So, I went into this ‘speed-dating’ style beer tasting really thinking I was prepared. I had all the breweries names with links ready to go, just fill in the beers and pics then press post at the end and keep it moving. Boy was I wrong.
For those who weren’t in attendance at the Beer Bloggers Conference for the Live Beer Blogging session, let me try to explain the insanity of what happened. The concept is fantastic: ~8 bloggers sit at a table with tasting glasses and devices, brewers bring their wares around for your to try, ask questions, etc. and then you share your findings with everyone. The kicker is that every 5 minutes the brewers rotate so you have a limited time to get the information that you need as well as drink however much beer you poured yourself.
At first when they would start rotating I would just down whatever I had left in my glass. After about the 4th rotation I started dumping instead. Yes, I dumped out beers. It was frantic! I remember trying to check in my beer, take tasting notes, take a picture of it, and be engaged with the brewery representative and don’t forget to drink it…all that the same time. I was flustered. It was intense. IT WAS A BLAST!
So, what did I drink and what did I learn? Read on:
Big Boss Brewing Co., Raleigh, NC
Hell’s Belle, 7% Belgian Pale Ale
Strong bold banana flavors. Big Boss first made this beer 10 years ago
Duck Rabbit Craft Brewery, Farmville, NC
Milk Stout, 5.7%
The Duck Rabbit Craft brewery specializes in dark beer with the ‘lightest beer they make’ being their amber ale. They been doing this for 11 years. I asked about the Duck/Rabbit logo and who saw the duck vs the rabbit (I see the rabbit for the record). I was told that the owner used to be a philosophy professor and that the Duck/Rabbit idea comes from this background.
Front Street Brewery, Wilmington, NC
Absurdity, 9.1% Belgian IPA
This brew is rockin Montueka & Amarillo hops. Has a tangerine, bready flavor backed by a crunchy hop finish. This is one of their 22 seasonal offerings. Sara asked why it wasn’t a double IPA even though it’s 9.1%. Their brewery rep advised us that this is due to the low amount of malt used, and that the yeast made the high ABV. This is something I never considered thinking about, maybe something to muse on in the future.
Fullsteam Brewery, Durham, NC
Summer Bail Farmhouse, 5% Farmhouse Ale with basil
This brew was made to celebrate the farm and food traditions of the South. It originally was a test batch, but it was such a huge hit they kept it. The beer changes throughout the season due to the variation of the herb – basil in May isn’t the same as August. The beer evolves as it’s made with real ingredients. made to remind people that beer is agriculture. Plow to Pint. With their beers Fullsteam works to create wealth and economic opportunities for farms n a post-tobacco North Carolina, and want to be a representative for the South. Also, it tastes like summer in a can, and definitely came home to PA with me.
Highland Brewing Co., Asheville, NC
King MacAlpin, 10.2% DIPA
Highland is the oldest and largest brewery in NC and has been operating for 21 years. Hollie, their new brewery, was excited to introduce this new beer. It’s got #AllOfTheHops, 2.5 lbs of hops per barrel.
Innovation Brewing, Sylva, NC
Beet & Basil Pale Ale
80 fresh beets from the farmers market and fresh basil from their own garden give this beer a stellar level of uniqueness. Smell like straight up sticky icky but tastes like dirt aka beets. Bittered with warrior and no aromatic hops added. The basil is added during fermentation. The end result is a bright red beautifully unique beer.
Lonerider Brewing Co., Raleigh, NC
Tres Vaqueros, 9.5% Oak Barrel Aged Belgian Tripel
Bready, oak flavors, hint of peppercorn. I really wanted more oak from this. I didn’t have a lot of notes on this as it was close to the end of the session and I was losing focus.
The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, Charlotte, NC
Copper, 4.8% Altbier
Olde Mecklenburg Brewery makes no IPAs, no stouts, and only makes olld style ales authentic German ales. Their hoppiest beer is 35 IBUs. This altbier was perfectly balanced and would be great on that first crisp fall night.
Trophy Brewing Co., Raleigh, NC
Trophy Wife, 5.1% American Pale Ale
How is this beer this dank and only 5.1%? No bittering hops are used in this beer, and you can tell. It is aggressively dry-hopped with amarillo and mosaic. Easy to drink with huge flavor.
White Street Brewing Co., Wake Forest, NC
Hoptimist, 7.5% IPA
White Street Brewing specializes in very clean beers and are heavily focused on quality and consistency. Hoptimist was awesome with fantastic flavors of mango and tropical fruits.
Wicked Weed Brewing, Asheville, NC
I don’t even know. Were they even there? I don’t have any notes, but I did visit their brewery so more on them at a later date.
NoDa Brewing Co, Charlotte NC
Hop Drop n Roll, 7.2% IPA
This be is hops on hops on hops! Chinook, centennial, amaraillo, citra all shoved in at 3 lbs hops/barrel. Super delicious.