Monday, September 1, 2014

Raleigh Beer Week Comes to a Triumphant End

By Dathan Kazsuk | Sep 1, 2014

Twitter: @TriangleAT | Facebook: Triangle Around Town | Instagram: @trianglearoundtown

This past week, in case you missed the memo, was the Raleigh Beer Week celebration. From Sunday, Aug. 24 through Sunday, Aug. 31, participating breweries, restaurants and bottle stores featured a slew of beer-related events that brought beer connoisseurs out in droves. 

With 37 events spread throughout the week, it would be impossible to make all of them – and I’m not too keen on blowing out my liver in a week of binge drinking! So we selected a few of these events to check out.

Sunday, Jen and I along with our friends Gary, Gina, David and Rachel had our own event in our backyard. Jen and I recently got back from a trip through Ohio and Michigan, so we brought back a majority of beer that you can’t pick up in any bottle shop here in North Carolina. With an assortment of food in the likes of chili verde burritos, chips and salsa and several different cuts of salami we sampled everything below:
  • SummerBright Ale - Breckenridge Brewery, Denver, Co.
  • Traverse City Cherry Wheat - Atwater Brewery, Detroit, Mi.
  • Soft Parade - Short’s Brewing Co., Bellaire, Mi.
  • Bean Flicker Blonde - Odd Side Ales, Grand Haven, Mi.
  • Chomolungma Honey Nut Brown - Jackie O’s Pub & Brewery, Athens, Oh.
  • Trainwreck Ale - Mountain Town Brewing Co., Mt. Pleasant, Mi.
  • Cane and Ebel - Two Brothers Brewing Co., Warrenville, Il.
  • White Rajah - The Brew Kettle, Strongsville, Oh.
  • Huma Lupa Licious - Short’s Brewing Co., Bellaire, Mi.
  • Foray - Deschutes Brewery, Bend, Or.
  • Bodhi DIPA - Columbus Brewing Co., Columbus, Oh.
  • CEO Stout - Right Brain Brewery, Traverse City, Mi.
  • Decadent Dark Chocolate Ale - Atwater Brewery, Detroit, Mi.
  • Tres Blueberry Stout - Dark Horse Brewing Co., Marshall, Mi.
  • El Chavo (Habanero, Margo Hard Cider) - Blake’s Hard Cider Co., Armada, Mi.

It looks like a lot of beer, but between 6 people it was only a little over 3 pints.
Some of the most popular that night were Short’s Soft Parade high-gravity fruit beer, Dark Horse’s Tres Blueberry Stout, Deschutes’ Foray, Blake’s El Chavo cider and by far the favorite … Columbus Brewing Company’s Bodhi DIPA.

So that leads us into Monday and Casks for a Cure at Big Boss Brewing Company. Jen and I like our beer and wine, but its even better when our drinking goes towards a good cause. This year, proceeds from our $10 cash donation went to benefit the ALS Association - Jim “Catfish” Hunter Chapter

Around 10 experienced home brewers shared some of their beer with 300 people and raised $6,000 for ALS.  The event also featured a handful of people taking the ice bucket challenge later in the evening. 

NC Beer Guys Glenn and Dave were a hit with the Hot Pistol beer at Big Boss.
On Tuesday, we took part in “The Magnificent Michigan” invasion at Tasty Beverage. This featured several beers by three great Michigan breweries. Founders, was featuring its KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) along with Backwards Bastard Scotch Ale. New Holland featured the Dragon’s Milk reserve with toasted chilies, and its barley wine, Pilgrim’s Dole. And Bells featured the Wedding Ale and Baron Von Nordwestlich.

But I must say I wasn’t happy with the outcome. We arrived right at 5 p.m., when the event was suppose to start, only to see the line was already out the door. We waited in line for 30 minutes just to order our drink – and then I see we were actually in 1 of 3 lines which slowly snaked its way to the bar. The bar, already cluttered with guests sitting at stools, made it even more difficult to order your beverage, and at the 30 minute mark, I heard the words none of us should have heard within the first 60 minutes … “KBS has kicked!” 
Really? I know KBS is a decent stout, but 30 minutes entire keg kicked? I might have to call FOUL on that one! 

After a pretty chaotic ordeal just to get less than a pint of Dragon’s Milk and Backwards Bastard we walked over to Crank Arm Brewery, where we enjoyed the peace and quiet of sitting at a table and ordering up a couple pints of beer which were readily available.

With long lines inside and a crowd forming outside, Tasty Beverage was popular place on Tuesday.
We laid low on Wednesday and didn’t hit up any events. And on Thursday we went to BottleMixx to sample the True Myth Cabernet from Paso Robles. We love our beer, but we also love California Cabs as well! 

Saturday, we made our way to BottleMixx, but this time for the “All Over the NC Map.” There we met up with some friends and Jen and I sampled 10 of the beers on draft by sharing 2 flights! Listed below was our line-up for the afternoon.
  • Wicked Weed Brewing Co. - Freak of Nature Double IPA
  • Ponysaurus Brewing Co. - Fig Saison
  • Steel String Craft Brewery - Zupfen Gose
  • Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. (Mills River) - Raincheck Spiced Stout
  • Deep River Brewing Co. - Rhubarb Berliner Weiss
  • Fullsteam Brewery - Paw Paw Belgian Style Strong Ale
  • Sub Noir Brewing Co. - Flanders Red, Citra Dry Hopped & BBA 
  • Mother Earth Brewing Co. - Silent Night BBA Imperial Stout 2013
  • Highland Brewing Co. - 20th Anniversary Saison
  • Big Boss Brewing Co. - Zombie Belgian Style Ale
Our favorites were Mother Earth’s Silent Night, Deep River’s Berliner Weiss and Fullsteam’s Paw Paw Belgian. Next on our agenda was to head downtown to Trophy Brewing to grab a couple bottles of Flanders Red, but we saw photos on Facebook, which showed a line already forming out the front door and down the sidewalk. Guess we’ll miss out on that one. Wait! Nope! That’s not the case! We arrived around 5:30 for dinner and some drinks, and asked one of the bartenders if they had any left, and sure enough six bottles were sitting in a box behind the bar. That made it easy … two for me, two for David and two for Gary. We sure lucked out, and didn’t have to wait in any line!

BottleMixx is one of our favorite beer shops in Raleigh, and they didn't disappoint in "All Over the NC Map."
On the final day of beer week, we decided to end our week-long excursion by going to Lonerider for it’s Seven Shades of Betty. I’m not a huge fan of Shotgun Betty, but a lemon-zest, sour, watermelon, raspberry and habanero versions of the hefeweizen all sounded rather intriguing. 

The event was scheduled from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., but by the time we arrived at 4:30 p.m. all 7 versions of Shotgun Betty were ran dry. Really? I was highly disappointed that a brewery the caliber of Lonerider wouldn’t have enough to go through most of its 5-hour event. A friend of mine told me he overheard a Lonerider employee say they were only expecting 50 people! We ended up ordering a couple other beers, and decided to end our week at Trophy Brewing Co. We’ve never been left hanging at Trophy … plus we needed dinner.

As soon as we took a seat at Trophy we knew what we wanted. Jen and I shared a pint of all three of the special release beers for the day: Maker’s Mark Barrel-Aged Best in Show, the 2013 Apple Brandy Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout and the 2013 Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout. We were not left upset by a single one of them. Throw in a Best-Dressed Pizza and I ended Raleigh Beer Week on a high-note.

Now it’s time to let my liver recover … at least for a couple days!