Sunday, July 27, 2014

Beer and Pickle Pairing

Time to catch up some things.... events coming fast and often here in Greenville. Last night was JL Fulks' birthday bash at Mac Arnold & Plate Full O' Blues on Pendleton with Mac himself joining in for a couple tunes, including "Got My Mojo Working," one of faves.
But before that we were at The Community Tap for beer and pickle pairings. Some were a bit strange but mostly all were very interesting and a palate-stretcher. I thought the beets and Scotch Ale seemed to work best. And the Southern Sweeties were a big hit, sold out all the available jars! Here's some info:

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Hot Diggity! - Found a new IPA

New brewery and beer for me helps ignore the sunless days:
Hot Dang Diggity IPA from Jekyll Brewing in Alphretta, GA. The name alone was enough to get me interested, but coupled with the fact that it's an IPA, I had no choice but to try it. Glad I did. Great hop aroma, dense head with plenty of lacing, medium body with malty sweetness that merges full speed with the full dry hoppyness you'd expect from the 74 IBU's. With a 6.8% abv it's a clean finishing and refreshing brew. I like it. And I recommend it.

Friday, July 18, 2014

New Glarus Visit Coming Up

 Visiting New Glarus will be on the agenda when we head for Wisconsin at the end of the month. The pic below does not show the new construction for their expansion program. I'll find out it that means their beer will now be able to leave the state.
The only time I get their beer here in SC is when a relative visits, like Kay's brother Eric, in a truck pulling a trailer. Not full of beer, but with room for a twelve pack.

New beer on the market there:

New Oud Bruin  

More to come...

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Georgia Beer On My Mind

Just returned from a weekend trip to Canton (near Cartersville) GA, for a family event. Our hosts were my niece Stacie and her husband, John who works at the Anheiser-Busch brewery.  He is also Scottish and a big futbol fanatic, very knowledgeable about the international teams, thus a perfect companion for the World Cup final.

He also introduced me to a Cartersville business, Muskedines, a growler station as well as a supplier for all brewing needs, plus wine making/tasting stuff. Kenny McCoury is the owner and a great resource for brewing info.

Bit of construction and remodeling going on but we were greeted by the lovely view of these 12 taps:

Wonderfulness ensued as I was introduced to a new brewery, Six Point Brewery from Brooklyn, NY.
On tap was their Imperial IPA, Hi-Res. At 11.1% abv, one needs to tread carefully; definitely do not pound this on down. That said, it was very drinkable, the alcohol hidden nicely behind the well balanced hop/malt recipe.

Hi-Res sampler, a small amount but big impact. Quite a beer.
Come Sunday, for the World Cup final, I had brought a growler of Palmetto Amber to help sustain the excitement. Considered their signature ale, it's a light to medium bodied ale with Columbus, Chinook and Zythos hops, and at only 5.7% abv, a good choice to accompany an hour and a half futbol game.

After the German victory, John celebrated with, surprisingly, a non-Teutonic beer, choosing instead a Sierra Nevada Torpedo. John was elated because he had chosen Germany to win from the very beginning.
Monday found us heading back home, with a detour thru Athens, since neither Kay nor I had ever visited. After some Google searching, she chose Trappeze as the gastro pub to visit and glad we are that we found it.

Good food, at the bar, and some 31 beers on tap (2 were down, 33 is the usual) made the day for us.

I chose the Ballast Point Fathom IPL, 7.0% abv, Kay had the Off Color Tooth and Claw Czech pils, 4.8%. abv. We also had a half pour of Yes Face ESB, since it is brewed by a good friend's brother. Good choice to accompany our sandwiches.

The apres-lunch devastation.
A quick walk around the block and it was time to head for home. My kind of day: good food, new beers in a new city. The craft beer life!!


Monday, July 7, 2014

Lazy Magnolia's IPA For Lunch


Perfect accompaniment to our late lunch (or early dinner) with it's low abv (6%) and citrusey flavors. Light straw color a bit unusual for an IPA but it had plenty of body and hop presence in the finish. I'm looking forward to trying more of their brews.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Anderson Valley Brewing Night at The Growler Station

Fun and educational night at the Greenville Growler Station. Anderson Valley Brewing Company, from Boonville, CA, had a tasting of some of their most popular brews, and a very rare one.

Hop Ottin' IPA
Heelch O' Hops Double IPA
Wild Turkey Bourbon Barrel Stout
Grand Cru, a Belgian-style Sour Ale

told us about the recipes, attributes
and AVBC history.

AVBC has an exclusive relationship with the Wild Turkey distillery in Kentucky to get their used bourbon barrels. It makes that Stout a flavor bomb that hides the 6.9% abv quite nicely and lingers on the finish. Only beer that we moved on to a pint with.
Ocean. At one time, in the 60's, it was a hippie haven but transformed itself into very popular romantic getaway destination. A plethora of B&Bs, good restaurants (and a few tacky ones) and great coastal views draw visitors from around the world, as well as those of us who lived in N. Calif.

Getting there was a bit of a challenge, road-wise, because it required one to leave Hwy 101 in
Cloverdale, head west on a narrow and winding road into Anderson Valley. Well worth the effort because AV is a gem; a narrow valley, less than 20 miles long, known for excellent white wines and pinot noirs. (See Husch, Navarro and Handley wineries for examples). The valley has two main towns, Philo in the western part and Boonville on the east, the first one you come to.

 And there begins the tale.

It was probably in 1987, since that is when the brewery started, on a day trip to Mendocino (yep, we youths would go up and back, 5 hours on the road, in a day from SF), when we decided to stop for lunch in Boonville, a small valley town with no stoplights. The town's claim to fame was mostly that it was the home of the county fairgrounds so it was busy at least one week a year. It did have one hotel with a well-regarded restaurant, open for dinner only, and one actual restaurant, the Buckhorn Saloon.
Buckhorn as it looks today on Google Street View.

Seating ourselves at a table in the Saloon, to my amazement I noticed that the menu offered beer tasting from a brewery in the basement. And that you could get something called "samplers" of the beers available. That was something totally new in my world so of course I had try them. My memory is hazy on the details but I do clearly remember that we were served 4 samples in what were most likely little 2 oz. glasses, placed on a place mat with the names and descriptions  of each beer. Revolutionary!! At that time, I was not a big beer fan, drinking mostly lagers from Henry Weinhard or Rolling Rock. Cold and wet were my principal descriptors.

That was about to change.

I wish I could remember, one, which beers we tried, and, two, which made the most impression on me. Alas, too many lost brain cells for that to happen, but I do know that from that day forward, I would always stop there, sometimes going and coming, on any visit to Mendocino, and later when a group of us would camp in Hendy Woods State Park, about 8 miles west in Philo. I took away the idea that ales were beers too, and not necessarily some heavy, dark, somewhat bitter brew. Unfortunately, the beer was only available at that spot for several years, before it started showing up on taps in nearby towns, Mendocino being one of them. (Of course, years later I discovered North Coast Brewing in Fort Bragg, a few miles north of Mendocino, but that's another story).

In that same time period, late 80s and very early 90s, I discovered Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and my future beer-drinking path was set.  No more weak, yellow, rice or corn based fizzies.

Anderson Valley Brewing moved into their new facility in 1996 and we've visited it several times. I'm still impressed with its size, it's almost as large as downtown!! Very comfortable tasting room and now there are certainly more than 4 samplers available.

I recommend a visit to anyone who finds themselves in Anderson Valley and wants a break from the many wine tasting opportunities there. And while you're there, have someone explain to you the intricacies of the "boontling" dialect. A good story while sipping some very good beer.

Good representation of what the Valley looks like, covered with vineyards. And one brewery!

Bahl Hornin!

Modern downtown Boonville. Don't blink twice!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Blue Ridge Brewing Day: UPDATE

My Blue Ridge Brewing Company brewing adventure update:

Back in June, I spent the day at BR while Brewmaster Dana Dickinson and assistant Kat Kilpatrick brewed up a fresh batch of Bolt Cutter IPA on their 10bbl system. Read the description of the day's activities in the June archives if you want to get the details.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of having my first pint of the finished product, now on tap at the Main Street brewery. I am very pleased to announce that the IPA is a fine testament to their skills; a west coast style, with the hop presence one would expect and a strong malt backbone to provide the body and the resulting abv (6.5%). Despite the large grain bill, this drinks like a light bodied, youthful kind of beer. Dana likes to describe it as "bright" tasting and I agree with that. It scoots along the palate leaving a tasty malt trail as it heads for a very satisfying dry, hoppy, modestly bitter finish.

I am proud to have been part of the process (see blog for details on my role). I recommend you try it asap to see if you agree.