Monday, September 19, 2016

Black Angel (Wicked Weed Brewing)

One of the many things I like about working for Specialty Beverage, is that we all get to travel to other markets. Recently becoming a father of two, I have held tight to home and not been anywhere. I am left here more often than not to hold down the fort. I have a great team that brings me little gifts from abroad and so happy to be able to experience "dat weed doe". I have never been to the funkatorium, or even to Ashville, NC. Funky or Sour beer in my experience has always been like the beer people are drinking in a corner. The scuttle off, and share a small bottle in small numbers. I have had such experiences with Wicked Weed, and I have never been let down.
Having just heard that Wicked Weed is now distributing everywhere in Va, but Richmond. These beers will become more common place. There is no denying the demand is largely based on hype and I would be willing to bet that most people will try it and hate it. When Cascade brewing hit Richmond over 6 months ago, I thought their stuff would disappear despite the price. There is always a buzz of folks asking for sour beers, then no one puts their money where their mouth is. These wicked weed bottles are 375, not full blown 750, but I still have my doubts about how well a $15 375 will do in a market that struggles to sell any 22oz bottle over $9.99. 

Ninkasi Brewing (Statewide Launch)

My trading game has made me no stranger to Ninkasi Brewing from Eugine Oregon. If you are a fan of pun filled IPA names, it's hard to forget Tricerahops. We launched this brand in November of 2015 in the whole state of Virginia with total domination IPA, tricerahops double IPA, oatis oatmeal stout, vanilla oatis, sleigh'r, noir, dawn of the red, and lux. Stouts and all flavors of IPAs, just what the local beer nerd requires. 

Total Domination is not a hop bomb. It is a delicate flavor packed IPA. It is more like a soothing song than a slap in the face. This is what I want to treat myself to after a long day at work. 

If you are going to make a red or amber ale today, and you want it to sell you better but hops in it. Dawn of the red does just that, malt and hops give a heart drinkable beer that is more than just sweet. The label is very metal so yeah, try it.

Speaking of a total label buy, this one will crush in Richmond. This draft is nearly a year old and I just want to finish it and move on to something more recent. 

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Space Juice (Long Trail Brewing)

It seems that one the east coast the 16oz 4pk can is a sacred format. Heady topper at the helm, a tall boy of IPA better be worth it's salt. Lawson's liquids was able to keep to format, and recently the new hot brewery in Richmond, Virginia, the Veil has been cranking out some dynamite 4pks. As a whole the 4pk format has been on the decline, with breweries like green flash and dogfish transitioning all packaged beer to six packs. I attempt to follow most of my associated breweries on social media and have been wanting to get the offering from long trail since first spotted.
Long Trail from Bridgewater Corners, Vermont has been crafting beer since 1989. This year has supplied us with one of my favorite new beers of the year, Green Blaze. Green Blaze is a newer school  recipe IPA, pale in color, very floral, and refreshing. So the announcement of space juice left me anticipating another great IPA from these guys, but so far I have been disappointed. The $17 4pk of this double IPA taste of alcohol, and has that heavy malt bitterness and finish. I do have two beers left to try on another day. The dark caramel color should have been a warning of that malt that would be heading up the flavor department. So I strongly endorse green blaze and the mash project. 

Friday, August 5, 2016

Nimble Giant (Troegs Brewing)

This year saw Kysela finally let go of distribution rights two Troegs. Va Eagle bought the rights statewide and did some horse trading for other brands. I was not super excited at first, but have been very impressed with the recent marketing change and the production of a second limited release hoppy beer in a great format. Nugget Nectar will be the mid to late winter limited release and nimble giant will be the mid to late summer limited release double IPA.
Troegs is a family brewery from Pennsylvania that has been around since 1996, but has been in Virginia for as long as I can remember. They are probably best known for nugget nectar, a seasonal release that causes hysteria every winter. A recent branding update, and new beers such as solid sender and nimble giant have created fresh buzz about this brand. Nimble giant was exactly that, a huge beer that sneaks up on you. With a little more buzz and lead time next year I think this beer will be a new anticipated release that rolls off the shelf as quick as it can be stocked.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Fourth meal (Bruery and Maine collab)

I have experienced more stress and have come to so many of life's important cross roads recently that I can barely deal with it. I am up for a promotion at work, we have sold our house, we have no house to move to, there is another baby on the way, and sweet sawyer is entering the terrible twos. We are attempting to put an offer on a house that is way bigger than what we need, but we are looking to shoot the moon here. We have roughly a week to find an acceptable house that we can close on in thirty days, or we will have to move into an apartment or in with my parents. It's Valentines day and of course I shit the bed on that too. 
This week saw nugget nectar, hopslam, hawaiian speedway stout, black tuesday, and fourthmeal hit the market. I rarely spring for the Bruery beers because of sticker shock but I trusted the reviews I have heard about this beer. I believe I only actually paid $11.59 for this beer. I'm not nearly the fan boy of maine beers but I know what to expect from them, clean beer. 

Belgian pale ales are a style widely hated by my collective beer friends. It has become a style that is too estery or lacks hop flavor. It seems like the love child of a marketing forward brewery attempting to take a little of the new and the old to create the greatest hybrid style ever. I feel that most of the ones I have had over the years are poorly balanced. I get the flavor from the Belgian yeast strain and it sucks. This beer does an excellent job of being a collaboration between Belgian and hops. It is well made but not hitting you over the head with flavor. This is truly a collaboration that will be missed once it is gone. I'm sure if it gets reprised next year it won't be as good. 

Monday, December 7, 2015

San Diego Visit (A Work Trip)

Never in my wildest dreams would I ever thought working for a beer wholesaler would have landed me a trip to San Diego. The trip was non stop, tons of fun, and was a great opportunity for me to bond with some of my coworkers. I will try my best to walk you through this with me but . . Beers, so many beers.
I left out of Richmond Saturday morning with two of my co-workers, and another two would meet is in CA, flying from Charlottesville. We had a layover in Atlanta, then onto San Diego, where we should have been united with fellow employees. Their plane had been delayed, and we were on our own to hit the town. I was already blown away by this point. We had left a seasonably chilly VA, and were now on the west coast. It was warm and the resort was full of the sound of children playing in the pool. We had plans on heading to Ballast Point in little Italy already so we just headed out early for that. It was packed, they had like 40 beers on tap, nearly half of which don't see distribution. I  would have been happy to sit there all night, we went on a failure of a walk about instead. 
The next morning we met Nick Flood (No shit his real name), our Green Flash tour guide, and our other two co-workers at the hotel bar to kick off the day of festivities. We headed off to Green Flash Cellar 3 first. It was quite the hike to get out there but it was nice to see some of the So-Cal landscape. We only see the occasional big bottle from cellar three in Virginia. This place had everything and lots of variants. It was super clean and not very busy. 

Pictured above is Nick Flood, in his backwards Green Flash hat. I appreciate that Green Flash didn't put their faithful through what the Bruery did with their wild fermentation program. This barrel house is dedicated souly to sour aging. The whiskey barrel aged beers like silva stout are still maintained at Green Flash. We went to Green Flash shortly after being here but didn't stay long, the talks of lunch got the crew plotting and scheming about how to break away and take advantage of being here.
I got very vocal about wanting to go to Pizza Port, so we did that for lunch. This place was amazing. They are a brew pub with five locations, and look at the beer selection. Their pizza is off the chain. Having lunch here also let the guys catch up on the status of their fantasy teams. I feel like we pretty much lost our escort at this point in the trip for saturday. We got back to the hotel, hung out for a bit. Then we went back to Ballast Point little Italy with the guys that just landed. Turnt up from there on out for events that included teaching craft beer in the hotel hot tub and walking around ocean beach.
Monday morning breakfast, and no one could drink their beer. I may or may not have ordered an Almanac Gose on the Green Flash tab. Food was great, but we were dragging ass. The original Alpine is pictured below is only a place to buy growlers and merchandise, so they built the pub, where we had lunch. The OG location was bad ass, and a testament to Alpine handle on all things hoppy. People flock to this dump for libations, barely leaving room to get down the street for the lack of parking. I was touched by the free hoodie I received that day. I have been to the holy land, and I got a gift better than a t-shirt.
So we had to be at the stadium pretty early. We got to go on the field and attempt to drink more beer. Tony Rawls managed to sneak of an get a selfie with Kendra Wilkenson!! I was so jealous, and elevated Rawls to a whole other level in my book. The game was cool. It's sad for San Diego that the chargers will probably be moving but the stadium was ancient. The steelers walked all over them, and the steelers fans were in attendance. 
Back in the streets afterwards naturally. Pretty crazy being from the east coast and thinking about us doing something after a monday night football game but we did. First we got some late night California tacos, pictured below. Then we went back to mission beach to drink with the Breckenridge rep on the beach. The beach was amazing. I can see how a man could get used to this. I wish I had thought to take an additional day off to stay a little longer. Andrew and I visited stone bright and early at the airport and back to the east coast we went, whomp whomp. I'll be back California, prepare yourself.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Marzen (Schlenkerla Brewery)

If you know me, you know that my favorite time of year is fall. The smell, the chill, the leaves changing, and the German drinking holidays. The St. Benedictine Octoberfest is an annual fund raiser at the school that happens every year. I have not been the past couple of year but will mark it on the calendar. 

When I worked at Brown, I could name every import that we carried. Now that I am at Specialty it isn't that easy. We distribute for B. United that has an import portfolio bigger than our core portfolio. It has been a real challenge to learn all of these brands, and some have a bit of seasonality to them. Schlenkerla is a B. United brand that we carry four or five SKU's from year round.

Rauch beers, or smoked beers are the German way of adding flavor to beers and keep with in the purity laws. Water is added to grain to encourage it to sprout, and once it has sprouted they dry or smoke the grain to stop at this point of growth. One practice was to layer the grain between moss, thus imparting some flavor. Schlenkerla does a bit of blending to express many degrees of smokiness. These beers are often described as a meal in a glass. It's like drinking a slab of bacon or rack of ribs. I have yet to try to Oak Smoke yet, this could be a long learning process.