Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Craft Beer in 2017 - Some Predictions

As many of you know, Upstate Craft Beer had a one year anniversary party last night. Extremely well attended (and I have the photos to prove it) and during the revelry while the band played on, I shot some video interviews, getting folks' predictions for the craft beer scene in 2017. One of those is from my friend, fellow Cicerone Server and well know beer slinger, Harvin Bedenbaugh.


And then, there was this guy named Jack (actually Jack Ryan MacDonald's father), who offered this:


Next, someone who works at a brewery and has very specific wishes for 2017:

Shelby Durham likes the community, even if it stretches to the next state!

And now, for a musicians take on the brewing scene, and playing for them. George Colyer is one half of My Girl, My Whiskey, and Me. Good pickin, singin and tempos.

Quest Brewing is one of the older breweries in Greenville, opened just after I moved here. Don Richardson, co-owner and brewmaster, has been responsible for some fine beer drinking moments. What happens in 2017? Here's what he had to say:

Just when you thought it was safe, another interview comes along.
So, how do you look at the new year if you've have many hurdles in your path to opening your very own brewery, even tho you've been home brewing for years? Here's someone who remains not only optimistic, but downright fired up! Fireforge Crafted Beer

At Upstate Craft Beer Co.'s First Anniversary party, the occasion for these videos, Jack Ryan McDonald offered his thoughts for 2017; partner/brewer Chris Hardin was busy busing tables! (I mentioned it was very well attended). We'll get him later.

As anyone who has ever had to show an ID to get a wrist band knows, there is a legal component to craft beer and one of the most knowledgeable alcoholic beverage law attorneys in SC is Brook Bristow. Thus, a few comments about 2017 from that perspective:

Ok, I hear you say, "what about beer distributors?"  After all, they can spell the success or failure for a craft brewer, especially one just starting expand. And speaking of starting to expand, have you been following the cider trends? Cynthia thinks it's gonna get bigger:

Will Cooley, from nearby RJ Rockers Brewing in Spartanburg, stopped by to offer his perspective on the upcoming year:

Stay tuned, more to come!


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Beer and Cookies

So, among the many things 2016 brought us (so far), apparently Cookies & Beer Pairings have sprung up. For example, two events just this week, one at The Southern Growl (possibly sold out) and another at Brewery 85. I'm thinking Milk Stouts could benefit from this pairing attention, but you'll have to attend to discover what pairs best. Now, my favorite cookie is a crisp peanut butter so DuClaw Sweet Baby Jesus comes to mind. You?

Cheers and Happy Holidays!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Goose Island Lands in Europe

Hey, you, pay attention, I have a couple questions!

One, do you like Goose Island beers, despite their corporate ownership?

Two, do you like traveling in Europe?  Well, that's an easy one, and I found an equally easy way to enjoy both. Details in this link.

Get your passport ready.


Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Coconut Beers - A Representative Sampling

Not that I drink them often, but when I do, this list would be a handy reference. I already have had three of these and the #1, Death by Coconut is clearly a fave. There is also a rum barrel aged version of it about to be released, at the Tasty Weasel only.


Sunday, November 20, 2016

Greenville Craft Beer Festival Now History

Perfect Sunday morning for pouring hot chocolate over a bowl of cheerios while keeping toes toasty with trusty space heater and a dazzling wood fire burning on a YouTube video....
Meanwhile, editing pics from yesterday's Greenville Craft Beer Festival. Despite some strong winds rattling the tent popups, and a few lines bottle necked on the warning track, this very popular event, nearly the last of the season, came off splendidly.

I'll have more details and pix in a bit, just need to practice my typing with my mittens on. Here's one sample, tho:

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Death By Coconut For Dessert

Yep, Oskar Blues has a real winner in their Death by Coconut Irish Porter.. Not for those who dislike coconut, cause that's the flavor that hits the palate first. ABV not an issue, sit back and enjoy, very nice as a dessert.


Friday, October 28, 2016

Cold Mountain, HIghland Brewing's Cult Favorite Ages Well

Well, surprise, surprise.... it came off as planned, announced to Leah Wong Ashburn, HBC President, that I had a bomber of 2015 Cold Mountain Winter Ale that had been overlooked in our beer fridge, was she willing to join me in a tasting? Of course she was up for it, and we are pleased to announce that the beer held up nicely, was very drinkable with the hazelnut/vanilla combination very evident. Lost a bit of carbonation, mellowed a bit with age, but still had the flavor characteristics that make this seasonal so desirable.

Now, to wait for the official release of the 2016 version. Gonna be a taste fest!! Some photos to document to occasion: (Thanks to Jason Uhrinek for taking some of the photos) The Community Tap.


Thursday, October 27, 2016

Highland Brewing President, Leah Wong Ashburn Brings New Tastes to Town

Plans for the day:
Recover from last night's Hopoholic frenzy.
Begin research for upcoming visit to Raleigh, NC
Show up at 5:30 at The Community Tap for the Highland Brewing Company tasting. Remind Leah Wong Ashburn, President of HBC, that my first ever taste of Cold Mountain happened while interviewing her, back in 2014. This year's Cold Mountain has not been released yet (releases Nov 10) but I have a surprise for Leah. Highland has released several new beers so far this year and I anticipate most of them will be at the Tap for this tasting. Some photos from that interview, including my first glass of Cold Mountain. Ahhh, fond memories!


Sunday, October 23, 2016

Oktoberfests Winding Down - Except for Brewery85

As I mentioned earlier, when it comes to Oktoberfest, Brewery 85 has one of the most popular fests around. Good beers, good food and guaranteed fun for all (ages). Today was no exception. Due to some poor time management (and some timely beer tasting) I got there a bit late, but people were still into the spirit of things. Some photos that capture a bit of the flavor of the day.

Cheers and Prost!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Quest Brewing's New Canning Line

Quest Brewing Company has a new canning line which I experienced last week.... can be fascinatin' watching the cans go thru the process. Perceptive Concepts representative Todd Vriesenga was on hand to tweak the controls while Don, Adam, Jeremy and Andrew did the honors. I just watched, sipped, and photo'd. Don Richardson Adam Cribbs Jeremy Albert Andrew Watts

With so many municipalities no longer supporting glass recycling, look for more and more breweries to add cans to their beer line up, if they aren't already.


Monday, October 17, 2016

Doing The Polka At Sierra Nevada, Mills River

What a polka party!!! Of course, I am talking about the big Oktoberfest yesterday at Sierra Nevada Brewery, Asheville, NC, my first time to visit (h/t Brent Hodgson). All you would expect from the Grossman family: plenty of good music, food, seasonally appropriate beers, all made for a very lively time with dirndls and lederhosen in abundance. Surprisingly, the event took place in tents in a large field below the actual brewery so we couldn't play bocce on their excellent courts, but it was truly a festival. Put it on your calendar for next year. Here are a few pics from the day; I actually was more of a participant this time, so there are not as many photos as I might have taken otherwise. Prost!


Friday, October 14, 2016

Birds Fly South Brewery Tours Now Available

Was very pleased to be among the first group for the inaugural Birds Fly South Ale Project's brewery tour. If you are truly interested in how Shawn produces such consistently good farmhouse saisons and sour ales, then I suggest you join him on Saturdays, 3 or 5pm, and let him explain why all those barrels are necessary. Price of the tour includes the glass and all the beer it will hold. Win-win.

Virginia Brewery Crawl, Part 1.

Back home again, after an 8 day trip thru Virginia's Shanandoah Valley, enjoying the history and the bounty of new breweries to try. Still editing and selecting photos, but here's a brief look at some of the  spots where we got some very good beer:

Starr Hill is just outside of Charlottesville, VA, and we do get some of their beer here in SC, but mostly in bombers (22 oz). Random Row is downtown Charlottesville and has only been open for 4 weeks when we were there. All their beers were good in my estimation. I'll have more to say when I finish writing the story

Cheers and stay tuned!!