Saturday, December 7, 2013

Thanksgiving from a Beer Lover’s Perspective

So this will be my first attempt at blogging about my beer experiences and random musings from my experiences. I’ve been a formal Charlestonion since 2004. The place has been home to of the most important experiences in my life…marriage, buying first house, becoming an uncle, etc. It at first was not a home to beer lovers by any stretch of the imagination. I remember buying bombers of Sierra Nevada at TL’s market (no hashtag for them?!) at the corner of Spring and Coming street for years (my college days!) and being quite happy with my piney, pale ale from Chico. I remember the wave of macro craft brews like New Beligum and hyped imports like Sammy Smith made there way through town. I finally felt like I was at home when I walked through the doors of the Charleston Beer Exchange. So coming full-circle I started this particular Thanksgiving break (I’m a teacher) I went on Wednesday to CBX to stock up.

I was greeted by Rich and Brandon. If you haven’t had the chance to meet these two, you got to stop into CBX or their new haunt (coming January Edmund’s Oast) and hear their knowledge and passion for beer. If you enjoy craft beer in Charleston, these guys have to be at top of list to thank. I inquired about some types of beers and of course was given great, thoughtful answers. I (the entire time) was jealous of their job and chosen career. I know they stress about bills, deadlines, and crazy clients like the rest of us, but somehow seemed very calm compared to my room full of 25 thirteen year olds all screaming for attention. Anyways…job envy is no good.

After dropping a pretty penny at CBX (no one said quality came cheap!) I packed my boxes (yes plural) into my car for the trek down to Atlanta. I had some family members new to this whole “fancy beer thang” and wanted to impress upon not only the local flavors, but the sheer variety being offered in the craft beer world these days. I wanted a presentation to shame those that occur in Sonoma Valley.

Fast forward to turkey day. Ahhhh Thanksgiving. Only in America could we create a holiday that focuses on doing nothing, watching multiple football games, eating waaaaay too much, drinking, and passing out before 8….all the while feeling socially acceptable and “thankful” that you can get up in the morning to go shop for 29 dollar tablets and cheap coffee machines.

We started the morning off with a very champagne-esque beer, Dupont Bier de Beloeil. It was a Beligan strong Saison. The beer was super refreshing, containing an 8.5% ABV. Very crisp start, with a light mouth feel. The finish on the beer is sweet, with some floral notes. My guests (lucky family and friends) found the beer to be agreeable, especially as a quick sub for the classic mimosa served at brunch tables across the world.

We moved quickly to my new fave…Sours!!! So I’m new to the genre, but have been sampling sours the past year. I usually enjoy them at the bar, but I’d decided to include this style in my Turkey day, so the guys at CBX hooked me up with Goose Island Lolita. WOW is all I can say. The beer clocked in around 8.7% ABV, but tasted like a 5%er. The beer poured with a nice strong hazy head. It took a while to settle, but upon settling the taste was impeccable. I could clearly smell the sweet, biting raspberry notes upon putting my nose to the glass. Upon tasting, the beer felt very light on my mouth, but a level of sour began to arise from the glass. The back end of the beer had an incredible complexity to it, with a flat sour note and bubbly fruity tones.

We took a break for food. I know, I know. I was irritated!! It was so nice being around friends and family for Thanksgiving. We were at a friends who lives on the Chattahoochee River down in Georgia. We were able to enjoy a great meal of all the finest in traditional and not so traditional (up-side-down turkey anyone?) of meals in an amazing riverfront home. The view and mountain feel made me nostalgic for all those wonderful/not so wonderful things that tend to bubble up during the holidays. I am a nature fanboy, so I was pleased with our surroundings!

And then there was beer…

So afterwards I led an onslaught of beer tastings for our folks. We tried some Westbrook Brewing, Holy City, and COAST Brewing for a take on what Charleston is up to these days. To sample the IPA section, we tried HopArt by COAST. This is one of my all-time favorites. I could brag about it for way too long. IPAs made me love craft beer and subsequently is my favorite style, always hitting my palate just right. This one is amazing, hands down top 5 IPAs I’ve ever tried out of hundreds of IPAs. Westbrook's IPA and an Evil Twin IPA were sampled. Not quite HopArt, but damn good beer.

A gem was our Westbrook’s Biscotti Break Natale “Pretty Please with a Cherry on Top." This beer is a big boy, counting out at 11.5% ABV.  It is an American style Porter. The beer has rich notes of cherry. The flavor follows with dark chocolate covered cherry, vanilla, and a hazelnut/almond nuttiness. A bit of coffee flavor. The cherry note is bright, but hidden in there and not too forward. There's a bit of that liqueur chocolate cherry. Amazing beer. It was hands down some of my guests’ favorite for overall product.

We had several more beers, including Duck Rabbit’s Milk Stout. If you like the style, please go check out this beer. It drinks so smooth, but maintains the kick of the style. Great, creamy taste!

We had a great time, convinced a few people to log on and read this blog (maybe the only one's who will lol)…See ya next week, I’m going to try and make this a weekly (ish) thing. So check back next weekend.

Cheers. Drop us a line.


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