Tag Archives: western nc beer

Five Beer Articles You Need To Read And Why, 4/26/16

You know there is a point where you figure out, you are getting old.  The amount of sleep you need and your ability to sleep through the night is one area.  There used to be a time where I could go to bed at 2, get up 7, and be fine.  I try that now and my sleep patterns are screwed up for a week.  Needless to say, I may have to catch another hour of sleep before I go into work today.  Anyway, here are the Five Articles.  Good stuff today.

  • The idea that a compromise was possible in Colorado was a tad more hopeful than sensible. The reasons are articulated perfectly in this article.  One side is being asked to give up part of their business model and the other side is being asked to give up winning a ballot initiative that will give them everything that they want.  At this point, the liquor stores need to figure out what their business model will look like after this thing passes.
  • This is a really light article. Not that it wasn’t well written or bad, just light.  It felt like eating cotton candy.  It is the kind of piece that is well written but you won’t remember what it was about 20 minutes after you read it.  Do consumers prefer cans or bottles?  Most honestly don’t care.  For a retailer, cans are easier to store and last longer on the shelf.  Also, you should never drink out of the can if at all possible.  Beer always tastes better if poured into a glass.
  • Sometimes you see the headline of an article and think, “I agree with that.” Then you read the article and something about the writer’s tone annoys you and his path to the conclusion annoys you and you begin to think maybe I’m wrong with my position.  This is that article for me.  For some reason, I also don’t think the writer truly believes what he is writing and that is the greatest sin a writer can commit.
  • This is a good article on what to look for in a good IPA. There are too man IPAs right now.  Mostly, because they are the easiest style to brew.  That doesn’t mean all of them are good.  Most of them are drinkable and some of them are good and a few are great.  One thing the article didn’t mention is to beware of IPAs whose recipes have changed without the brewer telling anyone.  It is getting harder and harder to get hops in the quantities needed to make IPAs, DIPAs, and triple IPAs.  Your favorite IPA might not be the IPA you fell in love with.
  • Here is a tight little article about the beer of Western NC that doesn’t focus on Asheville solely.

Taste Test: Blind Squirrel Belgian Tripel (bottle tasting)

20150525_102749If you live in North Carolina, you have more than a passing familiarity with the squirrel.  Particularly the Eastern Gray Squirrel, that annoying rodent you spend time avoiding as it darts out of the woods in front of your car and back into the woods as you drive to the grocery store.  The Eastern Gray Squirrel is so ubiquitous in North Carolina it is the official state mammal.  It therefore makes a ton of sense that a western NC brewery would name itself after the critter. (Here are all the official symbols of NC. My favorite is the Plott Hound. It was bred to hunt wild boars.)

Blind Squirrel Brewery is in Plumtree, NC, a small community a little over an hour northwest of Hickory.  If you have no idea where Plumtree is, don’t feel bad I’ve lived in North Carolina my whole life and didn’t know where it was until I knew of this brewery.  The brewery opened in 2012 at the Vance Toe River Lodge.  I have had a few of their beers and I’ve loved them all, but we are here to talk about their Belgian Tripel.

When you pour it, it has a nice golden color with a good initial head on it.  The head dissipates rather quickly, but as you drink a nice lacing is left on the glass.  It has a pleasant aroma of plums, raisins, bananas, and a clove/cinnamon mixture with a little Belgian yeast funkiness.  There is very little hops aroma (as they use a minimal hop bill).

It does weigh in at a healthy 9% ABV (it is a tripel), but you only get a hint of the alcohol at the beginning.  The alcohol does come through more as it warms up, however.  You get a lot of fruit sweetness, mostly dark fruit (raisins and plums), bananas, and a little tangerine/orange/citrus touch.  It has a nice medium body with just enough carbonation that is soft on the pallet and tongue.

For a beer with as much heft as this one has, again it is a 9% beer, it is really kind of light and refreshing.  Overall, this is a quality version of the tripel.  I really like this beer and plan to drink it often and if you are in western NC you should seek it out.  It should not be hard to tell if your local bar has it.  The tap handle is a squirrel with a hat, sunglasses, and a cane (He’s blind.  Here is how he got that way.).