Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Tasting at Bruisin' Ales

Thanks to Screwie for bringing this to our attention. I'm on the Bruisin' Ales mailing list but I don't always get the announcements in time to post them here.

LINK: "March 22, 2007 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm Free beer at Bruisin’ Ales, tasting thanks to Newcross Distributing! Stop by and sample these fine gems:

EKU Pilsner (Germany)
Gavroche (French red farmhouse ale)
Wee Beast (Scotch ale, Scotland)
Goliath (Tripel, Belgium). "

I hope to see some of you there.

Friday, March 16, 2007

The Lucky Otter

The wife and I sometimes catch a quick bite at the Lucky Otter, located at 630 Haywood Road in West Asheville. On our most recent visit earlier this week, I was much impressed by the beer choices which seem to have grown recently. There are now 8 taps, pouring such excellent brews as 420 Pale and Storm King from Sweetwater Brewing Company, 13 Rebels from French Broad, and Highland Gaelic. About 30 bottle choices featured several beers each from Sam Smith's and Flying Dog.

The Otter is really a restaurant, but I'll be adding it to my pub crawl site as the beer selection is excellent. Staff members I spoke with said it would be OK if someone sat in the bar area and had only a beer, but I recommend you have some food as well. The burritos are excellent.

Incidently, many people aren't aware that the owners have a sister restaurant in Boone called The Black Cat. I eat lunch there regularly. Same menu as in Asheville with some good beers as well.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Troeg's Nugget Nectar Ale

I got this one courtesy of Deuane and Caroline of Pubcrawlin' when they visited a couple of weeks back. Troeg's Brewery is in Harrisburg, PA, and their beers aren't available in western NC. Having enjoyed some of these brews while passing through Pennsylvania, I was eager to try this one.

The beer poured nicely into an imperial pint glass and had a moderate head. The color was an attractive amber and the beer had good carbonation. The nose was pure hops, grapefruit-like and flowery. I set the glass on my couch-side table and continued to get whiffs of hops with the glass two feet away. The initial sip was smooth-bodied, mildly malty, and with a moderately-high hop finish that lingered on the tongue. I let the beer warm up awhile and it was even better at about 60 degrees.

According to the brewer's web site, the beer is made with Nugget, Warrior and Tomahawk hops and is brewed to maximize the malt and hop character of the finished product. The beer is well-balanced and is a classic example of an American IPA. If this beer was available in Asheville I'd buy it often.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Raleigh World Beer Fest party

Here's a great idea for those of you who just can't wait for the annual Brewgrass festival next fall. Asheville's own Brews Cruise is running a van to the World Beer Festival in Raleigh on April 28. If you've never been to a WBF you are really missing out. Sponsored by the folks who publish All About Beer magazine, the festival takes place twice a year, in Raleigh in the spring and in Durham in the fall. It's at least twice the size of Brewgrass. It usually has beers not commonly available in western North Carolina along with special cask ale tastings, speakers, and workshops, and some great live music.

According to Mark Lyons at the Brews Cruise, this is what you'll get:
  • Roundtrip transportion from Asheville to Raleigh
  • One night stay at the Sheraton in downtown Raleigh (2 blocks from festival)
  • Festival pass for day event 12-4 pm
  • World Beer Festival Pint Glass
  • Brews Cruise T-shirt/ Brews Cruise tote bag
  • Bagels/ coffee upon departure
  • Snacks and water for the ride (roundtrip)
  • Brewery tour/ sampling at Catawba Valley Brewing Company enroute back to Asheville

The rates for this package are $225 per person (based on double occupancy),
or $410 per couple (any two people booking together are eligible for the couples rate) We have blocked 8 doubles and 4 kings and will be booked on a first come, first served basis. Come and Play!

I've been to both the spring and fall WBF several times. An added feature Mark doesn't mention is that the Sheraton Raleigh is within walking distance of several good beer bars, so you can keep having fun all evening and not have to worry about getting back. You even get a stop at Catawba Brewing for some "hair of the dog" party flu cure on Sunday.

This is a great deal. I strongly encourage you to call and sign up NOW!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Sam Adams LongShot Old Ale

The beer poured with a creamy head and was reddish brown in color. The nose was malty, with hints of caramel, cherries and chocolate. The initial impression on the tongue was malt with butterscotch, quite nice and smooth on the palate. The finish was tinged with a slight alcoholic bite but nothing like you'd expect from a beer of over 10% ABV. The head was still slightly present by the end and left a slight Scottish lace in the glass. This is by far the best of the beers from the series and is most enjoyable. It's another fireside beer and one to make me slightly regret the arrival of warmer weather.