Friday, May 30, 2014

Rain? No Problem

Fun at Quest Brewing Company tonight, music moved indoors, next to the canning operation, Tonight's Noise good as ever, even without the mandolin, and Ellida IPA deelish. Bring on them hot summer nights!!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Another Session IPA - The Hits Just Keep On Coming

Add this to the list I recently posted of examples of this growing trend of making tasty, hop-intense IPA, but with alcohol below 5%, thus a session beer. This one is 4% abv, and 42 IBUs, the bitter scale.

Here is the latest to join the lineup:

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Yeast, One of the Big Four

As we all know, beer basically has four ingredients: water, barely, hops and yeast.

Ok, other grains get thrown in from time to time, style to style. And fruit. And chocolate.... anyway, what I'm getting to is that each of the four has its own role to play.

The folks at Southyeast labs can tell you in greater detail, but meanwhile, here is a fairly in-depth account of yeast's importance:


Friday, May 23, 2014

About Those "Session" IPAs...

Lakefront, left, 4.2% abv, is from Milwaukee; Founders, right, 4.7% abv, from Michigan

Seeing that next week, following Memorial Weekend, marks the beginning of the Summer season, I thought I would begin my research into appropriate brew selections. Of course, IPAs came immediately to mind followed quickly by what's termed, "session" IPAs, lower in abv but not in flavor. While I continue my research, here's a good article and list of some you might not be familiar with.

For a typical description, here's how Lakefront describes their Extended Play:
Sometimes you need an IPA that goes the distance. That’s why we put together Exteded Play. This is an India Session Ale, which means all the hoppy goodness of a legit IPA, but with less alcohol. Huge citrus and floral aromas greet the nose from the stacks of Citra and Cascade hops added toward the end of the boil and in the whirlpool. The flavor is extremly citrus forward with just a touch of light caramel malt, giving way to a mild, hoppy finish, coaxing yet another sip. In short, it’s a beer that bears repeating. - See more at:

"This is an India Session Ale, which means all the hoppy goodness of a legit IPA, but with less alcohol. Huge citrus and floral aromas greet the nose from the stacks of Citra and Cascade hops added toward the end of the boil and in the whirlpool."
Now that's what I call "hop forward!"

My experience with this style has been very satisfying from a hop lovers point of view. These Ales are being made with no decrease in flavor and intensity while keeping the abv down. Great idea and I think the craft brew enjoying public is responding.

Now, if we could only get Lagunitas to make Daytime a year-round brew!

Yet to try this, but I like anything by Stone.
Some more ideas:

Whatever you choose, hoppy sipping!


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Big News: Asheville Beer Week Coming!

As if there weren't enough reason to drink good beer in Asheville, NC, here's another week-long reason;

Promises to be an exceptional year, what with all the new breweries (see my previous posts) that have opened in the past year.

For me, it's only a hour drive north, easily a day trip. Just got to choose which days now.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Notes From A Citra Hops Lover - Me!

Stopped by the Community Tap to pick up a growler of Thirsty Dog's single hop wonder, Citra Dog. 6.5% abv, very crisp, dry and filled with deliciousness.  Try some and see if you don't agree.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Heart of Friday Night

With apologies to Tom Waits.

Survived the sporadic downpours while listening to music at the TD stage as part of Artisphere, then waded over to ‪#‎GreenvilleGrowler‬ Station for ‪#‎Freehouse‬ London Porter while watching the fireworks from Fluor Field. Just another Friday night in the ol home town.

Group on stage is called Houndmouth. Who knows why....

If you want to know more about the Freehouse Porter, here's what their website says:

"Robust London-style porter hopped for export.  Roasty and bitter up front with a sweet finish.  Smooth, roast chocolate and hops!"


Friday, May 9, 2014

Freehouse Brewing Comes To Town

Educational and fun time at the Greenville Growler Station last night, where Freehouse came to pour samples of their beer line-up.

Owner Arthur Lucas poured samples of four beers for us.

Started with the Ashley Farmhouse, a Belgian-style saison. Refreshing with a bitter orange peel flavor in the finish. Tasty. 5.5% abv.

Then, Green Door IPA, brewed with British ale yeast and organic hops, has a nice hoppy flavor and finish but with estery notes from the yeast. Different but good. 5.7% abv.

Bitter Monk was poured next, a strong Belgian Golden with orange and grapefruit zest added but well balanced with the typical Belgian flavors. Very sippable and refreshing as well. 7.3% abv.

Lastly, the London 2014 Porter made with an abundance of hops, making this porter very different than most. Good roasty coffee/chocolate flavors but tempered with the strong hop presence, especially in the finish where I usually find the final smokiness; not so much here, just well balanced and very drinkable. I'll look for this one again. 6.0% abv.

Some photos of the evening and thanks to owner Arthur Lucas for the samples and info.

Another reason to make a return visit and brewery crawl to Charleston.


Thursday, May 8, 2014

Asheville Adventures (With Beer, Of Course)

Yesterday, I finally was able to make the planned trip to Asheville, NC, ( a mere hour up the road) to get a personal introduction to the several new breweries now operating and to discover for myself what the term "south slope" actually means.

Managed to try a sampler flight in three of them (one was closed on Wednesday; who knew!) and made a short visit to two others.

Hoping that my note-taking skills have improved somewhat, here is how the day went:

First stop, French Broad Brewing Co,
on Fairview, just past Biltmore Village.

Their web site describes their brewery thusly:

"Since opening our doors in 2001, our goal has been to create traditional European style beers while maintaining the unique flavor that is Asheville."

Sounds good to me. So here's what we sampled:

Anvil Porter, Gateway Kolsch, Ryehopper Rye Pale Ale, Wee Heavy Scotch Ale, Kremlin Red IPA, and  two others whose names are missing from my notes.

The Ryehopper Pale was our favorite; dank hops in the aroma and in the  crisp and dry finish.

They also have what might be the smallest
canning operation in town:

Thanks to beertendress, Arielle Walsh for helping put the flight together.

Next destination, on the now infamous "south slope" (more about that later) and practically down town, was Asheville Brewing.

Here's their offerings for the day, from which we chose five to sample:

Mystery Hops #4 is the bottom right.
The Mystery Hops #4 was very special for several reasons. One, it's part of a series in which the brewmaster chooses only one hop to use and then, two, refuses to tell the public which one he's chosen, thus making us use our tasting history and memory to recognize and name it. With all the citrus and grapefruity flavor, my first guess was Simcoe but other's consensus was that Citra was the one. Mystery solved!

Just down the street and up a block from Asheville Brewing is one of Asheville's newest breweries, Burial. Unfortunately, they chose Wednesday to be closed so all I could do was take a photo of the exterior with empty parking lot. Another time, then.

Backtracking to Buxton from Collier, we found this sight:

A Chocolate Factory and a Brewery
on the same block. A small version of paradise, maybe? Well, since this was a brewery crawl, not a chocolate one, we headed for Green Man, one of Asheville's oldest breweries. Originally a brewpub (1997), in 2010 the decision was made to become a full production facility which now includes 6-packs of selected brews.

Mid-day folks watching Football (Soccer) games.
Hops lead the way to the front door.

This place is a very popular stop on the Beer Tours around town.

Green Man is another example of the major expansion efforts going on in Asheville's brewing community. They've expanded their brewing capacity in their new facility on Buxton and plan even more, adding a packaging line and new tasting room.

And what is a Green Man?
According to their web site, "it's            
a sculpture, drawing, or other
representation of a face
surrounded by or made from leaves."

 Green Man IPA has been a favorite of mine since last St. Patrick's Day when Big Jon from the Greenville Growler Station and I stopped into Jack of the Wood Irish Pub in Asheville for lunch and had pint or three.

Leaving the chocolate and Green Man behind, we continued our efforts to find the newest craft beer facilities and within steps, we came across Twin Leaf at the corner of Coxe and Banks, where the entrance is located.

This really is a new facility and the tap room interior shows it.

The IPA of the moment was Pace Yourself Imperial IPA and at 9.5% abv, we decided to pass for now and pace our way back up Coxe to Hilliard where Hi-Wire awaits.

Actually, I had already visited Hi-Wire earlier in the year, but Kay had yet to try any of their beers, so a stop was essential. I was disappointed to learn that their DIPA, Man Eater was gone, being a seasonal. But the Hi-Pitch IPA made an ideal end-of-day brew, full of hop flavor and a mild 6.7% abv (well, mile for me anyway) made the sippng easy.

Also watched as a local pig farmer showed up to haul away the day's spent grain. Gonna be some contented pigs back on the farm (tho not fermented, it's still from a very tasty grist).

I found this story from the local paper very informative and covers expansion plans for several breweries. I should point out that Asheville Brewing's Shiva is an IPA, not an ESB as mentioned in this article. Happens to the best of us.

Some final thoughts. As you can see from the article, Asheville and western NC breweries are expanding, so that must mean more and more folks are learning about and enjoying the delicious offerings from these craft beer industry pioneers. Keep it up!!

And if you would like more info about Asheville's south slope, this map will put you on the right track:

There are still several more area breweries for me to visit, so stay tuned. It could happen at any time!


Sunday, May 4, 2014

Three Heads Too Kind DIPA New For Me

Had it the Greenville Growler Station, enjoyed it so much, took  a 32 oz growler home. Surprisingly little hops in the finish, almost a fruity, melon kind of aftertaste, alcohol nicely hidden. Very tasty, creamy body. I'd order this again.