Beer Reviews by Owen Ogletree
Southern Brewing Red & Black is a popular Berliner-style sour ale with additions of raspberries and blackberries for a wonderful, complex, fruity quality to back up the tart, clean, refreshing Berliner character. Sip it alongside enchiladas or quesadillas.
Service Brewing celebrates each Oktoberfest with the release of Teufel Hunden, an Oktoberfest-style märzen with crisp, biscuity malt notes balanced by German hops. The lager presents a classic, toasty German malt profile. Grab it on tap and in cans starting in late August.
Terrapin Gamma Ray returns as a powerful, malty, warming wheatwine that registers 10.8% ABV. With additions of flavorful honey from Savannah Bee Company, Gamma Ray offers sweet, honeysuckle notes along with a spicy, peppery alcohol backbone. Sip this puppy from a snifter with creamy brie cheese and salty crackers.
La Trappe Witte Trappist comes from the monks at Bierbrouwerij De Koningshoeven in the Netherlands. This classic Belgian-style witbier offers a crisp profile of wheat grains, orange peel and spicy coriander. This style was hazy before hazy was cool. Enjoy with a pot of steamed clams or mussels.
Aspall Grand Cru English Cider hits the mark of not being too sweet but possessing a delicious, dry apple aroma and flavor. Made from sweet, sharp and bittersweet apples, the cider finishes with a pleasant, tannin quality from the fruit skins. Pair with a fine Camembert cheese.
Red Brick Soul of the City is a 5.7% ABV American pale ale with Citra, Denali and Crystal hops. Citra and Crystal provide a delightful, citrusy, floral hop aroma and flavor, while the Denali delivers an earthy, pungent punch. This quaffable brew pairs exceedingly well with sushi or rotisserie chicken.
Creature Comforts Calculating Infinity is a 5% ABV American pale ale with hop complexity from Wakatu, Pacifica and Palisade. Expect deep, floral and citrus character with a pleasant, slightly dry finish. The hop profile works extremely well in this clean, crushable ale.
Creature Comforts Crescendo is a 7.2% ABV American IPA with loads of Galaxy, Grungeist and El Dorado hops that balance the malty brew with notes of melon, tropical fruits, lemon, orange and pineapple. With a slightly hazy appearance and mild dankness from the relatively new hops varieties, this IPA will certainly appeal to "hazy-crazy" hopheads.
Twisted Fish, SweetWater's recent collaboration pilsner, was brewed with input from the Coastal Conservation Association's National Habitat Program. Look for the crisp, hoppy, 5.3% ABV lager in four-packs of 16 ounce cans and on draft.
Monday, May 28, 2018
Owen Ogletree gathered local craft beer lovers Ian Meents, Dean Graves, Gail Graves, Ashton Smith, Jeff Rapp, Kim Swantek, Mark Hall, Thel Melton, Melissa Melton, Pete Dasher and Georgia's Beer Wench to sample six cheeses - each paired with two outstanding Georgia beers (with a couple of guest beers from other states thrown in for fun).
In this blind tasting, participants were told the style of each beer but not the specific brand name. Everyone made a few notes and then voted on which beer in each pair made the best accompaniment to each cheese. The results are listed here...
Gose with coriander and grapefruit peel
The mild, tart flavors worked well with the cheese. Coriander and salt complemented the cheese. Mild citrus, salt and spice.
Golden Sour Ale Blend aged in wine bbls, Amarillo dry-hops
A marvelous beer with complex, pleasant flavors. Needs a heavier cheese. The beer is a bit too acidic for the chevre, and the oak tannins seem to wipe out the chevre flavors.
Great citrus aroma and flavor with a pleasant bitter finish. The salty, sharp cheese seems to cover the elegant hop notes of the beer. Mineral notes in beer go well with mineral quality of the cheese.
American-style Double IPA
Rich malt and hops are a good match for the cheese. Biscuity notes go well. Floral, spicy hops are beautiful with the dry, spicy cheese.
British-style Strong Bitter
Gorgeous example of the classic style with delicious malt. Caramel and biscuit notes go well with the nutty cheese.
Scottish-style Wee Heavy
The rich malt and smoky notes conflict with the nuttiness of the cheese. This tasty beer needs a cheese with somewhat stronger, malt-like flavors.
Trappist-style Tripel with coriander
A fine beer with strong coriander spice in the finish. Great malt and Belgian fermentation character. Works quite well with the nutty, buttery, thick cheese.
Rye Amber Ale aged on French oak
The somewhat mild malt and rye flavors of this beer don't stand up as well to the rich cheese. Complexity of the cheese overpowers the beer a bit.
American-style IPA with passion-fruit, orange, guava
This beer's fruity quality is quite pleasant but might be too much for the cheese. The complexity seems to cover the funkiness and creaminess of the cheese.
Farmhouse saison - mixed fermentation, oak bbl-aged
Tropical fruit, beautiful acidity, quite lambic-like. A light, slightly sweet malt note balances the subtle, yet complex, acidity. It's a nice contrast to the cheese.
A delicious porter with lovely dark malt complexity. This well-made ale goes down really well. The roasted malt notes cut the complexity of the blue cheese, but the beer's flavors are a bit light to stand up to the bold stilton.
Imperial Stout - bourbon bbl-aged
The richness of this malty brew pairs well with the funky cheese. Nice vanilla barrel flavors complement the cheese. Most people thought the strength of the beer matched the cheese.
Saturday, May 26, 2018
Central Nashville Brewery Roundup
By Owen Ogletree
Published originally in Southern Brew News.
The Brewers Association's decision to hold its 2018 Craft Brewers Conference, America's largest craft brewing industry gathering, in Nashville confirms that "Music City" has evolved into a southeastern craft beer hub. Want a world-class beer to go with hot chicken, barbecue and country tunes? Nashville is the spot. Following is a run-down of a few central Nashville breweries worthy of a visit.
Bearded Iris Brewing
Inspired by the Tennessee state flower that exhibits a expansive range of attractive colors and patterns, Bearded Iris takes pride in providing Nashville with a range of creative brews. "Ultimately, we recognize that each beer drinker is unique," remarks Bearded Iris' Chandra Grubbs. "We hope that our beers meet our drinkers where they are and deliver the experience they seek. 'Cultivate variety,' is our driving philosophy behind not only the beers we produce but in regard to our interaction with the Nashville community. It can sometimes appear that we don't offer much variety when our draft list skews almost exclusively toward fruit-and-juice-forward IPAs and double IPAs, but what we're chasing is subtle and nuanced hop layering. That being said, we also like to introduce new styles to our repertoire, and we've been having fun with oatmeal stouts and barrel offerings lately."
|Photo by Anna Togrye|
Black Abbey Brewing
Named after the monastery where Martin Luther wrote his 95 Theses, Black Abbey Brewing houses a "Fellowship Hall" taproom designed to feel like part of a monastery. In today's creative and somewhat outrageous craft beer culture, Black Abbey takes pride in producing mostly Belgian-influenced beers that are flavorful, yet balanced and approachable. Taproom visitors can choose from a range of brews such as The Rose Blonde Ale, The Special Dubbel, The Champion American Pale Ale, The Five Points IPA, Chronicles Oktoberfest and Krampus Nacht Bock.
|The Black Abbey brew crew.|
Photo by Carl E. Meier
Corsair Distillery & Beer Lab
The foundation of Corsair's creative and diverse beer range focuses primarily on barrel-aging, ancient beer recipes, high gravity brewing, and the exploration of alternative grains. "Our goal has always been to do what others are not doing or haven't done, so fitting in has never really been our style," explains Corsair's Chris Thomas. "We've been brewing high gravity beers since our inception, due to our distilling license that allows this practice. Considering high gravity laws have just recently changed for breweries here in Nashville, we are a few years ahead of the trend. An interesting fact is that we brew on a one-barrel system. What most larger breweries use for research and development, we use for all of our production. This means that our beer is only available in our taproom."
Ken Rebman, founder and brewer of Czann's, started homebrewing in 1997, got involved with the local Music City Homebrewers club and worked diligently at creating and refining beer recipes. When his day job got in the way of homebrewing, Rebman decided to follow the advice of thirsty friends and opened a commercial brewery. Rebman explains, "We place an emphasis on brewing flavorful beers for the brewery's taproom and local wholesale accounts. Czann's was founded with support and encouragement from local homebrewers, friends and businesses. We like to say that Czann's is a Nashville brewery, not just a brewery that got started in Nashville."
East Nashville Beer Works
Opened in 2016 by Anthony Davis and Sean Jewett, the focus of East Nashville Beer Works revolves around its community taproom located in the thriving neighborhood of East Nashville. Our goals were to create a unique space with great beer in a multitude of styles and serve as welcoming hosts," notes Anthony Davis. "Our taproom became the community gathering space we dreamed of, with a full food menu and inviting outdoor space with a beautiful beer garden and family-friendly vibe. Our motto is 'Beer is Community.' We make a fantastic blonde ale, American wheat, killer IPA and a big range of other interesting ales, and we are doing our first true barrel-aging this year."
Jackalope's popular craft beers create connections with the local Nashville community to bring a diverse group of people together in its taproom for conversation and camaraderie. Jackalope's Bailey Spaulding notes, "Folks have come to know us as a brewery with balanced, year-round brews as well as creative seasonals, and our local consumers know us as a brewery that likes to have fun and be involved in the community. Walker Hayes, a Nashville musician, even wrote a song about Jackalope."
|The jolly staff of Jackalope Brewing.|
Photo by Bailey Spaulding
Southern Grist Brewing Company
Kevin Antoon and his two brewery co-founders met years ago at a tech company where their boss taught them how to brew. In two years time, the guys resigned to open Southern Grist, and their former boss ranks as one of the brewery's best friends and biggest supporters. "Southern Grist is all about creativity with our recipes and branding," Antoon points out. "Our daily focus is on experimentation - what's working and what's not working, based on feedback, and what our next creative brew will be. This helps us appeal to all palates. Everyone has their own niche in the Nashville craft beer market, and by no means do we think it's overcrowded. Our goal is to simply put out the best products possible and have constant tap rotation in our East Nashville location and our new Nations spot. We don't distribute, because we don't want our beer everywhere. We want people to come to a great environment and learn about the beers from our founders and staff."
TailGate brewed 174 different beer brands last year, with the entire brewery team coming up with quirky recipes and names that pay homage to Nashville culture and landmarks such as Woo Girl, Pedal Tavern, That Roller Coaster Thing, Naked Statue and Look at These Sticks. Brewmaster/owner Wesley Keegan believes in adding to the Nashville community by doing his own thing. "Variety is exactly what craft beer is all about," he says. "When we started 11 years ago, taprooms weren't common, but now they're critical. We developed our taproom to connect with our guests, and made a point to open seven days a week. We also incorporated a restaurant with pizzas, sandwiches, salads and appetizers. Our taprooms are family-friendly, and our events are always free."
|Wesley Keegan, owner & brewmaster of TailGate Brewery.|
Photo by Ryan Bruchey
Tennessee Brew Works
By incorporating Tennessee agricultural products whenever possible and minimizing waste, Tennessee Brew Works makes environmental responsibility a major priority. Another goal is to create impressive craft beers that are truly a part of Tennessee through ingredients, branding and even the taproom décor and music, which comes together as a celebration of Tennessee culture.
Tennessee Brew Works' Christian Spears states, "We were the first brewery in North America to utilize the Meura Micro Mash Filter to create our brews and foster a greener brewing process. We extract almost 100% of the sugars from our malt and utilize a centrifuge which dramatically improves recovery of beer from the fermenter, increasing overall batch yields."
Yazoo Brewing Company
Yazoo Brewing Company
Nashville locals consider Yazoo's Linus Hall as one of the pioneering godfathers of the city's rapidly expanding craft beer scene. Hall also acts as an activist within the Tennessee Craft Brewers Guild, making positive legal changes that benefit the state's craft breweries.
Hall adds, "Back in 2003 in Nashville, local beer was a novelty, something you got if you went to a brewpub. Nowadays, it's still our goal to make accessible, sessionable beers and get them into as many hands as possible. While our mainstay beers have served us well for fifteen years, we are also pushing boundaries with our seasonals and our Embrace the Funk series. Yazoo even brewed the first legal high-alcohol beer in Tennessee since Prohibition - our SUE Imperial Smoked Porter. We had to get a Tennessee distillery license to do it!"
But Wait, There's More
Time permitting, also check out the long-running Rock Bottom brewpub in the heart of touristy downtown. The perennial Blackstone Brewing closed its iconic brewpub but now brews at a production facility on Clifton Avenue. Honky Tonk Brewing offers an entertaining taproom on Cumberland Bend north of downtown, and Smith & Lentz Brewing's tasting room is open seven days a week in East Nashville. Fat Bottom Brewery's new location in The Nations area offers an extensive range of beer styles, while New Heights is open less than a mile from downtown and pours beers and specialty ciders. Finally, head just north of downtown to Little Harpeth Brewing for a taste of corny Chicken Scratch Lager and other eclectic house brews.
Sunday, April 8, 2018
Here's the amazing list of cask ales coming to the Classic City Brew Fest on Sunday, April 15, 2018 in Athens, GA. www.BrewFest.net
- Akademia Brewing Company aged its 13% ABV imperial stout base, Paraskevidekatriaphobia, with cocoa nibs, smoked chipotle peppers and palo santo wood to create this distinctive firkin.
- Wet your whistle with this English tradition. Maris Otter malt and spicy East Kent Golding hops give this cask an appealing, malty backbone.
- is a multi-berry melomel featuring our own honey and blueberries from South Georgia. This cask includes split Madagascar bourbon vanilla beans and a stave of toasted American oak. Wassail!
- This special cask includes additions of peanut butter powder and cacao nibs to enhance our popular Chocolate Oatmeal Porter. 6% ABV.
- is a complex, bready, wheat ale brewed with beets and bergamot. Notes of cereal and pungent, spicy bergamot meld with complexity and color from the beets, creating a deeply mesmerizing ale.
- is an "orange creamsicle" take on our extremely popular Blood Orange IPA we call The Didjits. This special cask hits 7% ABV and includes additions of orange, lactose and vanilla.
- is our 7.5% ABV barrel-aged sour red ale that was dry-hopped with Mosaic and Amarillo for a luscious tartness balanced by spicy, fruity hop notes.
- . This 10% ABV, bourbon barrel-aged, Russian-style imperial stout was housed in Buffalo Trace barrels with toasted coconut, coffee and vanilla beans.
- is our take on a dill pickle gose. Spiced with dill and coriander, this gose is tart and briny, which works nicely with the pickling spices. If you're a fan of pickle juice, this beer is for you!
- is our seasonal double IPA with rich, mouth-watering malt notes enhanced by a juicy hop profile. This cask was dry-hopped with Strata. 8% ABV.
- is a cryo-hopped IPA brewed with blue agave and then mix-fermented with our house strains of Brettanomyces andSaccaromyces.
- is a 6.3% ABV, refreshing American wheat ale with subtle hop bitterness and a tart, crisp, dry finish and beautiful pomegranate notes.
- sour peach IPA with lactose. This brunch-style IPA is lightly kettle-soured and then fermented on a heavy dose of peaches. A solid addition of lactose rounds out this delicious ale from Dry County Brewing in Kennesaw, GA.
- is our signature IPA with fresh strawberries. This cask's fruity notes from the berries beautifully enhances the IPA's tropical, piney hops.
- . Fermented with blood oranges and double dry-hopped with Amarillo, Galaxy and Mosaic, this orange blossom mead cask also includes a tad of honey for priming, zest from an orange, juice from oranges, and vanilla beans.
- - Our take on an Irish Coffee, this bolstered "dry Irish" milk stout was brewed on St. Patrick's Day weekend with Irish whiskey-soaked charred oak chips, chocolate, vanilla beans and coffee. ABV: 6.5%.
- is our beautifully balanced West Coast-style IPA with extra hop additions of Galaxy and Denali in the cask.
- - A dark, deep ruby red stout with aromas of roasted malt and a hint of licorice. Mellow sweetness and a malty fruitiness are followed by a smooth, dry finish. Sublime Stout gets hopped four times, including dry-hopping in the cask.
- is 7.1% ABV with Citra and Cascade hops backed by aromas of apricot and peach. Flavors of tropical and stone fruits lead to a pleasant, bittersweet finish. Superior IPA is generously hopped at four points of the brewing process, including dry-hopping in the cask.
- ranks as a rich, roasty, strong black ale with impressive mouthfeel and body. This version is brewed with coffee, cocoa nibs and coconut.
- is our crushable, 5% ABV, dry-hopped pale ale with a light malt complexity and elegant hop aroma, flavor and smooth bitterness.
- with Amarillo and Juniper. AVL IPA is the updated version of Highland IPA with aromas of pineapple, mango and grapefruit along with a dry, resiny finish. AVL IPA is a refreshing take on the traditional West Coast IPA.
- is an 11.3% ABV ale offering notes of alcohol warmth, intricate fruity esters and malt complexity. Remarkably light in body for its strength, the beer also boasts flavors of tropical fruit and banana.
- is our popular Crucible bourbon barrel-aged stout with hibiscus, ancho chili and cloves added to this cask, creating layers of additional flavors that include fruit, smoke and spice.
- . This special cask of oaky, vanilla Southern Pecan contains habanero peppers and cocoa nibs for an added layer of vigor.
- . Like a fighting chicken, this dirty bird version of our Bridge to Nowhere IPA will knock your taste buds out of the roost with Columbus hops and the heat of Sriracha and jalapeños - all while simultaneously sheltering you under her wing with a rebound of voluptuous passion fruit juice.
- . For a tropical twist on our North Carolina exclusive double IPA, this cask has been dry-hopped with Idaho-7, creating a citrus and pine-forward profile with subtle notes of tropical fruit and tea. 8.5% ABV, 85 IBUs.
- is hop-bursted with Citra, Galaxy, Mosaic, El Dorado and Azacca in the kettle, then dry-hopped three times in the fermenter with the same blend. This special cask also contains Citra and Mosaic Cryo Hops.
- is a version of our Han Brolo hazy pale ale with Simcoe, Mosaic and Mandarina Bavaria hops. Additions of toasted coconut, vanilla, lactose, pineapple, Mandarin oranges and strawberries create amazing flavors in this 4.7% ABV ale.
- is a 6% ABV robust porter with rich notes of dark chocolate and coffee. This special cask is spiked with secondary additions of cocoa and orange zest.
- is dry-hopped with experimental hop HBC 438 from Washington state’s Hop Breeding Company. The hop is described as having tropical fruit, pineapple, lime, cedar and coconut aromas and flavors.
- . Our Midnight Rider Robust Porter was aged on three types of chili peppers (ancho, pasilla and guajillo), Madagascar vanilla beans, cocoa and Vietnamese cinnamon. Layers of flavors come together in a beer that would even make the Devil smile.
- is a hazy IPA with 40 IBUs and 7.1% ABV that was initially double dry-hopped with Enigma, Idaho 7, Citra and Amarillo. This cask was then dry-hopped with an impressive amount of whole leaf Idaho 7.
- is an imperial carrot cake coffee milk stout. Creamy carrot cake and frosting notes sweeten the rich creamed coffee character. The ABV sits about 8.7%, and no bunnies were harmed in the making of this beer.
- (Max Lager's collaboration). Brewed with a modified parti-gyle method, this beer was fermented in oak barrels in an homage to the British Burton Union system. Bright esters and soft oak notes provide a balance with the caramel and biscuit character. For an American twist, this 5.8% ABV ale was finished with Cascade hops in the whirlpool and cask.
- . Brewed with loads of Citra, Amarillo and Idaho 7 hops, this hazy, juicy IPA includes additions of vanilla beans and lactose, creating an extremely creamy mouthfeel that will leave you begging for more.
- is a 7.2% ABV, double dry-hopped American IPA with flavorful malt notes reminiscent of bread crust - all balanced by a burst of spicy, resiny hops.
- with peach, pineapple, mandarin oranges, blueberries and lactose. This awesome cask was dry-hopped with Mosaic, Galaxy and Vic Secret. 7% ABV.
- - This magical concoction will light the way in any dungeon. This triple dry-hopped hazy IPA with a touch of red chilies provides a mouthful of spicy hop flavor backed by subtle warmth from the peppers.
- Our Rally Point Pilsner, a Bohemian-style lager, was "dry-hopped" with Tropical White Tea, providing exotic fruit flavors backed by elegant, floral hops. 4.6% ABV.
- This Good Word / Lincoln Fill Station collaboration is a Mexican-style cerveza with Himalayan sea salt and Spanish limes. Ay, caramba!
- is a 6% ABV American Brown ale/porter hybrid. "She comes from a town where they call her the woodcutter's daughter. She's brown as the bank where she kneels down to gather her water, and she bears it away with a love that the river has taught her." --"Let It Grow" by the Grateful Dead.
- - A collaboration ale done with Classic City Brew Fest founder/director Owen Ogletree, this tasty take on Warpig double IPA offers a New Zealand twist of kiwi fruit and Motueka hops from the "Land of the Long White Cloud." Made in honor of our New Zealand buddy John Sukroo.
- . Real strawberries, peaches and lactose sugar combine with our sour Berliner ale, creating this perfect "fruit smoothie" of a beer.
- This warming, malty, hoppy brew is made from our Crowd Control Double India Pale Ale with added peach rings.
- . Tropical fruit and ripe citrus aromas and flavors are balanced with a medium bitterness and a touch of malt character. 7% ABV.
- . Cambium is our light golden sour base at the Woodlands barrel facility, and this cask was created with added Colombian mango for deeper depths of fruity complexity.
- is a traditional dry Irish stout on cask – jet black in color with a persistent khaki foam cap. Defined by its deep roasted malt character, it comes across as full in flavor but light in body. ABV: 4.1%, IBUs: 35.
- . Cumulus Lupulus got a little extra hop accumulation with additions of the grungiest hops added directly to this cask. Clocking in at 9.5% ABV and 85 IBUs, this brew makes it rain with Citra, Galaxy, Amarillo and Mosaic hops.
- is a milk stout with notes of roasty sweetness enhanced by additions of chocolate, cherries, hazelnut and coffee. ABV: 8%.
- . Behold the hoppiest beer we brew all year! This hazy IPA was dry-hopped during fermentation with Citra, Mosaic and Ella. While filling this cask, we added another dry-hop of Galaxy for good measure.
- . This 6.6% ABV dark ale forms an ode to the old-style English porters of yesteryear. Light roasted coffee aromas from brown malt and pretzel crust flavors from specialty malts are upfront, leading to a caramel finish and a smooth mouthfeel from oats.
- . We took our home state inspired peach cider and added fresh habaneros… just in case anyone wanted to feel the Georgia heat a few months early.
- is brewed with pink Himalayan salt, coriander, raspberry puree and fresh lemon zest. Expect clean acidity with multiple layers of complexity from the fruit and spices.
- is a sour red ale aged with blackberries and dates in red wine barrels for 12 months. Barrels were then blended to create depth, complexity and balance. This Flanders-inspired sour ale went straight from the barrel into the cask and was primed with date sugar.
- - A cryo hop IPA that's been dry-hopped in the cask with Loral cryo powder, providing a rich, spicy, resiny hop explosion on the palate. 6% ABV, 5 IBUs.
- dry-hopped with New Zealand Pacifica hops. English Bitter is often overlooked in modern craft beer circles, so we decided to brew one of these quintessential session beers. Look for a light amber color, caramel/toasty malt notes, esters reminiscent of orchard fruit and a firm hop bitterness. 3.9% ABV, 35 IBUs.