Niagara Brewing- Just 200 Meters From the Falls!

Niagara Brewing Co first opened it’s doors just 2 years ago this month. Located next to the Guinness World Records Museum, this 3,000 sq ft brewery which includes a roof top patio with a view of the falls, does its best to not only represent Canada’s brewing heritage but also embrace today’s craft beer culture through innovation and experimentation and the use of locally sourced ingredients.

This place is incredible. The staff is friendly, knowledgeable, and attentive, the food is good, and the beer is very good.

In the sort time since they first opened their doors, they have proven their craft brewing skills again and again. Their BeerDevil IPA has won a Silver Medal at the Canadian Craft Beer Awards, their Niagara Premium Lager has earned a bronze medal at the 14th annual Canadian Brewing Awards as well as a silver medal at the Ontario Brewing Awards, and Niagara Brewing Company was also awarded the Niagara Falls Review’s 2016 Readers Choice Award for “Best Brewery”.

Currently offer 8 hand crafted craft beers on tap-  4 year round offerings (Niagara Premium Lager, BeerDevil IPA, Amber Eh!, and Honeymoon Peach Radler) and  4 seasonal brews (Annies English Ale, Mo-Wheat-O, Hennepin Stout, and Marzen).

No matter what your taste, one of these is sure to make you smile.

Juicy Brews Summer Craft Beer Invitational at Triple Crossing!

Hop Culture is a daily online lifestyle magazine for the newest generation of craft beer drinkers, and they pulled out all the stops for their Juicy Brews Summer Craft Beer Invitational which took place Sunday, June 10, in Richmond VA at Triple Crossing Brewery’s Fulton Hill location.

Hop Culture asked participating breweries to do two things: make sure there was a brewery representative there to answer questions from the attendees, and to serve fresh, juicy beers. It was left up to the breweries to decide what qualified as a juicy beer. As it happened, the overwhelming majority of the beers served were hazy IPAs and fruit forward sours.

According to Hop Culture most craft brewers are first generation brewers and they come from a variety of occupations such as construction, finance, and even the military (Triple Crossing’s head brewer is  a former police officer). Because of this, these craft brewers don’t have decades of preconceptions of what a beer should be, and for that reason they’re not afraid to be creative and to experiment. This was evident in the wide variety of unusual, and unique beers at this festival.

There were 31 breweries and one meadery on hand to celebrate craft beer and creativity from AZ, VT, CT, CO, ME, NY, MD, TN, CA, OH, PA, NJ, NC, SC, and VA.  Some embraced the older, more traditional brewing methods while others preferred newer, more modern methods. Regardless of how they brewed, it was obvious none were afraid to try new ingredients, and new or exotic flavors. Here are just a few of the breweries that stood out.

Both Barreled Souls Brewing from Maine and Cellador Ales in California do 100% of their fermentation in oak barrels, which gives a unique character and a more complex flavor profile to their beer. Not many brewers use this technique today, and when they do, it’s most often used in the production of sours. However when stouts, IPAs, and other beer styles are fermented in barrels, the results can be exceptional.

Horus Aged Ales in California doesn’t ferment their beer in barrels, but they do age all their beer in variety of different wine and spirit barrels. This not only adds some character from the barrels, but also adds flavors and aromas from whatever was originally in the barrel, potentially creating a wide variety of subtle flavors and aromas. 

Schmoojee Wild Berry Pineapple Puffsicle Sour Ale- Imprint Beer

Sour ales are all the rage in some places, but many brewers have been a little hesitant to embrace these tart and sour brews. Partly for fearful of the yeasts that give rise to these flavors making their way into their other beers, and also because the extended time it takes (6 to 18 months) to ferment these brews. Of those that do go down that road, most opt to use cultivated, commercial strains of yeast such as lactobacillus or brettanomyces, while just a handful of brewers chose to use truly “wild” yeasts.

Resident Culture Brewing in North Carolina, in addition to some great IPAs and lagers, also create spontaneous “wild’ fermented ales. This involves leaving the unfermented beer, or wort, exposed to the air, usually overnight, allowing yeasts and bacteria floating around in the air to settle into the wort, before it is placed into barrels to ferment. The ultimate local ingredient, this yeast gives the beer a true local flavor, since the yeast is likely to be found nowhere else.

Southern Grist Brewing in Tennessee loves to experiment with contemporary beer styles and are best known for their constantly rotating selection of beers that utilize non-traditional ingredients and fruit forward flavor profiles.

Acai Bowl J.R.E.A.M Sour- Burley Oak Brewery

Burley Oak Brewing in Maryland also loves to experiment. Even after five years, they are still one of the smallest breweries in Maryland, and unlike nearly every craft brewery in the country they have no flagship brew. Instead, they brew a new beer every week!

New Park Brewing in Connecticut opened its doors just a little over a year ago,  and sold so much beer their opening weekend they had to close for two weeks just to restock!  They were serving Blackberry Berliner Weisse and Spectrum DIPA, and after sampling both, I am not surprised.

Juicy Brews certainly lived up to its name, Hop Culture did a fantastic job gathering some great breweries with great beer, and Triple Crossing was an awesome venue. 

This was a tremendous event, and good times were had by all who were in attendance. 

Until next time, here’s to your good health, and may your glass never run dry.

Slainte!

The LoCo Brewfest Presents Some of Loudoun County VA’s Best

On June 2, 2018, Loudoun County, home to 28 breweries, and the LoCo Ale Trail, once again held their LoCo Brewfest, which showcased Loudoun craft breweries, and their finely crafted brews.

The event took place at Loudoun Station, which is mixed residential and commercial community with some great restaurants, shops, and residential living space.  The streets were closed to traffic, and festival attendees were given a glass and all the craft beer they’d care to taste from 24 of the finest craft breweries in Virginia.

There were some amazing beers on tap. All were good, but some were exceptionally good.  Here are some of the beers and breweries that stood out to me.

Phase 2 Cream Ale with Basil

Phase 2 Brewing had a cream ale that was really good, then they dropped a crushed basil leaf in it and POW!  The flavor became even more intense and a little sweeter. Truly remarkable. When I asked what made them think to put a basil leaf in their cream ale they said, “That’s just how we roll.”

Lost Rhino Brewing had a dry Irish stout that could make you think you were in a pub in Dublin.

Not to be out done, Dog Money Brewery also had an Irish style stout that would make an Irishman proud.

Rocket Frog Brewing had a kettle sour that was the very definition of what a kettle sour should be. Pleasantly tart and sour, with a little sweetness.Many brewers are a little weary of brewing sour beers for fear of contamination from the yeasts used to make sours, and it can take significantly longer for a sour beer to ferment (a year or more verses 2 weeks for most ales). But more and more brewers are starting to experiment with sours. Good job Rocket Frog!

Of course, Rocket Frog wasn’t the only brewer there with a sour beer. The Craft of Brewing Brewery had a sour Hefeweizen that was truly exceptional.

Dirt Farm Brewery had a fruit forward ale with an amazing fruity aroma, with hints of apricots and peaches which carry over into the taste. So good!

Bear Chase Brewing isn’t open yet, but they were here at LoCo Brewfest giving everyone a preview of what they can look forward to when they do open in July. I understand their brewery will also include an Air B&B, and a spectacular view of the valley.  If their Pale Blue Yonder Pale Ale and Anarchy Ale are any indication of what we can expect when they open, I think they will be very, very, good.

There are lots of restaurants in Loudoun Station. No matter what you are in the mood for, it’s there. Kababs, burger, sandwiches, pizza, or even bacon wrapped meatloaf, it’s there. I got ahi tuna tacos from The Zone, and they were so good, I had to go back and get them again.

This was a great event. The weather was nice, not too hot, with none of the expected rain. The beer was cold and delicious, and brewery owners and brewmasters were there to answer questions.

If you were there, you don’t need me to tell you what a great time you had. But if you were unable to be there, well, maybe next year?

Until then, may you have good health, and may your glass never run dry.

Cheers!

 

New Realm Brewing in Atlanta Georgia

Recently while on a road trip, I stopped in Atlanta for a bite to eat and a little sleep before continuing on my way. While there, I had dinner with some friends who live there. When asked where I would like to eat, my thoughts immediately turned to craft beer.

A quick internet search told me we had several choices if we were looking for a craft brewery with a dinner menu. After careful consideration, we decided on New Realm Brewing. Located less than a mile north east of downtown Atlanta, it was close by, and had good reviews.

When we got there it was a little difficult finding parking, but we managed. This placed was busy, with a Friday night crowd on a Thursday night.  There was a bit of a wait for a table, so while we waited, we looked around.  

This place was great!  Located in an old industrial building, they spared no expense to create a fist rate venue that includes a rooftop bar with an amazing view of the Atlanta skyline, two event spaces, and a nearly 500 seat restaurant.

The food wasn’t your typical pub fare. While they did have Buffalo wings and giant pretzels, their menu also boasted items like she-crab soup, rice flour crusted trout, beer can chicken, and gourmet wood-fired pizza. 

Of course we mustn’t forget the 20k barrel capacity brewery, making some of the finest craft beer on the east coast!  

We got the spicy Korean pork cheek buns, Durham Ranch lamb sausages, the Meat Head pizza, and the wings, and I ordered a Rock’n Like Bock’n Mailbock and a Hoptropolis IPA to wash it all down. 

Rock’n Like Bock’n was a little lighter in color than some bocks, a little less malty,  and a drier finish, had a nice balance between  toasted malt and the hop bitterness. This was a very good Mailbock.

Hoptropolis was an excellent American style IPA with a wonderful aroma of tropical fruits and citrus, and a flavor profile with a mix of hoppy bitterness, roasted malt, and hints of fruit and pineapple. Quite tasty.

I had a great time at New Realm Brewing. The service was good, the food was good, and the beer was really good. 

If you live in the area and you’ve never been to New Realm you’re missing out. If you don’t live in the area, and find yourself passing through Atlanta, you owe it to yourself stop by. I think you’ll be glad you did.

Cumberland Valley Beer Trail pt 4- Market Cross Pub and Brewery, and Burd’s Nest Brewing

113 NORTH HANOVER STREET, CARLISLE PA 17013

As I continued my journey along the Cumberland Valley Beer Trail our pizza lunch was beginning to be just a distant memory, so my group head to downtown Carlisle to the Market Cross Pub and Brewery. 

This English style pub has been around for nearly 25 years, and was voted “Simply the Best Local Pub” 4 years in a row from 2014 to 2017. However it didn’t start brewing its own hand crafted beers until 2002.   They brought a 10bbl brewing system  over from England, and use it to produce 12-14 styles a year with 3 or 4 on tap at a time.  In addition to their own craft beer, they also offer a variety of local, regional, and national craft beers, as well as some imports.

In addition to a comprehensive selection of beer, they also have a very impressive food menu with classic pub fare, assorted sandwiches, burgers, and a number of dinner selections such as crab stuffed salmon, prime rib, rack of lamb, and New York Strip. I ordered the New York Strip, and began sampling beer.

They had 3 of their own craft beers on tap, so I started with the Pub Daddy Pale Ale. It had a light amber color and an aroma that reminded me of pines and evergreens. There was a good balance between the hop bitterness and roast malt flavor with notes of evergreen and caramel malt. 

The English Red Ale had a deep red color and thick dense head. It had a very malty, slightly sweet bready aroma and flavor. 

The Dublin Your Luck Irish Stout was my favorite.  The head wasn’t very thick, but it lasted. It had a nice chocolate and coffee smell, and a dark, malty flavor, rich, faintly sweet, with a hint of bitter chocolate.

After finishing my delicious steak and another round of beer, we headed out to our next stop, Burd’s Nest Brewing.

19 N Hanover St. Carlisle, PA 17013

Just a couple of block away from Market Cross, the Burd’s Nest was very open and welcoming. They had 4 of their craft beers on tap, and food being prepared and served by local eatery Spoons Cafe’s  off-site location inside the brewery.

One of the brewery’s owner’s, Dave Hamilton, was still there when we arrived, and was more than happy to talk about the brewery in which he obviously took great pride. They have seven 10 bbl fermenters, which double as serving tanks, and a control system which allows them to set temperatures, and transfer beer from on tank to another at the touch of a button. And while co-owner Josh Hood is responsible for most of the brewing, Dave, an avid home brewer, is not afraid to step in and brew, or just clean tanks when needed. 

Their Cold Infused Citra Pale Ale had a slightly cloudy golden hue, a grapefruit/citrus aroma, and a fruity profile with a light caramel malt character.

This place had a very relaxed and comfortable atmosphere and a staff that was friendly and fairly knowledgeable. This would be a great  place to sit and relax with friends any day of the week, but they are only open Thursday through Saturday.

Next stop, Molly Pitcher Brewing.

 

 

Moon River Brewing: Toast with a Ghost!

Founded in 1999 by Gene Beeco and John Pinkerton, Savannah’s Moon River Brewing Co has a great atmosphere, great food, amazing beer, and is located in one of the oldest, and most historic buildings. It was built in 1821, and was not only the first hotel in Savannah, but it also housed the first US Post office in Savannah, and a branch of the Bank of the United States.

The building changed hands many times and sat empty for 20 years until it was finally purchased in 1995, remodeled, and reopened in 1999 as the Moon River Brewing Company. The brewery has all the character that you would expect from a building that is nearly 200 years old, with a warm, relaxing, and inviting atmosphere.

Some of Moon River’s year-round brews include:

Captain’s Porter– a rich, slightly sweet porter with notes of caramel and chocolate
Yoga Pants Pale Ale– a light golden color, light malt, not too hoppy session ale.
Wild Wacky Wit– a witbier, Belgian wheat ale, with a cloudy pale golden color and a mildly fruity aroma with a hint of citrus and breadlines in the taste.
Swamp Fox IPA– a cloudy amber orange color, citrusy aroma with a hint of pine. Not as hoppy as you might expect from an IPA, but still very enjoyable.

In addition to some great beer, this brewery also boasts a full restaurant with menu items that range from simple comfort food to eclectic gourmet. Items such as the classic fried green tomatoes, Creole style chicken and sausage, St. Louis style ribs, and a sausage and potatoes platter made with chargrilled kielbasa and andouille sausages, and grilled onions with smoked Gouda escalloped potatoes and southern coleslaw- just to name a few.

But there’s another side to Savannah’s most popular brewery. In 2003 the American Institute of Paranormal Psychology named Savannah the most haunted city in America. This building is widely considered to be one of the most haunted places in Savannah. The brewery has also been featured on tv’s Ghost Hunters and the Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventurers.

During its long history many people have been said to have passed away there. The building was used as a makeshift hospital during Savannah’s numerous yellow fever outbreaks, and hundreds of people were reported to have died on the upper floors of the building during these outbreaks.

Numerous guests and employees have reported encounters with the building’s living impaired inhabitants. According to Ghost City Tours one woman claimed she thought her date was squeezing her thigh under the table, at least until she realized both his hands were on top of the table.

If you ever find yourself in Savannah GA, you owe it to yourself to stop by and sample the excellent beers and table fair at Moon River Brewing Co. While you’re there, raise your glass, and offer a silent toast to the unseen patrons who sadly can no longer enjoy the simple pleasures Moon River has to offer.