in Florida: Saison Athene and the amazing Lectio Saison. All of St. Somewhere’s beers have a funky, Belgium-style edge. The brewer makes his own Candi sugar, a special brewing sugar, and often employs open-fermentation to bring in ambient flavors that add depth to his brews. Saison Athene is incredibly complex, in part because it is brewed with chamomile, black pepper, and rosemary – meanwhile, Lectio Saison gets a last-minute dose of wild yeast before being bottled.
Happy new year. More coming soon…