"Baptized in the Funk" was the fourth annual sour festival that Salud Beer Shop hosted in conjunction with some brewery favorites such as Fonta Flora (Morganton, NC) and Free Range Brewing (Charlotte, NC). The Neighborhood Theatre (just around the corner from Salud) in NoDa is transformed into a beer tasting emporium during this four hour festival. There is an upper level (included Fud at Salud) and a lower level that saw over 40 vendors represented. Included in your $70 price tag was a stem tasting glass with the "Baptized in the Funk" art and a great time with friends!
Some of my personal highlights included Wicked Weed unveiling Red Atrial (a collaboration with Jester King), Fonta Flora pouring 2016 Jitterbug, Still (heavily blackberry fruited sour) and Ramatazz Remix (volume 1 & 2 mixed), also fan favorites Greenman poured Bootsy, Snozzberry and Maceo. Alongside of these were local, as well as, international offerings from renown breweries such as Gueuzerie Tilquin, The Libertine Brewing Company, Jester King, Carolina Brauerhaus Ales, Casa Agria, Newgrass, Lenny Boy, and Heist are just to name a few.
As tradition would have it, the festival ended with Jason (owner of Salud) opening a case of Brasserie Cantillon at the location where Fonta Flora was set up. Some of the loons that were popped included Fou' Foune, Iris, Grand Cru, and Kriek. What a great tradition and ever better way to say, "Thank You" to all who came out! Well, another Funk Fest in the books and a superb afternoon in NoDa. Until next year, Salud!!
Next up: Cellar Clearing 101
My text read, "What are you doing Tuesday?" "I am opening up the Maple Bourbon Mexican Cake!"
Fernandez had me at, "Maple Bourbon!" Is this beer a 'white whale'? I am not sure how others feel after tasting it, but I think is does fall into that category. Most of the people who came to the share had a bottle in their cellars, but none were ready to open theirs just yet. The hype of this beer grew due to Westbrook not tapping their kegs of it on the release day, meaning if anybody wanted to try it, they had to open somebody's personal bottle (which was limit one per person).
It was the best beer I have ever had! The sweetness of the maple was very present in the beginning followed by the infamous heat from the peppers as you finished each sip. Just pure tastiness!!
As should be at any share, like caliber brews should be brought if you know there is going to be a main event. This share was no different, great beer after great beer showed up as we put "work in" on a Tuesday night at Good Bottle Shop. Below are just some of the beers that were shared on this evening. Thanks to all the guys who came out!!
Next up: Baptized in the Funk: Release the Funk Sour Beer Festival
My journey began at 6:30 am on my way to Olde Hickory Brewery for their Event Horizon Spectrum Series release. I quickly realized I was underdressed with flip-flops and 38 degrees with a slight breeze! My cure, 2015 Bourbon County Bourbon Stout.......my toes are still freezing! What was I in search of?
Olde Hickory took their flagship beer, Event Horizon (Imperial stout brewed with honey aged in bourbon barrels) and added adjuncts to them to create the Spectrum Series. Here are the four beers included in this series: Spectrum #1 - coffee and cinnamon; Spectrum #2 - orange and cocoa; Spectrum #3 - vanilla and coconut; Spectrum #4 - coffee and chocolate. I really enjoyed the series with Spectrum #3 being my favorite right now. I believe that a little age will only make these beers better! Off to lunch and a birthday party in Morganton, NC!
Happy Birthday Todd and Fonta Flora! What better way to celebrate their birthday than with a glass of fresh Rhythm Rug! Tickets went on sale for this release November 2nd and 3rd and sold out both days in less than 3 minutes! What a testament to the great things Fonta Flora is brewing. After getting my bottles secured in the car, it was time to fellowship with great friends, make new friends and celebrate! Oh yea, all while drinking some great brews. Here are a few pictures of the activities at the party:
As you can see, it was a great time. Last, on my way back home I was vividly made aware of what was close to the hearts of so many in that area, the wild fires that has burned through so many acres of forest in the NC mountains. Fonta Flora is less than 10 miles from where these flames are still burning and consuming beautiful mountain ranges. My thoughts and prayers go out to all those involved in that fight and to those that have lost land, homes or other valuables due to this event.
Saturday, November 5th, 2016 was my first Barrel-Aged Mexican Cake release event experience. I meet up with two buddies at 7:30 that morning to make the trek down to Mount Pleasant, SC where the brewery and the release was taking place. I felt like a college kid going on my first spring break trip! As expected, the majority of the conversation on the way down was centered around craft beer and our expectations for today's event. It was all of our first time attending the release.
We arrived at the brewery around 10:30 and started meeting up with other fellow craft beer enthusiasts from the Charlotte, NC region.
The event didn't technically start until 11:00, so we congregated to where we thought the line would begin for pours and bottle pick-up. Promptly at 11:00, individuals where allowed to pick up their bottle allotments. Unfortunately, drafts were not ready at the same time. Approximately around 11:30, an announcement was made by one of the owners that this event was officially started! To start we got in line at the outside pouring table to get round one: 2015 Bourbon Barrel-Aged Mexican Coconut Cake and 2016 Tequila Barrel-Aged Mexican Cake. Underwhelmed that the Coconut had really fallen off within a year and the Tequila was ever so present! Round two included: 2014 Mexican Cake and more Tequila Barrel-Aged Mexican Cake.
After getting round two, the tap room was opening up, time to get in another line! Once inside, we decided to divide and conquer and each get something different off the menu. Here is what made it's way to the table: Imperial Mexican Biscotti Cake, 2015 Cognac Barrel-Aged Mexican Cake, Mr. Chipper and Copy Paste. Also, somehow while waiting in line it was decided to purchase a 2015 Pappy Barrel-Aged Mexican Cake and 2015 Chocolate Bourbon Barrel-Aged Mexican Cake! New problem at our table.....all of the glasses look the same! Which is which? Post-it notes are a must next year!
As the day grew long, our conversation was centered around when we thought the Maple Bourbon Mexican Cake would be put on draft. The real showcase of this year's batch and we couldn't wait to try it, hopefully. We all know what idle hands do........they buy a bottle of 2013 Apple Brandy Barrel-Aged Mexican Cake followed by a 2013 Red Wine Barrel-Aged Mexican Cake! These were the highlights of the day, especially since Maple Bourbon never showed its face!
Overall, this was an experience that I will look forward to each year. Not so much attempting to get a ticket for bottles, but coming down for all the cake is well worth it. I did get to have my cake and drink it too!
I just received my first shipment from the Brewpublik Buyer's Club this past Saturday. Included in my shipment were the following three beers: Selassie (imperial stout with Ethiopian coffee and vanilla beans) from Omnipollo, Michigan Maple Jesus (imperial stout aged in maple syrup bourbon barrels) from Evil Twin and Metatropics (farmhouse ale with pineapple, passionfruit, mango and grapefruit) from Wicked Weed & Trois Dame. A great first delivery without having to leave my house!
How does the buyer's club operate? Once you have signed up and created your beer profile, you will start to receive emails about beers that are available for you to reserve. The emails average to approximately 1 per day. These emails range from beers that have just been delivered to the Brewpublik warehouse, beers arriving within the week or 'soft release' beers. Soft release beers are highly sought after beers that Brewpublik will be receiving, but they are not sure the quantity they will finally end up with. So, they do a 'soft release' allowing you to reserve a pre-determined number of that particular beer with hopes they receive enough to fulfill your request, as well as, everyone else's. The above mentioned beers were the three I requested and was fortunate to be able to get all three!
Once you receive an email of a beer that you would like, you simply just reply to that email stating the quantity of that beer you hope to receive. If you do not want a particular beer, simply do not reply to the email. It's that simple! Once you reach a certain amount beer in the warehouse, Brewpublik will contact you about a delivery so you can start to enjoy your newly acquired brews. Usually deliveries are Thursday through Saturday and someone over the age of 21 must be available to sign for the beer. Brewpublik will also deliver to your business if that fits your schedule better. As you can see, this is a win-win situation that results in great beer being delivered to your doorstep!
Join the buyer's club today! Here is the information:
Instagram @brewpublik and @bp_reserve
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?