Sunday, February 28, 2016

Sour Time In Charleston (As in beer)

Well, back from our Charleston pre-Spring break. Bright sunny, but cool beaches (with too much wind), plethora of good food choices and, of course, an over abundance of beer choices. It was Brewvival Weekend which we had to miss on Saturday, but we did make it to the Funk Festival Friday night at Edmund's Oast where Sours reigned. I'll get to the details later but I did want to mention that at such an event, you never know who you'll run into. In this case, mister Beer Lawyer himself (and his lovely wife Chrissy), Brook Bristow, Esq. Also saw Ashely Bowen, RAFA rep extraordinaire. Two stand outs for me, both by Crooked Stave; Nightmare on Brett with cherries; and L'Brett D'Raspberry. Mouth puckering but very impressive. More details to come, stay right there;

More to come, stay tuned!


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Smoke Beer? No Thanks

Seems I have finally come across a beer that I just can't seem to like; the smokey kind. Example from last night's Tap Takeover by Revelry Brewing, Charleston, at Upstate Craft Beer Co., is their Smoke Show, a Rauchbier ( means smoked in German) lager. I've been told that after the first sip and as you become accustomed to the smokey flavor, it's more enjoyable. Maybe so, but I'm not sure I have the time nor patience, since there are so many beers I enjoy instantly, like their Breakfast & Brunettes, a Dubbel with real coffee. As the old adage explains, "once a hophead, always a hophead." 

 Btw, the Blonde Ale on tap, Not That Yellow, by Upstate's Chris and Allie, was very enjoyable. It's the one in the front in the photo. The Revelry lineup, backrow, l to r, is their Covert Ops, a Dunkelweizen; Smoke Show, the Rauchbier; and Breakfast & Brunettes.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Mystery Beer Revealed!

"One is the loneliest number....." Someone sang that once, but it's not true in the case of tomorrow when one, and only one, keg of Upstate Craft Beer Co. and my collaboration beer is tapped. The skinney: A Red Rye IPA (Valentine's Day appropriate) called "R n R" coming in @7.1% abv, and 70 hearty IBUs. I will be on the premises from 1-4pm so if you would like to discuss the recipe with me or Chris Hardin, Brewmaster, please stop by. A keg only holds a little over 120 pints and I plan to drink several myself, so if you want experience this tasty little sucker ( a Cicerone approved description) you best be part of the crowd. Hope to see ya!


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Winter Warmer: Re-scheduled with Weather Cooperating This Time

Despite being delayed couple weeks, Asheville's Winter Warmer, the first big craft beer event of the year, came off fabulously with several new beers and breweries for me to learn about (and Tap in).  Maybe a couple breweries shy of last year's total, the crowd was the same: smiling and enjoying their samples.
With my notes close at hand and a ton of photos, let's see if I can do the event justice.

One of the new breweries for me was the event's featured guest brewery, Troegs Independent from Hershey, PA. Four beers were offered, but my first taste of their Nugget Nectar was enough to satisfy my curiosity; I'm gonna like their beers. NN is an Imperial Amber with 93 IBUs (almost a Red IPA) and an abv of 7.5%. Big on flavor and hop aroma, very satisfying to this hophead, thanks to the "excessive dry-hopping" with Nugget hops. I could have remained there, sampling the rest of the afternoon but duty called. My thanks to Corey Faithful, their NC sales rep for the generous pours and cluing me in on Troegs history and NC distribution plans.

Another new brewery for me as Lazy Hiker, from Franklin, NC.

I grabbed their Slack Pack IPA, (6.0% abv, 55 ibu) right away and it was full of deliciousness as well as intense hop aromas. I was told that was from a blend of hops, not a specific one. Very drinkable and, again, I wanted to linger but forced myself to move on. I did return later to try their Trail Mate Golden, a light, crisp ale with European hops. Perfect summertime sipper. That left three more to try but time would not allow it. You'll have to visit the brewery yourself and see if I'm right.

I enjoyed talking to brewer Buddy Everhart, of Aviator Brewing Co., in Fuquay Varina (that's how it's spelled!) NC. Opted for the Devil's Tramping Ground Tripel, a big 9.2% abv but without noticeable alcohol presence.
Made with Saaz and Hallertau hops, definite Belgian characteristics are present, pilsner malts make this very drinkable.

Not new to me but offering one of my favorite flavors in an ale, Birdsong from Charlotte, NC, had a jalapeño pale on tap, so of course I hung out there for awhile. Not a lot of heat but plenty of pepper flavor. I  consider this a prime example of a summer refresher. Not bad in winter, either.

Ashville Brewing was also there with their Fire Escape, a fiery jalapeño infused IPA which I always have anytime I'm in Asheville.

After those adventures, I decided to just walk around the floor and play tourist for awhile, camera at the ready. Some representative scenes:

I'll add some captions shortly, but all this beer gazing has made me thirsty!! 

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Asheville's Winter Warmer Finally Happens

Postponed due to the severe weather alerts, the 2016 Winter Warmer went off without any further delays under sunny skies.

Editing and sorting and writing and, well, that's the picture at the moment here at HFB World Headquarters, reliving the tasting extravaganza that was the Winter Warmer yesterday in Asheville. Don't touch that dial, you don't want to miss any of the exciting details!!!


Friday, February 5, 2016

Beer Drinkin' and Snackin' During the Super Bowl

"What! Not another beer list," you protest.

Well, yes, but this one has some credibility, in that it comes from Gwen Condon, director of production and quality assurance at Port Brewing/The Lost Abbey in San Marcos, Calif., along with Julia Herz, co-author of an important beer tasting guide. Port, located just north of San Diego, produces some very desirable beers, in a variety of styles. Look them up.

Anyway, one of their recommendations for pairing with guacamole is a hoppy American Pale Ale, which, by fortuitous timing, is a beer just added to the tap menu at Upstate Craft Beer Co., one that I helped (in a small way) Brewmaster Chris Hardin bring to fruition.

Here's the list, you'll have to find your own guac!


Interstellar Pale Ale Now On Tap

Remember back to Jan 10? I assisted Chris Hardin at Upstate Craft Beer Co. with the brewing of their Interstellar Pale Ale? Well, it has now been added to the on-tap menu so I'm on my way today to taste the result. Chris says it's tasty, which I would expect since it was dry-hopped with Galaxy and Polaris hops. Anxious to try it since it was my first effort as brewer's assistant. Get down there!!