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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,

CBBs Kill The Cask at Grapevine

Hello Beer Fiends!

I apologize for this being super late, it’s been a crazy week/weekend that just took me over! A week ago Sunday, the Charlotte Beer Babes were able to join Grapevine Wine Shop (Fort Mill, SC) for a co-hosted Westbrook Oak-Aged American IPA Kill The Cask Event. It went fantastic! I absolutely love Grapevine, and so I am going to share with you a bit about the beers we tried AND a bit about Grapevine. So gear up!

First off, the lovely Tracie (aka Charlotte Beer Babe) worked with Dave of Grapevine to host this event. So props, thanks, and good-on-ya’s to you both for that.

So below are some pictures I wanted to share from the event. This was all during the just-taste-the-Westbrook time. So lasted about maybe 90 minutes for us! 😉

Westbrook Oak Aged American IPA: I very malted hops taste to the IPA with an incredible oak aged flavor for the entire beer taste: aroma, first sip and aftertaste. I am not a huge fan of the American IPAs, but this was a pretty yummy one. The only real drawback was that it was a heavier beer on a hot day, and I just wanted something crisp & cool. So I had my one and then switched over to the ACE Pear Cider… 😉

Grapevine Storefront Cask Kill

Charlotte Beer Babes Cask Kill

YouBetterCraft Around (me) + QCBeerBabe (Tracie)

See, Beer Babes!

WE are Beer Babes!

More Cask Killing Going On

Dave showing the Proper way to open a Beer: With Flair!

So after this fun pictured above, we got a bit more serious about our beer. What a surprise, yes? 😉 So we started tasting a bunch of different beers.

Draft Beers:

Draft Beer Selection!

Of the above drafts, we sampled the Bell’s Two Hearted, ACE Pear Cider, Dogfish Head Old School Barleywine, Old Mecklenberg Brewery Fruh Bock, Westbrook Mexican Cake,  and the Dogfish Head Aprihops. I thought for the hot and humid day, the Pear Cider and the Aprihops were the best choices, as they are both light and refreshing. However the Mexican Cake would be wonderful on a cold day, as it is a very heavy and spiced stout. The Fruh Bock, Old School and Two Hearted are great for anytime really, as they are all classic beers for their individual categories – from the Bell’s hoppy IPA , to the OMB lagered Bock to the Dogfish Head heady Barleywine. Again, as I’ve stated before, I’m not a huge fan of Barleywines, however, that DFH was definitely the one to drink if I wanted to drink one!

Bottled Beers:

Bottled Beer Selection!

Draft Beer SelectionFrom all the massive selection of beers pictured here (which doesn’t actually show all that they have in stock), we tried like 5 different beers. Troeg’s Nugget Nectar (good honey aroma, not so much honey in the flavor though, but good ale nonetheless), is sadly the only one that I can remember offhand, but I will find out the others and update a new blog about them, and a few other beers, on Wednesday! I promise!!!!

So with that said, I highly recommend you hit up Grapevine (seriously, it’s only 30 mins from North Charlotte, peoples!) and check out their great selection of beers. Because I sure enough spent about $50 on rare craft beers the day before this event, which I am slowly going through and enjoying the heck out of! And if you don’t like beer, they have an even bigger selection of wine. It is such a cute place, and great people watching in Baxter Village as well. Okay so there is my plug for them, because I really like this place, if you couldn’t tell, so now y’all need to get off your duffs and go try some of these beers at Grapevine!!!

Craft You Later,

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