Our First Tavour Haul

img_2204As dedicated online shoppers and craft beer geeks, we couldn’t resist trying out Tavour – a site that helps you gain access to rare craft beer that you may not otherwise see in your neck of the woods. Each day, Tavour sends two notifications with featured beers that day that you can choose to add to your shipping crate. These beers vary based on your location, and they favor parts of the country that you may not often visit. We are located in Pennsylvania, and we saw a wide range of mid-west and west coast beers featured, including a number from Washington and even Alaska. The range of beer styles was impressive; everything from red ales to Belgians to triple IPAs were available. We ended up with a great selection including beers from the mid-west, west coast, and Alaska.

These were our picks:

img_2206(L to R: Oakshire Brewing Drop Bear IPA (OR; $8.99); BuckleDown Brewing Citra Clencher (IL; $4.00); Bale Breaker Bottom Cutter Imperial IPA (WA; $4.00); Anchorage Brewing Company Within Us Double IPA (AK; $6.99); Anchorage Brewing Company Pie Assassin IPA (AK; $6.50); Bale Breaker Fresh off the Farm IPA 5th Anniversary (WA; $3.50); Boxing Bear Brewing Co The Red Glove Imperial Red Ale (NM; $12.99)).

img_2673As you can see, our selection skewed more towards hoppy varieties; however, there were plenty of other styles featured in Tavour. One of our favorites of the group was the Red Glove Imperial Red from Boxing Bear. It nicely married the piney hop flavor with a light malt sweetness. It’s a gold medal winner from the GABF 2016 and well-deserved. The two varieties from Bale Breaker showcased a wide range of different hop varieties, perfect for hopheads like us. The Citra Clencher from Buckledown is the quintessential crushable summer IPA with a refreshing fruit-forward profile. Anchorage Brewing clearly has their IPA game on point; Pie Assassin offered a nice creaminess to balance the bitter and citrus notes, while Within Us gave us a hefty smack of dank and juicy hops. We also enjoyed the Drop Bear IPA which highlighted Australia’s Galaxy hop varietal; the adorable bottle art definitely didn’t hurt either. If you aren’t familiar with the dangers of drop bears, be sure to protect yourself if you are ever traveling down under.

img_2617Overall, we found that the beers were excellent, the shipping was quick and straightforward, and the selection was unrivaled. We’d recommend you giving it a shot if you are interested in finding some rare beers from other parts of the country. This program is an ideal fit for people who are open to spending a bit more for rare craft beer; while buying a case at your local beer shop of course is cheaper than using Tavour, you will not see the rare options if you only shop close by. It is free to sign up and is NOT a subscription service – you simply start a crate whenever you want. You pay for the beers as you add them to the crate and then you will be charged the flat rate once it ships ($14.90). They also have a nice referral program that can give you $10 in credits per friend referred, which goes a long way! **If you click on our referral link, you will also get a $10 credit once your first box ships.** FYI, be sure to have it shipped to an address where someone over 21 can sign for it (we used a work address).

Planning on trying Tavour, or have you tried it before? Let us know in the comments!

Cheers!

Bethany and Mike

Advertisements

Flashback Friday: Day Drinking in Bruges, Belgium

DSCF1780In honor of our recent wedding anniversary (not really that recent but I needed an introduction) I would like to recount one of the best brewery/pub tour days from our honeymoon spent in France and Belgium.  On day five of our honeymoon we took the train from Lille, France to Bruges, Belgium. Bruges is an amazing little town near the North Sea in the Northwest corner of Belgium. It is known for its seemingly untouched medieval buildings, beautiful cathedrals, canals, and its historic Grote Markt.

As our train slowly rolled to a halt and we exited the station we were greeted by the long walk to the center of town. The roads were lined with picturesque homes that looked to be straight out of the 1500’s. The walk seemed to take forever as we stopped to snap so many pictures. Everything was intriguing from the doors and windows, to the street lamps, scooters and vintage European automobiles.  We wound our way through town towards the Markt with the spire of Onze-Lieve-Vrouw Brugge (The Church or Our Lady Bruges) acting as a beacon.

DSCF1729 (2)

This stunning gothic spire at first just barely peaked out over a row of small homes and slowly revealed itself as we drew closer. We finally reached the cathedral and took a short tour. The Brouwerij de Halve Maan was just a few block to our south but that would be the last stop of the day after we circled around town.

On our way to the Markt we found a cute little gift shop where we bought my daughter a small ballerina statue and a bottle shop with a stunning array of Belgian, French, and German beers unrivaled by anything we have seen in the States. It was a bit early in the morning for a beer (even for us), so we unfortunately had to wait. We finally made our way to the center of town which was lined with sidewalk cafes and fashionable shops too expensive for us to patronize. The restaurants were too expensive for us also but we didn’t let that stop us from getting lunch and our first pints. We drank a lot of Leffe while we were in France and Belgium. Just about every restaurant sold it like US bars sell Budweiser. Bethany almost always drank the Blonde and I had the Brown. Both are very tasty, packed with flavor, familiar Belgian hops, malts and spices, but are also more accessible for people who haven’t drank a lot of Belgian beers. Leffe is available around here but not very widely. If you see it, give it a try and I know you will not be disappointed.

DSCF1816After lunch we continued touring the Markt, following the canals and buying Belgian chocolates at Dumon Chocolatier. At regular intervals, we stopped at a few more bars and drank a few more Leffe’s and Bethany found one of her favorite beers of the trip – the Hoegaarden Rosee. Hoegaarden has a vast array of different flavors in Belgium – far more than we have in the States. We are not typically into fruit beers but this was a refreshing wheat beer with just a hint of raspberry that maybe tasted even better knowing that it is not available in the US.

That afternoon reaffirmed a lesson that we had unfortunately learned before and that we are doomed to learn again: drinking Belgian beers for an entire day inevitably results in stupid behavior. After the Hoegaarden Rosee we found ourselves a little drunker than we expected. Of course, it was our honeymoon, we were in a foreign country, and we really didn’t care all that much that we were stumbling around this timeless, pristine, historic town like stereotypical, obnoxious Americans.

 

10464244_752773030171_4905195867255457837_n

Chouffe, Duvel, and Maredsous – oh my!

We were having too much fun to care, and when we finally circled back to that bottle shop, we grabbed two cold Belgians, popped the tops and wobbled down the street arm in arm like drunken sailors on leave. As we finished the last sips of those bottles of whatever it was we were drinking (things get a little blurry at this point in the day) we finally found our way to the south side of town and the Brouwerij De Halve Maan  whose history dates back to 1564.

10348549_752773763701_748023680031603264_nAs we entered we were greeted by a garden patio filled with tables and gleeful patrons. I absolutely don’t remember what I drank but if I know me, I had the Straffe Hendrick Qaudrupel. The next morning, I blurrily read that name on a goblet that I found in my bag which confirms my suspicion. This is a big, dark, malty, spicy beer that finishes with hints of dark fruits as most quads do. You won’t find this beer around here so you have to go to Bruges if you want to try it, but I can assure you that it is well worth the trip.

Before we left we, of course, had to ask the bartender to take our picture. He kindly obliged and we were promptly photobombed by a couple of opportunistic Belgian waiters who seemed quite adept at the art. We walked away laughing and had to run for our train which we were almost certainly going to miss. When we finally boarded and found our seats we listened to The Avett Brothers with shared earbuds. We sang through most of the train ride with what we thought were respectful, quiet voices but I am pretty sure that the whole car absolutely hated us, our drunkenness, and our terrible voices.

Best day ever.

Cheers!
Mike

Two Pints at the Finger Lakes

 

image
Over the Fourth of July weekend Bethany and I had the opportunity to book a last minute mini vacation to the Finger Lakes region of New York. The Finger Lakes have long been known for its multitude of wineries, and more recently breweries, which surround the lakes.

Apparently, the valleys around the lakes provide an ideal environment for both grapes and hops, or so I’ve been told. img_6602It was only natural that along these well-worn wine trails that craft breweries would pop up to serve the throngs of booze-loving tourists who thirsted for something other than yet another Riesling.

As booze-loving tourists ourselves we have been to the Finger Lakes a few times before and we love the area for its beautiful lakes, captivating sunsets, goat farms and, of course, craft breweries. There is no shortage of quaint inns and luxurious B&B’s to stay at…unless of course you try to book a trip the day before a long 4th of July weekend. We could not find rooms at any of our usual spots, so we turned to Airbnb. This was the first time we used Airbnb, so we were a little cautious, but we eventually found a beautiful alpaca farm not too far outside of Ithaca with a room available. The farm had no reviews on Airbnb so we bombarded the poor owner with questions about her rental history and moral character in an effort to ascertain the risk of being murdered in our sleep. troegsNGDespite a vague sense that we would, in fact, be murdered in our sleep, we booked the place and made our way late Friday evening.

When we arrived at dusk we found a charming wood and stone building, gorgeous garden, a pond, alpacas and peacocks. The owner showed us to our garden house lodging with canopy bed and seriously relaxing outdoor living room drenched in pillows and cushions were Bethany and I spent our mornings reading and evenings enjoying our Troegs Nimble Giant…or Giant Nimble…Giant Nipple… or Nipple Giant depending on how many Bethany has had (check out our Nimble Giant review here!).

The Giant Nipple isn’t all we drank last weekend, however. As always, we returned to img_6624some of our favorite Finger Lakes breweries (see our earlier post on Two Goats Brewery) and scoured the area for new ones that always seem to be popping up which we will be reviewing in a future post. In our travels we stopped at the Ithaca Farmers Market, which is great little destination for fresh produce, meat, and hot meals; however, I will warn you to ride your bike or walk if you can because traffic is a mess on Saturday mornings.

We also stopped at one of our favorite places, The Lively Run goat dairy where you can buy cheese and have your fingers and shirt cuffs nibbled by silly goats that will also let you pet them a little.  They have a cheese tasting for just a few bucks and some amazing cheesecakes and truffles.

Check out our experiences visiting the breweries we toured on our trip:

lively run goat

Goat at Lively Run

Useful links:

Cheers!

Mike and Bethany

Hello, World

Hey, there! Welcome to our blog, Two Pints, Please! We are thrilled to have an online forum to share our adventures in the world of beer. Our musings will offer a hoppy twist on your typical travel blog, including brewery and brewpub reviews, the lowdown on beer festivals, beer samplings and recommendations, and adventures in eating and drinking right at home. Thanks for stopping by for a visit. Cheers!

Bethany and Mike