Category Archive: Barley Pop

All things beer related

3.2 in the rearview

For this week’s “Tuesdays on Tap” post (a tradition we plan to be more consistent with this time around), I’d like to tell you about some interesting Mississippi brews.

You may remember that when we traveled to Mississippi recently we decided to bring along provisions since our previous experience had been that good craft beer was pretty scarce down there.  I have to tell you that we were pleased to discover not one, but two Mississippi breweries with offerings we really enjoyed.

Truth be told, our provisions were gone in about two three days.  Hey…we shared.  It wasn’t all us.  We don’t drink that much.  So, as we still had 9 more days to go in the Magnolia State, we had to go in search of replenishments.  While in Jackson, we found Lazy Magnolia’s Southern Pecan and Timber Beast at the local Kroger.  We had hopes of getting our hands on their Jefferson Stout (a sweet potato cream stout) and Southern Hops’pitality (a traditional IPA) as well, but couldn’t seem to locate those.

The Southern Pecan is a lightly hopped caramelly nut brown ale that, according to Lazy Magnolia’s website is the first beer in the world brewed with pecans.  While in MS, I had it bottled at my in-laws house and on draught at three different locations.  Both delicious, but the draught was obviously my favorite.  It became my go-to Mississippi brew.

 

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The Timber Beast is an Imperial Rye IPA which is the first in Lazy Magnolia’s “Back Porch Series.”  The name of this series sounds special and interesting, but I have yet to find a definition of what all it actually entails.    If I ever get down to the brewery in Kiln, MS I’ll have to ask.  Whatever it is, it got this brew a Beer Advocate rating of 90 (exceptional) and at 9% it was actually illegal to brew, own or distribute in Mississippi until last summer.  Being an Imperial Rye IPA, this one was more The Mr’s style…or so you’d think.  But more on that later!

While out and about in the Brandon area one evening we decided to pop into the local Mellow Mushroom as we were jonesing for a draught and we knew the Mellow Mushroom would have a good selection.  We were pleased to find that a new Mississippi brewery, Lucky Town Brewing Co (from Gluckstadt, MS) had a selection tapped there – their Ballistic Blonde.

 

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It’s a Belgian Style Blonde Ale that clocks in around 5.1% with notes of banana and spice.  It was very refreshing, the kind of beer you want to drink outside on a warm summer evening.  Since February in Mississippi ranges in temps from 40-73 degrees (I was drinking it on a 68 degree February day), you are pretty much good to drink it year round down there.  Lucky Town is apparently a newly opened brewery (so much so that it doesn’t appear to have an open tap room yet) and currently only has two offerings – the Ballistic Blonde and the Flare Incident Oatmeal Stout. (Lucky Town folks, if you read this and I’m wrong, please correct me.  We’d sure love to visit the next time we are down that way.)

Later that week we made the pilgrimage north to God’s country – Oxford, MS.  (Aw, I miss it…)  While in OxVegas, we were pleased to have more opportunities to enjoy these local brews.  I mentioned that I washed down my City Grocery Shrimp and Grits with a Timber Beast.

 

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I’ve stated time and time again that The Mr is the IPA fan in the family.  But, I knew from my Beer and Cheese pairing class at NoDa last October that I can really enjoy an IPA with the right smoky gouda.  I have the recipe for City Grocery’s Shrimp and Grits and, while it doesn’t include gouda, I knew that it included parmesan and extra-sharp white cheddar cheeses and had enough of a smokey quality that I would more than enjoy a hoppy Timber Beast with it.  I was right.  The bite of the Timber Beast beautifully balanced the spice and smoke of the Shrimp and Grits for me.  It was a perfect pairing.

A couple days later I discovered that Oxford’s new-to-me-Cajun-dive, Irie on the Square, had Lucky Town’s Flare Incident tapped.  My research told me that this was an oatmeal stout, which I knew would be right up my alley.  The Mr offered to go start us a tab while I got a table and caught up with old friends.  When I asked him to get me a Flare Incident, I assumed that it wouldn’t be necessary to specify that I only wanted a pint.  I was wrong.  This is what I was brought…

 

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If you haven’t inferred from context, let me clarify.  The vat-o-beer on the right is what he brought me.  Sadly, this was our third stop of the evening, so I didn’t have the capacity for 32 extra ounces of beer. (What was he thinking?!?)  I barely made a dent in this maple syrup laced baby.  But, what I did drink, I very much enjoyed.  I’m looking forward to encountering this Incident again…albeit it in a somewhat smaller delivery vehicle.

The reason that finding these great local craft beers in Mississippi is so amazing is that, until last July, it was illegal to sell or possess beer that contained more than 5% alcohol.  From our experience, though, you were lucky if you could even locate any beers that weighed in over 3.2%, much less find a 5%-er.  That also meant that Lazy Magnolia (the only Mississippi brewery that existed until recently) couldn’t even make higher gravity beers to distribute in other states.    Thanks to the hard work of grass roots organizations like Raise Your Pints Mississippi the governor signed the craft beer bill into law on April 9, 2012 making “brews that are up to 8 percent alcohol by weight, or 10 percent by volume” legal in Mississippi as of July 1, 2012.  This was our first trip back since the law changed and, boy, did it make going home that much better.

(Side note – the grass roots efforts are now working on initiatives to legalize home brewing the  Magnolia State.)

So, Mississippi, let’s raise you pints!  Here’s to keeping those 3.2’s in the rearview mirror!

newmrssig

 

Permanent link to this article: http://kitchendoesnttravel.com/blog/archives/1093

provisions

We are headed to MS for a few days to help out with some family things and then go to a reunion for me.  We are both native Mississipians, and as much as we love it, compared to NC it is a craft beer wasteland.  That isn’t to say that Mississippi is completely void of craft beer.  It’s just that, when compared to NC, it’s slim pickings way down South in Mississippi.  We know that Mississippi now has the Lazy Magnolia Brewery, but it’s on the coast which is not where we are headed.  So, just in case are are unable to get our hands on some of Lazy Magnolia’s offerings, we had to pack provisions.

Travel Provisions

Hey, a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do to continue to drink in the manner to which she has become accustomed, even while traveling.

The Mr is a hophead. I’m more of a stout and porter kind of girl.  Since NoDa wouldn’t let us growler a Ménage a Quàd to take with us, we couldn’t decide on one happy medium.  So, he chose a Midnight Madness (a Cascadian Dark Ale made with five hop varieties: Cascade, Centennial, Columbus, Chinook, and Warrior hops.)  I chose a Coco Loco (a Robust Porter made with chocolate and brown malts and toasted organic coconut).

That ought to keep us set…for a few days at least!

kitchensig1

Permanent link to this article: http://kitchendoesnttravel.com/blog/archives/1058

my husband thinks my beer belly is sexy

Why shouldn’t he?  He gave it to me.  He’s the one who introduced me to craft beer.

Our 14th anniversary is coming up this Spring.   Beyond that, 2013 marks the 16th year that we’ve known each other.  In our 16 years as a couple, I think we’ve made a big deal out of Valentine’s Day twice…maybe three times.  We’re just not big Valentine’s Day people.  Needless to say, our conversation over breakfast yesterday went something like this:

The Mr:  “Did you get me a valentine?”

Me:  “Oooh…today is Valentine’s Day, isn’t it?”

The Mr: “Sure is.”

Me:  “Well then, no, I didn’t get you a valentine.  Did you get me one?”

The Mr:  “Nope.  What do you want to do?”

Me: “NoDa’s releasing a special Valentine’s Day beer.  Want to go get one when the tap room opens?”

The Mr:  “Are you sure that’s all you want to do for Valentine’s Day?”

Me:  “Why not?  I love you.  You love me.  We love beer. “

The Mr.  “Point taken.”

Truth be told, whether we had other Valentine’s Day plans or exchanged gifts or not, I had been plotting since October to head out to NoDa Brewing Co on Valentine’s Day.  Last October we were out at NoDa for a Beer and Cheese Pairing hosted by Chad, the head brewer.  Sadly, I never got around to actually blogging about that event.  I did, however, learn that a nice Gouda can really take the edge off of the hoppiest of IPAs.  The Mr is the “hophead” in the family, not me.  But apparently, if I’ve got a wedge of Gouda and stack of crackers, I could polish off a pint of an IPA very easily.

Anyway…while at the Beer and Cheese Pairing, Chad told us about his planned Valentine’s Day release – a Belgian style Quadruple called Ménage a Quàd.

Menage a Quad

The Ménage a Quàd is part of NoDa’s “NoDable Series,” unique small batch beers “that otherwise would not be possible on a larger scale” released only in the tap room each week.  Good news is that if these beers are successful then the brewers may add them to their regular menu.  Bad news is they won’t let you growler them and take home.

For those of you who don’t know what a Belgian Quad is, here’s how I understand it.  Belgian Dubbels, Tripels, and Quadruples were originally reserved for Abbey brewed ales.  However, over the years, secular breweries (particularly in the U.S.) have started trying their hands at it.    Basically, these three brews are distinguished by the number of times they are put through the fermentation process with the “quad” going through a total of four fermentations and resulting in the richest, strongest, and most complex flavors and highest alcohol content of the three.  Typically quads are high in malts with background yeast tastes and notes of fruits and chocolate with alcohol contents trending towards 10% or more.  (In the interest of full disclosure, I did a bit of internet research on these distinctions and found the simplest most straightforward answer in this blog post from the Dallas Beer Snobs.)

I took a few notes after our conversation with Chad in October, but it’s been several months since I’ve looked at them. (So, Chad, if you ever read this and I have gotten it wrong, please forgive and correct me.)  If I deciphered my notes correctly the Ménage a Quàd was brewed using the same yeasts as the Westmalle beers and was aged in red wine barrels.  The Mr and I thought we tasted raspberry and chocolate notes as we sipped our snifters.  The “sipping” was our attempt to savor it, because this baby was smooth enough that it could have gone down MUCH faster.  Savoring was required because, much to our chagrin, NoDa limited patrons to two each in tap room on the night of the release.  Despite our sadness at the limitation,  with the Ménage weighing in at 11.2%, it was probably for the best.

As I sat sipping, making the low pitched murmurs of yummied satisfaction, I noticed The Mr staring at me and smirking.  “I should have known the way to your heart would be through beer,” he laughed.  “You + me + 2 beers = a ménage a quàd.”  Like I said at the top, my husband thinks my beer belly is sexy.

Who needs a Valentine’s Day ménage a troix when you can have a NoDa Ménage a Quàd? ;)

kitchensig1

Permanent link to this article: http://kitchendoesnttravel.com/blog/archives/1057

New Kid On the Block

These days, most the buzz in Charlotte is about the DNC.  For local beer lovers, there is something much more newsworthy though… the opening of Charlotte’s newest brewery. In case you hadn’t noticed, our fair city is becoming quite the beer town.  Yesterday Triple C Brewing Co., newest addition to the Charlotte beer scene, opened it’s doors.

The Mr. and I had a busy day, so we weren’t sure that we’d be able to stop by.  But, being the beer lovers that we are, we just simply couldn’t let the occasion pass without squeezing in a visit.  We only had about 30 min to spare for new brews (sad, I know) and we spent 20 of those minutes waiting in line to actually procure a pint.

The Mr. gulped down Triple C’s Greenway IPA, while I guzzled their Smoked Amber.    He wanted to get his hands on a Baby Maker, but didn’t think it wise to try something that bold when we had so little time.  We had to drink them so fast, we can’t really give you honest opinions on them.  We did get to take in the tap room pretty well while all queued up, but sadly did not get a lot of pics.  For now, you’ll have to take my word for it – rustic/industrial, but elegant.  I dug it.

I guess we’ll just HAVE to give it another whirl when we’ve got more time spend…

Cheers y’all!

The Mrs. Signature

Permanent link to this article: http://kitchendoesnttravel.com/blog/archives/980

Truckin’

I’ve known for a while that a food truck phenomenon was sweeping the nation.  I’ve also known that a Charlotte food truck contingent existed, although I wasn’t all that interested in chasing them down.  Until recently, however, I also didn’t know what I was missing.  Enter my friend Jenn who, a couple weeks ago, offered to take me to the South End Gourmet Food Trucks for a belated birthday celebration.

Charlotte’s South End is a historic, but urban/funky neighborhood adjacent to Charlotte’s Uptown.  Apparently, every Friday night in South End is known as Food Truck Friday.  Who knew?!?  (I seriously have to get out more.)  Each Friday, 4-5 of Charlotte’s food trucks park directly across the street from the Phat Burrito and serve deliciousness from 5:30-9:00p or until they are out of food, which ever comes first.

With so much deliciousness to choose from right there in one spot, it was impossible to choose just one.  So, we made the rounds.  Not being her first visit to the food trucks, Jenn, in her infinite wisdom, suggested that we hit the cupcake truck first because “They always sell out and if we have any hope of getting cupcakes for dessert we need to get them now.” So, first stop…the Southern Cake Queen truck…a mobile cupcakery!!

The cupcakes were $3.00 each, or 4 for $10.  I ask you – how’s a girl supposed to pass up that kind of a deal, especially for a belated birthday celebration?  I mean, you’ve GOT to have cake at birthday celebration!  We got one Turtle cupcake, one 14 Karat cupcake, one Crimson & Creme, and one Lemon Drop.

Dessert – CHECK!  Now onto the main course.  Stop number two – The TIN Kitchen.

For $9 each we got two tacos and a side.  Jenn ordered the Pork Carnitas tacos with red rice…

while I chose the Porchini Grilled Steak tacos with chips and salsa.

The two taco serving size made sharing and sampling one of each very convenient.  They were both delicious, but I’m here to tell you those steak tacos were OUT-OF-THIS-WORLD!!!

Main course – CHECK!  Now, it’s true that sides came with our delectable entrees, but Jenn and I had both noticed something of interest from while menu browsing.  Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Truffle Parmesan fries…

from The Herban Legend, our third (and final) stop.

There are no words.

We did not hit the food trucks on a corresponding South End Gallery Crawl night which was a little disappointing, but totally fine at the same time because we were then able to take our food truck fare to the South End location of the Common Market, get a couple of draft brews, and enjoy our dinner on the patio with a little music while chatting the night away and taking in the local culture.  Jenn’s Pale Ale is captured in the fry picture above.  But I went with something a little darker…

A Saison Black to be exact.  You’ll have to forgive me because 1) I was apparently too busy salivating over my brew…or the cupcakes…or both to bother focusing my shot and 2) because I’ve forgotten the brewery name.  Trust me though, it was delish! And a perfect pairing for the steak tacos!  We managed to polish off every crumb of our tacos, sides, and fries, plus the Turtle and 14 Karat cupcakes.  Lucky for him, I got to take the remaining two cupcakes home to the The Mr.

Of course…they were cupcakes for MY birthday…so we cut each of the remaining two in half and shared.  Of the four, the Crimson & Creme (red velvet with creme cheese icing) was my favorite.

The Mr. and I had a LONG day the next day with a ridiculously overdue “clean-out-the garage-day.”  After dropping off two car loads of donations at the Salvation Army, The Mr. didn’t have to ask twice as to whether or not I wanted a beer.  Since we were in the neighborhood we ended up at the Plaza Midwood Common Market location.  (You know, where we had so much fun at the Southern Tier beer tasting last year, and heard the first rumblings of the NoDa Brewing Company.)

Speaking of NoDa Brewing Company, we grew a little peckish while sipping our brews and just happened to notice via Facebook that the Maki Taco food truck was currently parked in its side lot.  I was keen to introduce The Mr. to the joy that is the food truck, so we jumped in our cars and headed towards NoDa.  There we grabbed a couple tacos

(his…)

(hers…)

The tacos were yummy, but they were a little skimpy on the shrimp for my taste.  We enjoyed our tacos on NoDa’s patio and chatted up the brewery owner, Todd, for quite a while as he personally zested limes for their NoDable Series NoDajito brew.

The Mr. chose this mojito inspired barley pop to pair with his tacos

while I sipped the Monks Trunks.  What can I say?  I’m sucker for Belgian.

So, in a matter of 24 hrs, I hit 4 out of Charlotte’s 8 food trucks.  The weather in Charlotte has been perfect for dining al fresco lately.  Naturally, I repeated the process the following Friday.  The Mr. was out with the boys so, once again, he did not get the South End experience.  But, never fear, he’ll get his chance.  As for me, if you are looking for me on a Friday night, I’m probably truckin’!

Cheers y’all!

The Mrs. Signature

Permanent link to this article: http://kitchendoesnttravel.com/blog/archives/944

Hoppy Camper

Last Sunday, we found ourselves driving back from visiting our newest niece (for all our other nieces who read about beer — we love you all the same!). After a long car ride, the Mrs can get a hankering for a particular food. And from then, it’s on.

As we pulled into town, she wanted her favorite burger — a special from Big Daddy’s Burger Bar (We refuse to call it Bad Daddy’s, just because they changed their name to avoid a conflict. How rebellious are we?)

The Mrs makes her own modified “Western Burger”, with buffalo meat, applewood smoked bacon, crispy onion straws, cheddar, and BBQ sauce. Mine is similar, but with no onion straws. She opts for sweet potato fries; I’ve got to have my tots.

We carry out more often than dining in, especially when our pups have missed us. So, we also ran by local favorite, Common Market, to pick up some brew.

I chose Old Hickory Death by Hops, and the Mrs reached for Tiny. As you might suspect from an name like Death by Hops, this gem from Old Hickory is an Double IPA or Imperial IPA.

DBH pours with big bubbles in the head but the head is about 1/4″ with a little lacing. I may have been a little too fast with my pour — I was excited about this one!

The color is a light amber and the smell! Smells like grapefruit and citrus … smells “hoppy” but not “piney”. (Clearly someone needs to do further hops research! I should be commenting on Cascade hops and dry-hopping)

On the first sip, I got a big bite on the front of my tongue, rounding around to bite the sides of the tongue as well. This beer is a biter, be careful! Yummy, yum, yum!

The Mrs. went for the Tiny, and I must confess that if I had to pick “last beer ever”, it might be that.

I’m back home with my pups, a great beer paired with a favorite burger, and I’m a Hoppy Camper!
The Mr. Signature

Permanent link to this article: http://kitchendoesnttravel.com/blog/archives/935

Birthday Celebration

My birthday was last week.  I don’t know how you guys like to be awakened on your birthday but, personally, I enjoy being awakened with breakfast and presents in bed.  The menu – scones, raspberries, and itsy bitsy peanut butter cups.  (The Mr. knows that peanut butter and chocolate were my first love.)

He may have enlisted the help of Trader Joe’s for the “cooking,” but the presentation was all him.  I may have eaten a good bit of it before taking some pics…

After a sufficient amount of breakfast was consumed, there were presents.  I didn’t get any wrapped shots but, don’t worry, you didn’t miss anything.  The Mr. prides himself on his bad wrapping jobs.  In fact, it’s a gift giving signature for him.  This year, they were wrapped in mismatched sale papers that you get in the mail.  The ends weren’t taped down despite the yardage of tape engulfing them but, hey, at least it was eco-friendly. :)

The wrapping isn’t the important part anyway.   What’s important is on the inside and, this, he did well with.  Being the techie guy he is, all of my presents were some sort of gadgetry, but all gadgetry that I needed and wanted.

In case you can’t make that all out, the goodie pile includes: 1) an external hard drive – pink, of course, because it’s a girl’s hard drive, 2) LED lights for my bike, both rear and front, so that I am well seen in not so great lighting, and 3) the piece de resistance – a Nikkor 50mm f1.8 lens for my camera!! Yeah for low f-stops!!  (I could previously only get down to a 3.5).

The only bad thing about my birthday was that I had to go to work.  This was the first birthday in probably 7-8 yrs that I haven’t taken it off. (Never again.)  Good news is that my last evaluation cancelled, allowing me to knock off just a little early…allowing for pre-birthday-dinner beers at World of Beer.  The Mr. was introduced to this place earlier in the week and desperately wanted me to see it too.  I’m sure he’ll tell you all about it later.

This month, our local World of Beer is highlighting brews from the Southern Tier Brewing Company, which we tasted and enjoyed before.  I wanted a Southern Tier Choklat Stout, but its keg had run dry. So, I tasted a Southern Tier Creme Brûlée Imperial Stout.

Wah-hah-hah…THAT was sweet!  My mouth is puckering now, just thinking about it…days later.  Don’t get me wrong, it didn’t taste bad at all.  In fact, it was quite good, just intense…and sweet.  I might have been able to ingest more of it if it had it been poured over my morning waffles.  For real drinking, I opted for a the Southern Tier Oat Imperial Stout  instead.

The Mr. had a Southern Tier Krampus, for reasons that appeal only to him and his odd sense of humor.

World of Beer doesn’t serve food, but it partners with several nearby restaurants who will bring food to you while you sip your brew.  As novel as that sounds, bar food is not exactly what I had in mind for my birthday dinner.  So, we polished off our beers and headed Uptown to Dandelion Market , a local Dublin pub-inspired tapas restaurant.

I ate there with girlfriends for another birthday celebration about a year and half ago, but The Mr. had never been.  I loved the atmosphere as well as the food.  Check out the lovely table water…

Another really cool thing about Dandelion Market is that it has a deal where for $230 you can order EVERYTHING ON THE MENU.  That sounds like a lot, but when you go with a party of 15-20 people, it’s kind-of a great deal.  We did this when I went for my girlfriend’s birthday celebration and, even with the 17 of us that were there, it was a ridiculous amount of food.  So good, but SO MUCH!  Needless to say, The Mr. and I did not attempt that on our own.

We split the Pan Seared Ahi Tuna,

the Ale Simmered Sausage Bites,

the Baked Potato Croquettes,

and the Market Mac and Cheese.

It was all fantastic but, I’m here to tell ya – that tuna was out of this world!!  I almost pulled a “it’s-my-birthday-I-don’t-have-to-share-if-I-don’t-want-to” line but, The Mr. really loves a seared tuna and I just couldn’t keep it from him.  What can I say?  I’m a giver.  Even if I had withheld the tuna, I have no doubt that he would have enjoyed himself.  You see, I’m the kind of girl who doesn’t really like for my food to touch.  Him, he’s a combiner…

We finished the evening off with a Guinness-based, ganache-filled birthday cupcake.  I was stuffed by that point.  But, a girl has got to have a little bit of cake on her birthday…especially if there is Guinness in the batter.

Despite the ever increasing number associated with the anniversary of my birth, it was a really good day!

 

Cheers y’all!

The Mrs. Signature

Permanent link to this article: http://kitchendoesnttravel.com/blog/archives/915

Tiny, she ain’t

And before you go trying to get me into trouble … I was referring to a beer!
Big bottle, big color, big taste.

You may recall Tiny as the beer that our friendly brewer Chad from the NoDa Brewery shared with us, while we were sampling at the Common Market beer tasting.

Weyerbacher describes this as:
“a Belgian inspired Imperial Stout weighing in at 11.8%.
You’ll find big chocolate and roasted notes, balanced with the Belgian flavors from the Abbey yeast strain.”

I found that this was quite a hit.

We bought a bottle, as we found the small sample couldn’t satisfy.

WineGirl couldn’t wait for me to start with my notebook, but I was able to collect a few of her thoughts:
“I don’t know if it goes with the pesto, but damn that’s good!”
and
“Probably one of the best beers I’ve ever had”
That’s high praise from a practiced drinker (not the pesto part, silly), and I was eager to dig in.

And now for the requisite review:

Serving: 22oz bottle and tulip-shaped glass
Appearance: Black like cola with a mocha-colored head
Smell: Cocoa, smoke
Taste: Cocoa, Cola (not coca-cola), and molasses; alcohol bite on the finish.
Mouthfeel: Velvety. Full but not chewy. The carbonation is just right.

We both really liked this beer, in spite of the pesto, and the taste coupled with the professional recommendation earn this our highest rating.

Go grab a bottle of Tiny, but you better use both hands!
5 of 5 Kegs

Beer Guy

Permanent link to this article: http://kitchendoesnttravel.com/blog/archives/876

He Said/She Said: To Market We Go!

BG was one of those lucky folks who got Good Friday off of work. Unfortunately for me, healthcare does not adhere to all national holidays. While enjoying his day off, BG treated himself to a haircut and apparently got into a nice beer discussion with his stylist. She – aghast that as a fellow beer lover didn’t know about this place – tipped him off to a local beer gem, The Common Market. While I was slaving away in the speech therapy world, I got a text from BG at precisely 12:55 pm saying “Going to check out a new beer store in Plaza Midwood.”

Somebody’s enjoying his day off…

Four hours later I got a follow-up text “Beer tasting next Wed at 6:30 – Common Market.” Ok, sounds fun. Have you been there all this time? I returned home to find three new beers in my fridge

and a giddy, smiling husband in my kitchen.

Wednesday finally rolled around and off to The Market we went!

Upon entering, there is a distinct “convenience store” vibe.  You know, candy aisle, sodas, etc.  But as you keep walking towards the back a whole new world appears.  There’s an entire wall of beer – GOOD, CRAFT BEER – not just your typical garden-variety convenience store beer collection.  Then there are crates and crates of wine tagged with ratings and tasting notes.

These are capped off with a mini Wine Bar/Tap “Room” just before heading out the back door and onto the patio…where you can eat your fresh gourmet deli sandwiches.

To our surprise, the Charlotte Beer Club, which we didn’t know existed (Sign us up?  Yes, please!) was there for the tasting.  “On tap” for the tasting were 4 beers from the Southern Tier Brewing Co.

First up was the Southern Tier Hop Sun –

He Said: Pours a clear, pale straw color with minimal head. Wheat taste, with a dry finish.
Even though they gave out free pint glasses, for some reason we started with the plastic cups — so perhaps the “Dixie Cup Ambiance” reduced the head a little.

She Said: I’d drink this in the summer…although it is a smidge dry and hoppy for my taste.  Nice crisp finish.  And do I detect a bit of citrus?  Lemon maybe?

As with all tastings, the pours were small. :)

Next up was the Southern Tier IPA

He Said: Pours clear, golden with little head. Crisp and floral, but I’m having trouble smelling the beers today. Perhaps it’s the Dixie cups, perhaps it’s the North Carolina allergies.

She Said: I can smell ‘em!  Nice floral nose.  And after the first sip…WHOOO-that’s hoppy!   Another crisp and light finish.  I know enough to know this is a nice representative of the varietal but…

WineGirl clarified, “I’m generally not a fan of IPA’s”.
BeerGuy countered, “I’m generally not a fan of Dixie cups”, as he picked up the free glass for the next round.

Round three – Southern Tier IBA.  That is, the Iniquity Imperial Black Ale.

He Said: Yum! I got this in a snifter when we first walked in. To give away my secrets, the BeerGuy tends to head straight for the bar upon entering a drinking establishment, and then beer in hand, turns to take in the environment.

My one note was “Get a Bottle!” It’s too big and black to shortchange, so we’ll write up a separate review.

She Said: By this point in the game I was too busy being sociable to make tasting notes or take pics.  Luckily a bottle of this came home with us, so, as BG promised, a more detailed review will come later.  I may not have made a lot of notes, but I do remember that I liked it and was intrigued by the uniqueness of the black ale.  Third time’s the charm, right?

And finally, the Southern Tier Jah-Va…an Imperial Coffee Stout.

He Said: When I first visited, Thomas (manager?, owner?, enthusiastic beer-dude!) recommended this so highly that I took one home for the WineGirl. We haven’t popped it yet, and I had trouble smelling the sample at the tasting, so we’ll write this up separately. High hopes, though, that we’ve found a new breakfast beer.  :)

She Said:  Ah…a beer after my own heart!  Again, no formal notes from the tasting, but there’s a bottle in the fridge!!

Some may say that the star of the tasting show tonight was the Southern Tier Brewing Co., but I say it was the camaraderie.  You see, this was one of the most unorganized laid back tastings I’ve ever been to.  Don’t get me wrong. The laid back vibe totally fit the atmosphere. I’m just saying that usually at a tasting, the pouring is very organized, the beers are brought out on a schedule and the brew master or beer company rep really wants to talk to you about the beer and describe the taste, process, philosophy of the brew.  Here, the tasters just mingled and socialized and the hosts seemed to randomly decide to open up the next brew, giving a pour to whomever held their glass out the fastest.

While that put my little OCD heart on edge, the mingling allowed us to get to know some of our fellow beer enthusiasts.

We chatted with 1) the head of the Charlotte Beer Club, 2) a naturopathic physician who just happens to brew a little on the side, and 3) the Brew Master of the new NoDa Brewing Co. (scheduled to open in Charlotte’s NoDa neighborhood this fall).  These people are true beer lovers who want not just to enjoy the beer for themselves, but to share it with others as well.  To that end as the NoDa Brew Master was describing to us a particular beer he loved, he stopped mid-sentence, grabbed a bottle of it out of the cooler, opened it up, and shared it with us.  Ladies and gentlemen, meet TINY.

Brought a bottle of this home too…and it gets a post all to itself.

Believe it or not, TINY, wasn’t the only privately purchased bottle someone shared with us out of good-beer will.  Another fine young lad simply smiled and handed over a bottle of this from his 6-pack after the naturopathic physician complimented him on his beer choice.

We split it three ways.  Once again, BG has deemed this one good enough for its own post.  So…stay tuned!

All in all, this evening included three of my favorite things – good beer, good conversation, and good atmosphere.  Not bad for being out on a school night!  And, P.S., guess who does wine tastings every Tuesday night?  You got it, The Common Market.  After this evening’s success, it is safe to say we’ll definitely be checking that out very soon!

Cheers, y’all!

Wine Girl

Beer Guy

Permanent link to this article: http://kitchendoesnttravel.com/blog/archives/795

Red, Blue, and Blackend Voodoo

As Wine Girl told you previously, we attended the 2011 annual Ole Miss Alumni Crawfish Boil earlier this month. A few work trips delayed this write-up from the beverage point of view.

I’ll spare you the pronunciation for “crawfish boil” — after all, you are reading this to yourself, so call it a “boil” (bo-ee-ul) if it pleases your Yankee heart. It does mine, if only to annoy the Wine Girl. (Shhh … don’t tell!)

At last year’s boil, we took Blue Moon for washing down the mudbugs. Not a good plan! With all respect due to the best beer from Coors, it simply can’t cut the spicy bite.

So this year, I was on the prowl for a beer worthy of the bayou. At the Healthy Home Market, which has a beer section to rival the tofu selection, I bumped into an old friend — Dixie’s Blackened Voodoo!

Blackened Voodoo is one of my first beers to buy legally. Back in the day, ol’ Mississippi boys could buy at 18 years old in neighboring Louisiana. The exotic name and sinister label called me forth into the swamp of beer drinking adulthood … or something like that!

But for the crawfish boil, I was simply needing a good pairing for spicy dishes, and the Voodoo was a slam dunk. (I also picked up a six of Dogfish Head. but that’s a different tale). I poured one tonight, so that you could take a look:


Blackened Voodoo is a Schwarzbier, or “black beer” (German dark lager), from the Dixie Brewing Company. The brewery started in 1907 in New Orleans, but couldn’t survive Katrina, the flooding, and the looting. It’s now brewed under contract by Joseph Huber Brewing in Monroe, WI.
But it still tastes Cajun :)

When I poured the bottle, it yielded a dark coppery color (like a well circulated penny) and a thick head that dissipated quickly. I smelled straw and brown sugar, with hints of coffee.

My first sip was full of malt and toffee, and a little too sweet on the finish. It was crisp with a pleasant fullness, though not quite full or creamy, resulting in a smooth finish.

Something’s different tonight … I think it’s because I don’t have crawfish!
I find it to be a bit too sweet for drinking alone, but if you’re looking for good beer to complement a spicy dish, I recommend the Blackened Voodoo.

I’ll give it 4 kegs — any less would be bad juju!
4 of 5 Kegs

Beer Guy

Permanent link to this article: http://kitchendoesnttravel.com/blog/archives/784

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