Avery Brewing – Tweak

Tweak
Beer Name: Batch No. 1 TWEAK (Formerly known as Meph Addict and Coffeestopholes)
Brewery: Avery Brewing Co.
Style: Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Coffee Stout
Availability: Rotating – 12oz Bottles
17.81% ABV, 107 IBUs

Glassware: Snifter

Tweak is Avery Mephistopheles Imperial Stout, with Avery adding 1.6 pounds of Ozo Coffee Co.’s Organic Isabelle Espresso to every barrel of beer . The brewery aged this beer for four months in bourbon barrels.

Appearance: Pours like 10,000 miles past due for an oil change 0W 20. The beer has a grappling hook and will not let go of the sides of the glass. Holds on for dear life. Like tears that won’t stop.
Aroma: Oak and Bourbon leaps out like Bruce Lee with a vengeance. Beautiful aromas of vanilla, oak, and bourbon. Playing joyfully on the playground with an already Imperial Stout.
Taste: Boozy, real boozy, but what did you expect from 17.81%? Yet, smooth. Doesn’t make sense right? Oh well, you don’t have to take my word for it.
Mouth feel: Coating and luxurious. Sin in a glass. Bourbon flavors exploding with all the characters you’d expect from a rich imperial stout. Deep roastinees, strong malt flavors, cloying (welcoming if you know what to expect). Homerun
Overall Impression: When I first met this Avery Tweak, I can remember that damn thing like yesterday. The way she drank reminded me of a brown stallion horse with skates on, you know. Smooth like a hot comb on nappy ass hair. Her aroma had me almost paralyzed, smelling like a glass of malt with extra bourbon. Sheen beaming like four carats, just blinding a drinker. Felt like I drank a whole case of Heady, my heart was beating so fast. Never knowing this moment would bring another love into this world. Funny how stuff comes together sometimes, you dig?

Okay, so the inspiration for all that was from Outkast (SpottieOttieDopalisciousAngel…look it up), but it is more than appropriate. WORTH THE PRICE!

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No, Founders Did Not Sell Out

Founders_Logo_color (800x590)Well, as many of you have heard by now, Founders Brewing has sold a 30% stake in their company to a Spanish brewery, Mahou San Miguel Group. Mahou San Miguel, a result of an acquisition of San Miguel by Mahou has been around since 1890. They have deep roots in Spain and according to their website they produce 70% of the Spanish beer consumed worldwide. Before jumping to conclusions, Craft Beer Nation decided to reach out to Founders for comments on the matter.

First, from their press release, “Our number one priority remains successfully completing our facility expansion and continuing our domestic growth in existing and new markets.  We know a lot of states out there still don’t have the opportunity to buy our beer and we want to make that change.  That will get a lot easier once the first phase of our expansion is complete next summer.  A couple years ago we decided to enter a few international markets on a limited basis to test the waters.  We quickly learned that global interest in Founders is strong but given our capacity constraints we have not been able to meaningfully pursue those opportunities.  All these problems will disappear when our expansion is complete and we will no longer have to choose one state or one country over the other.  We greatly look forward to rewarding all of our fans for their patience through our growing pains.”

As we know, Founders is in the process of expanding their current facility as was discussed on Episode 024 of our Pints and Quarts show. By the looks of things, this move looks to be along the lines brewery expansion funding  as well as allowing Founders to tap into international markets. As stated above, Founders has already tested international waters with success and this minority stake, emphasis on minority, allows them to have a foothold in markets that Mahou San Miguel currently sells in.

To paraphrase from our conversation with Founders CEO, Mike Stevens on Wednesday, “This was really just a small investment. 30% gets us access to distribution improvements, but no one is in a position to ask us to change recipes. Mahou was clear that they DID NOT want to things to change, they just want to invest and help us grow.” 

When asked if Mahou managers will be in the brewery Mike explains, “Just the opposite. Mahou wanted employment contracts to make sure the people that have made Founders great are here to stay. Mahou has almost no distribution in the US. Their only presence is a small bit of importing into the Miami area. This deal is all about building a structure to be able to grow into Mahou markets. Not that that is happening anytime soon, though. We are just forming teams to explore the options.” 

It is very clear that the QUALITY of the liquid they produce is what got them to where they are today. Plans to change that would essentially be crazy and doing so is nowhere even close to being on table.

So look, we get it, the craft beer community is a close one that takes craft beer seriously. When we feel that “one of our own” may have crossed over to the dark side, we tend to take that personally. Rest assured that this is not the case. This was a business move that will enable Founders to not only expand into additional US markets, but also take the beauty and joy of American craft beer to the world. Founders has faced hard times before. They once stood on the precipice of shutting its doors in the early days, but they persevered via good business acumen and making an excellent product to position themselves to being one of the leading craft breweries in America. Losing that is likely something that they have zero interest in.

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Stone Brewing Hibiscusicity Review

Hibiscuscity (Randy (1)

Beer Name: Hibiscusicity
Brewery: Stone Brewing Co.
Style: Belgian-style ale
Hops: Magnum, Sterling
Special: Orange peel, Hibiscus flowers
Malts: Pale Malt, Wheat Malt
Availability: Nationwide
7.4% ABV
Glassware: Tulip

Appearance: Pours a bright amber with rich, pink overtones. More than likely from the Hibiscus flowers.

Aroma: Citrus, definitely citrus. They used orange peel and you get orange peel.

Taste: The orange peel and the Hibiscus play so well together! That said, this is not orange peel/citrus some people get from wheat beers, this is orange peel in it’s truest essence. The didn’t spare any here (sidenote: wonder what they did with that metric ton of leftover oranges they obviously used to get the peels). Although the oranges are present, the flowers definitely ain’t no pansies. They’re at the party and damn it they want you to know it. They deliver the taste equivalent of an aromatic punch to the snot box. This beer is well done.

Mouth feel: Very dry, but based on how this is drinking, it needed to be dry. Sweetness with all this aroma would have been a little overwhelming.

Overall Impression: This beer is VERY well done. I admit that I am a Stone fanboy, but normally that’s the case because I am a hop head. However, this beer is totally not a hop head’s delight. In fact, it is a welcomed departure from a ton of hops and in my opinion it definitely highlights brewing versatility in the Stone Brewery. Yep, going back to the store to get another bomber…or two.

 

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Sumthin’s a brewin’ in the SC Lowcountry

Know where I’m from? South Carolina. Know what I like? Beer. Know what I love? South Carolina beer, specifically, beer from South Carolina’s Lowcountry. The Lowcountry region of South Carolina pretty much includes: Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton and Jasper Counties. Additionally, Berkeley, Charleston, and Dorchester Counties are also included. Typically when people think about beer from these areas, the names that come to mind are Westbrook, Holy City and Palmetto. However, there is a new, underrated kid on the block and they are making some FANTASTIC beer.

Say hello to River Dog Brewing. River Dog currently calls Ridgeland, SC in Jasper County home and they almost straddle the border of Beaufort and Jasper counties. Their motto is “Exceptional craft beer brewed in South Carolina” and boy do they live up to that. Everytime I go home, a visit to River Dog is almost automatic. My car self drives itself there and who am I to stop it? I mean, I like great beer and my car knows how to get me there so I just go with it. Founded in 2013 by Josh and Gabby Ferrell, the brewery has been taking the low country by storm. They now distribute in South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama and will be canning their delicious nectar by the end of the year. Brewing operations are headed up by Dan Baker, formerly of Deschutes and Sweetwater. From their website:

RiverDogsBrewer

As you can see, their brewing has some respectable chops. On a recent visit I had the opportunity to taste a few of their offerings. Some of the beers currently on tap:RiverDogFermenter The May – River Dog’s session beer that is single hopped with Amarillo hops at 5.2%, Doovalacky Double IPA – A DIPA bittered with Nelson Sauvin, finished with Pacifica Jade and Motueka, and dry hopped with Wakatu. The yeast used is an Australian strain making this beer truly a beer from down under, and my favorite AlteRED State – A beautiful, red/amber beer with a huge tropical nose and palate. Hopped with Citra, Mosaic, El Dorado and Centennial hops. See the link above for the other brews on tap, because they are all true to style and deliver exactly what you are expecting.

Brewing with a 15 BBL mashtun and five 30 BBL fermenters, you can imagine that a good amount of brewingRiverDogBarrel is always going on. In addition to brewing, River Dog has a barrel room that is worthy of copious amounts of jealously. I mean, do you know anyone else who has a Belgian Quad with raisins in Pappy Van Winkle barrels? Or a Kriek with cherries in Maker’s Mark barrels? Perhaps barrels with an Oud Bruin? Maybe a Kolsch with peaches in barrels? I’m not saying, I’m just saying. If you want to drink some great beer from a brewery filled with cool ass people (looking at you Mike and Jessica), a brewmaster who won’t hesitate to speak with you, a great owner in Josh and you want to be able to say you knew them before they blew up, like me, then get to River Dog Brewing!!! You’re welcome!

River Dog Brewing Co.

591 Browns Cove Rd. North

Suite H

Ridgeland, SC 29936

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What’s Next for Washington

otwoa1Washington DC was late into the brewery game, but that is not stopping it from being a hot bed for brewing today. One of the most well known breweries in the area and in the District is DC Brau. Their well known and widely popular flagship beer is On The Wings of Armageddon. Released in 2012 for the Mayan Apocalypse, this is a single hopped beer made using the Falconer’s Flight hop that clocks in at 9.2% ABV that packs a pungent aroma and blistering bitterness, but manages to remain quite balanced. It has been said by some, mainly myself, that this beer can stand toe to toe with Heady Topper. With a highly sought after beer that can legitimately be compared to Heady, you would think the echelon on brewing in DC would end there, but not so fast.


Right Proper Brewing Company:

right-proper-brewing-logo
Located the Shaw Community of Washington, DC, Right Proper is the relatively new kid on the block, but they are making plenty noise with their beer. According to their website, their purpose is to make good beer, but also to fill a void that the District has been missing. From their website:

“We built Right Proper to be a brewery with heart and soul, a neighborhood gathering place that makes and serves fresh beer alongside delicious food that won’t break the bank. The brew pub is the creation of DC beer guru Thor Cheston, head brewer Nathan Zeender and John Snedden, founder and owner of Rocklands Barbeque and Grilling Company.

We picked a location that would be part of a community, where those who live nearby will stop in to meet friends for a beer and a bite. Established on the spot where Frank Holiday’s Pool Hall once stood — and where Duke Ellington learned how to play jazz as a teenager – Right Proper next to the Howard Theater stands proud as part of the real Washington.”

Right Proper seems to lean more towards Belgian styles such as Saisons and Farmhouse and they are doing a fantastic job with it. They brew classic styles via classic methods and brew using various fermentation techniques along with secondary and tertiary fermenting. With no beers that lean toward being too big, everything at Right Proper is very approachable and is true to the style in which they were intended. Refreshing and appropriate is the name of the game with these guys.

Along with great beer, they are serving up killer food. According to them:

“Right Proper’s kitchen turns out comfort food with a Southern accent. Led by Head Chef Robert Cain, the kitchen crew focuses on the marriage of food and beer. Some dishes are made with beer; some dishes are made for beer. All are made for your enjoyment.”

I can speak from first hand experience that their grilled cheese sandwich is absolutely KILLER, not only in taste, but also in looks. If you want yours dripping with cheese down the sides and would make grilled cheeses in every elementary school from Portland, ME to San Diego, CA jealous, then this is your place. Being from South Carolina, I did not think that finding good chicken livers in Washington, DC would be possible, but to my chagrin, Right Proper proved me wrong. Great beer being served up with great food in a neighborhood that provides the quintessential “just hanging out with friends this evening drinking beer” feel is where Right Proper seems to be excelling. If you find yourself in Washington, DC, make it a point to check out this brewery and you will not be disappointed.

Other Notable Area Breweries:

Atlas Brewing (DC)

Three Stars (DC)

Chocolate City (DC)

Port City (Alexandria, VA)

Mad Fox (Falls Church, VA)

Adroit Theory (Purcellville, VA)

Lost Rhino (Leesburg, VA)

Forge Brew Works (Lorton, VA)

BadWolf Brewing (Manassas, VA)

Heritage Brewing (Manassas, VA)

Old Bust Head (Fauquier, VA)

 

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