Wednesday, September 27, 2017

North Carolina Beers

While in Raleigh, I sampled some of the local brews.

White Zombie White Ale (5.1% alcohol by volume) by Catawba Brewing Company, Morgantown, North Carolina--The label describes it thusly: "Although named as a Halloween seasonal, Zombie's refreshing taste makes it a year round staple. It is brewed in the Belgian Witbier tradition of using unmalted wheat to create the light body and white sheen. Additions of coriander and orange peel give it a fruity and spicy character, while the hops are subtle and lightly detected. Don't be scared to blow the head off a Zombie and drink up!" This write up is possibly the best I have ever read, though I may be biased. I actually didn't get much head when I poured this ale. It is refreshing with just a hint of the bitterness that undeath (or the hops) brings.

Shotgun Betty Hefeweizen Ale (5.8% alcohol by volume) by Lonerider Brewing Company, Raleigh, North Carolina--The label says, "Part vixen, part vigilante, Shotgun Betty uses her sharpshooting skills to target those that show a weakness for wheat beer with a body that won't quit. This German-style hefeweizen features a rich, banana-clove nose and refreshing dry finish." The ale has a nice caramel color and a smooth, delightful taste that is refreshing with no bitterness. The write up is about as good as the White Zombie one. I like this a lot--Shotgun Betty definitely blows the head off of White Zombie!

If these beers were the subject of a Dual/Duel review, you know who would win...

Don't mess with a lady who has a shotgun on her shoulder!

Sticky Fingers Brown Sugar Porter (5.3% alcohol by volume) by Trophy Brewing Company, Raleigh, North Carolina--We went out one night to Trophy Brewing Company's Brewing + Pizza location for dinner. This beer was the first one that I tried. The sweetness of the brown sugar is well balanced with the heaviness of the porter, making it a fun drink on its own as well as a good beer to go with a pizza.

Sticky Fingers

Cascade DAVE New England Style Single Hop Pale Ale (4.5% alcohol by volume) by Trophy Brewing Company--This was the second beer I tried. It was milder than most pale ales, which I liked, but was not so tasty as the Sticky Fingers.

Cascade DAVE

We went to an arcade/bar joint called Boxcar where I had another Trophy beer. This one was called Milky Way. It had a smooth, caramel taste that I loved. If only they had it in bottles or cans, I'd take back a case!

We went to Trader Joe's on our last night in Raleigh and they had "make your on six pack" beers. So here's six more from North Carolina.

  • Oatmeal Porter (5.9% alcohol by volume) by Highland Brewing Company, Asheville, North Carolina--the label reads, "Tradition led to a uniquely smooth combination. Porter was the dominant style in Britain throughout the 19th century. Our addition of flaked oats produces a silky mouthfeel, unusual for beers this dark. It is very malty with hints of chocolate-roasted flavor and a well-balanced hop character." This porter is amazingly smooth though it tastes more of roasted nut than of oatmeal or chocolate. The flavor is nice with hardly any bitterness involved. Very delightful!

  • People's Porter (5.8% alcohol by volume) by Foothills Brewing, Winston-Salem, North Carolina--on the label: "Porter. Consider it the mild-mannered granddaddy of stout. Our version stays true to the classic English style popularized by the Industrial Revolution's working class. Ruby-hued with strong upfront notes of chocolate and toffee, People's Porter finishes strong and flavorful, blending delicious herbal hop flavor and just a hint of espresso. Bloody terrific!" This beer is darker and tarter than the previously mentioned Oatmeal Porter. This one is satisfying in a warming way, giving energy and verve to the drinker. This beer would be better by itself than paired with food. Maybe it does call us to rise up and drink!

  • Buckshot Filtered Amber Ale (4.8% alcohol by volume) by Natty Greene's Brewing Company, Greensboro, North Carolina--shockingly, the bottle has no cute description, even the label is unfiltered! This beer has a nice red/brown color with a smooth and toasted taste. The flavor is light with a bit of bitterness as an afterthought. I like this but think it's a bit more average than amazing.

  • The Duck-Rabbit Milk Stout (5.7% alcohol by volume) by The Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery, Farmville, North Carolina--The bottle doesn't have a write up but the website has this: "The Duck-Rabbit Milk Stout is a traditional full-bodied stout brewed with lactose (milk sugar). Because lactose is unfermentable by brewer's yeast, it remains in the beer. The subtle sweetness and fullness of flavor imparted by this sugar balances the sharpness of the highly roasted grains that give this delicious beer its black color. All year long, Milk Stout is our number one selling beer!" The beer starts with a sweet, chocolatey flavor that becomes a more roasty flavor after a second. It's a fascinating experience to drink and a delightful dark beer.

  • Bed of Nails Brown Ale (6.1% alcohol by volume) by Hi-Wire Brewing, Asheville, North Carolina--The bottle says, "Bed of Nails is crafted as an American ode to a traditional English brown. A light hop addition balances the natural sweetness present in the specialty malt. This beer's delicate body and dry finish allow flavors of toffee and dark fruit to shine through." The beer does have the sweet smoothness of toffee and does make me think of a carnival treat. It is surprisingly close to Trophy's Milky Way, which is saying a lot. I might have tried to get a six-pack of this if I had tried it before we left Raleigh.

  • Hell's Belle (7% alcohol by volume) by Big Boss Brewing Company, Raleigh, North Carolina--All the label says is "Belgian Style Ale." The web site is more loquacious: "Hell's Belle is a subtle but complex ale that is meant to be a showcase for our favorite Belgian yeast and beautiful Belgian malts. These elements produce a clean, spicy citrus finish. Hell's Belle remains light and refreshing but still packs a 7% finish." The beer is oddly flavored. It tastes like a lager but with a better finish. For me, there's no Belgian flavor and I'm not sure what the "Belgian Style" is they are imitating. This beer was a disappointment. Bummer of a way to end.

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