Southern Brew News June/July 2013 : Page 1

THINKING OF YOU. The staff at The Thinking Man pub in Decatur, Georgia provides friendly and knowledgeable service. PHOTO BY: OWEN OGLETREE Like two heroes from a pub storybook, Carl Rappold and Made in the U.S.A. Hunter Franklin met while at-When asked what's truly tending Druid Hills High School, special about Thinking Man, near Decatur Georgia. Both Carl quickly describes the seemed destined to work in pubs, pub's "Drink American ever since those early days, and in Program." Thinking Man June of 2003 Carl and Hunter takes pride in only selling started one of Decatur's most American-made products. beloved pubs — The Thinking "Our wine, liquor, beer and Man Tavern. Carl, Hunter food are all from the USA," and the neighborhood notes Carl. "20 years regulars of Thinking Man ago, people laughed at have lived happily ever American craft beer, after. but they don't laugh While Hunter lived in anymore — and England for a while and worked in American craft classic British pubs, Carl's pub career spirits will be the kicked into full swing during his seven next big thing. year stint at Melton's App & Tap in When someone Decatur. Carl credits Melton's comes in asking ILLUSTRATION BY: HANS GRANHEIM for really starting the craft for an imported beer movement in Decatur spirit, we steer them toward American and for providing him with a deep love and brands, and they love it." knowledge of the products. Hunter says that Locals know and love the wide range all the hours he dedicated to pubs in England of American draft and bottled beers at the gave him the idea for a pub of his own. See Thinking Man p. 4 By Owen Ogletree Brothers Walt and Luke Dickinson (l to r) teamed up with partners Rick and Denise Renky to open Wicked Weed in Asheville, North Carolina. By Tony Kiss “Hops are a wicked and pernicious weed.” — King Henry VIII n a town like Asheville, with a fast-g growing and very competitive craft b beer scene, a new brewery really n needs to come to the party with a st strong identity and something that m makes it different. That describes Wick Wick-e ed Weed Brewing, a d downtown brewery ry and restaurant that opened ned sy in December 2012 on busy Biltmore Avenue — just a block or so from where craft brewing began in Asheville in 1994, when Highland Brew-ing opened its original location. Like Highland, then, Wicked Weed is causing quite a stir among local craft beer fans, now. For weeks after opening, it was difficult even getting into the place, as long lines gathered for a spot in the upstairs restaurant and downstairs taproom. Strong Styles S Not content to just make pale ales and an stouts, Wicked Weed is turn turning out a strong lineup of var styles. varied Hey Porter was named See Wicked Weed p. 3 INSIDE Calendar ...................................... 2 Dr. Brewski .................................. 6 Guest Chef ................................... 6 Tasting Notes ................................ 7 Homebrew News ............................ 8 The Style Section ........................... 9 Map & Directories .....................12-15 State by State News Louisiana .......................................... 11 Georgia ............................................ 16 Alabama/Mississippi .......................... 18 Tennessee ......................................... 19 The Carolinas ................................... 20 Florida ............................................. 22

Thinking Man Turns 10

Owen Ogletree

Like two heroes from a pub storybook, Carl Rappold and Hunter Franklin met while attending Druid Hills High School, near Decatur Georgia. Both seemed destined to work in pubs, ever since those early days, and in June of 2003 Carl and Hunter started one of Decatur's most beloved pubs — The Thinking Man Tavern. Carl, Hunter and the neighborhood regulars of Thinking Man have lived happily ever after.

While Hunter lived in England for a while and worked in classic British pubs, Carl's pub career kicked into full swing during his seven year stint at Melton's App & Tap in Decatur. Carl credits Melton's for really starting the craft beer movement in Decatur and for providing him with a deep love and knowledge of the products. Hunter says that all the hours he dedicated to pubs in England gave him the idea for a pub of his own.

Made in the U.S.A.

When asked what's truly special about Thinking Man, Carl quickly describes the pub's "Drink American Program." Thinking Man takes pride in only selling American-made products. "Our wine, liquor, beer and food are all from the USA," notes Carl. "20 years ago, people laughed at American craft beer, but they don't laugh anymore — and American craft spirits will be the next big thing.

When someone comes in asking for an imported spirit, we steer them toward American brands, and they love it."

Locals know and love the wide range of American draft and bottled beers at the Thinking Man, but the pub's bourbon lineup ranks as one of the largest American whisky selections in the Southeast. "We are lucky because Georgia has so many breweries that send beer into the state, that the distilleries piggy back on the trucks,” Carl says. “The craft distilleries realize there is a good market here."

Eclectic Edibles

Thinking Man's kitchen, run by two chefs named Nathan, features locallysourced items from places like Noring Farms in Rockdale County. "Our goat cheese comes from Decimal Point Goat Farm right down the road on Moreland Avenue past the old Starlight Theater," Carl says. "We also use Holman & Finch bakery in Atlanta and Sweetgrass Dairy in Thomasville."

The edibles are approachable, yet hearty and delicious. Highlights include bourbon fried chicken with mashed sweet potatoes and local greens, Carolina farmraised trout with Yukon gold potatoes and parmesan corn on the cob, right down to a BLT or grilled cheese sandwich on the simple side of the menu. Thinking Man is vegetarian friendly, as well, with roasted beet salad, squash zucchini and some of the best fried green tomatoes in the city (they go through 15-20 pounds a day).

A Thinking Atmosphere

"We have a 30-plus crowd for the most part," says Carl. "Most of our clientele are very knowledgeable about craft beer, but we never want to go super high-end and become a fancy gastropub. We want to make sure we have a PBR or Miller High Life for someone who asks for them or can't afford a more expensive beer."

The somewhat bohemian atmosphere of Thinking Man makes for a comfortable and enjoyable pub experience, and the impressive collection of curious items around the walls of the pub came from Hunter's wife Jennifer who worked at nearby Agnes Scott College. The attic at the college's natural history department was being cleaned out, and Jennifer collected truckloads of stuffed animals, knick-knacks, science posters, telescopes, globes, books and periodicals to adorn the pub.

Anniversary Amusement

Thinking Man's 10th anniversary kicks off on June 9 with ten casks in ten days — all from Georgia breweries. One cask will be tapped at 6 p.m. each night and served on the bar with a gravity tap. The main anniversary event happens on June 19 with a huge party, giveaways, a price rollback and an extra special cask.

Carl explains, "We'll also tap special vintage items from the cellar like a keg of 2011 Bell's Black Note, 2010 Dogfish Head Bitches Brew and a vertical of He'Brew Jewbelation. I can't wait to try these beers, clear out the cellar and make room for our big Terrapin takeover in the fall during Atlanta Craft Beer Week."

Carl admits that dealing with beer orders from many different distributors forms one of his biggest challenges. "One distributor once took my cask of Terrapin Moo Hoo to the Brick Store, while I got their unlabeled cask of Pumpkinfest. I tapped it and thought it was the worst Moo Hoo I ever had. We finally figured it out."

Even with the long hours, does Carl still enjoy owning and running Thinking Man? "It's more fun now than ever,” he says. “We have a great staff and are at a point now where Hunter and I can sit back and focus on what's important - stocking and serving great beer for our loyal customers."

Read the full article at http://sbnonline.brewingnews.com/article/Thinking+Man+Turns+10/1421726/162130/article.html.

Wicked Weed Brewing

Tony Kiss

“Hops are a wicked and pernicious weed.” — King Henry VIII

In a town like Asheville, with a fastgrowing and very competitive craft beer scene, a new brewery really needs to come to the party with a strong identity and something that makes it different.

That describes Wicked Weed Brewing, a downtown brewery and restaurant that opened in December 2012 on busy Biltmore Avenue — just a block or so from where craft brewing began in Asheville in 1994, when Highland Brewing opened its original location.

Like Highland, then, Wicked Weed is causing quite a stir among local craft beer fans, now. For weeks after opening, it was difficult even getting into the place, as long lines gathered for a spot in the upstairs restaurant and downstairs taproom.

Strong Styles

Not content to just make pale ales and stouts, Wicked Weed is turning out a strong lineup of varied styles.

Hey Porter was named for the great country singer, Johnny Cash. Cardinal Sin is a red Belgian ale that was brewed in honor of the new Pope. Wicked IPAs are big hoppy brews, made West Coast-style. And there’s a line of sour Belgian ales, like Black Angel sour cherry, aged in barrels.

Then there’s Wicked Monk, made in collaboration with the cross-town Thirsty Monk brewery. A crew from Wicked Weed slipped into monk robes, and a keg of the stuff was hoisted up Biltmore Avenue and carried down to the Thirsty Monk taproom.

Birth of a Brewery

“We always wanted to open a brewery” says Walt Dickinson, who teamed up his brother Luke and partners Rick and Denise Renky to create Wicked Weed.

The location at 91 Biltmore Ave. Has had many uses over the years — gas station, auto supply shop and hardware store. But the Dickinsons and the Renkys transformed it into a dining and drinking destination. While the Renkys worked on the restaurant, the Dickinson brothers and their brewer Eric Leypoldt set about building the brewery from scratch.

Even with a dozen breweries open around Asheville, and more coming all the time, the brothers determined that they wanted to be part of the booming beer scene, Walt says.

“We made the decision to move forward before Sierra Nevada and New Belgium made their announcements [to locate breweries in Asheville]. We felt like there was still room in Asheville for a brewery restaurant.”

Delivering the Different

From the start, the focus was on delivering brews that were different, but kept customers coming back for more.

“We are big fans of Belgians,” Walt says.

“We wanted to make them in an authentic style, so having an open fermenter was important to us.”

“We’re also passionate about pale ales, IPAs, double IPAs. When we say ‘West Coast style’ IPAs, we mean very hops forward beers, with big chewy hops. We are very inspired by Russian River Brewing. Those are the guys that we look to. That is the standard that we have set for ourselves.”

The brewery also made one-off beers part of the regular rotation. Often, a new beer will arrive, get consumed by customers, then quickly be replaced on the big chalkboard by something else in a litany of styles that includes plenty of saison and wit variations.

“Obviously, we can’t do a true lambic,” Walt says. “But golden strong Belgian singles are something we feel strongly about. Our goal is to do a lot of one-offs. We are steering in a little different direction.”

Downtown and Unmarked

Wicked Weed’s downtown location, next door to the popular Orange Peel live music venue, is on the edge of what has become Asheville’s unofficial brewing district, and home to neighbors such as Green Man, Asheville Brewing and the new Hi-Wire brewery.

There’s plenty of room to spread out, with both indoor and outdoor seating. The downstairs tasting room has its own separate patio, which has become quite popular on warmer days.

But Wicked Weed also needed somewhere to age and store its Belgian sours, so a barrel house was opened in Fairview, a few miles from downtown. It’s an unmarked spot, with a secret stash of barrels that age 3-5 months, or longer.

“Barrel-aging takes so long,” Walt says. “To do it successfully, we needed enough space to store the barrels and keep them at the right climate. And if you have sour beers in the same place as you have IPAs, you can risk an infection.”

As for the future, “We could do some blending,” Walt says. “And I think we will be doing a lot more barrel-aging. The idea is to create a beer portfolio that lets you explore your palate and be excited about craft beer. This is one more component of that.”

Read the full article at http://sbnonline.brewingnews.com/article/Wicked+Weed+Brewing/1421727/162130/article.html.

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