Thursday, September 26, 2013

Even Further Up The Creek

One of Thomas Creeks' signature beers is their Up The Creek IPA, a monster of an Imperial IPA whose ABV of 12.5% has more than a few unawares, due to its balance of malts: Caramel, 2 Row Pale and Special B, to its hoppy abundance of Warrior Nugget, Amarillo (love these) and Willamette.
So, what do they do to further expand that drinkability? Why, add black cherries and peppercorns to excite the already encouraged palate.

This happened at the latest Cask Party, the last Tuesday of each month, and I was able to get a sampler cup of this outrageousness, a one-off opportunity.

Same dark color, due to the malts, same balanced finish, the alcohol deceptively hidden tho the finish seemed warmer than usual. Did not notice a strong pepper flavor, tho it is certainly a full bodied brew. Faint cherries in the nose, more in the mid palate. Overall, fun to try and to appreciate a well made beer, but not sure I'd want too much of it. Especially if I had to drive later.

Fun time as usual at this event, which I encourage people to try sometime. Only once a month so there's time to plan, and each month the cask will be different.

Harvin Bedenbaugh, fellow Brewery 85 contest winner, likes to volunteer at Thomas Creek as well.

My home-brewing buddy, John,was back to try the cask.

Can never remember the name of this game, but it was popular that night.

Hey, what's with the photo of the Green Man in Asheville?? Well, stay tuned, I'll be giving a full explanation!


Saturday, September 21, 2013

Greenville Hop House Grand Opening; Rain, What Rain?

 The Greenville Hop House held their grand opening today, not letting the rain showers dampen their enthusiasm at all. Normal retail and growler filling takes place inside so that went on as usual. Just the folks sitting out in the yard under the tents were affected somewhat, but I saw smiles everywhere and the on-site brewing demo filled the air with the unmistakable aroma of beer being made. Took some photos to document to occasion and managed to keep the lens mostly dry.

Andrew, left, and Leroy add table assembly and tent raising to their many skills
The folks from I-Que barbcue are all smiles despite the rain, possibly as a result of being so close to that fragrant pork waiting to be served!
Andrew Myers, Manager, keeps the mash under control for the on-site IPA brewing.

Later, the amber malts are added to add balance. Still smelling good.

Inside, a look at the inventory of ingredients available to a growing population of home brewers.

That wicked weed shows up again. An amazing selection, to my eye.

Hop House owner Leroy DuBré shows up with... what? A new recipe in the works??

If your growler is uncomfortable, maybe one of these handmade cozies will solve the problem.

Quite a story about these b&w photos from the Prohibition era. Ask about them when you visit.

This little jewel is a growler pouch used for the same purpose but with obvious advantages. Hop House is the only brew gear supplier in the state with theses.

Weston Gaston, Beer Ambassador, kept his space dry for those wanting to "wet their whistle " with a variety of Thomas Creek bottlings.

Quest Brewing was scheduled to offer tastes later in the afternoon.

I couldn't hang around any longer, tho the beer brewing and barbcue smells were very tempting, cuz the rain was getting harder and I didn't have adequate protection for my camera. 
But I learned a lot here and anyone considering home brewing as a new past time  or career move will find everything they need here and the expertise from the staff to help them on their way.

Brewery 85 Construction Update and Location Finally Announced

In a final contest last week, Brewery 85 President Will McCameron at last disclosed the address for his new, under construction brewing facility: 6 Whitlee Court, Greenville.

The contest winners, one each from Facebook and Twitter, will receive Brewery 85 swag later on. The FB winner was Harvin Bedenbaugh and the Twitter winner was a lay-about, beer blogger with too much time on his hands, or so I'm told.

6 Whitlee Court before. Eager to take the "after" shot.

On my visit, Will gave me a brief tour, trying not to interfere with the workers busily painting and prepping the floor. Some pix below. He is hoping for a December opening and I hope that he makes it; eager to try his first offering which he says will be in the German style, since he spent several months in Munich soaking up (so to speak) their brewing styles.

We're looking at over 10,000 sq. ft of brewing space.

Tasting room located way back over there in the right rear corner.

Will also plans to turn this space into an outdoor beer garden, Munich style, with hop plant arbors for shade.

They are actually brewing beer off-site; here Will is offering me some Yeoman's
American Brown ale  at the BrewHaHa in Anderson.
You can read more about Brewery 85 and other breweries in the Greenville community, as well as the status of local bottle shops and growler refill stations in this article by Eric Connor in the Greenville News:

Hoping to make it to the Asheville Brewfest today!!


Friday, September 13, 2013

Wicked Weed Time (No, not that one!)

Hops are a wicked and pernicious weed
- King Henry VIII, 1519

Wicked Weed Brewing is a new addition to the very active craft brewing scene in Asheville, NC and it appears to me that they have been successful from the get-go.


I finally had the opportunity to pay a quick visit while playing tour guide for some visiting CA friends.

As you can see, they have quite a selection and this is only the upstairs part! After checking out all the pulls, I headed downstairs to do some sampling among the brewing equipment, tasting bar and tables.

After a brief conversation with Walt Dickinson, Head of Brewery Operations, I narrowed the choices down to a flight of these six:

Starting at the 6 o'clock position (left front) and moving clockwise:
Freak Double IPA; 8% ABV
Napolean Complex IPA; 5% ABV
Tyrant Double Red; 8.5% ABV
XVI Devil Rye; 6% ABV
Poperinge BIPA; 7.2%
Udderly Milk Stout; 5.8% ABV

As an unabashed hop head, the Freak was on my wave length! Described as their "San Francisco inspired hoppy monster" this IPA did not disappoint. I'm sure one of the reasons is the outrageous amount of hops used, over 3 pounds of hops per barrel. And those are the West Coast hops so you can expect citrus and herb in the nose and a bitter, dank finish. Very satisfying and a good representation of the Double style, in my opinion.

The others are all well made beers, equally worth a try, with their Poperinge Belgian IPA a stand out of a version not often found.

Walking around their outdoor patio area I discovered some hops still on the bines, so of course I had to do some sniffing around (acceptable behavior in a hop field) to enjoy that fresh fragrance. I was told the hops were the Chinook variety, partly for decorative purposes but some may have made their way into the vats.

All in all, a very satisfying first visit to Wicked Weed and I hope to get back there soon to try some of their bourbon barrel aged offerings, currently still in the barrels.
And not once did anyone question my Sierra Nevada T-shirt nor my Lagunitas IPA cap. I wear them to show my impartiality and enthusiasm for well made beer.



Monday, September 9, 2013

BrewHaHa Blast

As expected, the first annual BrewHaHa Festival in Anderson, SC this past Saturday was a genuinely fun event. Lots of people came to taste and enjoy and lots of people who didn't are going to be disappointed when they hear what a great time was had.

Fantastic examples of the Craft Brewer's Art were available for tasting and also some very interesting names: Angry Mango, Fish Paralyzer among them. I'll get more into the details a little later on but here are some images I took that give an accurate over-all impression of the day's activities.
First performer, Sam Anderson, getting some relief from the intense sun.
Anderson Valley (no relation) Brewing from Northern CA contributed to the tasting array.

His answer to the question, "why harbaneros and mangoes?"

Will McCameron, (ctr), of Brewery 85, brought his crew and brew to the VIP tent.

Bucolic scene prior to the crowds arriving.

Check in is easy for the early arrivals.
Are they ordering more beer?

Beer chic? Oskar Blues gave these cans with beads away with obvious results.

Enjoyed my sample of this Sweetwater brew but never learned the reason for the name.

Darby Wilcox enlivened yet another beer event. Good music goes with good beer.

Thomas Creek's tent was a good place to start for those thinking of joining the homebrewing crowd.

Adam Mangel of the Clemson Brew Crew stirs the wort while brewing on-site.

This is where those cans were given away. Along with tasty beer samples.

One of my favorite names and beers of the day by RJ Rockers, it's a Belgian Style Pale Ale.

Seminar session seemed to be open and well attended.

Flipside, a red IPA was welcomed for the first time in Anderson.

Beer brats, smoked salmon and meatballs from Summa Joe's awaiting their beer pairing.

Stephanie advising interested beer lovers on the finer points of Thomas Creek's offerings.

And this is one of their offerings. Very interesting blend of flavors of a very versatile beer.
Beer folks sure are friendly.

Getting busy in the beer tents.

Pouring Terrapin's Pumpkin Fest!

Goretex (that's what he's known by) of Uptown Lounge, Anderson, is quite the chef.

Didn't get their names but they sure liked pretzels!!

Winding down and time for a break.

Stay tuned for more details and additional photos! Cheers!