Terrapin beer school

I’m calling the subtitle, ‘A Newb Learning’.

As I promised, allbeit late, and an exhausted mind and body from work today, a new blog.

It was announced a few weeks ago.  Maybe even a month ago.  About a Terrapin event at beautiful Brasstown Valley Resort in Young Harris.  Which is extreme north Georgia.  Call it a trip and fall down a mountain and you’re in North Carolina.  Sarah and I stayed here for the first time almost exactly a year ago.  March 30 & 31 were the dates on the pictures we have.

Balcony at Brasstown Valley Resort

The mountains and 1st hole of the golf course are behind us in the picture.  The course is awesome, with amazing views.  I didn’t play this year, but recall shooting a low 70’s last year first time out.

So here’s what included in the Terrapin beer school package.  One night at the resort, admission for two to beer school.  A 6-pack of Terrapin in your room when you arrive.  Five tasting tickets to sample Terrapin beers after class.  This one was a no show.  All this for the great price of $149.  Not bad at all.  I did somehow skip out on two beers.  I hope someone picked up that tab.  We did however get two VIP tickets to the brewery.  That’s a $20 value.  By the way, Georgia state law prohibits a brewery from selling beer direct to the customor.  So the states three only breweries sell you a glass and allow you to sample the limit of 32 oz of beer.  So if anyone needs some Terrapin glasses, I’m giving away some… more.

Okay, enough jibber jabber.  We decide to make a weekend out of it, and go up on Friday.  I take the day off, Sarah takes a half day, and we book it at lunch time.  First stop?  Crane Creek vineyards in Young Harris, GA.  Off the beaten path, and not much of a venue other than a gorgeous view from a huge patio.  We sample the apple wine and all three reds they offer.  To their surprise we pick up a bottle of the apple wine, and the Hellbender red.  I can’t wait to plan a dinner pairing for both of them.

We leave there, grab a bite to eat somewhere I think.  Then head to the resort to check in.  We check in and head to our room.  I get a little nervous as I realize that our room is on the inside of the hotel, not the outside with the gorgeous view.  Sarah walks in and goes ballistic that we have a fireplace in the room.  Nervousness gone!  But no beer!  WTF?  I tell her that it may be there Saturday since the gang from Terrapin probably isn’t there yet.  We chill by the huge lobby fireplace most of the night.  Just people watching, reading, playing on iPhones.  Big comfy couches too.  We left the Uno cards in the room or we would have stayed there longer I’m sure.  Get to the room, kick on the fireplace, enjoy some b’ball tourney action.  Then knock out.

Brasstown lobby fireplace

Saturday!  Saturday!  Saturday!

1’o’clock finally rolls around and we make our way to the beer school classroom.  We pass a wedding reception room.  There was also a wedding and/or reception here on Friday night too.  We walk in and meet a couple of guys helping out.  They both work for the resort.  One is a cousin or brother-in-law removed of John Cochran, co-founder of  Terrapin Beer Company.  They realize who we are and let us know that our 6-pack will be in our room when we return.  Ha!  That went into the cooler and made the trip home.  They’re expecting 20 – 25 people.  50 if all the Facebook maybes show up.  Another guy strolls in.  Then to our surprise the Dumans stroll in.  He had mentioned they were interested in it.  Never said they were coming.  Another young couple from Athens comes in.  I hate I never got to meet them.  Then four guys.  John Cochran, as I said, co-founder of Terrapin is the teacher.  Woop! Woop!  It’s like meeting a celebrity.  Later we realize his wife is there too.  I hate I can not recall her name.  Sarah could, no doubt.  She was nice, just as John.  They start pouring samples to everyone as John pops a Golden Ale.  Cool guy who has his beer chilled on stage behind a table.  He then starts in about Terrapin and the history of it.  Being in Athens, and visiting the brewery atleast two times every two to three months I know all about this.  Then onto the Sunray Wheat, Sarah’s past favorite.  Next is flagship Rye Pale ale, her new favorite.  I love that girl!  Next is Hopsecutioner, my ‘year-round’ favorite.  Last is Hop Karma, a brown IPA.  Different.  I may have to try again.  I’m not a big brown guy.  But this is malty and hoppy.  I tried to get the exact yeast strain of the wheat out of John.  He couldn’t recall it from memory.  I’m sure he wasn’t trying to keep it from everyone.  He asks if I’m a homebrewer.  Ofcourse, a Newbbrewer actually.  See, you can’t patent or copyright any kind of recipe.  I actually have the Rye Pale Ale recipe converted to a partial mash recipe.  This was straight from Spike, the other founder.  You can however copyright the steps or process of brewing a beer.  So as a professional brewer or brewery owner, why put the recipe out there?  Someone will figure it out.  Then that elite-ness of having the best rye ale is gone.

'09 hops @Terrapin

'09 hops @Terrapin Brewery

John realized that most people there were homebrewers and wanted to talk that subject.  But we stuck to Terrapin.  Want to know the best things we learned?  What Terrapin has in store for the remainder of 2010?  We already know about the Ga Theatre series.  If not, it’s here.  What about the 2010 Side Project list?

2010 Side Project releases
VOL10 – Capt Krunkles
VOL11 – Boom Shaka lager
VOL12 – Hop Zilla
VOL13 – So Fresh and So Green, Green
VOL14 – Big Daddy Vladdy

They’re planning a Hop Harvest Festival around the release of VOL13 – So Fresh and So Green, Green.  Over nighting in hops in just to brew it.  FUN!

What else?  How about some seasonals?  Not the Monster Beer Tour either.

Sunray Wheat – Spring / Summer season (6 months)

PumpkinFest Ale (formerly a Side Project) – Fall (3 months)

Chocolate Milk Stout – Winter (3 months)

My big question immediately?  Is the Winter seasonal going to be anywhere near as awesome as Depth Charge.  The espresso milk stout from Left Hand Brewing and Terrapin Beer Co.  John’s wife speaks up from the back and says good question.  The entire group of all 11 express their love for Depth Charge.  If you missed it, I hate it for you.  Damn that was a good beer.

What else?  Nothing I’m going to let out of the tap.  As I want it all to myself.  The group broke up and headed for the pub below the lobby.  I ran back to the room to drop off my laptop.  To my surprise?

Terrapin 6'er

Terrapin 6'er

Once we get down stairs all the guys enjoy chatting with John.  Sarah is outside with John’s wife, doing as girls do.  Chatting it up.

So all around one helluva trip.  We really enjoyed ourselves.  Our next Terrapin fix?  The anniversary party on April 17th.  come meet up with us and join in on the fun.  265 Newton Bridge Rd. Athens, GA  30605

The timer for the porch lights just turned on.  Letting me know I can enjoy my Hopsecutioner inside.


Posted on March 30, 2010, in Beer Events and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

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