Monday, October 31, 2016

Owen Ogletree Discusses Oktoberfest on Beer Guys Radio

CLICK HERE to listen to's Oktoberfest show with John “JR” Roberts and Owen Ogletree – Episode 41.

Hear Owen's interviews from the Hofbrau tent on the opening day of Munich's Oktoberfest 2016 - the world's largest and most famous beer festival.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

A Beer & Cheese Collision

Owen Ogletree, Ashton Smith, The Beer Wench, Ian Meents and Thel Melton gathered on October 2 to evaluate and score six beer and cheese pairings. Comments and scoring focused specifically on how well each beer and cheese worked together on the palate. 

Slice & Pint The Greatest Decision You'll Ever Make - Calvados Barrel-aged Trippel
Cowgirl Creamery Red Hawk Brie

Pairing Notes:
The funky brie blends magnificently with the apple, spice and fruit notes of the tripel; a gorgeous pairing; the calvados barrel note is elegant with the complex cheese; both the beer and cheese are amazing; the rind of the brie really adds to the beauty of the pairing; the sweet tripel and rich cheese are perfect together; there's a slight funk in the cheese that goes beautifully with the malty, sweet complexity of the beer.

Overall Pairing Score (1-10): 9.6 - FIRST PLACE


Gate City Gourd Vibrations Chocolate Pumpkin Porter

Beehive Cheese Co. Barely Buzzed Espresso/Lavender Rubbed

Pairing Notes:
Coffee notes work well with the cheese; lavender gives the beer added herbal complexity; dark malt is pleasant with espresso and herbs; pumpkin notes work well with the herbal, coffee quality of the cheese; lots of spice flavors blend beautifully; pumpkin, chocolate and pie spices are a fantastic marriage; the cheese brings out the chocolate nuances of the beer.

Overall Pairing Score (1-10): 7.9 - SECOND PLACE

Het Anker Gouden Carolus Classic
Gruyere AOP

Pairing Notes:
Both cheese and beer are sweet and nutty, but the powerful beer overwhelms the gruyere somewhat; a very pleasant combination overall; nutty cheese flavor is complemented by the strong, sweet, alcoholic flavor of the beer; a delicious pairing, with the beer being a bit too boozy and sweet for the cheese; a similar beer with less malt richness would be perfect for this cheese.

Overall Pairing Score (1-10): 7.8 - THIRD PLACE


Wild Heaven White Blackbird Saison with pink peppercorns & Asian pears
Vermont Creamery Herb Chevre

Pairing Notes:
Herbs blend interestingly with pear and pepper notes; like a fine Chenin Blanc wine paired with the tartness of a chevre; the spicy notes of the beer are appealing alongside the herbs of the cheese; the cheese seems to influence the flavors of the beer, but not the other way around; herbs may overpower the beer a little; the pear and peppercorn pair well with the complexity of the cheese.

Overall Pairing Score (1-10): 7.0


Game of Thrones Seven Kingdoms Hoppy Wheat Ale
Bucheron Aged French Goat Cheese

Pairing Notes:
Hops cover the cheese a bit; somewhat of a clash; both the beer and cheese are delicious, but hops overpower; beer was also a little malty for the cheese; sharpness of the goat cheese does complement the hoppy wheat ale.

Overall Pairing Score (1-10): 5.0


Cantillon Gueuze 100% Lambic Bio 

Rothkase Buttermilk Gorgonzola

Pairing Notes:
Both are acidic, funky and sharp; fantastic complement; tartness of beer cuts through the complex cheese; the beer might be too complex for the cheese; the lambic cleans the funk from the cheese on the palate and finishes with a pleasant tartness; these are two funky, strong flavors that work well together.

Overall Pairing Score (1-10): 6.8

Monday, October 24, 2016

Beer Styles Best-of-Show Tasting Results

Owen Ogletree picked ten craft beers from around the Southeast - each representing a different BJCP style - and worked with craft beer enthusiasts Ashton Smith, Ian Meents, Thel Melton and The Beer Wench to conduct a totally blind "best of show" tasting and ranking.

Comments are based on how well each beer represented its BJCP style description.

Here are the results...

FIRST PLACE - Best of Show
Sunshine State Pils
Florida Beer Company
German-style Pils

- Sweet; smooth; nice pils malt; good hop flavor for style; clean, light bread crust note; slight cereal grain note in the finish; wonderful example of the style.

Last Place Stout
Blue Tarp Brewing
Imperial Stout

- Port wine nose with raisins, rum and espresso hints; mild dark tan head; boozy; notes of dates, prunes and figs; rich malt sweetness and dark malt complexity; sweet cocoa and latte notes; spicy, cinnamon character with dark fruit complexity and roasted malt depth; burnt bread crust; ends moderately sweet and satisfying.

Lyric Ale
Orpheus Brewing

- Dark gold; hazy; gorgeous white foam; cloves; sweet spice; slight pepper; fruit; nice hop note; pears and lemon juice hint; wheat cereal nuance; mild acidity; pleasant dry finish; light clove phenol touch with white pepper undertone.

Gaelic Ale
Highland Brewing Company
Strong Bitter

- Light aroma of caramel malt; hints of toffee; pleasant fruity esters; biscuit note; melon hint; sweet malt nuance; good balance of malt and hops; hops are there for support to the malt; a delightful hop presence at the end.

Pale Ale
Eventide Brewing
American Pale Ale

- Deep gold with a nice, light hop aroma; good balance; slight tannin astringency in the finish; overall a tasty APA with elegant, mild hops and a lingering dry bitterness in the finish; hops seem piney, resiny and slightly citrus-like and floral.

Truck Stop Honey Brown Ale
Back Forty Beer Company
Specialty British-style Brown Ale with wildflower honey

- Mild honey, caramel and roasted nut aromas; like a slightly sweet UK mild ale; toasted bread; scone-like; honey comes through and dominates the brown ale character a bit; clean and light in flavor; light honey is the star of this show.

Emergency Drinking Beer
Wild Heaven Craft Beers
Specialty Gose with sea salt, citrus and additional hops

- Clear in appearance with light, bright, gold color; great carbonation; big stand of foam; aromas of minerals, citrus, slight spice and acid; only mildly sour with a subtle lactic note; there is a touch of sweet malt; refreshing, with just a hint of acid on the sides of the tongue; lemon, orange and tangerine hints; mild salt; slight spiciness from hops; an interesting ale.

Big Easy IPA
Abita Brewing Company
Specialty Session IPA with lemon peel

- Dark gold in color with clear, white foam; hoppy, lemon, fruity nose with flavors of tannin-like citrus zest; mouthfeel and body are light and good for style; more lemon presence than hops; dry finish; lightly fruity; well balanced with light malt; hops seem restrained; mild and clean; refreshing.

Reviver Red IPA
Starr Hill Brewery
Specialty IPA: Red IPA

- Dark red in hue; almost brown with tan foam; aromas of malt, browned biscuits, and sweet wort; herbal note; dark fruit; toffee note is apparent; light hop hint in the finish; moderately dry finish; might benefit from more aroma and flavoring hops.

Milk Stout
Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery
Sweet Stout

- Beautiful jet-black color with light tan foam; sweet roasted malt aromas; espresso with rich cream; smells sweeter than it tastes; comes across like a slightly sweet dry stout; body may be a touch light for style; mild fruity esters are pleasant; ends with a hint of hazelnut and toffee on the palate.

Brewtopia's Belgium Group Beer Tour - October 2016

The Best of Belgian Ales!

Owen Ogletree took a group of 22 beer writers, beer retailers, pub owners and beer enthusiasts on an epic tour of all corners of Belgium on October 9-15, 2016.

Spots visited included: De Cam, Beersel's Lambic Visitor's Center, 3 Fonteinen Restaurant, 3 Fonteinen Lambik-O-Droom, Brouwers Verzet, Hommelhof, Poperinge Hop Museum, Westvleteren Abbey, Orval, Brewery Interpol, Achouffe, Het Anker, Duvel, Westmalle, Brugge, Huisbrouwerij De Halve Maan, Cantillon, Lindeman's, Oud Beersel, and the many delightful beer pubs of Brussels.

Our next beer trip with available slots will take place in October of 2017 to Bavaria and Franconia, Germany. To see more information and register, CLICK HERE.

Video highlights of our October 2016 Belgian beer adventure:

Check out the full PHOTO ALBUM of our Brewtopia Belgian beer tour. Here are a few samples...

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Lincoln Fill Station in Belgium!

Tiny, Steph, Brad & Tara just returned from a beer tour in Belgium.

Summary by Tiny McClannan of Lincoln Fill Station
in Snellville, GA.


This amazing beer tour was booked through Brewtopia Events via Owen Ogletree.

We traveled through cities and country sides to find the origins of Lambic, Gueuze and Belgian Style Beers.

Our brewery visits included...

De Cam - Pure passion keeps this Lambic mixer driven.  Blending and aging De Cam was founded in 1997 by master brewer Willem van Herreweghen, and was later taken over by Karel Goddeau.  Karel brews for Brouwerij Slaghmuylder by day and blends lambic by nigh at De Cam 
Verzet - Joran Brewmaster at our very own Three Taverns got his start here.  There are only three Belgian brewers working in the U.S., and two of them are related. Joran Van Ginderachter follows in the footsteps of his uncle Peter Bouckaert, who today works at New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins.

Wesvleteren - a brewery founded in 1838 at the Trappis Abbey of Saint Sixtus.  The brewery's three beers have acquired an international reputation for taste and quality, Westvleteren 12 being considered by some to be the best beer in the world.  It doesn't hurt that the Monks are not brewing for commercial demands making the small quantites that are sold weekly coveted by locals and travelers from around the world, like us!   

Inter-Pol - This tiny, and I do mean tiny Brewery is owned and operated by Pol and his lovely wife who also have a charming Bed and Breakfast.  Most everyone, except me had to duck to enter this adorable brewery.  Every inch is covered with eye catching details and Pol is happy to tell you a story about every one!  

Het Anker - started brewing beer 5 generations ago in the Grand Beguinage of Mechelen. In the whisky distillery they are working on the Gouden Carolus Single Malt, which is the perfect combination between the family traditions of brewing and distilling. They also have a brasserie where we enjoyed lunch along with a tasting of their fantastic beers.
Duvel-Moortgat - These folks have been busy!  Moortgat brewery was founded in 1871.  In the early 1970s, when the company was struggling financially, Moortgat bottled and distributed the Danish beer, Tuborg.  In June 1999 they to set up massive distribution channels for their flagship beer, Duvel. 
Over the years they have aquired many of our most well known Belgian and American Belgian breweries, such as Ommegang, Brasserie d'Achouffe, DeKonick, Boulevard and Firestone Walker.

Stephanie and I both agreed that watching the bottling line was probably our favorite part of this tour.  Don't get me wrong our guide was fabulous but the OCD in all of us cannot help but be mesmerized by this massive line, cleaning recycled bottles, filling, labeling and crating this huge distribution.
Brewery Achouffe -  This is my happy place, gnomes, mushrooms, the valley of the fairies and amazing beers, yes please!   The entire tour whas gnomey goodness, just the cutest place.   In the late 1970s two brothers-in-law, Pierre Gobron and Chris Bauweraerts, decided to create their own beer, in their own brewery.  In the summer of 2006, the brewery's founders opted to entrust the fate of their beloved dwarves to the Duvel-Moortgat Brewery. The group is willing to invest in Achouffe and to develop the brewery's potential.  A must visit if you find your self in Belgium

De Halve Maan Brewery - The ‘Halve Maan’ (Half Moon) is an authentic and historic brewery in the center of Bruges. This brewery is a family business with a tradition stretching back through six generations to 1856.  You can totally tell, this brewery tour literally had me hanging on by my finger nails.  I am still overjoyed I managed not to fall down one of their extremely narrow and steep staircases winding throughout this ancient facility.  One of the highlights was a visit to their roof top where the cooling ship has open air to cool their beers overnight prior to barreling for fermentation. In 2016 a unique two-mile underground pipeline was built to connect the brewery in the city centre to its out-of-town bottling plant, just crazy, a beer pipeline.  They did mention locals were happy to help urging that everyone should have a personal tap along the route.

Cantillon - Need I say more?  This was certainly a highlight to our trip, all of us very much relishing the idea we would be standing in this brewery.  The brewery was founded in 1900 by Paul Cantillon, whose father was a brewer as well.   As of 2011, the owner is Jean-Pierre van Roy, fourth-generation brewer at Cantillon. Since its foundation the only major change has been a shift to organic ingredients in 1999.  Cantillon was one of more than one hundred operating breweries in Brussels  when founded, but the only one remaining through the 2000s.  Our tour guide was Cedric and he was by far the most energetic delightful and educated tour guide.  As we were on a very tight schedule Cedric manged to have us laughing and enthralled in the process of Cantillon's brewing, so much so that we returned the day after our official brewery tour ended to taste more!
Brouwerij 3 Fonteinen - Last but certainly not least on our tour.  The head of 3 Fonteinen, Armand Debelder, was our tour guide.  What an honor it was to have him guide us through their new facility. The founding of Drie Fonteinen dates back to 1883.  In 1961, Gaston Debelder, purchased the building and expanded their lambic blending business into the inn.  His two sons, Armand and Guido helped manage the Inn and Lambic blending.  Gaston eventually handed the business over to his two sons full-time in 1982. Armand became the head blender (and eventually brewer), while his brother Guido managed the Inn restaurant.  Listening to Armand talk about his triumphs and falters was amazing.  Such a passion for the culture of this beer and his family tradition.  I was very pleased this was our last stop and loved sharing a dusty bottle with him and our group!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Brewtopia's Italian Beer Trip Video

Here are video highlights of our Brewtopia group beer trip to Italy that took place in February of 2016. Owen Ogletree took 30 craft beer writers, pub owners, retail beer shop owners and craft beer lovers to Rome, Florence and Milan to discover the best beer pubs and breweries. 

CLICK HERE to find out how to join a future Brewtopia beer excursion! We organize a European beer trip each February and October.

Beer in the Bavarian Alps

By Owen Ogletree

Owen enjoys a liter of lager.
Munich ranks as a delightful beer city - filled with personable taverns, beer gardens and scrumptious Bavarian lagers and wheat beers, but to experience the true soul of Bavaria, rent a car at the Munich airport and venture south into the Alps. Along with the touristy Neuschwanstein Castle, southern Bavaria boasts breath-taking mountain views, terrific hiking and small breweries and brewpubs - all dripping with character, traditional German food and some of the world's best classic beer styles.

The small ski resort town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen makes the perfect central base for exploring the gorgeous Bavarian Alps by rental car, and the city houses some of the best beer halls and restaurants in the region.

Use my map below to navigate around the area and find the best beer spots. Photos follow that highlight a few of the outstanding destinations in the area. Prost!

Gasthof Drie Mohren offers a traditional pub with Paulaner
beers in the heart of Garmisch-Partenkirchen's old town.

Garmisch-Partenkirchen's Gasthof Fraundorfer is the place for
traditional food, music and Bavarian dancers in the evening.

Garmisch-Partenkirchen's delightful Braustuberl beer hall
serves the range of brews from Konig Ludwig.

Braugasthof Falkenstein in the rural Alps is a friendly brewpub with outstanding beers.

Braugasthof Falkenstein

On a German pub crawl, ask for a "schitt" - a small beer
in a large glass with foam. This allows for swirling, sniffing and moderation.

Don't miss walking around the grand Ettal Abbey and sampling the abbey
 beer and classic food across the street at the welcoming Ludwig der Bayer Bräustüberl.

Dachs Brau is a cozy, no-frills brewpub in the village of Weilheim in Oberbayern.

Gasthof  Olympiahaus in the old Olympic Village in Garmisch-Partenkirchen
serves the range of beers from Hacker-Pschorr.

Berggasthof Almhuette beer hall

On a rural hillside overlooking Garmisch-Partenkirchen sits the relaxing Berggasthof Almhuette
tavern with beers from the regional Mittenwalder brewery. Check out the hiking across the road.

Definitely make the trek to Oberstdorf to seek out the Dampfbierbrauerei that
makes rare house beers at warmer temperatures that showcase spicy, slightly fruity notes.

The small brewhouse at Dampfbierbrauerei in Oberstdorf. 

Oberstdorf is a wonderful walking village with inviting beer taverns and outdoor biergartens.