Sunday, August 31, 2014

Cicerone Certified Server

Hey, did I mention that I am now an official Cicerone Certified Server?

It's true. Passed the test on Friday.  Here's proof:

From the Cicerone website:

"Knowledge Area Responsibilities - The Certified Beer Server requires competent knowledge of beer storage and service issues as well as modest knowledge of beer styles and culture and basic familiarity with beer tasting and flavors and basic knowledge about brewing process and ingredients."

Tasting @Southern Growl, Greer, SC

Ok, left to right, in the photo:
Thirsty Dog Ankle Biter (4.4%abv)
Green Flash Citra Session IPA (4.5% abv)
Green Flash Hop Head Double IPA (8.1% abv)
Lazy Magnolia Timber Beast Rye (8.9% abv)
Evil Twin Imperial Biscotti Break Stout (11.5%) Brewed at Westbrook in Charleston.

Our fave for this tasting was the Timber Beast, hands down. Spicy, great mouth feel and body, well balanced bitter finish.

Lazy Magnolia is in Mississippi and I understand that it's the only brewery in the state.

The Southern Growl is a special place for beer tasting and I recommend it. You can bring you own food in, too!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Saluda Wet Hopped IPA Released by Quest Brewing

Here's the star of the show (Saluda Wet Hop), in a taster size. I liked it, a crisp, dry IPA, not quite the hop bomb you might expect with Cascade hops (hello, Sierra Nevada!), good balance and the yeast from SouthYeast Labs adds a bit of flavor too. Good job for a first timer. 
Two other cask versions are available tonight as well, one with blueberries and one with peppers. I liked the pepper one best, but I'm always a fan of pepper/IPA combinations. These cask versions are the only ones in existence. Don Richardson, Quest Brewmaster, tells me that one or both might be reproduced in the future. Sort of depends on the publics response. 
I know what mine is!

Two other cask versions are available tonight as well, one with blueberries and one with peppers. I liked the pepper one best, but I'm always a fan of pepper/IPA combinations.


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Quest Cucumber Jalapeno Rye Saison

Last night at Quest Brewing Company. Fabulous beer, great music (Tonight's Noise w/ Darby Wilcox sitting in). 

Here's a sampling line up; (l to r) Kaldi, Ponce Cucumber Jalapeno Rye Saison, Ellida IPA, Kaldi Bourbon Barrel Aged.

 Pick of the evening: the Saison. Heat, cool, body, all fit together to make this a very refreshing and change of pace brew. I'm thinking this would be a growler full of fun at a party or outdoor concert. Hmmm....


Friday, August 22, 2014

Bacon "M&M's" - Really?

Not to worry about "melting in your hand," these things are gonna go fast!! Genius!

Photo: Bacon Bros.

New IPA From Founders On The Way!

 Being a longtime Founders Brewing fan, I got very excited about this upcoming release (October, probably):

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Getting Lucky in Omaha

Some ol' Air Force buddies are gathering in Omaha, NE for a reunion and one sent me this
photo of a beer they were trying. Totally new to me of course, but when I read the description from their website, the love set in.
"After the boil, the hot wort (the beer before it's really beer) is fired through a hop back, a unique four-barrel stainless steel tank filled with a gratuitous amount of raw flower Amarillo, Centennial, and Cascade hops, extracting the aromatic oils and flavor of the hops." 

Cheers and thanks to Don Baker for thinking of me!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Sierra Nevada Beer Camp 12 Pack: First Sample

Finally tried the Chico King Beer Camp Pale Ale. This is quite a pale ale... medium body
that's almost viscous on the palate; plenty of malt backbone, but all the hops keep it under control. Very drinkable. Well made; lacing from lingering head is proof. I would certainly order this if I came across it on tap.

Congrats to 3 Floyds and Sierra Nevada Brewing Company for coming up with this one! 

Now, only eleven more to try!!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Holy City at the Greenville Growler Station

Big Jon Richards hosted a rare tasting on Holy City beers (they're from Charleston) couple nights ago. All three beers were new to me, and two were new to him.

Washout Wheat, slight variation of the style, no orange or coriander flavors.

 Chucktown Follicle Brown was a complete surprise. Very leafy flavors jumped out at the beginning, changed, with less intensity as it warmed. Unusually hoppy for a brown was my overall reaction.

Pluff Mud Porter had an unusual acid sourness in the finish. Light to medium body, roasted flavors not over-powering, but I was puzzled by the sour.... why?

All well made  beers, but only the Wheat stands a chance of being ordered again.

And thanks to the Greenville Growler Station for the tasting opportunity.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Quest Thursday Nights Continue to be Big Fun

Little late on this post (blames it on the flash floods here in Greenville, if you want) but last Thursday evening was another exceptional time at Quest Brewing. National IPA day was celebrated with two releases, both based upon their popular Ellida, but this time, two casks, one with dry hopped Citra and the other with Simcoe. Citra was definitely citrusy, leaning towards grapefruit. Both were excellent and ran out early. Craig Sorrels band entertained and the Thorough Fare food truck fed us. Great time was had by all.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Beer in the Land of Cheeseheads:

Starting the tale of my visit to Wisconsin and the healthy craft beer scene I found there, mainly in the Madison-Milwaukee corridor. More pics and descriptions to come.

Barbara Jones, co-owner of Sweet Mullets, enjoying the feel of spent grain.

Tables made from recycled pallet wood. Nice varnishing job!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Touring Sierra Nevada's New Brewery in Mills River, NC

Rainy Friday, but we didn't let that get in the way of our very first visit to Sierra Nevada's new facility in Mills River, NC. Lots of construction still on-going, so no restaurant, tap room or retail store, but the place is brewing, so we can see that operation.

These beers are brewed here, some in Chico as well.

Tours begin beneath a pop-up tent for the time being, especially in the rain.

Tour Guide, Chris "Ivy" Ivesdal hands out hard hats and prepares the group for the tour.
After a long walk down a hallway (the regular tour entrance is not yet ready) we came into the very impressive brewing room with these stunning copper-clad mash tuns. This day, no mashing was in progress but lots of cleaning was. Cat walk aroung the top perimeter of the room is not yet complete. That will be part of a self-guided tour eventually.

Heading into the fermentation area, the infamous Torpedo in the foreground!

Hop lovers' manna: the hops room, chilled and fragrant!
Chinook Whole Cone hop with a bale filling the storage bin behind.
Bales of hops.
Corridor that will lead to the new taproom and restaurant in the near future.

Packing the new 4 Way IPA collection
Bottling line quiet this day.
"Ivy" pouring our samples. Bottle conditioning pays off!

Leaving with a smile, I am.

So, what was that name again, Mr. Tour Guide:

Ok, thanks.

Till next time. By end of next month there should be some major completions.

My prized possession! Almost unavailable now.