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Fall Beer Tasting Fun

Hello Beer Fiends,

A few friends and I took a trip down beer tasting lane and did a Great Pumpkin Tasting event at one of the friends’ houses a while ago. Everyone brought a selection of beers to share, and a few munchies to pass around, and the hosts provided the glasses and a spot for everyone to congregate! Awesome!

So that said, before we get into the plethora of Charlotte Oktoberfest beer tastings, I wanted to outline the beers we tasted for this fun get together event.

pumpkin beer tap carving oktoberfest

Inspiring Pumpkin ‘Beer’!

Disclaimer: I am pretty sure that I missed a few of the beers, so if you see a favorite Fall beer is missing, comment and tell us all about it so we can go find it to share the love!

These are in no particular order:

Oak Jacked Imperial Pumpkin Ale by Uinta Brewing Company: this 10.31% pumpkin ale was strong, with a hearty feel to each sip, slightly heavy on the oak undertones, and had some strong pumpkin (not pie spice) flavors intertwining with it all to tie it together. Another good one by Uinta.

Ace Hard Pumpkin Cider by Ace Cider: this was probably the best hard cider I’ve tasted. And I really like hard cider. Pumpkin juice overtones, pumpkin spice undertones, with a hint of the apple cider crispness and feel at the beginning and end of the sip. The light flavor was not understated at all, and made the flavors that much more enjoyable. YUM.

Gordgeous by Noda Brewing Company: ahhh, Noda Seasonals. How I love thee, let me count the ways. Seriously, if you like everything by Noda like me, you’ll just add this to the checklist of “YUM” productions. Since I did a write-up on this beer already, I’m just going to link & copy here: At 6.4% ABV with 17 SRMs and 29 IBUs, this is a fantastic pumpkin ale that isn’t too pumpkiny, isn’t too pumpkin pie-spiced, and isn’t too heavy. The carmelization of the pumpkin comes through the sips, as do each of the spices they added. The ginger adds a nice balancing note that makes it not taste like every other pumpkin ale. This beer has a great “this is fall!” feel to it while you sip it staring at the falling leaves. It tastes, quite simply, like a harvest pumpkin beer should: pumpkin, blended spices and harvest married on a medium-bodied sip of ale. Maybe under a full moon. In a gordgeous tux, no less.

Fat Jack Double Pumpkin by Samuel Adams: this 8.5% ABV beer has a molasses and malty flavor winding through the strong pumpkin and caramel-pumpkin pie spice flavors. Has a heavy feel on the front and middle, but finishes with a flourish of flavor. Another great and delicious contribution by Sam Adams to the seasonal selections!

Oktoberfest by Blue Point Brewing Company: this 5.5% ABV ale is crafted in the spirit of the Oktoberfest origins, with hints of malt, caramel, honey, toast, nuts and a touch of apple to take you on the journey from start to finish of this beer. It had a definite fall taste and aroma to it throughout!

Gruntled Pumpkin by RJ Rockers Brewing Company: this 7.3% ABV ale has an aroma of more straight pumpkin and a taste of more pumpkin pie spice. It was delicious, I thought, and very pumpkiny while not being super overwhelmed by the ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon and clove flavors that you can definitely teaste. There was also a hint of a pie crust taste underneath, which was very hard to describe in any other way.

The Great’ER Pumpkin by Heavy Seas Beer: this 9% ABV bourban barrel-aged pumpkin ale spends an apparent 3 weeks going from The Great Pumpkin to The Great’ER Pumpkin, courtesy of the barrels at Virginia’s A. Smith Bowman Distillery! Taking the brown sugar and caramel flavors, and intertwining them with cinnamon, vanilla, graham cracker crust (aka, with butter!), nutmeg, slight amount of ginger, and then pulling them all together with the pumpkin (gourd, not pie spice) flavor making everything taste delicious from start to finish. Three of the partiers dodn’t really like pumpkin, but all of them LOVED this beer. I love pumpkin, so this was high on my list of the days selections! Mmmm.

Coney Island Freaktoberfest by Shmaltz Brewing Company: this is a Freaky looking beer. If you want a great Halloween trick, give this in bottle to some friends with a glass, and make them pour it out in front of you. Observe and enjoy the exclamations that proceed! This delightfully dry, hoppy, slightly citrusy Oktoberfest surprises you mightily (at least it did all of us) by not being very ‘berry’ tasting at all. At least we didn’t think so. I expected it to taste like old school Robitussin, but it didn’t. It wasn’t my favorite beer, but it was definitely a decent and fun selection to add to the party!

Shmaltz Brewing Coney Island Freaktoberfest red beer

Shmaltz Brewing’s Coney Island Freaktoberfest!

Wookey Jack by Firestone Walker Brewing Company:  this delicious 8.3% ABV Black IPA is an unfiltered Rye Black IPA that carries the traditional Rye flavors along with the caramel, chocolate and coffee notes, to carry you from start to finish of each sip. As a fan of rye ales, this was really a nice surprise to sip on, and provided a nice contrast as well amongst all of the pumpkin and Oktoberfest offerings! Definitely a beer to drink at a bonfire or something equally woodsy, as well!

Cherry Saison by Funkwerks: this surprisingly delicious 9.5% ABV cherry saison completely blew my mind. Now, most of you probably don’t know it, but the first beer I ever actually liked (which is why I now still drink beer) was Cherry Wheat by Sam Adams. So I am very partial to the cherry beers, especially ones that don’t taste like lambics or cough syrup. I am also a little picky about them. This one was deeeelicious. Dark candied sugar and cherry (think bing or dark, not maraschino) flavors are up front, with a little cocoa and a little caramel on the back side of the sip. This beer I do believe was aged a little by the person who brought it, which may be why it was so smooth and delicious. It did have a little of the yeasty saison flavor and aroma but to me that was very understated compared to the other flavors and aromas. Definitely a good one to try though for fruit beer lovers!

Lolita (2011) by Goose Island Beer Company: This aged, 9% ABV “American wild ale” was probably the crowd favorite. This raspberry, CabSauv-oak barrel-aged ale was tart, fruity, oaky, with a little undertone of sour caramel (weird sounding, but that’s what it tasted like to me, okay!). The raspberry flavor was very strong, probably helped by being a 1-year aged (I think) bottle! I definitely recommend this one. I’m sure someone will correct me if my aging notes are wrong, though! 😉

The Great Pumpkin by Elysian Brewing Company: this 8% ABV imperial pumpkin ale has all of the roasted pumpkin flavor that I was hoping for with a side note of pumpkin pie spices (allspice, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg). It was a good, strong-profiled pumpkin ale that definitely had some malt and brown sugar notes to complement the pumpkin and spice.

Barktoberfest by Thirsty Dog Brewing Company: this traditional-styled Oktoberfest was really delicious, and had just enough sweet malts to temper the hop and spice flavors. I don’t know if it was the candied brown sugar or the caramel or the spice notes – but one of them, or maybe the combination, definitely made me think of fall when drinking this beer. At 6% ABV, it wasn’t nearly as strong as many others we tried, but the flavor was definitely as full as the others we tested out!

Forewarning: because we all brought so many beers, not everything was tried, so we’ll be doing a follow-up to try more beers sometime soon, and I will be sure to let you all know how those wind up tasting as well! 😉

Craft You Later,


Wednesday Beer Log- Noda New Releases

Hello Beer Friends,

I am sure you are going “what about Oktoberfest” right about now if you read my Friday beer log entry. However, I have decided to take this week to write them all up, then the next two weeks to post them up. This way I can be sure nothing is missed, and everyone gets to enjoy the awesomeness that is the list of beers from Charlotte Oktoberfest.

That said, Noda Brewing Company recently released a few new good (okay, great) beers into their line-up. Some for good, some for the season, and some for a very limited time. So let’s observe:

Get The Party Tarted: Cherry Sour Ale (until it runs out)
This beer was inspired by a Berliner Weisse…we call it a “NorthCarolinerWeisse”.  It’s infused with Bing cherries and raspberries. With 4.5% ABV and 10 IBUs, this tart and sour ale is absolutely delicious, light-bodied but full of flavor in every sip. I had two pints in a row of it, it was that good. (Yes, for me that is telling!) I really liked the fact this beer had a sour flavor that melded phenomenally with the tart cherry and light raspberry flavors. It never got too sour, too tart, nor too sweet. It was just perfectly balanced. Nice job Noda!


Get the party tarted indeed!

Dark-o’-Lantern: Pumpkin Spice Porter (Nodable Series, Limited Amount)
This pumpkin spice porter has cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves which lend to a more earthy character, with cinnamon being the primary taste.  At 6% ABV, 38 IBUs and 36 SRM – this beer has a strong malt flavor along with toasted barley, and a hint of the pumpkin pie spices we all know & love. This smokier beer has vague hints of pumpkin, but it is enough that it is definitely classified by taste as a yummy pumpkin porter!


Dark O' Lantern needs some light....or not!

Gordgeous: Pumpkin Ale (Fall Seasonal)
This Pumpkin is hot, and it knows it. Gordgeous uses over 100 lbs of organic pumpkin caramelized with 40 lbs of brown sugar. Noda used whole seed spices cracked on brew day and mixed allspice, cardamom, cloves and freshly shaved whole ginger root to create a unique pumpkin ale. At 6.4% ABV with 17 SRMs and 29 IBUs, this is a fantastic pumpkin ale that isn’t too pumpkiny, isn’t too pumpkin pie-spiced, and isn’t too heavy. The carmelization of the pumpkin comes through the sips, as do each of the spices they added. The ginger adds a nice balancing note that makes it not taste like every other pumpkin ale. This beer has a great “this is fall!” feel to it while you sip it staring at the falling leaves. It tastes, quite simply, like a harvest pumpkin beer should: pumpkin, blended spices and harvest married on a medium-bodied sip of ale. Maybe under a full moon. In a gordgeous tux, no less.

Hope’s Stout: Milk Stout (made for a great cause, click here for more information)
Noda wanted to achieve both a full bodied & complex stout character, but with the drinkability of a session ale, something that wouldn’t be unapproachable by the non-heavy dark beer drinkers. In part, probably because Hope’s dad (see link above if you’re lost by now) is a Budweiseresque beer drinker. Noda added a hefty amount of cocoa nibs to give the beer a distinctive dark chocolate character that melds well with the roasted notes from the dark malts. This 4% ABV, 39 SRM and 35 IBU beer is a definite keeper. This is a lighter-bodied stout, for sure, however it tastes like it was cooked with some steamed milk to bring the comfort of hot cocoa into a beer. I am not kidding here, nor waxing poetic. That is what it tastes like. With a little bit of malted milk ball flavor, a teeny bit of hoppiness (or happiness as the case is), and a lot of  the steamed milk flavor thrown in to give it just that perfect blend of a light stout. If you want a comfort beer, get this one. If you want to support a good cause, definitely get this one. Again, click the link above if you’re lost… 😉

Craft You Later,

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,

Wednesday Beer Log – Noda Hope Stout

Hello Beer Friends,

I feel honor-bound, as a full supporter of good causes – in particular causes in honor of/for kids – everywhere, to write today about a beer event that I found out about through a friend at work, via one of his friends who runs CharlotteBeer.Com.

So what is this worthiness I speak of (well, allude to mostly at this point), you ask? Let me tell you about Hope Stout, an inspiring young lady that the world lost too soon. Though from the mark she left on the community and so many people nationwide, you’d never guess she only lived 12 years.

Suffering from a rare bone cancer, osteosarcoma, Hope Stout was diagnosed and in a serious cancer battle over a very short period of time before her death in January 2004. While ill, the Make A Wish Foundation asked her what she wanted for her one wish. Her response was to ask how many kids were waiting for wishes. Upon learning there were 155, she declared her wish was that all of those kids got their wishes granted. When she heard that there wasn’t enough money available to grant the 155 wishes, she decided to raise the money herself. The months-long journey enabled her to raise over $500,000 – and was even more spectacular due to the fact that she did all of this while her disease was trying to take the fight out of her. This amazing girl refused to let it. Her generosity sparked a movement in the Carolinas, and the entire Nation, and eventually the goal was met. Hope did it. She gave hope to so many others. There is way more to this story, of course, but I just wanted to hit the highlights. Also, it’s hard to gather all the facts for you without resorting to emotional mini-meltdown from reading all of this incredibly touching information. Hard to say her life story was tragic when she more than exceeded living up to her name in only 12 years: Hope, indeed.

This young lady was so inspirational, and touched so many people with her selflessness, that there are a few ‘big events’ going on in the near future to honor her memory:

1) A movie is being made about her story, called “Hope’s Wish“. The screenplay is still being written, but big things are happening to memorialize this wonderful and selfless girl.

2) Annual Golf Tourney (October), Gala (March), and Cheerleading (February) Events, as well as various 3rd Party Fundraisers occur throughout the year.

annnnnd 3) NODA Brewing has come out with a beer in Hope’s honor, the Hope Stout. Hence being my Wednesday Beer Blog entry!

This 4% ABV Milk Stout was created by NODA head-brewer Chad in honor of the fact that Hope would have turned 21 on March 4, 2012. The debut of this beer is today (Wednesday 8/8/12) at VBGB Beer Garden in the NC Music Factory starting at 6:30pm. In addition, this beer will start being on the regular line-up starting early fall for NODA Brewing.

I plan to taste this beer soon, and I will do a follow-up with my opinion on it. However I can’t imagine that anything from NODA isn’t going to make my mouth water. And especially something this wonderful, well, the inspiration behind it just will make it that much tastier. So I had to share this with all of you, and I’m sure that many of you will be trying this wonderful concoction in the near future.

So go try a Hope Stout tonight at VBGB if you can, and regardless of where you are – raise a glass in toast to Hope Stout tonight. Happy Belated 21st Birthday, Hope! **cheers**

Craft You Later,

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,

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,

The Love Of Beer

Hello Beer Loving Peoples,

I know this isn’t a “Wednesday Beer Log” post, and it IS a Monday, to boot, however I wanted to share with you a special event I attended this weekend.

Noda Brewing Company did a private screening/viewing (first in North Carolina) of The Love Of Beer – a documentary about women in the craft beer industry. It. Was. Awesome. Completely awesome!

First off, let me say that while this event was heralded by the Charlotte Beer Babes, and the movie is about women in craft beer, this movie is in NO means geared towards just women. This movie was aimed at anyone that likes craft beer, period. And it scored a bulls-eye. Or two. Yeah, let’s go with two. I like that much better, and it fits!

So the mostly-male crowd at Noda paid the $8 per person for the movie ticket. One of the few times I’m completely okay with spending more than $5 on a movie, for sure! 😉 Anyways, the screening costs literally are covered by this $8 so it is going directly back into the movie. Woohoo, go small business support and supporters, yay!

This movie starts off with a picture of hops. Already we the crowd are pleased. Who wouldn’t be, really? Hops are definitely the hoppening thing for craft beer lovers, so what better way to grab your audience by the taste buds and hold onto them? (Shush all you groaning people, you know you loved that corny joke, so stop shaking your head like you didn’t smile!)

See?!?! Yumminess to grab your attention and keep it. Right there. Boom.

Moving on, we have an introduction into the Pacific Northwest Brewery scene, and quite a few of the leading women of the breweries and business that make up so much of the Pacific NW Craft Beer Industry. This includes an introduction into the Pink Boots Society, a women-in-beer organization that targets more women to get into the beer industry via education, homebrewing, tasting and so on. This also includes a look into quite a few women brewers and craft beer workers’ daily lives at various breweries, like Tonya Cornett of Bend Brewing Co. And this finally includes a look into the life and business of Sarah Pederson, publican of Saraveza out of Portland, OR.

The movie touches on each of these women’s lives but also on the aspects of craft beer that don’t have a thing to do with gender: daily production, hop purchasing, brewers conferences, national beer awards, figuring out recipes for new brews, how to get your foot in the door at a brewery, and the list goes on and on and on… This is seriously such a great movie, and I cannot say enough good things about it. However, I don’t want to say too much about it, because I think it is just totally worth seeing on your own, and I’d like to not spoil it!

See the video clip preview of this movie here, courtesy of Vimeo!

There is an upcoming NC viewing taking place Tues 4/3 in Raleigh, NC, at Fullsteam Brewing.
There will also be an NC viewing taking place on Wed 4/4 in Kinston, NC, at Mother Earth Brewing.

If you see this movie, let us (myself, Charlotte Beer Babes, and The Love Of Beer makers) know what you think, as we’re all on WordPress! 😉

Until later, hope you have a hoppy week, from both beer and Easter!

Craft You Later,

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