Wednesday, August 24, 2011

2011 Raleigh Beer Week

The 2nd Annual Raleigh Beer Week
RALEIGH,NC – With 7 leaders of the craft beer scene in NC all located Downtown Raleigh NC , it makes sense for the collaboration to celebrate all things craft brewed.  From the ceremonial tapping of the first cask by Mayor Charles Meeker to the arrival of more than 20 breweries from 8 states and as far away as Belgium & Germany the 6-day event will prove that Raleigh is “America’s Smartest Beer Drinking City”.
The Busy Bee Cafe kicks the week off  this year's festival with ticketed "cellar clearing" beer festival of epic proportions with over 20 breweries being represented. The festival will include the Brewers Forum; a fan favorite event from 2010, brings barrel aging master Eric Salazar for a tasting of super-rare Felix Love & an informal round-table discussion on sour beers & barrel aging;  and many other types of beer events, food and beer pairings, cask events, prix fixe beer dinners as well as taste appreciation events with nationally recognized writers.  We have worked with Breweries and Distributors to arrange for dozens of rare and special beers to be kegged and casked for service during Raleigh Beer Week.  Allagash Brewing Company have sent Belgian Blonde, Curieux & this year's Fluxus.  The folks at Foundation will reinforce your love for NC beer by breaking out Sexual Chocolate and some barrel aged brews from their private stash as well as offering some of the most inventive & delicious beer cocktails in the South.  We will be celebrating the launch of Beer Prophet the smartphone app for beer novices and pros alike with Tir Na Nog & Lonerider Brewings' Local Beer Local Band event. And
 Check out for the full schedule.
About Raleigh Beer Week
Raleigh Beer Week is a 6 day celebration of the “Smartest and Best Beer-Drinking City in America”
Established in 2010, it hopes to become the largest and best beer week in the Southeast.  Celebrating the collaborative efforts of local businesses to put better beer into the hands of our diverse clientele.  Born out of conversations over dozens of pints of handcrafted beer, produced through the efforts of friends collaborating to bring separate businesses together through a passion great beer.
Raleigh Beer Week highlights the region’s diverse beer scene – its world-class breweries, neighborhood taverns, trend-setting restaurants and growing beer culture and history.  Raleigh Beer Week will draw thirsty beer fans from throughout the region and beyond, making it one of Raleigh’s key annual tourist events.
Raleigh Beer Week is organized and operated by a board of friends, restaurant owners and others, to promote Raleigh’s beer and hospitality industries.
For more information, visit
or email us

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

For What It's Worth Beer Dinner Calendar

For What Its Worth Beer Dinner Calendar
(Actual dates through August are 100% confirmed)

May 21, 2011 – RJ Rockers $25

June 25, 2011 – Wetten Importers – Het Anker (Gouden Carolous), Eggenberg, Castle Brewery Van Honsebrouck, L.Huyghe (Delirium) and Lucifer $30

July 16, 2011 – Westbrook Brewing $35

August 20, 2011 – Stone Brewing $40

September 17, 2011 – Bell’s Brewery $35

October 15, 2011 – Foothills Brewing $35

November 12, 2011 – Steven’s Point Brewery $25

December 10, 2011 – Brooklyn Brewery $25

January 21, 2012 – New South Brewing $25

February 18, 2012 – Sierra Nevada Brewing $30

March 17, 2012 – Left Hand Brewing $35

April 14, 2012 – Dogfish Head Brewing (waiting on confirmation)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Shae Dannemiller at the Landmark Resort, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

We just made it back from the third annual Myrtle Beach Beer Fest and we have to tell you about one of the up and coming beer bars located inside the Landmark Resort ( More specifically, about the determination of  Shae Dannemiller (the Food and Beverage Manager) to transform the Landmark's bar, The Pub, into a world class beer bar. We met Shae during the second day of the Fest. He and his wife, Jill, stopped by our Beer Connoisseur Magazine table and introduced themselves. Later, he stopped by with some of the best pretzels we've ever had with an amazing honey butter made from scratch. One of the first steps in his plan was to  transform the Pub kitchen from standard hotel fare to a scratch kitchen and we can attest to the results. We stopped by after the Fest and were greeted by Shae himself, a consummate host eager to please and share his knowledge of craft beer and food pairings (he's a certified Cicerone) and make sure that we had a wonderful dinner. Normally, when we think of hotel food, we're thinking over-priced under-sized portions with the usual beer suspects. Forget all of that. After dropping off 4 of the afore mentioned pretzels as table bread, out came our two sandwiches, the Club for Aimee and Chicken Parmesan for me. The prices and portion sizes were amazing.  More importantly, the beer menu has over 250 craft beers to choose from. Shae went all out for us and picked a bottle from his cellar to share. A 2007 vintage Rogue XS Old Crustacean! Needless to say, we waddled out of there with very happy faces and still had some to take with us.

Gearing up for a full scale renovation that will see 3 taps grow to 30, a new bar and a new moniker by Easter, we wanted to assure you that you don't need to wait, as the beer list and food now are already way ahead of the curve. Fortunately for the budding craft beer scene in Myrtle Beach, Shae is just warming up. He held an Allagash pairing this past Friday night and has plans to continue with a veritable who's who in brewery names coming soon. Next up will be Highland Brewing and we'll be sure to post all of the upcoming events as soon as we hear of them. He's also teamed up with Myrtle Beach's own New South Brewing for a unique twist on the standard brewery tour...folks had the opportunity to learn and brew a batch at the Pub before heading to New South to tour the brewery then returned to the Pub for complimentary appetizers and to meet other local home brewers. Shae is committed to bringing craft beer to Myrtle Beach in grand style. Do yourself a favor and stop by the soon to be re-named Pub and any other event that has Shae's name attached. With Myrtle Beach's craft beer man of vision at the helm, you can rest assured it will exceed all of your expectations.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Allagash Tasting @ the Landmark Resort in Myrtle Beach, SC

Landmark Resort
Allagash Tasting
Friday, March 25, 2011 8pm-10pm

Allagash White
House Pretzels
Our house pretzel served with a unique goat cheese spread

Allagash Tripel
Crab & Shrimp Cakes
Our house cakes made with jumbo lump crab, petite shrimp, roasted peppers, seasonings and fresh bread crumbs

Allagash Curieux
BBQ Tri-Tip Steak Sandwich
4oz Stock Yards Angus sirloin tri tip smoked with hickory chips and sliced thin tossed with BBQ sauce topped with bacon and cheddar cheese on a mini toasted Filone hoagie.

Allagash Black
Beef en Croute
Buttery puff pastry wrapped around Stock Yards Angus beef tenderloin, mushrooms, garlic and liver pate

Friday, February 18, 2011

Bison Brewing

We have some great info about this organic brewery from Berkeley, California and all of their efforts to create the most sustainable and green brews out there. We applaud their work and congratulate them on winning a Good Food award for their Gingerbread Ale...

"Bison was recently the first brewery welcomed into the B Corporation line-up of businesses that are dedicated to operating under the highest social and environmental standards. The certification process measures a company’s impact on its employees, suppliers, community, and the environment. Beyond Bison’s organic commitment, the company’s socially responsible behaviors include:
·         sourcing only recycled paperboard 6-packs
·         studying its carbon footprint
·         paying a living wage
·         a significant amount of charitable giving
Along with the B Corp certification, owner Daniel Del Grande also recently accepted a “Good Food” award for his Gingerbread Ale, and award sponsored by Whole Foods & San Francisco Magazine, which recognizes and praises some of the same practices the B Corp certification does.
Bison also offers a quick and easy way for their customers to get involved in the environmental cause through a program on their website. The program, called “Drink Neutral”, compliments Bison’s commitment to making a sustainable everyday product to help people implement being “green” into their regular habits by helping to off-set their carbon footprints.
Bison proves that one need not sacrifice the pleasures of everyday living to be green. Bison is currently distributed in 16 states across the US, including California, Oregon, both Carolinas, Georgia, Virginia, Florida, Ohio, Colorado, Arizona, Hawaii, and Indiana.
Below is the official press release for Bison and Del Grande’s recent award wins and how he’s working to make a small craft brewery make a big difference in the way businesses are ran and the way products are produced."

Bison Organic Beer joins B Corporation sustainability leaders
Berkeley’s award-winning brewer recognized for organic practices
and social responsibility

BERKELEY, CALIF. (January 21, 2011)  — Bison Organic Beer Owner Daniel Del Grande believes that a beer company can make a far-reaching and profound positive impact in the world. That belief runs through every facet of the way Del Grande operates his Berkeley-based brewing company — from choices of beer packaging and brewing location to selection of ingredients and hiring practices — and has resulted in Bison Organic Beer being recognized as a model of sustainability by being certified as a B Corporation.

B Corporation companies are a group of 369 businesses with over $1.8 billion in revenue that are committed to solving social and environmental problems. Through environmental best practices and socially responsible ethics, B Corporation members make a difference by the way they operate their business. Companies who have been B Corporation-certified include Numi Organic Tea and Method Products Inc.

Bison Organic Brewing’s recognition as a B Corporation company is a testament to the brewer’s long-standing belief that brewing world-class beer and building a better world can go hand in hand. Every aspect of the company has been refined, not with the bottom line in mind, but with the goal of enhancing the health of the surrounding society and environment.  For example, a recent detailed examination of Bison’s business identified the two single biggest contributors to the brewery’s carbon footprint — agriculture and glass bottle production — reaffirming Del Grande’s commitment to organic agriculture and selling bottled beer only where there is extensive glass recycling. The brewery recently hired three Welfare-to-Work employees and pays a living wage.  He brews this organic beer in existing breweries with excess capacity.

Each sustainable practice Bison Brewing adopts has a ripple effect felt far beyond the walls of the beer company — fewer pesticides are sprayed on crops, farmland erosion is minimized, government unemployment and Welfare costs drop, and the local community is strengthened by quality jobs.

“When you look at what Bison Brewing is doing just on the organic side, there are hundreds and hundreds of acres of agriculture that have been converted from non-organic to organic farmland just because of Bison Organic Beer,” said Del Grande. “The same can be said of other portions of our business — the way we operate impacts the community and world in a way that we are very proud of.”


Bison Brewing has been organic since 2003, long before the B Corporation designation existed. But a growing awareness of social responsibility in the business world has recently earned Bison formal recognition and award for its environmental efforts.

Meanwhile U.S. consumers are becoming more aware of the role they play in the social responsibility equation. “Buycotting” turns the idea of boycotting on its head by encouraging discerning consumers to seek out food and beverages that are produced responsibly and ethically. With a wider range of products to choose from than perhaps any other point in U.S. history, a growing number of today’s consumers are voting with their dollars and endorsing businesses that not only produce delicious food and beverages, but also improve the society and environment that consumers and corporations share.

Time Magazine article named the growing consumer consciousness the “Responsibility Revolution,” and an accompanying poll found that found that 82 percent of those polled consciously supported a local or neighborhood business, while nearly 40 percent said they purchased a product in 2009 because they liked the social or political values of the company that produced it. More than 60 percent of Americans bought organic products, the poll found.

“Consumers know that if they choose organic beer that they too are supporting organic agriculture,” said Del Grande. “When consumers buy Bison Organic Beer, they are also supporting a living wage, and a company committed to minimizing its carbon footprint.”

The praise that Bison Organic Beer has received for its social and environmental practices, however, should not overshadow what made the Berkeley brewer popular in the first place — its expertly brewed, palate-pleasing array of unique craft beers.

Del Grande accepted a “Good Food Award” — a recognition sponsored by Whole Foods and San Francisco Magazine among others — in January for his Gingerbread Ale. The award “celebrates the kind of food we all want to eat: tasty, authentic and responsibly produced,” and is only the most recent in a consistent stream of praise that Bison Organic Beer has collected from prestigious beer festivals across the country.

From smooth Chocolate Stouts to a unique Honey Basil Ale and the complex Barleywine Ale, Bison’s ability to expertly balance creative ingredients into smooth, delicate and flavorful beer has earned it medals from top beer reviewers, including judges at the Great American Beer Festival.

For more information on B Corporation visit:
For more information on the Good Food Award visit:

Sunday, January 16, 2011

MINI-REVIEW--De Struise Pannepot

From Vleteren, Belgium comes this Quadrupel at 10% ABV. This is a 2008 bottle we had shipped to us straight from the source. Pours dark with a foamy tan head. The aroma has a bit of alcohol to it and a faint scent of chocolate and bananas. Bubbly on the tongue with a flavor of smoked/roasted dark fruits and surprisingly, no alcohol bite.

This was an easy 4 out 5 stars. One of the best quads we've had with meticulous attention paid to the flavors and appearance. If you can't locate this, you can purchase them direct at the link below. Fantastic beer!

MINI-REVIEW--De Dolle Extra Export Stout

From Esen, Belgium's De Dolle comes this Stout at 9% ABV. This is actually a bottle we found from 2004! Pours black with a tan head. Not much aroma. However, what the aroma was lacking the taste more than made up for! A sweet roasted coffee flavor that is out of this world. Really expected to be disappointed with this but we're happy to report that this ages beautifully!

4 out of 5 stars. Haven't had this fresh but if it's anything like the aged bottle, we're in for a treat!

MINI-REVIEW--Heavy Seas Below Decks Barleywine aged in Cabernet barrels

From Heavy Seas out of Baltimore, Maryland comes this barleywine at 10% ABV. The twist is that this particular batch has been aged in Cabernet barrels. Pours brown with a cream colored head. The aroma is of red wine mixed with malted barley. The taste is wonderful with a dry red wine alcohol flavor at first that changes to a buttery sweet caramel malt flavor that balances it out. Bubbly on the tongue with a good balance between the caramel and wine flavors with dark fruit tossed in the mix as well.

Complex and really tasty even fresh (we usually like our barleywines with a good year on them), we can't wait to see how this one ages. 4 out of 5 stars! Get some to warm you in the dead of winter...

MINI-REVIEW--Cigar City White Oak Aged Jai Alai IPA

From Cigar City in Tampa, Florida comes this IPA at 7.5% ABV aged on American White Oak. Pours with a cream head and a medium amber color. The head is fluffy like clouds as it dissipates. Beautiful in the glass. The aroma is of citrus, oak and pineapple. Tastes phenomenal! Tasting exactly how it smells with loads of tropical fruit. Sweet but a hop bitterness at the end prevents it from becoming cloying, yet the oak balances out the bitterness so it finishes clean. Amazing IPA!

As you can probably tell, we like this one. A lot. However, James likes it more than Aimee does, so we're going to keep it at 4 out of 5 stars. If you find it!!

MINI-REVIEW--Cigar City Humidor Series Cedar Aged IPA

Cigar City Brewing in Tampa, Florida created this version of their Jai Alai IPA which comes in at 7.5% ABV. Pours copper with a white frothy head. The aroma is of citrus and spicy cedar. Refreshing and crisp with a wonderful balance between the cedar and citrus flavors.

This very tasty beverage won was the Gold Medal winner at the 2009 GABF in the Wood and Barrel Aged Category. It's easy to see and taste why! We give this 4 out of 5 stars. Now go get some!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

MINI-REVIEW--AleSmith Wee Heavy

From AleSmith out of San Diego, California comes this Wee Heavy at 10% ABV. Pours dark brown with a malty tan head. Our sniff gives us fleeting caramel and alcohol. The taste is of malts with a strong alcohol bite yet it still manages to finish sweet with a complex flavor that most Scotch ale's we've had are lacking. A silky/buttery texture just adds to the appeal.

4 out of 5 for this brew which is one of the best Scotch ales or wee heavy's we've had. You can't go wrong with this one, a present from our brother-in-law Russ in Cali. Thanks for the shipment!

P.S. You'll also notice the wonderful electric wall outlet in the background. Thankfully, our photog friend Amanda helped us out with a bit more of a professional look for our photos. Thanks, Amanda!

MINI-REVIEW--Weyerbacher Blithering Idiot

From Weyerbacher out of Easton, Pennsylvania comes this Barleywine at 11.1% ABV. Pours brown with a frothy tan head. Ahhhh, the aroma is delicious with dark fruits, caramel, malts, and black licorice. Just amazingly complex! The flavor doesn't let us down either. Very sweet and tasty with the taste mirroring the scent. Just a wee bit of an alcohol kick, especially with this ABV. A dangerous drink but perfect for snowed in winter days like these!

We give this an easy 4 out of 5 stars as it's one of the better barleywines we've had. Do yourself a favor and pick some of these up to help get rid of that chill in your bones!

MINI-REVIEW--Sweetwater Happy Ending

From Sweetwater out of Atlanta, Georgia comes this Imperial Stout with a 9% ABV that was actually bottled in 2009. Pours black with a mocha head that is bubbly and sea foam. The scent is promising with chocolate, whoppers and bacon? The taste doesn't quite live up to the promise of the aroma. While there's plenty of roasted malts, we didn't really get the chocolate or smoke in the taste. The mouth-feel was a bit too thin for us, too.

We'll give this 3.5 out of 5 stars. While our reviews may seem a bit harsh sometimes, this really is a passable Imperial Stout, we've just had better.

MINI-REVIEW--Heavy Seas Smoke on the Water

From Heavy Seas out of Baltimore, Maryland comes this smoked porter at 8% ABV. Pours black with a mocha head. The scent is very light but we picked up some roasted malts. The roasted malts carried over in the flavor but surprisingly no smoke flavor at all. What the??

Probably the most disappointing Heavy Seas brew we've had, we'll give this 3 out of 5 stars. Not a bad porter but not even the slightest hint of the smoke.

MINI-REVIEW--Cigar City Sea Bass

From Cigar City in Tampa, Florida comes this Farmhouse-style ale with an unknown ABV. Pours extremely carbonated with a 4 finger tan head and dark brown in color. An aroma of balsamic vinegar crossed with barnyard. The taste is incredibly dry with a sour aftertaste. The more we drank this the more sour it got.

We're going to give this 3.5 out of 5 stars. We weren't prepared for a straight sour but that's what we got. We'll sum it up as "interesting".

Monday, January 10, 2011

MINI-REVIEW--North Coast Old Stock Ale (2008)

From North Coast Brewing Company out of Fort Bragg, California. This Old Ale comes in at a whopping 12.5% ABV. We're hoping the age has cooled it off a bit! Pours brown with a minimal tan colored head. The scent is straight malt. Very sticky sweet fruit flavor with a huge amount of malt and a serious alcohol bite even after a couple of years in the cellar!

Very tasty but still a bit too hot, we'll give this a 3.5 out of 5 stars. We found a few bottles of this vintage, so we'll revisit this in another year.

MINI-REVIEW--Samuel Adams Infinium

A collaboration between the Boston Beer Company and Weihenstephaner Brewery from Bavaria, Germany. This is an attempt to make a champagne like beer and comes in at 10.3% ABV. Pours with a serious off-white head and a deep gold with a huge amount of carbonation. They certainly got the looks right! The aroma is at turns fruity, buttery and spicy. Tastes exactly how it smells with a honey sweetness in the aftertaste. This reminds Aimee of a buttery cracker with marmalade on it. This reminds James of something he'd rather not visit again!

The packaging is absolutely gorgeous but the contents just don't live up to the promise. We'll give this a 3 out of 5 stars for the attempt. In our opinion, save your hard earned cash and pick up a bottle of the Duvel Tripel Hop instead!

MINI-REVIEW--Duvel Tripel Hop

This Belgian IPA is from Duvel Moortgat Brewery in Breendonk, Belgium and comes in at 9.5%. Pours a cloudy gold color with a thick and fluffy white head. The aroma is very floral and piney. The taste is out of this world goodness! Floral, peppery, earthy, slight honeysuckle. Very unique and unlike any other beer we've ever had!

Absolutely delicious and deserving of 4 out of 5 stars. Run out and grab a bottle before this limited release disappears!

MINI-REVIEW--Russian River Supplication

This "wild American ale" or sour beer comes from Russian River in Santa Rosa, California and is 7% ABV. Pours an amber brown with an off-white thin head. The smell is barnyard or "horse blanket" with a bit of a spiciness to it. First sip causes the mouth to pucker as somehow this beer is both tart and sour at the same time!

Although quite tasty, we've had better so we'll give this 3.5 out of 5 stars.

MINI-REVIEW--Heavy Seas Thank You, Thank You Very Much

In honor of Elvis' birthday this past Saturday, we decided to open our bottle of Heavy Seas 15th Anniversary Double IPA. This ale comes out of Baltimore, MD and is 8% ABV. Pours a pale amber into the glass with a cream colored head. An aroma of citrus and piney hops which leads directly into the taste. Starts off piney/citrusy/floral and ends with a sweet, pleasant, bready malt backbone that finishes just slightly bitter. Very well balanced.

We'll give this 3.5 out of 5 stars and while not as tasty as their Loose Cannon this is well worth a try!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Beer Trip #2-Stop #7-Sam's Quik Shop
The last stop on our trip as we headed back to GA was Sam's Quik Shop located at 1605 Erwin Road in Durham, NC. We'd heard great things about this place and had to stop by. We weren't disappointed! Mild mannered convenience store on the outside, super powered craft beer store inside! Literally everywhere we looked there were shelves and coolers overflowing with some of the rarest craft beers we've seen. We were shocked that this little place could put mega-stores like Total Wine to shame. It is now officially a must visit anytime we make the trek from GA to VA. A huge selection, you have to stop by and be shocked if you're in the area, just make sure you have plenty of room in your trunk!

Beer Trip #2-Stop #6-Commercial Taphouse and Grill
A snowy Christmas night in Richmond, VA found us at the Commercial Taphouse. Located at 111 North Robinson Street, the Taphouse was Richmond's first taphouse and a big part of the budding craft beer scene there. We sat down at the bar and met with Sean O'Hern, the bartender. We chatted about the Richmond beer scene as we enjoyed an aged Victory Old Horizontal and others from their 15 taps. Sean is an avid home brewer as well and was very quick to answer any questions we had about what was on tap. The place was hopping but somehow Sean and the cook were able to keep up and we had a delicious meal from the grill. We got to know a few of the other patrons and had a wonderful Christmas night at the bar. We couldn't have asked for a more perfect setting for our craft beer Christmas. Snow, the bar, the people and the beer made this a night to remember! When you're in the area, make sure you stop by the Commercial Taphouse and Grill in the Fan and experience the Richmond craft beer revolution first hand!
2006 Victory Old Horizontal and Starr Hill Pale from the cask

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Beer Trip #2-Stop #5-Legend Brewing Company

The view of Richmond from the deck
When we arrived in Richmond, Virginia, one of our first stops was Legend Brewing Company located at 321 West 7th Street, just south of the James River and downtown. Legend has a special place in James' heart, as Richmond is his hometown and he actually had a taste of their first cask way back in 1994 at the Commercial Taphouse (which we'll review later). Fifteen years after the brewery officially opened they've grown from a tiny hole-in-the-wall tasting room to a full-scale restaurant with a rooftop deck and a view of Richmond that has to be seen to be believed. We tried in advance to set up a tour, but being Christmas Eve, the brewers and management were off and they were running with a skeleton crew. James' daughter joined us (she lives in Richmond) and we sat down and ordered a flight. We were very impressed by the consistency and quality of the beers with the most love being shown for the Barleywine, Tripel, Chocolate Porter and their flagship Brown Ale. Our waiter, Wil (we're going by our receipt), was very attentive and chatted with us about the brewery and beers. We had a fantastic dinner and dessert as we opened presents. This was a wonderful start to a perfect Christmas weekend! Of course we couldn't leave without purchasing a 4-pack of the delicious Barleywine since Legend is not distributed in GA. Richmond's only brewery is certainly living up to it's namesake. If you're in the Richmond area, you must plan on a visit to Legend and if it's warm weather, check out the phenomenal view from their rooftop deck!
The bar/restaurant