Southern Brew News December 2015/January 2016 : Page 1

By Alyssa Serres By Owen Ogletree his holiday season, forget the cham-pagne, mulled wine and eggnog. Craft beer mania has gripped the nation, and the massive range of styles, colors and flavors offered by craft beers means that there's a delicious, perfect beer for every holiday occasion. Pairing wines with winter holiday cuisine often proves a tricky task, but not so with craft beer. With its mellow smoothness, sweetness, creamy carbonation and malt character ranging from mild cereal and toast to caramel, toffee, chocolate and espresso, there's a craft beer to pair with any food item — even dessert. New breweries are springing up across the Southeast, struggling to meet demand for boom-ing, thirsty craft beer markets from Louisiana to North Carolina, and creative Southeastern brew-ers are producing world-class, award-winning products. We've tackled the difficult task of choosing only one sumptuous craft beer from each Southeastern state to pair with various win-ter holiday fare. Try these pairings, or come up with new matches to enjoy with friends and fam-ily during this festive time of year. Loup Garou from Louisiana's Bayou Teche Brewing features a scary label with a swamp werewolf, but this rich, 8% ABV Belgian-style imperial stout that's aged with licorice root in whiskey barrels makes a splendid pairing for holiday sweets. This limited edition winter seasonal ale is brewed with malts that include crystal, chocolate and rye, and the beer is infused with French hops and brown sugar, providing an impressive depth of flavors that meld well with all types of holiday spiced desserts like ginger-bread, carrot cake, rum cake or chewy molasses cookies. Started in 2013 with the goal of bringing amazing craft beers to Mississippi, Southern Prohibition Brewing sits in a downtown Hattiesburg space that was once home to a furniture showroom. Now the owners show off popular brews such as Mississippi Fire Ant -an imperial red ale matured in oak barrels. This ale boasts an intense, dark ruby color, flavorful malt complexity and elegant, earthy, spicy hop aroma and flavor. Folks will welcome this "Fire Ant" into their holiday kitchens, as the beer's biscuity, toasty, dark caramel tones complement the caramelized character of roast beef or pork. Mississippi Fire Ant scored a silver medal at the 2014 Chicago Festival of Wood & Barrel-aged Beers. Head to the Nations Neighborhood of West Nashville to visit the new 28,000 square feet tast-P See Christmas p.2 laylinda Brewing Company opened its doors a little more than a year ago and already it’s build-ing a name in Central Florida. This small but growing brewery, situated on Titusville’s main drag, is building more than just excitement for craft beer. The company is working on building a production brewery, restaurant and small-batch spirit distillery that will bring brewmaster Ron Raike’s creativity to the Sunshine State. Playalinda’s early success can be partially attributed to Raike, a cicerone and local beer expert. After 20 years of laying groundwork as a master brewer at Shipyard and Cask & Larder, Raike moved his talents to Titusville to fulfill a career-long goal of owning his own brewery. For co-owners, Raike and Bryan Scott, the intention for Playalinda had always been to grow. According to Raike, this multi-million dol-lar gamble and magic trick is named The Brix Project. The much anticipated opening of the 16,000 sq. ft. facility in 2016 will bring produc-tion of Playlinda’s brews to 30,000 barrels a year, and skyrocket the brand from a microbrewery to one of the state’s few regional breweries. Playalinda will continue to pour Raike’s creative brews downtown, and with the addition of this offsite brewing facility, begin to share shelf space with the likes of Cigar City (Tampa) and Florida Beer Company (Cape Canaveral). The Brix Project will also be an ambitious testing ground for Raike to experiment with small-batch gin, vodka and whiskey. This part production brewery, part distillery, part restaurant and tasting room is the first of its kind in Brevard County. It’s slated to fill holes in these nascent craft industries and, “supplement the market with better branding, better products and better service to the people of Florida.” according to Raike. The Brewery That Started It All Named for the adjacent beach, Playalinda has become a gathering place. What once was a See Legacy p.2 Florida ......................4 Louisiana ...................6 Tennessee ..................7 Georgia ................... 11 The Carolinas .......... 14 Alabama/Mississippi .15

I'm Dreaming Of A Craft Beer Christmas

Owen Ogletree

This holiday season, forget the champagne, mulled wine and eggnog. Craft beer mania has gripped the nation, and the massive range of styles, colors and flavors offered by craft beers means that there's a delicious, perfect beer for every holiday occasion. Pairing wines with winter holiday cuisine often proves a tricky task, but not so with craft beer. With its mellow smoothness, sweetness, creamy carbonation and malt character ranging from mild cereal and toast to caramel, toffee, chocolate and espresso, there's a craft beer to pair with any food item — even dessert.

New breweries are springing up across the Southeast, struggling to meet demand for booming, thirsty craft beer markets from Louisiana to North Carolina, and creative Southeastern brewers are producing world-class, award-winning products. We've tackled the difficult task of choosing only one sumptuous craft beer from each Southeastern state to pair with various winter holiday fare. Try these pairings, or come up with new matches to enjoy with friends and family during this festive time of year.

Loup Garou from Louisiana's Bayou Teche Brewing features a scary label with a swamp werewolf, but this rich, 8% ABV Belgian-style imperial stout that's aged with licorice root in whiskey barrels makes a splendid pairing for holiday sweets. This limited edition winter seasonal ale is brewed with malts that include crystal, chocolate and rye, and the beer is infused with French hops and brown sugar, providing an impressive depth of flavors that meld well with all types of holiday spiced desserts like gingerbread, carrot cake, rum cake or chewy molasses cookies.

Started in 2013 with the goal of bringing amazing craft beers to Mississippi, Southern Prohibition Brewing sits in a downtown Hattiesburg space that was once home to a furniture showroom. Now the owners show off popular brews such as Mississippi Fire Ant - an imperial red ale matured in oak barrels. This ale boasts an intense, dark ruby color, flavorful malt complexity and elegant, earthy, spicy hop aroma and flavor. Folks will welcome this "Fire Ant" into their holiday kitchens, as the beer's biscuity, toasty, dark caramel tones complement the caramelized character of roast beef or pork. Mississippi Fire Ant scored a silver medal at the 2014 Chicago Festival of Wood & Barrel-aged Beers.

Head to the Nations Neighborhood of West Nashville to visit the new 28,000 square feet tasting room of Turtle Anarchy Brewing Company. Turtle Anarchy's Permafrost ranks as a splendid brown ale loaded with spice character from additions of ginger, clove, cinnamon and nutmeg. With 6.2% ABV and 20 IBUs, this malty brew offers notes of roasted nuts, treacle, caramel and raisin toast that go extremely well with rich holiday fare like baked sweet potatoes topped with syrup and marshmallows.

Back in 2008, the founders of Good People Brewing quit their day jobs to take on the arduous goal of pioneering a craft brewery in Birmingham, Alabama. Known to regular Good People drinkers as "C-O-S," the brewery's popular Coffee Oatmeal Stout contains 5.7% ABV, 51 IBUs, five specialty malts, oats, smooth Octane Coffee, authentic British ale yeast and Willamette and Columbus hops. Expect a rich, slightly sweet coffee taste, viscous mouthfeel from the oats, balancing hops and fruity esters. Any holiday grub that goes down well with a cup of coffee will complement this brew. Try fruit pies, scones or aged gouda or warm brie and crackers.

The guys at Atlanta's Monday Night Brewing stashed some Drafty Kilt Scottish-style strong ale in Kentucky bourbon barrels for a few months and then sent some bottles off to the 2014 Great American Beer Festival, where the beer took the coveted gold medal in the barrel-aged category. Bourbon Barrel Drafty Kilt is filled with notes of vanilla, charred oak tannins, toffee, burnt sugar, dark fruit, cocoa and cherry-wood smoked malt. This Christmas, drink this warming, malty ale with anything and everything chocolate.

At Christmastime in sunny Tampa, the brewers at Cigar City will most likely still be in shorts, but this doesn't stop them from churning out Cigar City Sugar Plum - a delightful winter seasonal brown ale that's accentuated with rose hips, cinnamon, ginger, chamomile, chicory and carob. The nutty, malty profile provides hints of bitter chocolate and roasted malts, and the full body forms the perfect canvas for esters and spices. Grab that fruit cake that's being used as a door-stop and try a slice with a snifter of Sugar Plum, or sip the beer with chestnuts roasted on a open fire.

Who says that hops don't go with Christmas? Westbrook Brewing in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina gets off on experimenting with unusual ingredients, but Shane's Big DIPA ranks as a 9.6% ABV imperial IPA packed with 80 IBUs and a mammoth dose of flavoring hops. This ale brings a glow to the cheeks and a warmth to the tummy, while providing a conversation-provoking libation to serve with Parmigiano-Reggiano or blue cheeses with a dollop of holiday jam. Also pair with roast duck, ham and prime rib.

With their wildly adored sour ales and award-winning hoppy brews, Asheville's Wicked Weed can't seem to make enough beer these days. Visitors can check out the brewpub restaurant, cellar bar or separate Funkatorium barrel warehouse and taproom a few blocks away. Wicked Weed's orange-hued XLIX Maple Sweet Potato Saison seems quite suited for the winter season. Notes of spice, maple syrup, fresh fruits, local sweet potatoes, mild acidity and Belgian character form a perfect marriage with the beer's luxurious mouthfeel, and this specialty saison would be heavn alongside roast turkey with sage dressing, Cornish game hen and even caviar on melba toast.

Read the full article at http://sbnonline.brewingnews.com/article/I%27m+Dreaming+Of+A+Craft+Beer+Christmas/2342837/283985/article.html.

Building A Legacy In Central Florida

Alyssa Serres

Playlinda Brewing Company opened its doors a little more than a year ago and already it’s building a name in Central Florida. This small but growing brewery, situated on Titusville’s main drag, is building more than just excitement for craft beer. The company is working on building a production brewery, restaurant and small-batch spirit distillery that will bring brewmaster Ron Raike’s creativity to the Sunshine State.

Playalinda’s early success can be partially attributed to Raike, a cicerone and local beer expert. After 20 years of laying groundwork as a master brewer at Shipyard and Cask & Larder, Raike moved his talents to Titusville to fulfill a career-long goal of owning his own brewery. For co-owners, Raike and Bryan Scott, the intention for Playalinda had always been to grow.

According to Raike, this multi-million dollar gamble and magic trick is named The Brix Project. The much anticipated opening of the 16,000 sq. ft. Facility in 2016 will bring production of Playlinda’s brews to 30,000 barrels a year, and skyrocket the brand from a microbrewery to one of the state’s few regional breweries.

Playalinda will continue to pour Raike’s creative brews downtown, and with the addition of this offsite brewing facility, begin to share shelf space with the likes of Cigar City (Tampa) and Florida Beer Company (Cape Canaveral).

The Brix Project will also be an ambitious testing ground for Raike to experiment with small-batch gin, vodka and whiskey. This part production brewery, part distillery, part restaurant and tasting room is the first of its kind in Brevard County. It’s slated to fill holes in these nascent craft industries and, “supplement the market with better branding, better products and better service to the people of Florida.” according to Raike.

The Brewery That Started It All

Named for the adjacent beach, Playalinda has become a gathering place. What once was a hardware store has helped revitalize the area by becoming a comfortable spot that helps support other local businesses. Behind the 40 ft. Copper bar, a floor to ceiling antique tool cabinet is stocked to the brim with growlers, crowlers, pint glasses, snifters and wooden hardware drawers for 2oz flight glasses. Bartenders are busy pouring glass after glass of golden to near-black brews from the 12 house taps, nine Florida-based guest taps and a single cask to satiate their thirsty patrons. Outside, giant Jenga matches rage on, while inside, families and friends chatter over brews.

The beer menu is a testament to Raike’s brewing prowess. “My brewing philosophy is to appease every customer,” he said. “I’ll brew a light beer for grandma, a gateway beer for your friend who’s still not quite sure what they’re looking for, and something for the hop-heads. I want to have a large appeal, and it’s always fun to try new things.”

The Beers

Bottomless Blonde is crisp, light and refreshing. Rocket Man Red is hoppy, complex and robust. Bring It IPA is bursting with biting lupulin and a bright, malty touch that holds those hops on the pedestal they deserve.

Not only are the ever-present brews exciting and highly drinkable, but the rotating taps are an enticing stray from the norm. Playing with styles and testing the limits of craft beer is something Raike is no stranger to. For example, Dark Dreams is a sour stout that balances both styles with integrity. Monarch Butterfly Popcorn Kolsch is an exciting and interesting change of pace that blends delicate specialty popcorn with a traditional German beer style. Wanting something a little darker and more mysterious? Look no further than a pint of Smoked Cherry. This smoky and slightly sweet brew will have you rethinking your learned aversion to fruit beers. You’ll do yourself a favor by ordering a flight to start before you commit to a pint. Even so, you’ll probably still want to taste everything on the menu, including the house-brewed Cracker’s Root Beer Soda.

The Project It Has Become

Currently the brewery is in serious talks with the city of Titusville to secure a suitable facility in an industrial area of town. They are also looking at locations in Orlando should they need a backup plan. This new project is expected to create 38 new jobs in Central Florida and should become a major builder of excitement for not only the town, but the beer industry in Florida.

While the production of 30,000 barrels of beer in this new facility is exciting, the most buzz around The Brix Project is the small-batch distillery setting up shop inside.

“Florida’s small-batch distilling industry, much like its craft brewing industry, is still in its infancy,” said Raike. “It appeals to me to take my philosophy on beer and apply it to spirits.”

After toying with distilling in the past, Raike sees this as an opportunity to use his skills to teach people about spirits in the same way he helped craft the palates of so many beer drinkers. He said he wants people experience spirits like they’ve learned to experience beer.

The multi-use facility also opens itself up to becoming a hub of community activity. Opening a full-service restaurant in an area where currently there’s not much going on means that patrons will be able to sip on a signature Playalinda brew while waiting on their entrees, and have an artfully crafted cocktail with dessert.

The Brix Project is aiming to build on the success of Playalinda and spread the love of craft beer and spirits across Central Florida. Although this project is in the very beginning stages and will take at least another year of planning, permitting and construction before it’s ready, the excitement is mounting. In the meantime, you can stop by Playalinda to fill a crowler and go relax and patiently wait at the beach.

Read the full article at http://sbnonline.brewingnews.com/article/Building+A+Legacy+In+Central+Florida/2342838/283985/article.html.

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