Something Special about Cavedirect & BEERmerchants.com

Something that we actually try to do, rather than just in the name of “research”, all too easy to do… is that we actually go and spend time at the breweries, with the brewers, trying to understand what they are doing.

To highlight this, or better still to give example – there is a film called “Smart People”, I think I saw it on a plane this year.  Anyway, there is one line that says – “to really understand a great writer, one must truely understand the languaege that is being used“.   I am no literary major, but I took from that with application to beer and brewing – “…one must truely understand it’s (the beer, and brewers) origin”.

So much so, that this year, as a company – we have visted many breweries, spent a great deal of time with the brewers, rather than the sales/marketing people.   (see here –  Belgium.)

Is that a philosophy – that to best present a beer, one must really know the beers origins – are we getting to into it?   It’s understood that beer is intrinsically linked to society through government, taxations, and climate, and geography. So, surely to see the origins, and the local environment is a clearer indicator of what the beer is about, rather than…. the label or the Marketing?

or is that the bleeding obvious?

Yesterdays arrivals and musings…

… yes, lambic…. and things of a sour note.


The arrivals gave me the incentive to go rummaging in the “beer store” – my garage – and see what gems I had forgotten about.

I stumbled upon a couple of boxes marked Cantillon, from when I was their in March, 08.  Seems like years ago – hanging out with Shane, Claudia, Rodger;  Great fun…   I will always know when, never be able to forget, as recently a book has been published showing the front of the Cantillon brewery – with my little blue van in the picture.   Anyhoo, back to the story….  Apricot Lambic…. yummy me thinks.

Recently I made a trip to the US with one beer as my target,  “Erics Ale, of the Lips of Faith” from New Belgium.  I, say we, stumbled upon it on a fantastic day spent with two very good people, Mr David Hopwood of Stone Brewing, and Rodger Davis of Triple Rock/Drakes fame.     My god did the Erics ale live up to expectations.  A peach sour ale, with lovely fresh clean sour notes; I say fresh and clean meaning with out extra chaotic notes from completely uncontrolled wild ferment.     Where as the Cantillon was great too, I loved what I was drinking – the apricot notes subtly coming through -where as with the Erics the peach notes can be found if you look hard enough.      I will admit that, on the day in question, a great many ales of note were consumed – from Russian River, through Lost Abbey, Hair of the Dog, et al… but the two glasses of Erics Ale, and the Wilden Zuid Train from Flossmoor were outstanding memories of that trip.

(travel pics here)

The Fou’Foune – verdict:  I will need to get some more of this.  I like it.  A summer apperatif, Cantillon house flavours carry the understated apricot – unsweetened, no syrups realllllll fruit – perfectly.   Is this an under the radar effort from Cantillon, missed with bigger beers in mind…?

NEWS OF THE BREWS: Arrivals w/b 3rd Nov 08

Dupont Avec Les Bons Veux 750’s “Les Bons Voeux” means best wishes, which is what Brasserie Dupont sends with this very special saison ale brewed only for the holidays. Redolently aromatic, rich and velvety, this is an ale to toast the season and welcome in the New Year! Ratebeer rating: 99/100

Drie Fontein Oude Gueuze 375’s  Armand’s house blend of 1, 2, and 3 year old lambics. Ratebeer rating: 99/100
Drie Fontein Oude Kriek 750’s  Armand’s house blend of 1, 2, and 3 year old lambics, with real cherry added.  Genuine Oude Kriek. Ratebeer rating:  96/100

Cantillon St.Lamvinus
750’s  Cantillon Lambics aged in oaken Burgundy wine barrels. Ratebeer rating: 96/100
Cantillon Vigneron 750’s  Vigneronne is a blending muscat grapes and lambic, the brewers and beer merchants produced the “druivenlambik” (grapes lambic). White grapes soaked in lambic. The fructose, which abounds in these fruits, enables us to make a beer which is more mellow than the Gueuze or the other fruit beers. The spontaneous fermentation, the ageing in the barrels for several years and the addition of grapes make it a distant cousin of certain white wines. Ratebeer rating: 94/100
Cantillon Grand Cru Brucosella 750’s  A classic, specially selected single batch of lambic, aged three years in the cask. The only unblended real lambic in bottle you can find anywhere. Ratebeer rating: 90/100
Ratebeer rating:
Cantillon Fou’Foune 750’s  Apricot lambic Ratebeer rating: 96/100

DeDolle Arabier 33’s  Arabier is a pure malt beer 7°vol/alc brewed with flower Nugget-hops from Poperinge. It has the special dry-hopping taste and aroma, so appreciated by beerlovers all over the world. It is one of the two main beers from De Dolle Brouwers throughout the year. Ratebeer rating: 93/100
DeDolle Oerbier 33’s  Oerbier means original, from the spring. This beer has been brewed in small scale (5 gallons). Oerbier is brewed from no less than 6 malts. Poperinge Golding hops in flowers and a special yeast which makes it a little tart, especially with aging. At the brewery we have excellent cellars which have a constant temperature of 8°C and allow Oerbier to age at its best. After a couple of years Oerbier tastes like it should have been blended with wine … Oerbier has been refermented in the bottle and contains a layer of yeast, having vitamins B. NAT en STRAF on the glasses means WET and STRONG, a warning for the 7.5 vol. alcohol content. The little person on the glasses is the Oerbier man, a simple creature who holds a brewers fork in his right hand, symbolizing the work and science, but looking to the other side, the result of all this, the glass of (Oer)beer. The artwork on the poster is a wallpainting found in Spain, (Altamira) and is considered by art lovers as being the best prehistoric art work (30,000 years BC). On the other hand we have Oerbier started in 1980, going on with the tradition. Ratebeer rating: 98/100

Something to liven the palate!

Each beer will be available by the bottle, and grab ’em while you can (from tuesday, 4th Nov.)

(links will be added from site, when available)

Beer Dinners and Beer Arrivals

Beer is really getting to the front of peoples minds, knowing where some of the great beers we sell are heading to, and and the communications that we recieve about the beers – post the event – are so encouraging.

The Griffin Inn, are hosting a full tasting dinner with Mikkeller beers as a central theme – and knowing the sheer quality of the food that they present, it should be an incredible evening.

The second interesting thing in beer is a note that great beers are starting to appear on some very interesting restaurant menus – more soon.  The best thing of it is that they are moving away from the Peroni, Budvar, and Kasteel style/genre of beers – toward a far more selected group of beers…  and what’s best, applying them in a right and proper fashion, with selected glassware!

The Beer arrivals: well, hold on to your hats!   We have some particularly special brews that I cannot wait to offer you all!

The newsletter is out, tomorrow, here

I got to brew recently – professionally – you can see the photos here.   The Brew – “Dark Conspiracy” – an American Mild – 5% and kinda hoppy.   The release party is at the Montifore Arms in Ramsgate.    Eddie wrote in his blog – here

Old and New

New ideas, old beer, and great fun!

With so much happening it’s difficult to decide where to start, let’s go with the old.

We have a number of 750’s of Liefmans Goudenband – of approximately 15+ years old.  We sampled some last night, yes it was an absolute treat.  Considering the activities at the brewery – this is a great opportunity that will not come around again soon, if ever.   If you want to take it  click here

There is a new prize offering this month – “buy a case – win a case” – for every case you purchase there will be a prize draw at the end of the month, with the chance to win another case.

We’ve also gone social – we have a Facebook group, a Flickr account, and youtube channel.  So, either stop by, say hi, or just have a look. There’ll be Facebook group offers!  We’ll be adding instructional films, visits and anything else we happen to film.

We have had a good look at our packaging, we shall be 100% recycled, and Biodegradable!

We are also helping out with a Macmillan Cancer Nurse fund-raiser over at Yateley in Hampshire – called Stoney and Friends – and it’s just a small way of putting something back into the whole; all for a great cause.  We are donating one bottle of beer for every competitor, as well as a number of cases for prizes. Last year this event raised £250,o00!

Our new trucks have arrived, 3 new Volvo’s – really efficient on fuel with very smart livery and they are the stars of our first YouTube video – here

We have started a cellar of Chimay Grand Cru/Bleu and Orval – with a view to offering vintages of either in time.

As always should you have a question, an idea, a note, we’re always happy to chat.

Happy Drinking…  Phil.

you can email me on Phil@beermerchants.com