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Metro Wines Asheville, NC

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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 for 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.

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Jess Reiser: Nurturing a Business and Watching it Grow

You know the old saying, “If you want something done, ask the busiest person to do it”? Following that logic, I think I would ask Jess Reiser, co-owner of Burial Beer, to do all of my dirty work! She somehow manages to make running a thriving brewery while raising two young children look easy. When I spoke with Jess, she was just recovering from Burnpile, the annual fall beer festival that started as a get together in their home with a few friends. The festival celebrates the fall harvest by showcasing seasonal offerings from a variety of breweries across the state. “Festivals are fun, but they are also a lot of work. We don’t have to put on an event like this,” Jess says, “but festivals and events are part of Burial.” She points to the sickle that is part of the logo. “Burial, for some, is a necessary step to reach the afterlife. At Burial Beer Co., we see it as a celebration: of life, of the cyclical nature of harvest and of the brewing process. We find glory in the things that once were.” Bringing the community of brewers together with the community of craft beer enthusiasts in a repurposed building to celebrate this cycle just makes sense. When Jess, Doug, and Tim started Burial in 2013, they had a one barrel system (that’s two kegs in each batch) that made it hard to keep up with demand for their beer. Now, just two and a half years later, they have expanded to a ten barrel system with thirty barrel fermenters. Burial is producing more beer and hosting more guests than ever before. The opportunity to purchase the building they had been leasing arose. This allowed Burial to expand into the outdoor spaces that surrounds the building at 40 Collier Ave. In 2015, they added cans to their line of offerings, and began distribution to other parts of the state, including Charlotte, The Triangle and the Triad. The brewery is currently looking for a second location for additional expansion. All of these are big strides as a young company experiencing steady growth, but they are giant leaps for a mother of two boys, ages four and two. The youngest, Nash, was born just two months after Burial opened! Suddenly, the burgeoning brewery and petite owner appear much bigger than at first glance! Jess has single handedly managed the public relations, marketing, human resources, book keeping, and event planning! Only recently was she able to expand her sales team and delegate tasting room management to their General Manger about a year ago. Even still, she insists that Burial is growing at a pace that is comfortable for them. I had to know how she was able to juggle all of these elements, and so well at that. Prior to opening a brewery, Jess worked at a large nonprofit that worked toward getting homeless adults into housing and connecting them with resources. In her role in the fundraising department, she wrote grants, planned events, managed social media accounts, built and strengthened the brand and their marketing campaign. All of this experience has prepared her for what she is doing now. She also holds a Masters in Art Administration, which has helped with the visual branding of Burial Beer Company. “Tim and Doug also have a great eye,” Reiser says. “I fell in love with European Renaissance paintings while I was in school, specifically Northern Renaissance paintings. Now we have a line of beers named after famous works from this genre.” She adds that they work with an artist to communicate the cyclical theme by including a light side and a dark side to each of their can designs. They show the artist the painting the beer is named after, and he creates new pieces that nod at the original piece while staying true to Burial’s brand. So what’s next for Jessica and Burial Beer? She says that they are currently looking for a second location that would have more space for a larger taproom and production facility. With this new location they hope to grow production, but not beyond 16,500 barrels per year. “Even if we were met with demand and could grow past that, we wouldn’t,” Jess says. “We want to remain a manageable niche brewery. All we really want is to make a living, and retire one day. Maybe take a vacation once in a while, and pay for our kids’ college.” When asked what she would say to other women looking to go into business for themselves, Jess had this to say, “Women are often met with the challenge of wanting to do it all – children, taking on leadership roles, or opening a business – and feeling like they have to choose. I would tell other women that they can do it all. Having a business is a lot like having a child. It’s stressful, and the future is uncertain yet it is extremely rewarding. I have maternal feelings toward my business, and I care for it as I would a child. Parenting and owning a business challenge you in many of the same ways, but they are ways that make you a better person. Sometimes I wish I could fast forward ten years and know that my kids are healthy and happy, and the business is successful. But I think it’s important to remember that we are only human. No one can anticipate everything that will come up. We just deal with the curve balls as they come.”
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Back to the Future for Craft Beer

                There is a growing trend in the craft beer movement toward historical styles these days. This gets me excited.  It means that more people are getting serious about learning about beer, not just seeing who can pound the most flavorless, water-like beverages.  We are going for quality here, not quantity.  Some of these styles have only existed in history books until they were resurrected in liquid form by the craft brewers and home brewers striving for preservation and innovation of libation. In fact, the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) just added an entire section devoted to Historical Styles for judges to go by at homebrew festivals.  This means that more of them are showing up at competitions as well as on the shelves.  What’s all the fuss about?  Let’s take a look, shall we?

Gose [pronounced “goes-uh”]: This sour, salty wheat beer was nearly extinct at the end of the twentieth century. Traditionally fermented with both brewer’s yeast and lactobacillus to add acidity, this style takes its name from the Gose River in Goslar, Germany, where it is thought to have originated over one thousand years ago when adventurous brewers decided to see what would happen if they made beer with the area’s naturally salty water. More commercial representations of this style are coming on the market every day, and the Gose fan club is growing.  Some examples include Westbrook Brewing’s Gose, Anderson Valley Brewing’s The Kimmie, The Yink, and the Holy Gose, Victory Brewing’s Kirsch Gose, Evil Twin Brewing’s Mission Gose, and Braustelle’s  Freigeist Geisterzug Gose.

Kentucky Common: A dark cream ale that sprang up from the mineral rich carbonate water in and around Louisville, Kentucky in the late 1800’s and went the way of the buffalo when Prohibition hit Kentucky in 1919.  As with traditional cream ales, corn grits are used to add mouthfeel.  Unlike other cream ale recipes, however, this one calls for about ten percent of the grains to be caramel or dark roasted.  When carbonate (CO3 ) water is used (often in conjunction with calcium and/or magnesium) in the process as it was in Louisville, the color of the malts is more easily extracted from the kernel resulting in a darker beer than carbonate-free water.  Commercial example: Apocalypse Brew Works Ortel’S 1912

Lichtenhainer: This is a smoky, sour wheat beer made from a mash of smoked wheat and malted barley that orginated from the central German region of Thuringia. It is often thought of as the love child of the tart Berliner Wiesse and the smokey Grätzer (we’ll get to those in a moment). They are characterized by their low ABV (around 4 or 5%) and almost nonexistent hop presence. As with Gose and the Kentucky Common, this style was popular in the late 1800’s.  Commercial examples include Westbrook Brewing’s Lichtenhainer.

London Brown Ale: A caramel, toffee, sometimes chocolatey dessert in a glass! This style uses a hefty proportion of medium to dark roasted barley and carbonate water to get as much the flavors and color out of the grains as possible. They aren’t quite as dark as a stout, and sweeter than a Dark English Mild with an average ABV of only 3%.  We can trace the history of this beer back to its invention by Mann’s in 1902 in London. Brown Ale had previously been a blanket term that encompassed many styles including milds and porters. Commercial examples include Mann's Brown Ale, Harvey’s Nut Brown Ale, Harvey’s Old Ale.

Grätzer [GRATE-sir]: This beer actually has two names because the Polish city of Grodzisk it derived from was called Grätz when it was ruled by Prussia and Germany.  Therefore, you may see it referred to as Piwo Grodziskie [pivo grow-JEES-keeuh].  This is the smokey wheat beer that is rumored to have inspired the Lichtenhainer style we discussed earlier. Grätzer is made of all or almost all oak wood smoked malted wheat, several strains of ale yeasts, and German, Czech, or Polish hop varieties.  It sports a thick, white head of foam and a golden clarity accomplished not from filtering but from the addition of Isinglass finings. While this style was made for several hundred years, it was most popular at the turn of the 20th century and died out after World War II. Commerical examples include Professor Fritz Briem Piwo Grodziskie-Grätzer Ale and New Belgium and The 3 Floyds collaboration Lips of Faith Grätzer (now out of production).

Roggenbier: Described as a dunkleweizen made from a mash of at least 50% rye instead of wheat, this is a light orange to dark red or brown beer with a thick, frothy foam. The rye imparts a creamy mouthfeel and an unmistakeable spice that is balanced with the banana clove esters delivered by the weizen yeast.  Light use of hops in this style keep the flavors of the yeast and grains front and center. This style was never very popular, and was only made in a small area of Bavaria called Regensburg. It struggled to gain widespread production because of the German purity law known as Reinheitsgebot.  In an effort to make more solid bread available for a starving population, the law was enacted in 1516 and dictated that only barley should be used to make beer so that other grains could be preserved for bread production. Paulaner Roggen (formerly Thurn und Taxis, no longer imported into the US), Bürgerbräu Wolznacher Roggenbier

Sahti: There’s a lot of debate over what distinguishes a Sahti from other styles.  Most descriptions include a good proportion of rye in the malt bill, and juniper berries for balancing the sweetness rather than hops, and low carbonation.  The truth is that there simply aren’t a lot of commercial representations of this style, and they vary widely from one another, in part because of the history.  Sahti is a traditional Finnish beer that until very recent history, was strictly homebrew.  Because of the lack of commercial breweries defining this style, home brewers have been free to tweak recipes to their liking.  The BJCP has the most narrow description of the style that I’ve found, claiming that sourness is not appropriate and that the yeast character should be limited to the banana-clove esters of a weizen yeast. Other self-proclaimed Finnish Sahtis include the tartness of wild fermentation, and some do use hops rather than juniper for flavor balance. What is consistent, however, is that this beer does not undergo a boil as most beers do.  This means that the proteins are not omitted from the beer, and stay behind as a slick mouthfeel and a pronounced sweetness. The beer is later filtered over a bed of juniper branches to impart a piney, gin-like flavor in most cases, but not all.  Commerical examples include Dogfish Head Sah’tea, New Belgium Sahti Ale, and Samuel Adams Norse Legend.

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Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow
It’s no secret that I have aspirations to enter the brewing industry. Most of you know that I’ve been working toward a degree in Brewing, Distillation, and Fermentation at AB Tech’s Craft Beverage Institute of the Southeast. I even know what position I want to pursue!  I wrote about it here. So, I am excited to share with you all that I have been offered, and have accepted a position as Cellarman at Mystery Brewing in Hillsborough, NC. If you aren’t familiar with this title or what I will be doing, here’s a fun interview with a few cellarmen that explains it all very well.  I will be making the transition from beer buying to beer producing at the beginning of 2016. 
 
As excited as I am to take this position, I am also sad to have to say good-bye to Asheville and Metro Wines. That includes all of you that I have gotten to know through our interactions in the shop!  I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know you and your tastes and preferences and geeking out with you about beer this last year!  While my presence in the shop will be limited to occasional guest appearances, I will continue to share my writing on this blog, as well as Asheville Grit and WNC Woman Magazine!  
 
I am also excited to invite you all to a special tasting of Mystery Brewing Company’s beers at Metro Wines on Wednesday, December 30th from 5-7pm. I’ll be here to share the beers that I will soon have a hand in creating. Jessica from Mystery will be on hand as well as Erika who will be filling my role here at the shop. I hope to see you there, also!  Please come out and share in my excitement! 
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Drink Like a Girl With Dogfish Head!

Drink Like a Girl With Dogfish Head!

Brewing Up A Storm will host Drink Like a Girl with Wes Anderson from Dogfish Head on Friday, December 11 from 5-7 pm. Join us for this free beer tasting featuring four Dogfish Head beers!  Wes will be available to answer questions about Dogfish Head and their beers!  Here's what we'll pour:

This was the first beer in our Ancient Ales series.
 
This sweet yet dry beer is made with ingredients found in 2,700-year-old drinking vessels from the tomb of King Midas. Somewhere between beer, wine and mead, Midas will please the chardonnay and beer drinker alike.
 
For years, Dogfish Head has worked with biomolecular archaeologist Dr. Patrick McGovern to bring Ancient Ales to life. For more on Midas Touch and the experience of Penn Museum excavators as they uncovered the tomb of the legendary King Midas, read this essay from Dr. Pat.
 
An unfiltered, unfettered, unprecedented brown ale aged in handmade wooden brewing vessels. The caramel and vanilla complexity unique to this beer comes from the exotic Paraguayan Palo Santo wood from which these tanks were crafted. Palo Santo means "holy tree," and its wood has been used in South American wine-making communities.

This highly roasty and malty brown ale clocks in at 12% ABV. A huge hit at our Rehoboth Beach brewpub when first released in November 2006, Palo went into full production at the end of 2007.

At 10,000 gallons, our two Palo tanks are the largest wooden brewing vessels built in America since before Prohibition (and we have three same-sized oak tanks right next to them).

Sixty-One, our first new core beer since 2007, was born at the crossroads of serendipity, experimentation and brotherhood.

Whenever Dogfish Head President Sam Calagione and his neighborhood friends gather for drinks, they give each other a big ol' man-hug and order a round of 60 Minute IPA. A few years ago, Sam also ordered a glass of his favorite red wine and poured a little into each pint of 60 Minute. They all dug the combination of fruity complexity and pungent hoppiness, and the blend became a beloved tradition.

Sixty-One captures that tradition in a bottle and marries two Dogfish Head innovations: beer/wine hybrids -- which Dogfish has focused on for well over a decade with beers like Midas Touch and Raison D'être -- and continually-hopped IPAs.

The name Sixty-One is a reminder that this beer is Dogfish Head's best-selling 60 Minute IPA plus one new ingredient: syrah grape must from California. The label, painted by Sam, is a twist on a typical watercolor. Rather than using water, Sam mixed the green pigment with beer and the red pigment with wine. And because Sixty-One pairs so well
with chocolate, he painted the browns on the label with melted chocolate.

60 Minute IPA is continuously hopped -- more than 60 hop additions over a 60-minute boil. (Getting a vibe of where the name came from?)

60 Minute is brewed with a slew of great Northwest hops. A powerful but balanced East Coast IPA with a lot of citrusy hop character, it's the session beer for hardcore enthusiasts!

Every Beer Has A Story...

In our Quick Sip Clip video below, Sam Calagione talks about the 60 Minute IPA. For some perspective, he compares this beer to its predecessor, 90 Minute IPA, and its big brother, 120 Minute IPA.

Sam stepped out of the brewery for the taping of this Quick Sip Clip and comes to us from the place where it all started: Dogfish Head, Maine.

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Thanksgiving Beers!

Thanksgiving Beers!

I'm sure I'll repeat myself many, many times over the next couple of weeks, as I'm already getting asked what I'll be drinking on Thanksgiving Day.  Here are my picks for pairing with hors devours, main course, and dessert! 

Hors devours: Cider!

 Naked Cider, Hendersonville, NC

Their Wicked Peel is a very apple-y cider that gets your salvating glands going!  Depending on your menu, the Blackberry Gold is also delicious!  

Main Course: Light, fresh flavors

Try Twice as Nice Dopplebock from Hi-Wire Brewing, Asheville, NC, Harvester Octoberfest from Green Man Brewing, Asheville, NC, or Ovila Abbey Saison from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co, MIlls River, NC.

Dessert: Dark, sweet, and maybe a little spicy!

Try Imperial Pumpkin Smash from Crown Valley Brewing, Ste. Genevive, MO, or either of these great ones from Blind Squirrel Brewing in Plumtree, NC.

 

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