Wednesday, March 05, 2008

An Addendum

And now I am up to three posts in one night, a new record.

I failed to mention that French Broad Brewing Company is installing a bottling operation, and the first beer to be bottled on the new setup will be the Dunkel Witte, one of Drew's latest creations that was unveiled at the Asheville Winter Warmer Beer Festival. He also hopes to have the Wee Heavy-er available in bottles soon after that.

Also, Asheville Pizza and Brewing Company has a new beer, the Rocket 77, a light easy drinking beer brewed with lager yeast that should go over well as the days get warmer.

Around Town

No, you are not dreaming, nor is the apocalypse imminent. This is my second post today. I figured I would give a round up of some things happening around town in the world of beer.

First of all, get off your butt and drive out to Black Mountain for Pisgah's weekly open house tomorrow night. What is so special about tomorrow night? Bruisin' Ales is bringing over the Randall. Randall the Enamel Animal is an invention of the off-centered folks at Dogfish Head Brewery, and it is an experience that any true hophead should try. Draft beer is run through a cylinder loaded with fresh hops, delivering an oily hop sensation. They had the Randall at the last Pisgah beer tasting at Bruisin, and it really enhanced the already hoppy and wonderful Pisgah IPA. Speaking of Pisgah, the Cosmos is back and bottled for your pleasure.

There also has been a couple of new beers announced for distribution in North Carolina. The first is already here, New Holland Brewing from Michigan has made its way to Asheville. They are probably most famous for their Dragon's Milk Oak Barrel Ale, of which I have only had a sample of at a beer festival. I hope to have a full report on this one soon. The other new beer that should be here in a few weeks is the always interesting Lagunitas Brewing, which I mentioned as a possible addition in 2008. One prediction down, two more to go. As an aside, I would love to add Troeg's Brewing to my wishlist. My friends Deuane and Carolyn brought some down from Pennsylvania a couple of weeks ago, and the Nugget Nectar is an excellent beer for hop lovers, and their Scratch series explores different beer styles with one time only brews. The Scratch 4, a barleywine, was one of the better west coast style versions that I have tried.

If you haven't been to the Thirsty Monk in a while, you should really go back and check it out. Their taps are changing constantly, and they recently have begun to offer food. I think I went to the Monk for the first 5 days that they were open, and I need to make a return visit soon. Have I mentioned before that I love Belgian beer?

The brewery at the Wedge Gallery is still a little ways off. I drove by last week and they were busy working away on the interior, so hopefully by sometime later this spring we will all be able to drink Carl's beers again.

Looking outside of Buncombe County, beer festival season is almost upon us. Kicking off the season on April 12th is the Sixth Annual Hickory Hops Brew Festival, just a short hour and fifteen minute drive down the mountain, although I imagine the drive back will seem longer. It will feature thirty breweries from around the region, including most if not all of the breweries in Western North Carolina. Two weeks after that is the World Beer Festival in Raleigh. The WBF has expanded to two festivals, a spring version and a fall. I went to both last year, and I highly recommend attending either one. Tickets are already on sale for the festival in Hickory, and they should be soon for the Raleigh festival.

That's about it for now.

When a Brewery Isn't a Brewery

I happened to glance at the beer aisle at Ingle's today and noticed a beer that I haven't heard of. It is called Wild Blue Blueberry Lager, brewed by the Blue Dawg Brewing Company. This was not a brewery I had heard of before, but its location next to the Stone Mill Pale Ale clued me in on its actual origin. It is brewed by Anheuser Busch.

This isn't the first time one of the big three brewers has deceptively invented a brewery name for marketing purposes. Perhaps the biggest example of this is the very successful Blue Moon Belgian White, brewed by the Blue Moon Brewing Company, aka Coors. Coors also produces Killian's Irish Red, a bastardized version of a recipe for an Irish Red Ale that was changed to a lager for sale in the United States. Anheuser Busch has recently used the phantom brewery trick to cash in the increase in organic products by releasing the previously mentioned Stone Mill Pale Ale and Wild Hop Lager from 'Green Valley Brewing'.

Hey, I think it is great that some of the bigger brewers are attempting to make beers that actually have taste and substance, but I'm not a big fan of them hiding behind pseudo-breweries that tend to trick consumers into thinking they are supporting a small craft brewery.