This Tuesday's travels took me to the NoDa area of Charlotte. A very eclectic side of town that has been and still is up and coming with new businesses and events moving into the area daily. This trend is only going to continue as the light rail is nearing completion to this side of town.
My first stop was NoDa Brewery to try some of their 5th year anniversary ales that have been getting released this week. Monstro (Russian Imperial Stout) was on draft, as well as, they still have cans available! A solid RIP in a cool can in my opinion. I quickly followed this with that day's release, Captain Peanut Butter's Chocolate Revenge. I was really hoping for a chocolate-peanut butter bomb, but was let down. Next included Monday's release, NoDaRyeZ'd (Double Rye IPA) and finally a taste of the 2014 Monstro. Overall, it was a great place to start my Tuesday travels. Off to Heist Brewery for the infamous Strawberry Saison!
Second stop landed me at Heist Brewery where normally I would be seeking out one of their delicious IPA's, but this venture has me wanting to try the Strawberry Saison De Un (strawberry sour saison aged in red wine barrels). One buddy in my inner beer circle referred to this as the brother of Rhythm Rug (Fonta Flora). That was a bold statement! I had to find out for myself if this was true. Verdict? It lives up to the hype!! What a beautiful fruited rustic farmhouse saison.
My landing spot for the night took me up the street to "The Shop" as referred to by the regulars, Salud Beer Shop. Draft to get me settled in, Metatropics (collaboraton between Wicked Weed and Brasserie Trois Dames). It's a great representation of a tropical fruit wild ale. As my buddies started arriving I ordered some food as I knew I was going to need it! The Hugo should do the trick, a Belgian waffle sandwich with homemade peanut butter, honey, bananas and bacon! As my food was being prepared, several other bottles began to be popped. It's going to be a great evening!! Salud!
Tuesday, I nestled up to a local watering hole, Good Bottle Co. for several different pours. The first and reason I dropped in was a Terrapin (Athens, GA) Wake-n-Bake oatmeal stout that was aged in a Bourbon filled Red Wine barrels. This was still on tap from the "Good Breakfast/Happy Birthday" event this past Saturday morning (along with AleSmith Vietnamese Coffee Speedway Stout). Back to the Terrapin brew, I could taste a lot of the bourbon up front with the red wine coming through as it moved towards the back of my mouth. Overall an excellent variation to a solid style.
I followed up the 9.4% Terrapin with Plumage from Fonta Flora (Morganton, NC). I had tasted this earlier this week, but wasn't able to get a full pour, so I went back in for more! Plumage is an Appalachian style Sahti with juniper branches. Super tart with a perfect balance of the juniper breaking through with each sip. Once again, Fonta Flora is killing it with their foraging beers!
Often while at local bottle shops various bottles get popped. Sometimes this is an organized bottle share or it could be random and you stumble into a great beer you normally wouldn't get to try. So, always put some bottles in your pack just in case you happen across a bottle share, this way you can bring something to the table. Today a friend of mine was partaking in a bottle share later that evening. He was generous enough to open a bottle with me. Persica Wild Wild Brett (aged in oak barrels with peaches) by Crooked Stave was the gem I was fortunate enough to try. This was my first rare release by Crooked Stave and it was not a disappointment. The peaches were very prominent throughout and the tartness was spot on! Thanks Fernandez! Other notable pours I had while at Good Bottle Co. were Splish (DIPA) by Grimm Artisanal Ales, Ammunition Horchata Dark Ale by Burial Beer Co., and Night Owl Pumpkin Ale by Elysian Brewing Co.
Saturday, October 15, I competed in the first of six regular season beer tasting competitions. The first competition style was Pumpkin. I didn't have many options to choose from, actually, I only drafted one brewery that made a pumpkin style beer. As I was drafting breweries (August 21), I realized going into the fourth round that I did not have a brewery that produced a beer in the pumpkin style, so looking at what was still available to draft, I selected Blue Mountain Brewery, out of Afton, Virginia.
Spooky (an imperial pumpkin ale with natural chocolate flavor from cocoa nibs and then put in bourbon barrels for a few months) was my entry for the competition. This was a blind entry for me, meaning this was a beer I had never tasted prior to the competition. Was I expecting to win? No, but I was hoping for a decent showing and by decent, I mean not last place. The result was fourth place while also winning my head-to-head competition, a feat that landed me two more points for my overall score!!! I walked away with 4 total points out of a possible 7 points. This was good enough to get me tied for third place overall!
My next competition style is Christmas/Winter Warmers. What do you suggest I play from the breweries I drafted?
Fonta Flora, Alpine, Olde Hickory, Blue Mountain, Captain Lawrence, Holy Mountain.
I really only see two options, Olde Hickory or Blue Mountain. Your thoughts?