Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Pliney Wins Again - Let's Hear It For Elders!

Just saw the news that Russian River Brewing's Pliny the Elder has done it again:

"...as voted by Zymurgy Magazine, the journal of the American Homebrewers Association (AHA). For the fifth consecutive year, the AHA gave the top spot to Russian River’s Pliny the Elder, which was followed by Bell’s Two Hearted Ale, Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA, Bell’s Hopslam Ale and Ballast Point Sculpin IPA."

All very special beers but I must admit my bias for Pliny. I lived less than 8 miles from the brewery for 20 years!

If you know what a randall is, you are a true beer geek!
Crowd of hop lovers awaiting the release of Pliny the Younger.
 Read the entire list here: http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/

Thomas Creek Revisited

Paid another visit to Thomas Creek yesterday to see how they were adapting to the new legislation allowing them to sell pints (in limited quantities) to visitors for the first time. On my first visit, Bill Davis, co-founder, could only give me a 4 oz. taster's worth. This time: Yowza! A whole pint of Class 5 IPA. Also took the opportunity to get my tickets for their big Anniversary bash coming up on July 13. Don't want to miss that, since it will be my first!


Small glass


Big glass
As the French (tho not known as big beer drinkers) say: Vive la difference!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Hooray For IPA Class - Wannabe Hopheads Rejoice!

Had the opportunity to attend the Hooray for IPA class offered by Total Wine & Beer here in Greenville this week.

The beers offered ran the gamut from English style to West Coast Hop Bombs, the perfect introduction to folks who are just beginning to investigate what the hop world is all about. 

Beers were poured in the left to right order pictured.
For those bereft of a magnifying glass, here's the list of beers:

Sam Smith Classic IPA (English)
Clown Shoes Tramp Stamp (Belgian IPA)
Bell's Two Hearted American IPA (from Michigan and an example of East Coast style)
Diamond Knot American IPA (from Washington State, West Coast example)
Laughing Dog Sneaky Pete Double IPA (DIPA), example of Hopbombiness, 10% abv
Stone Ruination, Imperial/Double IPA (from San Diego county), Hopbomb poster boy
Oskar Blues G'Knight Amber Ale , East Coast style, West Coast would be Red Ale
Clown Shoes Hoppy Feet Black IPA

Looking at my beer tasting sheet, I rated Stone's Ruination 100 (the max) because, of the samples, it was the truest IPA for my taste. Hops in the nose, hops mid-palate and hops in the finish. 'Nuff said.
My second highest rated was, at 97%, the Laughing Dog Sneaky Pete. Good hop presence in the nose, well balanced medium body and dry finish. Plus it was a newbie for me.

A highlight of an event like this is meeting people who are just getting interested in IPAs and are adventurous enough to try something new. This class was no exception and I was pleased to make the acquaintance of Michael Myers and his wife Sherri. The class was a Father's Day present to Michael, a great opportunity for him to broaden his IPA horizons, so to speak. 
Michael and Sherri taking their beer ratings seriously.
After the class had wrapped up and all judging done, I asked Michael to name his favorite which turned out to be mine as well, Stone's Ruination. Sherri, not quite the hophead just yet, chose the milder Clown Shoes Tramp Stamp Belgian IPA. 

All were good beers, and two of them were new to me so I consider that a very succesful evening.

The class presenters:

Michael Austin, left, moves comfortably between wine and beer appreciation while Charles "Chuck" Epps, right, is a self-described beer geek. His knowledge of hops added substantially to the class. Well done, fellows!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Citra Hops (My New Fave) Featured in Beer of the Month

Photo: RJ Rockers Newsletter

Just a little behind the curve (but, hey, I'm homeless) I discovered that RJ Rockers Brewery, Spartanburg, SC, in a collaboration with Holy City Brewing Company Charlston, to produce a single hop citra IPA, called "Holy Citra, RJ," featured as the Beer of the Month of May.
 At 7% ABV the alcohol (a modest amount IMHO) is said to 
balance the intensely refreshing hop flavor. Sounds good to me. Will try it next week when I return to the area.

Beer Saturated?

Well, first of all, I'm not talking about you. This is a question directed to the entire craft brewing industry (worth $4 Billion last year) asked at the Craft Brewers Conference held in D.C.
I have my own opinion, but here's some more discussion of the matter from Brewbound newsletter:


Monday, June 3, 2013

New Micro-Brew Favorites From The Road

Our cross-country adventure has been educational in many ways, not the least of which is the long list of new beers we've been able to try. With so many new ones, too numerous to list here, I've decided to focus on three that we liked so much that we made attempts to find them again.

Samplers at the Distillery in Savannah.

Here are my choices (Kay agrees with them):

Founder's All-Day IPA 4.7% ABV, 42 IBU/  http://foundersbrewing.com/our-beer/all-day-ipa/?av-submitted=true

Terrapin Hopsecutioner IPA 7.3% ABV, 71 IBU http://terrapinbeer.com/brew/year-round/hopsecutioner-ipa/

Red Hare Gangway IPA. 6.2% ABV. Crisp, a tad sweet mid-palate, but good hoppy finish. Hopped with Williamette, Chinook, Cascade and Falconers Flight hops.  http://www.redharebrewing.com/beers/

I noticed that that I have chosen all IPAs (like a true hophead) but we did encounter other styles that we really liked as well. I'll go through my notes and choose from that category and post them here in the next day or so.

I like their slogan... found this at Mile Marker

Stay tuned.