Showing posts with label IPA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label IPA. Show all posts

March 25, 2015

Review: Hi-Wire Single-Hopped Simcoe Session IPA

Hi-Wire Brewing has been absolutely killing it since they opened two years ago. Their taproom is always busy, they recently announced the location of a new production brewery, and the beer's good. Really good.

It seems like not so long ago that 40 IBUs was pretty standard for an IPA. These days, if an IPA doesn't wreck your palate, it isn't hoppy enough. Hi-Wire's Single Hop Simcoe Session IPA, on the other hand, is well balanced at 40 IBUs & 4.8% ABV, so the 22 oz. bomber won't knock you out.

The brewers did a great job executing the Simcoe hop flavor, which can easily be overdone. Balance, according to Hi-Wire co-founder Adam Charnack, is head brewer Luke Holgate's hallmark, and I have to agree. In this beer, those Simcoe hops give this beer an expertly restrained grassy, herbal flavor, supported by soft, sweet malt in the background.

So what else might Hi-Wire be working on?

When they open their new facility (which could be as early as this summer), the current brewery will remain a creative outlet for some of the more adventurous beers they like to make. Examples might include beers like their dry-hopped Belgian, brewed with SouthYeast yeast harvested from a local nectarine, Riverbend malt, and El Dorado hops. Or maybe more hop forward beers like Maneater Double IPA. And seeing as this single hop beer was labeled "Vol. 1," hopefully many more expertly crafted single hop brews will be coming down the line soon.



October 11, 2013

Riverbend Malt House Announces Expansion, GABF Collaboration Beer

Asheville's Riverbend Malt House is in the middle of several exciting projects, including a major expansion and R&D with the North Carolina agricultural extension office. Plus, tonight in Denver, New Belgium and Wicked Weed will unveil a small batch collaboration beer made with Riverbend malt -- a Brett IPA brewed with experimental hops, German spelt, and Riverbend's Appalachian wheat.

Here's some more information about the collaboration and the release event:

October 9, 2013

Beer Mail: Goose Island, Magic Hat, Kona Brewing Company

I've been remiss in sharing some of the brews that have arrived on my doorstep over the past couple months. Things have been pretty busy around here. For one, I've been writing quite a bit of content for the E. C. Kraus homebrewing blog. I've also started with an exciting new project, which I'll share very soon. For now, some beer reviews from Goose Island, Magic Hat, and Kona Brewing Co.:

Goose Island Brewing Co., Chicago, IL

I was genuinely pleased with Goose Island's beers, a few were pretty impressive. Some people give Goose Island a hard time for "selling out" to AB-Inbev, but based on the quality of the beer itself, I can't fault them...

  • Honker's Ale - An easy drinking English style bitter. Burnt orange in color with an off white rocky head. Pale malt and some ale yeast esters in the aroma, with low hop aroma. Crisp grain flavor with mild hop bitterness. Some wheat gives it a medium-light body and good head retention. Finished somewhat dry. (4.2% ABV)
  • IPA - Similar to the Honkers in that wheat is used for head retention and body -- it's there in the aroma, along with sweet caramel malts and moderate spicy hop aroma. Not especially bitter in the flavor, pretty well balanced. Medium bodied. (5.9% ABV)
  • Urban Wheat - Light yellow in color with a big rocky white head. Faint aroma of lemons in the aroma, but nothing like the banana/clove of a hefeweizen. An easy drinking wheat ale perfect for a hot day. (4.2% ABV)
  • Matilda - This is where Goose Island's portfolio really begins to impress. Matilda is a Belgian style pale ale featuring complex aromas of orange, spice, phenols, and some dark fruit. Medium and frothy body with a moderately sweet finish. Excellent. (7% ABV)


    Goose Island Matilda - there's a winner.
  • Sofie - Sofie is a farmhouse ale, pale yellow in color with a white head. Somewhat tart with a prominent lemon character, plus some mild farmhouse funk. Light, yet chewy mouthfeel. (6.5% ABV)
  • Bourbon County Stout - This highly coveted imperial stout pours black/brown and viscous with a big brown head on top. Sweet chocolate is balanced by bourbon spice. This one's definitely a sipper! (15% ABV)

A pretty impressive lineup from Goose Island.

September 11, 2013

Recap: High Country Craft Beer and Food Festival

It's been a busy past couple weeks in the craft beer world! It's the end of the summer, and it seems that everyone wants to squeeze out as many beer festivals as possible before the cold weather sets in.

This past Friday was the New Belgium "Clips" Beer and Film Tour in Asheville, while the weekend before was the High Country Beer Festival at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC.

September 4, 2013

Highlands, NC: Ruka's Table Masters the Beer Pairing Dinner

Narrow, winding roads lead into the mountains of Highlands, NC, the kind that make you wonder how the treads on your tires are doing. Suddenly the forest road opens up to offer sweeping views of the surrounding states. Located in a small resort town in the Nantahala National Forest, Ruka's Table sources ingredients from its neighbors in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, and delivers food fit for any of the best restaurants in Atlanta, DC, or New York City. Head Chef Justin Burdett recently presented a beer pairing dinner showcasing many of these local ingredients.

Prior to working at Ruka’s Table, Burdett was Chef de Cuisine at Miller Union, a highly regarded farm-to-table restaurant in Atlanta. In March 2013, he was named among the top chefs in the Southeast by Food & Wine Magazine. He has also competed on the Food Network show "Chopped" -- and won.

August 27, 2013

Craft Beer is for Lovers: Top Picks from the VA Craft Brewers Festival

2013 VA Craft Brewers Fest 
Capping off Virginia Craft Beer Month and a successful "Love on Tap" campaign by the state of Virginia, brewers and craft beer fans gathered this past weekend for the Virginia Craft Brewers Festival and Virginia Craft Brewers Cup. The event was held at Devils Backbone Brewing Company's Nelson County brewpub and concert grounds.

The weather was incredible, surpassed only by the setting, with mountain views for 360 degrees. Devils Backbone Brewpub sits on a huge plot of land in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, with almost no other buildings in sight. There were a fair number of people in attendance, about 2,200, but there was plenty of space so it didn't seem crowded. A huge stage was set up on the property for music, but the main attraction was most definitely the beer.

July 31, 2013

Top 5 Experiences from the 2013 Beer Bloggers Conference

The 2013 Beer Bloggers Conference
was held at the Boston Park Plaza
Hotel, July 26-28.
I returned home on Monday from the Beer Bloggers Conference and wow -- what a marathon. I first flew to Boston and immediately bussed up north to spent a couple days with my little brother in Bar Harbor, ME. I then linked up with the pre-conference excursion in Portland, ME, before heading back to Boston for the conference itself.

Zephyr Adventures did a fantastic job organizing the whole thing. If you're a blogger who writes about beer, wine, food, or fitness and wellness, I highly recommend you checking out their annual conferences as an opportunity to network with others and elevate your blogging and social media skills.

Rather than give a full play by play, here are my top five experiences from the weekend (in chronological order):

July 24, 2013

Tonight: Mother Earth Pairing Dinner at Ruka's Table

Late notice, yes, but this beer dinner sounds pretty amazing. Ruka's Table is in Highlands, NC, about
an hour southwest of Brevard.


For Immediate Release: 

July 17, 2013

Fu Manchus, Pirates, and Scotsmen: Three Beers from Monday Night Brewing

Monday Night Brewing beers

Monday Night Brewing is a company that gets marketing and PR. They've got creative names and packaging that portray a fun brand. Besides, they were kind enough to send me one each of their three year round beers to review, so that helps.

Seriously though, the Atlanta-based company really knows how to portray a fun attitude, reminding us perhaps not-so-subtly, "Hey, this is beer. Why don't we just enjoy it?"

May 24, 2013

Nashville, TN: Tennessee Brew Works Prepares to Bring Down the House

TN Brew Works Nashville
Last weekend in Nashville, I had the pleasure of meeting Garr Schwartz and Christian Spears, founders of the soon-to-open Tennessee Brew Works. This is a true craft brewery that will elevate the quality of the beer coming out of Nashville, the state of Tennessee, and the southeast United States.

When we pulled up to the former print shop at 809 Ewing Avenue, we weren't quite sure if we were in the right place. Located in a part of town that has probably seen better days, the brewery was still very much under construction.

May 20, 2013

Asheville, NC: Hi-Wire Brewing Poised for Success


When a brewery vacated the space at 197 Hilliard Avenue and offered up their equipment for sale, Adam Charnack and Chris Frosaker saw an opportunity. They crunched some numbers, drew up a business plan, and are now co-owners of Hi-Wire Brewing Company, Asheville's newest brewery to join the local beer scene.

The artwork for Hi-Wire's Lager is
attractive and eye-catching.
(via Hi-Wire's Facebook page)
I spoke with Adam and Chris last week as they supervised the final construction process of their brewery and taproom. Right out of the gate, Hi-Wire will provide Asheville with four, quality, year-round brews: Bed of Nails Brown Ale, Prime Time Pale Ale, Hi-Pitch IPA, and Hi-Wire Lager. Their goal is to offer "good, authentic, sessionable beers," said Charnack. He and Chris feel that they can fill a niche in Asheville with traditional, unpretentious beers and a welcoming space in which to serve them. I tried their Czech-style lager: crisp, clear and full of assertive noble hops. These guys know what they’re doing.

March 8, 2013

Atlanta Beer, Bourbon, & BBQ Fest Recap

Chef Christopher Davis of NC's
Little Red Pig Championship BBQ
Cooking Team
While James was enjoying the Panama Micro Brew Fest, my girlfriend and I traveled down to Atlanta for the Beer, Bourbon, and BBQ Festival at Atlantic Station. It was unusually cold, so cold that it actually snowed! (in Atlanta? in March? Yup.) As a touring festival with upcoming dates throughout the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic, here's a taste of what you can expect from upcoming editions (minus the cold, I hope).

The BEER

We started things off with a new local brewery, Monday Night Brewing from Atlanta, GA, and tried their Draft Kilt Scotch Ale (well-balanced bitterness, hint of smoke) and the Fu Manbrew Belgian-Style Wit (light, crisp, with a touch of ginger). Both solid beers.

March 1, 2013

Dandelion, Rye, Salt, and Coriander: Magic Hat's Spring Fever Mix

Magic Hat Variety Pack
It's March 1st and spring is so close, you can nearly taste it. It's time for the imperial stouts and other high-gravity beers to make way for something lighter, something that can be enjoyed out on the porch as we welcome the warmer weather.

Arriving on my doorstep last week were three such beers from Magic Hat's Spring Fever Mix variety pack: Pistil Dandelion Ale, Ticket to Rye IPA, and Saint Saltan Gose.

Using my Rate That Beer tasting sheet as a guide, I lined up all three for a tasting:

January 30, 2013

Top Beers and Beards from the Asheville Winter Warmer

Both the beers and the beards were on full display at the Asheville Winter Warmer this weekend. Thirty-one breweries, a cidery, and some moonshiners each brought their finest to the show, while every bit of facial hair in the house was perfectly groomed -- for the most part.

These were some of the exceptional specimens from the event, in both the beer and the beard categories:

January 5, 2013

There's a Revolution Brewing in El Salvador

craft beer in El Salvador
Looks like a nice spot for a brewery...
Andy Newbom and his wife Nanelle sold everything, left San Francisco, and founded the first craft brewery in El Salvador. The brewery is located in Playa El Tunco, a black sand surfing spot on the Pacific coast of El Salvador, popular with backpackers, Salvadorans, and surfers. What's really cool about Andy's work is that he's creating more than just great craft beer -- he's bringing opportunity to a country where a significant portion of the population lives in extreme poverty. Can you help Brew Revolution by contributing to their Kickstarter campaign?

December 18, 2012

Southern Appalachian Brewery & Dupont State Forest

Triple Falls, Dupont State Forest
Despite rainy weather for most of the weekend, my girlfriend and I managed to avoid it on Saturday as we explored a bit of Western North Carolina with our new four-legged companion. We ventured first to Dupont State Forest, about 50 minutes south of Asheville and 15-20 from Brevard. The plan: do some hiking, see some waterfalls, then check out Southern Appalachian Brewery in nearby Hendersonville.

Dupont State Forest

After a nice drive through rural North Carolina, passing farms and horses and sheep along the way, we entered Dupont State Forest and parked at the Hooker Falls parking area.

I'm no Bill Bryson, but I do enjoy a walk in the woods from time to time. Even though this was mid-December and only the evergreen foliage remained, the beauty of the area was stunning. On a 2-3 hour hike along well-maintained trails, we saw multiple waterfalls, including Triple Falls and High Falls.

December 8, 2012

Burlington, VT: Magic Hat's Winterland Variety Pack


"A performance in every bottle."
Christmas came early for this beer writer. Arrived on my doorstep a week or so ago was a sampler of three beers from Magic Hat Brewing Company's Winterland Variety Pack. It may not be "local" for many readers (unless you live in Vermont), but the company widely known for their #9 "Not Quite Pale Ale" has some new seasonals out that might be worth a try. Plus, readers from Costa Rica may be interested in what the new Florida Ice and Farm/Cervecería Costa Rica subsidiary has to offer.

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.

October 18, 2012

GABF Recap: Part 1

Last week, I went to the Great American Beer Festival as a representative of the North Carolina Brewers Guild. I didn't drink as much as a lot of people at GABF, but I had my fill and had an awesome time in Denver, probably one of the best beer and food cities in the US. Here's the highlight reel from my long weekend:

Wednesday

Arriving Wednesday afternoon, I went straight to Great Divide Brewing Company in downtown Denver on Arapahoe and 22nd Street. The place was slammed with GABF pre-gamers and a disproportionate number of bearded men. I got an Oak-Aged Yeti, a big, robust Imperial Stout, which at 9.5% kept me good and warm.

Next stop, I went with my cousin and his roommate over to the Walnut Room for pizza and a Fat Tire, the classic amber ale from Colorado's own New Belgium Brewing Company. It was nice to get away from the GABF hot zone for a bit to see part of the "real" Denver, which turned out to be a theme that carried on through the weekend and made for a unique experience.

After dinner, I played it safe and got some much needed rest for the days ahead.

October 8, 2012

Gracias Panama, Hello Asheville

It's time to announce a big transition for me and the Local Beer Blog. Over the past few weeks, I've departed Panama and moved back to the US. Until further notice, the Local Beer Blog will be based out of BeerCity USA: Asheville, NC! Makes sense, right?