Toward the end of October, Zambaldi Beer announced their new feature, a community supported brewery box meant to mirror the CSA boxes that have been so popular from local farmers this year. These boxes are to include merchandise, beer, and foodie goodies made by one of the owners that will be made with beer from the brewery. I pre-ordered my November box almost the moment I saw the announcement on Facebook, and I waited for it eagerly until the beautiful weekend of November 7th.
We stopped in, and just by calling the phone number that they email to you when the boxes are ready, the staff can run the box out to your car if you prefer to do pick up. You can also go in and get it yourself, but the crowd there that lovely evening was a bit much to sit and wait through. The box got to us before I could even get my phone put back in my purse, and we took it home straight away. Below is a picture of what we found when we got it home, and after the read break-- our review.
Zambaldi has started my husband and I on a dangerous new collectors’ mission: collecting tin tacker signs from our favorite breweries across the country. The October box came with the Zambaldi tin tacker, and my husband got it up on the wall in record time. My husband left the room to order a Great Lakes tin tacker, and we left Copper State Brewing later that night with another tin tacker. Our dining room may look a little tacky (hehe) with brewery swag on the wall, but it’ll be a good thing to have when we finally get a house with a basement bar.
This week’s box also came with two pint glasses, which brings our current Zambaldi collection up to three glasses. The only other brewery we have gone to that has three glasses in our Pantry is our beloved Dogfish Head, so Zambaldi has earned a place of honor.
That’s just the merch-- this month’s box came with both a case of their Yard Games IPA and their Good Dog Porter, the first of their beers to be bottled and distributed across town at most major grocery stores. This is perfect for this household because I like IPAs and my husband will drink a porter from time to time. Their Good Dog Porter is also the feature beer in this month’s foodie goodies: Good Dog Porter Caramels with Salted Pretzels.
The part owner in charge of making these goodies includes a recipe card, which will be present with every goodie in every box, so that you can try to make them on your own. These might be a little scary for most home cooks since it involves sugar work and may well be someone’s first experience with a caramel. It will be my first, that’s for sure. The good news on first glance is that the recipe card is written up in a way that will help guide you through the worst. Required temperatures are noted, which means you’ll need a thermometer to watch it rise while you cook.
The value of the box is about equivalent to the price tag of 40 dollars with the merch coming in at significant discount when you get it this way. This month’s box also comes with a little note from the owners thanking you for purchasing and letting you know what’s to come. As of this morning, it doesn’t appear that the December box is available for preorder on the website yet, but I can tell you that a beer pre-release is coming in the December box. That alone is worth the pre-order, right?
This is an interesting way to drum up support during COVID-19 for any business, but most especially a brewery that can support pre-release beers in the way that Zambaldi intends to for these boxes. We’ll be looking forward to the formal announcement of the December box so we can place our preorder and continue to drink local while sprucing up our kitchen with some high quality merchandise. Keep an eye on Zambaldi’s facebook page for the announcement.
If you can’t wait to get a brewery box, they’re open most days of the week with contactless growler pick up, or you can sit on their heated patio to enjoy a glass while remaining socially distant. With the cold weather coming, food trucks will be less common, but there are still a few on their schedule for the rest of the year. The food truck schedule is also available on their facebook page.
An idea born in Normal, Illinois, Eating Normal hopes to chronicle the eating Experiences of a Red bird. Pledge monthly to our patreon!