Monday, April 16, 2018

Craft Beer Week Is Upon Us

Greenville Craft Beer Week, aka GCBW, is happening right now. Started Saturday, the 14th at GBX, aka Greenville Beer Exchange, and will wrap up next Sat, the 21st. Here's a schedule of events for the week. I'll see ya at some of them, trying to make them all!!


(Not sure what's happening in that cool ship but I am sure that beer was involved.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

A Wonderful Week's Worth of Beer!

A Week In The Life....
So, sometimes I get asked (usually during a lull in conversations) "what's it like being a beer blogger these days, lots of beer parties and fun events, right?"
Well, the answer is, I guess, that there are indeed many events to cover, tastings to share and, of course, lotsa stickers.

As an example, looking back over the past week that ended last night, here are some events in which I participated (many, many others were taking place without me, it's that kind of town):
On Feb. 22, Birdsong Brewing Co. Launch Party!! happened at the Tap, where Tara Goulet, Birdsong Sales, was on hand to describe the beers as they entered the SC market for the first time. Naturally, I had to try the beers available... tasters only you undestand (sort of the equivalent of a wine spit bucket). I was already familiar with a couple, especially their Jalapeno Pale and Higher Ground IPA. New to me and most of the crowd was the Mexicali Stout. Robust and spicy, not exactly a Spring time beer, but a delight to drink. Keep in mind for next winter.
Movin' on.

Feb 23 was the big rebranding day for Highland Brewing Refresh Reveal Party! in Asheville. Beer Blogging involves travel too, you know. Their new logo and label design was officially unveiled along with some small batch beers that may or not be ever repeated. The new beers tasteworthy and very drinkable; I especially liked the Alternate Cargo IPA. There was also an Imperial Cold Mountain on tap making many folks happy. The weather being very cooperative, the Rooftop was available for sipping and admiring the hillside views. Doggies are welcome up there as well (no pets in the taproom allowed). Memorable way to kick off a new chapter in Highland's long history. Also, congrats to Leah and her crew.
Feb 28, Growler Haus Village of W Gvl was the location for some excellent beer tasting from D9 Brewing Company, with Jessica Lowe, Brewery Rep, present to spread her enthusiasm for their beers. I confess I didn't need any encouragement, having been a long time fan of theirs. In fact, thinking back, I believe Whiskers On Kittens was the turning point in my appreciation for sour beers. I enjoyed their Discord Sour ale that night, also the latest in the Systema Naturae Series, this one with Maple and Spruce... sour maple, who knew!

And so, March 1, last night.
Edmund’s Oast Brewing Co. Launch Party! This is the kind of event that makes beer blogging so much fun. 9 beers to sample (free!) and 5 on tap for pint enjoyment. Edmund's is new in our market, cans especially, so those of us who have been to their brewery/pub in Charleston were very excited by this opportunity to try some of their new offerings. Hard to pick a fave from the collection tho I did choose Enchantment Under The Sea and Bound By Time to have as pints. I did see several folks drinking the Azathoth Imperial Stout as well, so the variety of styles ready to sample was a crowd pleaser. I chatted briefly with Cameron Read, Oast's Brewing Director, about their brewing philosophy and learned how their most popular beer, Something Cold lager, came about. As Elvis used to say, "what a night!" Thanks to Mike and crew at Tap for making this a blogger's delight!

And that was the week that was!!

Some photos from my greatest hits album:

Today in Beer

It's National Beer Day, everyone must do their part. Cheers!!


Monday, February 19, 2018

HIghland Brewery Refreshes

A reminder just popped on my screen reminding me that this Friday, Feb 23, will be a big day in the history of Highland Brewing Company as they finalize a "brand refresh," aaccording to Leah Ashburn, company president. Read the full story here: (And I'll see you there!)

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Second Sour Fest, Quest's First A Big Success

Lots of love evident in the Quest Bresing's For The Love of Funk Festival, Feb 3. Golden Opportunity for non-sour fans to find out for themselves what the excitement is all about, in a style of beer that is becoming increasingly popular. In fact, I'm a fairly recent convert myself. Here are some details from the event, I'll have some beer descriptions up here shortly, I'm still editing my notes.

As local Sour/Saison/Funk fans know, yesterday was the occasion of Quest Brewing Company’s first ever Funk Festival. And only the second one ever held in GVegas (Birds Fly South Ale Project had the first)!! 18 beers, all brewed in house, offered a range of tastes that guaranteed everyone would discover something they liked. The addition of artisanal cheeses and chocolates, all to the accompaniment of a most excellent jazz trio, made this a very memorable first time event. More details and pix to come soon as I finish editing. Here are a few to whet your appetite.



Cheers and here's to next year!!

Friday, January 19, 2018

Whither AB InBev??

Filling my busy schedule (it could happen!) with some research, largely from this very informative and interesting book (see pic below). So the question arose, where did this entity, AB InBev which claims one third of the world's beer, come from? I found the story very compelling.

It starts in Belgium where until 1987 the two largest and market dominating breweries, Stella Artois and Jupiler, had secret agreements to control prices. In '87, they made the arrangement official, merging to become Interbrew.

Interbrew then began a series of acquisitions which included British Bass and Lowenbrau.
In 2004 things got even more interesting when Interbrew merged with Brazil's AMBev, itself a merger of two former competitors which dominated the local beer markets. From that came InBev.

During this time things weren't going well with the Anheuser-Busch family, due to a "volatile relationship" between father and son, August III and August IV Busch. Thanks to that turmoil, InBev made their move to take over AB. Essentially a hostile takeover since the Busch family controlled less than 7% of the company, in 2008 when Warren Buffet agreed to sell his shares, other shareholders did likewise.
Thus, AB InBev.

Another side story that caught my attention, certainly due to my Northern CA roots and history of drinking Lagunitas beers at the Petaluma brewery, was the time line of Heineken. The Heineken family founded it in 1864 and it still is family owned. Responding to the AB InBev growth, Heineken made some acquisitions of its own, including Newcastle (brewer of that fine Brown ale). Their strategy consisted of investing in local brands in emerging markets. Which brings me back to Lagunitas. Not exactly in an emerging market, too well known for that, but a very desirable investment. So, in 2015, Lagunitas initially sold 50% interest to Heineken, probably with visions of Little Sumpin showing up on shelves throughout the Netherlands. Last year, Heineken assumed 100% ownership.

It's my personal belief that Tony Magee (Lagunitas founder and executive chairman) made that decision based on a desire to never be owned by AB InBev and joining the Heineken family would preclude that.
So, in 2014 AB InBev, SABMiller, Heineken and Carlsberg combined to claim over 45% of all the beer in the world. Whew!

And to sum up, I'm pleased to announce that 99% of the beer in my fridge is craft beer (we keep a Yuengling on hand for brother-in-law). Speaking of which, I'm gonna go have one and bring this history lesson to an end.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Barley's Biggest Little Beer Fest Delivered!

"How I Spent My Sunday Afternoon" by Li'l Marvy.

Here, with all these people and all those beers.
Barley's Seventh Annual Biggest Little Beer Fest delivered on all promises; some extraordinarily good beers were brought by breweries upping their game. My, my.

No way to choose a favorite from this unique bunch but couple stands outs for me that day:
Anderson Valley Rosé Gose, Lagunitas Rum BA Brown Shugga, Manlandia Meth Head Stole My V-Dub, a home brew saison, and Highland Brewing Company's Missing Pieces IPA made my day. And I haven't even mentioned the Belgians down at the Trappe! And a La Folie 2010 in the Library Room.

Look for them in the photos. What a day.

Darby Wilcox and Her Peep Show kept the energy levels up and Pizza slices fended off any hunger pangs that might have interfered with a tasting schedule. Behold the images: