Thursday, July 24, 2008

Busy Busy

Its been a busy week or so, so the blogging has been slow. As always, the Bruisin' Ales beer blog is there to pick up the slack on brew news in Asheville. One of the things they reported on recently is that Stone Brewery will be distributing their beers to North Carolina in September. If you recall, that is the second brewery that I have predicted would make it to North Carolina this year. I'm thinking of changing my name to Carnac. If Stoudt's can get on the ball, I will be three for three. I did see Stoudt's in Columbia South Carolina last month. Their Pilsner hit the spot in the South Carolina heat.

In other news, the Whiskey River IPA is back on tap at Barleys. For those of you who don't know, this is Catawba's Firewater IPA aged in whiskey barrels. I do love barrel aged beers. Be sure to check it out.

As Asheville gets revved up for Bele Chere, I am going to be traveling to Alabama. I should be back early next week, so drink a few local beers at the festival for me. Hopefully I will be back with some new posts next week.

Dear Ingles,

Thank you so much for including some Ommegang and Duvel products at your Leicester Highway store. Now when I go shopping, I can occasionally pick up a Ommegang Abbey Ale or a Duvel. But please, tell your cashiers not to shake the bottle. The yeast that settles at the bottom is supposed to be there.

Yours Truly,


Sunday, July 13, 2008

Around Town

Its time for another hodgepodge of beer related items around town. As I posted last week, the Thirsty Monk had a couple of special events that I was lucky to attend. The first was on Thursday, where I got to meet the owner and brewer of Brouwerij Huyghe, most famous for their Delirium line of beers. I was able to satisfy my inner beer geek by getting a special signed glass from Alain. The next evening, the Thirsty Monk tapped a firkin of the Clipper City Loose Cannon Hop3 Ale, a great IPA that was made even better by serving it on cask. At some point in the future, I need to devote an entire post to cask beers, as it is something we don't see around here much. Helping me learn more about cask ales was Tom Cizauskas, beer lover and representative for Clipper City. He also has a great blog, with a good write up of Thursday's Delirium festivities.

Another place I checked out on Friday is downtown's newest drinking establishment, the Rankin Vault. Beer takes a backseat here to their focus on cocktails, but they still had Pisgah and Highland on tap for those of you who stick to beer. As far as their cocktails, I had a great 'martini' that was made with fresh juice and cilantro. The bar itself is sophisticated without being pretentious, and is a great place to have an early or late night drink (they have food also if you get hungry).

Going back to beer, next weekend is the Summer Cooler Beerfest at the Garage at Biltmore. This is basically the summer version of the Winter Warmer fest that was held there this past January. The emphasis is on local beer, and all of Asheville's favorites will be there. Food will be provided by Luella's barbecue, and some of the money will go towards Clean Water for North Carolina, so you can drink for a good cause. The mini-fest runs from 3-7 on Sunday the 20th.

On Saturday I ran into Jason Caughman from Pisgah, and he informed me that they will be releasing a Saison very soon. Saisons are one of my favorite beer styles, so I am really looking forward to trying it out.

Also on Saturday, I swung by the Wedge to get my hands on the Gollum, and it tastes even better than I remember it. They also just released a Chezch style pilsner, which is really good and a perfect beer for the hot summer months. I also want to remind you that next Saturday, the Wedge will be showing the movie Thunder Road on a projection screen outside, so it will be a perfect opportunity to try out some of their new offerings.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Berlin Comes to Asheville

I love my IPA's and Pale Ales, both having descended from English style ales where most of American craft brews get their inspiration. But Germany has a long and storied brewing history, and there are many beer styles that can only be had by flying across the Atlantic. French Broad Brewery has decided to bring a little bit of Germany to this side of the pond, as they have introduced their Berliner-Weisse, a slightly sour wheat ale that is traditionally served with flavored syrup. The beer has been served in Berlin for centuries, with its historical roots going back to the 1600's, and none other than Napoleon calling it the "champagne of the North". The beer is low in alcohol and is brewed with lactobacillus, which gives it its tart flavor. This sourness is also why the beer is traditionally served with syrup, as the sweetness tends to cut some of the acidity of the beer. The traditional syrups in Berlin are raspberry or woodruff (red or green), and French Broad has added its own twist by including lemon, pomegranate, and triple-sec flavors in addition to the original two. The beer should be available at the tap room, and I am looking forward to trying it.

In other French Broad news, they are going to be bottling two of their other German offerings in the near future, their Alt Bier and the Gateway Kolsch, both classic German styles that are not often brewed in the states. Moving west from Germany, they will also be releasing a Saison in August, one of my favorite Belgian style beers. So if you haven't been by French Broad in a while, be sure to head down to their tasting room and check them out.