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the local craft beer community

For the Love of NC Beer

Posted by on Feb 15, 2015

One of my favorite things about this industry, especially locally, is when breweries get together and work on projects. This exact thing just happened Sunday, February 15th, at Deep River Brewing Company, when representatives from more than a dozen NC breweries met to brew a collaboration beer for the Bull City Food and Beer Experience coming up next month. “There’s about 14 or 15 North Carolina breweries represented here this morning,” said Paul Auclair, owner of Deep River Brewing Company. “It’s nice when we can all get together to work on something where everyone gets along; we’re all friends here today.”  When asked if every brewery had some kind of input, Auclair grinned and said each of them did. But, if you ask me, and pretty much everyone else hanging out drinking beer around the brewery, this was more of a time to get together and enjoy a relaxed brew day, rather than sitting around a table, recording ideas and information on a white board. Two guys who weren’t so fortunate to just hang out were Deep Rivers’ two brewers: Ben Evans and Donovan Matthews. The entire time I was there, those guys were measuring, weighing, adding, subtracting, pressing buttons, spraying, cleaning, etc. When asked why it seemed they were the only ones doing any of the work, Evans laughed and told me that it was good for him because he needed to burn off those donuts he ate earlier in the morning. More about the beer… This year’s collaboration will be a Coffee Brown Ale. “This one will measure about 5.3%,” Auclair said. “We didn’t use any milk sugar, but it is made with a lot of love. That’s for sure!” Auclair told me that brown ale was brewed this morning, and the coffee will be added after fermentation. “The coffee will come from Raleigh Coffee Company. Joe up there in Raleigh always takes good care of us.” The beer is to be released in March at the Bull City Food and Beer Experience at the DPAC in Durham. As one might expect, when you get a bunch of brewers around, beer is sure to follow. Nearly everyone involved brought something of his own or something a little (or a lot) more rare, such as the Maple Bacon Porter from Funky Buddha. Beyond the beer, there was also plenty of food. Appropriately, chopped pork was the main feature...

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Bull City Ciderworks, y’All!

Posted by on Feb 12, 2015

Did you know we have a pretty fantastic cidery right here in the Triangle? Seriously! It’s awesome! And it’s right here in Durham! We just held our most recent Taste the Triangle event at Bull City Ciderworks and if you weren’t there, you missed a fantastic evening of imbibing, eating, and educating. Ordinarily, we go to a different brewery on the second Wednesday of every month. This month, we decided to divert from the standard plan and check out Bull City Ciderworks, instead of the standard “brewery of the month”. Those who attended seemed to be glad we did! Instead of learning about boil times and hop varietals, we were educated on orchards and fermentation of pressed apple juice. More than 50 people ascended on Bull City’s compound Wednesday evening. As they arrived, everyone paid $10, grabbed their first pint, and chatted while we waited for the tour to begin. As the last folks arrived around 6:45, announcements were made and the tour began.   Our tour guide, Ryan, showed us around the place. He told us about Bull City Ciderworks’ beginnings, how no bank wanted anything to do with them. And he told us all about the cider-making process. Ryan explained to us how all the apples used in Bull City’s ciders are pressed and sent here to Durham to be fermented and turned into that delightfully dangerous nectar we all enjoyed. While we all sipped our pints, folks listened and asked questions. We learned the differences between cider-making and beer-brewing (i.e. there’s no boil when you make cider. Unlike beer, cider is pressed, not boiled, before the yeast is pitched). We learned that Bull City is poised to be one of the first tenants at the Rocky Mount Brew Mill, but they still plan to be a mainstay in Durham. In addition to the awesome ciders, our friends from American Meltdown added some awesome food to the party! They were serving up several mouth-watering sandwiches and their Brussels Sprouts. Good lord, their Brussels Sprouts! I made quick work of their Dirty South, mainly because I’m a sucker for anything with Pimento Cheese. In a word, it was “heavenly”. I don’t know how else to explain it. It was freaking amazing! If you’re ever out anywhere and you see the orange truck that smells like you hope Heaven will, do yourself a favor and order something from there!...

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We Got Lost in the Woods!

Posted by on Feb 11, 2015

If you ever have the opportunity to go to a New Belgium event, here’s a pro-tip: GO! I can promise you that you won’t regret it. These guys do it right! We made it out to the Lost in the Woods event at Busy Bee last Saturday, where New Belgium released their latest versions of La Folie and Transatlantique Kriek. And, from the moment we arrived, until our departure, Lost in the Woods was top-notch!   The event was held at The Hive, upstairs, above the main restaurant. As ticket holders arrived, they received three tokens to be used at the bar. Each token was good for one 8 oz pour of one of the sours. The idea was to be able to taste all three, which I did. At least once. Because my wife loves me so much didn’t finish some of hers. Wait, there were three? There were only two advertised. Yeah, so our local New Belgium folks pulled some strings and added to the list of awesome with an additional keg of NBB Loves Leopold, which uses the same base beer (Oscar) as La Folie, but it’s treated a little differently. You can read all about it here if you want to get really nerdy about it (says the guy providing the links…). Otherwise, just know that it’s aged in Blackberry Whiskey barrels from Leopold Distillery. And that it’s awesome. At the very least, remember it’s awesome! Back to the other two featured beers, La Folie and Transatlantique Kriek were as wonderful as expected. Yes, they’re both sours. Yes, they’re both delicious. But, they’re completely different beers. In comparison (and, mind you, this was after a Leopold and a La Folie), the Kriek was notably sweeter on the finish. Once I adjust my palate to the sours, anything less sour usually ends up tasting a little sweet. But it was outstanding nonetheless. In addition to the great sours, The Hive bartenders were also pouring the new Slow Ride Session IPA and Snapshot Wheat (no tokens necessary). Since Slow Ride is one of my latest obsessions beers I appreciate, I lost count had a few of them, which was what it took for the wife to convince me to step into the Lost in the Woods photo booth.  Throughout the evening, servers were meandering through the crowd with appetizers like Salmon and Tuna Tar-Tar. There was a great Bluegrass/Americana...

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That’s What She Said… About Aviator in 12 Oaks

Posted by on Dec 15, 2014

On a Thursday evening in November, 919 Beer hosted the first 12 Oaks Beer Night. About 70 residents came out to the clubhouse for some Aviator beer and stories told by the owner, Mark Doble. He brought four beers with him, shared the history of how Aviator Brewing Company began, and gave some information on each of the beers as they were handed out. Mark told us he grew up all over the world and lived in Europe while in the military, where he was able to taste some world-class beers straight from the source. While he lived in Florida, he took flying lessons. Over time, flying and beer became two of his passions. Fast-forward a number of years: Mark now had a plane he built out of a kit, a hangar he got a steal of a deal on, and a layoff from his job at IBM, thanks to a dwindling economy. It was then Mark did what any rational person would do: he applied for multiple credit cards and used them to finance a brewery. Mark’s version of this was quite funny and insightful. I acknowledge this version is neither. We began the night with an old favorite: Wide Open Red, which has an ABV of 6.1%, and is a little hoppy at 41 IBUs. Aviator’s description calls it “A somewhat classic Irish Red Ale. This ale is feisty and a bit hoppy. There is a malty sweetness and a somewhat dry finish. Traditional East Kent Goldings with a nice touch of Cascade and a dash of roasted barley give this ale a great taste. Plenty of crystal malt with some roasted barley.” This American Red, formerly known as Hot Rod Red, was the first craft beer Wayne and I ever tried and liked. It was Wayne’s favorite. When I say his favorite, I mean if the restaurant/bar didn’t have it on tap, we didn’t go there! The next offering was Devil’s Tramping Ground. This 9.2% Belgian Tripel sneaks up on you with a deceiving taste and delicate texture. It’s named after the famous Devil’s Tramping Ground in Harpers Crossroads, NC, and both are quite similar in that you’re gone before you know it! Seriously, this beautiful golden ale is fruity and spicy with a sweet finish.Wicked good! Once, at the Tap House, we witnessed a rather large fellow lying face down by the railroad tracks after consuming...

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Kelly’s Haw River Recap

Posted by on Nov 17, 2014

Our latest Taste the Triangle event was last Wednesday at Haw River Farmhouse Ales. Kelly Holt took a few notes and was kind enough to share her thoughts with everyone… The Place The trip to Saxapahaw from Holly Springs was a little longer than our typical jaunts, but well worth it. It reminds us that back roads still exist and good things are worth going the extra mile for. Haw River Farmhouse Ales is no exception. Ben Woodward and Dawnya Bohager’s extra mile was a four-year journey from great idea to fully-licensed brewery and tap room. Upon arrival in this quaint township of Graham, you see the Haw River, a cotton mill repurposed, loft apartments and a small crowd of people who adore and support their town.  Set your GPS to 1713 Saxapahaw-Bethlehem Church Rd, Saxapahaw, NC 27340. Haw River’s taproom is usually closed on Wednesdays, but they were kind enough to open their doors to let the 919 Beer followers in for a pint of deliciousness, tour/Q&A, and a beautiful HRFA stemmed glass. What a deal for $10, eh? My favorite brewery tours are those where the personality of the brewers/owners is revealed through the stories that make the brewery and beer what it is. 919 Beer followers include many home brewers, professional brewers and brewery owners, as well as the “I just like to drink beautiful beer” people. I’m the latter. And to me, part of what makes the beer interesting is the story behind it. HRFA has a great story. Listen to the 919 Beer Podcast to hear them tell it.   The Beer Haw River Farmhouse Ales’ current tasting room hours are 4-8 pm Thursday and Friday and 2-8 pm Saturday and Sunday. There you’ll have to choose which to drink first (which will be difficult, as you’ll want to try them all first). I chose St. Benedict’s Breakfast Dubbel. It was a great choice! Here’s their description, as I cannot say it better: “Brewed with organic flaked oats, dark chocolate and locally-roasted Sumatran and Ethiopian Harar coffee beans from Morrisville, NC’s Muddy Dog Roasting Company, our Trappist-style “Breakfast” Dubbel is a smooth, silky, eye-opening take on a classic style, with floral aromatics of deep-roasted coffee, spiced fig and rich, creamy cocoa”. I will add that its stout-like character was quite memorable. This could’ve been my first dubbel (not sure), but definitely not my last. My second...

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The VIP Beericana Experience

Posted by on Aug 4, 2014

“What’s so special about these VIP tickets? Why are they $75 when General Admission is $45? Is it really worth it?” If you’re asking me, I’ll tell you it is. For me. However, just because I think it’s worth the extra $30 doesn’t mean that you’ll agree. But, if you’ve not yet made up your mind, take a look at what we’re doing for the VIP tent and then decide if you think it’s worth the extra money or not. -VIP admission begins at noon. I went to Disney World one October, when I was in sixth grade, and I rode Space Mountain seven times in a row, without waiting in a line. It’s pretty much going to be like that. This means that an exclusive number of festival-goers will get in 90 minutes before general admission for no holds barred access to the event. Not only are they welcome in their VIP area, but they have the ability to go around to as many of the brewery tents as they want, without lines. They can use this time to chat with brewers and learn about their beers, and maybe even become fast friends (or not). -Special bathrooms and beers! Not only do they get in early, they will have their own 20′ x 40′ tent that only they’re allowed in, which will have special beers only for them. In addition to the VIP tent, they’ll have access to VIP-only bathrooms. Yes, there will be plenty of bathrooms throughout the festival that VIPs are allowed to use, as well. But there will also be extras, just for them! And, oh yeah, I said special beers. We’ve got some breweries from all over the state that will not be available in the general admission area, but they’re sending a special keg or two our way just for VIPs! Wanna know how that list is shaping up? OK… -NoDa: What Gose Round, Gordgeous, Hop Drop n Roll -BirdSong: Jalapeno Pale Ale -Twin Leaf: TBA -One World: TBA -Burial: TBA -Wicked Weed: Freak of Nature -Raleigh: Special Cask -BearWaters: TBA -Aviator: Special Cask Plus, we’ll have a few extra goodies to throw in there as well. We don’t want to give it all away just yet. So, there you have it. You get in 90 minutes earlier than everyone else to roam the festival grounds. You’ll get access to special release kegs throughout the day in the VIP tent. And,...

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What is Beericana?

Posted by on Jul 13, 2014

If you’re anything like I am, you hear the words “beer festival” and your ears perk up. Those words can conjure a variety of thoughts, depending on past experiences you’ve had. Like most festival-goers, I’d imagine, I’ve seen the good, the bad, and everything in between. From waiting too long in lines, to clueless volunteers pouring beer, to not having enough water on site, the bad usually ends up being what I most remember. These disappointing incidents are what made us decide to start planning a new kind of craft beer festival: instead of overselling and trying to squeeze as many people as possible through the gates, we want to make this the absolutely best overall festival experience possible for not only the attendees, but for the brewers and brewery workers as well. No More Long Lines! There are certain things in life we all have to wait for: turning 16 for a driver’s license and turning 21 to legally buy beer are two things that come to mind. Those are natural landmarks we all have to wait for. One thing I have little patience for is waiting in long lines for beer. What I have even less patience for is waiting in a long line to pee!  Since waiting is one of the things I most despise, we are focused on doing our best to mitigate lines for both. The easiest way we can do this is by not over-selling the festival (116 acres of property doesn’t hurt, either) and by providing enough bathrooms and organizing them in a way that there are plenty available to everyone and people won’t be waiting in lines 30 people deep. VIP Bathrooms! One of the benefits of purchasing a VIP ticket for Beericana is that there will be VIP bathrooms, with hand-washing stations. Trust me, it makes a difference! They might not be made out of solid gold, but they will be separate and a little more roomy.  Educate the People! Another thing that really grinds my gears is when you finally make it through to the front of the beer line and the person pouring beer can’t tell you anything about it. How do I make a decision on what I want to try if all you can tell me is that “the one on the left’ll getcha drunk faster”? True craft beer festivals are put on for breweries to share their...

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Weekend Tappenings…

Posted by on Jul 3, 2014

Freedom, fireworks, and craft beer: ‘Merica! We have some great ideas to celebrate on this 4th of July weekend. But, before we dive in, here are some random facts about the month of July: -The very first All-Star baseball game was held in Chicago in 1933. -Hawaii was annexed in 1898. -The Beatles “A Hard Day’s Night” was released in 1964. -And 919 Beer took its first breaths in 2012, which we celebrate this coming week (check out our event page and join our birthday celebration)! Since most of you hard-working Americans have Friday off, Thursday is the new Friday (for this week, at least). So without further ado, here’s What’s Tappening… Thursday Summer and Sours go together like Chinese food and chocolate pudding. So to kick off this 4th of July weekend, head over to Bottle Revolution for their ‘Sourpusses Unite’ event. Event begins at 6pm, and they will have a variety of Sours on tap. So pucker up and get over there! Friday Happy 4th of July, craft beer lovers! There are multiple options for fireworks and festivities. If you are in Durham, head out to the DBAP to watch the Collegiate National Team against Chinese Taipei. The first pitch is at 6:05 p.m. followed by the City of Durham’s official Fireworks celebration. If you are in Raleigh then the ‘Works is what you need. Downtown Raleigh, Fayetteville St. and Red Hat Amphitheater July 4th on Fayetteville Street kicks off at Noon. There will be food trucks, activities for the family, and huge wine and craft beer garden – Foothills, Carolina Brewing Co., and Carolina Brewery are a few of the options. Saturday The 35th Annual “Festival for the Eno” heads into day 2 today. The festival is put on every year as a benefit for the Eno River Association, in order fund their mission to protect the natural resources of the Eno River and its watershed for future generations. The good times kick off at 10am. There will be live music on four stages, hosting over 60 acts. There is sure to be a jam for everyone! This year is the first time they will have a beer garden, sponsored by Sweetwater Brewing Co. Let’s get out there and show our support for the Eno! BBQ and Craft Beer? I’m in! Aviator is throwing an ole’ fashion pig pickin event at the taphouse on Saturday from...

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Weekend Tappenings…

Posted by on Jun 26, 2014

It’s the last weekend of June already? Yeah. Really. We’ve got a pretty good line-up of events this weekend, so let’s dig in… Friday Happy Friday! Today’s mission, get an early start on the weekend! Hailing from the West Coast, Green Flash Brewing out of San Diego is taking over the taps at Triangle Wine Company in Morrisville from 430-7pm. If you are out near Durham, Sam’s Bottle Shop is the place to be, as they will be sampling some of the goodness from Big Boss and Railhouse Brewing. Also paying them a visit from Asheville is RootsFood, who has some amazing hummus. Seriously, these guys were at Raleigh Rare Beer and we couldn’t get enough of their stuff! Saturday Draft Line Brewing is the place to be today. They are throwing a HUGE grand opening throwdown! Festivities begin at 12 noon, and they will feature seven local food trucks, four live bands, and six fantastic craft beers on tap! We visited them for our May “Taste the Triangle” event and had a fantastic time! Do yourself a favor and get there! Heading toward the coast? Make a detour through New Bern, where they will be hosting their fifth annual Brew Bern Beer Festival at the
 Riverfront Convention Center. Located downtown in the city’s historic district on the Trent River waterfront, the festival boasts 50+ American craft and regional micro breweries, with over 150 beers being offered. Finally, you can finish off your Saturday by eating some great food from Big Mike’s BBQ, paired with beers from Southern Wake County’s breweries, all for a great cause by heading out to the Southern Wake Charity Beer Dinner. The event is hosted by our good friends Kristen Baughman and Beltline Brew Tours, and it will take place at Ninja Cow Farm to benefit No Kid Hungry. Dinner begins at 6 pm. Click here for tickets! Sunday This Sunday is reserved for recovery. You have two yoga choices: Raleigh Brewing Company or Fullsteam. So, if you’re in the Bull City, get to 2770F for the 10:45 start of class. Wake County folks, head to RBC by 10:30. And, lest we forget, Namaste! No matter what you choose, as long as it includes great friends and NC Craft Beer you can’t go wrong! Check back with us next week as we continue to let you know “What’s...

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What are Taste the Triangle Events?

Posted by on Jun 23, 2014

I have taken the time to interview myself about our Taste the Triangle events. I think I was able to dig deeply enough and ask the hard-hitting questions. Cheers!   Taste the Triangle Events: Q: What are Taste the Triangle events? A: We’re glad you asked! Taste the Triangle is what started 919 Beer! A few of us were in desperate need of an evening out, away from our jobs, kids, and wives (not me, of course; but some of those other ungrateful men were. Seriously, I could stay at home with my wife and cook dinner and do dishes with a smile on my face every night if it were up to me. But, I felt bad for some of my friends who didn’t share the same sentiments as I) so we decided to set up an evening out, once each month, where we could get away, turn our phones off, drink a few beers, enjoy each other, all while learning about our local breweries. These nights eventually opened up to more and more people and have come to be known as Taste the Triangle events. Q: Wow! That’s a whole bunch of rambling and you still haven’t answered my question! A: I was getting to that! Basically, our Taste the Triangle events are a once-per-month evening out at a different brewery or bottle shop, where we talk to the brewers/owners and learn all there is to know about their operation, beers, history, future, etc. We meet the second Wednesday of each month at 6 pm. The “tour” begins around 6:30 (usually 6:45, because people can’t seem to show up on time. Or, if they’re there, they talk too much and then realize they’re out of beer, which means they then need to order another, thus wasting even more time.). We ask all kinds of questions to the brewers/owners throughout the evening. Once that’s over, everyone ends up back in the taproom for another beer of three, before filling growlers and heading home. Q: Who can come Taste the Triangle? A: Yes! Q: I don’t get it… A: Anyone (of legal drinking age, and ability) can come! No matter if you’re a craft beer nut, or you’re not exactly sure what all this crazy stuff called “craft beer” is, we want you to join us! We don’t exclude anyone for any reason (unless they’re underage, or if they...

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