Tag Archives: nc beer

Five Beer Articles You Need To Read And Why, 2/12/16

Was is just yesterday that I lamented the fact that the beer world needed controversy to make the Five Articles more interesting.  Be careful what you wish for.

So, we start off with two columns about how big beer and craft beer at war.  A war that craft beer is losing because big beer companies have more moneyOr they are fighting the good and noble fight with whatever means they have at their disposal.  Or something or other, I’ve stopped listening.

Here is a column from Jason Notte that puts all of this in a little better perspective.

Arizona beer laws are a confusing nonsensical mess.  Making Arizona like almost every other state in the US.

Here in NC to come full circle for today’s Five Articles, here is another brewery opening up in a small town.

Craft beer is not a marketing gimmick.  Craft beer isn’t some Quixote quest.  Craft beer is about good beer served fresh.  The threat big beer companies pose isn’t making craft breweries sell out.  No matter what your local brewer may tell you, everyone has their price.  It’s just that some people’s price is really high.  The biggest threat big beer companies pose is turning beer into a simple commodity akin to widgets.

It isn’t that ABInbev bought Goose Island and put it under its umbrella.  It’s that they have increased the distribution of Goose Island by ramping up production and putting it in every grocery store they can find.  Everyone should have access to great beer, but that great beer needs to be sold in places where they care about the beer and don’t treat it like a bag of dog food.

So, yes, big beer buying craft brewer bothers me because I don’t want the beer to get worse, not because I have an attachment to being part of some small cadre of people who know the “truth” about good beer.  I went through the indie/alternative music wars of the 90s and watched as the music I liked became commodified into some unrecognizable pop music pushed out off of an assembly line by interchangeable bands. That is what I don’t want beer to become.  Interchangeable IPAs produced on an assembly line with the only difference being what the can looks like.

Five Beer Articles You Need To Read And Why, 2/11/16

Though I hate all the knee jerk reactions when ABInbev buys a craft brewer, at least, it makes people write about beer in a somewhat interesting way.  Between those convulsions of hand-wringing spawned by the idea that craft beer is an actual industry, the worst place to find interesting beer articles is through Google Alerts.

Here is a profile of Townes Mozer of Lenny Boy Brewing.  The small kombucha and beer brewer is prepping to move into a new space soon.  This is part of a series of profiles of Charlotte area brewers and breweries.

This is a really interesting and good look at why lagers are the red-headed step child of American craft beer from Bryan Roth.  Sometimes with our search for the next big thing or the most popular thing, we forget to enjoy a good beer.  We ignore the solid consistency of a good lager or a good pale ale.  I was looking at my fridge (calling it a beer fridge would be redundant) the other day, I noticed two things.  The first, is I have more beer than food in it.  The second, is I have all single beers.  They are all great beers, but none are what I would deem an everyday drinker.  The kind of beer you want to drink when you just want a beer to enjoy while vegging out to some crappy television show.  I am going to do that this week, just go out and find a good six pack of beers to drink without having to think.

Daniel Hartis with a look at The Cellar, Duckworth’s new beer centered speakeasy under its uptown location.  The food is wonderful and the 20 beers on draft are all rather hard to find limited releases that any beer geek will love to drink.

This leads to a great article on beer cocktails.  This is one of the things I want to get into over the next year.

This article doesn’t really break new ground, but it does a good job chronicling how Virginia jumpstarted its brewing business.  It’s good to remember this whenever you get too worried about what the big multinational beer companies are doing.  I am going to try and not call ABInbev a brewer anymore because that isn’t what its focus is.  Its focus is selling beverages no matter what those beverages are.

Five Beer Articles You Need To Read And Why, 1/29/16

Friday is here.  I have a weird relationship with Fridays.  I don’t have Saturday’s off so Friday is just another day for me.  For you, however, it is probably the end of the week.  Go out and enjoy pretending to work this afternoon as you wait for the clock to finally get to 5:00.  On to the links.

Five Beer Articles You Need To Read And Why, 1/28/16

The week moves on and Thursday is here.  This has always been a weird day to me.  The week is almost over, but not quite.  You still have to work the next day, but you know the atmosphere is a little more relaxed.    Anyway, with legislative sessions around the country getting started this month, there is a lot of movement in the beer law front. To continue yesterday’s theme, here are a few articles on beer and alcohol laws around the country.

Five Beer Articles You Need To Read And Why, 1/27/16

Yesterday, I had every intention of doing the Five Articles, however, the events of the night before prevented me from having the mental acuity or consciousness to put together a string of sentences with any coherence whatsoever.  So, to get back into the groove today, I’m going to offer a roundup of beer law stories.

Five Beer Articles You Need To Read And Why, 1/21/16

Sunny and frigid. It looks like it is a wonderful spring day from my window.  Then I look at my phone and I see it is 28 degrees.  I’m better today. Funerals aren’t for the dead, they are for the living.  They allow the living to move on and find some form of closure in one of the few parts of life that actually has closure.

Five Beer Articles You Need To Read And Why, 1/14/16

Here is a link to yesterday’s new beer review of the Triple C 2015 Up All Night and Up All Night Bourbon Barrel Aged.

Thursday is here.  That just means Thursday is here, nothing to see here.  The beer news is still kind of slow.  Everyone is waiting for their late winter seasonals and one-offs to come out while recovering from the holidays.  Plus, this is the final 3-day weekend for most people until Easter, so this is the last gasp of vacation time for many people.  That is why it has been so hard to put together a Five Articles this week.  Onto today’s links.

Taste Test: 2015 Up All Night and 2015 Up All Night Bourbon Barrel Aged

One of the trends that has taken hold in craft beer over the last few years is barrel ageing beers. They have become so ubiquitous that the Beer Judge Certification Program, the primary style definer of American craft beer, has two new categories for the 2015 edition of the style guide.

I find barrel aged beer interesting because they are usually a version of another beer the brewer already makes.  How the ageing changes the beer via the time spent in the barrels and the properties the barrels themselves provides the beer are both fascinating.  Depending on the type of barrel used, i.e. bourbon, gin, rum, scotch, tequila, or wine, what the barrels provide the beer is different each time. Bourbon barrels provides additional sweetness and caramel and wine barrels provide tart or buttery notes depending on the wine.

Despite the common misconception, the ageing does not provide more alcohol to the beer.  There are two reasons why this misconception persists.  The first, many times the beer aged in the barrels is a high ABV beer in order to stand up to the ageing.  The second is the beer usually takes on some of the taste characteristics of the liquid that was originally in the barrels.  The taste of bourbon often makes people think of alcohol.  I make a bourbon pound cake that people swear gets them a little drunk even though the alcohol cooks off as the cake bakes.

20160113_101339Weighing in at 10% the Triple C Up All Night and Up All Night Bourbon Barrel Aged start off big and flavorful.  Let’s begin with the Up All Night.

Up All Night is a breakfast porter, which means it is brewed with coffee.  Using a strong taste like that as your base for a bourbon barrel aged beer is important.  The bourbon tastes can overwhelm the beer taking away its unique qualities.  A

After pouring a nice dark brown with a good fluffy head, you get the clear aroma of coffee when you take a sniff.  There are also hints of vanilla and honey once it warms a bit.

When you taste it, its big coffee flavor matches the aroma with notes of honey on the back end.  As a fan of both coffee flavors and honey, I enjoy this beer immensely.  For a beer with as big an ABV and use of honey, it is still a porter which makes it comparatively light on the tongue and dangerously easy to drink.  High ABV beers often have what is termed a boozy taste, meaning the taste of the alcohol is present and honey often gives a beer a cloying heavy taste.  Neither is present in these beers.

The bourbon barrel aged version differs slightly.  As it should.  It is a little inkier and thicker in appearance.  That may be the psychological effect of knowing it is a bourbon barrel aged beer.  The aroma also changes in that the coffee is shunted to the background by bourbon and hints of caramel.  It isn’t as light on the tongue and has a more velvety feel on the tongue.  Interestingly, to my palate, the roasted nature of the coffee is more pronounced and give it a little more bite. Again, that is why coffee is a good match for barrel ageing, it is a strong flavor that stands up to the bourbon, in this case.

The bourbon barrel Up All Night does what a barrel aged beer should do:  It adds different flavors and highlights ones already present in the original version.  Both Up All Night and Up All Night Bourbon Barrel Aged are well worth your time if you can still find them.

Here is another cool thing, this time, next year, I will do a vertical tasting of 2015 and 2016 bourbon barrel aged versions.  I’m already looking forward to it.

Five Beer Articles You Need To Read And Why, 1/13/16

Laws and legislation.  Growing pains and adolescence.  One of the things that fascinate me about Major League Soccer is that we sports fans, specifically soccer fans, get to watch a top flight league grow and develop in real time.  It is a messy and confounding thing to watch.  There are 10 steps forward, two backwards, and three sideways at every phase of growth.  Craft beer is kind of in the same position.  Actually, a better analogy might be a band.  Bands form and they play any show they can get and they sell music directly to potential fans and develop a loyal and strong following if they are good.  Then, at some point, they go from being the little band that could to headlining their first tour.  Then, they stop being just a band and become a business and they have business worries. That is where craft beer is now.

  • Should the state of North Carolina be in the alcohol business? First, the state is tasked by the US Constitution to regulate alcohol in its borders, so the state will be involved in some capacity always. Second, if you want to change thegovernment’s level of involvement, good luck.  That is a decades-long fight that no one has the stomach for right now.  Politicians do things for two reasons.  The first, to get their name associated with a bill that will create jobs and/or increase tax revenue.  The second, to keep from being embarrassed.  Unless and until, OMB, NoDa, and Red Oak can prove that allowing them to self-distribute more than 25000 barrels a year the legislation will languish in committee. In this case, embarrassment isn’t working because the distributors and big beer give enough money to make it not work.
  • The point in your life when you realize you are at least partially a grown us is when you are faced with a decision between doing what you need to do to be responsible and doing what you want to do. When you start choosing the need to do direction you’re a grown up.  Breweries suing smaller breweries over potential intellectual property issues is a need to do situation.  This is my second prediction of what will happen this year in craft beer, craft beer will grow up and increasingly think of itself as a business.
  • At no point in this article is there any mention about how any “beer” that they make tastes and that is why they will never win. They don’t care about the beer as beer.  It is only a product to be sold.
  • This is one case where embarrassment is working. The Georgia legislature passed a law that was written in part by big distributors.  It has a Rube Goldberg feel to it that got exposed by the Department of Revenue.  Now they are trying to fix it.
  • Alabama steps into the 21st century as far as its beer laws are concerned. The craft beer people in Alabama did exactly what I said you have to do.  They appealed to the legislators with more revenue and jobs.  Politicians work to get reelected.  Doing things that make them look good and/or raise tax revenues without raising taxes and provide jobs is how they get reelected.  Either that or carrying the water for a lobbyist that gives them lots of money to go their reelection.

Five Beer Articles You Need To Read And Why, 1/12/16

There is not a lot of news out today.  Here is what I’ve found that interests me.