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A Beer Babes Year In Review

Well, 2014 is done, let’s see what we ladies did in Craft Beer this year with the Charlotte Beer Babes!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Cheers,
Bethany

CLTBeerBabes

Hello Charlotte Beer Babes & Friends!

I wanted to summarize everything we’ve done this year, to give everyone an idea of what we’ve accomplished and participated in for 2014!

I have had the extreme pleasure of leading this group for this year, and I look forward to 2015 and expanding & continuing all of these pieces with each of you! So thank you for attending, participating, donating, and giving your feedback! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Charlotte Beer Babes at December 2014 Second Saturday Beer Education class at The Beer Growler Charlotte!

Monthly Beer Education:
– Winter Seasonals at World of Beer (January)
– Reds, Ryes & Romance at World of Beer (February)
– Spring Seasonals at World of Beer (March)
– Wild Yeast Saisons at World of Beer (April)
– International Beer Bottle Share at Good Bottle (May)
– Cooked With Beer Food & Bottle Share at Good Bottle (June)
– NC…

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Beer Spills All

Hello Beer Friends!

I had a friend send me a very entertaining picture about (tongue-in-cheek?) what our favorite beers say about us and wanted to share it with you all. Courtesy of Sad And Useless dot Com, sourced from biTe TV & Online‘s website.

What does your beer choice say about you?

What does your beer choice say about you?

I personally am an Oatmeal Stout/Stout/Porter fan more than anything, and all I can say is that it is clearly a good thing I can arm wrestle, and that I, being a soft teddy bear, can also regular wrestle with other small bears!

As an avid Pumpkin Ale fan as well, I’m going to just leave that one be! 😉

So what does YOUR favorite beer say about you? And what do you think it means if you like ALL of these beer styles? A good friend of mine and I were debating this the other day when I shared this picture with him…

Does it mean you are Normal? Have Awesome Tastes? Are Extra Awesome as a Person? Are well-rounded and a good person? What do you think?

In parallel to the above picture, I found this fantastic article by a fellow wordpresser, that I wanted to share: The 10 Types of Craft Beer Drinkers. I am not quite sure where I fall in this, but hopefully it’s not TOO annoying wherever I may land! Feel free to tell me where you think I’m at on the landing platform of Craft Beer Drinkers! However in the meantime, enjoy reading the lovely dissemination of Craft Beer Drinkers that Oliver Gray presents.

Okay, that is all for now, and hope to see some of you out and about in the beer scene (or at least have others see you and be able to enjoy your presence while sharing your love of beer if you’re not in my neck of the woods).

Craft You Later,
Beth

Help A Kid, Earn a Pint: 01/29/13

Help A Kid, Earn a Pint.

The Charlotte Beer Babes join forces with #CLTBeerUp on January 29th, 2013, at Good Bottle Company and will be helping out Hope Haven, a local nonprofit geared towards helping homeless & chemically dependent adults and their children. Bring a donation item (list below), get a beer courtesy of the Charlotte BeerBabes & BeerUp! Hope to see you all out there for some good beer with great people to support a wonderful cause!

Items Needed: currently in serious need of children’s books (all ages), book bags, pull-ups, wipes, toiletries, notebooks, shoe laces, uniforms, underwear, tank tops, t-shirts, and socks. They have let us know that the top three items they are in need of would be: pull-ups, wipes, toiletries.

Craft You Later,
Beth

Giving Thanks Forward

Hello Friends,

It has been crazy and insane of late, and I apologize for the long delay of my posts. Thanks for still coming around to see me, as well, everyone!

So tomorrow, Thursday 11/21, is Thanksgiving Day here in the USA. The day of Turkey, Stuffing, Cranberry Sauce and Pumpkin Pie. The day where family comes together and gives thanks for each other, and all the blessings that have befallen throughout the year. 

In our family, we have a strong tradition that we follow every year: get as many people to gather as we can. When I was in college, my parents started coming down to my place here in Charlotte and having Thanksgiving with, as they called us, “Beth and her band of misfits”. I would basically invite anyone and everyone that didn’t have a place to go or just wanted to come over; and they’d swing in for dinner or dessert times as they could throughout the day.

I think the maximum we ever had come through was 20 for dinner throughout the day, and 20 more for dessert. Pretty sure the fire department would’ve had a problem with the capacity, but hey – it was rotating and fun, and nothing caught on fire!

However having such a great family and friend base that I can treasure the holidays with each year, it makes me really want to give back to those who struggle through the holidays. Honestly that is what started me inviting all of my Thanksgiving Feast-less friends over!

I have recently found quite a few great programs through the holidays that allow me to give thanks and use my blessings to pay it forward for others less fortunate. I wanted to share. None of the “21 days of thanks” or anything – just a concise list (with links of course) for those who care to go further.

My #1 all-time favorite non-profit is Operation Homefront of NC (OHF-NC).

I do a ton of volunteering and donating through them year-round, and consider them a great cause. During the holidays, Operation Homefronts Nationwide participate in Adopt-A-Family programs where sponsors (i.e. individuals, families, businesses, coworkers) adopt a family for the holidays. Each regional OHF office does their own twist on this program, depending upon the needs of their area. Click the region you want for details on their program: the Carolinas, Central Great Lakes (MI, IN, OH), DC Metro, Kansas, Tennessee/Kentucky, Texas, Tri-State (NY, NJ, CT), and Washington State. I have done this with my family, and we’re doing it at work as well to adopt a family as a team. So definitely a great cause I get behind fully!

#2 great cause I’ve found is A Child’s Place, though it is somewhat specific to Mecklenberg County (Charlotte area) in NC.

This Holiday season, they are asking for people to sponsor families through their Holiday Sponsorship program, where you’ll receive the name, age, size and wish list for each family member (1 or more) and purchase a new outfit and one item from the wish list for that person. In addition, you are asked to buy a grocery store gift card for the family member to use toward a holiday meal. Cost Estimate: $75 per family member.

Cause #3a is for Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina.

While you can always drop off food donations to one of their locations (unopened, non-glass, non-babyfood, non-perishable food items only, please), they also offer food drives and initiatives through local groceries like Whole Foods and Harris Teeter throughout the year. In addition, they have an event coming up December 16 (Sunday), 2012, for a fundraiser with SHFB as the beneficiary, with a music back-drop: Music 4 Food Concert & Revue, which will be hosted at CPCC’s Halton Theater.

Good Cause#3b is for non-Metrolina-area food bank options, via Feeding America‘s site.

Good Cause #4 is The Salvation Army, another of my personal favorites to support around the Holidays! Links below are for Metro Charlotte area, and each local chapter should have similar links to each of the giving areas.

a) Salvation Army Angel Giving Tree – sponsors chose an Angel from a local tree and buy new items from the ‘wish list’ of the child they have chosen. Drop-offs are at locations throughout the community like FOX Charlotte News Studio, or at the Salvation Army Chrismas Center (for Charlotte, click here). 
b) Salvation Army Stockings – chose a stocking and fill it with a host of toys and activities for a child and age of choice (the stockings are labelled by gender and age). Drop-offs are at the Salvation Army Christmas Center, or at community drop-offs like K104.7 Studios.
c) Salvation Army Silver Bells – chose a senior citizen (age 60+) to adopt and buy for, needed items like clothing, toiletries, shoes and other small gifts. Drop-offs are at the Salvation Army Christmas Center.
d) Salvation Army Red Kettles – volunteers ring the bells outside establishments to raise funds for the Christmas programs. From their site, “The traditional red kettle is an integral part of the Christmas scene, with millions of dollars donated each year to aid needy families, seniors, and the homeless, in keeping with the spirit of the season.”

There are lots of other great opportunities to help out in areas all across the country and the world. Search engines are great tools to find them, however I sincerely hope that I was able to provide some good information for you as well if you’re interested in doing something like this for the 2012 Holidays!

May your Holidays be plentiful and full of love, friends, family and good food, and may those in need find sponsors and donors to help them through the tough times and eventually make it ‘back’ enough to pay it forward to someone else in need!

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Winter Holidays Everyone!

Craft You Later,
Beth

Charlotte Oktoberfest – Homebrews Plus

Hello Beer Fiends,

As long-promised and overdue, here is the second of the Charlotte Oktoberfest write-ups that I have from the 2012 Charlotte Oktoberfest festival held at the Metronlina Tradeshow Expo on September 29, 2012. Apologies for the delay, this took forever and a half to type up! Yeesh, my fingers hurt now!!! All for you all, though, all for you! 😉

2012 Charlotte Oktoberfest Homebrewers

2012 Charlotte Oktoberfest!

Homebrewers. The local legends of beer one-off experimentations, imitations-of-large-name-beers, and classic styles redone with new twists. These are the people that like making little tweaks to their recipes to make it that extra little bit more <insert beer flavor, aroma or aftertaste of your choice here>.

So to make up for missing so many of the homebrewers available to you all, I am going to list the brews that I didn’t get to try in my post yesterday. You will feel shame for me, I am sure, when you compare the lists of today and yesterday. I definitely hung my head in shame at myself!

Homebrews I Missed (in order from Oktoberfest booklet:
Adam Kaufman: Rex’s Rye Rocket
Bill Lynch: Big Bill’s IPA, Buster Cherry Blonde, Citradiculous IPA, Robusto Porter
Brian Beachemin: Beat The Heat Wheat
Brian Schonder: Hunt For Red Oktober
Bruno Wichnoski: Old Ace, Sir Bruno’s ESB, The Great One
Charles Scheffer: Pumpkin Ale
Chris Black: Smoke and Mirrors, Drunkin’ Punkin’
Chris Webber: Rhine Rain, Tip The Porter
David Jones: Eternal Hoppiness, Half Wit SC Peach Wheat
Felton Dengler: Cut The Grass Damn It! Pale Ale
James O’Leary: Night Vision Black IPA
Jen Kaufman: Jen’s Joy Juice
John Oshman: Osh’s Awesome Ale
Kelly Pruett: Centennial IPA
Lisa Johnson: Dandelion IPA
Mark Graham: Fear The Turtle!
Mike Schenk: Kashi Brown Ale
Pat Wichnoski: Crimson Oktoberfest, The Big O (aka Sexual Chocolate)
Paul Bright: Mahopma Curry IPA
Randy Griesman: Kumawannaliea Pineapple Wheat
Rob Adams: Cinderella’s Last Ride
Scott Jacobs: God Save The Hops
Stephen Gilbert: Dunkel Donuts, Flummoxed Lummox
Stephen Hutchinson: Peaceful Warrior
Tom Henderson: Ich bin ein Berliner
Tyler Norris: Choppy’s Old Bier

Alternative Beverage Staff: Alt Bev American Red Bitter, APA, Hefeweizen; Red Hook ESB Clone
Bethea Baker: Alt Bev American Pilsner, Black IPA, Dortmunder Export, Irish Red, Oktoberfest, Pumpkin Ale, Raspberry Wheat, Small Session Brown Ale; 60 Minute IPA Clone, 90 Minute IPA Clone, Hophead Potter, Southern Belle’s Half Hearted Ale
Chris Austin: Cherries Forever Stout
Clif Mullis: Black Currant White Merlot, Peach Chardonnay, Strawberry Riesling
Christopher Grzebyk: Hop Smuggler Centennial
Ian Peterson: Cockin’ Cannons Cherry Chocolate Stout, Eastern Steamer, Outta Boresight Bitter
James Lafferty: Autumn Trailblazer Sweet Potato Ale, Dirty Shirley Wine Cooler
Jason Thornton: Black Beard IPA
Loren Standley: Not Your Common Cider, Thomas Jefferson Ale

Crystal Gainous: Copacetic CABREW Pale Ale
Eric Allgaier: Cabarrus Breakfast Stout, Dreadful Sorry, Get your !*@$ing Chocolate Outta My Peanut Butter Porter
Ford Craven: Craven’ Cucumber Kolsch
Jenn Waterson: Hoppier The Better
Josh Davis: Deutscherdbeer Hefe Weissbier
Luke Waterson: Wit You Want?
Nancy Scott: Blumpkin Imperial Pumpkin Pie
Patty Acquaviva: Strawberry Blonde
Rick Godby / Sharon Doherty: Dark Lady Porter
Rusty Agee: Brown Party Likker
Scott Peterlin: Granny’s Apple Saison
Steve Propst: Millennium Falconer
Tim Kelley: The American Hefe

Bill Dubas: El Deguello, Masala Porter
Brian Sico: Dicken’s Cider, Hop Monster, NitWit
Chris Duke: Sweet Georgia Blonde
Dave Buning: Campfire Wheat, Some like it hop, Yep that’s a Stout
Mike Hahne: Knicker Twist

Adam Childers: Fraulein’s Delight, He Ain’t Hefe He’s My Brother, What the Helles?
Barry Wray: Go2Helles, Woooooo!
Brenton Queen: My British Fling
Eddie Wetmore: Carpet Doesn’t Match The Drapes
Jason Garvin: Velocity Redlight 1.1, Velocity Redlight 1.2, Velocity Redlight 1.3
Lee Wagoner: Wham Bam Thank You Mamber
Paul Watkins: Dead Ringer
Steve Moulton: Knicker-dropper, Stoutzilla
Tom Wechter: Painted Lady

Chris Miller: Fade To Blackberry Wit, Frost On The PUmpkin Porter
Jake Atwell: Amaretto By Morning
Lee Hill: Captain Nolan’s ORCA
Mike Marble: One Giant Leap Double IPA, One Small Step Amber
Mike Pflugrad: Porky’s Prostitute Porter
Sam Victory: Creature Feature, How ‘Bout Them Apples, Unity Wit
Silas Swaim: Cottonmouth Brown, h’Wheat
Terry Smith: You Didn’t Brew That!
Terry Smith / Sam Victory: HOPS’ High Point Pride Cask English Bitter
Tim McDonald: Fire In The Hole Jalapeno Ale, Man On The Moon Cherry Wheat, Once In A Blue Moon, Skidmark Porter
William Speisberger: Hubba Bubba Cranium

Brad Albrecht: American IPA
Brian Little: Jamils Evil Twin
Chris Olden: Chirs’ Pilsner
John Crnich: German Hefeweizen
Kevin Neyland: Chocolate Milk Stout
Michael Thomas: Dry Hopped Cider
Patrick Stephens: Brown Eye Ale
Press Brewery: American Pale Ale, Jalapeno Ale
Velocity Brewing: Redlight Version 1, Redlight Version 2, Redlight Version 3
Russ Burnitt: Old Chub Clone, Surly Furious
Rusty Starnes: Black IPA
Tim Kelley: American IPA, Oxford Nut Brown
Wes Midkiff: Axis IPA, Sorachi Ace IPA
Will Omsbach: Right Coast IPA, Right Coast IPA 2

Adam Puzerewski: Bunny Hop Wheat, Philly Peach Wheat
Alex Pagano: Batch 674
Andy Kalinoski: Brown House Ale, Das Golden Shower
Brent Brewer: Knockout Stout
Louis Oliver: Cherry Poppin’s Cider
Michael Pribble: Breakfast of Champions
Patrick Allen: Red Blooded American Ale
Trevor Gildea: Fantasy Draft 2

Brad Petit: Nothing But Cascade
Dan Adams: No Soul, Welfare John
Jim Griggers: Guten Morgen, Janet Weiss
JP Boileau: Land of Barley & Blue, Palmetto Oaked Ale, Waking up at 6:23am Breakfast Stout, Hop Witit, Push Up, Sweet Southern Blonde
Keven and Wendy Deaton: Cluster F#$K Chocolate Coconut Stout, London’s Folly, Oaked EPA
Matt Rodgers: Dweller Marzen, The Black Key
Paul Selig: SMASHed Cherry
Phil Tollison: Gestalt, Souther WatermALEon

Chad Hahn: Blonde Ale, IPA
Jason Alarcon: Snatches of Pink
Kevin Dolan: The APE
Ryan Trask: CitrAm Pale Ale
Ryan Weir: Cream Ale, Peanut Butter Porter

Bill MacElroy: Stiche Alt Bier
Brian Cendrowski: Dieterhosen Festbier, The Fixer
Hang To: Tripel
Jake Grove: Sage Advice Cascadian Dark Ale
Jeremy Grieshop: Harold-is-Weizen
Joe Coxey: Doverdale Wheat
Margaret Antonik: Sweet Ginger Brown

Dave Koenig: Brunette Bombshell, Koenigfest, Pooh’s Hunny Blonde Ale
Dave Wanucha: Dag Gum Dunkel
Mark Stoehr: Bahama Mama Smoked Coconut Wheat, Hoppy Stout
Steve Nance: Absinthe Of Malice
Tom Nolan: Cocoa Love, Farmhouse Floozie

Dave Keller: Bat Cap
Bernie Kessel: Pink Lady Cider
Mark Staffon: My IPA
Rich and Lee Pettus: Smokey Mountain Porter

Bill Lynch: Amber Ale with Carrots, Candied Ginger, Nutmeg, Cinnamon and Vanilla Beans in Bourbon
Brian Beauchemin: Smoked Porter
Charles Scheffer: Pumpkin Ale
Felton Dengler: Ale Brewed with Carrots and Spices
Ford Craven: Brown Porter Mashed with Butternut Squash
Josh Davis: Farmhouse Ale with Wild Blackberries
Kevin Martin: Ale Brewed with Roasted Tomatoes and Fresh Rosemary
Lisa Johnson: Ale Using Sweet Potatoes In The Mash
Mike Schenk: Ale Brewed with Potato, Sweet Potato, Carrots and Beets
Rob Adams: Spiced Carrot and Parsnip Belgian Dubbel
Shawn McBride: Olde Ale with Pumpkin

WHEW! That was quite the list! As you can see, my trials versus misses were grossly outnumbered. Clearly I need to party with the homebrew tent way more next year! 😉 So that is all for today, and thanks for your patience while I got all of that typed up. I will continue more in the next installation after a short baking/cooking break tomorrow! Until then, though….

Craft You Later,
Beth

Charlotte Oktoberfest – Homebrews

Hello Beer Fiends,

As long-promised and overdue, here is the first of the Charlotte Oktoberfest write-ups that I have from the 2012 Charlotte Oktoberfest festival held at the Metronlina Tradeshow Expo on September 29, 2012.

2012 Charlotte Oktoberfest Homebrewers

2012 Charlotte Oktoberfest!

Homebrewers. The local legends of beer one-off experimentations, imitations-of-large-name-beers, and classic styles redone with new twists. These are the people that like making little tweaks to their recipes to make it that extra little bit more <insert beer flavor, aroma or aftertaste of your choice here>.

Now, I will admit, being a novice to the Oktoberfest scene, that I did not do the Homebrewer section the way I should have, and in fact missed a LOT of homebrewer tents completely, let alone beers that I wanted to try out.

So to make up for that, to the homebrewers as well as myself and you all, I am going to list the brews that I tried, and then tomorrow post the list of all that were available that I wasn’t able to try. Got to give a nod to everyone, after all!

Homebrews I Tried:
Brewer / Style of Beer / Unique Beer Name: Review of Beer
Bill Lynch / Strong Scotch Ale / Bill’s Big Kilted Co*k: This was a full flavored scotch ale, and the “strong” part was definitely right on the money. The malts in this were close to an amber ale, and balanced nicely with some caramel undertones in the aroma and flavor. A little sweetness and a heavy dose of oak finished the flavor off nicely for me.

Bill Lynch / Imperial IPA / Cunning Linguist Imperial IPA: this hearty IPA was full of hops and citrus, with a smooth bite to the end of each sip that let you know you weren’t drinking a wimpy Pale Ale (really, I love you PAs, don’t hate me!!!), but rather an Imperial (Double) IPA full of character and, well, hops! This was good. The name clearly was a seller for it as well.

Bill Lynch / Specialty Beer / Dork Peppermint Patty Stout: This was my favorite of the homebrews, actually. First, it says “Dork”, and that fits me VERY well as a moniker (hey, wear it and be proud, right?!?), and second – peppermint patty?!?! Yes please and thank you kindly. This tasted like a York Peppermint Patty married a Young’s Double Chocolate Stout, and this beauty was the amazing offspring they produced together. (Now do you believe it was my favorite?) The porter coffee notes came through very lightly, but this beer was all about the chocolate and peppermint from start to finish. It didn’t taste like an Altoid, it tasted like a -chocolate- mint. Very well balanced with an understated alcohol punch to it.

**Maybe I should insert here that Bill is a friend of mine’s dad, so we of course had to try quite a few of his beers out! ;-)**

David Jones / Bohemian Pilsner / Czech Your Head: This cleverly titled beer was lighter density, with clear citrus and hop notes from start to finish. It had a bit of a bite to it with the hops, but it smoothed out with the citrus completely. This was a really good beer, we all enjoyed it.

Brian Schonder / Specialty Beer / Dirty Blonde Kitty: This banana beer was super surprising. It tasted almost like a super banana-y banana bread without the nuts (ok, shhhhush!). The caramel malt flavor came through very well underneath the banana, and complemented the medium-weight feel of this beer very well. Plus, again, the name. Gotta love it, and gotta try them, especially if you have a Kat with you! 😉 (loveyoumeanitlady!)

Rob Adams / Fruit Beer / Chocolate Cherry Stout: As a self-proclaimed chocolate junkie, I had to try this beer out. This wasn’t quite as chocolatey as I was expecting, more of a light milk chocolate (lighter flavor and profile), but the cherry flavor came through very well and was almost stronger than the chocolate. This was a good fruit stout, and a lighter feeling one at that (that is not a criticism either).

Loren Standley / Spice, Herb or Vegetable Beer / Sweet Potato Pecan Pie Ale: This was a nice surprise in a very nutty ale, which definitely tasted of sweet potato and malted caramel flavors to me. I enjoyed this more vegetabley beer a lot, especially as it stood out from so many of the others by taste. This was very much an earthier yet sweet medium-bodied beer.

Jason Thornton / Specialty Beer / Joyful Coconut Porter: This was a delicious and island-feeling porter that was basically like someone soaked a stout with Mounds candies. A lot of coconut flavor, a hint of nuttiness but just a hint, and a lot of strong porter coffee and chocolate undertones combined to make this a very enjoyable porter. Everything balanced nicely, and I thoroughly enjoyed this as a huge fan of Mounds candies! 🙂

Nicole Cendrowski / American Stout / Metrosexual Chocolate: This milky chocolate stout ale had an undertone of coffee, but was mostly milk chocolate and a little bit of spice melded into the blend for a nice and somewhat lighter stout. This was a really good stout, I thought, plus the name is just fun as well!

Dave Koenig / Cream Ale / Cheap Trick: This was a decent cream ale, and since I’m not a huge fan of the style, that is pretty much a good recommendation, haha… It was definitely creamy, and definitely had a full flavor though I personally thought it had a little bit of a caramel undertone to it (my friend disagreed), while still being a solid ale with the malt flavors as well. Plus, this band just rocks, so we of course had to try it!

Tomorrow I will post the other Homebrews available which I was unable to try! Gotta share the love after all! 😉

Craft You Later,
Beth

Strawberry Basil and Blood Orange Drinks

So this was an intriguing set of drinks on the menu I decided to try with my friend for dinner at Vapianos Charlotte the other day.

If you want sweet, don’t order this, but if you don’t like super sweet, this Strawberry Basil Sangria is the drink for you. It is very tart, very vodka tasting, and has a nice hint of basil. The drink is made with Sauvignon Blanc, Stoli Razberi, Stoli Citrus, fresh basil, diced strawberries, and strawberry purée. Mmmm.

image

Strawberry Basil Sangria

Next up is the Blood Orange Margarita. This was my favorite. It was sweeter, with a nice kick at the end of each sip to remind you it was a big girl (or boy) drink! Made with Jose Cuervo, Grand Marnier, Blood Orange juice, sweet & sour mix, and some lime & lime juice, this was a fun twist on your basic margarita! Scrumptious!

image

Blood Orange Margarita!

I am definitely going to try my own variations of these at home soon to see if I can get them just as good, but if you want some unique drinks, these were some keepers to try, for sure!

Craft You Later,
Beth

Fall Beer Tasting Fun

Hello Beer Fiends,

A few friends and I took a trip down beer tasting lane and did a Great Pumpkin Tasting event at one of the friends’ houses a while ago. Everyone brought a selection of beers to share, and a few munchies to pass around, and the hosts provided the glasses and a spot for everyone to congregate! Awesome!

So that said, before we get into the plethora of Charlotte Oktoberfest beer tastings, I wanted to outline the beers we tasted for this fun get together event.

pumpkin beer tap carving oktoberfest

Inspiring Pumpkin ‘Beer’!

Disclaimer: I am pretty sure that I missed a few of the beers, so if you see a favorite Fall beer is missing, comment and tell us all about it so we can go find it to share the love!

These are in no particular order:

Oak Jacked Imperial Pumpkin Ale by Uinta Brewing Company: this 10.31% pumpkin ale was strong, with a hearty feel to each sip, slightly heavy on the oak undertones, and had some strong pumpkin (not pie spice) flavors intertwining with it all to tie it together. Another good one by Uinta.

Ace Hard Pumpkin Cider by Ace Cider: this was probably the best hard cider I’ve tasted. And I really like hard cider. Pumpkin juice overtones, pumpkin spice undertones, with a hint of the apple cider crispness and feel at the beginning and end of the sip. The light flavor was not understated at all, and made the flavors that much more enjoyable. YUM.

Gordgeous by Noda Brewing Company: ahhh, Noda Seasonals. How I love thee, let me count the ways. Seriously, if you like everything by Noda like me, you’ll just add this to the checklist of “YUM” productions. Since I did a write-up on this beer already, I’m just going to link & copy here: At 6.4% ABV with 17 SRMs and 29 IBUs, this is a fantastic pumpkin ale that isn’t too pumpkiny, isn’t too pumpkin pie-spiced, and isn’t too heavy. The carmelization of the pumpkin comes through the sips, as do each of the spices they added. The ginger adds a nice balancing note that makes it not taste like every other pumpkin ale. This beer has a great “this is fall!” feel to it while you sip it staring at the falling leaves. It tastes, quite simply, like a harvest pumpkin beer should: pumpkin, blended spices and harvest married on a medium-bodied sip of ale. Maybe under a full moon. In a gordgeous tux, no less.

Fat Jack Double Pumpkin by Samuel Adams: this 8.5% ABV beer has a molasses and malty flavor winding through the strong pumpkin and caramel-pumpkin pie spice flavors. Has a heavy feel on the front and middle, but finishes with a flourish of flavor. Another great and delicious contribution by Sam Adams to the seasonal selections!

Oktoberfest by Blue Point Brewing Company: this 5.5% ABV ale is crafted in the spirit of the Oktoberfest origins, with hints of malt, caramel, honey, toast, nuts and a touch of apple to take you on the journey from start to finish of this beer. It had a definite fall taste and aroma to it throughout!

Gruntled Pumpkin by RJ Rockers Brewing Company: this 7.3% ABV ale has an aroma of more straight pumpkin and a taste of more pumpkin pie spice. It was delicious, I thought, and very pumpkiny while not being super overwhelmed by the ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon and clove flavors that you can definitely teaste. There was also a hint of a pie crust taste underneath, which was very hard to describe in any other way.

The Great’ER Pumpkin by Heavy Seas Beer: this 9% ABV bourban barrel-aged pumpkin ale spends an apparent 3 weeks going from The Great Pumpkin to The Great’ER Pumpkin, courtesy of the barrels at Virginia’s A. Smith Bowman Distillery! Taking the brown sugar and caramel flavors, and intertwining them with cinnamon, vanilla, graham cracker crust (aka, with butter!), nutmeg, slight amount of ginger, and then pulling them all together with the pumpkin (gourd, not pie spice) flavor making everything taste delicious from start to finish. Three of the partiers dodn’t really like pumpkin, but all of them LOVED this beer. I love pumpkin, so this was high on my list of the days selections! Mmmm.

Coney Island Freaktoberfest by Shmaltz Brewing Company: this is a Freaky looking beer. If you want a great Halloween trick, give this in bottle to some friends with a glass, and make them pour it out in front of you. Observe and enjoy the exclamations that proceed! This delightfully dry, hoppy, slightly citrusy Oktoberfest surprises you mightily (at least it did all of us) by not being very ‘berry’ tasting at all. At least we didn’t think so. I expected it to taste like old school Robitussin, but it didn’t. It wasn’t my favorite beer, but it was definitely a decent and fun selection to add to the party!

Shmaltz Brewing Coney Island Freaktoberfest red beer

Shmaltz Brewing’s Coney Island Freaktoberfest!

Wookey Jack by Firestone Walker Brewing Company:  this delicious 8.3% ABV Black IPA is an unfiltered Rye Black IPA that carries the traditional Rye flavors along with the caramel, chocolate and coffee notes, to carry you from start to finish of each sip. As a fan of rye ales, this was really a nice surprise to sip on, and provided a nice contrast as well amongst all of the pumpkin and Oktoberfest offerings! Definitely a beer to drink at a bonfire or something equally woodsy, as well!

Cherry Saison by Funkwerks: this surprisingly delicious 9.5% ABV cherry saison completely blew my mind. Now, most of you probably don’t know it, but the first beer I ever actually liked (which is why I now still drink beer) was Cherry Wheat by Sam Adams. So I am very partial to the cherry beers, especially ones that don’t taste like lambics or cough syrup. I am also a little picky about them. This one was deeeelicious. Dark candied sugar and cherry (think bing or dark, not maraschino) flavors are up front, with a little cocoa and a little caramel on the back side of the sip. This beer I do believe was aged a little by the person who brought it, which may be why it was so smooth and delicious. It did have a little of the yeasty saison flavor and aroma but to me that was very understated compared to the other flavors and aromas. Definitely a good one to try though for fruit beer lovers!

Lolita (2011) by Goose Island Beer Company: This aged, 9% ABV “American wild ale” was probably the crowd favorite. This raspberry, CabSauv-oak barrel-aged ale was tart, fruity, oaky, with a little undertone of sour caramel (weird sounding, but that’s what it tasted like to me, okay!). The raspberry flavor was very strong, probably helped by being a 1-year aged (I think) bottle! I definitely recommend this one. I’m sure someone will correct me if my aging notes are wrong, though! 😉

The Great Pumpkin by Elysian Brewing Company: this 8% ABV imperial pumpkin ale has all of the roasted pumpkin flavor that I was hoping for with a side note of pumpkin pie spices (allspice, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg). It was a good, strong-profiled pumpkin ale that definitely had some malt and brown sugar notes to complement the pumpkin and spice.

Barktoberfest by Thirsty Dog Brewing Company: this traditional-styled Oktoberfest was really delicious, and had just enough sweet malts to temper the hop and spice flavors. I don’t know if it was the candied brown sugar or the caramel or the spice notes – but one of them, or maybe the combination, definitely made me think of fall when drinking this beer. At 6% ABV, it wasn’t nearly as strong as many others we tried, but the flavor was definitely as full as the others we tested out!

Forewarning: because we all brought so many beers, not everything was tried, so we’ll be doing a follow-up to try more beers sometime soon, and I will be sure to let you all know how those wind up tasting as well! 😉

Craft You Later,
Beth

Wednesday Beer Log- Noda New Releases

Hello Beer Friends,

I am sure you are going “what about Oktoberfest” right about now if you read my Friday beer log entry. However, I have decided to take this week to write them all up, then the next two weeks to post them up. This way I can be sure nothing is missed, and everyone gets to enjoy the awesomeness that is the list of beers from Charlotte Oktoberfest.

That said, Noda Brewing Company recently released a few new good (okay, great) beers into their line-up. Some for good, some for the season, and some for a very limited time. So let’s observe:

Get The Party Tarted: Cherry Sour Ale (until it runs out)
This beer was inspired by a Berliner Weisse…we call it a “NorthCarolinerWeisse”.  It’s infused with Bing cherries and raspberries. With 4.5% ABV and 10 IBUs, this tart and sour ale is absolutely delicious, light-bodied but full of flavor in every sip. I had two pints in a row of it, it was that good. (Yes, for me that is telling!) I really liked the fact this beer had a sour flavor that melded phenomenally with the tart cherry and light raspberry flavors. It never got too sour, too tart, nor too sweet. It was just perfectly balanced. Nice job Noda!

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Get the party tarted indeed!

Dark-o’-Lantern: Pumpkin Spice Porter (Nodable Series, Limited Amount)
This pumpkin spice porter has cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves which lend to a more earthy character, with cinnamon being the primary taste.  At 6% ABV, 38 IBUs and 36 SRM – this beer has a strong malt flavor along with toasted barley, and a hint of the pumpkin pie spices we all know & love. This smokier beer has vague hints of pumpkin, but it is enough that it is definitely classified by taste as a yummy pumpkin porter!

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Dark O' Lantern needs some light....or not!

Gordgeous: Pumpkin Ale (Fall Seasonal)
This Pumpkin is hot, and it knows it. Gordgeous uses over 100 lbs of organic pumpkin caramelized with 40 lbs of brown sugar. Noda used whole seed spices cracked on brew day and mixed allspice, cardamom, cloves and freshly shaved whole ginger root to create a unique pumpkin ale. At 6.4% ABV with 17 SRMs and 29 IBUs, this is a fantastic pumpkin ale that isn’t too pumpkiny, isn’t too pumpkin pie-spiced, and isn’t too heavy. The carmelization of the pumpkin comes through the sips, as do each of the spices they added. The ginger adds a nice balancing note that makes it not taste like every other pumpkin ale. This beer has a great “this is fall!” feel to it while you sip it staring at the falling leaves. It tastes, quite simply, like a harvest pumpkin beer should: pumpkin, blended spices and harvest married on a medium-bodied sip of ale. Maybe under a full moon. In a gordgeous tux, no less.

Hope’s Stout: Milk Stout (made for a great cause, click here for more information)
Noda wanted to achieve both a full bodied & complex stout character, but with the drinkability of a session ale, something that wouldn’t be unapproachable by the non-heavy dark beer drinkers. In part, probably because Hope’s dad (see link above if you’re lost by now) is a Budweiseresque beer drinker. Noda added a hefty amount of cocoa nibs to give the beer a distinctive dark chocolate character that melds well with the roasted notes from the dark malts. This 4% ABV, 39 SRM and 35 IBU beer is a definite keeper. This is a lighter-bodied stout, for sure, however it tastes like it was cooked with some steamed milk to bring the comfort of hot cocoa into a beer. I am not kidding here, nor waxing poetic. That is what it tastes like. With a little bit of malted milk ball flavor, a teeny bit of hoppiness (or happiness as the case is), and a lot of  the steamed milk flavor thrown in to give it just that perfect blend of a light stout. If you want a comfort beer, get this one. If you want to support a good cause, definitely get this one. Again, click the link above if you’re lost… 😉

Craft You Later,
Beth

Friday Beer Log – Polish Region Beers

Hello Beer Friends,

I was in a weird beer mood a few weeks ago and decided that I wanted nothing more than to try out some beers from some neighboring countries that aren’t so popular and readily available. I headed over to my local Total Wine & More store, and found these beers that are made in neighboring countries of Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and The Czech Republic.

czechvar golden pheasant utenos porter black boss porter polish beer slovakian beer lithuanian beer

Polish Region Beer Tasting!

Stawski Pivovar Zlaty Bazant Golden Pheasant – this Slovakian beer is a Czech style lager and has a 5% ABV. This is a very light beer, similar to a Corona in my opinion, and had a slight hoppy undertone with a vague hint of citrus. Personally, I thought it tasted better than Corona, but I’m not a huge fan of it, and I did enjoy this beer.

Czechvar Premium Czech Lager – this Czech beer is a **gasp** Czech style lager, which has a lower ABV (couldn’t find the exact one), and a very Heineken-esque flavor to it. This is a decent light beer, but I think the Golden Pheasant is a little better. So is Heineken. But it’s not bad, definitely worth trying.

Carlsberg Group Utenos Porter – This Lithuanian Baltic Porter, a 6.8% ABV content, was almost reminiscent of a Nut Brown Ale to me. This malty, yeasty, dark brown porter reminds me of a caramel nut bread to be perfectly honest. It’s pretty good. It’s also not very heavy, so that is a nice surprise. Goes down smooth, which just a little kick of carbonation at the end of the sip. Good one to try!

Browar Witnica S.A. Black Boss Porter – This was my favorite. And not just because it’s 9.4% ABV, either! This Polish Baltic Porter was amazing – had a very heavy porter feel to each sip, but was nicely balanced in flavor with fig, dates, caramel, malt, and chocolate and kept you pleasantly surprised for the entire sip! I also like that while it sits heavy while sipping, it doesn’t sit heavy as you finish it (heavy in mouth not stomach!), and has a delicious aftertaste. So this one, if you’re only trying one, would be my choice – however if you like lighter or medium-bodied beers, you may want one of the others!

I hope you enjoyed my foray into the Poland-and-friends beer world! I am attending the Charlotte Oktoberfest tomorrow, 09/29/12, so keep tuned next week for the goods on that! And yes, I will be the chick walking around taking copious amounts of notes that may even rival the amounts of beer being consumed! Enter #BeerGeekdom in style, I say!

Craft You Later,
Beth

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