Sunday, July 10, 2016

Quest Brewing's 3rd Anniversary Bash Goes On, Despite Heat!

So, to summarize, despite the near-record setting temps yesterday, fun and frolic was not be be deterred at Quest Brewing Company's 3rd Anniv. bash and so the party went on. Music, dogs, food, kids and dads with hula hoops (Mike Okupinski comes to mind), Painter-Tots and of course, new beers to try. Lucky you if you chose to try the Nitro Pepper Pale cause it was a delight to drink. Hope that stays around. Conveniently posted near the inside bar, a schedule of releases throughout the day meant one had to work hard, doing research of course, to keep up. Alas, schedule obligations kept from staying to the end, but I'm hoping that tomorrow's Yoga class will be rewarded with some of the same beers on tap. Congrats again to Don, Andrew and the entire Quest crew for such a successful (and award winning) three years.
Some pix to document the occasion:

Cheers to all and best wishes for another successful three years!!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Thursday, July 7, 2016

October Comes Early to Thomas Creek

Another busy afternoon, another beer to research. Thomas Creek Brewery was the scene today of the bottling of their 2016 Octoberfest, which will be released next week. Tim Smith, TC spox, graciously let me try a bottle (required only a moderate amount of begging) so I could speak with some authority about it. Despite the reaction from some that it's too early (and warm) for Fall ales, I found it very drinkable, with a strong malt backbone, a much bigger body than some I've had in the past, and surprisingly dry in the finish, considering the style.

You can find out yourself next week when they have the official release. As I left, the kegs were being filled, so try it fresh from the tap as well.

Some photos appear below, just to prove that I was indeed working:


Newest Addition to GVegas' Beer Scene

Considering myself something of a roving ambassador for all things beer related, I hastened down to the newest (and nearest) addition to our beer-enjoying scene, Grateful Brew at 501 South Pleasantburg, couple doors down from the Pita House. I met George Linn, general manager (left in the photo) and Tony Cordova, beerista, for a chat and a sample of some new brews. Their tap lineup today was very impressive, as you can see from the photos. Certainly not the usual suspects, tho I did see some of my top tier faves there.

Still working out some details, but the coffee hours will be appreciated, 6 am, especially when the Technical College is back in session! 

My first-time-ever brewery today was Sugar Creek from the Charlotte area. Had their Raspberry Wit, very refreshing, dry on the palate, noticeable fruit, but restrained. Also had their Pale which is listed as a Belgian style but this one is nearly a hop bomb. Naturally, I loved it. Solid hop presence, medium bodied and easy to drink. I'll be having more of that one for sure. Anyway, I encourage a visit, help them get off to a successful start and I'm confident you'll be grateful to find a new brew you like.


Sunday, June 26, 2016

Exciting, Event Filled Week in Craft Beer Scene

Yowza! Where to begin. After finishing up the GA beer excursion, it was then time to head to Wilmington, NC, to see what was new beer-wise in that area. You'll be pleased to learn, as I was, that there is no shortage of good locally brewed beers to found. As usual, I ran out of time before I could get to them all, so a return trip in the near future will most likely be necessary.
A first stop on any pub/brewery crawl in WVegas is the well known Cape Fear Wine and Beer Pub, which just happens to be a short stroll from Front Street Brewery, so very quickly our crawl was underway.

First beer was Wilmington Brewing's Rye IPA. Good one to start with.

Next venue was Bombers Beverage Company, a retail store with a dozen guest taps. Tried the Founders' Rubaeus (among others) which is an extremely drinkable raspberry ale. Also contributed to the local economy by purchasing several cans of new brews for us.

Next day, off to the beach. Oak Island is well known for its good beaches, which we enjoyed while walking to a lunch spot. It's also known for a new brewery, Check 6.

Enough sun, back to downtown Wilmington and my first visit to FlyTrap Brewing!

Aaron is a brewer and responsible for the Rye Pale that we enjoyed.

Fly Trap is named for the plant, btw, in case you were curious. Small half barrel system at the moment, but upgrading plans are in the works. We liked the feeling in the taproom and we certainly liked the beer, which is only available here for the near future. Highly recommended, add it to your destination next time you're in Wilmington.


Thursday, June 16, 2016

Highland Brewing Release Two New Beers - Enjoyment Ensues

You just know it's going to be a good day when not one, but two new beers arrive to be sampled, evaluated and drunk (not necessarily in that order)!! Highland Brewing Company has just released two new beers, Lost Cove Kolsch (great timing for this easy-sipping seasonal) and their latest Warrior Series, Mosaic Rye IPL (India Pale Lager!) which abound with mosaic hops to complement the Australian Ella hops. Add to that Riverbend Malt House's malted rye and you've got a mouthful of flavor... and in a lager, at that! Currently chilling to appropriate temps, tasting notes and reactions will follow soon. Keep that dial right where it is.
Thanks again to Molly.


Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Beery Day in Georgia

Headed down to GA last weekend, combining family events with visits to new breweries, in this case, all a half hour north of Atlanta: Burnt Hickory, Red Hare and Jekyll. I was familiar with Red Hare and Jekyll's beers, Burnt Hickory was completely new. Makes for a very fun day. Each has an interesting story, perhaps the one from Burnt the one most unusual. 

Most beer lovers know Red Hare from Gangway IPA, sort of their signature beer, but happily I was able to experience some of their other offerings. Their SPF 50/50 is a new favorite, basically a Gangway with graperfruit soda added, making it officially a radler. [Editors note: The story of radler's origin goes something like this: Innkeeper Franz Kugler in the small German town of Deisenhofen created a bike trail which in 1922 was overrun with "12,000 cyclists" and when his beer began to run low, decided to use some excess lemon soda in a 50/50 blend and, voila, the radler was born.]

This grapefruit soda addition works very well with the citrusy hops used in Gangway and as an experiment, I added some additional Gangway to my glass which kept the sparkling, grapefruit flavor but reduced the sweetness a tad. You can easily make up your own combination, I'm sure Red Hare won't mind. I really liked the brewing facility, in between a warehouse and an industrial vibe, lots of reclaimed wood around and more than one pouring stations, which worked out well the day I was there as a band was playing to a large, enthusiastic crowd. Due to weird GA liquor laws, you pay for a glass and tasting comes with it. The tour is very educational and worth the half hour or so it takes.
On a beautiful June day in 1922, a reported “13,000 cyclists” crashed Kugler’s party. Fast running out of beer, he blended it 50/50 with a lemon soda he could never seem to get rid of, and the rest is history. - See more at:
On a beautiful June day in 1922, a reported “13,000 cyclists” crashed Kugler’s party. Fast running out of beer, he blended it 50/50 with a lemon soda he could never seem to get rid of, and the rest is history. - See more at:

So, Jekyll, home of Hop Dang Diggity IPA, another one of my favorites,  a jewel in the town of Alpharetta, which also has a smaller brewery, Hop Alley, but more about that later. On this, also my first ever visit, I happily discovered another IPA, a newer one called Fixin' To. And since I brough home a crowler of it, I'm fixin' to enjoy it again. It's a session IPA, 4.9% abv, 48 IBUs, with Equinox hops, which is also a new hop varietal for me.

Nearby in the thriving community of Kennesaw (?), found a nano-brewery called Burnt Hickory. Little hard to see from the street so look carefully for signs.

The story is that owner Scott Hedeen financed the brewery's startup by selling a portion of his huge record collection, some of which can be seen and heard here.
On a beautiful June day in 1922, a reported “13,000 cyclists” crashed Kugler’s party. Fast running out of beer, he blended it 50/50 with a lemon soda he could never seem to get rid of, and the rest is history. - See more at:

Lots of interesting vinyl for sale, saw a couple that I remembered from back in the day.

Looking at the beer menu as a reminder of what was on tap that day.
I liked Cannon Fodder, it's grapefruit and lemon flavors really came through, although the abv surprised me, it seemed far less. The others we tried are equally good but most have that high abv thing going, so small samples were the rule of the day. Worthwhile visiting next time you find yourself in Kennesaw, GA.

And if your travels take you near Alpharetta, not so far away, a good place for beer and food pairings is the Hop Alley Brew Pub.