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Presented by Consumer Beverages


ABV: 4.6%

>by Willard Brooks

This beer is a highly drinkable German-style lager called Helles (aka Munich Helles). “Helles,”—which means “light” in German—is a straw-colored low-alcohol beer much less hoppy than a pilsner and which showcases a biscuity malt character and a classic lager flavor profile. This beer style was invented in Munich in 1894 by Spaten brewery as a lighter less hoppy alternative to the typical pilsners of the day. It quickly became the beer that Bavarians expect when they walk into their local pub and ask for a beer—as Southern Tier describes it, it’s a beer drinkers beer (and is to this day in Germany). Helles typically relies on a very simple recipe consisting of pilsner malt and a noble hop variety. This Southern Tier version has three malts and three hops—it is refreshing, tasty, and built for drinking more than one (ideally, as in Germany, by the liter). Pair with pretzels and sweet grainy mustard, grilled sausage, or with pizza at the bowling alley. Where the Helles Summer is billed as a spring beer, but one hopes it becomes a year round beer as this will make an excellent lawn mower beer—a welcome addition to the Southern Tier line up. If you like Hacker-Pschorr Münchner Gold or Victory Lager you will like this beer. Better yet, if you typically prefer Labatt or Bud, you will want to try this one – but be forewarned as you may never go back. Prost to Southern Tier for this wonderful Helles - go get some, you will be glad you did! Visit


ABV: 6%

>by Paul Marko

One of the newest portfolios being imported into our market is from Beau’s All-Natural Brewing. Beau’s is a close-knit, family-and-friends run craft brewery from Vankleek Hill, Ontario (just outside Ottawa), who’s entire line up of brews is proudly certified organic. Beau’s has been known for their flagship beer—LugTread—a full flavored “lagered ale” or Kolsch that has been widely available in Southern Ontario for years—and is finally here in WNY. But Beaus’ isn’t your run of the mill brewery that sticks to conventional styles. They are barrel aging, producing a “wild oats” series and have to be one of a very few North American breweries brewing more than one Gruit. Meet Beau’s current “wild oats” release, “Winterbrewed”—a deep golden ale infused with Mexican micro-lot organic fair trade coffee. And oh what a coffee ale this is! Intense, earthy coffee notes mingle with the rich caramel imparted from the roasted malt, with just a hint of tropical fruit from the cascade hops. Like a good caramel macchiato? Then you’ll love this brew. And mainly because despite the infusion and flavor mix, Winterbrewed maintains it’s “beeriness.” It’s not a cup of coffee masquerading as a beer. Look for the bold and rustically creative Beau’s packaging (highlighted by their big red tractor logo) locally. And grab a Winterbrewed—the perfect companion for any chipotle flavored dish, or a snowy Sunday afternoon. For more information check out their website at



ABV: 11.1%

>by Kevin Groves, Certified Cicerone®

When the cold and snow are the main topic for small talk, it must be Barley wine season. Have you ever wanted a beer to reach out and give you a big hug? This deep ruby-red/brown liquid is the perfect choice for anyone who wants that hug to be a sweet, malty, rib clinging beverage. It’s a beer that may even replace the warmth your grandmother’s hand knitted afghan once provided. Blithering Idiot from Weyerbacher has never jumped off the shelf into my arms, until now. With hints of raisins, prunes, toffee and wood, it is well balanced from start to finish. As it warms in the glass these flavors become more pronounced. Coming in at 11.1% abv, this guy packs a punch. Maybe that’s how this beer got its name. Sip, sip, sip, yup!?! The mouthfeel of this beer is a bit lighter than I expected, but not a disappointment at all. Light alcoholic heat in the finish could warm even the coldest heart. If you have the time and patience, this beer could be added to the cellar collection and left to mellow out over time. I am most certainly going to call this beer on the phone and chat later. Visit

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