Sunday, August 19, 2007

Looking into my crystal ball

Last Monday was the two year anniversary of North Carolina getting rid of its archaic 6 percent limit on beers, and since then we have seen a great influx of new breweries that have never distributed here before. But there are still plenty of interesting breweries that have yet to step foot in our state. Here is a trio of breweries that I think we might be seeing in the next year or so. My personal wish list would include a few more choices, but breweries like Russian River and Lost Abbey are not likely to be making their way here any time soon.

Stone Brewing Company

Just reading the label on their flagship brew, Arrogant Bastard, tells you everything you need to know about this brewery:

“This is an aggressive beer. You probably won't like it. It is quite doubtful that you have the taste or sophistication to be able to appreciate an ale of this quality and depth. We would suggest that you stick to safer and more familiar territory -- maybe something with a multi-billion dollar ad campaign aimed at convincing you it's made in a little brewery, or one that implies that their tasteless fizzy yellow beer will give you more sex appeal. perhaps you think that multi-million dollar ad campaigns make a beer taste better. Perhaps you are mouthing your words as you read this.”

Stone concentrates on making big, assertive beers including their hop loaded Ruination IPA, the fantastic Russian Imperial Stout, and their annual Anniversary Ale which changes each year. An excellent opportunity to try some Stone is coming up next week at the West Meets East event at Bruisin’ Ales (this is a ticketed event). If you can’t make it then, you can always drive an hour to Johnson City and pay a visit to One Stop Discount Wines and Liquors just off the interstate, where they have the Arrogant Bastard, Ruinitation IPA, Stone IPA, and occasionally some of Stone’s special releases.

I think we stand a pretty good chance of Stone moving into our market sometime in 2008.

Stoudt’s Brewing Company

Located in eastern Pennsylvania, this brewery recently celebrated its 20th Anniversary. They brew a wide variety of styles, everything from a Pilsner to an Imperial Oatmeal Stout. I personally have tried their Double IPA in Florida of all places, and it was a great and different take on the style, with a big malt backbone that took center stage away from the hops. There were rumblings a few months back that Stoudt’s would be down here this year, but that has not happened yet. We are on their radar, and they already distribute to Virginia, Florida, and Georgia, so I suspect we will see this beer soon.

Lagunitas Brewing Company

This northern California brewery does not shy away from controversy or from brewing big aggressive beers. Like most west coast breweries, hops are often center stage, and Lagunitas has a wide variety of beers that showcase them, including their regular IPA and IPA Maximus. One of their most interesting releases was the Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale. This beer was brewed to honor their 20 day suspension, a result of a marijuana bust at their brewery. They are definitely not afraid to push some buttons. One of my personal favorite Lagunitas beers is a seasonal release called Brown Sugga, a barleywine style beer with a lovely sweet sugary finish. Currently Lagunitas can be found in Virginia and Georgia. I have not heard anything about them possibly coming to North Carolina, but given our burgeoning craft beer scent I would not be surprised if we were high on their list of places to expand.

There are certainly plenty of other breweries that may find their way to our state soon. A good idea to get some of these beers here is to email the breweries to let them know that you love their beer and you would like to see their beer on our shelves.

1 comment:

  1. KGT,

    Well...not to make you jealous but...we get stuff from ALL of the places you mention in your post here in PA! Of course I live about 1 hour Stone, Russian River, Lost Abbey (and their sister label Pizza Port!!) and Lagunitas.

    Now, Russian River stuff is a bit hard to find...since they bottle so fact the beer that I looooonnnnggggg for on an almost daily basis, Pliny the Younger, is not bottled at all.... neither is its "Elder" sibling...:-(

    So...what am I bringing down for you next month when I roll into AsheVegas for Brewgrass? How big of a dent can your wallet sustain!

    Happy Imbibing,