Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Hiatus is over.

It has been way too long since I've brewed but hopefully now that I am back in Charlotte that will change. I feel like I've been living in limbo waiting to move back and finish up my Master in Accounting program at UNC. Despite having the CPA exam to worry about, I should be able to brew more often and in a much more conducive environment.

I've got two beers that I'm going to brew this week and will post pictures as soon as they're in the carboys fermenting. One is a Nut Brown Ale and the other is Pumpkin Ale that I wanted to brew last fall but (obviously) am just getting around to now. I will still be brewing these recipes on the Brewmaster's Select two-stage brewing system I got as a gift two Christmases ago now from KKW's parents. My brother has been brewing on a 1-gallon system lately so that he can experiment with different ingredients but I'm going to start saving money for an all-grain system soon as we have both wanted to venture over from using extracts to grain.

Leaving Chapel Hill and the surrounding area was hard for a number of reasons--including being further away from a hot spot of homebrewers and craft beer enthusiasts. However, Charlotte is starting to make some serious noise in the beer industry and has a number of breweries opening in the next year or two. More beer related events and festivals are popping out throughout the city and are gaining widespread support from existing craft beer enthusiasts and "new converts" if you will. It's easy to see why North Carolina is the State of Southern Beer. God Bless the Old North State.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Dogfish Head Punkin Ale

I have been very busy with class, firm presentations and, now, job interviews. So, naturally I haven't managed to get a solid post in. I've thought of numerous things I wanted to blog about and have read countless other blogs about beer and homebrewing to get some ideas. I have a couple of ideas and changes I may be trying out with the blog over the next couple of weeks so bear with me.

I told KKW to take this picture so I don't feel bad stealing it from her blog.
Over Labor Day weekend I went with KKW and some of my friends to DC for the long weekend. Since KKW has already dedicated an entire blog post to DC (Our Nation's Capital) I will just mention that while we were there we had the opportunity to visit the Dogfish Head Alehouse in Arlington. If I could I would spend every day in a place such as this alehouse. As KKW mentions in her post, the food was amazing and obviously the beer was too. I had been looking forward to buying the Punkin Ale soon near here only to find out it wasn't (at the time of release anyways which happened to be my birthday) anywhere within 100 miles of Chapel Hill or Charlotte. Luckily, we found this Dogfish Head Alehouse right near our hotel. It was like a sign from God. I could have racked up a pretty hefty bar tab but tried to restrain myself despite being in beer heaven.

There are a number of homebrewing related things I've wanted to try recently, including growing my own hops. The problem is you need a lot of outdoor space unless you grow them in a container and use some pretty crafty tricks to make it work. To learn more about growing hops in containers, check out this blog post at How to Grow Hops on Trellis.   My apartment lacks a porch entirely and KKW's is fairly small and she has a dog in her house which makes it risky for the dog as hops are poisonous to dogs so that idea is gonna have to sit on the back burner.

I also want to get started brewing on an all-grain system but still lack the money to buy one and/or the knowledge to build one myself. However the itch do to an all-grain batch is getting to be too much so I'm going to have to find a solution sooner rather than later. 

If you have any experiences to share about Punkin Ale or other fall seasonal beers please comment on the post and let me know what they are!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Carolina Brewery and Tyler's Restaurant & Taproom

I have been fortunate to attend the greatest university in the world even though they did not initially want me here in Chapel Hill. I can already foresee quite a few future posts related to UNC in general, especially during basketball season when the Black Falcon takes flight. For now, however, I'm trying to avoid lengthy discussions about the current developments in the Tar Heels football program.

Instead, I feel like I should pay homage to two of my favorite places to eat near me: Carolina Brewery in Chapel Hill which I ate at just a few hours ago and Tyler's Restaurant & Taproom in Carrboro. There have been numerous times when KKW and I cannot decide where to eat and end up going to either one of these places. Why? Because both Carolina Brewery and Tyler's R&T both have good beer and good food. I have honestly never had a bad experience at either restaurant and both are usually full of people when I visit. Good Beer + Good Food + Good People = Hard to Beat. It's places like these that make drinking Craft Beer even easier (as if it's not easy enough as it is).

I have been meaning to go to the Pittsboro location of Carolina Brewery where they do most of their brewing nowadays but I have only been to the restaurant on Franklin Street. My favorite things to eat there are the Brunswick Stew, the Barbecue Plate (which you can order with Brunswick Stew and Hushpuppies), and any of their burgers. KKW will almost always get the Buffalo Chicken Pizza. I tried the "RTP" pizza tonight for the first time and it didn't disappoint (never fails). CB is constantly offering various seasonal selections of both food and beers which makes for a fresh experience every few times you go. Their Oatmeal Porter is amazing but is, unfortunately, not on tap currently because it is out of season (gotta take the good with the bad). The Firecracker Pale Ale is my personal favorite which is very easy to drink and makes for a good pairing with all types of meats one may be grilling during the summer months. The Copperline Amber Ale and the Sky Blue Golden Ale are also very worthy of noting.

 Although Tyler's is a chain I have only ever been to the one in Carrboro. However that should not detract from anyone's opinion of the restaurant because whatever they are doing, they are doing well. Last time we went, KKW and I drank Victory Brewing Company's Headwaters Pale Ale and Golden Monkey. I had never really heard about Victory Brewing Co. until a month or two ago but their beer is delicious. At some point in time I'm going to have to drag KKW on an extensive brewery tour up in the northern part of the US. Maybe while I"m there I can check out Victory's brewery and brewpub in PA. But, I digress. Lets just say I  pounded the "2 Beer" burger I ate at Tyler's which features melted Pepper Jack cheese, jalapenos, and 2 beer hot wing sauce.

In other news, I am heading to the Beer, Bourbon, and Barbecue festival in Cary, NC on August 5th and 6th which will have in attendance "60 beers, 40 bourbons, + lots of barbecue." Yeah, and me. This means I cannot attend the Carolina Panthers training camp in Wofford, SC which I have never made it to, despite planning on it every year. It's amazing how something can come up every time to prevent me from going. I am very excited that the Panthers may actually do work this season and am actually impressed with the moves the front office has made since the lockout ended. I look forward to finding lots of good things to blog about at the festival in Cary and I'm particularly excited about the Saturday seminars in the Tasting Theater where there will be Brewmasters and Pit Masters from the Deep South.

Lastly, I finally had the opportunity to visit the iconic Merritt's Store and Grill in Chapel Hill for lunch today. In order to do the place justice I will refer you to KKW's blog where she has a post dedicated to the restaurant opened during the depression: argyle & paisley. I also just took my final exams for my summer classes and only have a week off before the fall semester begins but I'm hoping to brew sometime this week. Hobby or obsession? Either way, I'm hooked.