Showing posts with label Saison. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Saison. Show all posts

October 29, 2014

Wicked Weed/New Belgium Collaboration Benefits the French Broad River

A new collaboration between Wicked Weed Brewing and New Belgium will benefit WNCA’s French Broad Riverkeeper, a program which works to preserve the environmental integrity of the French Broad River in Western North Carolina. Wicked Weed, a fast-rising star in the Asheville beer community, and New Belgium, which is building a new brewery on the banks of the French Broad, will release "Tributary", an Imperial Brett Saison, on November 15th.

The beer will feature malts from two up-and-coming craft malt houses: Asheville's Riverbend Malt House and Colorado Malting. It is also made with a combination of yeasts from both breweries, sugar beets, Mosaic hops, and an experimental, yet-to-be named hop.

“The local brewery scene in Asheville is so vibrant,” said Alex Dwoinen, New Belgium’s Asheville Brewing Manager, about the partnership. “We’re excited to be involved with Luke, Walt and their team with this collaboration.  The experimentation they do never ceases to amaze me.”

The full press release can be found below.

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.

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...

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):

June 4, 2013

6 Reasons to be Happy AVL Beer Week is Over

The marathon that was Asheville Beer Week has reached its conclusion. From Just Brew It, to the Asheville Rare and Wild Beer Tasting, to Beer City Fest, it was a whirlwind of boozin' and shmoozin'.

You're probably expecting me to say something like "Well, now you can give your liver a break." Au contraire. Asheville Beer Week may be over, but the summer season is just getting started. And with summer comes...you guessed it -- more beer! Here are five upcoming beer (and cider) events to look forward to:

Hi-Wire Asheville Black IPA1. Hi-Wire Opening

Whether you tried them at Beer City Fest or the Thirsty Monk last week, you've got to be excited about Hi-Wire Brewing coming soon to Asheville. Their exact opening date is still TBA, but you can meet the crew and try their beers at the Westville Pub on June 12th.


February 4, 2013

First Taste with Burial Beer Co.

Asheville Burial Beer CompanySet to open this spring, Burial Beer Co. will be one of several businesses sure to revitalize Asheville's South Slope neighborhood and convert the somewhat defunct, semi-industrial part of town into Asheville's new beer district. Burial Beer Co. will be within walking distance of Green Man Brewery and Asheville Brewing Company, and soon, Twin Leaf Brewery and a number of new restaurants will join them nearby.

I recently sat down with the three owners of Burial Beer Co. to talk about their plans. There's something about looking into the eyes of young entrepreneurs as they share their dreams with you -- you can't help but take part in their excitement.

December 22, 2012

Asheville, NC: Wicked Weed Brewing Preview


Wicked Weed in Asheville, NC
Photo: Wicked Weed Brewing
"Community" was the word of the day when I visited Wicked Weed Brewing last week. Scheduled to open December 28th at 5pm, Wicked Weed is expected to make a big splash in Asheville with a number of adventurous beer styles, including a range of Belgian ales, sour beers, saisons, West Coast-style IPAs, and barrel-aged beers, all to be complemented with "enlightened pub fare." Having won the People’s Choice award at this summer’s Brewgrass festival, the Asheville community is sure to give Wicked Weed an enthusiastic welcome on opening day.

The brewing team at Wicked Weed includes brothers Walt and Luke Dickinson and their good friend Eric Leypoldt. Both Luke and Eric bring experience from Dogfish Head, but all three got their start in homebrewing. Walt began homebrewing in California in 2000, and his brother Luke caught the bug soon afterwards. Like many others in their profession, what started as a hobby turned into a dream, and now they're neck deep in it.

November 5, 2012

Asheville, NC: A Weekend of Craft Beer, Community, and Good Causes

One month into being an official Asheville resident, I've had the pleasure of attending a handful of craft beer events in the new town. It's fantastic to be in a place where craft beer is mainstream. More than that though, this is a town where the beer business is aggressively involved in the community. More often than not, these events are tied to good causes of one kind or another. What better reason to go out for a beer?

Here's a brief recap of a couple events from the weekend:

Wee Bit Louder Fest

The first annual Wee Bit Louder Fest was held this past Saturday afternoon at Highland Brewing Company. Highland took fan suggestions for naming the festival, the "plugged-in" counterpart to Highland's Appalachian Breakdown Festival held in the summer.

The event started outdoors, taking advantage of Highland's new outdoor stage and the warm fall afternoon.

We started out by going into the Highland tasting room to sample the famed Sierra Nevada Beer Camp brews. In anticipation of their new Asheville location, Sierra Nevada invited 14 Western North Carolina breweries out to Chico for Beer Camp. They divided to the breweries into groups and brewed two commemorative ales:

April 26, 2012

Costa Rica: La Primera Festival Cerveza Artesanal

While craft beer is taking the US by storm, the movement in other parts of the world is just starting to gain momentum. This past Saturday was the first ever Festival Cerveza Artesanal in Costa Rica, organized by the small but growing community of craft breweries, homebrewers, retailers, and enthusiasts in this Latin American country known for its ecotourism and laid back, Pura Vida attitude. (Pura Vida translates to "the good life" or "the pure life" and can be used to say hello, goodbye, or in response to the question "how's it going?")

The festival was held outdoors on the swanky shopping strip Avenida EscazĂș, in a suburb of San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica. The weather was perfect, with a good mix of both Ticos and foreigners arriving for the event right on time.

September 23, 2011

Holland, MI: New Holland's Farmhouse Hatter

What? The bottle says it's a Farmhouse IPA -- so is it a Saison or an India Pale Ale?

Well, it's both. On a recent trip up to Ann Arbor, Michigan, I stopped by Whole Foods to see what "the Wolverine State" had to offer. This 22 oz bottle from New Holland Brewing grabbed my attention -- the label is great, and the description was pretty intriguing:

"Fermentation character from Belgian-born yeast envelops bright hop character with a spicy, tart farmhouse funk. Pairings: seafood, fennel, mushrooms, pickled veggies."

Lacking any seafood, fennel, mushrooms, or pickled veggies, I had to try the Farmhouse Hatter straight up.

As you can see, the beer poured a huge head which continued bubbling up for several minutes. There was a big citrus and floral hop aroma -- Cascade, if I had to guess, but don't hold me to it. Also a caramel sweetness in the smell. My first reaction when I tasted the beer was that it was way out of sync with the smell -- a bit of a shock. The main taste was the tartness, the "farmhouse funk" that comes from the Belgian yeast they used.

As I went deeper into the bottle other characteristics started to come through. I found there to be more hop bitterness than hop flavor, but there was still some citrus action in there. Overall, I thought the beer was highly sessionable, despite all of the unusual flavors mixed together. Very similar to the Springhouse Ale I had a couple weeks ago, and for a beer with an identity crisis, it turned out to be very interesting and easy-drinking -- not an easy feat!

Cheers to New Holland for pushing the boundaries!

Here's a close-up of the character on the bottle:

Sorry Johnny Depp, this guy's way cooler.

July 7, 2011

DC Day 2: Folklife Festival and the District Chophouse & Brewery

The Smithsonian Folklife Festival is held every year on the National Mall in DC and features three different countries, regions, states, or cultures.  This year the focus is on the Peace Corps, Colombia, and Rhythm & Blues.  I decided to swing by the Festival first, so as not to get too distracted by whatever's on tap at the local bar.

Sandwiched between the Washington Monument and the Capitol Building, the Mall was filled with tents for the different speakers and concerts and thousands of visitors bustling between them.  I spent most of my time in the Colombian and R&B sections.  There were dozens of Colombians artisans demonstrating how to make baskets, furniture, and the like, but my favorite part, no doubt, was the Colombian music:


After exploring the festival for a few hours, I walked up to the District Chophouse & Brewery, recommended to me by someone I'd met at Capital City Brewing Company.  Walking into the Chophouse, I was impressed by its swanky feel.  The wait staff was well-dressed, there were stained wood and leather booths, and a very 1920s-style bar was situated towards the left.  Upstairs were the brewery's fermentation tanks. 


After perusing the brewery's impressive beer selection posted on the chalkboard behind the bar (they had 8-10 choices available), I decided to start with their IPA.  It was floral in aroma and taste and it went very well with my Roasted Veggie Pizza.  I followed the IPA with the Saison.  This brew was less tart than some other Saisons I've tried.  I liked its wheaty nature and its peachy overtones - a great summer beer.  I would have liked to stick around drinking beer the rest of the day, but those DC prices can add up pretty quickly.  I'd gladly swing by again for their Happy Hour - Monday through Friday 4pm-7pm.


July 2, 2011

Washington, DC - Day 1: Capitol City Brewing Co.

In DC for the weekend, I wanted to be sure to visit some of the local breweries - that's what I do.  First stop: Capitol City Brewing Company, which has three locations in the DC and Northern VA area.  I visited the one downtown, not far from the White House and the Washington Monument.  Even before I got there I overheard people talking about it on street.

I'll say right off the bat my favorite thing about Capitol City was the feel of it.  Giant windows all the way around and exposed duct work in the ceiling made it very spacious and welcoming.  It had a huge round bar covered in copper that was full of people getting the holiday weekend off to a good start.

The plan was to have a couple beers and head to the Folklife Festival on the National Mall.  Plans, unfortunately, don't always survive in this line of work.  I didn't make it to the Fest, but I did try most of the beers at Capitol City.
  • Prohibition Porter - Relatively light-bodied, with lots of coffee and biscuit flavor.  A good, standard Porter.
  • Belgian Cherry - It had a nice red color to it with a great cherry aroma.  On the first taste, the bitter and cherry flavors just didn't seem to work well together, but it started to grow on me about halfway through.  Pretty tart on the finish.
  • Fuel - Probably the best of what I tried.  This coffee-infused imperial stout packed a punch at 8.5% alcohol.  Strong coffee flavors did well though to mask the higher alcohol content.
  • Amber Waves Ale - A good amber ale with a satisfying hop bitterness and a nice smooth feel to it.
  • Saison - Almost like a hefeweizen - straw yellow and cloudy, but a lot more tangy than sweet.
This bar proved that a good feel and above average brews go a long way to making a winning combination.  Next up: District Chophouse and Brewery.

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.