Archives for posts with tag: bluff city brewers

Alas, all good things must come to an end.

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We had planned on going to Cheeky Monk for “Breakfast with The Bruery” on Saturday morning, but when we got to the restaurant, the wait was at least an hour and we were starving. So we headed next door to Pete’s Steak House, a traditional small diner with about 10 tables and the only two workers were the cook and the waitress. Although we didn’t get our Belgian beer breakfast, the breakfast we had at Pete’s was excellent and it reminded us of good ‘ole Southern cooking. The service was equally as good which always makes for a more pleasant experience.

After establishing a good base layer of food, it was time for the AHA Members Only session. Day 3 of GABF is split into two sessions and since Nick and Kenneth are AHA members, we chose it over the general night session. However, the only difference I noticed from the previous nights was that we received glass tasters instead of plastic. In any case, still an excellent time.

Even if you think you have visited all the breweries at the fest, you are probably wrong. We spent this session walking around saying, “Oh! How did we miss this one?!” And one of those we had missed was Stone Brewing. We can get a lot of Stone beer at home, but some of their specialty beers we cannot. For example, the Ruination IPA Grapefruit SLAM Edition — freaking fantastic and like a grapefruit punch to the face. I’m always impressed when brewers can accurately nail a flavor/taste. The next notable IPA I had came from Mustang Brewing. It’s notable because when I wrote this post back in May, I never thought I’d be able to try it. Yup, the Hanson Brothers collaboration brew, MMMhops, was served at the fest. I found out later while talking to a brewery rep that Taylor Hanson was there Friday night pouring the beer and I missed it. As a Hanson fan from way back, I was quite upset. Regardless, the beer was delicious.

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mmmhops

Future [unnamed] brewery co-founders/owners

Future [unnamed] brewery co-founders/owners

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As our session came to an end, none of us wanted to leave. We eventually trudged out, but the day wasn’t over for us just yet. There were three breweries on our list to visit and the night (well, late afternoon) was still young! First on our list was River North Brewery for their “Empty the Cellar” party when all their barrel-aged and limited brews were on tap. We ended up ordering an eight beer flight and I can’t even remember which was my favorite. We also met up with Kenneth’s friend, Tony, and his girlfriend, Amy, who drove down from Fort Collins, before continuing on our brewery crawl.

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Up next was Great Divide. I kept it simple and got the Titan IPA — tasty and bitter with that excellent hop aroma just like I like ’em — and Nick got the Hibernation Ale, a delicious roasty English-style Ole Ale. We had just planned on staying for a few beers, but we ended up getting a tour from one of the brewers which ended up being more like trivia for him with the questions Nick and Kenneth were asking him. He joked that they should give the tours. Great Divide is much larger than the breweries I’ve toured at home, so it was fun seeing a large scale system. And by large, I mean large… 80bbl, to be exact.

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Hibernation Ale and Titan IPA

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Kenneth, Bryan (Great Divide Brewer), and Nick

Our last stop was Crooked Stave, which is housed in this awesome space called, The Source. Long story short, The Source is an old foundry turned marketplace that includes the brewery, a few restaurants, a butcher, and an artisan grocer, among other things. Each section is divided by large, slatted, rising steel doors that label what each area is and it’s all very modern while still retaining the industrial feel of the original structure. And the beers at Crooked Stave were outstanding. They specialize in sour and wild ales, which again, are uncommon in Memphis, so it was definitely a nice change.

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St. Bretta Blood Oranges and Hop Savant Dry Hopped with Galaxy

Going back to my original statement, the two words I would use to describe America’s largest beer festival are definitely amazing and overwhelming. Many thanks to Ghost River, Boscos, and Bluff City Brewers for awarding Nick this awesome opportunity, one which I certainly wasn’t going to pass up the chance to tag along. Unfortunately, we didn’t bring back any beer with us for the simple fact that we didn’t want to deal with checked luggage; we did, however, walk away with a bunch of free swag and we purchased a few shirts along the way, too.

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Until next time, GABF — at which point, we should already be living in Denver :)

MGPO-MSNSTuesday night was the second meeting for Memphis Girls’ Pint Out and it was even more successful than the first! There was a larger turnout – many familiar faces – but it was the first time for more than half of the ladies in attendance!

At our kickoff event, we discussed getting together with other organizations and helping with various causes, and I’m happy to announce that our organization in the spotlight is our very own Mid-South Spay & Neuter Servics (MSNS). MSNS is a non-profit organization dedicated to reducing pet overpopulation and high euthanasia rates in Memphis and surrounding areas. They offer affordable spay and neuter surgeries, as well as vaccinations and micro-chipping.

Over the last few weeks, I met with Stephanie Bennett, Executive Director of MSNS, to discuss potential MemGPO-MSNS events and we’ve got a great one in the works for the fall. MSNS will be teaming up with the Memphis Hash House Harriers for a “minithon” benefiting MSNS, and MemGPO and Bluff City Brewers are teaming up to help sponsor. The “minithon” will consist of a 2.62 mile run which will be celebrated with mini medals and beer at the finish line. It’s going to be a fun, family and pet-friendly environment (21+ to drink, of course) and I’m looking forward to getting a MemGPO team together for our first “fun run.”

MemGPO will also be working with MSNS to put on some “pup patio parties” where people can bring their dogs and pay-what-they-can to hang out and enjoy some tasty beer and food. Also, with three new breweries opening in Memphis, we’re hoping to work with one or all to bring exposure to the brewery and both organizations.

There are plenty of events in the works for the coming months, so stay tuned — cheers!

It’s been a hot minute since my last post, but life finally slowed down a bit for me to get back at it! Now where to start…

The first inaugural Memphis Beer Week kicked off on April 21 and Nick and I headed to the Flying Saucer for the Sour Hour event. Memphis doesn’t have a great variety of sour beers, so this was one event we definitely weren’t going to miss. And boy am I glad we didn’t. Not only were given samples for five delicious sours – all varying in age and style – but each beer was paired with a tasty dessert. All the beers were delicious, but my favorite of the night was the 2009 Rodenbach — it was the perfect blend of sour sweet and it paired perfectly with a nice chocolate brownie. My second favorite pairing was the Rufus with the NY cheesecake. Rufus is the collaboration beer from Yazoo and New Belgium and it was brewed exclusively for Memphis Beer Week.

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Sour Hour @ Flying Saucer
April 21, 2013
(bottom left) 2009 Rodenbach; (top left) New Belgium La Folie; (center) Yazoo-NB Rufus; (bottom right) Yazoo Rye Saison; (top right) Wayan Flemish Sour

On April 23, we made our way to Bosco’s for the annual Brewmasters Dinner and once again, it did not disappoint. Aside from the good beer, it’s always nice because the menu offered includes dishes that are not normally served at the restaurant. We also lucked out this night because the cask for the night was Olde Fool, an English Strong Ale and as you can tell from the picture below (it’s in the top left of each), it was definitely a slow drinker for me as it is strong, strong, strong.

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Brewmasters Dinner @ Bosco’s
April 23, 2013

Although we had planned on going to glass night at the Saucer on the 24th, we decided to sit Wednesday night out and instead, go to Young Avenue Deli on the 25th for New Belgium Firkin Night. The firkin this night was their Rampant Imperial IPA and as an IPA gal, this is one at the top of my list of favorite IPAs — those Centennial hops are oh so tasty.

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New Belgium Firkin Night @ Young Avenue Deli
April 25, 2013

And lastly, the 4th annual Memphis Brewfest at AutoZone Park rounded out Memphis Beer Week on Saturday, April 27. Normally, Nick and I would be part of the general festival-goers; however, as I mentioned in an earlier post, Nick brewed an IPA for this fest so we got to be on the other side this year. And I must say, I rather enjoyed being on the “staff” side. Even though we had to get to the park four hours early, that also meant we got to start sampling beers early ;) Our club had twelve different beers on tap and there was never a slow moment at our table! Festival-goers wanted to know where the beer was available to buy and they were bummed when we told them it’s only available at each brewer’s respective home. But once they learned it was homebrew, they wanted to know more about the process, etc. and the guys are always up for sharing the joy of homebrewing with inquiring minds! Also, I’m happy to announce that Nick’s ‘Extracurricular Hoptivity‘ was the first of our club’s kegs to float! It was a nice feeling knowing so many people enjoyed his beer.

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Memphis Brewfest @ AutoZone Park
April 27, 2013
(left to right): sampler mug; pre-fest; our local homebrew club; Nick serving his ‘Extracurricular Hoptivity’ IPA

Once Memphis Beer Week was over, it was time to move into our house! Nick and I took off work the first few days of May and got all of our furniture and belongings moved in with the help of his parents. We had only been in our place for two nights before it was time to head to Nashville for two nights of Widespread Panic! Despite the cold, rain, and mud, those were two of the best shows I’ve ever been to.

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Widespread Panic @ The Woods Amphitheater at Fontanel
Nashville, Tennessee
May 3-4, 2013

And in other beer news:

  • Nick received the judging sheets on the beer he submitted to the AHA National Homebrew Competition and although none of his beers advanced to the second round, he was thrilled to find out that his saison received the highest score of the five he submitted. This was his first time submitting his beers in any competition and there will be plenty of more opportunities to come!
  • Homebrewing is now legal in all 50 states! With the help of organizations like Right to Brew, Free the Hops, and the Alabama Homebrewers Guild, Alabama’s homebrewing bill successfully made its way through the legislature and was signed by Governor Bentley last Thursday. So cheers to that, for sure!

Next up on our plate: our first brew day at the new house, Memphis in May BBQ Fest, and planning MemphisGPO events!

gabfDespite the pouring down rain last night, Nick and I were determined to make it to the monthly Bluff City Brewers meeting. Nick had two beers to enter for the Great American Beer Festival Pro-Am Competition, and I wanted to go for the discussion about making your own wine (yes, this will be happening in the near future!) For those unfamiliar with the Pro-Am Competition, it’s the chance for homebrewers to have their beer brewed at a commercial brewery and have their beer served at the GABF!  The rules for homebrewers in this competition are as follows (as listed on the GABF website):

  1. The homebrewer entrant or entrants must be members of the AHA by the time the brewery registers the entry in the GABF Pro-Am competition (June 27, 2012), as well as when the Pro-Am entry is judged (October 2012). All brewery entrants must be members of the Brewers Association.
  2. Qualifying homebrew competitions may be, but are not required to be American Homebrewers Association (AHA)/Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) sanctioned homebrew competitions held on or after January 1, 2011 and may use AHA/BJCP categories, as defined by the BJCP 2008 Style Guidelines for their entries, excluding those restricted by the competition. See our Events Calendar for a calendar of up-coming AHA/BJCP sanctioned competitions or BJCP to register a competition.
  3. Competitions must be timed to give the brewery adequate time to brew the beer to be ready for entry to the GABF.
  4. The nature of the competition is entirely up to the brewery, they may choose to work with an existing competition or create their own. Breweries may restrict the styles of the competition to styles they can reasonably brew.
  5. AHA membership of all homebrewer entrants will be verified by the AHA. AHA membership must be current at the time the brewery enters the GABF competition, and also at the time of the GABF judging.
  6. The homebrewer brewing their recipe with the professional brewery CANNOT be, or have ever been, an employee of that brewery or on the brewing staff at any brewery.
  7. All entrants, both professional and amateur brewers, must sign a Licensing Agreement prior to the submission of entries to the GABF. The Licensing Agreement limits and protects the way the GABF trademark is used.
  8. No more than one entry per brewery will be accepted in the GABF Pro-Am Competition. Individual AHA members may be associated with no more than one entry submitted into the GABF Pro-Am Competition judging at the GABF.
  9. GABF Pro-Am entries submitted by breweries will compete in a best-of-show style judging, during the regular GABF judging. The GABF Style Guidelines and GABF judge panel will be used for the judging. Entering breweries must provide the appropriate GABF category name and number along with any requested supplemental information for the entry to be judged correctly. Entries that do not include this information will not be accepted.
  10. Judges will determine the top three entries in the GABF Pro-Am Competition, which will be awarded Gold, Silver, and Bronze GABF Pro-Am Competition medals during the GABF awards ceremony, held October 13, 2012. Medals will be issued to both the winning brewery and the winning homebrewer.

The winner from our club will get to brew his beer at Bosco’s with the head brewer, as well as have his beer served at Bsoco’s for a short time — how exciting is that?! Nick has entered his American IPA and breakfast stout, so we will see what our local judge thinks. Fingers crossed, y’all!

[Also, judging for the division of the AHA National Homebrew Competition that Nick entered starts today!]

I’ve noticed that when I make new year’s resolutions, I rarely keep them. Therefore, this year, I made new year’s non-resolutions (my theory is that there’s some stigma attached to the word “resolution” that makes them harder to keep). Anyways, one of my non-resolutions is to start blogging again and actually continue to blog regularly… so here we are. And what better way to make it routine than to write about things (aside from work) that are ‘routine’ in my life — namely, Nick, homebrewing, and our love of craft beer.

A second non-resolution of mine is to start the Memphis chapter of Girls’ Pint Out. For those of you wondering, Girls’ Pint Out is a national organization geared towards women to educate them about craft beer and to get them more active in the, predominantly male, craft beer community. After seeing a Twitter friend post about her local GPO chapter, and noticing the male:female ratio at beer festivals and our local homebrew club meetings, I decided to contact the founder of GPO to see about starting a new chapter. She emailed me last week detailing chapter responsibility etc., and MemphisGPO is on it’s way to having a kickoff event in March! And with the craft beer scene getting better and better each week in Memphis, it’s an exciting time for our inaugural year.

Lastly, on the homebrewing news front, we finally became members of our local homebrew club, Bluff City Brewers and Connoisseurs, and Nick joined the American Homebrewers Association. We did a lot of brewing last year, but that was mainly for our personal consumption. So, with these two new memberships, we’re planning on being more active within the homebrewing community and Nick’s already got the ball rolling on that. Last week, he did an IPA judging session for the Bluff City Brewer’s Annual Extravaganza, and this week, he registered and entered five beers in the AHA National Homebrew Competition! Exciting times ahead, for sure — stay tuned!

Cheers!