Craft Beer

The Luck of the Irish Beer That Will Hit the Jackpot

Beer and Ireland have a long and harmonious relationship.  Historically Ireland produced ale, without the use of hops as the plant is not native to Ireland. Large quantities of hops were imported from England in the 18th century. In 1752 more than 500 tons of English hops were imported through Dublin alone.  In the second half of the 18th-century beer, mostly porter, was imported from England in increasing quantities: 15,000 barrels in 1750, 65,000 in 1785, and over 100,000 in 1792.  In the 1760s about 600,000 barrels of Irish beer was brewed annually in Ireland.

During the 18th century, the Irish parliament used taxation to encourage brewing at the expense of distilling, reasoning that beer was less harmful than whiskey.  In the 1760s the Royal Dublin Society offered prizes to brewers who used the most Irish hops and those that produced the most porter.

In 1756 Arthur Guinness set up a small brewery, moving to Dublin in 1759.  Having initially brewed ale, he switched to producing porter, which was a style from London.  In the early twentieth century, Guinness became the largest brewer in the world, exporting the Irish style to many countries.  Although no longer the largest brewer in the world today, it remains the largest brewer of stout.

So why is Guinness the most popular and iconic St. Patrick’s Day brew?  Light-bodied and low in alcohol, Guinness is perfect for consuming throughout the day.  You won’t get too full or intoxicated (given you consume in moderation).  Dark brown, Guinness reveals a nearly black body with a tawny cloud of cascading bubbles forming a silky tan head.  The aroma is unsweetened chocolate and roast. You can pick up a bit of sourness, which is what gives Guinness its distinct smell and taste.  The taste is light and thin, just right for day-drinking.  Despite what people may tell you, this Irish beer is not “thick” or “a meal in a glass.” It’s also not strong. It’s in the low 4% abv range and definitely won’t fill you up.

So whether you want to get your Irish beer on with Guinness or just enjoy the finest selection of craft brews around, stop by City Vineyard. We’ve got you covered for St. Patrick’s Day, the Ides of March, and everything in between.

Start Your Beer Cellar The Right Way This New Year

It’s a new year and might be a good time for you to rewrite your beer game. Much like wine and liquor, beer can benefit from aging. Your standard 12 oz. of Newcastle or Corona will not hold up for more than a few months, but those tasty Tripels, Barleywines, and any barrel aged brew will only get better with time. Now’s the time to start your beer cellar!

It takes a great deal of discipline to store one or two extra bombers of the year’s hottest releases, but it is quite the experience to see how a beer can evolve over the span of 12 months. Much of the boozy and bitter hop tastes tend to mellow out while the malt takes over and can expand the specific flavors of the beer.

Start Your Beer Cellar This New Year

Getting started may be a bit of expenditure, but being in possession of a wealth of popular beer that has the possibility of transforming into the top bomber of next year is an exciting journey. While the idea of making this beer treasure trove can be exciting, there are a few important steps you will need to take in order to get the most out of your cellared brews.

Storing Your Beer

Once you have a good amount of beer set aside, you will need to set yourself some ground rules in terms of how you store it. Always keep your beer upright, out of sunlight and at a constant/cool temperature. Many enthusiasts make their own cupboards or chests to place their precious bottles into, but a regular cardboard wine or beer box will suffice. Designating some closet space or an extra room downstairs is also a good idea so that guests or family members do not prematurely open up one of your keepers.

There is no set amount of each beer that you should hold onto, but depending on how well you enjoy it and how well it holds up are the only real considerations to take. Once you are a few years into starting your beer reserve, your year-by-year vertical stacks of each delicious beer will prove to be a treasured and evolving stockpile that you will be able to pull from for any special occasion.

When Do I Open Them?

The great thing about storing beer is that it is all an experiment to find the prime time to open each individual label. Goose Island’s Bourbon County “Brand Stout,” for example, is an extremely popular beer that has been extensively communicated across the country as being at its best two to three years after its bottling.

Having a rough idea of when you should open your secretly stashed brews can also give you a good estimate of how many to purchase as well. Using stickers or tags to mark each bottle with a “drink by” date is the best option to keep your entire inventory accounted for and marked for an optimal drinkability date.

If you know one is best at two years, you may decide to purchase four of the same year so that you can have one once you get home, another a year later and then two to open and share with friends once it is the most enjoyable. What are you waiting for? Start your beer cellar today!

What Your Beer Loving Friends Really Want for Christmas

The Christmas Holiday is usually a goldmine for our beer lovers. It is so easy to grab a nice bomber to throw in a stocking or a six-pack that will bring a smile to your craft beer fan’s face. With this in mind, naturally, we all get spoiled. You cannot go wrong picking up one of their favorite brews, but there are other alternatives that can complement their love of hoppy and malty drinks. Read on for what do get your beer loving friends this holiday season!

Get Your Beer Loving Friends A Gift They Really Want

A creative Christmas themed gifting idea is “12 Days of Beer.” With this neat daily gift setup, you wrap each bottle individually for your beer nut to open each day. Wrapping paper or tissue, tinsel, and some tags to throw on each bottle would make a real surprising treat. It would be like Christmas morning every day!

We also have got a few swanky new accessories that will make any beer drinker excited to crack one open on Christmas, too. Just recently brought into the store are crocodile, army man and luchador bottle openers that make popping a cap more fun than it is supposed to be.

Another cool trinket is our bear head tabletop bottle opener that would look great mounted to the wall in any man cave. We also have single bottle gift bags as well as a six-pack gift bag that you can throw any sixer or individual bottle into.

Let’s not forget about the star of the show, the beer. Be the best beer elf ever with these awesome premium brews.

Unibroue – Don De Dieu, Terrible, Maudite, Trois Pistoles. These beautifully labeled Belgian-style beers are too cool for school and super tasty.

Deschutes – Abyss (Variants aged in rum barrels and tequila barrels). Perfect as a stocking stuffer – smoky, dark, and malty, just the right accompaniment with a rich holiday meal.

Founders – Whether it’s their famous double-chocolate, coffee, and oatmeal Breakfast Stout, Centennial IPA, or Dirty Bastard scotch ale, Founders always delivers for any fan of exceptional craft beer.

O’Dell – O’Dell’s Lugene Chocolate Milk Stout is perfect for sipping by the fire, but their Rupture Fresh Grind IPA is also a real crowd pleaser.

Chimay – Red, Blue, Yellow, or White label, this classic Belgian favorite is the gold-standard.

And don’t forget the container – pick up one of our customized City Vineyard growlers today so that special beer fan in your life can keep filling up all year. Cheers!

Celebrate Fall the Right Way With Oktoberfest

It’s our favorite time of year! With Fall comes all good things – sweater weather, pumpkin flavored everything, caramel apples, a steamy beverage on a brisk day, children running through fallen leaves, and of course great wine and beer. Oktoberfest has come and it’s time to celebrate fall.

A Quick Oktoberfest History Lesson –

The first Oktoberfest was held in the year 1810 in honor of the Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig’s marriage to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. The festivities began on October 12, 1810 and ended on October 17th with a horse race. In the following years, the celebrations were repeated and, later, the festival was prolonged and moved forward into September.

By moving the festivities up, it allowed for better weather conditions. Because the September nights were warmer, the visitors were able to enjoy the gardens outside the tents and the stroll over “die Wiesen” or the fields, much longer without feeling chilly. Historically, the last Oktoberfest weekend was in October and this tradition continues into present times. Today, the center of this culture is beer, with roughly 7 million liters of it poured at the festival annually.

Almost as iconic as the beer itself, a Bierstiefel (aka a glass or plastic beer boot) is sure to be spotted anytime during Oktoberfest. If you bring a Bierstiefel to a party during Oktoberfest, everyone will scream “Das Boot” as you walk in the door. “Das Boot” translated from German to English means “the boat”. We sincerely doubt Germans yell “Das Boot” when you walk into a beer tent carrying such a “mug”. Also, there was a popular movie in German titled “Das Boot” back in the 60s-70s. It was about a U-boat during WWII. But whatever you are drinking, Oktoberfest is a lot of fun… Folklore has it that Bierstiefels, or beer boots, were invented after a general promised his troops he would drink out of his boot if they won. He commissioned a glass boot so he could fulfill his promise without the smell and taste of dirty socks.

How to Celebrate Fall by Drinking Beer from a Boot

For the past century, beer boots have been included in festive celebrations and passed among friends as a drinking challenge because believe it or not, there is a right–and wrong–way to drink beer out of a boot. (Keep in mind that one boot contains five beers.) If you don’t turn the toe of the boot away from you, a tidal wave of beer will flow towards you as the air bubble reaches the toe part of the boot.

Today the festival isn’t only a smorgasbord to celebrate fall for beer but for food as well, featuring traditionally Bavarian food such as sausages served with mustard and sauerkraut, spit-grilled chicken, warm soft pretzels, potato salad, apple strudel, and honey-dumplings. Yum.

We told you all good things come in the Fall. Stop in soon to check out our Fall beer selection as well as our gourmet market to take your beer drinking experience to the next level!

4 German and Belgian Favorites That Will Blow Your Mind

We’re approaching the stretch of the year that calls for some European influence in our beers.  It’s time to keep the parties indoors and indulge in some original beer styles to accompany our afternoon and evening meals.  It’s tough to make that transition so quickly but we’ve been keeping a steady, year-round supply of German and Belgian favorites to fit into any beer lover’s routine. There’s a definite distinction between what domestic varieties offer compared to what our treasured imports can put on the table. This translates to an historic promise that whatever Eastern European labels you pick up here will always bring a unique taste and conversation to your drinking sessions with friends and family.

There’s an age-old law in Germany called “reinheitsgebot,” which establishes a purity standard for German and Bavarian beer as well.  The Germans even have a word, “bierernst,” that literally translates to “beer serious.” This law and term equal out to an assurance that only barley, hops, yeast and water are to be used in German and Bavarian beer. The last time we checked, the U.S. does not have a national decree in place to have such a revered quality assurance on our favorite brews. With that in mind, you can rest assured that what German and Belgian favorites beer you have in your fridge are brewed to the highest standard.

Here are a few suggestions from our staff on what German and Belgian favorites you should be cracking open soon!

Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse – Hefeweizen

Sporting a very sweet and fruity body, this hefeweizen encompasses that original German style of the variety. With a floral and yeast-filled palate, bringing out notes of banana bread, orange and coriander, this import is full of flavors and accompanied with a subtle alcohol presence.

Weihenstephaner Korbinian – Doppelbock

Full-bodied, dark and voluptuous. Easy notes of chocolate, bitter fruit, caramel and a light candied taste make for a great chilled glass by the fireplace or kitchen counter. This Doppel has an eerily, easy drinkability and a smoothness that can bring a casual beer drinker to the light. Being one of our favorites at the store, we cannot talk this German mainstay up enough.

Trappistes Rochefort 10 – Quadrupel

Retaining a caramel head through an even pour, this Belgian is a beautiful one. The smell of a certain liquor belies a fruity and chocolate-shop essence of tasting notes. Overly smooth, it has an extremely gratifying finish that leaves your palate in need of another sip or a bite of sausage to fulfill the experience. Take a seat and pick this layered brew apart.

Duvel – Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Taking a spicier note compared to its Belgian brothers, Duvel’s pale ale is not only a popular import for the U.S. but has a dedicated following spanning the globe. Leaning towards a more fruit forward body, Duvel takes a leap past any Belgian style domestic beer with an even more glazed mid palate. An up-front fruitiness and dry, carbonated finish makes for an outstanding drinkability.

Summer is Not Over: 3 Easy Ways To Party On

Even though September is almost here, summer is NOT over! With the “Back-to-School” signs plastered in every superstore window, it’s easy to “fall” into the seasons changing malaise… see what we did there? Though it may seem like Summer is virtually over, take heart, there are plenty of weeks left to enjoy the spectacular Montana sun. Especially since we Montanans are known for working hard, but partying harder!

It’s tempting to spend these remaining glorious summer days awaiting the big yellow buses and preparing for the school year ahead. Shopping for clothes and supplies can get exhausting, but don’t let it suck up the rest of your time or energy this summer. City Vineyard is here for you. Keep Summer going strong! The first day of Fall isn’t until the end of September anyway right?! We’re excited as always to introduce you to all the new items City Vineyard has to offer this month.

Summer is Not Over, Savor it!

We have plenty of great wines at great prices to take the pressure off your back-to-school budget. Don’t be scared off by the under-$15 price point, we have a great selection of truly high-value wines for bargain prices. In every variety, we have a value brand choice that’s sure to please, and might even become your new go-to favorite. Give ‘em a try!

In beer, we love Montana, and its top-rated beer for hard-to-beat prices. Our local breweries have been producing first-rate beer for years, and we are proud to offer them to you. Come check out the selection and taste the goodness!

Finally, we have a great new selection of accessories for all your end-of-Summer refreshment needs. Stop in soon and savor Summer! Summer is not over quite yet, so stop by City Vineyard today and let us prove it to you!

6 Unexpected Reasons To Drink A Beer Every Day

Beer, it does a body good! We have all heard the saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” And while we all love apples, recent studies indicate that a few of our other favorites, dark chocolate and red wine, also offer health benefits.  But did you know that there is another favorite that can also be good for what ails you? Beer!  In fact, there are multiple proven benefits of our favorite brews from reducing risk for broken bones to warding off osteoporosis, diabetes, and even dementia. Keep in mind that like everything, moderation is the key.

Beer contains many beneficial vitamins, chemicals and other ingredients that can improve the way your body functions and even can help prevent certain diseases. It’s the individual components that make up your favorite brews that make these benefits possible, not the concoction of beer itself. So don’t confuse the fountain of youth with the nice frothy head of your favorite stout!

Here are a few noteworthy benefits that these hopped and malted beverages can provide you with!

1. Skeletal Success

Your favorite ice-cold brew can actually help your bone density and strength. A 2009 study at Tufts University, reported that older men and women who swigged one or two beers a day had higher bone density. This is due to the high silicon content present in beer. Silicon, in the dietary form orthosilicic acid, helps in growth of bones along with any connective tissues and can reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis.Before you grab that six-pack with confidence, swig slowly, the study also shows that anything more than the recommended daily amount can have quite the opposite effect on your bone density and  is linked to increased risk for fractures. For the best results, grab a pale ale which is the richest in silicon, while light lagers and non-alcoholic beers contain the least.

2. A Healthy Glow

Vitamin E found in most skin creams and vitamin packs, helps keep your skin looking young and healthy. Beer has and effective dose of Vitamin E that when you pair a glass of beer with your weekly skin treatments – you could be multiplying your skin’s healthy glow!

3. Calm Those Inflamed Muscles

You also may have asked yourself why marathons are sponsored by brewing companies and have stands for runners while they compete. Beer, more specifically wheat beers, has a knack for reducing muscle inflammation and increasing respiratory health. Though this is commonly known in the running world, many spectators raise an eyebrow as they watch runners down a popular lager at the halfway point! There are chemicals called Polyphenols, most prevalent in wheat beers, known to calm molecular byproducts caused by exercise. Polyphenols capture molecules that can bounce around your muscles and cause inflammation, which in turn relaxes your burnt out muscle fibers. Bear in mind, though, moderation is what makes these results practical. Drinking a six-pack during your next triathlon will not help beat your previous record, let alone be healthy!

4. Reduce the Risk of Kidney Stones          

Beer has also been linked to healthier kidneys, specifically in men. The association of beer and a reduced risk of kidney stones is quite possibly in part due to certain compounds found in the hops and the general diuretic effect of beer. Based on the accounts of those who’ve passed kidney stones before – we highly suggest you do whatever you can to reduce your risk.

5. Stay Mentally Sharp

The hops in your favorite beer contains a similar chemical compound found in dark chocolate, blueberries, and other super foods known also as “brain food”. This compound has been found in numerous food chemistry studies to help improve your memory and protect your brain and prevent degeneration. Research found in a 2012 study explained that in moderation beer increased your ability to concentrate without distractions getting in the way, this added focus will improve your ability to problem solve creatively. So if you’ve been stumped by something – it may do you some good to step away, grab an icy cold brew and then turn your focus back on the issue.  

6. Feel Happier

Another valuable vitamin found in Beer is Vitamin B6. This vitamin is known to help your body produce serotonin. Serotonin is your body’s natural mood enhancer, it also aids with sleep. This very essential body chemical fights off intense mood swings and depression. Many of the craft beers on the market today have a good amount of vitamin B in them to give you that added mood “pick-me-up” after a tough day.

We all knew that beer was amazing, but the health benefits it can also offer in small doses, are truly extraordinary.  Note that the benefits listed above are from consuming 1 to 2 beers daily. So let’s raise a pint to your health, discover new delicious craft beers in our outstanding beer department and keep reaping the benefits of your favorite icy cold brew!

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