Metro Wines Blogs
Lou Collichio came to Metro Wines with twenty eight years of experience in the spirits industry. He started his career in New Jersey first managing a small wine shop and then working for a chain of discount beer, wine, and liquor stores as a beer buyer and assistant store manager. After moving to Asheville in 2006, Lou worked f...or both Greenlife Grocery, and Whole Foods as a beer and wine buyer. His passion for all things craft beer started at the dawn of the American craft beer movement and has continued unabated to this day.
Lou says he is a "recovering musician." We haven't heard his music yet but what we do know is that Lou has stories! He plans to share some of his greatest hits with us and you on "Brewing UP a Storm" our beer blog. did you know that Lou was in a 7th grade play with James Gandolfini and lou stole the show? Stay tuned!
Anita Riley is the cellarman at Mystery Brewing in Hillsborough, NC and continues to blog for "Brewing Up a Storm." She holds the title of Certified Beer Server through Cicerone, USA, and is a native of WNC.
Wall Street Journal posts "The Clued-In- Brewer" Dogfish Head's Sam Calagione shares his tips on elevating a basic wardrobe. We don't have the wardrobe but we have the beer!
About Midas Touch from "Dogfish Head"
All of the ideas about what our ancient ancestors were drinking–whether a wine, beer, or mead–come together in our research on the so-called King Midas funerary feast, because surprisingly all three were mixed together in the drink. The gala re-creation of the feast in 2000 was at the Penn Museum. A spicy, barbecued lamb and lentil stew, according to our chemical findings, was the entree, and it was washed down with a delicious, saffron-accented rendition of the Phrygian grog or “King Midas Golden Elixir” by Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. Dogfish is the fastest growing microbrewery in the country, and “Midas Touch” has become its most awarded beverage (3 golds and 5 silvers in major tasting competitions, with a few bronzes tossed in for good measure). The extreme beverage took another silver in the Specialty Honey Beer category at the 2013 Great American Beer Festival in Colorado.
It all started with a tomb, the Midas Tumulus, in central Turkey at the ancient site of Gordion, which was excavated by this Penn Museum in 1957, over 50 years ago. The actual tomb, a hermetically sealed log chamber, was buried deep down in the center of this tumulus or mound, which was artificially constructed of an enormous accumulation of soil and stones to a height of some 150′. It’s the most prominent feature at the site. There was indeed a real King Midas, who ruled the kingdom of Phrygia, and either him or his father, Gordius, was buried around 740-700 B.C. in this tomb. There’s still some uncertainty, since there’s no sign announcing “Here Lies Midas or Gordius!”
When the Penn Museum excavators cut through the wall, they were brought face-to-face with an amazing sight, like Howard Carter’s first glimpse into Tutankamun’s tomb. The excavators first saw the body of a 60-65-year-old male, who had died normally. He lay on a thick pile of blue and purple-dyed textiles, the colors of royalty in the ancient Near East. In the background, you will see what really got us excited: the largest Iron Age drinking-set ever found–some 157 bronze vessels, including large vats, jugs, and drinking-bowls, that were used in the final farewell dinner outside the tomb.
Like an Irish wake, the king’s popularity and successful reign were celebrated by feasting and drinking. The body was then lowered into the tomb, along with the remains of the food and drink, to sustain him for eternity or at least the last 2700 years.
None of the 160 drinking vessels, however, was of gold. Where then was the gold if this was the burial of Midas with the legendary golden touch? In fact, the bronze vessels, which included spectacular lion-headed and ram-headed buckets for serving the beverage, gleamed just like the precious metal, once the bronze corrosion was removed. So, a wandering Greek traveler might have caught a glimpse of this when he or she concocted the legend.
The real gold, as far as I was concerned, was what these vessels contained. And many of them still contained the remains of an ancient beverage, as seen in this close-up photograph of the residue, which was intensely yellow, just like gold. It was the easiest excavation I was ever on. Elizabeth Simpson, who has studied the marvelous wooden furniture in the tomb, asked me whether I’d be doing the analysis. I just had to walk up two flights of stairs, and there were the residues in their original paper bags from when they were collected in 1957 and sent back to the museum. We could get going with our analysis right away.
What then did these vessels contain? Chemical analyses of the residues–teasing out the ancient molecules–provided the answer. I won’t go into all the details of our analyses, in the interests of the chemically-challenged (please refer to the attached pdf’s). Briefly, by using a whole array of microchemical techniques, including infrared spectrometry, gas and liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry, we were able to identify the fingerprint or marker compounds for specific natural products.
These included tartaric acid, the finger-print compound for grapes in the Middle East, which because of yeast on the skins of some grapes will naturally ferment to wine, especially in a warm climate. The marker compounds of beeswax told us that one of the constituents was high-sugar honey, since beeswax is well-preserved and almost impossible to completely filter out during processing; honey also contains yeast that will cause it to ferment to mead. Finally, calcium oxalate or beerstone pointed to the presence of barley beer. In short, our chemical investigation of the intense yellowish residues inside the vessels showed that the beverage was a highly unusual mixture of grape wine, barley beer and honey mead.
You may cringe at the thought of mixing together wine, beer and mead, as I did originally. I was really taken aback. That’s when I got the idea to do some experimental archaeology. In essence, this means trying to replicate the ancient method by taking the clues we have and trying out various scenarios in the present. In the process, you hope to learn more about just how the ancient beverage was made. To speed things up, I also decided to have a competition among microbrewers who were attending a “Roasting and Toasting” dinner in honor of beer authority Michael Jackson (not the entertainer, but the beer and scotch maven, now sadly no longer with us) in March of 2000 at the Penn Museum.
I simply got up at the dinner, and announced to the assembled crowd that we had come up with a very intriguing beverage that we needed some enterprising brewers to try to reverse-engineer and see if it was even possible to make something drinkable from such a weird concoction of ingredients. Soon, experimental brews started arriving on my doorstep for me to taste–not a bad job, if you can get it, but not all the entries were that tasty.
Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head Brewery ultimately triumphed. He also came up with an innovative label of our re-created beverage, showing the Midas golden thumb print.
Just one footnote: the bittering agent used in Midas Touch was not hops (which was only introduced in to Europe around 700 A.D.), but the most expensive spice in the world, saffron. Turkey was renowned for this spice in antiquity, and although we’ve never proven it, the intense yellowish color of the ancient residues may be due to saffron.
NEW in SHOP. NEW EVERYWHERE!
Lou in The Beer Department says:
Hop Cocoa is a silky smooth Porter brewed with Dutch cocoa powder, and dark cocoa nibs from the French Broad Chocolate Lounge. Rich, dark and delicious with Wicked Weed's unmistakable hop style.
Wine, Beer and Event Space for Holiday Events
Planning a holiday office party, celebratory event or searching for a unique idea for a gathering of family and friends? Consider a wine tasting @MetroWines!
We can plan an event especially for you. You pick the theme. Maybe Bordeaux, Rueda or Sicily or even a Blind Tasting!
Even Football !!
Hosting an event or planning a wedding, we offer a wide selection of wines that vary by varietal and price and expert pairing advice. And if you are in our delivery area, we can bring the wine to you.
We also offer a Gift Registry for any occasion. Someone retiring at the end of the year? Received a promotion? Relocating? Getting married!?
Call a consultant at 828-575-9525. Let us take one more task off your holiday to-do list! And thank you for the opportunity to be part of your holidays.
I am constantly awed by the diversity of talents that people in the brewing industry bring with them. Gabe Pickard of Zebulon Brewing is the perfect example of this. She is a classically trained dancer, a yoga instructor, a physical therapist assistant, and she happens to co-own a brewery with her husband, Mike Karnowski. To some, this may seem like an awful lot for one person to manage. Gabe turns that logic on its head. In each of her endeavors, she points out, she works with living organisms whether its yeast cells or human bodies to toe the line between art and science.
“Like yoga, when I brew beer I feel like I can drop into a kind of meditative state.” Gabe says. She goes on to point out more intersections of her diverse body of work, “I would love to teach a yoga for brewers class.” She points out how strenuous small batch brewing without the help of automation can be on a person’s body over time. “There are simple exercises that they can do to prevent repetitive use injuries and allow them to work longer in the industry.” Gabe also sees a similarity in the way that people respond to both yoga and brewing. “You can stay on the surface and satisfy a hobby or a workout routine. Or you can go deeper, and take on the philosophy of yoga or a career in brewing. Either are viable options, and there is a spectrum in between.” It’s as if she is weaving a fabric of fluidity, strength, and integrity around her as she speaks.
She and Mike met about twenty-seven years ago. At the time, they were both working in a bagel shop in New York City. What started as a beer after work lead to them discovering that they were both born in the same obscure town in Northern England. It wasn’t long before they were homebrewing together, also. “I don't remember the type of beer we brewed in that particular kitchen, however, I remember we had to drink two cases of Grolsch beer (the beers with the flip tops) because we did not have a capper at the time. Needless to say I do not like Grolsh beer anymore (or any less!).”
Soon after, the couple relocated from Jersey City, NJ to New Orleans, LA. There they opened a homebrew shop called Brew Ha Ha, where she learned how to brew by teaching others the craft of brewing. Whilst running a new business, Gabe earned a BA in Philosophy. She also produced, directed, choreographed, danced in, and wrote grants for an annual music and dance concert ten years in a row. Once they made the move to Asheville in 2007, Gabe continued to push herself. She found work as a yoga instructor and returned to school to earn a degree as a physical therapist assistant. She also helped out at Green Man packaging the specialty beers that made Mike Karnowski a household name to WNC beer enthusiasts.
“Embarking in a new business is a daunting task, however, with dedication, passion, and a lot of focused hard work it can be a rewarding and invigorating task. The tendency of the stresses of a business seeping into the delicate fabric of a relationship can be tricky to navigate, though it is possible and totally can be done.” While Gabe admits that she isn’t an expert, she does offer these words of wisdom, “Everyone is different and has different life and work styles. Each party in the relationship must find their place and space to work that suits them best. A partnership in life (in my opinion) includes people who mutually respect each other, who can communicate, and who are at the heart of it all, friends. I am sure I can go on and on describing the valuable attributes that make up what a well-oiled relationship looks like, but I think I would continue to erase and start again continuously. I guess I think of long lasting relationships kind of like a mandala where the sand is designed and placed perfectly only to be swept aside and started over again on. A continuous work in progress where each party allows the other growth, transformation, and at the same time offers continuity through time. Chemistry is also at the heart of friendly, fun and loving relationships. Chemistry offers that spice to be sprinkled in throughout. My mom used to say that it is unsustainable to be in that first in-love phase of a relationship perpetually, in that phase it is hard just to eat or sleep much less working on projects and creative endeavors.”
“There are a lot of stressful days,” she says, “but the positives out way them. We feel its important to care about the beer we are making. We are passionate about it, and focused on quality control and integrity.”
While Mike is at the helm of all of the brewing for Zebulon, Gabe is busy handling pretty much everything else at the brewery. “My business card reads Gabe Pickard-Karnowski: Factotum, and Ebullient Conspirator in the Leavening Arts. In addition I currently work part time as a Physical Therapist Assistant, I am a Certified Iyengar Yoga Instructor and intermittently toy with the idea of producing a couple more experimental dance/music concerts.” She is also in the midst of creating a line of beers that will be released annually and will benefit a different women lead and/or focused non-profit each year. “I am working on recipe development for the first one now!” she says. “We see a way that we can make an impact on a local level by working with area non-profits.”
To learn more about Zebulon visit their web site at www.zebulonbrewing.com or visit their tasting room Fridays and Saturdays 1-6pm at 8 Merchants Alley in Weaverville, NC.
Freak of Nature from Wicked Weed
Beer Advocate says 95 Points
Wicked Weed Brewing
North Carolina, United States
Style:American Double / Imperial IPA
Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%
Notes / Commercial Description:
"The Freak of Nature is our San Francisco inspired hoppy monster. At 8% abv and who knows how many ibu’s, this beer is our shrine to the Hop. Absurd amounts of the big West Coast hops gives this beer its citrusy, weedy nose and big, dank flavor. We dry hop with 48lbs per batch, which is over 3lbs of hops per barrel. In keeping with the classic style of the West Coast double, sugar plays a large part in creating this dry and minimally bitter double IPA. The Freak is particularly pintable for the style, so if you dare to enter, we welcome you to the Freak Show."
Tucked between Asheville and Charlotte, there’s a little town that’s making some big news on a global scale. People have traveled from forty-nine states and thirteen countries to visit the home town of Don Gibson, Earl Scruggs, and Newgrass Brewing Company: Shelby, North Carolina. When I first met Jordan Boinest, Co-owner of Newgrass, I was shocked that anyone would open a brewery in Shelby. I was even more surprised at her enthusiasm to open in the small town she grew up in after having lived in the trendy, thriving towns of Wilmington and later, Boone. I was afraid I would offend her, but I asked the question anyway, “Why Shelby?” Little did I know that this is her favorite question!
“You know, we distribute our beer to Asheville, Boone, Charlotte, and all the little towns in between. All along the way, I meet new people that haven’t experienced our beer and have never heard of Shelby. They look confused and ask, ‘Where’s Shelby?’ and then I get to tell them this story about the Earl Scruggs Center and the Don Gibson Theater and all the new businesses opening in Uptown Shelby. It’s crazy because I grew up in this town, and when I was a kid I didn’t come to the uptown district. For all of us it’s exciting to watch it change and evolve and become what it was years ago: A place for community and friendship and business together. It’s been really special."
Special is an understatement. I got to sit down with Jordan and two of her closest allies Emily Epley, Director of the Earl Scruggs Center, and Audrey Whetten, Director of Uptown Shelby Association. What these women have accomplished, along with their respective staffs and countless community volunteers, is remarkable. They haven’t set out to make Shelby something that it’s not. They have dug deep under the surface to unearth exactly who and what Shelby is, and find a beautiful way to communicating that identity to the world around them.
“Earl Scruggs didn’t just play traditional Bluegrass,” Jordan says of the father of the Newgrass genre and the man that developed the three finger picking method known to banjo players today as Scruggs style, “and we don’t just make traditional beer. Coming back to Shelby gave us the opportunity to make something that is such a part of who we are. We make good beer and enjoy good music. Those are two things that mine and Lewis’ life have revolved around. We love it. I grew up here listening to Bluegrass music. This is home for us. We’re really excited to be part of this community. So when bands like Acoustic Syndicate come and play, it’s like family coming for a visit. You know, I’m seeing people come to Shelby for the first time ever to see a great show and try new beer!” Jordan and her partner and fiancé, Lewis were intentional about creating not only a brewery, but also a local music venue to host concerts of varying sizes.
Audrey describes the Uptown Shelby Association as a non-profit organization that exists to encourage economic development within the context of historical preservation. Within this framework, Audrey is working with business leaders within the local community to work toward a common vision. “If you can picture an Alaskan dog sled team, we have a lot of energetic folks that are excited to move forward. My charge is to get them organized and running in the same direction.” A Main Street Solutions Fund grant from the NC Department of Commerce helped make the renovation of the historic building that Newgrass occupies possible.
Emily started her work in 2008 as the Executive Director of Destination Cleveland County (DCC). This is also a non-profit organization that was founded out of the concern of local citizens that saw their children going off to college and never coming back. They saw their community drying up, and decided to take action. They commissioned researchers from NC State University to consult with them on a solution. They donated their own time and resources to create and execute a strategy based on Shelby’s unique identity as the birthplace of two legendary music greats. Through capital campaigns, grants, and lots of hard work, DCC has now raised $8 million of the $9 million budget to pay for the Earl Scruggs Center (ESC) and the Don Gibson Theater (DGT). With the opening of the ESC, Emily transitioned into her new role as the Director of the ESC, while the DCC now operates under the supervision of board members.
“It’s such an amazing thing to have folks like Jordan and Audrey who have such enthusiasm and skill sets to do the things that are happening here [in Shelby]. All the positive energy…it’s contagious! It’s like this perfect storm of all these different pieces coming together now,” Epley says. “Now we have people getting on planes in Japan just to come to the Earl Scruggs Center, and they’ll build a two-week itinerary around it.”
Audrey describes the energy in Shelby’s Uptown District as “crackling”. “It’s like this snowball that we’ve been building for a long time. We keep rolling it around, and it keeps getting incrementally larger. Now we are at a point that it’s taken off! We are experiencing exponential growth with new businesses opening all the time.”
“You know, we just hosted Travis Book of the Infamous String Dusters’ event Bluegrass, Bikes and Beer,” Jordan says. “He put on six events, three in Virginia, three in North Carolina. In NC there were events here at Newgrass, Oskar Blues, and Pisgah Brewing. Out of all of those, we had the largest event with fifty community bikers! It was surprising. I was like whoa! Look at Shelby!”
I would encourage all of you to take a look at Shelby, especially if you think you know this town. There is so much going on that will pleasantly surprise you, and Emily is right, the positive energy is contagious!
“This is the only place you could do what we’re doing in this way,” Jordan says. “It’s been incredible working in the beer industry, which is really a tightly knit community.”
“It’s interesting,” Emily interjects, “how similar the beer industry and the music industry are similar in that way. It’s all about collaboration and creativity and support. That’s what the community of Uptown Shelby is like.”
Here’s what’s coming up at Newgrass Brewing and in Uptown:
Uptown Art Walk
Second Saturday Festivities
Dear Brother live 8:30-11pm @ Newgrass Brewing
Beer Festival & Chili Cook-Off
Chalwa live 8:30-11pm @ Newgrass Brewing
Music, Mush, & Mutts
Lunch N Learn Through Their Voices: Female Musician Activists in North Carolina (includes Etta Baker, Nina Simone and others)@ The Earl Scruggs Center
Fright Night Costume Crawl
Halloween Party featuring Harvest live 9-11pm @ Newgrass Brewing
November 5- 7
Annual Rhythm & Roots 5K Walk/Run and 10K Run Race kicks off with Bluegrass band and banjo players playing Foggy Mountain Breakdown and there is live music at several spots along the route.
Lou Collichio of The Beer Department @MetroWines says: "Although not as dark as a Porter or Stout, Old Chub is a very malty, darker than amber scottish ale. Not a hoppy beer. Old Chub is rich and creamy. A really good beer great for Fall."
Oskar Blues says: RARE GIRTH
This jaw-dropping Scottish strong ale (8% ABV) is brewed with bodacious amounts of malted barley and specialty grains, and a dash of beechwood-smoked malt. Old Chub features semi-sweet flavors of cocoa and coffee, and a wee-bit of smoke. A head-turning treat for malt heads and folks who think they don't dig dark beer.
Below is a posting by The Smithsonian in Washington DC for an event called "The Color of Beer." It sounds great! Can't go? Talk the color of beer and all things BEER with Lou Collichio of The Beer Department @MetroWines!
You can also chat Lou up about cider and sake.
The Smithsonian Program:
What links science, history, art, and culture? Color. An exhibit organized by Smithsonian Libraries now on view at the Natural History Museum journeys through collections—from chemistry to catalogs, colorblindness tests to couture—to look at color in a new light.
You may not realize it, but color is an important part of evaluating beer. We use all five senses when tasting the beverage, and the visual cues are most often our first impression. Appearance—from the beer’s color to the amount of foam to the glass it’s served in—leads us to make certain assumptions, either consciously or unconsciously, about what we can expect before we even take a sip. These assumptions have an impact on how we perceive the taste and smell of the beer, ultimately affecting our overall enjoyment.
It’s no secret that WNC’s economy is closely linked with the beer industry. Asheville has sprung up as a brewing center on a national scale thanks to Oskar Blues, Sierra Nevada, and New Belgium putting down roots here and calling it “home”. While tourism is still the driving force for our regional economy, beer tourism is no small player in that category. But don’t take my word for it. When it comes to numbers and beer, Audra Gaiziunas knows a thing or two about a thing or two. She cut her teeth in the beer industry with a little brewery called Dogfish Head seven years ago. “I was working as a pricing consultant for Caterpillar, selling machinery such as skid steer loaders, mini excavators, and backhoes. In short, it was the kismet of the right place, right time, right skillset, and right personality type. I, along with 276 other accountants, applied for the Controller position at Dogfish Head. After two phone interviews, I was one of two people flown up to Delaware for the final round of interviewing, and lo and behold, I got it. To this day I thank Sam and Mariah Calagione for taking a chance on a gal who had no beery numbers experience. They opened a huge door for me. I was drawn to brewing due to its culture and lifestyle. I felt I could be myself without compromise in this industry. I could work hard, create awesome spreadsheets, and improve our processes while sporting pink hair, listening to techno, and shooting rubberbands at my coworkers. Work hard and play hard. I'm very highly extroverted, so being in front of a computer all day just wouldn't work out for me. Nothing traditional has ever really worked out for me.....at least I'm consistent when it comes to that. I abhor the status quo and am always looking to improve things. Thus, I grasped the opportunity to improve the operational infrastructure of a brewery, an area I noticed immediately as a weakness in our industry.”
Since then she’s moved on to offer a variety of financial services to breweries across the country from her home base in Asheville. “I own Brewed For Her Ledger, which is my own consultancy. I work with both startup and existing breweries and cideries by writing and vetting business plans and pro formas, implementing financial and inventory management software, designing custom-tailored charts of accounts, training owners and staff on bookkeeping and process flow, conducting valuations on existing breweries, and acting as a project manager throughout buildouts and expansions. I also conduct operational audits, observing how information flows through the brewery and ultimately lands on the financial statements, seeking out and eliminating inefficiencies, omissions, and inaccuracies. I'm a basically a one-stop shop offering c-suite (CEO/COO/CFO) services on a fractional basis at a rate startup and small breweries can afford.” She has worked with breweries in our area such as The Wedge, Bhramari, Green Man, Asheville Brewing, Frog Level, and Heinzelmännchen as well as several breweries in Charlotte, Raleigh, Durham, and Greensboro.
Audra is also the national treasurer for The Pink Boots Society, a professional group for women in the brewing industry, as well as Mountain Ale and Lager Tasters (MALT), a homebrew club in Asheville. When we spoke, Audra had just gotten back to Asheville for the weekend. She’s been flying to Baton Rouge, LA every week to serve as the interim CEO of Tin Roof Brewing Company while they are undergoing expansion. Tin Roof was recently granted the opportunity to create the first officially licensed beer for LSU.
I wanted to know what excites Audra about the Asheville beer economy. “People ask me all the time about the Asheville Beer Bubble. We certainly haven’t reached anything like that yet. As long as you can create something new or provide a new experience, there is unlimited potential for growth in this industry. The only limit is your imagination. As long as you can provide a sense of place tied to a local community, the possibilities are endless.” She went on to mention the education that North Carolina offers to people entering the brewing industry. AB Tech, NC State, ASU, Rockingham Community College, Blue Ridge Community College, and Nash Community College all offer professional training with a variety of focuses within the field. “These education programs are raising awareness of Asheville and North Carolina in general on a national level. Companies want to be here because they know we can provide skilled employees.” In addition to a skilled labor force, Audra points to NC’s friendly legislation and even more friendly legislation coming down the pike soon as another example of how we are drawing new business to our area either through east coast expansions of established breweries or by entrepreneurs choosing to open a brewery in their neighborhood.
With all of this growth, Audra and Brewed for Her Ledger have no shortage of work. I asked her what she sees down the road for herself and her business. “I'd love to add a few people to my team in the areas of bookkeeping and financial project management as I continue taking on larger, more involved roles at growing breweries. Who knows what's next after that? I'm not much a planner. I'm more of a journey versus destination gal. As the craft beer industry continues to evolve, the services I offer will as well. Currently I'm focused more on conducting a greater number of brewery valuations for acquisitions and exits, but who knows what will happen after that? The surprises are all part of the fun.”
To help her reach these goals, Brewed for Her Ledger has just been chosen as one of seventeen businesses to participate in the fourth cohort of ScaleUp WNC, which provides intensive growth strategy development and implementation assistance to businesses in the Mountain Biz Works area.
To learn more about Audra and Brewed for Her Ledger visit http://www.brewedforherledger.com/
To learn more about ScaleUp WNC visit http://www.mountainbizworks.org/business-planning-start-ups-entrepreneur-classes-coaching/scaleupwnc/
Join us TONIGHT, Friday, at Metro Wines, 5-7pm, for some thirst-quenching beers.
According to old English standards, a "session" beer contains between 3-4% alcohol by volume. Despite this definition, this is an often debated subject. In this article (https://www.beeradvocate.com/articles/653/) Beer Advocate tries to clarify.
Two of the three beers we are tasting tonight meet the requirements of a session beer. The final beer featured is new in the store and there is no way I could keep it off the taste tonight. So come on down for a FREE taste and start your weekend off right. Sieze summer and don't let go...the PUMPKINS are coming!
Painting the town red...with RASPBERRIES!
Join us tonight, July 22, at Metro Wines, 5-7pm for our Friday Beer Tasting. FREE!!!
PISGAH RED DEVIL
"This 9% Belgian-style ale was originally brewed to commemorate Pisgah's 200th batch. Packed with over one pound of cherries and raspberries per gallon, the Red Devil balances delicately between tart and not-too-sweet."
EPIC BREWING LIL' BRAINLESS RASPBERRY
"Lil' Brainless® Raspberries is an easy drinking canned version of our big, bold 22oz. bottle of Brainless® Raspberries crafted especially for those who seek bright, fresh, and real raspberry flavors in a convenient size. We brew exclusively with natural raspberry puree, which gives this beer its unique pink color as well as hints of raspberry bubble-gum, sweet fruit jam, and pleasant dryness that makes this beer perfect for easy going affairs, indoors or out."
This Friday, July 15, 5-7pm at Metro Wines, Jessica Arvidson of Mystery Brewing, joins us as we taste some of our favorite Mystery brews.
Lockwood’s Retreat-West Coast IPA- 5.6% A big, hoppy, American style IPA. Millennium, Columbus, Zythos, and Chinook hops blend with a sweet, malty palate with strong honey notes for a classic American IPA. Everything you want in a hoppy beer.
Papa Bois-Citrus Foreign Extra Stout- 7.3% The Caribbean has a long tradition of sweet, fruity stouts that are delicious and refreshing in hot weather. While continuing that tradition, we’ve upped the ante on refreshing by adding lemongrass and fresh lemon zest.
Queen Anne’s Revenge- 5.0% Carolinian Dark Ale. This beer is a darker version of an English-style IPA, showing off the soft bitterness of traditional English hops balanced with the richness of roasted malt.
Jack Thorne-London-style Porter- 5.0% A smooth, classic London-style porter with currents of dark caramel, chocolate, espresso, and even a light wisp of smoke.
An adventure-loving and aromatic citrus IPA. Brewed with nuanced German Mandarina Bavaria and Hull Melon hops and bold, juicy American oranges, expect intense orange and tropical notes and a crisp, bright finish. This one is a palate-pleaser.
ASHEVILLE BREWING LEMON SPACE DOG
Change of plans! When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade, right?
Since last week our supply of ABC Lemon Space Dog flew out the store and we are unable to feature Highland Lost Cove, we're going to bring Asheville Brewing's Lemon Space Dog back for ROUND 2!
Oranges and lemons are the perfect pair for this hot, muggy weather.
Seasonal Lemon Space Dog comes on just in time to provide thirst-quenching relief to get you through the summer. Newish strain of hops, Lemondrop, adds a zesty, citrusy aroma ad flavor to this refreshing brew, while the malted wheat offers balance and smoothness.
Our friends at Front Street Brewing are losing a force to be reckoned with this month. Head Brewer Kelsie Cole is relinquishing her throne. She will be missed. What follows is an article I wrote about Kelsie while she was in her role as Head Brewer. I'm just going to leave this here as an homage to her hard work and dedication to Front Street and the brewing industry. Cheers Kelsie!
This time of year is all about getting out of our schedules, out of doors, and even [dare I say it?] out of town. I know, sacrilege. But hear me out! In addition to great beaches, Wilmington has a lot that we in WNC love about our mountain towns: a thriving arts scene, a chic downtown full of independently owned small businesses, plenty of quality local music in a variety of venues, and…wait for it…breweries! Wilmington boasts eight local breweries, and there are two more coming soon! There’s no reason you can’t see them all over the course of a long weekend, but if you have to choose make sure you visit Front Street Brewery. Celebrating its twenty-first year in business, Front Street is the oldest and most established brewery in Wilmington. They produce about 1200 barrels (that’s 296,000 pints) of beer each year. Most of that beer is made by Front Street’s Head Brewer, Kelsie Cole.
Kelsie started working at Front Street as a hostess in 2008, when she was just eighteen years old. She quickly transitioned to serving, and then bartending her way through college. “With the help of Front Street's former Assistant Brewer, Christopher McGarvey, I started home brewing. That was the nail in the coffin for my career path in sales, and utilizing my Business/ Marketing degree. Using my creativity and passion for flavors was more important to me than talking about such flavors. The introvert in me began to realize maybe making the product I'd been selling and pitching for years would be a more appropriate path.” In 2013, Kelsie made the transition from front of the house to beer production. In three short years she’s gone from cleaning kegs and helping out to Assistant Brewer, to Head Brewer. “The past three years have flown by so fast I'm still trying to press pause and embrace everything.”
Kelsie has literally embraced everything about her role. Very quickly she’s learned to fix pumps and glycol systems. She’s tackled the challenge of a poor barley crop year, and has become one with the twenty-five year old 10 barrel system. Kelsie says she enjoys being in control of the brewhouse, even though she realizes that some things are outside of anyone’s control on an older system. “How involved you are is reflected in how the beer turns out. Being the one person in charge of the wort (unfermented beer) is a lot pressure. Not only do I have Front Street’s legacy to continue, but my name also goes out with every beer that I make.” Kelsie uses that pressure to constantly improve. “I am always asking myself how I can change a recipe to make it better, or improve my efficiency.”
Being twenty-six years old and eight years into a career in the craft beer industry, Kelsie has literally grown up in Front Street Brewery. “A few years ago I was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. I wanted to learn and do as much as I could. These days, I’m trying to focus on finding a balance while taking on more responsibility both at the brewery and in the community. I’m working a lot of hours in addition to traveling frequently to attend conferences.” Now, she says the focus is on not overworking herself and carving out time for relaxation, as well as giving back to nonprofit organizations that are doing amazing work in Wilmington. Her solution to all of these life challenges is Warrior Two’s and Brews, a yoga class at the brewery that takes place every other Monday. They suggest each attendee donate $10, which is then donated to local charity organizations. Fifty percent of the proceeds are donated to Yoga Village, a small, local non-profit that works to get yoga in classrooms across New Hanover and Brunswick County. The remaining fifty percent goes to another local NP of the instructor's choice. “Since we started in September, we’ve raised over $2,000 for local nonprofits. It’s so cool to walk into a place and hand them a check and thank them for what they do,” she says. “It feels good to support the people that are the core of the community.” These donations are in addition to Front Street’s preexisting charity beers that are made each year for the sole purpose of supporting different sectors of the community. One of these beers is called Battleship Pale Ale, and supports the preservation of the USS North Carolina, which is docked in Wilmington. It is retired from active military assignments, and serves only as a museum. This year, the release party of Battleship Pale Ale took place May 23rd on the deck of the ship, with a Warrior Two’s and Brews session to kick off the festivities. “I get goosebumps just talking about it,” Kelsie says. “Here’s this battleship with guns and cannons and implements of war, and in the midst of all of it, we’re doing yoga, which is all about peace and harmony. And we’re going to do a lot of good for our community in the meantime.”
When Kelsie isn’t brewing or changing the world, you can find her educating new hires at Front Street about beer styles and food pairings. She also gives tours of the brewing facility for the public every day between three and five o’clock, and she even enjoys a good beer herself from time to time. “My favorite beer style is IPA. I consider my blood type to be Sculpin.”
All photos of Kelsie photo credit Megan Deitz www.megandietz.com
Join us this Friday, July 1st, 5-7pm at Metro Wines to pick out some beers for the most patriotic celebration of the year, 4th of July.
Available to taste for FREE we've selected some great local beers of varying styles that will pair perfectly with your Independence Day activities and food. And they're all in CANS.
GREEN MAN WAYFARER
This easy-drinking IPA from Green Man has undergone a can makeover this year. Sporting a bright blue "do", Green Man Wayfarer is the perfect companion for this upcoming 4th of July. Pack it in, pack it out.
AMB BABA BUDAN - FONTA FLORA COLLABORATION
This Coffee IPA is a collaboration with Fonta Flora brewery in Morganton, NC. We took a West-coast style IPA and infused it with 80 lbs of locally roasted coffee from Espresso News in Boone. It's a delicious mix of roasted and citrus aromas in a beer that will delight drinkers of both.
ASHEVILLE BREWING LEMON SPACE DOG
Seasonal Lemon Space Dog comes on just in time to provide thirst-quenching relief to get you through the summer. Newish strain of hops, Lemondrop, adds a zesty, citrusy aroma ad flavor to this refreshing brew, while the malted wheat offers balance and smoothness.
Join us this upcoming Friday, June 24, 5-7pm, to taste some exceptional Sour Ales "ON THE HOUSE!"
GRIMM Artisan Ales - Rainbow Dome
For the first time at Metro Wines, GRIMM Artisan Ales is making an appearance with Rainbow Dome, a dry-hopped sour ale brewed with apricots and conditioned on oak.
GRIMM Artisan Ales is an award-winning Brooklyn-based gypsy brewery started in the apartment kitchen of Lauren and Joe Grimm when they were students in Providence, RI. "What is a gyspy brewer you ask?" Gyspy brewers are artists and creators without the overhead costs and risk of owning a brick and mortar brewery. They "lease" unused space and time in existing breweries, to brew their concoctions.
GRIMM describes this ale as, "A glowing opaque yellow pour with long-lasting white foam. Tart aromas of stone fruit and fruity hops (El Dorado, Columbus, Cascade). Intense apricot on the palate with soft inviting acidity. Full, creamy mouthfeel with pleasantly spicy tannins from both fruit skins and new oak. Crush, crush, crush."
New Belgium Tart Lychee
For those of you who arent' familiar with story behind New Belgium's Lips of Faith Series, it started as an employee competition, called the Loose Lips Competition. Employees would gather for a beer tasting to the 10th degree. Each employee in Loose Lips tastes a secret blend of three New Belgium Beers on tap concocted by the previous year's winner. In order to win the competition they not only have to guess which beers are blended, but the percentages that make up the final blend. The employee who guesses closest to the top secret recipe wins the opportunity to brew any beer their dreams desire to be poured in the New Belgium Liquid Center.
It has happened on more than one occasion that the employee-imagined beer is so dang good that it is added to the Lips of Faith Series or seasonal rotation. I'm guessing this is the case with New Belgium's new Lips of Faith release Tart Lychee, a wood-aged sour ale blended with ale brewed with lychee and cinammon.
"According to Lauren, the imaginator of this pucker-pleasing ale, Lychee fruit is so insanely sweet and flavorful you almost can’t stand it alone. Sour to the rescue! Tart Lychee is brewed with exotic lychee fruit and cinnamon, and then blended with sour Felix from our wood cellar for a citrusy, tropical sip that attacks with an invigorating tart bite. Explore the tropics, but brace for the wild."
This past week, my parents have been visiting me in Asheville. As we traipsed around town, stopping here and there for a bite to eat or a refreshment, my Dad continued to ask me for a beer he could drink. I won't mention what he has been drinking, but it's from a brewery that rhymes with "dud" and has an abv of 2.4%. My mom? Well, she likes a glass of wine, but has gladly joined the quest for the perfect beer.
This got me thinking...we have a wide variety of beer on our shelves of varying styles and I truly believe there is something for everyone. That leads to the big question what beers make a good "gateway" to world of craft beers?
Join us at Metro Wines this upcoming Friday, June 17 to taste my recommendations! 5-7pm at 169 Charlotte Street in North Asheville. Don't like craft beer? Perfect!
Wicked Weed Lunatic Blonde
Brewed with Belgian hops and yeast, this Blonde Ale imparts the fruity, bread flavors of a classic Belgian Blonde. It is simplicity at its finest and pleasant introduction into the subtle, pleasant flavors attained through care, detail, and quality ingredients invested by craft breweries. The packaging tells the story best..."Some believe it moonstruck madness to craft Old World ales for modern palettes constantly clamoring for the extremes of 'Hoppy' or 'Sour.' While our love for those extremities is strong, we believe that subtley, balance, and simplicity in beer are sacred necessities."
Hi Wire Uprisin Hefeweizen
Hi Wire describes Uprisin as, "...a traditional hefeweizen with just the right balance of banana, clove, and peppercorn spice. Brewed with North Carolina grown wheat from Asheville's Riverbend Malt House, this hazy straw colored beer is perfect for any lazy summer day.
Hefeweizens are German style of beer literally meaning yeast (hefe) and wheat (weisse). Hi Wire stays fairly true to the German tradition. Uprisin Hefeweizen is a low-bitterness beer, with a clean, refreshing finish. Who doesn't like a good thirst-quencher?
Often referred to as the water of Asheville (purely complimentary). Highland Gaelic is a "A deep amber-colored American ale, featuring a rich malty body. Cascade and Willamette hops add a complex hop flavor and aroma. This ale is exceptionally balanced between malty sweetness and delicate hop bitterness."
We're venturing a little further down the flavor spectrum with the malts and even a little further with the hops. The key is that the two of these ingredients provide "balance." Neither is too intimidating for the craft beer drinker in-training, but both contribute a great deal of flavor. Notes of caramel blend with a soft bitterness at the back of your palate. Highland Gaelic gives all a warm Scottish welcome to the world of craft beer!
New Belgium Hof Ten Dormaal Golden Ale
Beyond recognition...Beer drinkers take their first sip of a beer with some level of expectation. An expectation that the beverage they are about to taste will have some similarities to what they identify as beer, whether it be the broad category or a specific style. What if (brace yourselves) the beer they tasted was unlike anything they had ever tasted before? What happens to those preconceived notions? My theory is that if they take a swig of the New Belgian-Hof Ten Dormal collaboration all preconceived notions will fly face first out the door. Drinking this golden ale is a new experience and introducing such a complex beverage to a novice craft beer drinker is adventurous. In the case of my mother, the key to her heart was a Belgian.
"Like New Belgium, Hof Ten Dormaal blurs the line between tradition and innovation: The charming family-owned farm and brewery produces everything from classic Belgian blonds to sours fermented by ambient flora to forward-thinking hoppy saisons. In that spirit, we’ve joined forces to craft a deliciously uncommon springtime golden ale, which blends Old World ingredients with modern flavors. Spelt, malted sunflower seeds, and wild carrot herbs swell for a nutty, bready, grassy wash, while Saaz and Mosaic hops lend spicy, tropical accents to the sip. Kick off your winter boots and welcome in the fresh flavors of spring."
Gose (pronounced GOH-zuh) is a German style of beer that imparts a thirst-quenching lemon, often herbaceous, salinity through it's addition of coriander, salt, and lactic bacteria for fermentation.
As the temperatures rise this weekend, Gose would make a great sidekick to any outdoor activity. Join us tonight, June 10, at Metro Wines from 5-7pm to taste two of our favorites: Asheville's newest Hi-Wire Gose and Westbrook Gose out of Mount Pleasant, SC.
Hi-Wire describes their Gose (4.2%), brewed with Pink Himalayan Salt, as tart, supremely drinkable, and incredibly balanced with complex fruit character. Crisp citrus and lemon-lime from coriander marries with their house Lactobacillus strain, creating subtle notes of stone fruit and apricot in this hazy, sessionable sour wheat beer.
According to Westbrook, this is their interpretation of Gose, a traditional German-style sour wheat beer brewed with coriander and salt. Sour, salty, delicious. Once nearly extinct, this very refreshing style is making a comeback.