Tuesday, February 8, 2011
A Little Slice of Heaven - BrewEngland Visits: Craft Beer Cellar - Belmont, MA
This past Saturday, Sarah and I ventured out on what I dubbed "the Beer Hunt." Truthfully, we had no plans, but I figured what better way to kill some time than to visit some of the places we have been meaning to visit over the past few months. Since I've become fully vested in the world of Twitter, I have begun following many beer-related people, including the proprietors of some really cool beer stores. This was no different, and Sarah and I were pleased as soon as we walked into one of our stops - Craft Beer Cellar in Belmont, MA.
From the outside, we could see that this store was going to be a real treat! Craft Beer Cellar has a full window display of what we just learned was their #2 best seller during 2010 - Rogue Brewery Yellow Snow IPA. It was just after that that we got a better glimpse of what we were in store for.
Craft Beer Cellar has a FULL selection of New England, American, and International Craft Beers. You can find seemingly at least two or more selections from all of our favorite New England area craft beers. They have some of the freshest, and current offerings by all of the area's finest beers!
When we walked in the front entrance to the store, on the immediate left side was a full narrow book case full of Clown Shoes Beer.
It happened to be adjacent to another great, non-New England area brewers - Ithaca Beer Company. Although non-NE based, if you haven't had the Ithaca Flower Power IPA, you must try it. It's seriously in contention for one of my favorite bold IPAs.
Anyway, this quaint store has an amazing selection. They do a great job blending in regional, national, and New England craft breweries into their shelves, as well as their vast cold storage coolers. If you want Samuel Adams, Shipyard Brewing, Gritty McDuff's, Craft Beer Cellar has it. Perhaps you want a bomber of Troegs Java Head Stout, Ithaca Cascazilla Red Ale, or Berkshire Brewing Company Raspberry Barleywine, Craft Beer Cellar has it!
It's hard to resist picking and mixing beers, but that shouldn't stop you. In fact, Craft Beer Cellar encourages patrons to mix six packs. Each beer on their shelves is conveniently priced individually per bottle, and they stock a nice wooden barrel full of empty six-pack holders for their shoppers. They also scatter various twelve packs, including the mix-Cape Anne Brewing Co. 12 pack I have not seen anywhere before!
As you make your way past their register, you find yourself in a very extensive and impressive import section of the store. Craft Beer Cellar features a great Trappist and Belgian inspired segment of the store, including such beers as Delirium Tremens (enjoyed a great pint while at Timothy O'Toole's in Chicago), St. Bernadus, and Hitachino Nest to name a few!
On the other side of the store, adjacent to the Belgian beer selection, the store offers food, chips, mustard, and other food products from some great New England area breweries.
This really makes for one-stop shopping!
For instance, did you know that Sea Dog and Ipswich Ale Brewery have mustard? We didn't get a chance to try it, but I have to imagine it would go great on a beer brat or some soft baked pretzels. We'll have to pick up a few jars the next time we visit the store.
Another great area of the store, one in which Sarah tried to keep me far away from (as I have a vast collection of pint glasses) was in the corner of the store - towards the back. They had a great selection of pint glasses and other beer accessories.
Sarah was out of luck though. To our surprise, Ipswich Ale Brewery just happened to be conducting a tasting of some of their fine hand crafted beers in the back of the store that day!
The rep from Ipswich was serving each of the beers featured in their mix pack. Currently, they offer the Original Ipswich Ale, Ipswich Dark Ale, Ipswich IPA, and Ipswich Oatmeal Stout. Now, I have purchased the mix pack in the past and I have to say...Ipswich makes some damn good beer. Surprisingly, I haven't reviewed any of their beers, but I am definitely going to have to do so ASAP!
It had been a while since trying some of their beers, but as soon as I had a sip of the first sample I knew I was going to have to purchase one of the mix packs. What made the deal even more enticing, was that they were offering a free pint glass with the purchase of a six pack, or a t-shirt and pint glass or two pint glasses with the purchase of a twelve pack. Naturally, seeing how I really enjoyed all of the beers in their mix pack, I opted for the twelve pack and selected the t-shirt and pint glass to go along with it! So, for $16, I got 12 great beers, a nice new t-shirt, and awesome pint glass (not that I needed a new glass).
One of the other nice parts about the visit was meeting Beth. Beth is an employee of Craft Beer Cellar and was really nice when we got there. She asked me if I ran a beer blog, and I of course responded yes, and she let me know that she was a follower. I introduced myself, and thanked her for reading the site.
I have to also say that the other staff at the store could NOT have been nicer. I mean, they really appreciated everyone that entered their shop, and did their best to make them feel at home. Whether it was someone asking if we were looking for a particular beer, or even just the ladies at the register taking the beer out of our hands and putting it into their que for check out, they really made Sarah and I comfortable inside the store.
People had been telling me I needed to check out Craft Beer Cellar for a while. I can only say that I'm glad I finally made the trip out to this small, yet overly sufficient store!
Craft Beer Cellar is located at 51 Leonard Street in Belmont, MA. They have beer tastings most Thursdays and Saturdays, and is definitely worth the drive. If you're within 20 miles of Boston, and appreciate craft beer the way that we do (and the way that Craft Beer Cellar does), you need to take the short trip off the highway to visit this store. You will not be disappointed!