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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

Baking Is Science For Hungry People: Belgian Chocolate Truffles

Hello Friends,

I mentioned yesterday in the Charlotte Beer Babes September Beer Class post that I would be giving everyone the lowdown on the Belgian Truffles that I made for the beer event.

As promised, here we go into chocolate land!

So I had been researching and trying to find some good, easy to transport Belgian recipe ideas for the Belgian Beer Class that we were doing for September, and all I could really find were mussels (I love y’all but not that much!), endive (doubt that would’ve been eaten), Waffles (hard to transport), and truffles (winner winner truffle dinner!). I think I chose well. 🙂

So to make the truffles, I needed a recipe to go off of, and I found a great one from the Belgian Travel site. I did change a little, but these were SUPER easy to make up. Warning: you will become addicted to these, and they do take some handling work to assemble… totally worth it though!

Take 1/4 cup of butter and 8 oz of bittersweet chocolate chips (I use Ghiradelli) and melt in a metal baking bowl placed inside a saucepan filled with water (double boiler cheat!) over low heat, stirring occasionally to keep smooth. Use a wooden spoon or silicone spatula for best results.

Once completely smooth, remove from heat, stir for 15 seconds, and then add in 1 tbspn vanilla extract and 3/4 cup sugar. Stir until completely dissolved. Place the mixture in the freezer for 25 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until starts to harden just a bit. Mixture should still be a little liquidy.

Remove the bowl from freezer and add 1/3 cup powdered sugar to the mixture, stirring until fully incorporated. Take a cookie sheet that will fit in your fridge, and line with wax paper. Take 3 small bowls and place 1/2 cup coconut flakes, 1/4 cup cocoa powder, and 1/4 cup chopped pecans (or similar nut) in each “topping bowl”.

Take pinches of your chocolate mixture and roll into 1-inch balls in your hands, then roll the ball in one of the 3 “topping bowls”. Place on cookie sheet in rows, and note that you don’t need to have space between these like you do anything you’re baking. Once sheet is filled completely, place in fridge for 1 hour to allow to set.

Serve and enjoy! (Tip: These go especially well with darker beers like the Pater 6 we tasted in Beer School!)

cocoa belgian truffles chocolate no bake desserts

Cocoa Belgian Truffles!

coconut belgian truffles chocolate no bake desserts

Coconut Belgian Truffles!

pecan belgian truffles chocolate no bake desserts

Pecan Belgian Truffles!

Craft You Later,
Beth

Charlotte Beer Babes September Beer School

Hello Beer Fiends!

We had another monthly beer education class at World Of Beer Southend with the Charlotte Beer Babes. Due to Charlotte’s DNC event, this event was on the 3rd Saturday of the month, not the normal 2nd Saturday, and was still a pretty darned great time!

belgian beer class world of beer southend charlotte beer babes

Beer Babes Learning!

Preston led us Beer Babes through a wonderfully detailed, yet concise, history of Belgian Beers.

belgian beer class world of beer southend charlotte beer babes

Beer Teacher

Among the fun facts we learned were:
– Belgian beers originated around the early Crusades, and started when the Catholic Church requisitioned beer from the Abbeys for safer drinking
– Original Belgian Beers had very low alcohol contents since were used primarily in place of the unsafe drinking water
– In order to be a Trappist brewery, you have to be funded by the church, all proceeds have to go back to the church (basically making it a non-profit), and has to be brewed solely by the Monks.

The 7 Belgian Trappist Breweries in existence today are:
– Chimay
– Roquefort
– Orval
– Westmalle
– Westvleteran
– Achel
– LaTrappe

Now, onto the actual beers that we taste-tested…. dun dun dun!

First up, we had Witterkerke Blik (aka White Church) from Brouwerij Bavik, a 5% ABV White Belgian beer that had an incredibly light taste to it. This belgian white wheat beer has flavors of citrus and wheat throughout, and is incredibly light in flavor, aroma and weight (when drinking). As a Belgian White, it’s a good one to try to get into the style for those coming from the lighter side of beer drinking (Miller/Bud or even Mikes) into more craft beers, as it is not super strong. This would be a good sipper if you’re just wanting something really light on a hot day.

charlotte beer babes world of beer belgian beer tasting

A Blogger (okay, me) and THE Beer Babe enjoying a White Church!

Second, we have the Delirium Tremens by Brouwerij Huyghe’s – aka the Pink Elephant. This beer jumps us up to 8.5% ABV, and ups the ante on taste and flavor considerably. This malty and spicy beer has a heartier flavor and aroma, while still not going into the realm of “dark beers” with extra heaviness added into it. The fruity flavors are very subtle when drinking this beer, but if you’re paying attention you’ll find them. Alongside the peppery malted spice note, of course! I think “Pink Elephant” alone as a nickname means that everyone should have to try this beer at least once. But that’s just me and my memories of Dumbo and Fantasia talking, I’m sure!

Third to bat is the favorite of mine for the day: Saint Bernardus’s Pater 6. Don’t let the design and name fool you – this is not a Trappist Brewery, but a for-profit brewery. This beer was like malted carmel and dark brown sugar explosion, with almost a dark cherry or currant undertone. It was my favorite in part for the smoothness of the drink, but also because it’s a rich, dark beer. Even though it’s a 6.75% ABV beer, you don’t feel that in each sip, which is nice.

belgian beer class world of beer southend charlotte beer babes pater 6

Pater 6!

At this point in the tasting, we did a quick poll to see who liked which beer best. Halfway title went to Pater 6, though the Delirium Tremens came in a close second. A few did like the Blik, but most of us liked the other two better. 😉

Back to the beer tasting… Choice Number Four: Chimay Triple, aka “Cinq Cents”, which was the only Trappist beer that we tried. This 8% ABV beer was delicious, a little hoppy, a lot carmelly with a hint of apples, and very smooth up until the end where you get a little spice and bitterness in the aftertate, which isn’t unpleasant at all. This beer is a bit heavier, but the flavors are enough that you don’t have to have multiples to enjoy all the flavors fully. This was probably my second favorite of the day, tied with the last beer. I do love my hearty beers, after all!

Last beer to bat was the Brouwerij Straffe Hendrik / De Halve Maan’s Straffe Hendrik Quadrupel, which was a great end to the day’s tasting. This super dark, malty, dark carmelized brown sugar, and dark candied berry flavors were delicious and went very well as an ending to a Belgian Beer Tasting. This beer also has an 11% ABV rating, and it’s not up front in the flavor at all. This is more of a sipper beer for me, something to go with a stew or hearty dessert, and doesn’t detract in flavor with time when sipping. That, for me, is key. I recommend this beer for hearty and dark beer lovers. I also think it’s a good one for non-dark beer lovers to try because it is very smooth and not bitter.

Tomorrow, I will post about what I made to go with the Beer for the tasting: scratch-made Belgian Chocolate Truffles! So come back and see me! Let me know if you’ve had any of these beers before, and what your thoughts are about them! Or if you’re a fellow beer babe, let me know what you thought of the event!

Craft You Later,
Beth

Belgian Beef Stew

Hello Cooking Friends,

It is getting to be Fall, which is my favorite time of the year. And that means that stews and soups can come out of hiding and take center stage, woohoo! So my first fall stew was accomplished with a bit of this and a bit of that, as per the usual for me!

belgian beef stew egg noodles beef bacon onion garlic stew soup fall food parsley lemon juice

Belgian Beef Stew.

My brother wanted steak one night, so he had bought some steaks. Having only used 2 of them, I was trying to figure out what to do with the other 2 when it hit me: STEW!!!!! I was researching Belgian recipes for an upcoming Charlotte Beer Babes event, and found this Belgian Beef Stew recipe that sounded delicious-and-adaptable.

C’mon, you know I am almost physically incapable of following recipes all the way! 😉

Anyways, to start I took 1 lb. applewood-smoked bacon, chopped it up into 1/4-inch pieces and added to a crock pot with 1/2 cup light margarine (hellooooo Country Crock!). I cooked that over high heat for about 5 minutes. As that was cooking, I chopped up 15 peeled pearl onions, and added them and another 1/4 cup light margarine to the pot, mixing them all together. Then I chopped up 1 clove garlic, fresh, and added that and another 1/4 cup of light margarine to the pot. Remember to stir every few minutes! At this point you should be at around 10-12 minutes for the bacon cooking, and it should start to smell deliciously bacony!

Next, chop up your 2 steaks (believe me this yields plenty of beef!), into about 1/2 inch cubes. Add that to the bacon mixture and stir to mix well. Cook for about 10 minutes (still on high setting in your crock pot).

Now this should be getting some liquid gathering at the bottom of the pot, so take about 1 ladle full and pour into a cup to make a slurry (no, not a slurPee). Add 1/8 cup flour, 1 tspn salt, and about 3 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper. Mix this all until completely combined, no flour chunks remaining. Add the slurry to the stew and mix well. Let cook about 5 minutes.

Next, pour in 1 12-oz bottle of a beer of your choice. Traditionally this should be a dark Belgian, however we had a Bell’s Kalamazoo Stout on hand that sounded delicious, so I used that instead. Mix this well into the stew, and it should be a dark color. Let stew for about 5 minutes. (Har har har!)

Meanwhile, chop up most of a 0.75 oz package of fresh parsley (produce section!), without the stems, until you basically can’t chop it any more by hand. Don’t process or blend this, as that will make it into a paste, but go ahead and use a chopper if you have one!

Add your parsley to the stew, and then grate 1 lemon (all of it) directly into the stew. Slice your lemon in half, de-seed it, then squeeze the juice into your stew. I know, I know, you think this is in the “WHY are you ruining a good stew?!?” but trust me – this makes it extra delicious!

Now you just need to let the stew sit for about 15 more minutes on high, then reduce heat to low and let sit 20-30 minutes more. This will fully incorporate the juices in the meats, as well as let the stew thicken.

When you’re about 10 minutes from serving, take 1 bag of Egg Noodles (like these) and cook with 1 tablespoon olive oil until tender. When drained and ready to serve, scoop some noodles into a dish (bowl or plate that has curved sides) and top with a few ladles of stew. Garnish with a sprig of reserved parsley if desired. Serve. Enjoy.

belgian beef stew egg noodles beef bacon onion garlic stew soup fall food parsley lemon juice

Observe, plated Belgian Beef Stew! Mmmm.

Craft You Later,
Beth

Saturday Belgian Beer Class

Hello Everyone,

Just a quick reminder that tomorrow is the Charlotte Beer Babes monthly Beer Class at World Of Beer Southend!

charlotte beer babes women beer tasting group

Tomorrow, Preston will enthrall us with a tour through the world of Belgian Beers, complete with a multitude of tastings that he has chosen just for us!

Now, now, don’t expect me to spoil the surprise of the beers – for that and many other reasons, Preston doesn’t let us know what his special selections are until we get to the class!

So if you’re in the Charlotte area on Saturday, September 15, come join us Beer Babes as we enter the world of Belgium through this wonderful class and tasting adventure for $10!

I am going to be making Chocolate Truffles to go with our beer tastings, and everyone is encouraged to bring a light munchie to share with at least your table since no food is served at WOB. If you want to come with friends, or come alone to make new friends – you’re welcome either way!

Guys, sorry, but if you show up, you’ll be sequestered with the other ‘token babes’ across the way from our class. This is the Beer Babes women-only beer class, after all!

We hope to see you out there tomorrow, as it will be a fantastic time!

Also, don’t forget to check out my 100th Blog Post and enter your name (via comment) by Sunday at midnight for a chance to win a personalized wine or pint glass from yours truly! 😉

Craft You Later,
Beth

Charlotte Beer Babes August Beer School

Why Hello Beer Babes and Beer Lovers!

This past Saturday, August 11, the Charlotte Beer Babes, led by the beautiful & beer-loving organizer Tracie, went to our second Beer Babes Beer School event at World of Beer Southend.

Held the 2nd Saturday of each month, this Beer Babes school is a tutorial for women into the lives of various types of beer, including a variety of tastings to help the lesson sink in better. Our fearless teacher, Preston, continued the learning with a focus on IPA style beers.

For this event, we did add in a ‘bring an appetizer or snack to bolster you’ note for all participants. I actually made some for the group, which you can check out (they paired AWEsome with the Ghost Hop and Death by Hops, in particular) here (Asparagus & BBQ Rumaki, and Island Chicken Kotopitas)!

charlott beer babes ipa beer tasting

Charlotte Beer Babes Try Out IPAs and Appetizers!

IPA History:
First off, IPA styles came about in the 1800s when India was a British Colony. British soldiers stationed in India complained because the beer tasted horrid when it reached them in-country via shipping vessels. The brewers started adding extra hops, which were known for preservation, and sending over to India-residing troops. The original name of this style of beer was, wait for it…. “Pale Ale as prepared for India”. Yup. That mouthful was the full name. Kind of reminiscent of the mouthful of hops it contained, when you think about it, huh?!?

So next, the soldiers return to England and, after drinking PAAPFI for so long, they started requesting it at their British pubs back home. In 1835, George Hodgson of Bow Brewery started making IPA officially…at a whopping 4% ABV! And from there, IPA exploded like the hop-flavor it’s known for!

Fast forward to present day, you will find three main styles of IPA available:
1) English Style: 5-7.5% ABV, 40-60 IBUs (hoppiness) and 8-13 SRM (color).
2) American Style: 5.5-7.5% ABV, 40-75 IBUs, and 4-15 SRM.
3) Imperial/Double Styles: 7.5-10% ABV, 60-120 IBUs, and 8-15 SRM.

Fun fact, the human palate can only process up to or around 120 IBUs. After that it’s hard or impossible to distinguish. (Any error in that statement is mine, as my shorthand notes could just suck.)

So on to the beers that we tasted! Being in North Carolina, with an ABV limit, we had a little bit of limitation on our selection, but thankfully there is such a wide selection within NC standards, that we had 6 wonderful options presented to us by Preston!

1) Dogfish Head‘s 60-Minute IPA: this brew is extra-hopped, 1 extra hop addition every minute for an hour, to be precise! This English-style IPA has a very citrusy and grassy flavor and aroma, and a 6% ABV & 60 IBU profile are evident in this delicious and hoppy treat.

2) Noda Brewing Company‘s Ghost Hop: this white IPA is made with witbier yeast and Northwest hops to give a citrus and pine aroma for this light and hoppy beer. Coming in at 5.9% ABV with 70 IBUs and an SRM of 3.7, this is definitely a unique and delicious choice for hop-loving beer drinkers that also like lighter citrus flavors.

3) Uinta Brewing‘s Dubhe: this Imperial Black IPA was delicious, and probably my favorite of the bunch. Toasted malt, chocolate and hemp seed flavors united beautifully with a strong hoppiness for this dark IPA, which comes in at 9.2% ABV, 109 IBUs and with an SRM of 110! This is more a beer that those who like porters and stouts would enjoy, versus the lighter ales and lagers. However it is definitely one that I think most would enjoy on a cool winter’s eve when you want something hearty yet hoppy!

4) Olde Hickory Brewery‘s Death By Hops: with 7% ABV and 108 IBUs, this incredibly hoppy American-style IPA contains 20 grams of hops per pint! The brew gets 71 pounds of hops added to it throughout the process, and leaves a very hoppy and citrusy flavor, with a lightly piney aroma, in the finished product.

5) Noda Brewing Company‘s Noda RyeZ’ed: this double rye IPA is a spicy and 7-hop-blend creation by Charlotte’s own Noda Brewing Company. This is one of my favorite Rye IPA’s that I’ve tasted, as it has a zing of spice, a hoppy flavor that intertwines with the spice, and an aroma that has hops and spice in it. This is a beer that is 8.65% ABV, with 90 IBUs and an SRM of 12. Definitely worth trying!

And the final beer we tried was….

6) Green Flash‘s Imperial IPA: this San Diego-bred beer is 9.4% ABV with 101 IBUs to it. This beer had an intense pine aroma, and a very hoppy and citrusy flavor. It is in the style of the “San Diego IPA”, a new subset of American IPAs, which is a beer that’s “pale in color, super-hoppy, high-gravity, yet a highly quaffable ale”. This was a pretty intense hop session in your mouth, not going to lie, and it was definitely a good note to end the class on IPAs with for the day!

So that is today’s entry, and I sincerely hope you enjoyed it! I know those of us at the event had a blast (including with Dad-tuck-interloper-dude’s wonderful distraction), and we all cannot wait for the next class, September’s Belgian Beer Course! Hope to see you there ladies!

Craft You Later,
Beth

Having Fun With Hair Chalk

Hey Friends!

A few weeks ago some friends and I were at a beer event (with the Charlotte Beer Babes) and we decided to play a little bit and act like goofy delinquents. Okay, fine, that is what I myself decided to coin the phrase for our acting, and it was not a group consensus for the title! But I stand by it – we were acting plain outright goofy! And it was a blast!!!

Hair Chalk Fun!

So one of the friends is the rest of our hair stylist, and she just happened, by chance, to have in her purse some different colors of hair chalk. Muahahaha. Daaaangerous!

I could have the brand wrong, however I am pretty positive they were from the Donna Bella Hair Chalk product line. We had blue, green, yellow and purple hair chalks to chose from, and everyone got to pick one color and have it added to their ‘do!

Well, aside from me (pictured above), who was standing there minding my own business and then felt a tug upon my ponytail. This was followed by a quick “Don’t move woman!” stage whisper in a wannabe-teacher scolding voice, which was completely ruined by all of the giggling by everyone else, which of course was causing the speaker to try not to giggle as well while ordering me to stay still. Being born before the proverbial “yesterday”, I had my suspicions, but decided to stay still and plot revenge possibilities in case they were needed. (Spoiler: they weren’t needed!)

So back to everyone else… Tober actually started the shenanigans when he mentioned he used to have black hair with blue stripes. Teesah then mentioned she had hair chalk in her purse, so did he want blue hair again. This was the result of that:

Blue Tober!

Next came Tober’s wife Kat, who wanted purple added to her lovely red locks:

Purrfectly Purple!

Followed by QCBB, who decided that green was the only color acceptable for her stripe of hair:

Sassily Green!

And finally came Mr. Tall, who was guilt-forced into submitting to a hair color addition to his ‘do by his lovely wife, QCBB. Observe the yellow-ness of his make-over:

One Tall Bumblebee!

So what do you think of our lovely ‘dos, my dears? Any takers? Also, as a note, Teesah told us if you take hairspray and spray — from far away — the chalk, it will stay in your hair until you wash it out. Otherwise, it will somewhat come out throughout the course of the day. You are now warned! Now, hope you have some fun with this idea, let me know what you think of this fun stuff!

Craft You Later,
Beth

Charlotte Beer Babes July Beer School

Why Hello Beer Babes and Beer Lovers!

This past Saturday, July 14, the Charlotte Beer Babes, led by the beautiful & beer-loving organizer Tracie, went to our inaugural Beer Babes Beer School event at World of Beer Southend.

Our Fearless Beer Babe Leader

Held the 2nd Saturday of each month, this Beer Babes school wil be a tutorial for women into the lives of various types of beer, including a variety of tastings to help the lesson sink in better. As with all good teachers, Preston started us off with the basic “Ales and Lagers” class to get our base knowledge started.

I am not going to go over everything, because WOB SE does a beer class you can sign up for as a general public person, however I did want to hit some highlights to show what we learned and how educational and informative this class is for the beer inquisitor thinking about maybe joining our Beer Events each month!

Aspects of Beer:
– Sacchrification of starches into sugar, and then fermenting of said sugars, is what makes beer.
– Grain: provides color, body, sweetness, Alcohol By Volume (ABV)
– Hops – provides bitterness, flavor, aroma
– Yeast – provides fermentation, flavor, aroma
– Water – provides majority of the liquid that makes up beer
– Sanitation – most important part of the brewing process, this is key to good beer

Yeast fements in the fermenter at 40-55 degrees for Lagers.
Yeast ferments in the fermenter at 65-72 degrees for Ales.

Beer History:
– First beer was thought to come from Mesopotamia.
– For a long time it was viewed as the women’s job to make and brew beer.
– Beer was originally brewed using fruit or honey in place of hops, in addition to various spices and herbs
– Some beer was originally brewed with narcotic herbs for a period of time, in the BC time period
– Ebla, located in Ancient Sumer, was a city that brewed beer and was the site of the oldest ‘recipe’ found for beer brewing amongst the “Ebla Tablets”
– 1800 BC – Hymn to Ninkasi – In the ancient Sumerian language, a hymn was written that in effect was a recipe for beer making, in honor of the goddess of beer, Ninkasi
– Jump ahead to AD 1067, hops become ingrained regularly in beer in place of fruits and honey, etc
– 7th Century AD found Trappist Breweries
– 15th century AD, the German Reinheitsgebot came into effect, which were basically beer Purity Laws put forth by William IV, Duke of Bavaria. This helped establish standards and expectations for beer.
– 1612 saw the first brewery in the Colonies, the brewery of Block & Christiansen
– 1789 saw George Washington set forth a “Buy American” beer policy (note: not a law, just a suggested policy)
– 20th Century saw the industrial revolution come about, which took beer-making right along with it.

Breweries:
– 1873 saw around 4000 breweries in action
– 1910 saw 1500 breweries in action
– 1919 thru 1933 saw Prohibition put into force by Congress
– 1934 saw the amendment of Prohibition, and the appearance of 756 breweries to see to the beer needs of the USA
-1969 – Cans of beer outsell bottles for the first time ever, and Fritz Maytag started the microbrewery revival with his resurgence into the Anchor Brewing product line of beer in California
– 1981 – Great American Brew Festival started in Denver, CO, and continues through today
– 1995 saw 500 breweries in action
– 2001 saw 1468 breweries in action
– 2011 saw a jump to 1989 breweries in action
– Currently, the Craft & Micro Breweries provide for over 105,000 jobs in the USA!

Sample of the awesome presentation…

Beers Tasted for Ales & Lagers Class:
Stoudts Brewing Company‘s Pils – this traditional German Pilsner was incredibly dry, and a little hoppy. It was similar, to me, to a very dry champagne in some of the flavors. If you like drier beer, you’d like this one. I personally thought it was just okay. Some of the ladies really liked it though!
New Belgium Brewing Company‘s Shift Pale Lager- New Belgium has turned out another delicious beer, this time in honor of that end-of-shift gift they give their brew teams. Coming out of a can, this hoppy, fruity, citrusy, and honey-flavored beer is a delicious lager to work across the palate anytime.
Bell’s Brewery‘s Amber Ale – my favortie brewery from my hometown strikes a great Ale profile with this Amber. Toasty, incredibly caramelly, slightly citrusy and lightly hoppy flavors roll around on your tongue for a wondereful swirl of flavor.
LoneRider Brewing Company‘s Sweet Josie – this delicious rebel of a Brown Ale has the flavor of malted milk balls (malt AND chocolate) that complement the hoppy undertones very nicely. This is a great sipper beer, or with a yummy meal.
Stone Brewing Company‘s Stone Pale Ale – this British style pale ale differs from many in that it is more amber than most pales, and has a rich hoppy flavor that winds around with the maltedness in the flavor from start to finish quite nicely.

So that is the inaugural introduction to Ales and Lagers from WOB SouthEnd and the Charlotte Beer Babes – hope to see you for the August 11th Beer School on IPAs! Until then, let me know your thoughts on these brews, and what you think of the Beer Babe events if you’ve gone! I, quite clearly, love them!

Craft You Later,
Beth

Charlotte Beer Babes Meet Highland Brewery At Mac’s

So last week was a special treat for NC Craft Beer fans in Charlotte. First of all, because the Charlotte Beer Babes were doing an event, and really, let’s be honest, that is always a special treat. But secondly, because Highland Brewery was doing a special draft release in Charlotte at, the third and final treat, all the local Mac’s Speed Shops! Whew, what an awesome collaboration!!!

Highland-drinking Beer Babes at Mac’s!

So for all of you non-Charlotteans, or those who know not the fabulousness that is Mac’s, let me break this down for you a bit. This is a very low-key, highly awesome hangout that specializes in BBQ, Craft Beer selection, outdoor & indoor picnic tables, and bike nights.  Very chill atmosphere with awesome people watching. Regardless of the night you go.

As for Highland Brewing, this first-into-Asheville brewery specializes in the first +5% gravity beer in North Carolina (thank you for the trivia Lisa!), Gaelic Ale. Truly delicious classic Ale. They also have an Oatmeal Porter which is a staple for stout drinkers. I must say. Yum. So for this event, Highland decided to spice things up a bit and bring in a few seasonal beers to let people sample. Which Tracie and I took great delight in doing!

Highland Beer Tasting (with an Evil Twin end-cap)!

As we asked for a sampler, the server came back with this awesomeness on a paddle. Right to left we have Highland Thunderstruck, Highland Farmhouse Saison, Highland Razor Wit Belgian Wheat, and the Evil Twin Biscotti Break Porter from Evil Twin Brewery as the ‘filler’ beer – since I had to have 4 of them and Highland only had 3 on tap.

So let’s review…

Beer tasting, start your engines!

Thunderstruck Coffee Porter:  thick coffee and chocolate porter with a spicy hop flavor to finish the flavor off on your tongue. If you like coffee porters, you will love this one. So yummy and wonderfully flavored, I couldn’t stand it. Well, okay, actually, I could, and did, and thoroughly enjoyed myself while doing so… however you get my drift, admit it! Important Notes about this beer: 5.8% ABV, 26 IBUs, Winter Seasonal from Highland, named after the Thunderstruck Knob mountain in Green Mountain, and with a nice mixture of grains & hops to flavor it so deliciously into the taste you will be in love with as a fan of stouts. Or even as just a fan of good beer!

Farmouse Saison: this citrusy, hoppy, spicy spring ale is a very limited edition brew from Highland. Traditional Saisons are fruity, earthy, mildly tart, and only a little bitter. This 5.2% ABV beer definitely lives up to the traditional, with a good kick of citrusy spice (similar to an allspice-corriander mix-in to orange juice to me) to finish it off in Highland style. It was good. I know many are not fans of Saisons, however I really did enjoy this adventure of the palate!

Razor Wit Belgian Wheat: as a fan of Belgian Wheats, this was a truly delicious rendition of a classic white ale. Pleasantly citrusy, with some nice spice and a very light (not heavy) wheat flavor, this 4.5% ABV, 25 IBU “Wit” is named after the Razor Mountain Summit  in Buncombe, and, like a good hike, finishes smoothly and leaves you feeling refreshed.

The lone Evil Twin brew of the group was a porter called Biscotti Break. This beer was just as good as the Thunderstruck, and had the coffee, chocolate, vanilla and almond flavors just floating around in your mouth until you really started to look for a biscotti. Somewhere, anywhere, get it now! Mmm. This is truly a heavy hitter, too, at 8.4% ABV, and you could truly taste each and every flavor in a wonderful meld on your tongue.

Progressing through the beers like Verizon towers!

After truly enjoying the heck out of some yummy beers, I became sad when I realized that I had to go home and leave all the wonderful people and beer. However, as I was leaving, the fire alarm went off, and two fire trucks appeared fully loaded and ready to save the day. I am not sure who pushed the “hotness” level over capacity, however it became clear that someone did! Who was it? You know who you are, so come on, tell us, was it you?!? 😉

Hot Early-Summer Night Fun!

Okay, on that note, I will leave you for this week and bid you adieu. Let me know if you have tried any of these wonderful beverages, and what you thought! Would love to hear from you all (hint hint!)…!

Craft You Later,
Beth

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,
Beth

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