Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Chipotle Peppers In An Amber Ale? Holy Tastebuds Alert!!

 Attended the monthly Cask Night soireĆ© last evening at the Thomas Creek Brewery, Greenville, SC.

For each of these events they brew up a special cask and for this one, the Appalachian Amber Ale with chipotle peppers
and wildflower honey was quite the treat.
The heat of the peppers gave way to the honey-infused sweetness, all nicely balanced with the 6.8% ABV. Very sippable.

Of course their usual line up was available (in carefully monitored samples, adhering to the
new legal constraints on amount of beer they can serve) and so was their new seasonal, the Pumpkin Ale, which appears to have become an ubiquitous craft brew these days.

In addition to the food trucks, honey wagon (for real!), coming-event promotions, live music and convivial camaraderie, the upcoming expansion efforts were very visible as the adjacent grounds were being excavated and modified for their new purpose.
In between samplings of the cask offering and the Class Five IPA (no Up The Creek this evening) I grabbed my trusty Nikon and did my best impression of a working photographer. Evidence below:

What is this thing? Keep reading, I'll explain a little farther down.

Good beer pairs well with good food, don't you think.
And good food is best from good people. Asada is incredibly popular around town.

Kerry Owen's Bee Well Honey was used in the special Cask Ale.
Kerry sampling the end result: Appalachian Amber with Chipotle Peppers and his Honey!

Thomas Creek Co-founder Bill Davis appears to be very interested in Quest Brewing's Don Richardson's opinion.

Friendly crowds are typical of craft beer events.

Event was dog friendly too, of course.
And these friendly ladies were in demand for photo opps!
This guy was probably the only person there not enjoying a brew! Taking advantage of the dry day.
Working hard to keep up with the demand, here the Brown Ale has been chosen.
Second pouring station and home of the special cask.
Tom, Stephanie and Bill seem to think the event is going well.

Pear Shaped Events attended to promote an upcoming fundraiser.

I think the only person not having a  good time at this fun-filled event was this little newcomer who seems to be disappointed that it will be another 21 years before he/she can take part.

As is well known, it's never too early to start appreciating good craft brewed beer and Thomas Creek is a great place to start.


(all photos by Marv Parker who will exchange all rights for a couple good beers!)

Friday, August 16, 2013

Quest For Live Music Proves Successful


Yep, my quest for live music last night led me to 
Quest Brewing where every Thursday is now live music (and beer) night. 

While working my way thru their four beer mainstays, my ears were treated to two new bands, both of which were original and had the crowd cheering each song. 

 Kids pogo'd, folks ate barbcue and sandwiches from the food vendors 
and many of us enjoyed our brews 
from chairs on the lawn. 

Some sights from the evening:

Listening to The Frankness group.

Emily McSherry plays a mean Uke

Kids still use pogo sticks? Who knew!

Tonight's Noise played next. Great picking going on.

These guys played amazing versions of Doc Watson and Pink Floyd songs!!

I am constantly amazed at how much live music there is here in Greenville, unfortunately a lot of it occurring on Thursday night, so we have to choose carefully. I know that we will try to include Quest as often as we can during their music season.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Another Look at Greenville's Brewing Scene

Lots of news about Greenville's very active brewing community. From Brewery 85 (still in an undisclosed location) to the newest attraction along the Swamp Rabbit trail, soon-to-be Traveler's Rest's own Swamp Rabbit Brewery and Taproom, plenty of buzz to keep up with. I tried to do some of that with a recent video conversation with Don Richardson, Brewmaster and Co-Owner of Quest Brewing Co., which had it's grand opening last month, to much enthusiasm and favorable response from the craft beer-drinking community. I asked Don about the response to all the acclaim.

I brought up the subjects of passion and community, both of which I recognize as vital components within the industry that makes it both fun and successful. Here's his take on it:

Now that all the excitement of the grand opening has died down and the day to day operation of the brewery is underway, I asked Don about his ideas for Quest's future:

The concert schedule in on their website (see the link above) and I see some good music and beer times ahead. Don also mentioned the possibility of a pumpkin Saison coming along soon, so all you pumpkin ale fans can watch for that (and there are a lot of you folks apparently).

So, Don, any final words?

I'm glad you and all the Quest gang are here to add to the vibrant beer-loving scene we all enjoy in the greater Upstate area.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Another Thursday Tasting at The Growler Station

Growlers ready for the tasting to begin. From a previous evening.

Getting to be a regular event with me and the frau, free tasting of selected three new beers (for me anyway) at The Growler Station here in Greenville. Last night was no exception with Big Jon (name and description!) offering up three brews to try.

Big Jon describes some of the flavors to look for while tasting.

First was Oberon, a wheat ale from Bell's Brewing, in Michigan. This is a refreshing beer, light to medium body, slight banana/clove in the nose, with hop flavor subdued but balancing the malt sweetness to make a dry finish. Here's how the brewmaster describes it:

"Bell's Oberon is a wheat ale fermented with Bell's signature house ale yeast, mixing a spicy hop character with mildly fruity aromas. The addition of wheat malt lends a smooth mouthfeel, making it a classic summer beer."

Photo: Lone Star Beer Co website

Second to taste was a Hefeweisen from Lone Rider Beer Co., from Raleigh, NC, with the delightful name of Shotgun Betty. Described by Jon as a German style Hefe with a pronounced aroma of banana in the nose, light bodied with a lively carbonation and a dry finish with an appropriate amount of yeasty clove flavor after taste. At 5.8% ABV, definitely a summer refresher.
This German-style hefeweizen features a rich, banana-clove nose and refreshing dry finish. 5.8% ABV - See more at:
This German-style hefeweizen features a rich, banana-clove nose and refreshing dry finish. 5.8% ABV - See more at:
This German-style hefeweizen features a rich, banana-clove nose and refreshing dry finish. 5.8% ABV - See more at:
This German-style hefeweizen features a rich, banana-clove nose and refreshing dry finish. 5.8% ABV - See more at:

 Our third beer to taste was an old favorite, Westbrook IPA (year round) which I am accustomed to seeing in cans. This time, having it from a freshly poured growler (this place is a growler station, afterall), the beer almost seemed like completely new animal! From the hoppy nose to the very satisfying dry, slightly bitter but well balanced finish, this a brew we really enjoyed and will have again, especially when we see it on draft.

Here's the description from Westbrook's web site:

"A base of pale, Munich, and Carapils malts is just enough to contain the massive hop flavor and aroma packed into this highly drinkable IPA. A blend of four American hop varieties is added four times in the kettle and twice in the fermentor for a complex and layered hop experience. Best served at 45-50˚F in a tulip or English style pint glass."

All this hop intensity and still only 6.8% ABV. 68 IBU.

After the tasting was completed, time to enjoy a pint of our choice from the terrific selection available. Kay chose Victory's Hop Devil IPA, one that we consistently like and is a good representation of the style.

By the way, one of the reasons Big Jon knows so much about beers and how to describe their flavors and style components is that he is a Certified Cicerone Server after completing the first stage in the Cicerone program (for which yours truly is also preparing). If you are not familiar with this certification program (and every beer server should be) read about it here:

Congrats to Jon for his achievement. Not an easy test, I know.

All in all a fun and educational evening and I'm already looking forward to next week's event.