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Mead: 130% Awesome.
Written by Mike Reis   
Friday, 18 July 2014 23:36


American mead sales grew 130% from 2012 to 2013.

Those are big time numbers. The American public is really catching on to this stuff, and product quality is better than ever.

We love mead over here at LVHQ, and are totally stoked to see this ancient and delicious beverage finally getting the attention it deserves. Never tried the stuff? Now's the time. Our hive runneth over with brilliant examples of mead in all its forms, from melomels, cysers, and metheglins, to acerglyns and pyments.


Now available:

Celestial Meads
- Now available in 750ml bottles!

Odin's Gift

A traditional mead focused on emphasizing honey's natural aromatics alongside an assertive presence of oak. Gently sweet, fruity, and extremely aromatic.


Hidden Legend Dandelion Wine 12x750ml earthy, refreshing and authent $146.00 US - Victor, MT
HLM20 Hidden Legend Winery Pure Honey Mead 12x750ml Semi-dry all nat'rl honey mead $140.00 12.5 US - Victor, MT
HLM10 Hidden Legend Winery The King's Cyser - Apple Mead
Hidden Legend Winery - Now available in 750ml bottles!

Pure Honey Mead
An wonderful off-dry expression of Montana-made wildflower honey flavor. Hidden Legend's best-selling mead!

The King's Cyser
Another wonderful off-dry mead. While most meads get all their sugar for fermentation from honey, this recipe uses apple juice as well (that's called a cyser!). The result is a tart and happy marriage of apple and honey flavors.




Moonlight Meadery - Now available in 375ml bottles!


The first mead Moonlight ever produced. Like many of their products, it's densely packed with the flavor of added fruits. This time around, it's cherries, black currants, and blueberries. Lush and satisfying.
99 on RateBeer!


A dark purple semi-sweet mead balanced with a tart and tannic snap that comes from an addition of black currants.

Rhubarb and black currants are the name of the game in this melomel (that's what we call fruited meads). A perfect balance of sweet and tart.

Kurt's Apple Pie
Moonlight's best-selling product is a brilliant dessert mead made with apples, cinnamon, and vanilla. "Apple pie" is a totally great description! Try it on vanilla ice cream for the best dang float you've ever had.
100 on RateBeer!

A full-bodied semi-sweet mead packed with the flavor of blueberries, blackberries, black currants, and black cherries. So good.

Red Dress
Made with a boatload of red currants, this mead is super bright and balanced, with a pretty pinkish hue.
93 on RateBeer!


Wild keeps things a little more simple--wild blueberries are the only added fruit. But don't think this one will bore you. It's drier than many of Moonlight's other offerings, with a subtle touch of blueberry flavor alongside gently warming alcohol.
96 on RateBeer!


Sap House Meadery
- Now available in 375ml bottles!


Sap House loves playing around with locally-grown fruits and spices in their meads. By doing so, they support New England agriculture and create some seriously tasty beverages. It's a win-win. But sometimes, when you want a mead, you just want a mead. A drinkable answer to years of customer requests, Sap House has created a simple, beautiful mead highlighting honey's natural aromatics.

Hopped Blueberry Maple
This mead seeks to find a balanced expression of its three namesake ingredients: Willamette hops, native local blueberries, and New Hampshire maple syrup. We've never tasted anything like it--citrusy hop character and tannic blueberry marry atop a subtle woodsiness from the maple syrup. Wild stuff!

Ossipioja wowed our entire team when we first tried it. It's a pyment (a mead made with grape juice in addition to honey) made from Spanish red wine grapes. It showcases all of the complexity of a fine Rioja and integrates that with the texture and flavor of wildflower honey mead. A great first mead for wine drinkers!

Sugar Maple
Made with New Hampshire wildflower honey and maple syrup, Sugar Maple sounds like it'll be a sugar bomb. It's not. It's fermented fairly dry and has a nice hit of tannin from the inclusion of a dose of black tea.

Vanilla Bean
At 18% ABV, this is Sap House's most potent mead. The alcohol is well-integrated amidst an aromatic punch to the face that focuses on vanilla without overwhelming the subtleties of the honey that makes up the mead's base.

Looking to learn more about mead? Check out our post over at LV Education.
Bring on the Funk. French Ciders, Now in Stock!
Written by Mike Reis   
Monday, 14 July 2014 19:31

The barrels at Domaine de Kervéguen

Bring on the funk. French ciders, now in stock!

The first French cider I ever had was at a little crêperie in Paris. Sounds great, right? Well...I didn't really..."get it." I was 20 years old and my exposure to fine cider had been limited to Martinelli's and a two-liter plastic bottle of Strongbow I once regrettably plowed through in a single night. So I didn't exactly know what to expect from the little ceramic bowl that sat in front of me, full of what appeared to be miso soup. It was bracingly sour and smelled a bit like a barnyard. I only pretended to like it.

Since then, I've grown to love French cider, with all it's yeast-driven complexity, apple skin tannin, and lively acid. It's one of the most beautiful beverages on this planet.

It'll be a while before I make it back to any charming Parisian cafés, but I'm happy to relive the liquid part of the experience whenever possible. Fire up those imaginations and join me, friends. We've just received a shipment of four incredible French ciders.

Now available:

The 16th century home that houses the cellars at Kervéguen

Domaine de Kervéguen Cidre à l’Ancienne Brut
Domaine de Kervéguen produces wonderful ciders. So wonderful, in fact, that they supply the French presidential cellars at the Palais de l'Élysée. Cidre à l’Ancienne Brut is dry and elegant, expressive of the oaken barrels in which its fermented and the tart and tannic apples from which it's pressed. Earthy stuff that's worthy of contemplation.
96 on RateBeer!

Domaine de Kervéguen Cuvée Carpe Diem Prestige
A stunning, lower-alcohol (3% ABV) dessert cider made from late harvest apples. Juicy and lush, with overripe stonefruit-like aromatics and a round, smooth mouthfeel. Moderately sweet but amazingly balanced, as gentle tannin and soft acidity creep in on the finish. Owner Eric Baron claims this is his favorite vintage of the past 20 years! Drink now, or cellar for up to 5 years.
Jacques Chirac's favorite!
98 on RateBeer!


Txopinondo Sagarnoa
A Basque cider for lovers of the funk. Tannic and exceptionally tart, with a whole lot of briny wild yeast earthiness.
99 on RateBeer!

Clos de la Fontaine Hugo Cidre de Thiérache Brut
A musty, dry cider unlike anything produced in the United States. Made with no added sugar!

No kiwis were harmed in the making of this post.
Written by Mike Reis   
Sunday, 06 July 2014 17:00
8 Wired:
1 pallet Hopwired bottles
1 pallet Fresh Hopwired kegs
1 pallet Abundance Baltic Cherry Porter bottles
1 pallet Age of Raisin quad bottles
1 pallet Armageddon bottles
3 pallets Hop Zombie
2 pallets mixed between 12/500ml bottles of regular Apple Cider, Red Apple Cider
(pink fleshed apples give it a pink color), and Hopped up Pippin (apple cider with
NZ hops)
No kiwis were harmed in the making of this post.
...just Kiwi beers. And a few ciders too.

There are some wildly exciting beverages coming out of New Zealand these days, driven by a talented crop of brewers and cidermakers working with some of the island nation's wonderful agricultural products, from crisp and bright apples to hops bursting with tropical fruity aromatics. We've just received a rare, super-fresh, direct shipment of a whole bunch o' beers and a handful of the appley stuff from our friends down south, from four of our favorite producers.

Check it out:

8 Wired
You know how Danish brewers are kinda tearing up the worldwide beer scene? Well, their reach extends well beyond the borders of their little Scandinavian country. Danish biochemist and sea urchin expert Søren Eriksen knows that well. On a visit to Australia's Little Creatures Brewery, a lifelong interest in beer was born. In 2008, Søren went pro, starting 8 Wired Brewing Company in his new home country of New Zealand. Since then, he's been making bold beers and earning a reputation for his masterful work with the highly flavorful hops of New Zealand.

Now available:
Hopwired - 99 on RateBeer!
An IPA brewed to showcase the best of New Zealand beer agriculture. Made with NZ-grown pale malt and a boatload of tropical-fruity hops: Nelson Sauvin, Southern Cross, and Motueka. Juicy and lush with a hearty maltiness.
Now available in 500ml bottles.

Fresh Hopwired - 98 on RateBeer!
That's right, wet-hopped beer in July! Southern Hemisphere hop harvests occur in the Northern Hemisphere's spring, so we get to enjoy this refreshing treat in the early summer. Made with the same recipe as regular ol' Hopwired, but made entirely with undried ("wet") hops, straight from the fields.
Now available in kegs.
Located in the heart of NZ's Marlborough wine-growing region, Renaissance Brewing Company always has something to prove. Their aim is to bring respect to beer by producing examples that rival the region's wines in quality. They're doing a killer job.

Now available in 500ml bottles:

Abundance Baltic Cherry Porter
A smooth, slightly sweet Baltic porter brewed with cherries. Earthy and roasty, with an assertive but not overwhelming presence of cherry flavor amidst some serious malt depth.

Enlightenment Series: The Age of Raisin
Aw yeah, a punny beer name that has nothing to do with the word "hop." This one is an easy-drinking raisin-spiked Belgian strong dark ale at 6.5% ABV. Bursting with dried dark fruit and pomegranate molasses flavor that reads as sweetness at first, but develops into a dry finish.
As their name would imply, Epic Brewing Company makes big beers. And they love hops. Most of their beers are absolutely loaded with the leafy stuff, showcasing American and New Zealand hops in all their epic glory. We've just received a fresh load of two of our favorite Epic IPAs, Armageddon and Hop Zombie.

Now available in 500ml bottles:
Armageddon - 98 on RateBeer!
Inspired by a trip to San Diego, this is straightforward West Coast IPA, hopped with Cascade, Centennial, Columbus, and Simcoe. Epic's tasting notes on this one are too good not to share: "Hops! hops! hops! Citrus, Grapefruit."

Hop Zombie - 99 on RateBeer!
North meets South in this undead IPA brewed with 4 top secret hop varieties from the US and NZ. Pine, peach, passion fruit and guava aromatics with a smooth caramelly maltiness. Worth reanimating for.
The Pacific Northwest gets all the cider glory in the United States, with hat tips for inspiration usually going to the UK, France, or Spain. But what about our friends down south? Where's their credit? New Zealand's Nelson region, famous for its wines and hops, also produces some amazing apples. Zeffer Cider Company uses exclusively NZ-grown whole apples to produce ciders made to preserve the fruit's natural character. Now, go find a hat to tip their way, for once!

Now available in 500ml bottles:
Apple Cider
Made entirely with green apple varities, this is a dry and simple cider with a refreshing tannic bite that will keep you reaching for your next sip. Built for summer.

Red Apple Cider
Soft pink in color, this lightly sweet cider is designed to taste like biting into a fresh red apple. Made with red-fleshed Nelson-grown Mahana Red apples.

Hopped up Pippin
A bright golden cider made from Nelson-grown Sturmer Pippin and Cox Orange Pippin apples and dry-hopped with Riwaka, Nelson Sauvin, and Motueka hops from the same region. Balanced, off-dry, and hugely citrusy and tropical in flavor.
Go West, Young Man (Ladies Too!)
Written by Mike Reis   
Friday, 11 July 2014 23:56


Go West, young man (ladies too!)

Brouwerij West doesn't make IPAs and they don't age beers in barrels. Instead, they make the beers that owner Brian Mercer wants to drink. That means dry, drinkable, Belgian-style beers brewed of Belgian ingredients from simple recipes.

They use only base (paler) malts, coaxing color for darker styles from caramelized candi sugar. But despite their simplicity in recipe, the resultant beers have remarkable depth, thanks in part to distinctive yeast character across the entire lineup. They taste great and come in beautiful packages designed by some of Brian's many talented artist friends.

This summer, Brian aims to open his new brewery in Los Angeles, complete with 17,000 square feet of outdoor space and a 200+ seat restaurant. We can't wait to check it out, but for now, bottled beer will have to do. Thankfully, we've just had our stock refreshed with three of Brouwerij West's finest.

Now available to Northern California in 500ml bottles:

Saison Extra
Uninterested in attempting to improve upon the perfect and classic Belgian saisons that he so loves, Brian has created a riff on the style that is all his own. Saison Extra strikes an elegant balance between assertive yeast flavor and a hefty dose of floral and earthy noble hops. Extra tasty. 6% ABV.

Rich and aromatic, with pineapple, pear and banana-like esters up front that develop into an aggressively spicy and dry finish, emphasized by a warming touch of alcohol. 8.5% ABV.

Mør Mør
Mør Mør is a lush and fruity Belgian quadrupel that, like many Brouwerij West beers, is dry and unusually bitter for the style. 10% ABV.

A Gigantic Gigantic Saison
Written by Mike Reis   
Monday, 07 July 2014 16:26


A gigantic saison, from Gigantic.

Described as "a delightfully spicy, fruity summer saison," Volta is Gigantic Brewing Company's newest seasonal, just released in bottles and kegs for our hot weather enjoyment. It is, appropriately, a gigantic example of the style, weighing in at 8.4% ABV and bursting with flavor. Think big-time maltiness supporting a whole host of fruity-tasting yeast esters and peppery phenolics. Bonus points for the funky label art by Portland-based mixed media artist j.shea!

Also available from our buds at Gigantic:

Gigantic IPA
Gigantic's one-and-only year-round beer. A perfect IPA brewed with Cascade, Centennial, Crystal and Simcoe hops. Big and drinkable!
97 on RateBeer!

Gigantic Firebird Smoked Hefeweizen
A wonderful hefeweizen that marries the banana and clove-like aromatics of a classic Bavarian hefeweizen with a gentle smokiness from beechwood-smoked malt.
96 on RateBeer!

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