Monday, December 31, 2012

Year's End Summary... Of Sorts

Here it is New Year's Eve and I'm still trying to get caught up! So much happening this past week, homewise (still on the market) and beerwise (new brewery visit). Fumigation of the house forced us to take refuge in a 4-star hotel in Berkeley for two nights (rough, I know). Fortunately, the Claremont's location put us close to Catos Ale House in Oakland's Piedmont neighborhood (see beer menu below) and a visit to Freight and Salvage coffee house to hear David Grisman put us near Jupiter Brewpub (their menu is below as well) which is owned by Drakes Brewing of San Leandro and required a visit as well. Triple Rock Brewing, also owned by Drakes, is in the same neighborhood on Shattuck. Busy, busy, busy.
I have wanted to visit Drakes for a long time, since their IPA is one of my faves and shows up often here in Sonoma county. So, last Friday was the day! 

Drakes produces a lot of beers!
 For tasting, Kay and I chose 5 ($8 fee) from the long list, trying for beers that were new to us. In the sampler photo, starting clockwise from the left, we have their Amber (5.9% abv), Winter Oasis, a strong amber (7.1%), Red Eye red ale (6.5%) which was our hands down favorite, Black Robusto Porter (6.3%) and Drakonic, an imperial stout (8.7%).
Tasting lineup

We were disappointed to learn that Drakes does not bottle the Red Eye red ale... growlers only at the brewery or find it at a knowledgeable pub!

Other part of the menu

Good size samplers; difficult decisions to be made.

The "after" photo. The Drakonic was not as popular as the others.

Bourbon barrels contain some upcoming releases.

Jupiter had some really interesting choices that night.

Cato's Ale House menu for the day.

Linden Brewing's Black Lager with pork sandwich; good pairing

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Russia River Christmas Eve

Time to get caught up, before the Holidays get away from me... too much activity.
Christmas Eve was spend with Kay and friend Shelley at RR, which was busy early on but began to thin out by the time we had finished out pizzas. Beers of choice? Well, Blind Pig could not be poured due to some carbonation problem so I had the Row 2, Hill 56 Pale Ale, a new release and new for me as well. Made with 100% Simcoe Hops, and low abv of 5.8%, this was a very drinkable, hoppy centric but well balanced ale, which rested nicely on the tongue. Paired with the spicy pizza and held it's own, even with the pepperoni and pepper flakes I added.
Followed that with another new one, their O.V.L. Stout which is a dry Irish stout on nitro. This was a flavor bomb augmented by the creamy mouth feel. A modes 4.4% abv meant I could have had another but I approached carb over-load so I backed off.

A pic of their current selection from their website;

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Enjoying the Fire with Firestone Walker

Settling in last evening in front of the fire after a spicy dinner, I chose to forgo the usual brandy aperitif I am prone to enjoy and instead opened a Firestone Walker Velvet Merlin. Perhaps my all-time favorite Oatmeal stout, the roasted coffee flavor with hints of dark chocolate and its creamy mouth feel was like having dessert. But any sweetness was perfectly balanced with hop (Fuggle) bitterness, leading to a dry and lingering finish. In a word, Yum!
Photo: Firestone Walker website

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Brewing in Brevard!

You might recall (or do a search here in the archives) that back in October, Kay and I paid a visit to Brevard, NC, while staying in Greenville, SC. Not a long drive and the mountain scenery is great. Anyway, the news then was that Oskar Blues Brewing was opening a second brewery (the first is in Colorado) in Brevard, part of the growing craft beer industry in the Ashville, NC area. Well, the brewery just announced that their first brew is in the fermenters at their new facility. Congrats and good news for those beer-loving neighbors in Brevard and up the road in Ashville.
 Read more about it here:
Hobnob Cafe in Brevard, NC

Monday, December 17, 2012

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Lagunitas SoCo Stout Background

In a previous post about Lagunitas, I mentioned the SoCo Stout, which Kay and I both responded to with puckered lips: very sour and unlike any previous stouts we had drunk. So, I contacted Lagunitas for an explanation. This is how they responded:

Lagunitas Brewing Co wrote: "Here's the word on SoCo Stout (as in Sonoma County), straight from head brewer, Jeremy Marshall: The barrels are Dirty Pinots & Chards (means not rinsed, freshly emptied barrels, lots of lees---looks like purple pudding) We purge & rack 'em full. Any Brettanomyces or bacterial action comes from the barrel. A lot of oak left from "neutral" barrels will become evident. Aged 2 years then all blended together. Cheers!"

Will certainly be trying it again and I'll post the new tasting notes here.

SoCo is second from right.

Is That A True Craft Beer In Your Hand?

Good question. In a recent editorial, executives from the Brewers Association, the trade association representing America’s small, independent brewers, brought the issue forward. Not many people know that breweries which dominate our domestic market are owned by large international conglomerates. A-B InBev, headquartered in Belgium, and SABMiller, headquartered in London, now control 75 percent of the U.S. beer market between them. 
We've all seen the Blue Moon Belgian Wheat beer logos on tap (especially in airports these days) but do you know who owns it? (Hint: it ain't a mom and pop operation). Marketed as a craft beer, the problem for the consumer who wants to support the growing craft beer industry ( which grew by 11% in 2011 and will do even better in 2012) becomes one of education: Am I drinking a small production, locally made, independent brew made by community-focused entrepreneurs? That's the kind of business I want to support with my limited amount of disposable income; on a small American company with American employees over corporations that are often based overseas.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Love Me Some Lagunitas!

Last night was a prime example of why living close to Lagunitas' Taproom and Beer Sanctuary is such a wonderful thing.
First, here's the menu for the evening:

All photos by Marv Parker

Here is our first sampling:

L - R: 
Wet Dog Pale Ale, Fresh Kronik, SoCo Stout, Fillmore Fusion. In the back, hidden by the Wet Dog is another seasonal, Sebastopale Ale, which uses hops grown here in Sebastopol. The peanuts and pretzels come gratis with every brew purchase.

Here's the second sampling, which include some old favorites, back once again.

L-R: Farmhouse Ale, Mochaccino Stout from a firkin, Lagunitas Sucks, and Brown Shugga.

Our favorite new brew was the Mochaccino Stout... almost dessert-like, great creamy mouthfeel, from a firkin tapped last evening, it was room temp, had a lingering head and finish. There was also a firkin of fresh-hopped IPA, tasty as well, but I didn't make notes about the taste so I can only recall that it had the fresh, green-like hop aroma and taste, very dry finish. I will try it again and make more complete notes.

And of course, no visit to Lagunitas is complete without some good music to accompany the festive imbibing and last night was no different. The trio Jimbo Trout entertained with a rousing variety of upbeat tunes, perfect for the tone of the evening's enjoyment:

Photo: Marv Parker via iPhone.

Friday, December 14, 2012

A Beer That Bows To You?

Dogfish Head Brewery has quite a variety of (and reputation for) unusual brews. One of those is called Namaste, which is also the Hindi greeting among individuals when meeting or parting, mostly on the Indian Subcontinent. The literal translation (according to Wikipedia) is "I bow to you."
How Dogfish came to produce this beer is best left to them to explain, which they do here.

Dogfish's website describes the beer as
     "A witbier bursting with good karma. Made with dried organic orange slices, fresh-cut lemongrass and a bit of coriander, this Belgian-style white beer is a great thirst quencher."
Since Dogfish can be hard to come by here on the left coast, even in Sonoma County, the beer haven of the Bay Area, I have not had the opportunity to sample Namaste, but I will put it on my list of beers to try and as soon as I do, I will report back.


Photo: Dogfish Head Website.

Exciting Evening with Tyler at the Tap Room

Never fails, whenever we go visit the Tap Room located in the Santa Rosa Coddingtown Whole Foods, we get exposed to fabulous new beers and last night was no exception. Tyler Smith, a Certified Cicerone, has put together yet another amazing assortment of hard to come by beers on tap.
Look closely to see Tyler's hand!

Notice the Victory Yakima Glory there in the middle? Well, that turned out to be one of two favorites of the night. A dark IPA from Victory Brewing, this had the hoppy aroma I like, plus the roasted notes of the barley, a creamy mouthfeel and a well balanced finish. I could see myself drinking a lot of this one!

The other favorite was this one: 
Allagash glass is easier to get than one from Copenhagen, I imagine.
It's a Wild Ale, called, It's Alive, from Mikkeller Brewing in Copenhagen, it was a treat to discover. I also enjoyed the tulip glass, which helps keep the beer chilled. 
I will need to do some more research on this, since I wasn't able to take notes, but it was complex, well balanced and had some flavor notes that were new to me, thus the need to do more research. Regardless, if you run across it anywhere I recommend trying it. Very refreshing and a fitting way to end the evening. 

Small World, Beer Wise Dept.

Doing some research on Mikkeller Brewery in Copenhagen, after having their Hoppy Christmas (see Valencia St post) I ran across this amazing bit of "small world" info: One of their brewery bar menus featured Mill Valley Beerworks' Porcelain IPA.
Here's a pic from their website:
Now I gotta find out how that IPA made it's way from Mill Valley, CA all the way to Copenhagen! Stay tuned!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A $90 Six Pack? WTH?

Well, it's true... San Franciscans were lining up to buy this special beer. Read about it here.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

More Valencia St. Adventures: Monk's Kettle

 Continuing our exploration of beer drinking opportunities on SF's Valencia St, we found Monk's Kettle which is actually  on 16th St., just west of Valencia. We found an extensive beer menu with some very interesting new brews (menu below) and while several people at the bar were trying the pretzel house specialty (Old school pretzel knot, cheddar fondue), we went for the mussels and paired them with Bourbon Barrel Stout from Anderson Valley Brewing and a seasonal Golden Ale, the Gift of the Magi (10.0% abv) from Lost Abbey, San Marcos. Can you say, "sensory overload?" Loved all of the flavors, including the Allagash White (Belgian Style Witbier) which was added to the mussel's broth. Yum, big time!  

We finished with Hoppy Lovin' Christmas, an Imperial IPA with ginger from the Mikkeller Brewery in Copenhagen, Denmark, which was served in the traditional tulip glass, a 10 oz. pour (see photo). We both liked it and felt the ginger flavor was nicely balanced and not overpowering.

Monday, December 10, 2012

A Visit to Speakeasy Brewing

Last week's visit to San Francisco also included a visit (my first) to Speakeasy, which is located out in the hinterlands of SE SF (see map). We lucked out and arrived at 4pm, just as the brewery opened to the public (Fridays and Saturdays only). A quick stop to buy "beer chips" (no money at the bar) and after perusing the day's Tap List (see photo), the sampling began.

Opens to the public at 4 pm, Fri and Sat.

Daily Tap List.

One half of the beers available

Enjoying a Scarlett Red Rye.

Good timing: Brewmaster Kushal Hall led a tour for us.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Streets of San Francisco

Thanks to the November issue of San Francisco magazine, last Friday found us walking the streets of our favorite city to find those breweries, gastro/brew pubs and dive bars mentioned in that issue. First  we were in the Valencia neighborhood, 16th to 24th streets, which has a surprising number of establishments offering a variety of good beers (and eats to go with them) on tap. Passing the bakeries and chocolate shops that have sprung up in recent years, our first destination was St. Vincents, 1270 Valencia. Let the tasting begin!

 L - R: 
Sawed-Off Saison, Twist of Fate, Urban People's Common Lager and  1903 Pre Prohibition-Style Lager. With the exception of Twist of Fate, all were new to me. The food special of the day was an Irish Stew with lamb and fingerling potatoes so we paired that. The Twist of Fate was the winner in the food pairing, the lagers, tho good, didn't hold up. The Saison 's spice did not complement, so we're not sure what food would work well with it. Good reason to try it again!

For more beer info, read the menu below:

Beers offered as of December 7. They change often.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Accepting the Inevitable: Winter's Here

Well, the news doesn't have to be all bad... winter has it's rewards, one of which is my first winter ale of the season, Anderson Valley Brewing's Winter Solstice Ale. Called a Winter Warmer by the brewery, I enjoyed the creaminess, dry finish, and the light touch of vanilla in the finish.  ABV 6.9%.
I had it as a sipper but would be very interested to do some food pairing. The Brewery's website states that turkey and yams are called for, among other holiday treats.  So, throw another log or two on the fire, toss a couple bottles into the snow to chill and get ready for a sensational holiday season!

Photo: Anderson Valley Brewing Website.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Three's the Charm!

Yep, three new beers discovered last night at Heritage Public House where that seems to happen often. As seen in the photo, l to r,  Squid Ink Black IPA from Pac Brew Labs in SF; CAPT California Blk IPA from Ruhstaller, Sacto;  Rye'd Piper Rye Ale from Ale Industries, Concord.

Our fave of the evening was the Rye'd Piper. Just one of those nights I guess when hops weren't as important as the roasty, rye malt flavors were.  ABV 5.8%

The Captain Black had great hop nose and taste with a smooth chocolate malt finish. Would like to have it again. ABV 7.3%  Their website describes it as :

"Our California Black IPA embodies Captain Frank Ruhstaller’s legacy, boldly balancing the bright citrus aroma and profile of an IPA with a surprisingly smooth, lightly-roasted chocolate malt body."

The Squid Ink was much less hopped, thinner bodied but with a distinctly creamy finish, which I always like in an IPA. ABV 7.0%.

Heritage Menu last night

Just in time for Big Football Days

This sounds like a good idea: beer bread to accompany those tailgate snacks. Found it on the Rogue Brewery website

Going Rogue at Beercraft

Catching up on the news after dodging all the rain puddles, here's what has happened in last couple days: Stopped at Beercraft in Rohnert Park to take advantage of the sale of the day, Rogue Dad's Little Helper, a Black IPA. Very tasty with good hops but not overpowering the toasted malt finish. Refreshing light body but long finish. Here's how the brewery describes it:

"Dad’s Little Helper Black IPA is deep mahogany in color with roasted malt and hop aromas and dense creamy head. It enters the palate with intense hop flavor and coats the tongue with a rich maltiness."  

They also note that it's made with Free Range Coastal Water (!).

Photo: Marv Parker

Monday, November 26, 2012

Redding Craft Beer Lovers Get Good News

Ran across this story while doing some research. Redding is a good stop along the way to Oregon, especially Ashland where good beer abounds, but Redding has been bereft of a proper watering hole/pub. Seems like that is about to change. Read on:

Photo: Brewbound Newletter

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Floating an Idea for the Holidays

Does this float your boat? Give you an idea for dessert? Make you want go off your diet? The answer is yes, in my opinion! Enjoy.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Favorite Beer Wins Gold in Germany

Firestone Walker's Double Jack IPA, one of my absolute favorite IPAs, won the “Consumer Favourite Gold” for top honors at the European Beer Star competition held in Nuremberg, Germany. The Consumer Favorite (different spelling for American readers) is chosen by event attendees from the top 50 Gold Medal winners, choosing the top three (Gold, Silver, Bronze) for medals. So FW actually won a Gold for the Double Jack, plus this award... a double win!!
It's currently on tap at TAPS in Petaluma (or was as of Friday night) so I'll have a chance to have it again fresh from the keg.
Photo: Firestone Walker web site.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Interview with Eric Lafranchi Continues

During the interview, Eric and I covered a number of topics, one of which was in response to my question about the type of folks who choose TAPS for their beer imbibing. I asked him who his favorite customer is. He replied thusly:

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Fireside Stout Kind of Day

Yep, cloudy, threat of rain, chill in the air... perfect time to build a fire and open a bomber (22 oz) of Lagunitas Cappuccino Stout. Great coffee flavor up front, caramel-like tastes over the tongue, alcohol well balanced (9.2% abv) and a satisfying, long finish.  This is what enjoying craft brewing is all about. I may have to have another one! Sorry I can't invite everyone over to join me but, we are supposed to be moving, you know.

Marv Parker photo

Petaluma TAPS Owner, Eric Lafranchi on Nitrogen

Well, actually, he's not ON nitrogen, he was merely responding to a question of mine about why do so many stouts taste better with nitrogen carbonation. I asked this at his pub some time ago:

The Old Rasputin he mentions is also one of my and Kay's favorites. Next time you're in Ft. Bragg, stop by the North Coast Brewing tap room for a taste, fresh from the brewery!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Brown Shugga Back On Shelves

One of my favorite seasonals is back again: Lagunitas' Brown Shugga. Didn't get any last year cause, due to expansion construction at their brewery, they couldn't make any. They did make a substitute, "Lagunitas Sucks" and while it was indeed a very good beer (especially on tap), there ain't but one Brown Shugga. So, hooray for the holidays, it's back!
So, now for some food pairing: You get the sweetness up front, so what food seems to work best? Spicy, in my opinion. I've had it with burgers, but didn't seem to complement each other nor add to the taste sensation. However, last night we tried it with marinated grilled pork loin quesadillas, with extra hot sauce for me, and the integrated flavors were fantastic! Actually, if you consider what the high alcohol (9.9abv) adds, you sort of get the sweet, spicy, bitter qualities that define Chinese cuisine. So I guess that will be the next tasting.
For more background on Brown Shugga (with a nod to the Rolling Stones) read about it here.

Friday, November 16, 2012

TAPS Helps Firestone Celebrate Their 16th

Another outstanding evening at TAPS, Petaluma last night. The occasion was the release party for Firestone Walker Brewing's 16th Anniversary Ale. This is indeed a very special beer; a blend of 8 different beers, 7 of which were barrel aged (in over 226 oak barrels) either in bourbon or brandy barrels and one aged in tequila barrels (!). Some barrels come from Kentucky distilleries, others from wineries in the Paso Robles area where Firestone is located. I recommend you read the background on this year's blend on the Firestone web site where much more detail is offered.

Firestone representative Kevin Orona, on hand to answer questions about the new release, offered part of the thinking behind the blending process; the brewmaster is after three taste sensations:"sweet, spicy and salty." So, what does it taste like? Well, the Stickee Monkee Barley Wine component added the "sweet" from Mexican Turbinado Brown Sugar, "spicy" from PNC which was the tequila barrel-aged beer and I'm not sure where the "salty" came from since I didn't recognize any in the flavor. What I did recognize was the chocolate, bourbon, slight coffee and even cognac-like flavors, finishing with a black rye and smooth alcohol intensity. Makes sense, since the alcohol is a notable 13% abv. 

Actually, part of the fun was letting the beer warm up and notice the flavors that emerged. Very noticeable differences and even the Firestone web site comments on this:

"XVI is best enjoyed poured carefully into a half filled brandy snifter or red wine glass.   Allow it to warm to 55F to fully enjoy the pleasing and complex aromas.  It takes a while, but as this beer sits and breathes in the glass, more rich dusty chocolate, stone fruit and crème brulee character is reveled as the rich spirit characters fade - so take your time."

Firestone Walker 16th Anniversary Blend

I hope you have a chance to try this extraordinary brew, preferably on tap. Then let me know what flavors you discover!!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

An Obscenely Hopped Tribute to Lenny Bruce

Interesting story about this rye-based double IPA. From Shmaltz Brewing's He'Brew label, it's called Bittersweet Lenny"s R.I.P.A and is a tribute to the late, great comedian and social commentator Lenny Bruce. You can read more about the back story here, but what you really need to know is that this is a fabulous brew, loved the rye characteristics that met the high hopped flavor on equal terms that led to a well balanced and delicious finish. ABV is 10%, so the alcohol was present but did not deter the flavorful finish in any way. My only complaint: the Tap Room ran out just after they poured my taster!! Bummer!! They only had that one keg so when it's gone..... in the photo below it's the taster on the left.

#2 Taster is Wedmer Brothers SXNW ( a play on SXSW which is South by South West, the festival held in Austin, TX each year. In this case, South by North West). It's described by Widmer as American Strong Ale, and with the 9.3% ABV, it is that but so much more. Pours very dark, as you can see in the photo, but not heavy bodied as you might expect. Here's a comment that I read on their web site:

"The initial flavor is of sweet smoky roasted malts and chocolate. No real bitterness in the beer, mostly sweet up front. There is a slight nutty flavor with some dark cherry. The finish is where this beer really shines. Lingering smoky malt, with chocolate, toffee and a spicy pepper feel left on the tongue with a slight pepper flavor. All of the flavors in the beer compliment one another. The flavors seem strange to be coupled together but in the end it's as if they belong together."

The third taster in the photo is a Schwarzbier Black Lager from Kostritzer Brewing in Germany. Very different from what I usually drink, but I liked it as I gain more experience with Black Lagers. Here's a description I found on the Beer Advocate web site:

"The flavor is of dark-roasted malt, chocolate, coffee, and a touch of hop bitterness. Mouthfeel is medium, and Kostritzer finishes fairly crisp and refreshing. Drinkablility is superb with this one. For a black beer, this is about as perfect as it gets."

Well that was a busy evening, as you can see, and very educational too -  a win-win session for me!

Chasin Freshies a New Favorite!

From Deschutes Brewery comes a new, fresh-hopped IPA that I really enjoyed the other night at Whole Foods' Tap Room in Santa Rosa. Very light in color for an IPA, almost a blonde, it was non-the-less a very flavorful brew, which Kay enjoyed an much as I. The fresh hop flavor really came thru, as I am getting better at recognizing its presence in the finish.  Here's how it's described on Deschutes web site:

"At harvest, we rush Goschie Farms' Cascade hops fresh from vine to kettle. Not any Cascades, mind you, but an heirloom strain, from a single field, restored from the original rhizome. Hope you’re as hopped up as we are.

It's only available thru December so I recommend you go chase down some of this before it's gone. ABV: 7.4% IBUs 60.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Three Magic Words!

That's the case here; just can't come up with  the vocabulary that would do this ale proper justice, so, I'll just say the three magic words that should explain it all:

 Maple Bacon Ale.

Knowing that it's made by Rogue insures quality, having had a VooDoo Doughnuts Maple Bacon when Kay and I were married there (Portland, 2009) I can personally attest to their quality... it's just difficult for me to embrace the concept of those flavors very chilled. And, why pink?

FYI, here's how the Voodoo Doughnuts website describes it:

Style: Brown Ale     Food Pairing: Doughnuts & Pork
13 Ingredients:
Briess Cherrywood Smoked Malt, Weyermann Beechwood Smoked Malt, House-smoked Hickory Malt, Great Western 2 Row, Munich, C15, C75 Malts; Applewood-Smoked Bacon, Pure Maple Flavoring, Rogue Micro Hopyard Revolution & Independent Hops, Free Range Coastal Water & Pacman Yeast Specs: 14º PLATO 30 IBU 76 AA 30º Lovibond World Class Package: 750ml painted bottle. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Asheville, NC: Site For Serious Beer Appreciation

 Just returned from a week-long trip to SC (Greenville mostly) which included a side trip to Asheville, NC, which is only an hour away. Asheville enjoys a special significance in my (and Kay's) craft beer education: we first heard of Dogfish Head 60 minute IPA here at Barley's Taproom and Pizzeria. This time I tried two new ones, French Broad IPA (7% abv), brewed locally and Duck Rabbit Hoppy Bunny (?) Black IPA (7.3% abv) which features eight separate hop additions. Both were outstanding brews and I can heartily recommend them.

 Behind the first floor bar at Barleys. There is another one upstairs with more than a dozen taps!
Another find in Asheville was the Wedge Brewery:
Located in the River Arts District, in a somewhat difficult to find location, this small production brewery was a real treat after a long day of playing tourist. Wedge opens at 4 pm weekdays which, according to one local artist located in a gallery upstairs, is good cause otherwise they would never get any work done! Pictured is the Iron Rail IPA (probably named after the railroad tracks adjacent to the property) which is described by the brewmaster thusly:

"English Style India Pale Ale, Maris Otter 2-row, Canadian Honey Malt and Belgian Crystal. Centennial, Kent Golding, and Cascade are added five times during the process, including Dry Hopping. Aroma: Earthy, Citrusy, and Resinous. Tasting/Flavor: Orangy and Sugary Apricots. Finish: Malt Sweetness Balanced by Dry Hops"

Iron Rail IPA in the outdoor art garden
Open as 4 pm so the local artists can get some work done!

All photos: M Parker

Back in Greenville, I found this new eating spot, which has some very interesting new beers to try.

Located in the West End district, downstairs from the Mellow Mushroom, this hideaway resto had some very tasty food and even more importantly, two beers on tap from a previously untried brewery, Westbrook Brewing from Mt. Pleasant, SC. I tried the Westbrook IPA (6.8% abv) which was very tasty, tho the hop flavor was more restrained than our West Coast style. Kay tried the Gaffel Kolsch, from Privatbrauerei Gaffel Becker & Co., Germany. It is described as having hefty bitterness in this kolsch with pale grains, floral hops, and a dry apple ester following from the ale yeast. 4.8% abv. Kay liked it's refreshing qualities and light body on a warm day.

Unusual flavors for wheat beer but it was very drinkable, tho I would choose the food accompanying it very carefully.
One final comment about our Greenville stay: Mac's Speed Shop, fantastic place for variety of beers on tap (see website link) one could spend hours here trying to make it thru all the pulls. I highly recommend this establishment both for the incredible variety of beers and for the live music, not to mention the friendy and educated beertenders!
One third of the pulls at Mac's. See any favorites?