First tour!

On Friday we were invited to visit what will become The Southern Brewing Company off Collins Industrial road in Athens. Everyone was parking on the side of the road when we arrived and walking probably 100 yards down a two rut path. Once in the clear we were greeted by Brian Roth, co-owner and founder of The Southern Brewing Co. We grab a pour of Jailhouse Brewing 4-D IPA v.18 Cloudy McFly, a collaboration with SBC. and walked towards the entrance of the brew site.IMG_2042.JPGFrom the entrance we talked about Brian’s vision of what and how it will feel driving in and around the bend to discover the brewery hidden from passers by. Everything is still on schedule for a spring 2015 opening. We stopped back by the jockey box for another pour and then talked beer with Mark Mooney who is the brewer for SBC. We’ve been brewing with Mark at Gratis for a couple of years now and have learned a lot. He studied at the Siebel Institute in Chicago and recently shared a Berries Bourbon County Stout with us at Gratis for Bumpkinfest that he helped with while studying at Siebel.IMG_2044-2.JPG
It was now time to grab a fresh pour, which by the way if you are around Athens and see this beer on tap I highly recommend it. The only trouble is this will be a tough first beer to follow-up but Mark and Brian already have plans on how to improve it; tough job! So we grabbed another beer and walked towards the erector set going up in the back of the property. Brian pointed to areas of the site and talked about what will be where. He then described the vision of the brewery, like where we will park, where visitors will park, where roll up doors will be and where the farmer’s market will be. Then we stepped inside the brewery and from there you can start to envision where will enjoy our first beer at. The great thing about start from dirt is you can pour a floor that’s made for a tank farm with a drain and a sloped floor. I can say I’m the first person to check into a SBC at SBC on UnTappd. We then talked to Rick Goddard about our thoughts on the beer and we agree it’s going to be tough to make it better but they all want to make it better.IMG_2045.JPGAfter talking beer for a couple of hours everyone was rounded up and we all went to Catch 22 for dinner, also SBC collab beer was on draft there too. While it’s off topic I will say that I think Chef Miley has a winner with his Porknado Burger. It’s a burger with pulled pork, bacon and bacon mayo and it’s delicious.IMG_2047.JPG
If you are out and about this weekend in Athens stop into Trappeze, Catch 22, 5 Points Growlers, Grindhouse and Savory Spoon. By early next week you will be able to find it at Fuzzy’s Taco, Turtle Creek and The Volstead. Do yourself a favor, find it and drink it fresh.

[drink local]

Advertisements

Catch 22 gastropub Stone Brewing beer dinner

IMG_2039.JPGOn Wednesday night, October 15 Sarah and I enjoyed a great four beer, three course dinner at Chef Miley’s Catch 22 Gastropub. We arrived around 6:15p and found a seat at the front community table next to Cousin Owen and The Beer Wench. We talked for a few minutes and met the new Stone Brewing rep. Andrew before the entry beer was served.
IMG_2027.JPGThe opening beer was Reason Be Damned, an 8% Belgian Strong aged in red wine barrels. My likeness for Belgian yeasts comes and goes, but this was superb. So much so that Sarah even liked it, she even got another half pour before dinner started.
IMG_2029.JPGThe food pairings started off great and it’s hard to imagine how they could possibly get any better. The first course was a intensely spicy roasted poblano soup with hominy, which was paired with Bang Bang. Bang Bang is a hoppy red ale aged in bourbon barrels at 7.5% and was touted as being the only keg in the state. If so or not I’m glad we got to enjoy it. The bourbon doesn’t shine much which would be okay if sipping this beer solely but paired with this amazing soup made the bourbon shine and accentuated the bitterness of the hops. Everyone was raving about the pairing and the base of the soup. It truly was great. IMG_2033.JPGSarah and I were discussing our excitement for the dinner a few days earlier and I told her I was anticipating a southwest course being Miley’s roots from Cali and Stone being San Diego based. The main course is duck two ways, a roasted thigh and beer braised leg tamale. Sides were ancho creamed corn, smashed avocado with green onion and lime. Pair that medium rich course and slight heat with Enjoy By 10.31.14 and now this is debatably the best course. Typically I’m not a fan of the hugely bitter Enjoy By beers, but this course and that great tamale gave perfect balance to the beer. Thankfully there was plenty of corn and we were given left overs. Score!IMG_2037.JPGThe last course would certainly fall short but I was looking forward to finally trying this Chris Banker/Stone/Insurgente Xocoveza Mocha Stout. It’s an 8.1% stout brewed with cocoa, coffee, peppers, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg which sounds like a lot but comes across as, well, a mocha stout. Paired with an amazing pumpkin latte trifel and white chocolate whipped cream and you suddenly have a pumpkin spice latte. The huge coffee bitterness of the stout cuts through the sweetness of the dessert. There was a cookie that I quickly devoured, so I can’t say much about it. Just like the cookie, the last course was great.

Typically I like to say which of the courses was my favorite but Chef Miley made that really tough. We stayed a bit after so I could enjoy another pour of the stout, Sarah had a pour of Southern Tier Pumpking, and we talked to our vast group of local beer geeks and how much we all enjoyed the dinner. We left full but not stuffed and not overly served, which is great. Most beer dinners set out to get you hammered and Chef Miley didn’t do that. Catch 22 has had two recent beer dinners so their tap list and new fall menu is great, so I strongly suggest a visit soon. Thanks to Chef Cora so the extra ancho creamed corn too, it paired great with cast iron seared pork chops and sautéed broccoli at home the next day. Great job to the chefs and everyone at Catch 22!

[drink local]

IMG_2040.JPG

Hop Lovers Unite

Fall brings a lot of new things but one of my favorites is wet hop craft beer. Many breweries nowadays are doing this and the more the merrier. When hops are ready to harvest in the Pacific-Northwest breweries will place orders for fresh hops which are then flown overnight to be brewed with as soon as possible. For the past four years Terrapin has released a fresh wet hop beer called So Fresh & So Green, Green; which obviously pays homage to the band Outkast and we’re okay with that. Along with the release of SF&SGG is their annual Hop Harvest Festival which takes place at the brewery.

IMG_2015.JPG
This year’s version; which is brewed with a different hop each year is brewed with Simcoe. A favorite for many of us home brewers. Simcoe is typically characterized as citrus and piney and is typically high in alpha acids, like 11% – 14%. Each year is a different hop and naturally with Spike the first version in 2010 was Amarillo, followed by Challenger, Citra and last year Centennial. If I had to rank them all in order of liking them it would go: Citra – Simcoe – Amarillo – Centennial – Challenger. Yesterday they had SF&SGG running through a Randall of extra Simcoe hops; which really showcased the aromatics of the hop.

IMG_2013.JPG
Another neat thing for Hop Harvest is the cask tent. Each cask is Georgia Only! Golden Ale with a different hop in each one; most new or experimental hops. I only made it to the tent once and tried a new hop called Lemondrop; which gave hints of lemon and other citrus notes. There is always a barrel aged booth too pouring some unique and rare treats. As always a personal go to favorite is bourbon barrel aged Wake-n-Bake (Imperial Coffee Stout for the TTB). There was also BBA Hopzilla and a whiskey barrel aged Mosaic. The real treat came from knowing someone that knows someone that knowed someone and we got a few pulls of the soon to be release next Reserve Series, Moo-HooChiato. This is like a personal dream come true, Moo Hoo chocolate stout and Jittery Joe’s Wake-n-Bake coffee. This Reserve Series seems to keep getting better and better.

IMG_2014.JPG
Look for bottles soon of SF&SGG at your local glass house (bottle shop). This is certainly one you want to enjoy fresh so pop ’em when you get ’em. Cheers to the Terrapin crew on another great event in Athens.

[drink local]
IMG_2016.JPG

IMG_2017.JPG

IMG_2012.JPG

IMG_2019.JPG

IMG_2018.JPG

ältesten Brauerei der Welt

Thankfully my entire time in Deutschland over the summer wasn’t all work.  I actually got a few days off here and there then finally things worked out and Sarah was able to come visit.  She did an amazing job planning a 10 day trip for the both of us to visit several great places in Germany; mostly southern.  While staying in Munich for three days she surprised me by planning a guided tour of Weihenstephan Brewery in Freising; just north of the city.

IMG_0850.JPG
Bayerische Staatsbrauerei Weihenstephan or Bavarian State Brewery Weihenstephan is the oldest continually operating brewery in the world; since 1040.  The brewery is in fact owned by the State of Bavaria and has been since 1923.  Along the brewery is the Technical University of Munich; where many brewers go to learn the art and science of zymology.  Many wind up being brewer assistants eventually leaving to brew elsewhere or opening a brewery.
IMG_0843.JPG
Sarah originally planned on us taking a 10am English guided tour on a Monday, but this tour was booked so she planned a 1pm German guided tour.  She was ensured all the guides speak both languages.  Once our tour group started to arrive and assemble (we were first; imagine that) we learned that there were other English speakers and even Americans in the group.  As tour time got closer we were pleasantly surprised that they arranged to have a smaller tour just for us; nine people total.  The other group was a large 30 something tour.

IMG_0849.JPG
Our tour guide was a great kid and explained a lot for all the questions.  I stumped him a few times asking about English measurements but thankfully I could convert his Metric measurements.  He’s working on his PhD and doing his dissertation on turbidity in water and bier.  The tours are described as ending with two samples of their beers.  Our group however had four samples and they were all great beers!  He did a great job showing everyone how to view, smell, taste and enjoy their beer; just like a judge would.  If you are ever in Munich you should do yourself justice and make the trip.  It’s less than an hour by car and right at an hour by train.

IMG_0835.JPG

IMG_0857.JPG

IMG_0860.JPG

IMG_0884.JPG

IMG_0886.JPG

Terrapin Beer Great Pumpkinfest

Being home early from Deutschland has its benefits. Like getting told to put down the toilet seat, working 55 hours a week (scratch that), Autumn in the south (though that is still a few weeks away temperature wise) and pumpkin beers. Pumpkin beers are big, they have been for a couple of years now. However they suffer more from what I call ‘season creep’ than any other beer. Season creep is when beers are out before the season is, well, in season. You read, see or hear about pumpkin beers showing up in August. In the south August is the season of water only. The good thing though is that it means Autumn is coming.
IMG_1993.JPG
On Sept. 5 Terrapin held a fun day at the brewery dubbed The Great Pumpkinfest. This meant a few things; I had a reason to leave work ‘early’ (because 10 hours is a short work day), I could see people I missed, beer, hot Georgia heat on a Friday afternoon and beer. A couple of the boys from work showed up (one stayed behind to cover my tracks; thanks Jeff), Denver picked us up on the way and Sarah came over after work. Sarah actually got there first and we jumped way up in line with her. Once in those of us in the know went for the prize first. Back track for a minute and let’s talk special beers for this event. If the name does not give it away then Pumpkinfest was release and pouring was Cuckoo Fest, a Southern Fest Bier, but the star release was the Reserve Series Imperial Pumpkin Pie Porter. Now can you guess which beer Denver, Sarah (yes my wife is a coveted beer geek now) and I all went for? The Imperial Pumpkin Pie Porter is the third in the Reserve Series (first this year) which was preceded by Cinnamon Roll’d Wake n Bake and White Chocolate Moo Hoo. It poured with a nice thickness but had a dry finish that didn’t feel too bad on this hot day. The nose is really impressive with big hints of cinnamon and spice like you would expect exactly of pumpkin pie. The tastes all came together more as it warmed and the mouthfeel you can say would almost match that smoothness of pumpkin pie. The other stars were the always enjoyable Pumpkinfest lager. A good refreshing beer that comes up a little short of that pumpkin beer that most people are expecting. But once you understand it’s a lager you begin to appreciate the quality of it. The Cuckoo Fest Bier, a Side Project release, is a fest bier or marzen brewed with Blue Ridge Mountain grits. It was really enjoyable as was the Liquid Bliss on tap plus Recreation Ale on tap.

IMG_1994.JPG
Funny story, the lines were long as usual and expected for an ‘event’. I jumped out of the big line and walked over to see what was pouring with the cooler taps. A college aged guy behind me yells those aren’t pouring good. I told the others it was Liquid Bliss and Pumpkinfest and we would have beers after 8 people instead of 38 people. I guess what he meant by not pouring good was that there was an inch of head.

IMG_1995.JPG
The other cool part about the event that we did not enjoy was that Kate Lloyd; Tour Supervisor, Cask Mistress and Hop-Back Braniac was pouring beer through a big ole’ white pumpkin. What the beer experience would have been fun the line experience was wrapped about 40 deep. So all in all a good great afternoon even though we perspired a little. Now go ahead and order your Hop Harvest tickets before it’s all sold out. Hopefully we’ll see you guys and gals over there.

Pints Up and Prost!

For the love of German lagers

Für die Liebe der Deutschen Bieren! If you’ve wondered why the blog posts have stopped coming or where I’ve been; well if the title didn’t give it away then we just won’t talk about it. Ok, for those that can’t add; I’ve spent the majority of the summer in Germany working, from June to the end of August. I’m actually home a few weeks early. I’ve really missed Sarah, to the point that if I would have flown home again I’m not sure I could have put myself back on a plane to go back. Thankfully everything worked out and she was able to visit me for a week. Half way through her 10 day long trip I was requested home to take on twice as much responsibility at work. Now that work has doubled here I’m missing the 70 hour weeks in Deutschland (amazing huh?).IMG_0804.JPG

For those of you here that have never been to Germany or think that German helles, pils or even weizens fall into the group of mass produced domestic beers then you should really try them again. There is a reason, many actually, that beer, or rather bier is enjoyed before noon, after noon and all night. It’s simply delicious. If you don’t believe me then ask yourself if America has a state law on how beer should be produced. The German bier purity law, the Reinheitsgebot, or Bavarian Purity Beer Law was created in 1487 stating that beer can only be made with three main ingredients; barley, water and hops. It was not until the 19th century that yeast was added to the law because it wasn’t a known ingredient.

IMG_0789.JPG

Now that I’ve been back for over a week now I’ve already made a trip to Terrapin. This past Friday was their Great Pumpkin Fest. That post will be coming up next. The other exciting news is that in 10 days we should see high temperatures in the 70s and lows in the upper 50s. What that means is that after three days with lows in the 50s then it’s officially home brew season at our house. It’s a self imposed house rule.

[drink local]
Prost!

IMG_0614.JPG

%d bloggers like this: