Southern Brew News December 2010/January 2011 : Page 1

Dec/Jan 2010/11 Vol. 6 No.6 By WJ Plott ILLUSTRATION BY: HANS GRANHEIM By Sally Shelton “With heigh! The sweet birds, o, how they sing!... For a Quart of Ale is a dish for a King.” -William Shakespeare (The Winters Tale, Act IV, Scene 3) T They were not serving pints and Shakespeare was not the only poet in the house but the fi rst Bards & Brews program was all the Birming-ham Public Library hoped for and more. “It was much better than we expected. In fact, they didn’t want to leave. We had decided to set a time limit to what we could handle in about two hours. They wanted to stay and socialize,” said Haruyo Miyagawa, head of the library’s Arts, Literature & Sports Department. The Bards & Brews program debuted in October, featuring five local poets and two beers from Good People Brewing Co. Using typical poetry slam rules, the artists had three minutes to share an original construction with the audi-ence and five judges. Everyone was able to sample the beers provided by Good People. See Bards p.5 By Owen Ogletree “ G Sweetwater Brewing Co., Atlanta. PHOTO: FLICKR State by State News Tennessee ........16 Alabama/Mississippi ....17 Georgia ..........18 The Carolinas .......20 Florida ...........22 Louisiana ............23 The Asheville Scene .......... 4 Tasting Notes ................... 6 Homebrew News .............. 8 Style Section .................... 9 Beer Wench's Kitchen ...... 10 Dr. Brewski ...................... 11 eorgia has such bad-ass craft beer bars, so why aren’t there more micro-breweries?” Chris Lennert of Colorado’s Left Hand Brewing Company posed this question uest o o on a recent ece t visit to Georgia, and it seems that almost every Geor-gia craft beer a fi cio-nado also ponders this conundrum. Most people blame Georgia’s archaic alcohol laws for making the task of opening and running a production microbrewery quite a struggle. For example, state law prohib-its Georgia microbreweries from having a small pub onsite for selling beer to the public. Very limited beer samples can only be given away during organized tours, absolutely bs no six packs, pac growlers or cases cas of beer can be purchased by the public, and all be that leaves the beer do must be sold doors th through licensed d distributors. So Georgia b lovers should beer See Tale p.3

Bards And Brews

WJ Plott

“With heigh! The sweet birds, o, how they sing!... For a Quart of Ale is a dish for a King.” -William Shakespeare (The Winters Tale, Act IV, Scene 3)

) They were not serving pints and Shakespeare was not the only poet in the house but the fi rst Bards & Brews program was all the Birmingham Public Library hoped for and more.

“It was much better than we expected. In fact, they didn’t want to leave. We had decided to set a time limit to what we could

Handle in about two hours. They wanted to stay and socialize,” said Haruyo Miyagawa, head of the library’s Arts, Literature & Sports Department. The Bards & Brews program debuted in October, featuring five local poets and two beers from Good People Brewing Co. Using typical poetry slam rules, the artists had three minutes to share an original construction with the audience and five judges. Everyone was able to sample the beers provided by Good People.

Miyagawa said the event was such a success that it has become a regular feature at the library, scheduled from 6:30-9:00 p.m. on the first Friday of each month. For the second gathering in November two beers from Terrapin Brewing Co. In Athens, Ga., were on tap.

Bards & Brews is an ongoing effort by the library to reach a broader patronage base, particularly among young adults. “We were trying to think of ways to bring people back to the library. People do not read as much as they used to. We were especially trying to get young people in their 20s and 30s to the library,” said Miyagawa. She said the growing popularity of craft beer, spurred in Alabama by the success of Free the Hops in changing the state’s minimum alcohol content limit for beer, led to the pairing of literature and brews.

“It seems to work. We had a lot of young people for first one in October. Brian Hawkins did a great job of coordinating the slam. There were only five poets. We would like more but people are hesitant to jump into something new. We’re hoping for better participation (from poets) in the future. But we had about 80 people over, which was much better than we expected,” she said.

The library, which is feeling the crunch of tough economic times, had hoped to sell the beer. They’ve recently had to issue an appeal for donations for new books and other media purchases.

But the laws are so complicated, so we’re working with the distributors for the beer,” she said.

Birmingham Beverage Co. Donated Good People ‘s Oatmeal Stout and Hitchhiker IPA. Supreme Beverage Co. Donated Terrapin’s Rye Pale Ale and Hopsecutioner for the November event. There will not be a December event because of all of the holiday activities but Miyagawa hopes a distributor will also step up for the January 7 gathering.

Free the Hops, the grassroots movement that worked to change Alabama’s alcohol-by byvolume minimum from 6% to 13.9%, provided pouring services for the slam

“We did small samples in tasting glasses and cups,” said Gabe Harris, FTH vice president of business support. “They really enjoyed it. We had Good People Oatmeal Stout and IPA and there were a lot of people who hadn’t tried them before. We converted a lot of people.”

Although Bards & Brews was a Birmingham event, Harris said he found a number of those in attendance were unaware of Good People’s existence just a few blocks away.

“There were people who were definitely surprised to learn we had a brewery in Birmingham. They were happy to learn that. It was an eye-opening experience for some of them and gave us an opportunity to get into some good discussions about Free the Hops. It was a definitely a good segue with Good People about to starting canning soon, too” he said.

It also provided FTH with a chance to talk about its continuing agenda to update Alabama’s brewery and brewpub laws and support efforts to legalize homebrewing in the state. Harris said Free the Hops picked up one new member at the October session. In addition, a lot of Good People and FTH merchandise was sold, too.

For Brian Hawkins, the slam coordinator, it was the perfect marriage. “Good People happens to be my favorite brewery. I’ve been following them since the very beginning,” he said.

Hawkins, an educator and performer, coordinated the poetry competition under rules of Southern Fried Slam. Each participant has three minutes to present an original work. Five judges, scattered throughout the audience , award scores on a scale of 0-10. The slam consists of three preliminary rounds, followed by a final round with two finalists.

“It was wonderful. I don’t think the library staff was expecting nearly that many people, maybe half of that,” he said.

Read the full article at http://sbnonline.brewingnews.com/article/Bards+And+Brews/571278/54703/article.html.

Four Micro Breweries

Owen Ogletree

Georgia has such bad-ass craft beer bars, so why aren’t there more microbreweries?” Chris Lennert of Colorado’s Left Hand Brewing Company posed this question on a recent visit to Georgia, and it seems that almost every Georgia craft beer afi cionado also ponders this conundrum.

Most people blame Georgia’s archaic alcohol laws for making the task of opening and Running a production microbrewery quite a struggle. For example, state law prohibits Georgia microbreweries from having a small pub onsite for selling beer to the public. Very limited beer samples can only be given away during organized tours, Absolutely no six packs, growlers or cases of beer can purchased by public, and all beer that leaves the doors must be sold through licensed distributors.

So Georgia beer lovers should Consider themselves quite lucky to have four production microbreweries. These four possess a wide array of personalities, business models, distribution ranges and histories. This article introduces the reader to Georgia’s hardy microbrewery “gang of four” and presents a head-to-head, blind comparison of a few beers from each facility.

The Micro Climate

The oldest of the four, Red Brick Brewing (a.k.a. Atlanta Brewing) got its start back in 1993 in a now demolished old brick warehouse on Williams Street in downtown Atlanta. After struggling for many years, new investors, new management and an attractive new facility just a few miles northwest of downtown did much to revitalize the company in 2006- 2007. Long time Red Brick brewer Dave McClure now churns out a healthy crop of ales and lagers - all sporting fresh labels. The Red Brick team also encourages local beer drinkers to take pride in beer made in the South.

Atlanta’s SweetWater Brewing Company came to town after two friends from Colorado visited the city in 1996 for the Summer Olympics and realized that Atlanta was primed for another craft brewery. SweetWater’s attitude revolves around being unpretentious, alternative and irreverent. With names like 420 Extra Pale Ale, Happy Ending, Motor Boat and Sch’Wheat, it seems clear that these guys try not to take themselves too seriously. Explosive success has followed this model, with SweetWater’s beers spreading throughout the Southeast and beyond.

John Cochran and Brian “Spike” Buckowski met in the ‘90s and discovered common ground in their dream of one day owning a microbrewery. Spike cooked up a unique recipe for a spicy pale ale that included a portion of rye malt, and the two friends began contract brewing Rye Pale Ale. Terrapin Beer Company premiered its pale ale in 2002 at the Athens Classic City Brew Fest and won a gold medal the same year at GABF. Terrapin was on its way to greatness and soon moved from contract brewing into a facility in Athens where Spike enjoys space enough to produce an immense range of regular and seasonal brews.

Glenn Golden, a small town homebrewing fanatic from Hampton, Georgia became intrigued with the notion of purchasing Hampton’s old, vacant jail and turning it into a tiny craft brewery. Renovation Of the building began in August of 2008, with the state of Georgia finally granting JailHouse Brewing a license in October of 2009. Glenn recounts, “Obtaining a license to brew beer in the state of Georgia is nothing short of a nightmare.” Even though JailHouse’s beers are now in almost 60 accounts around the Atlanta area, the micro is still very much a one man show, and Glenn has the gray hairs to prove it.

Since JailHouse only produces a wheat beer, IPA and stout, our blind tasting panel decided to obtain a wheat beer, a hoppy beer and a dark beer from each Georgia microbrewery for an analytical comparison. The panel consisted of Southern Brew News’ Owen Ogletree and Kerri “Beer Wench” Allen, Jeremy Dunn and Mandy Stevens from Athens’ Trappeze Pub, Sachin Patel (owner of Five Points Bottle Shop) and Brian Roth (Craft Beer Manager for Leon Farmer beer distributor in Athens).

A Good Wheat isNo Small Feat

Terrapin Sunray Wheat, a Germanstyle wheat with Georgia Tupelo honey, exhibited aromas of bubblegum and clove with a hint of green apples. Owen commented on complexity imparted by the honey. The beer throws a gorgeous, golden hue with a trace of sediment and cloudiness. Jeremy found bready flavors and slight spice and acidity.

An American-style wheat ale, JailHouse’s Slammer Wheat offered Brian yeasty, earthy, mild aromas, while Sachin picked up flavor notes of mild, citrusy hops and wheat. Owen tasted oodles of wheat and fruity notes, and Mandy mentioned substantial bittering hops for the style.

Red Brick Summer came in as runnerup for our favorite wheat beer of the four. Owen likened the aroma to a fine Bavarian wheat beer, and the clove and banana notes impressed Brian. A pleasant, spicy wheat character and cloudy golden hue were noted by The Beer Wench, and Sachin described a slightly bitter/hoppy finish.

Top wheat beer of the session went to Sch’Wheat from SweetWater. The Beer Wench’s nose picked up the “golden glory of fresh wheat,” while Sachin got sweet bananas and a hint of peaches. Mandy said the pale gold beer presented a sweet fruitiness in the front with a honey/citrus, hoppy note in the finish. A refreshing beer with a wonderful mingling of wheat and hop character.

Hop To It

Terrapin Hopsecutioner American IPA wafts aromas of pine, orange, caramel and toffee. Darker gold than our other three hoppy beers, the ale produced a creamy beige head. Mandy tasted toast and huge malt, Jeremy picked up mild herbal hops, and Brian commented on the warming finish.

Mugshot IPA from JailHouse filled The Beer Wench’s nose with herbal, grassy notes and fruity esters. Owen admired the orange tint and off-white foam, while Sachin commented on balanced malt and hop flavors. Brian and Owen detected a mineral-like, biscuity quality.

A close second to our top beer in this group, Red Brick Pale Ale impressed Owen with aromas of roses, lavender, grapefruit and flowers. Sachin gave a nod to the mild sweetness, and Mandy and Brian admired the pleasant hop flavor and bitterness. Overall, a solid, sessionable pale ale.

SweetWater scored top honors with us again for their piney, citrusy, pungent IPA. Owen described the aroma as “a pleasing symphony of malt and American hops.” Flavors in this attractive, dark gold/orangey ale included citrus fruits and mild salt for Brian, wonderful malt balance for The Beer Wench, and powerful hop flavor for Sachin.

Back in Black

The aromas in Breakout Stout from JailHouse reminded Brian of bitter hops coated in baker’s chocolate. Owen got whiffs of a variety of fruits and an earthy character, while flavors of dark coffee and Herbs impressed Jeremy. Mandy tasted cocoa, nuts and bittering hops, and Owen noted alcohol hints, complex malt, Kahlua and a rich, dry finish.

SweetWater’s seasonal Exodus Porter threw mild aromas of chocolate, fruit, figs and toffee, and Jeremy swears he detected a hint of peat smoke. Mandy loved the chocolatey notes, Brian appreciated the toffee flavor, and The Beer Wench commented on roasted malt nuances. “A very quaffable black ale with smooth, silky dark malt notes,” said Owen.

Runner-up for our top black ale went to Red Brick Porter -- a robust, rummy, dry, espresso-like brew. Jeremy smelled hints of boozy malt, toast and cocoa, while Brian picked up flavors of bourbon and butterscotch. The Beer Wench talked about the “Faustian delight” of sweet coffee and cocoa butter, and Mandy detected a touch of roasted nuts. Jeremy noted some licorice, and everyone appreciated the complex layering of flavors in this appealing treat.

Most impressive black ale went handsdown to Terrapin’s Wake ‘n Bake Coffee Oatmeal Imperial Stout. This behemoth of a beer sends off waves of intense coffee and alcohol fragrances. Brian commented, “This is the kind of beer that makes you do questionable things.” The Beer Wench called it “mother’s milk with coffee... it would be great over waffles with whipped cream.” Mandy commended the clean finish and smoothness, while Owen noted the big alcohol notes seem hidden. An impressive work of dark art -- coffee and craft beer in one drink. Does it get any better?

Read the full article at http://sbnonline.brewingnews.com/article/Four+Micro+Breweries/571286/54703/article.html.

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