Showing posts with label California. Show all posts
Showing posts with label California. Show all posts

August 13, 2013

A Rare Beer Club Tasting: Best Served Chilled with Cheese and Good People

Rare Beer Club Tasting
The Rare Beer Club offers some
hard-to-find libations.
The Rare Beer Club puts hard to find and limited release beers in the hands of craft beer fans. They were kind enough to send me a few bottles, so I invited some Asheville beer folks over to try the club's summer releases. Included in the lineup were collaborations from some of the United States' favorite brewers, as well as a saison from one of the world's most highly regarded producers of the style.

First, a little more about the club...

March 14, 2013

Green Flash to Build $20m Brewery in Virginia Beach

This is such big news for craft beer in Virginia that I had to throw it up on the blog real quick. San Diego's Green Flash Brewing Company has just announced plans to build a second brewery in Virginia Beach. This will be a state-of-the-art facility with a 100,000 barrel capacity, employing 40 or more local workers. Production is expected to begin in 2015.

“The Mid-Atlantic region provided logistical advantages,” said Lisa Hinkley, co-founder of Green Flash. “Virginia is a great place to do business, has a developing craft beer culture, and Virginia Beach felt like home.”

Additionally, Green Flash is moving in with full intent to help develop Virginia's craft beer culture. They established a $10,000 credit with San Diego's White Labs, a leading producer of brewer's yeast, for members of the Virginia Brewers Guild to use for testing and quality control. Green Flash also plans to develop a Virginia Beach series of locally made beers and to support area charities.

Go #VAbeer!

Read the full press release at BeerPulse.com.

January 25, 2013

5 Beer and Cheese Pairings That Will Rock Your World


Image used with permission via Rogue Ales and Spirits
At the 2012 Great American Beer Festival this past October, nearly 50,000 people descended on Denver to sample over 2,700 beers from nearly 600 American craft breweries. What blew me away though, more than any hopped-up IPA or high gravity Belgian quadruple, was a series of beer and cheese pairings that left my palate in a state of shock.

During the Saturday afternoon session of GABF, the American Cheese Society and Atlanta Foods International presented a seminar titled, “The Best Wine for that Cheese is Actually…Beer,” in which five phenomenal, award-winning cheeses were paired with five world-class beers from Utah’s Uinta Brewing Company. I was thrilled to learn that a similar event will be presented this weekend in Asheville.

January 1, 2013

The Most Influential Beer Bloggers of 2012 (Part 2)

beer blogger at work
Happy New Year everyone! I hope you were able to enjoy some good craft beer last night. If not...it sounds like a good resolution for 2013!

If you haven't already, be sure to check out Part 1 of this post about three of the most influential beer bloggers of 2012. These next three have each been successful in their own right and are bound to bring further inspiration in the year ahead.

November 16, 2012

Asheville, NC: New Belgium Tasting and Cold Mountain Release Party

It was a special night in Asheville, with a New Belgium tasting event and the release of Highland Brewing Company's highly anticipated Cold Mountain Winter Ale.

New Belgium Tasting at Bruisin’ Ales

New Belgium Asheville - Bruisin' Ales
Bruisin' Ales ("A High-Gravity World of Brews") is a bottle shop on 66 Broadway St., right in downtown Asheville. It's not a huge shop, but nonetheless they are very well stocked. They have great selection of imports (Schneiderwiesse etc.), plus the likes of Dogfish Head, Evil Twin, and a respectable number of regional beers as well. It was a busy night, with a good turnout of beer drinkers looking forward to New Belgium's forthcoming Asheville brewery.

October 25, 2012

GABF Recap: Part 2

The remainder of the Great American Beer Festival and the long weekend in Denver was a blast. A little hazy, a little rough on the body, but packed with good food, good times, and great beer. (Read Part 1 here.)

Friday

The Kitchen's Portobello Sandwich with a
Denver Beer Co. Summer Ale.
After some much needed sleep and lots of water, Friday began with another trek up the Cherry Creek Trail towards downtown. I stopped in for lunch at the Kitchen, located on the corner of 16th and Wazee St. in LoDo.

Anticipating that some veggies might help soak up the beer ahead, I opted for the Portobello Sandwich. Locally-baked ciabatta with sautéed red onions, gouda cheese, house-made hummus, and greens -- the sandwich was fantastic! The mushrooms, onions, and greens were all regionally sourced and organic. The sandwich was accompanied by house fries (from organic Idaho potatoes) and homemade ketchup. (Homemade ketchup? Gotta try that!) Some Denver Beer Company Summer Ale washed it down. Awesome.

Heading to the festival a little early, I walked around the convention center for a bit sans crowd and snapped some photos.

August 14, 2012

Craft Beer in Cans: 9 to Try Today

Photo: CraftCans.com
You may have noticed an increase in the number of canned craft beers on the market lately. The benefits of canning are numerous:
  • Cans reduce the amount of light that can hit the beer, potentially "skunking" those delicious hop compounds
  • Cans weigh less than glass, reducing cost transportation costs
  • Cans are more recycled than glass and plastic
  • Cans go where glass can't, poolside, on a hike, or to a music festival for example
Some may question whether canned beer tastes the same as it's bottled counterpart, but I know for a fact that there are some very good canned beers out there.

Here are nine craft beers in the can to look out for:

August 1, 2012

5 Craft Beer Festivals to Attend This August


It's the first day of August and Fall is in sight! Don't let the summer go by without attending at least one beer festival!


Beer festivals are a great way to get outdoors, spend some quality time with friends, and enjoy some cold microbrews. Here are just a handful of beer festivals happening this August so you can start thinking about where you might soak up some suds this summer:

May 7, 2012

Get your vote on: BeerCity USA 2012

The taps at organic Pisgah Brewing, a stone's throw
from Asheville, NC.
In case you haven't already done so, go ahead and get your vote in for the BeerCity USA 2012 poll.  Any beer fan can vote, with a limit of one vote per computer.

Asheville, NC, is the reigning champion and, at the time of writing, has a narrow lead over Grand Rapids, MI.

The fact that this past week's Craft Brewer's Conference and World Beer Cup were held in San Diego, CA, should be considered, though one might also want to check out Food Republic's Craft Beer Power Rankings, which include representation from ten breweries in six different states.

I just made it harder to choose, didn't I?

March 19, 2012

Grist: Taste-Testing Organic Beer

To follow up on last week's post, check out this synopsis of the organic beer market from Grist Magazine.

Several of the organic beers tested by the Grist staff received - at best - lukewarm reviews, and yes, New Belgium is phasing out its organic Mothership Wit.  Nonetheless, the organic beer trend is gaining momentum.  After all, the entirely organic Pisgah Brewing Company is the reigning top local brewery in the 2011 Best of WNC (Western North Carolina) poll.  A nice achievement considering their Asheville competition.  Peak Organic Brewing Company out of Portland, Maine, is also worth a mention.

For all you homebrewers, do you want to brew some organic beer of your own?  Many LHBS's (local home brew supply shops) carry organic malts and hops.  Alternatively, you may want to check out the California-based Seven Bridges Cooperative, which offers the most extensive catalog of organic ingredients I have found.

Any other respectable organic beers out there I should know about?  Please feel free to leave a comment.

Cheers!

March 15, 2012

Napa, CA: Napa Smith's Organic IPA

Today we have a guest post from Eugene Kolankowsky, one of the masterminds behind the blog A Tale of Two Brewers.  Bringing us a taste of the West Coast, this is a review of Napa Smith Brewery's Organic IPA.  Which raises an interesting question: Is organic beer any better than non-organic beer?  Well, I know organic is better for the environment (no pesticides, no herbicides, maintains healthy soil), but does it make for a better tasting beer?  In this case, it just might -- Napa Smith's Organic IPA won a Silver Medal for Traditional IPA at the 2011 Great American Beer Festival.  But let's see what Eugene has to say about it...


I had a pleasant surprise the other day. I don't know how many of you know the world of engineering, or office life in general. If you aren't familiar consider yourself lucky. Carpeted walls appeal to two types of people, engineers and the mentally disturbed. I digress. But if you're familiar with that world you know that when lunchtime comes around, the offices empty, and the workers spread like vultures to pray on the local eateries.

Well I was out with some of my fellow vultures the other day. Coming out of the burger joint I noticed a sign saying "craft beer sale." Craft beer? Sale? I'm all over that like a chick on Coach. I walked into a little place called "Wine Styles." Truth be told I usually avoid wino's. They tend to fall into the same category as your standard Beer Snob. Well after I walked around clueless for a minute, I was able to chat it up with one of the winos, Lynzie (nope, that's spelled right). The selection of craft beer is small, but diverse. And Lynzie, unlike your typical wino, is extremely friendly and is just as willing to learn about things as she is to share information. In asking about the selection of craft beer she informed me that she's always ordering different stuff, so keep on checking in. I couldn't help but shamelessly promote my blog, and handed her a card. She was very excited about the card and told me how she couldn't wait to check it out. Lynzie, if you think complements will work on me, you are absolutely correct. Flattery gets you everywhere in this world.

Which brings me to my first beer review purchased from this store! Napa Smith Brewery: Organic IPA. From Napa, California (what a guess), this IPA weighs in at a hardy 7.1% ABV, which is hovering at the upper end of the style guidelines. It comes in a thick brown glass bottle, with label artwork much alike wino's artwork... conservative. Which is fine, but certainly doesn't make some of the crazy statements like Flying Dog does. And it's organic! Organic is always good. Let's rock.

The beer pours an almost opaque sandy brown color. If this beer is supposed to be filtered, someone better call the mechanic. A golden layer of head with great retention floats above the beer. A potent aroma of hops is present, which fills the nose and remains even while I finish writing this sentence. First sip smacks you in the mouth much like a good hoppy beer tends to. Probably a variety of good ol' American hops, but light on the Cascade. Honestly, Cascade is really the only one I'm good at recognizing, oh well. After a few consecutive sips and swirls, the IPA certainly has some subtle fruity backgrounds, mostly citrus (could be from hops or actual fruit). The mixture of hops and citrus is very long lasting, and may even last just as long as the buzz from the 7.1%. A good beer with some unique tastes to it. Definitely come back to this one.

Anyone out there have this? What do you think? Post a comment!

June 28, 2011

NOVA Brew Fest

A beautiful day, beautiful people, and lots of delicious beer.  Not a bad way to spend a weekend.


The Northern Virginia Brew Fest was held this past Saturday and Sunday in Leesburg, VA, about an hour west of Washington, DC.  Roughly 50 breweries were in attendance, plus arts & crafts vendors and some local bands.  I went up to volunteer, but had plenty of time to sample brews before, during, and after the event.

June 10, 2011

The American Craft Beer Festival

This Saturday I had the pleasure of volunteering at the American Craft Beer Festival in Boston, Massachusetts. With over 100 breweries serving over 500 different beers, this was a beer-lover's smorgasbord. I volunteered at two sessions and in return received a free ticket to the event - food included.  Most of the breweries were from the New England area, but they had a few from as far away as North Carolina, Colorado, California, and even the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Just one row of brewers from the American
Craft Beer Festival
I was able to sample 25 different beers, from milk stouts to hefeweizens, chocolate porters to barleywines. Here I was thinking I had a more or less complete understanding of beer styles, but I came across several new concoctions, some new to me, some just plain out of control. A Berliner Weiss, I discovered, is a wheat beer, but unlike a hefeweizen, this one is tart with strong hints of lemon. I sampled a bacon beer, which unfortunately was not as good as it sounded. One of my favorites was the Mango Pale Ale from St. Johns Brewery in the Virgin Islands. The beer that blew me away the most: the North Carolina-based Duck Rabbit Brewery's End of Reason, a strong Baltic Porter that tasted very much like chocolate and raspberries.

All in all it was a very educational experience. I got to speak with several brewers and sales reps. What's more, was just the general impression I got of how big this craft beer movement has grown. The American Craft Beer Festival had three sessions with around 5,000 attendees each, at $45 a ticket, you do the math...

Thanks to BeerAdvocate.com and Harpoon Brewery for putting on a great fest!