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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

Raleigh Beer Adventures

This past weekend I was able to hang out with some of my cousins from Michigan in Raleigh. As a treat, I decided to take Monday off and take us younger ones on a  beer tasting and leave the parents with each other! So we ended up hitting three spots – one of which was not beer related.

First, we went to Tyler’s Taproom & Restaurant, which has locations all over the RTP area. I highly recommend  this place. Great food, good service, awesome beer selection (draft & bottle), and they have seasonal beer flights of NC draft beers! We did a flight of 4 NC beers, plus a Black Forest specialty beer mix. YUM. MY. NESS.
1) Foothills Brewing Seeing Double. This 9.5% ABV double IPA is the first high gravity beer by Foothills. 126 IBUs, and you can taste the citrus of the IPA with the heartier malt taste of the double IPA complimenting all the hops.
2) Duck Rabbit Brewery Rabid Duck. This 10% ABV Russian Imperial Stout was delicious, truly chocolatey and coffee-esque like a good stout, and with a hint of almost a light licorice flavor (to me). This is Duck Rabbit’s first higher ABV beer release into NC!
3) Highland Brewery Little Hump. This 4.5% American Pale Ale is a session beer that is very light yet full of flavor, with a light and crisp flavor that reminds you of spring in a glass.
4) Lonerider Brewery The Preacher. This 7.3% ABV belgian saison beer is an American Twist on the classic Belgian seasonal with a spicy kick to the hoppy and grapefruit flavors. Nice finish to the palate with an almost light hint of cherry or white grapes that is almost hidden. That may just be my palate but that is what I tasted!
5) Black Forest – a wonderful concoction from Tyler’s that combines the yummy Wells & Young’s Double Chocolate Stout with the deliciousy fruity Lindeman’s Framboise Lambic.

So Rob rated his favorite beers as the Little Hump, followed by the Black Forest. Paige said her favorites were Black Forest, Little Hump then Rabid Duck. My favorites were The Preacher, Rabid Duck, and then Black Forest. Looks like we had a good collaboration of tastes going here!

Next, we went to the Duke University Gardens. BEEEEEAUTIFUL. Here are a few pictures to highlight the awesomeness of this adventure. No more words are needed, pics say it all.










Lastly, we went to Fullsteam Brewery in Durham (right around the corner from Duke University as it turns out – good planning on the driver’s part, right?!?). We actually made our own flight up in an arrangement with the barkeep. We tried all the beers they had to offer – sampler sized! Really. Some may only have gotten 6 sips, but we tried them all! 🙂

Beer Tasting at Fullsteam!

1) El Toro, a 4.2% ABV cream ale with NC grits. This was the “what on earth?!?!” description that first nabbed our attention. All of us being from Michigan, grits are this really strange concoction that is white and scary looking. 😉 However trying it, was a very pleasant surprise. This beer was delicious. Similar taste comparison of Coke to Cream Soda when compared to a typical ale. It was light, but not super citrusy, and not super hoppy. It was more just smooth and cool and refreshing.
2) Carver, a 4.8% ABV sweet potato lager. This was a light yet spiced and hearty ale. It had a light start and finish, but a hearty flavor and the aftertaste was slightly spiced and sweet.
3) Working Man’s Lunch, a 5.6% ABC Moonpie-inspired chocolate ale. This ale was a spicy chocolate ale with a heavy feel but a crisp aftertaste. I didn’t taste the for-me-expected graham or marshmallow flavors but it wasn’t a bad beer. Not quite a stout, but still a heavier beer.
4) Carolina Shandy is a 3% ABV concoction that is 2/3 El Toro ale mixed with 1/3 Lemonade. This is a very crisp, light and refreshing drink that was incredibly nice for a hot summer afternoon!
5) Beasley’s Honey White is a 5% ABV wit beer made with oats and honey. This was a delicious, incredibly honey-flavored white ale that tasted crisp with just a little “heavy” feel from the toasted oat flavor.
6) One Hop Rye, a 7.2% ABV rye IPA. This was a wonderfully rye flavored beer that was hoppy but not overpowered by the hops. Rather the rye flavor dominated this beer, but not so much it knocked you over. Yum.
7) Overtime is an 8.5% ABV imperial version of the Working Man’s Lunch. This is a stout beer, a heavy smoked chocolate flavor that brings out all the subtleties of the Moonpie that I missed in the WML alone. I, as many of you know, really like stouts, so I really enjoyed this one much more than WML alone. Delicious.
8) Hogwash is a 5.5% ABV BACON beer. You read that right. Only you find out when you ask (yeah, I’m sure you thought I was shy), they don’t actually USE bacon in the beer, they just smoke the hops. Huh. It tasted like bacon to me. It actually was a little much on the smokey side, for me, though I would have sworn on a stack of Bibles it was made with real Bacon. It tasted that bacon-y. For all my bacon-loving friends out there: definitely try this one, if for no other reason than the experience. And to say you had a bacon beer.

So Rob’s favorites were the Honey White followed by the Carver and then the Shandy. Paige’s favorites were the Carver followed by the Shandy. And my favorites were the Rye followed closely by the Honey White and then the El Toro (not the Shandy, just the ale). 🙂

Observer their tap selection (3 of which are other breweries that they feature on a rotating basis, which I thought was pretty nifty!):

Regardless, you should try these spots out, all 3 of them!, if you are in the Durham area ever! Let me know if you have tried any of these beers, and what you thought of them all! Have a great Monday all!

Craft You Later,
Beth

Wednesday Beer Log – March 28

Hey Beer Peoples,

So going to go through a small amount of beer in comparison to my four-parter, but I have to say these were some very yummy choices I had last night!

First off, it was $3 draft night at Carolina Ale House, so my coworkers and I took our bi-monthly jaunt over to sample different beers. My first choice of the night was from Red Oak Brewery out of Greensboro, North Carolina. I like Red Oak, their flagship beer, so when I saw they had Hummin’ Bird on draft, I of course had to try it. And for $3, why the heck not, right?!

Red Oak in Greensboro, NC

So this beer is a Hell beer, or Golden Lager, that is inspired by Bavarian beer. Appropriate since Red Oak imports hops from Bavaria! This beer is slow-cold aged for over a month and according to their website, that is what flavors the beer so lushly. I don’t know if that is right on the “why”, but I can completely vouch that the “lush” flavor is deliciously present! This is a great, full-flavored light beer. Yes, I know, that seems an oxymoron in the extreme, but it’s true. It’s not an IPA, but carries over some of the full-hop flavor. This isn’t a Traditional Lager, but carries over some of the full-bodied flavor and yummy after-taste. This isn’t a Light Beer, but has such a light feel to it that you don’t expect the flavorful punch this beer delivers. I give this beer a 4.5/5.

Cheers!

Since I was eating a delicious Veggie Burger from CAH (Grilled Boca Burger loaded with fried onion strings & sweet mountain honey BBQ sauce – YUM!), I decided to try a second beer, and get back to my Stout craze of late.

Highland Brewery in Asheville, NC!

So in comes beer numero deux from Highland Brewing Company out of Asheville, North Carolina: Thunderstruck Coffe Porter. This was a delicious lighty-chocolate, hint-of-coffee porter that had a wonderful mocha-esque after taste to it. The coffee and chocolate balance was very clear and tempered, with neither one overpowering the other at any point. I give this stout at 4/5.

Slainté!

So that concludes today’s Beer Log entry, and hopefully introduces you to some great new brews, more of which will be on the ‘menu’ for next week! Until then….

Craft You Later,
Beth

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