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Getting Ready For Fall Beer in NC…

Well Beer Friends,

It’s about that time of year again. Oktoberfest Festivals and Oktoberfest brews are gearing up to start hitting us in late September through October. For all the Fall lovers out there, this is a special time of year that is ‘home’ to some of the most yummy creations (and combinations of breweries under one ‘roof’) known to us beer lovers.

Get Ready For Oktoberfest with these earlier events!

However in the spirit of Oktoberfest, sometimes you want to go out and start before mid-September. I’ve found a few events that will be screaming your name out loud. In order of date, below, starting this Saturday!

lazy daze festival arts crafts sister cities beer garden

Lazy Daze in Cary has the Sister Cities Beer Garden 8/25!

This coming Saturday, August 25, if you’re in the Cary area of the RTP, you can check out the Lazy Daze Arts and Crafts Festival! From 9am – 5pm on Saturday, enjoy the Arts and Crafts shopping options: which include local artists working with Clay, Candles, Paintings, Floral, Furniture, Glass, Jewelry, Photography and Wood. You can also check out the Entertainment options available (wandering and stage entertainment), and whilst you peruse all of these fun things… Grab a Beer from the Sister Cities Beer Garden! According to their site, “The SCA Beer Garden is getting crafty! This year, you’ll find local craft beers provided by three local breweries. There’s food, a place to relax and refresh with brats and beers. You’ll find the SCA Beer Garden located beside Creative Images on Chatham Street. Cary’s current Sister Cities are County Meath, Ireland; Hsinchu City, Taiwan; LeTouquet, France; and Markham, Canada.” So go and get your international craft groove thing on this weekend, and do let me know what you find!

busy beef cafe fall beer raleigh beer week 2012

Busy Bee Cafe Kicks Off Raleigh Beer Week August 25!

Also this weekend on Sunday, August 26, go to the Raleigh Beer Week Kick Off Party at the Busy Bee Café in Raleigh! Kick off the Raleigh Beer Week right, with a selection of special draft beers at the Busy Bee Café! Starting at noon on Sunday, go find these drafts to sample:

  • Olde Hickory Event Horizon
  • Terrapin Knob Creek Maple Syrup Monk’s Revenge (last keg of our 2nd anniversary brew!)
  • Founders KBS
  • Bruery White Oak
  • Mother Earth Bourbon Barrel Aged Tripel Overhead
  • Thirsty Dog Bourbon Barrel Aged Belgian Imperial Stout
  • Olde Hickory 7 Devils
  • Great Divide Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti

For more information on Raleigh Beer Week, which is 8/28-9/1, and their events you can participate in, go here!

mecktoberfest olde mecklenburg brewery oktoberfest seasonal fall beer

Kick Off Charlotte’s Oktoberfest Season @ Olde Meck!

On Wednesday, August 29, will find the Charlotte local brewery Mecktoberfest Kick-off Party. Hosted by Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, this is the kick-off event for their annual Oktoberfest Festival, Mecktoberfest. From 5:30-8:30 pm, you can go to Olde Meck and enjoy the Marzen-Style Amber Lager that is the Fall Seasonal. Live music will be presented by Jay Mathey, and the beer will be flowing with that wonderful fall aroma!

high country beer festival fall beer festival pre-oktoberfest

A Beer Festival in Boone, NC

In Boone, on September 1, is the 5th Annual High Country Beer Festival. This event is put on by the Ivory Tower Brewing Department of App State, and proceeds are donated to the Appalachian State University Fermentation Sciences Program, the Hunger and Health Coalition and the North Carolina Brewers’ Guild. Additional pertinent information is as follows:
Location is Broyhill Center on Appalachian State University’s Campus
Cost is $35 per person, or $10 for Designated Drivers (our favorite friends!)
Date is Saturday, September 1st, from 3-7 pm (yes, friends, this is Labor Day weekend, and yes for Charlotteans, this is a chance to get out of the DNC craziness for a day!)
Breweries Present: NC BREWERS: Boone Brewing, Appalachian Mountain Brewery, Big Boss Brewing, Buchi Kombucha, Carolina Beer Company, Catawba Valley Brewing, Cottonwood Beer, Duck Rabbit Brewery, Foothills Brewing, French Broad Brewing, Huske Hardware House Brewing, Ivory  Tower Brewing, Laughing Water Brewery, Liberty Steakhouse and Brewery, Mother Earth Brewing, Natty Greene’s Brewing, Olde Hickory Brewery, Pisgah Brewing, Roth Brewing, Triangle Brewing, Weeping Radish Brewery. OTHER BREWERS: Blue Moon, Blue Dawg, Bluepoint, Brooklyn, Crispin Cider, Dogfish Head, Full Sail, Harpoon, Kona, Left Hand, New Belgium, New Holland, Original Sin Cider, Oskar Blues, Shock Top, Smutty Nose, Southern Tier, Stone, Victory, Magners Cider, and Spaten Brewing.

westbend beer event brewhouse rocks lewisville nc beer

Westbend Vineyards & Brewhouse Rocks! for St. Jude’s!

On Saturday, September 8, if you’re around Lewisville, NC (west of Winston-Salem), you can head to the Westbend Vineyards & Brewhouse Rocks event! Best part? This event is $10 and benefits the St. Jude’s Childrens Research Hospital!!! According to their website, “Live music all day! The Phase Band performs from 1 to 5pm. Blue Monday performs from 6 to 10pm. Come see the finest BMW M-series cars in the southeast and enjoy some authentic German food! Also, #31 Zack Staley will be here so bring your camera and he will be signing autographs. Food will be available for purchase by the Snack Wagon from Greensboro and The German Club. Picnics welcome, no outside alcohol allowed. Gates open at 11am. Westbend Brewhouse introduces its NEW Pumpkin Ale! Profits donated to St. Judes Children’s Research Hospital. $10 per person.” So go support a good cause if you’re in the area, and drink some beer and wine crafted by Westbend while you’re at it!

grapevine wine bar oktoberfest beer sampler fall beer

Grapevine’s Oktoberfest Saturday Beer Sampler!

At Grapevine Wine Shop in Baxter Village of Fort Mill, SC, there is a Saturday Beer Sampler coming up on September 8 featuring 6 Oktoberfest pours. Each pour will be a 6-ounc pour, no chintzy tastings from Grapevine, no sir! You can stop in anytime between 2-5 pm on Saturday and ask for the Beer Sampler to get your Oktoberfest drink on! Cost is $12 per person for this yummy sampling!

greek festival greek beer yiasou charlotte

Visit Charlotte’s Yiasou Greek Festival for Greek Beer & Wine!

Finally, from September 13-16 in Charlotte, you can go to the Yiasou Greek Festival off of East Blvd, and try out your hand at some Greek Beer and Wine, while enjoying lots of wonderful Greek Food, to the accompaniment of Traditional Greek Dances, Music, and Singing. In addition, there are plenty of shops to peruse, free tours of the Greek Orthodox Catherdral, recreations of the Greek Changing Of The Guards Of The Unknown Soldier and Warriors of Greece Reenactment, and enjoy a few hours wandering about fully entertained for the cost of $2 admission plus whatever you purchase! Non-Alcoholic drinks and Domestic Beer choices accompany a selection of Greek Specialties: Mythos Beer, Greek Red & White Wines, Greek Retsina (Rosé Wine), Mavrodaphne (Greek Dessert Wine), and Greek Sherry!
WHEW! Okay that took a lot of time, so yes, it’s Thursday when I’m posting this, but I know you guys are awesome and patient, so it won’t bother you at all that all this information is not coming out on my normal Wednesday for Beer Postings! Because you rock like that.

Anyways, let me know if you visit any of these events, and what you think of any of the beers that you try out! I think you’ll all enjoy whatever you get into from this selection of events, so keep me posted on if I’m right or not! Until later, cheers and Happy Thursday!

Craft You Later,
Beth

Wednesday Beer Blog: Red Oak and Kind Breweries

Hello Again Beer Fiends!

A continuation of the brewers that were at the US National Whitewater Center a few weeks ago for the outdoor beer event they did. Since the next two breweries only had 5 beers between them, I decided to combine them into this blog entry. So sue me. (Really, please don’t sue me, this is purely an entertainment thing, no revenue, and my cat would starve, and do you really want to be the cause of that?!?! No? Whew, I knew you were good people, thank you!).

Red Oak Brewery

Red Oak Brewery. Ahhh, good old Red Oak. The name brings to mind a sturdy, don’t-mess-with-me tree, doesn’t it? For me, this is one of my favorite NC beers. I first heard of Red Oak when I waited tables back in my late teens, which was **gasp** almost a decade ago. I have see more and more Charlotte restaurants starting to carry it in the last two years, which makes me happy for Red Oak. Once I hit 21, of course, the restaurant didn’t carry Red Oak anymore (in lieu of Sam Adams, so really, who can complain — as a patron?), so I had to go looking for it to try. All the customers seemed to like it back when I waited tables, so I had wanted to try it to see what all the fuss was about. Score one for me, I found it eventually, and really really liked it. Smooth & tasty, mmmm.

So eventually, about 2 years ago, I was introduced to their other two brews, Hummin’ Bird, and Battlefield Bock. I’ve tried the Hummin’ Bird before, and really enjoyed its crisp, light ale taste. Having never tried the Bock before, I sampled some of that at this event. I really like Porters and Stouts, if you haven’t figured that out from my beer posts yet. So trying this Bock, I was anticipating great things since I like the other two RO brews so much. I was not disappointed, as this was a chocolate-coffee-cream flavor-filled beer that was thick like Guiness, but a little sweet like a Young’s Double Chocolate Stout. It was delicious.

Hummin’ Bird

Red Oak Amber Lager

Battlefield Bock

So that concludes the Red Oak Brewery segment of our event!

Kind Brewery

Now onto Kind Beers. This brewery has a Pale Ale and a Belgian Style Red Ale as well, both available in the bottle or draft around North Carolina. This brewery is based out of Charlotte, NC, and a motto of “fewer things that make up a better beer”. I had tried the Pale Ale at the Beertopia Festival a few months ago, so decided to partake of the Belgian Red for this USNWC event. It was a great Red ale, full of spicy and smooth notes in turns, with hints of citrus winding through each sip to cap it off. Kind Beers describes their two flagship ales below…

“Our Pale Ale is a stronger version of an American-Style Pale Ale but brewed with an international blend of malts including British Maris Otter Pale Malt and specialty malts Belgian Aromatic as well as Crystal 60. It is smooth and at 7.3% alcohol by volume, this stalwart pale ale is brewed to be more robust than the standard American-Style Pale Ale.”

“Our Belgian Style Red Ale pours a deep red and presents aromas of tropical fruit, citrus, and toasted malt.  It is brewed with a Belgian Trappist yeast, noble hops, and malt from Belgium and Germany.  Medium bodied and 6% abv, it is very drinkable yet still has complex flavors that only the right Belgian yeast can provide.”

So there you have it, two breweries from North Carolina, repping it well! Let me know if you’ve tried these yummy beers before, and what you think of 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

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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