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Wednesday Beer Log – Catawba Valley Brewing

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. The next brewery we sampled was the Catawba Valley Brewing Company. Mmmm.

Catawba Valley Brewing Company

This is the first I’ve heard of Catawba Valley Brewing, so I was greatly intrigued at finding a new local brewery to try out. Also, their beer logos are great. Observe the above and below pictures for entertainment.

Catawba Valley Brewing Company

So onto the beers, aka the good stuff. Yum.

As you can see in the above pictures, they only brought 4 of their beers to this tasting event, and one is so special it’s not on their website. Unfortunately, we didn’t try that one, so I can’t talk about it at all. However the label is awesome for it. Yay.

Farmer Ted’s Farmhouse Cream Ale

Paying homage to the original settlers of Appalachia and brewed with natural ingredients such as wheat, corn, American hops and free range yeast. This crisp refreshing ale is the product of Catawba Valley’s vision of early American brewing.

Brown Bear Ale

Known for the classic “black bear”, the mountains of North Carolina are home to the extremely rare “Brown Bear”. Though members of the same bear species, the “Brown Bear” has become renowned for its rarity as well as its beautiful chocolate color…traits we hope to emulate in our English style Brown Bear Ale.

Firewater Indian Pale Ale

This golden straw colored IPA is made with 5 varieties of malts and 6 massive hop additions. It is outstanding in flavor and aromatics.

Honest Injun Stout

It’s a desert unto it’s self, this fine ale is produced with 100% malted barley ,free range yeast and LOVE.

Indian Head Red Ale

Indian Head Red is a rich, caramel colored ale. An unique roasted grain creates a sweet malty taste and its distinctive color, and Cascade hops gives it a slight citrusy aroma.

White Zombie Ale

A Belgium white ale made with coriander, orange peel, and wheat. This beer is refreshing and tasty with a sweet and shimmering frothy head.

King Don’s Pumpkin Ale

Perhaps our most complex beer. King Don’s uses five separate barley styles, an artistic touch of hops, spices normally reserved for baking, and really fresh pumpkin! The caramel, spice, and pumpkin flavors meld into a wonderfully smooth, orange-hued beer that sports a luscious, creamy foam head. This beer is available in the fall.

King Coconut Porter

This unusual American Porter has become a Spring seasonal mainstay for Catawba Valley Brewing Company. Hand crafted using the finest malts & hops then infused with actual oven roasted coconut. Combined with the rich chocolaty Porter, coconut, and caramelized barley, King Coconut Porter has become lovingly known as the candy bar in a keg.

Hyper Monkey Java Stout

Hyper Monkey has an eye popping complexity that is unmistakably unique. Its remarkable smoothness and delicious flavor pairings makes this one of our fast growing favorites.

Now, we tried out the White Zombie, as I was in the mood for a Belgian with some zest to it, and it was incredibly delicious. A true belgian-style wheat with a good amount of flavor and a tart zing at the end to bring out the orange zest flavor, this was a very yummy hot-summer-day selection! I am going to have to find the King Don’s Pumpkin Ale come fall, as pumpkin ales are a special weakness of mine!

Craft You Later,
Beth

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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

Wednesday Beer Blog: Foothills Brewery

Hello Beer Buddies!

I recently did a beer event where we went and tasted a bunch of beers with a backdrop of the US National Whitewater Center. It. Was. Gorgeous. And sunny and hot enough that my no-sunscreen-applied state (whoopsies!) left me a bit burnt, but hey – eventually that turns into a tan, so at least it didn’t turn into sun poisoning, right?! Maybe? Okay, I give up. Back to the beer…

First brewery up to bat is Foothills Brewery, out of Winston-Salem, North Carolina! This brewery doubles as a restaurant, and uses the freshest ingredients possible for both their beer and food. Having never been to the store, I was excited to get to try their beer again!

Foothills Brews 1 @ USNWC

Foothills Brews 2 @ USNWC

Staple beers year-round (* indicates was available at the event):

Salem Gold

Pilot Mountain Pale Ale

Torch Pilsner*

People’s Porter*

Hoppyum IPA*

Seeing Double IPA

Carolina Blonde

Carolina Strawberry

Cottonwood Endo

Seasonal beers (* indicates was available at the event):

Total Eclipse Stout

Rainbow Trout ESB

Gruffmeister Malbock

Sexual Chocolate

Foothills Red

Foothills Hefeweizen*

India Style Brown Ale

Oktoberfest

I have had the Hefeweizen, Carolina Blonde & Strawberry, Cottonwood, and People’s Porter. I thoroughly enjoyed each of these beers for each of their unique qualities, and hope to try as many more as possible from this brewery. Another winner of a craft brewery that is hard-pressed to produce anything even just “okay” for each of their styles! Yum! Let me know your thoughts on this brewery and their beers!

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

Wednesday Beer Log: Hometown Breweries 2

The long awaited sequel… here we go, beer friends!

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!

A few weeks ago, I covered the Kalamazoo Breweries. Today I am covering the Charlotte breweries. Ahhh Charlotte: the Queen City, the intersection of I-77 and I-85, the home of the Carolina Panthers & Charlotte Checkers & Charlotte Knights, the home of NASCAR Hall of Fame, the melting pot of +12 colleges & universities, an international flight hub, and the 2nd largest banking capitol in the USA. Quite a lot to be said for this town. And the beer presence is just getting started in full swing!

The beer scene may just be getting afloat in the numbers, but there are already quite a few awesome breweries in town, and a few more coming soon, too!

Old Mecklenberg Brewery: This South Charlotte brewery is one of the more veteran spots in Charlotte to go get your growlers and fresh-poured beer.
a) OMB Copper: an authentic Düsseldorf style “Altbier” with 4.8% ABV. Technically, OMB Copper is an ale due to the type of yeast it’s made from (Obergärig or top fermenting yeast).  However, a long time ago the folks in Düsseldorf learned that by lagering their Alt for several weeks after primary fermentation they could produce a full-flavored, yet smoother and more refreshing beer. OMB uses authentic ingredients in our Copper Altbier, including expensive (but worth it) noble Bavarian hops. We also adhere to traditional, time consuming, costly decoction brewing techniques to produce this copper hued, amazingly satisfying “lagered ale.”
b) Captain James Jack Pilsner: OMB developed this smooth, refreshing pilsner beer as our salute to the spirit, courage and resolve of Captain Jack and the members of the Mecklenburg Convention. A classic northern German “Pils”, this straw-colored lager is smooth, with a subtle yet assertive hoppiness that doesn’t overwhelm your palate or the beer’s malt backbone. A perfect summer refresher. 4.8% ABV.
c) Seasonal Frueh Bock – Literally “Early” Bock, Frueh is also short for Fruehling which is the German word for Spring.  This deep golden Bock lager is malty sweet with a touch of fruity, almost citrusy notes that linger on the palate.  And although  this Helles Bock/Maibock-style beer has a higher alcohol content, it is not at all obvious to the taste.  More than a month of lagering results in a very smooth character.  Frueh is the perfect beer for those transitional days where the cold winds of winter are still battling it out with the warm breezes of spring.  6.0% ABV.
d) Seasonal Rein Pale Ale (RPA) a cross between an American-style pale ale and a German-style lagered ale.  This distinctive ale is brewed with a combination of four different American and German barley malt varieties, spicy American Tettnang and noble Czech Saaz hops.  A beautiful light amber color, this moderately bitter pale ale is an enjoyable selection for almost any occasion.  And like all OMB beers our RPA is brewed in strict accordance with the world famous German “Reinheitsgebot” beer purity law of 1516.  That means it’s all natural, with no chemicals, preservatives or cheap adjunct ingredients.  Malt, hops, water and yeast.  Nothing else.  Taste the difference!  5.2% ABV.
e) Seasonal Mecktoberfest – A classic Maerzen style amber lager.  The original Oktoberfest Bier and quintessential Ueberseasonal.  Rich and malty up front, which transitions to a smooth, satisfying finish courtesy of the noble Bavarian hops and a flavor profile produced by an outstanding  yeast strain from the oldest brewery in the world.  If there were a season for beer, fall would be it.  And for beer season, nothing beats Mecktoberfest!  5.4% ABV.
f) Seasonal Bauern Bock This holiday “Farmer’s Bock”, or Country Bock as we like to call it, will be sure to instill the harvest season spirit in you.  A German-style doppelbock lager, Bauern Bock is rich and malty with a deep amber color to match the changing colors of the fall season.  It is also OMB’s “biggest” beer at 7.5% ABV.
g) Seasonal Dunkel Munich-style dark winter lager.  Smooth, with a roasted malt flavor courtesy of Dark munich and Carafa malts, Dunkel will please your palette as it warms your spirit.  It could be the perfect answer to a dark, cold winter’s day.  If you’re looking for a beer that has substantial body and flavor, yet remains very smooth and easy drinking, choose Dunkel.  4.9% ABV.
h) Yule Bock This holiday treat is an authentic German-style “Weihnachtsbockbock” (Christmas Bock).  Its deep amber color with just a hint of holiday crimson is derived from a select combination of premium European barley malts.  Noble hops provide just the right balance for its pronounced malty character.  This full-bodied, malty, smooth winter lager will provide a touch of warmth to contrast the cold winter weather.  Enjoy it with friends and family this holiday season.  6.5% ABV.

NoDa Brewing Company: This is my favorite local brewery so far. Just so you know, I am biased towards them. But to be fair, I will take the comments from their site and post those, not my own, the same treatment everyone else’s beers got. 😉
a) Coco Loco Porter: Chocolate and Brown malts contribute a stunningly deep rich color with ruby highlights in this Robust Porter. The slight bitterness from American chocolate is balanced with the sweet roastiness of toasted organic coconut. A great beer before, during, or after a meal! 6.2% ABV, 40 IBUs.
b) Ramble on Red: A balanced and interesting red ale that uses the unique combination of Rye malt and Belgian Special B with Northern Brewer and Challenger hops. Enjoy this beer as the start of the wild and crazy road through the world of NoDa craft brews. 5.2% ABV, 30 IBUs.
c) 10 Blocks South Xtra Pale Ale: Tired of the standard American Pale Ale? Not feeling the hop bite and higher ABV of an IPA? We have something in-between. What you get is a hop-centric but easy drinking beer with tons of citrus and floral hop character brought on by Centennial, Cascade, Columbus and Chinook hops and backed with a solid malt bill. 5.5% ABV, 56 IBUs.
d) NoDaRyeZ’d: Double Rye India Pale Ale with a solid malt backbone with a hefty amount of Rye, to further the grain bill, plus a 7 hop blend gives this beer an “American” IPA flavor and aroma but also accentuate the spiciness of the Rye. 8.65% ABV, 90 IBUs.
e) Hop, Drop ‘n Roll IPA, the rich golden color comes from a blend of English and American base malts accented with substantial amounts of Vienna and Wheat malt. The American citrus hops take center stage with emphasis on late boil additions of Citra and Amarillo. This signature ale is hopped before, during, and after the boil! 7.2% ABV, 80 IBUs.
f) Midnight Madness:  This is our version of a Cascadian Dark Ale, more commonly known as a Black IPA. Made with five hop varieties: Cascade, Centennial, Columbus (Tomahawk), Chinook, and Warrior. 6.75% ABV, 71 IBUs.
g) Monk’s Trunks: This Belgian pale ale utilizes traditional Belgian malts and European hops. The Belgian yeast brings flavors of apple, banana, vanilla and grapes naturally through its fermentation and accented with seeds of paradise. This blend is an intriguing palate pleaser. 5.6% ABV, 27 IBUs.
h) TriUmphant: A Belgian style Tripel brewed with all traditional Belgian malts, continental hops, Belgian yeast and enough Belgian candi-sugar to make an Umpalumpa blush. The rich esters from our Belgian yeast will fill your nose, mouth and soul with a feeling of accomplishment never seen before in a macro beer world. 9.7% ABV, 35 IBUs.
i) Ghost Hop White IPA: with the grain bill of an IPA, minus the color, and the hops of a true Northwestern IPA, all delicately fermented with Belgian Wit yeast.  It is an American IPA-Belgian love child! It has the light body and drinkability of a Belgian Wit with the Citrus & Pine flavors from the Amarillo and Centennial hops. 5.9% ABV, 70 IBUs.

Four Friends Brewing Company: this local brewery focuses on flavor and variety in their selections, and I have yet to taste one that fails to impress me.
a) i77 IPA, a 7.7% ABV crisp IPA with a hop forward nose that leads to an abundance of hop flavor on the pallate. I-77 will intrigue the hop lover who knows a quality beer and isn’t afraid to challenge themselves with the bold flavors of Warrior, Chinook, Williamette, and Cascade hops.
b) Queen City Red, a deep mahogany red Ale, 6% ABV, that blends six malts in perfect harmony. Smooth and subtle yet robust and rich with flavors of coffee, malt, chocolate and toffee delicately balanced and enticing.
c) Misty Mountain Hop, a 7.8% ABV harvest ale that is well balanced, moderate bitterness and with a noticeable hop aroma which makes this ale appealing to a variety of beer drinkers from the casual pale ale lover to the serious hophead. Brewed with fresh Cascade hops grown locally in Charlotte, this truly is a home-town beer!
d) Uptown Brown Ale, a 6.6% ABV Fall ale that celebrates the sophistication and discerning taste of those that proudly call Charlotte Uptown their home. Savor the noble aroma of the Finest English Hops before dissecting the flavors that 7 carefully blended malts deliver. Experience the coffee flavors so delicately balanced with chocolate overtones as subtle hints of toasted malts flow onto the palate.
e) Dubbel D., a 8.2% ABV Fall ale that is a malt rich, spicy ale with a subtle floral nose that gives way to a multitude of rich herbal tones. This copper hued beauty is rich and robust with an explosion of flavors on the pallate that culminates into a slight alcohol warmth from its elevated gravity.
f) 24KT, a Belgian Style Golden ale with 7.2% ABV that comes out for Spring and Summer only. Whether you are winding down from a long day or winding up to get your night started “just right”; take a ride with this easy drinking Belgian blonde. Enjoy some with your friends or share a round with the person next to you and make the most of your night.

Birdsong Brewing: this local NoDa area brewery sits across the lot from NoDa Brewing, and focuses on unfiltered craft beers. Here are there current selections:
a) Free Will Pale Ale: Pale Ale designed to be sessionable and approachable for drinkers from any beer background. The beer combines traditional English hop varieties (Fuggles) as well as new American varieties (Galena) to create a floral and slightly citrusy hop aroma with a decent bitterness behind it. The malt background is just as delicate with hints of toast and honey flavors. 5.5% ABV, 45 IBUs.
b) Lazy Bird Brown Ale: It pours a mahogany brown with a noticeable lemony yet roasty aroma, which comes from a heavy amount of cascade hops at the end of the boil as well as a generous amount of roasted barley in the mash. This combination of malt and hop intricacy makes for an enjoyable beer year round. 5.5% ABV, 45 IBUs.
c) Higher Ground IPA: Birdsong’s first high gravity offering, is a classic West Coast IPA style, with a hearty dose of Cascade hops to create a delicious citrusy flavor and aroma. We also include specialty crystal malts to give the beer it’s unique caramel color and firm malt foundation. It’s noticeable bitterness is balanced by a subtle caramel background to make for an easy drinking IPA. 7% ABV, 65 IBUs.
d) Up On The Sun Saison: This farmhouse ale is the color of the sun. Brewed with Sorachi Ace hops, our saison is incredibly refreshing and tart with a heavy dose of herbaceous and stone fruit aromas. It is dry and crisp on the palate with a blend of wheat flavor and pepper spice. We’re only brewing this batch once for Spring, so come and get it while it’s available. 7.5% ABV, 45 IBUs.
e) Free Will Jalepeno-Infused Pale Ale: Our Free Will Pale Ale.. with fresh Jalapenos added to give it a fresh, pepper flavor and this time we’ve included some of the seeds for a little heat! This is a limited release, so enjoy it while it’s here.  5.5% ABV, 45 IBUs.

Kind Beers: this veteran Charlotte brewery has been producing beers since 2008, with a focus on simple and delicious beers. With 4 beers available, they’re a delicious choice to pick-up from the store for a local selection!
a) Pale Ale, 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. 
b) 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.
c) NEW: Imperial Pale Ale and Coffee Oatmeal Stout – these brews have just been released into the collection, and are sure to continue the Kind Beer experience even further!

Rock Bottom Brewery: Located in the heart of Uptown Charlotte, this restaurant & brewery is one of the few places that you can get food but not a Bud Light. It makes me so happy to see that, too! All of their beers are hand-crafted and are the only beers they offer. They do seasonal beers, as well, however those are in addition to a staple line-up of full-timers.
a) Southern Flyer Light Lager: Our lightest beer in color and body. Crisp and smooth, this low-calorie, low-carb lager is sure to go down easy. Hersbrucker hops provide a subtle balance. 3.6% ABV, 12 IBU.
b) Prospector’s Pilsner: A refreshing golden hued European-style pilsner with a sublime Czech Saaz hop signature. 5.0% ABV, 32 IBU.
c) Stingin’ Brits IPA: This classic copper colored ale has a pronounced hop aroma and assertive bitterness. American-grown Galena and Cascade hops are the star of this fragrant and citrusy dry-hopped masterpiece. 6% ABV, 55 IBU.
d) Sweet Magnolia American Brown Ale: British Crystal and Chocolate malts give this ale a medium body and rich, sweet aroma. Mount Hood hops add a spicy and floral nose. This smooth, malty brew was a Gold Medal winner in the American Brown Ale category at the 1998 Great American Beer Festival. 5.2 % ABV, 24 IBUs.
e) Iron Horse Stout: A four-time medal winner, this London-style sweet stout is bold, aggressive and deep black in color with a rich, roasted flavor from a generous addition of UK Chocolate malt and roasted barley. 5.7% ABV, 27 IBUs.

Triple C Brewing: this up-and-coming Southend Brewery is slated to open in Summer 2012! Cannot wait to see what this will bring!

Let me know if you’ve tried any of these, as I have had some but not the majority yet. Would love to hear what you think of these places, and which is your favorite!

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 – April 4

Hello Beer Fiends!

Now I am sure most of you reading this have already read my post from Monday about the viewing party at Noda Brewing Company for the movie “The Love Of Beer”. And if you haven’t, well, then, shame on you, and get hoppin’ over to reading it! 😉

Back to the beer for today. When I was at Noda Brewing Company on Sunday for the viewing, I got another 4-beer sampler of Noda Beers to try out! Having previously tried 4 of their brews, and not yet finding one that I didn’t like, I decided to be adventurous again. Please, contain your shock, I know it’s a lot to take in, but I trust you can handle it…

First up to bat:

TriUmphant Belgian Style Tripel: ABV 9.7% IBU 35 SRM 6.8

TriUmphant, indeed. This was a heavier “lighter-bodied” beer, if that makes any sense. This brew had a definite “belgian” taste to it, that I really enjoyed. I had to take a few sips of this one to try to narrow the flavor down, and I really didn’t get it quite figured out until I read this from the Noda website, which nails this beer flavor perfectly: “[with] enough Belgian candi-sugar to make an Umpalumpa blush”. That is exactly it! With a little bit of malted citrus (think of that as a candy, I dare you!), but just a TINY hint, to round out the flavor.

Second at bat:

Hop, Drop ‘n Roll IPA: ABV 7.2% SRM 9.7 IBU 80

Can we say hops? And one more time, please! This is a hoppylicious concoction of lighter-bodied ale that had a hint of citrus, but not too much. Mostly it was just Hop Hop Hopping along. (Quit groaning, you chuckled, you know you did, so just admit it already!)

Third to bat:

NoDaRyeZ’d Double Rye IPA: ABV 8.65% SRM 12 IBU 90

I am not really experienced with the Rye Ales, however I have to say the flavoring on this Double Rye added some zing and pizazz to my beer drinking palate: malt with a bit of a bite to it. This was really good, not that I’m surprised with Noda, but hey – new kind of beer, you never know!

Fourth for the home run:

Coco Loco Porter: ABV 6.2% SRM 32 IBU 40

I actually have had this beer before, but as it was my favorite last time, and I had only 3 “new” beers to try, I had to get this one again. Dessert-esque beer goodness? Yes, please!!! Chocolate undertones, and toasted roasted coconut goodness, with the wonder of a porter? BRING IT ON. I mean it, where is my Coco Loco beer, seriously?!? Slacking, I tell you, so sad.

Wait, this is my blog, so maybe I should have had some beer for you? Crackers, what a fail. Tell you what, head over to the Tap Room at Noda and it’s Noda Brews all the time, that should work for us all, right?!? Or there is a whole list right here of other places that serve Noda Brewing Co. beers on-site! 

If you didn’t notice, I really like this brewery. I also would like to say they freaking rock extra now, because I totally (first time EVER) left my debit card there (that whole “start a tab” totally bit me for real!), and since it was Sunday and the Tap Room is closed on Monday (EEK!!!!) I was a bit freaking out (Todd & Suzie: thank you guys for NOT smacking me for that!) that I wasn’t going to have my lifebloo—debit card until Tuesday. NOOOO! So Suzie called me back (you know I had to call and leave a probably-groan-worthy-annoying-to-boot message about my foible with them in an attempt to find the thing), and let me know that I could swing by because someone was there “right now” that would wait for me until I could come get it (since I work 15 mins away and all). HOW SWEET?!?! How awesome?!?! I seriously will forever be a fan of Noda solely because they didn’t call me an idiot for this (me doing it NOR me freaking about it), despite such open opportunity for it! Pretty sure Todd wanted to pat me on the head a few times and tell me to breathe, though, haha… 😉 But anyways, they rock, I heart them dearly, their beer is awesome, and I swear I will never do that tab-and-leave thing again!!!

So now that my Beer Log for Noda Brews is done, complete with a shake-your-head-ruefully story, I hope you all have a wonderful week , and let me know if you have any beer recommendations for me to try and ‘review’!

Craft You Later,
Beth

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