That’s What She Said… About Aviator in 12 Oaks
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 three of these. We’d like to think he learned his lesson.
The third selection was Black Mamba Oatmeal Stout. This 6.5% stout is full bodied, balanced, and smooth, flavored with hints of chocolate and dark roasted grains. During your visits to the Brewery and/or the Tap House, you can order it on nitro, which is my preference. Wayne has not been a stout guy until he tried it with blended with coffee, and there a conversion occurred.
The evening concluded with Frostnipper. Coming in at 7.2%, this delightful winter warmer is rich in both color and flavor. Personally, I’m not a fan of spiced beer, but this is a really nice blend of actual beer and a sprinkling of spice. I dare compare it to Highland‘s Cold Mountain, in that you know you’re drinking beer but with just a little hint of Christmas. I’d eat my neighbor Bev’s homemade pumpkin cream cake with this. Or turkey. Or ginger snaps. Or any holiday meals!
All-in-all, I’d say the first 12 Oaks beer night was a smashing success! The people enjoyed themselves: the beer was great, Mark’s stories were hilarious, and everyone left with a pint glass and a smile on their faces. We’re looking forward to doing it again in January, when we’ll have Joe Zonin from Carolina Brewing Company joining us. If you’re interested in starting something like this in your neighborhood, give us a shout! Email us at email@example.com and we’ll be glad to help you out!