2005 | REGIONAL | SOUTHEAST
By Bobby Bush
212 South Green
Morganton, NC 28655
(No phone yet)
545 Mill St.
P.O. Box 2075
Sylva, NC 28779
401 East Main St.
Louisville, KY 40202
Titan Brewing (micro)
2157 Viscount Row
Orlando, FL 32809
Big Bear Brewing
1800 N. University Dr.
Coral Springs, FL 33065
Delayed a day due to freezing rain that crippled the South,
the first Atlanta Cask Ale Tasting welcomed a 200-strong crowd
nonetheless. A benefit for Relay for Life, the tasting also
served as competition among 13 locally produced brews. First
place went to contract brewer Terrapin Beer Company for Wake-N-Bake
on Wood, an oatmeal imperial stout. Brewer Spike Buckowski’s
not-so-secret ingredient is Costa Rican coffee roasted in
Atlanta by J. Martinez. For the cask version, Buckowski added
French vanilla oak chips.
Second and third place awards went to a pair of siblings.
Buckhead Colorado Steakhouse in Alpharetta, Ga., grabbed the
red ribbon for an imperial pale ale called Emperor Penguin.
The Stockbridge, Ga., Buckhead brewpub followed with honors
for Panther Pale Ale, a hoppy American pale ale.
Mark’s Maple Mild, from Atlanta Brewing, was recognized
as the “unofficial Honorable Mention” ale by the
judges. The medium-bodied ale was conditioned on a bed of
bourbon- and maple syrup–infused maple wood chips. Other
participating breweries included host Sweetwater, Athens,
Ga.; brewpub Copper Creek; Dahlonega Brewing (Georgia); Five
Seasons; Max Lager’s American Grill & Brewery; Mellow
Mushroom (a multi-tap bar with a mini-micro brewhouse in downtown
Athens); Park Tavern; Rock Bottom; and Zuma Brewing. Organizer
Owen Ogletree, who also runs the Classic City Brew Fest (see
below), has already announced the next Atlanta Cask Ale Tasting.
Scott Pyatt is moving his microbrewery. Operating in a cramped
basement in a dry county since inception, Catawba Valley Brewing
will soon have spacious quarters in downtown Morganton, N.C.
With a great location in the culturally active town, 20-foot
ceilings and over 7,000 square feet on one floor, Pyatt hopes
to rent part of the facility for use as a restaurant or perhaps
a for-rent banquet hall. Excited to be doing “something
artsy and fun,” Pyatt is looking forward to becoming
part of the downtown social scene. Catawba Valley Buffalo
Nickel Ale, Indian Head Red, Brown Bear Ale, Firewater IPA
and Honest Injun Stout should benefit from the relocation.
Secluded in the mountains of North Carolina about 50 miles
west of Asheville, Dieter Kuhn has been quietly brewing beer
since April 2004. Though the German-born, Siebel-trained brewer
takes his job seriously — Kuhn still works a regular
nursing shift — he more and more frequently fires the
brew-kettle of his Heinzelmannchen Brewery to keep local customers
happy. Selling fancy German growlers to-go out the front door
and having kegs delivered to restaurants in the populated
terrain surrounding the town of Sylva, the “fresh-beer”
fanatic is, by necessity, an all-ale brewer. Taking its name
from the folklore of South Germany’s Black Forest, brought
to life by tales of gnomelike creatures, the microbrewery
offers wares such as Gopher, an American pilsner-style ale;
Ancient Days Honey Blonde; Middleworld Brown, in the malty
U.K. style; and the supple Black Forest Stout. More info on
“Your Hometown Brewery” can be found at yourgnometownbrewery.com.
With brewer Eileen Martin’s departure from Browning’s
Brewery in late January, Assistant Brewer Bill Dinkins took
over as head brewer. A homebrewer while living in Texas and
Colorado, Dinkins began his professional brewing career with
the three-year-old Louisville, Ky., brewpub, coming on board
with Martin when the establishment opened. Somewhat shocked
by her sudden departure, the unassisted brewer says “business
is crazy now” and will only get wilder when the baseball
season gears up (Browning’s is located adjacent to the
Louisville Sluggers’ stadium). The Sluggers “sold
a ton of season tickets.” Renewed brewpub ownership
involvement and a new general manager have encouraged Dinkins
to keep the beer flowing with more seasonal selections, including
a Belgian dubbel and a Rye Ale on tap now, and, of course,
plenty of lighter lagers for the baseball fans.
Former Hops brewer Matt Glass has been working full-time
since October to bring Titan Brewing to life. A new 30-barrel
custom-built brewhouse is the centerpiece of his Orlando,
Fla., microbrewery. First out of the blocks will be kegged-only
Alva Triple Bock, named to honor Glass's “namesake,
a fourth-generation brewer who passed away in 1968, the year
I was born,” and Knuckle Dragger XX Oatmeal Stout, a
Big Bear Brewing was recently recognized as a Regional Champion
in the U.S. Beer Tasting Championship for Paw Print IPA. According
to Brewmaster Matthew Cox, the Coral Springs, Fla., brewpub
has “a whole slew of medals,” including a 2002
GABF gold in the Belgian-Style Abbey Ale competition.
The 275-seat, seven-year-old Big Bear facility was designed
and constructed for use as a restaurant and brewery. Cox,
who brewed 500 barrels last year, keeps eight beers on tap.
Typical for touristy Florida, his Polar Light is the most
popular beer with patrons; however, Cox takes pride in Hibernation
Pale Ale, boasting that “people drive up from Miami
just for the IPA.”
New to the somewhat deprived Southern beer drinkers: South
Carolinians should look for Munster, Germany’s Pinkus
Organic Ur Pils and Organic Hefe Weizen. And from the Pacific
Northwest, check shelves and back-bars for recent arrivals
from BridgePort Brewing. The 21-year-old Portland micro is
now selling its classic brews — including BridgePort
ESB, IPA and Black Strap Stout — in Alabama, Georgia,
North Carolina, Tennessee and 14 other states.
Gordon Biersch closed its Memphis brewpub but has a new one
planned for the Washington, D.C., area.
The drawn-out bankruptcy of Avado Brands, the Madison, Ga.,
parent of the Hops brewpub chain, has closed 20 of its locations,
leaving only 37 (of what was at one time close to 60) stores
open. On the auction blocks are 12 facilities in Florida,
three in South Carolina, two in Colorado and one each in North
Carolina, Minnesota, Georgia and Virginia. In 2001, Hops was
the No. 2 brewpub chain in terms of beer sold.
On April 2, the 10th annual Red, White, and Brew, a beer-
and wine-tasting extravaganza, will hold court at Atlanta’s
Lenox Square. Beers from more than 30 breweries, along with
a few bottles of wine and live music, will grace the always-sold-out
event, a fund-raiser for Atlanta's High Museum of Art. For
details, see theredwhiteandbrew.com.
The following weekend greets the third Hickory Hops, a festival
that I help organize. Sponsored by the Hickory, N.C., Downtown
Development Association and Olde Hickory Brewery, last year’s
fest entertained over 1,200 people. Beer from about 30 breweries,
plenty of food from local restaurants and three live bands
are on tap for this six-hour outdoor festival. Tickets available
April 16 will see the 10th Classic City Brew Fest in downtown
Athens, Ga. Limited to 2,500 festers, the fest will offer
over 200 beers — including local and regional strong
beers — accompanied by German bar music and the Sangerkreis
dancers. Co-sponsor Terrapin Brewing will introduce its newest
creation, a double-strength Imperial Rye Pale Ale (“potent,
malty and outrageously hoppy”) at the indoor Classic
Center event. As the celebration continues of the July 2004
success of Georgians for World Class Beer, other high-gravity
beers on hand will include sipping samples from Ommegang,
Oskar Blues, Rogue, Sierra Nevada, Copper Creek, Brooklyn,
Five Seasons, Max Lager’s, Moon River, Spaten and Chimay.
The fourth Border Beer Bust breaks out on April 29. Some
4,000 people attended last year’s Augusta, Ga., fest.
Over 200 beers will be poured at Riverwalk Bulkhead, near
the banks of the Savannah River. The borderbeerbust.com
site will be up soon.
Town Point Park in Norfolk, Va., hosts the fourth Virginia
Beer Festival on May 14. Rain or shine, there will be a bevy
of beers from international and domestic breweries topped
off by delectable foods and live entertainment. Tables for
eight (which include a souvenir pitcher full of beer) can
be reserved in advance (only) at 757-282-2822. See virginiaartsfest.com/funoutdoors.html.
On tap in Massanutten, Va., for May 28 is Valley Fest —
Shenandoah Valley Beer and Wine Festival, sponsored by the
Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber of Commerce. Watch massresort.com/2003/events/schedule.asp
for more information.
Bobby Bush is just a good ol’ Southern
boy who loves his beer rich and tasty and despises all things
NASCAR. Comments and sarcasm are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.