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Custom Choice Cereal and Reliable Cheese

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Ninety-nine barrels of Two-Hearted Ale on the wall, 99 barrels of beer ...

Hey, we'd be grateful to find even a single bottle of Two-Hearted Ale in stores, but we've finally gotten to the bottom of the shortage of the popular beer.

Demand for the India Pale Ale has outstripped the brewing capacity at Bell's Brewery, according to Marketing Director Laura Bell. Distributors are apportioning the supply to stores—Peace Street Market in Raleigh had none in stock, nor did Sam's Quik Shop in Durham—and Whole Foods in Durham is out for the season.

But Two-Hearted fans shouldn't despair. The brewery, headquartered in Kalamazoo, Mich., plans to break ground in April on an expansion, which will include additional fermentation space and a 200-barrel brewhouse to augment its current 50-barrel one. A barrel is 31 gallons; 50 barrels is 1,550 gallons.

Bell said she doesn't have year-end production figures yet, but that Two-Hearted is its fastest-growing brand.

A Durham-based company is offering new breakfast options for people with gluten and wheat allergies. Custom Choice Cereal (3209 Guess Road, specializes in making customized gluten-free cereals for people with celiac disease and health-conscious consumers.

Online you can choose a base cereal, such as cinnamon granola, organic corn flakes or a mixture of organic flax, buckwheat, quinoa and amaranth. Then select a dried fruit like mango, banana, apricot or organic strawberries, plus nuts and any extras (chocolate chips, anyone?).

The website tracks your choices and immediately updates a customized ingredients label and the price of any add-ons. You name your mix, pay and Custom Choice begins creating it. "Talia's Morning Blend" of cinnamon granola cornflakes with dried organic strawberries cost a little more than $6 and arrived within two days of ordering. (You can pick up your order and save on shipping.) It came in a tall 12-ounce zip top bag complete with a creation date, and it looked delicious.

Custom Choice Cereal's founder Hajo Engelke says the ingredients are naturally gluten-free, produced in a dedicated gluten-free facility and are tested regularly for gluten. While the facility is not nut-free, Engelke says they take great care to prevent cross-contamination such as keeping ingredients in separate containers and mixing nut-free cereals first thing every morning.

Several nuts are also roasted in peanut oil. My daughter is highly allergic to nuts and had no reaction with her mix, but it's up to you whether to try it.

Reliable Cheese continues its fundraising campaign to launch a shop in Durham that will feature, well, cheese, plus cured meats and other specialty foods from small producers in the area and around the world. Go to to donate to the cause.

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