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Wednesday Beer Log – May 30

Hello Beer Friends,

I am sorry if it seems I’ve been ignoring you lately, what with all my cooking and baking posts. I promise I still love you, and beer, with lots of gusto!

Slainté!

This past weekend, as I’ve mentioned in my baking posts, was my aunt’s birthday, so I was visiting the Raleigh/Chapel Hill area with my parents. I found my new favorite brunch spot. We attended mass at one of the campus churches, which was really nice, then went over to Franklin Street to find a place for lunch or brunch. We weren’t really sure what we were in the mood for food-wise, so we decided to let the birthday girl pick what she thought looked like a good spot.

She picked Top of the Hill, because it had a huge outdoor patio we could see from the street, and this place is, I have since found out, a major staple hot spot for the area colleges. This place also, most importantly, has their own brewery in-house. I was in heaven. Then I saw the menu and was even more so.

I decided in very short order to get their Bananas Foster French Toast for my meal, but then had to make the super tough decision of which beer to drink with it, as they all sounded delicious.

Here is their beer menu from my trip (May 2012).

So after much debate, I asked for the Choo Choo Chocolate Stout. Only to find out that they were sold out unexpectedly after a party the night before. BOOO! So then I decided on the Blue Ridge Blueberry Wheat instead.

It has fresh blueberries in it!

This beer was delicious. Lightly fruity with the blueberry, not too heavy on the wheat, deliciously balanced with a full-flavored hop taste on your tongue, and a great ‘summer’ beer to enjoy without feeling weighed down in everything the beer has going on. YUM. Plus, of course, the blueberries at the bottom when you finished were just a superb ending (flavored with the beer to make them extra yummy – mmm).

Next I decided to try the Old Well White, a white ale with a great orange flavor, that goes down extra smooth with a hint of spice to it. This is a traditional White Ale, in flavor and appearance, and was very lightly flavored so that there wasn’t too much citrus, coriander or hop flavor – it was perfectly balanced. I also tasted a hint of extra sweet spice, not just coriander, and that was incredibly pleasant – almost like a hint of allspice or cinnamon – in the aftertaste.

Nice cloudy white ale on a warm summer day – mmm!

So I would give both beers a 4.5/5 without a doubt, with a definite revisit of this brewery & eatery planned in my near future as well. Road trip anyone?!?! Until later, let me know how you like this beer if you’ve tried it, or what your favorite Fruit/White Ales are from other breweries!

Craft You Later,
Beth

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Wednesday Beer Log: Hometown Breweries 1

Beer drinkers beware, there are breweries all over. Look left, look right, and in one of those directions, you can head towards a brewery in your hometown! Well, at least in my two hometown cities you can!

I am originally from Kalamazoo, Michigan (yes, there really is a Kalamazoo!), but I also consider Charlotte, North Carolina home. Ergo, two hometown cities. Furthermore, two GREAT cities. No, I am not biased, this is just fact. Believe it. I do!

So let us start up North for today. In Kalamazoo, a great little big town smack dab in the middle of the Detroit-to-Chicago route, and the Traverse City-to-White Pigeon route. Land of Pop, Euchre, Vernors, Meijers, Kellogs, Stryker and Upjohns. Those of you who know Michigan are nodding your heads. Everyone else is scratching them. But that is okay. We Michiganders are a forgiving and understanding lot, so we’ll just continue on without a hitch.

Growing up in Kalamazoo but leaving for college, I obviously didn’t get to drink at any of these wonderful places through my formative beer years, however they were all there, and so was I, and so I heard about them. So here we go:

1) Olde Peninsula Brewpub & Restaurant: This is the original brewpub for Kalamazoo, and a popular spot to catch up with friends. One of the best things about this pub is they do a $10 brewery tour with a “guided tasting of each beer” they serve. How is that not amazing? With constantly changing beers, the current spring menu incldes the variety of choices below, taken from their website, and can I just say yum?!?!
a) Haymarket Cream Ale: 4.25% ABV. This American cream ale is straw in color and mildly hopped for a smooth, delicious taste.
b) Sunset Red: 5.75% ABV. Semi-sweet amber ale with hints of caramel malts and just enough hops to make this a Downtown favorite.
c) OP IPA: 6.75% ABV. Very flavorful, dry-hopped with a generous amount of hops from start to finish.
d) Rockin’ Raspberry Wheat: 5.5% ABV. A blend of barley & wheat malts gives it a rich golden color. Mildly hopped with a soft raspberry finish.
e) Midnight Stout: 5.25% ABC. Brewed when the night is young! This blend of roasted barleys & chocolate malts gives this ale a chocolatey coffee-like flavor.
f) Custom Mix-N-Match Brews: Black Razberry (Midnight + Raz); Black & Tan (Midnight + Haymarket); Red Razberry (Sunset + Raz); 1-2-3 (Haymarket + Sunset + Midnight)

2) Paw Paw Brewing Company: Paw Paw, you say? What the heck is a Paw Paw?!? Well, among other things, it is a city in Michigan. Ha, you should’ve seen that coming, really! So the Paw Paw Brewing Company is a January 2010 concoction (fine, put-into-reality), and is run by a pair of guys who are also brothers-in-law. They have a pretty delicious-sounding line-up, that I hope to try when I am up there this summer!
a) Paw Paw Wheat: 5.1% ABV, 14 IBUs. This American style Wheat is perfect for a sunny day. Clear in color and smooth, this brew is light and pleasant on the palette.
b) St. James English Mild: 5.1% ABV, 20 IBUs. Session brew of English pale, caramel & German-style Munich malts combine with American Summit & English Golding hops, and roasted oatmeal for a smooth, toasted-malt & nut flavor.
c) Gus Meister Amber: 5.1% ABV, 22 IBUs. Pleasingly smooth and slightly darker than most amber styles, this Amber carries a caramel note through the finish. English and crystal malt lend themselves to the pleasant aroma and finish.
d) 2Paws IPA: 5.8% ABV, 75 IBUs. 2Paws IPA first announces itself with an intoxicating citrus aroma derived from a wonderful mixture of hops. Easy to drink, 2Paws IPA incorporates special ingredients that allow the bitterness to go the distance of pure pleasure without compromising a smooth finish.
e) Black River Oatmeal Stout: 5.8% ABV, 30 IBUs. Pleasing mild roast, rich bittersweet chocolate and chocolate ice cream flavor. Terrific mouth feel, clean and drying in the finish.
f) Raspberry Wheat: 5.1% ABV, 12 IBUs. American style wheat blended with locally grown red raspberries makes up a summer favorite for all to enjoy. Light raspberry taste and wonderful aroma.
g) Laughin’ Paw Pale Ale: 5.4% ABV, 40 IBUs. European style pale ale with a unique mixture of English Malts and Hops form our 5.4% ABV pale. A subtle roast combined in its flavor profile give the Laughin’ Paw Pale Ale its pleasant and unique roasted finish.
h) Twisted Pumpkin Ale: 6.2% ABV. Structured with a light Amber base and American malts Twisted Pumpkin is brewed with a combination of real pumpkin and special spices. The light malts bring out a bready characteristics which brings out a crust like taste making this seasonal taste like a slice of pie.

3) Bilbo’s Pizza & Brewpub: Anyone who has been to Kalamazoo or Portage has seen Bilbos. The luckiest ones have eaten their food. Delicious. Even as a kid, this was one of the best places to go for pizza & salad. YUM! Then you learn they cater to adults by brewing their own beer, and it’s like “SOLD!” was just written in place of their name. Love it! Now, the brewery is only out of one of their locations (Stadium Drive, gotta be the one by WMU of course!), and it is a small operation with only a few beers at a time.
a) Sledgehammer: 5.2% ABV, English Brown Ale with toasty, mildly hoppy smell, and a bit of citrus to finish it off.
b) Wheat Wizard: 5.5% ABV, Hefeweizen with a lemony hop taste.
c) Thunderbird: This American IPA has citrus flavors that combine with a spicy yeast flavor and a sharp hop note.

4) Bravo Restaurant & Cafe: Bravo was one of the “fancy dinner” places we would go as kids, or have something catered from them for real special occasions. So there are some fun memories of Bravo!s for me! Here are some notes from their website about their April beers!
a) Chefs Ale: 6.3% ABV, 21 IBU Amber Ale. Crisp and uniquely bitter flavor with a hoppy finish. The caramel notes make it a perfect match with the restaurant’s wood fired pizzas, calamari and lighter foods.
b) A-dam Good Beer: 5.5% ABV, 33 IBU Pale Ale. A well balanced and crisp APA with a nutty biscuit flavor. A perfect blend of flavors for the spicier foods.
c) Exit 78: 6.5% ABV, 23 IBU American Red Ale. Find it just off I-94, Exit 78, and nowhere else. A well balanced ale with a beautiful light ruby hue from German red malts. Light and easy to drinkn with virtually all foods.
d) Nimbus: 6.8% ABV, 28 IBU Oatmeal Stout. A dark and lightly cloudy ale. Caramel flavors brewed with oats giving a creamy texture and sweetness to smooth the spiciness of the hops. Matches perfectly with any grilled foods or a chocolate dessert.
e) Adams Ale: 7% ABV, 47 IBU IPA. The “Hop Heads” India Pale Ale. Very hoppy , very high in alcohol and very good! A perfect blend of flavors for salmon or any spicier foods.

5) Old Hat Brewery: while this brewery is a bit up the road from Kalamazoo, like Paw Paw, this is another brewpub in the area. Beers below are what they are serving now and year-round!
a) Station 1300 Light Lager: 5.3% ABV. German-style golden ale, this is a soft and drinkable delight. There is a restrained hoppy dryness to this ale that allows for a faint fruit flavor to emerge.
b) Depot Pils: 5.3% ABV. Darn good pilsner if the brewer don’t say so himself. A Bohemian style pils with Czech Saaz hops all the way through good to the last hop.
c) Red Lager: 5.5% ABV. A smooth, malty ruby-hued lager with a surprisingly crisp hop finish.
d) Alt: 5.6% ABV. A Dusseldorf-style altbier, this ale is the brewer’s choice. This brew boasts an impeccable balance of malt and hops, and its ruby color is true to style. As bitter as it is malty.
e) Amber Rhy Ale: 5.3% ABV A malty German-style ale made predominantly with rye and wheat malts with a touch of caramel malt. This unique mixture lends to a slight rye flavor, caramel color, and a mild hop finish.
f) Mustachioed Gentleman Pale Ale: ? ABV. An American style pale. Distinct bitterness, though not an IPA, with a definite hop aroma and finish. Very balanced, you’ll be licking your beer mustache to get every drop.
g) Bees Knees: 5.2% ABV. Dry Honey taste with a pilsner hop finish. Very light head, similar to a Vienna but with honey. Try this one with a lime on thos hot summer days, AND this is Gluten Free!
h) Maibock: 7-8% ABV. A spring bock, fruity and bold, with a fresh malt flavor and a noticeable alcohol content!
i) Doppelbock: 8-9% ABV. Our monster fall and winter bock, with a pronounced caramel flavor and a raisin note.
j) Billy Bock: 6.5% ABV. A big malty lager, with a caramel & butterscotch note, and a slightly bitter finish, but only produced when we feel like it!
k) Hefe Weizen: 4% ABV. A summer German ale, contains 50% wheat malt and a yeast that produces clove and banana esters. Traditionally server with a wedge of lemon.
l) Cherry Baby: 4% ABV. A light sweet beer with a Cherry Soda taste. Not much hop flavor.
m) Scotch Ale: 7% ABV. A high gravity Scotch Ale with a big malt flavor. Large caramel taste, slight bitterness, with no hop finish.
n) Pumpkin Ale: 4.2% ABV. Just like Grandma used to make: sweet & sassy. Available October, November, and whenever we feel festive!

Aaaaand I have saved my favorite “local” brewery for last!

6) Bell’s Brewery: This is by far my favorite Michigan Brewery. I know, I know, I am a bit biased, but you will be hard pressed to find a Michigander who doesn’t celebrate when they drink a Bell’s. Oberon, Kalamazoo Stout, and the other yummy choices they have. In addition, there is the “Eccentric Café” which I will be parked at this summer at least once. Okay, maybe twice. Here are the Bell’s brands!
a) Amber Ale: 5.8% ABV. Deftly balances a mixture of toasted grain & light caramel notes with a range of floral, citrus and herbal hop notes, capped by a clean bitterness.
b) Two Hearted Ale: 7% ABV. Defined by its intense hop aroma and malt balance. Hopped exclusively with the Centennial hop varietal from the Pacific Northwest, massive additions in the kettle and again in the fermenter lend their characteristic grapefruit and pine resin aromas. A significant malt body balances this hop presence; together with the signature fruity aromas of Bell’s house yeast, this leads to a remarkably drinkable American-style India Pale Ale.
c) Pale Ale: 5.2% ABV. This beer stands apart from the model of completely hop-dominated pale ales, offering a noticeable degree of malt body to counter the hop bitterness. A blend of floral & herbal hop notes provide the aromatic & flavor highlights, alongside the distinctive contribution of our house ale yeast. A crisp bitterness finishes the experience without being harsh.
d) Porter: 5.6% ABV. This emphasizes the darker, roasted aspects of malt. Hints of dark chocolate and freshly roasted coffee provide the focus, while hops remain in the background. Not as full-bodied as a stout, Porter bridges the gap between malty brown ales and our more heavily roasted stouts.
e) Kalamazoo Stout: 6% ABV. Offers a blend of dark chocolate and coffee flavors with just a hint of brewer’s licorice. One of our oldest recipes, it balances a significant hop presence against the roast malt body. Brewer’s licorice is gelatin-free, thus vegetarian-friendly!
f) Third Coast Beer: 4.8% ABV. Offers a crisp, dry bitterness with a mixture of floral & herbal aromas.
g) Bell’s Lager Beer: 5% ABV. Matching a crisp bitterness & distinctive herbal hop aromas to a simple yet firm malt backbone. Following in the tradition of Bohemian-style pilsners, this beer spends a full six weeks maturing in the fermentation vessels. This extended conditioning period refines the overall flavor, highlighting the contributions of the malts & hops.
h) Oarsman Ale: 4% ABV. The grain bill includes a healthy portion of wheat, while citrusy hops lend bright notes to the aroma. Fermented with Bell’s house ale yeast, Rather than being the dominant flavor note, the tartness in Oarsman takes on more of a palate-cleansing role, making it perfect for pairing with food.
i) Oberon Ale: 5.8% ABV. A wheat ale fermented with Bell’s signature house ale yeast, mixing a spicy hop character with mildly fruity aromas. The addition of wheat malt lends a smooth mouthfeel, making it a classic summer beer.
j) Best Brown Ale: 5.8% ABV. With hints of caramel and cocoa, the malt body has the depth to stand up to cool weather, but does not come across as heavy. This balancing act is aided by the generous use of American hops.
k) White Winter Ale: 5% ABV. Fermented with a Belgian ale yeast, this blend of barley & wheat malts yields a mixture of clove and fruity aromas, all without the use of any spices.
l) Cherry Stout: 7% ABV. Gaining its signature tartness from 100% Montmorency cherries grown in Michigan’s Traverse City region. Rather than doubling up on sweetness, this tart cherry varietal serves as a counterpoint to the warm, dark chocolate notes from the malt bill. Lightly hopped for balance, this stout is one of the cornerstones of the Bell’s stout portfolio.
m) Special Double Cream Stout: 6.1% ABV. Completely dairy-free, this stout blends eight different specialty malts to yield a remarkable depth of flavor. With only a touch of burnt notes, it focuses on the softer, cocoa & espresso-like aspects of roasted malt.
n) Java Stout: 7.5% ABV. Using a custom blend of coffee beans, roasted locally for us by Water Street Coffee Joint, to generate its intense flavor.
o) Third Coast Old Ale: 10.2% ABV. Focusing on malt, offering notes of burnt caramel & other earthy malt flavors. Designed with vintage aging in mind, the malt aspect is matched to a heavy complement of hops. Sharply bitter at first, this will fold into the malt character over time and balance out the maltiness.
p) Expedition Stout: 10.5% ABV. One of the earliest examples of the Russian Imperial Stout in the United States, it offers immensely complex flavors crafted specifically with vintage aging in mind, as its profile will continue to mature and develop over the years. A huge malt body is matched to a heady blend of chocolate, dark fruits, and other aromas. Intensely bitter in its early months, the flavors will slowly meld and grow in depth as the beer ages.
q) Consecrator Dopplebock Beer: 8% ABV. It is a well balanced, full bodied lager with hints of caramel and molasses in its smooth, malty finish. It undergoes a lengthy lagering period: 3 months in the fermentor vessel!
r) Octoberfest Beer: 5.5% ABV. This session beer trades in the assertive hop presence for a focus on a light caramel malt note, lending body without too much sweetness.
s) Hopslam Ale: 10% ABV. Starting with six different hop varietals added to the brew kettle & culminating with a massive dry-hop addition of Simcoe hops, it possesses the most complex hopping schedule in the Bell’s repertoire. These Pacific NW varieties contribute a pungent blend of grapefruit, stone fruit, and floral notes. A generous malt bill and a solid dollop of honey provide just enough body to keep the balance in check, resulting in a remarkably drinkable rendition of the Double India Pale Ale style.
t) Hell Hath No Fury…Ale: 7.7% ABV. Originally conceived along the lines of a Belgian Dubbel, this morphed during development into something entirely different. Blending a pair of Belgian abbey-style yeasts into a recipe more akin to a roasty stout, it offers up warm, roasted notes of coffee & dark chocolate together with the fruity & clove-like aromas.
u) The Oracle DIPA Ale: 10% ABV. This West Coast-style Double India Pale Ale places hop intensity first & foremost, making only the slightest concession to malt & balance. The fireworks start with the aromatic punch of dry-hop sessions with hop varieties from the Pacific NW. Resinous, citrusy hop flavors mixed with aggressive bitterness from a massive kettle addition deliver on that aromatic promise.
v) Christmas Ale: 5.5% ABV. This beer uses locally grown malts, and not containing any spices: all of the dry, toasted notes & subtle toffee flavors come from the 100% Michigan-grown barley, custom malted by Briess Malting, while a blend of hops from Michigan & the Pacific NW lend earthy, herbal aromas.
w) There are too many specialty beers from Bell’s to put in here, but Harvest Ale, Smoked Stout, Milk Stout, Raspberry Ale, Black Note Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout, and Le Pianiste Ale are just a few of the many they’ve offered over the life of Bell’s Brewery!

So I think that takes care of the Hometown Breweries edition for Kalamazoo, Michigan, and hope you enjoyed them!

Craft You Later,
Beth

Wednesday Beer Log – March 14.4

Hello A Final Time This Week Beer Lovers!

I am finally finishing the four-part beer log for this week, because I have so much to tell you about this past Saturday’s 4th Annual BEERTOPIA! A Festival Of Beer event that was put on by Baxter Village’s own Grapevine Wine Shop in Fort Mill, SC, and it really couldn’t all be in one entry!

The festival is an annual benefit for the Pints For Prostates organization, and this year additionally supported both York County Cancer Association, and the Charlotte Beer Girls’ choice organization, Project Halo.

Today I am going to outline all of the craft beers that I tried (or have tried) from the festival. We are finally to the end, woohoo! (Or Boo, if you prefer, which I’m okay with, haha).

And finally I remembered to take a picture of the beer tasting glass (plastic, fine, call me out why don’t you!) included with the tickets!

Grapevine's Beertopia 2012 Glass!

Breweries Present (In Alphabetical Order):

Abita
Barley Wine, Triple Haze, Double Dog – I have had the Triple Haze before and I really liked it, however I didn’t actually see Abita in my travels that day, and so am now going to have to go find the Double Dog because it sounds DELISH!

Ace Premium Hard Ciders
Joker Dry Cider, Apple Honey Hard Cider – I have had the Joker before, and it’s good but a dry cider, but the Honey Cider is DEElicious. I love honey, so it’s a great blend of honey & apple with a kick of spice to make you realize it’s HARD cider, and not the kid’s drink we all remember and love.

Allagash
White, Dubbel, Fluxus 2011 – Like Abita, I totally missed this brewery. Although I do enjoy the White, as I’ve had that quite a few times! Booo on me!

Anchor
Steam, Porter, Old Foghorn Ale – Okay not only have I never heard of this brewery, but I didn’t even see them out there. Pssht oie vey. Old Foghorn being a barleywine, I probably wouldn’t have tried, but that Porter would’ve been delicious I’m sure. **sigh**

Avery
IPA, Ellie’s Brown Ale, The Maharajah – I like Avery, but I didn’t make it to them before they ran out, darnitall. Clearly I did not do this alphabetically, people, give me a break! I am definitely going to try the Ellie’s Brown though, because it sounds delicious. That is also the main one I wanted to try that they went out of by the time I got there. 😦

Bell’s Brewery
Oarsman Ale, Bell’s Lager, Kalamazoo Stout – Okay, disclaimer. I LOVE Bell’s. Bells & Sam Adams are my 2 favorite breweries, hands down. I am from Kalamazoo so that is a big part of it. AND the brews are freaking spectacular, so that makes it even better. The Oarsman is probably my least favorite Bell’s, as it’s a very traditional “light beer” taste. It isn’t bad, but not the best of theirs. The Bell’s Lager is just yummy for an every day beer, any day. I like it. So my first sip of the Kalamazoo Stout really rocked me, it was so delicious, and had a very good chocolate and coffee balance – not too strong, just hints. Yum!

Birdsong Brewing
Free Will Pale Ale, Lazy Bird Brown Ale, Higher Ground IPA – Another brewery I didn’t see so didn’t get to try. 😦

COAST Brewing Company
Scotch Ale, Blackbeerd Imperial Stout – I tried a sip of the Scotch Ale – it was delicious, not too scotchy, just the right amount of scotch flavor so you remember you’re drinking a beer!

Dogfish Head
Midas Touch, Palo Santo Marron, Namaste – This is my brother’s FAVORITE brewery. I will say, the Palo Santo Marron was one of my favorite beers from the entire Beertopia experience. It. Was. Delicious!!!! The guys loved (and I concurred it was delish) the Midas Touch, and the Namaste was agreed to be the least favorite though by no means was it a bad beer, it was good in its own right, just paled next to the Midas & Palo for us! YUM!

Duck Rabbit
Milk Stout, Brown, Cask Ale – I really like the Brown Ale by Duck Rabbit,

Four Friends Brewing
I77 IPA, Queen City Red, Gold Rush – We tried the I77 and Queen City Red, and I really, really enjoyed the Red. The I77 was good, but the Red just had so much flavor it was very much my style of beer – full of flavor.

Grand Teton Brewing Co
Bitch Creek ESP, Sweetgrass APA, 5 O’clock Shadow – We absolutely HAD to try this brewery due to the name of that ESP, haha. It was surprisingly delicious, hoppy, a little caramel-like undertone that isn’t overpowering in the least. The Sweetgrass was also sipped on, and it was a good, light APA style beer with a sharp citrus flavor that was a tad different from IPAs and made it uniquely scrumptious. Both were good, and I regret that we didn’t try the 5 O’Clock Shadow. Oh well, next year.

Great Divide
Wild Raspberry Ale, Espresso Oak Aged Yeti, Claymore Scotch Ale – I missed this brewery, but I had really wanted to try the Yeti. I am now going to have to try to find it somewhere – aww shucks!

Green Flash Brewing Co
West Coast IPA, Hop Head Red, Barleywine Style Ale – I missed this brewery as well, and had wanted to try the Hop Head Red, as I have never had a Red IPA before. Better luck next time. 😦

Harpoon
Celtic Ale, Leviathan – I have had the Celtic Ale and Leviathan before and enjoyed both. Celtic is a great red ale, with a malted flavor that is true Irish-Red flavor, and the Leviathan IPA is a very hoppy and clean citrus flavor. Both are good!

Highland Brewing
Little Hump Spring Ale, Gaelic Ale, Tasgall Ale – The Gaelic is of course an all-time classic ale. Great for a summer or winter eve, lots of flavor, and not too heavy or hearty. The Tasgall is a great Scotch Ale that just has such a rich and full-bodied flavor, it is unbelievable. I didn’t try the Little Hump, but as with all Highland brews, I’m sure it’s delicious as well.

Kind Beers
Pale Ale, Belgian Red – I somehow missed yet another brewery, but luckily it is a local Charlotte brewery so I can track it down here and try it out.

Lagunitas Brewing Company
A Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale, Maximus, Cappuccino Stout – yet another that I missed tasting because they were out by the time I made it over to them. I did at least get a visual, for all the good that did me. **sigh**

Left Hand Brewing Co
Sawtooth Ale, Week Sauce, Black Jack Porter – Again, a brewery sold out when I finally found them. Sad face here.

Lightning Brewery
American Amber, Black Lightning Porter, Electrostatic, Sauerstrom Ale, Thunderweizen Ale – I missed this one too, and REALLY wanted to try that Electrostatic, darnit! 😦

Mad River Brewing Company
Steelhead IPA, Steelhead Extra Stout, Steelhead Porter, Jamaica Sunset IPA – Another missed brewery that I didn’t even see. 😦

Magic Hat Brewing Company
#9, Circus Boy, Vinyl – The #9 is a classic beer that is light but good for summer nights with friends. I didn’t try the other two, however they had a demo beer that was tasty!

Mendocino Brewing Compnay
White Hawk Select IPA, Red Tail Ale, Black Hawk Stout – Missed this one due to the fact they were out when I found them. 😦

New Blegium
Fat Tire, 1554, Cocoa Mole Ale – The Cocoa Mole was one of my favorite beers of the day. Spicy, chocolatey, with a nice finish full of flavor and pizzazz! YUM! And the Fat Tire and 1554 are always good choices as well! 🙂

NoDa Brewing Company
Ramble On Red, NoDaRyeZ’d, Midnight Madness, S’more Porter, Tri-Umphant – I. Love. Noda. I’ve tried all of these but the S’more Porter, which will be rectified next week, and I have yet to have a beer of theirs I don’t like. Yum. My. Deliciousness. Period. Plus they come out with new stuff all the time, which my creative heart loves, too! And the Coco Loco they have (and pairing cupcakes) is just sinfully good.

Ommegang Brewery
Abbey Ale, Belgian Pale Ale, Three Philosophers – Three Philosophers is honestly one of my all-time favorite beers. It is a splurge beer, a celebratory beer, a quadrupel ale that has such chocolate and malted cherry goodness I cannot stand it (okay yes I can, let’s be real – it’s chocolately beer, I can stand it TOTALLY!). And I totally got the guys all hooked on it Saturday, too, muahahaha! 😉

Oskar Blues
Dales Pale Ale, Mama’s Little Yellow Pils, Ten Fidy – I have had the Dales PA before, and it’s okay. Didn’t try the other two, as I got there after they ran out.

PALM Breweries
PALM Ale, Steenbrugge Tripel – PALM? Where the heck was this? I totally missed it on the program, not just in the event. Whoops! Sounds good, though… I do like my Belgian beers… Drat.

Redhook
Long Hammer, Pilsner, Nut Brown, Demo Ale – YUM. Their Demo was the best Demo I tried, and no it didn’t have a name, darnit. I’ve had their Pilsner and Nut Brown before and both are pretty darned tasty. But that Demo was magic, I must say.

RJ Rockers
Patriot Pale Ale, Black Perle Dark IPA – Dark IPA sounds intriguing, and I’d have loved to try it, but they were sold out completely when I found them. Boo.

Rodenbach
Classic Ale – Same guys as PALM Breweries, probably why I didn’t see them AT ALL… 😉

Rogue
American Amber, John John Dead Guy, Chatoe OREgasmic Ale – American Amber was the only one I tried, but it was delicious, with a good lightly malted coffee taste to it. Hoppy, but not too much so. Very yummy. I wish I’d tried the OREgasmic Ale but alas, will need to find it in stores or draft now instead!

Sam Adams
Boston Lager, Dark Depths, Cinder Bock, Griffin’s Bow – This and Bell’s are my ALL-TIME favorite breweries. Period. Cherry Wheat is the beer that made me start liking beer, many moons ago. I. Love. All. Sam Adams. Boston Lager is just delicious and yummy and classic; Dark Depths had some very dark depths and was my favorite of these new 3, Cinder Bock was good with a true full Boch flavor, and Griffin’s Bow was kind of disappointing for a SA beer – it was probably my least favorite SA beer ever tried. It was just a little off in the hops. That was a first for me, but the other 2 were scrumdilyicious!

Sierra Nevada
Kellerweis, Pale Ale, Torpedo – Like this brewery, and the Pale Ale is good, but the Kellerweis was surprisingly delicious – I was pleasantly surprised by that one, wasn’t expecting that hefe to be so good and smooth, so yay, go SN!

Southern Tier
Eurotrash Pilz, 2XIPA, Unearthly Imperial IPA – Missed these as they were out when I got there. Boo! 😦

Spaten
Lager, Optimator – The Spaten Lager is a classic hoppy German Lager. It was good, but I have to be in the mood for it I think. While I didn’t try the Optimator (out!) I think that would be more my style…

Stevens Point Brewery
Point Special Lager, Point Amber Classic, Russian Imperial Stout – They were out too, boo on that fact, boo! 😦

Stone Brewing Company
IPA, Arrogant Bastard, Vanilla Bean Smoked Porter – These beers were all good, the IPA was nicely hoppy but not overpowering, the AB is a great classic ale with lotsa attitude, and that Porter was smoking vanilla-ey awesomeness!!!

SweetWater Brewing Company
420 Extra Pale Ale, Blue, Happy Ending – If I am in the mood for a very flavor-friendly beer, I get the SweetWater Blue, cuz it is nicely blueberry flavored without feeling like cough syrup just made a new flavor. Yum. The 420 is a great hoppy EPA, and I have to say I didn’t try the Happy Ending and boo on me for that, right?!?

Terrapin Beer Co
Hopsecutioner, Moo-Hoo, Wake ‘N Bake – Wake ‘n Bake is one of the best coffee porters I’ve ever had, period. It truly does wake you up. They were out of the others when I got there, but the Moo-Hoo is supposed to be FABulous. Boo for no Moo-Hoo! 😦

Thirsty Dog Brewing Co
Labrodor Lager, Old Leghumper, Siberian Night, Raspberry Ale – Totally missed this one completely, darn those sound fun!

Thomas Creek
Class Five IPA, Dockside Pislner, Conduplico Monochus – Yet another that I missed until they were out of beer, though I have had the red ale and it was delicious… 😦

Victory Brewing Company
Golden Monkey, Storm King Stout, St Victorious Doppelbock – Again, missed completely even seeing this one. 😦

Westbrook Brewing Co
IPA, Vanilla Tree Dubbel, Mexican Cake – The Mexican Cake is supposedly one of the best they have at Beertopia each year, but they sold out in like 5 minutes (shhh! that is my story, darnit, work with me!) so I had to try the IPA, which was a very full-hop beer, and yummy!

Widmer Brothers Brewing
Drifter Pale Ale, Hefeweizen, Drop Top Amber Ale – This Hefe is one of my favorite Hefe’s to date. YUM! Didn’t try the others cuz I was too happy with my Hefe. Nom nom nom.

Windy Hill Cidery
Ginger Gold, Strawberry Pippin, Gala Peach, Rusty Gold – I tried the Rusty Gold, I think, and it was a good hard cider with some unique fall-tasting flavors. Would definitely buy that one in the store, and would love to try the others!

Ayayayayaya – so much beer, so little time! It also didn’t help that I needed to stay sober, so I needed to pace myself so that I wasn’t drinking more than 1.5 beers per hour… I did it, but definitely wish I’d been able to try sips of some of these missed beers! Oh well, next year, for sure, I will plan this out MUCH more efficiently! 😉

So that is today’s (and the final!) edition – March 14.4 – of the Beer Log entries. I apologize it didn’t come out Friday as planned, but as you can see, it was a lot of links to find, a lot of notes to write, and a lot of eye-bleeding to avoid! Plus there was this thing called work on Friday that kept interrupting, and this thing called St Patrick’s Day on Saturday… Tsk tsk for both of them! 😉

Craft You Later,
Beth

Wednesday Beer Log – March 14.3

Hello Yet Again Beer Lovers!

I am still continuing a four-part beer log this week, because I have so much to tell you about this past Saturday’s 4th Annual BEERTOPIA! A Festival Of Beer event that was put on by Baxter Village’s own Grapevine Wine Shop in Fort Mill, SC.

The festival is an annual benefit for the Pints For Prostates organization, and this year additionally supported both York County Cancer Association, and the Charlotte Beer Girls’ choice organization, Project Halo.

Today I am going to outline all of the craft beers that were offered at the festival. Then Friday will be the non-homebrew beers that I tried and my taste thoughts (including for ones I’ve had before so didn’t try there)! :-) Be prepared, this is going to be an explosion of craft beer!

Beer Everywhere!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Breweries Present (In Alphabetical Order):

Abita
Barley Wine, Triple Haze, Double Dog

Ace Premium Hard Ciders
Joker Dry Cider, Apple Honey Hard Cider

Allagash
White, Dubbel, Fluxus 2011

Anchor
Steam, Porter, Old Foghorn Ale

Avery
IPA, Ellie’s Brown Ale, The Maharajah

Bell’s Brewery
Oarsman Ale, Bell’s Lager, Kalamazoo Stout

Birdsong Brewing
Free Will Pale Ale, Lazy Bird Brown Ale, Higher Ground IPA

COAST Brewing Company
Scotch Ale, Blackbeerd Imperial Stout

Dogfish Head
Midas Touch, Palo Santo Marron, Namaste

Duck Rabbit
Milk Stout, Brown, Cask TBD

Four Friends Brewing
I77 IPA, Queen City Red, Gold Rush

Grand Teton Brewing Co
Bitch Creek ESP, Sweetgrass APA, 5 O’clock Shadow

Great Divide
Wild Raspberry Ale, Espresso Oak Aged Yeti, Claymore Scotch Ale

Green Flash Brewing Co
West Coast IPA, Hop Head Red, Barleywine Style Ale

Harpoon
Celtic Ale, Leviathan

Highland Brewing
Little Hump Spring Ale, Gaelic Ale,  Tasgall Ale

Kind Beers
Pale Ale, Belgian Red

Lagunitas Brewing Company
A Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale, Maximus, Cappuccino Stout

Left Hand Brewing Co
Sawtooth Ale, Week Sauce, Black Jack Porter

Lightning Brewery
American Amber, Black Lightning Porter, Electrostatic, Sauerstrom Ale, Thunderweizen Ale

Mad River Brewing Company
Steelhead DIPA, Steelhead Extra Stout, Steelhead Porter, Jamaica Sunset IPA

Magic Hat Brewing Company
#9, Circus Boy, Vinyl

Mendocino Brewing Compnay
White Hawk Select IPA, Red Tail Ale, Black Hawk Stout

New Blegium
Fat Tire, 1554. Cocoa Mole Ale, Demo Beer

NoDa Brewing Company
Ramble On Red, NoDaRyeZ’d, Midnight Madness, S’more Porter, Tri-Umphant

Ommegang Brewery
Abbey Ale, Belgian Pale Ale, Three Philosophers

Oskar Blues
Dales Pale Ale, Mama’s Little Yellow Pils, Ten Fidy

PALM Breweries
PALM Ale, Steenbrugge Tripel

Redhook
Long Hammer, Pilsner, Nut Brown, Demo Ale

RJ Rockers
Patriot Pale Ale, Black Perle Dark IPA

Rodenbach
Classic Ale

Rogue
American Amber, John John Dead Guy, Chatoe OREgasmic Ale

Sam Adams
Boston Lager, Dark Depths, Cinder Bock, Griffin’s Bow

Sierra Nevada
Kellerweis, Pale Ale, Torpedo

Southern Tier
Eurotrash Pilz, 2XIPA, Unearthly Imperial IPA

Spaten
Lager, Optimator

Stevens Point Brewery
Point Special Lager, Point Amber Classic, Russian Imperial Stout

Stone Brewing Company
IPA, Arrogant Bastard, Vanilla Bean Smoked Porter

SweetWater Brewing Company
420 Extra Pale Ale, Blue, Happy Ending

Terrapin Beer Co
Hopsecutioner, Moo-Hoo, Wake ‘N Bake

Thirsty Dog Brewing Co
Labrodor Lager, Old Leghumper, Siberian Night, Raspberry Ale

Thomas Creek
Class Five IPA, Dockside Pislner, Conduplico Monochus

Victory Brewing Company
Golden Monkey, Storm King Stout, St Victorious Doppelbock

Westbrook Brewing Co
IPA, Vanilla Tree Dubbel, Mexican Cake

Widmer Brothers Brewing
Drifter Pale Ale, Hefeweizen, Drop Top Amber Ale

Windy Hill Cidery
Ginger Gold, Strawberry Pippin, Gala Peach, Rusty Gold

All of these breweries were setup across four tents, and there were some wonderful raffles and foods as well. The York County Cancer Association was selling pretzel necklaces (okay, taking donations in exchange for pretzels!), there was a BBQ, Fish Market, Bavarian Pretzel sellers, and Wingzza all selling food as well. New Belgium was doing a Fat Tire Bike raffle, as well as a raffle for a trip for 2 to Belgium for a Beer week in September. Yes, I entered both, and no I didn’t win the bike. They will draw the Trip raffle in July…so I will keep y’all posted on that one – woohoo! 😉

So that is today’s edition – March 14.3 – of the Beer Log entries. To be continued tomorrow for the final edition for the week!

Craft You Later,
Beth

Wednesday Beer Log – March 14.2

Hello Beer Lovers!

I am continuing a four-part beer log this week, because I have so much to tell you about this past Saturday’s 4th Annual BEERTOPIA! A Festival Of Beer event that was put on by Baxter Village’s own Grapevine Wine Shop in Fort Mill, SC.

The festival is an annual benefit for the Pints For Prostates organization, and this year additionally supported both York County Cancer Association, and the Charlotte Beer Girls’ choice organization, Project Halo.

Today I am going to outline all of the homebrew beers that I tasted and my thoughts – including comments from my buddy Jim who tried a few that I did not. Thursday and Friday will be the non-homebrew beers available and my taste thoughts on those. :-)

Home Brewers (Competition where everyone voted for their favorite):

– Rusty Agee –> Italian Pale Ale — This beer won 4th place! However none of us ended up actually trying it. Insert sad face here. 😦

– Baby Bear Brewing –> Persnickety Doodle —  I tried this beer and it was a bit hoppy but full of flavor, pretty good overall.

– Bou Baker –> Mocha Bear — I LOVED this beer. This beer won 2nd place! All of us agreed that this was a truly superb concoction. Coffee + Chocolate + Honey + Beer = GiveMeAMoment Deliciousness!

– Troy Bigelow –> Pecan Porter — I really liked this beer. A lot. You could taste the roasted-toasted pecans but not too overwhelmingly, while it had a nice heavy porter build to the beer. Delicious.

– Jason Bridges –> Razzilla — None of us tried this beer saadly, however I will say that standing next to it at one point – it smelled delicious and raspberry-y with some undernotes of vanilla. Yes, someone next to me was drinking it AND a heavy breather… 😉

– Josh Davis –> Mallard Reaction — Sadly none of us tried this one either. Boo us.

– Ben Dolphens –> Hopgasm — This beer placed 5th! Jim tried this so I can say that his opinion was this beer was hoppy but not overwhelmingly so, and it was more hoppy than the Hoppopotamus. He enjoyed it.

– Arnold Fry –> Breakfast Milk Stout — We all tried this one. I liked it, it was a good stout, a good breakfast coffee flavor to it, pretty creamy profile to it – but this was dwarfed by the Mocha Bear for the coffee porters for us all. But it was good, especially if you prefer your coffee chocolate-free, you’d like it a lot!

– Randy Griesman –> Kumahwannaleia — Sadly, again, none of us tried this one. 😦

– Matthew Harter –> The Professor’s Black IPA — Okay this was hands down all of our favorites, the one 4/5 of us voted for (the other girl voted for Mocha Bear). We all LOOOOOVED this beer. I don’t know how it didn’t place. Seriously, the Black IPA was hoppy but had under and over tones of nuts and honey and lots of yummy hops. Mmmm. Mmmm. Good.

– Just Two Dudes –>Wicked Rye — Jim is not sure which Rye he tried, however he thinks it was this one. He enjoyed it despite not being a fan of Rye beers, though!

– Legal Remedy Brewing –> Privileged Porter — This beer won 1st place!!! Which is awesome! Then you learn that none of us tried it. And that is so NOT awesome. Booo us yet again. 😦

– Shawn McBride –> Mocha-Chino Breakfast Stout — This was a good breakfast stout with a good undercurrent of chocolate. I will say the Mocha Bear was better overall, but this was definitely not a slouch beer by any means on its own!

– Moonshadow Brewery –> Crescent Blue — This beer placed 3rd! Yet again, a beer we didn’t try that placed –  clearly we were missing out big time!

– Candice Payne –> God Bless American Ale — This beer is actually by some acquaintances of mine, and I really enjoyed it. This was a slightly hoppy and citrusy ale that just tasted like a good go-to beer for after a long day. Or a short one. I really enjoyed it!

– Mark Payne –> Blood Ale (Last Year’s Winner) — Like the GBA Ale, this is by some acquaintances of mine, and I really enjoyed this one also. This was last year’s #1 pick of the homebrew competition, and I can see why. It had a very subtle orange note to it that just flavored the aroma, first sip, undercurrent flavors and the aftertaste all very deliciously. Really good ale here!

– Mike Schenk –> California Rye — Another beer we didn’t try (or so Jim thinks he didn’t try this one!)… Sad for us, yes indeed.

– Derek Sheffield –> Ruby’s Summer Wit — And another one bites the dust of missed beers by our collective group.

– Greg Smith –> West Coast Hoppopotamus — Jim tried this and thought it was a good lightly hoppy beer.

– Bill Stayduhar –> Ryder Haus Hefe — Jim tried this one also and enjoyed it. I really wish I’d been able to find this one, because I looooove Hefes. Darnitall!

– Scott Watson –> Ivanna Chokolat — No one in our group tried this one, though I did hear good things about it from a lot of the ladies!

Basically, in summation, there wasn’t a bad homebrew to be tried, and there were clearly more homebrews offered than we knew what to do with. Next time, next year, we know that we need to divide and concur MUCH more efficiently and much earlier in the day! 😉

So that is today’s edition – March 14.2 – of the Beer Log entries. To be continued tomorrow…!

Craft You Later,
Beth 

Wednesday Beer Log – March 14.1

Hello Beer Lovers!

I am doing a four-part beer log this week, because I have so much to tell you about this past Saturday’s 4th Annual BEERTOPIA! A Festival Of Beer event that was put on by Baxter Village’s own Grapevine Wine Shop in Fort Mill, SC.

Two words: Beer. Festival.
Two more words: Flipping. Awesome.

So we had advance tickets, a group of 5 of us were going, and I had a plan in mind for sampling as much of the 170 beer offerings as possible while remaining sober. Yes, it was a challenge to contemplate, but I had faith in myself! I was the DD, also, so I had a reason to set that challenge…! When Drew & I got there we saw this wonderful (yet incredibly fast-moving) line in front of us:

Line at 2:15pm for Beertopia: wrapped around 2 blocks!

Once we got up to where we could actually see Grapevine, we see that the York County Sheriff’s Department is responsible for checking everyone’s IDs. BRILLIANT! I mean really – if you get a fake past the cops, they can’t exactly get mad at the business for serving underage – the cops are the ones that let them through! I was also incredibly amused by this because normally people drinking heavily get nervous around cops, but the presence of police was very ‘felt’ at the event, and no one really seemed out of sorts because of it. It rocked on many levels. See?

York Co. Sheriff's ID Check!

So the festival was actually for a reason aside from drinking lots of beer. It is an annual benefit for the Pints For Prostates organization, and this year additionally supported both York County Cancer Association, and the Charlotte Beer Girls’ choice organization, Project Halo.

So what about the beer?!? We got free plastic (and awesome) mini pint glasses for tasting our beers of choice. There were 170 beers represented across 50 craft breweries and 21 homebrewers at the festival. Choices, choices, choices! So today I am going to outline all of the homebrew beers that were available, and then tomorrow I am going to go through the ones that I tasted and my thoughts. Thursday and Friday will be the non-homebrew beers available, and tasted/thoughts. 🙂

Keep in mind there were HUGE crowds (and only 3.5 hours of time) so writing down much was kind of out of the question. Enter the wonder of short-hand-notes, woohoo!

Home Brewers (Competition where everyone voted for their favorite):

– Rusty Agee –> Italian Pale Ale
– Baby Bear Brewing –> Persnickety Doodle
– Bou Baker –> Mocha Bear
– Troy Bigelow –> Pecan Porter
– Jason Bridges –> Razzilla
– Josh Davis –> Mallard Reaction
– Ben Dolphens –> Hopgasm
– Arnold Fry –> Breakfast Milk Stout
– Randy Griesman –> Kumahwannaleia
– Matthew Harter –> The Professor’s Black IPA
– Just Two Dudes –>Wicked Rye
– Legal Remedy Brewing –> Privileged Porter
– Shawn McBride –> Mocha-Chino Breakfast Stout
– Moonshadow Brewery –> Crescent Blue
– Candice Payne –> God Bless American Ale
– Mark Payne –> Blood Ale (Last Year’s Winner)
– Mike Schenk –> California Rye
– Derek Sheffield –> Ruby’s Summer Wit
– Greg Smith –> West Coast Hoppopotamus
– Bill Stayduhar –> Ryder Haus Hefe
– Scott Watson –> Ivanna Chokolat

So that is today’s edition – March 14.1 – of the Beer Log entries.

Craft You Later,
Beth

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