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Charlotte Oktoberfest – Homebrews

Hello Beer Fiends,

As long-promised and overdue, here is the first of the Charlotte Oktoberfest write-ups that I have from the 2012 Charlotte Oktoberfest festival held at the Metronlina Tradeshow Expo on September 29, 2012.

2012 Charlotte Oktoberfest Homebrewers

2012 Charlotte Oktoberfest!

Homebrewers. The local legends of beer one-off experimentations, imitations-of-large-name-beers, and classic styles redone with new twists. These are the people that like making little tweaks to their recipes to make it that extra little bit more <insert beer flavor, aroma or aftertaste of your choice here>.

Now, I will admit, being a novice to the Oktoberfest scene, that I did not do the Homebrewer section the way I should have, and in fact missed a LOT of homebrewer tents completely, let alone beers that I wanted to try out.

So to make up for that, to the homebrewers as well as myself and you all, I am going to list the brews that I tried, and then tomorrow post the list of all that were available that I wasn’t able to try. Got to give a nod to everyone, after all!

Homebrews I Tried:
Brewer / Style of Beer / Unique Beer Name: Review of Beer
Bill Lynch / Strong Scotch Ale / Bill’s Big Kilted Co*k: This was a full flavored scotch ale, and the “strong” part was definitely right on the money. The malts in this were close to an amber ale, and balanced nicely with some caramel undertones in the aroma and flavor. A little sweetness and a heavy dose of oak finished the flavor off nicely for me.

Bill Lynch / Imperial IPA / Cunning Linguist Imperial IPA: this hearty IPA was full of hops and citrus, with a smooth bite to the end of each sip that let you know you weren’t drinking a wimpy Pale Ale (really, I love you PAs, don’t hate me!!!), but rather an Imperial (Double) IPA full of character and, well, hops! This was good. The name clearly was a seller for it as well.

Bill Lynch / Specialty Beer / Dork Peppermint Patty Stout: This was my favorite of the homebrews, actually. First, it says “Dork”, and that fits me VERY well as a moniker (hey, wear it and be proud, right?!?), and second – peppermint patty?!?! Yes please and thank you kindly. This tasted like a York Peppermint Patty married a Young’s Double Chocolate Stout, and this beauty was the amazing offspring they produced together. (Now do you believe it was my favorite?) The porter coffee notes came through very lightly, but this beer was all about the chocolate and peppermint from start to finish. It didn’t taste like an Altoid, it tasted like a -chocolate- mint. Very well balanced with an understated alcohol punch to it.

**Maybe I should insert here that Bill is a friend of mine’s dad, so we of course had to try quite a few of his beers out! ;-)**

David Jones / Bohemian Pilsner / Czech Your Head: This cleverly titled beer was lighter density, with clear citrus and hop notes from start to finish. It had a bit of a bite to it with the hops, but it smoothed out with the citrus completely. This was a really good beer, we all enjoyed it.

Brian Schonder / Specialty Beer / Dirty Blonde Kitty: This banana beer was super surprising. It tasted almost like a super banana-y banana bread without the nuts (ok, shhhhush!). The caramel malt flavor came through very well underneath the banana, and complemented the medium-weight feel of this beer very well. Plus, again, the name. Gotta love it, and gotta try them, especially if you have a Kat with you! 😉 (loveyoumeanitlady!)

Rob Adams / Fruit Beer / Chocolate Cherry Stout: As a self-proclaimed chocolate junkie, I had to try this beer out. This wasn’t quite as chocolatey as I was expecting, more of a light milk chocolate (lighter flavor and profile), but the cherry flavor came through very well and was almost stronger than the chocolate. This was a good fruit stout, and a lighter feeling one at that (that is not a criticism either).

Loren Standley / Spice, Herb or Vegetable Beer / Sweet Potato Pecan Pie Ale: This was a nice surprise in a very nutty ale, which definitely tasted of sweet potato and malted caramel flavors to me. I enjoyed this more vegetabley beer a lot, especially as it stood out from so many of the others by taste. This was very much an earthier yet sweet medium-bodied beer.

Jason Thornton / Specialty Beer / Joyful Coconut Porter: This was a delicious and island-feeling porter that was basically like someone soaked a stout with Mounds candies. A lot of coconut flavor, a hint of nuttiness but just a hint, and a lot of strong porter coffee and chocolate undertones combined to make this a very enjoyable porter. Everything balanced nicely, and I thoroughly enjoyed this as a huge fan of Mounds candies! 🙂

Nicole Cendrowski / American Stout / Metrosexual Chocolate: This milky chocolate stout ale had an undertone of coffee, but was mostly milk chocolate and a little bit of spice melded into the blend for a nice and somewhat lighter stout. This was a really good stout, I thought, plus the name is just fun as well!

Dave Koenig / Cream Ale / Cheap Trick: This was a decent cream ale, and since I’m not a huge fan of the style, that is pretty much a good recommendation, haha… It was definitely creamy, and definitely had a full flavor though I personally thought it had a little bit of a caramel undertone to it (my friend disagreed), while still being a solid ale with the malt flavors as well. Plus, this band just rocks, so we of course had to try it!

Tomorrow I will post the other Homebrews available which I was unable to try! Gotta share the love after all! 😉

Craft You Later,
Beth

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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,
Beth

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: 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

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