Foothills Brewing

Musings and Mashings


Leave a comment

The NC Beer Month Challenge

Slide1 (2)Last month, we were brainstorming event ideas for NC Beer Month 2016. OK technically we were sitting around drinking beer but that passes for brainstorming here. Anyway the conversation turned to the truly remarkable growth of NC Beer.

Foothills first opened its doors in 2005. Since then:
•  Pop The Cap was signed into law, raising the ABV limit on NC-made beer from 6% to 15% (otherwise no Sexual Chocolate. Can you imagine?)
•  Asheville captured and held the title of Beer City USA for three years running
•  Industry titans Oskar Blues, Sierra Nevada and New Belgium thought enough of the craft beer scene in North Carolina to build their east coast breweries here, collectively raising the barrel capacity of our state (previously around 200,000) by over a million and a half barrels
•  North Carolina breweries have won 38 Great American Beer Festival medals and 21 World Beer Cup medals

It’s been quite a decade. And we’re just getting started.

By the end of April (NC Beer Month), eleven years after Foothills became the 18th craft beer maker in this state, North Carolina will have 157 operating craft breweries – with another 45 in planning. Let those numbers sink in a minute. That’s more breweries than South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi — combined.

2014-nc-beer-monthWhich brings us to the NC Beer Month Challenge. The communal spirit of craft beer is well-documented, and manages to remain a brother(and sister)hood, even in the face of increasing commerce and competition. So we wanted to come up with something we could all do, big breweries and small, regardless of location or size. An important experience we could collectively share during NC Beer Month, with potential to raise awareness of our collective efforts and send a message to craft beer lovers nationwide.

Fortunately, as it turns out, there’s something very important we already share. Water.

It makes up roughly 93% of every bottle, every pint, every growler of craft beer. It’s the single most important natural resource to our industry. It deserves our gratitude, our respect, and our attention.

This month, at least from us, it’s going to get plenty of those.
We are challenging every North Carolina brewery, in fact every craft beer enthusiast statewide, to do something, anything, for their natural water resources this month, and post it online with the hashtag #NCBeerMonthChallenge.
Organize a creek cleanup. Meet with your local riverkeeper. Raise awareness with your customers and friends. Heck, we don’t care if you pick up a plastic water bottle out of a creek bed you happen to be walking by. Take a picture, hashtag it, and post it. You’ll have successfully accepted the #NCBeerMonthChallenge.
YadkinTo lead the way, Foothills is diving in (pun intended) with the following plans:
•  our staff will participate in a waterborne creek cleanup with Yadkin Riverkeeper on Saturday April 9th
•  we’ll also help with the Great American Cleanup that same day
•  we’ll also present a check to Yadkin Riverkeeper, from proceeds of our Riverkeeper Lager Series last year
•  we’ll have special trivia rounds at our pub dedicated to water trivia (yes that’s a thing), with prizes furnished by Forsyth Creek Week

We have another big yet-to-be-announced initiative for NC Beer Month, which will involve us traveling to every region of the state during April. We’ll be taking The Challenge with us, spreading the clean water gospel as we go.

Join us. Accept the Challenge. For our water, for NC Beer, and for your favorite NC brewery. Who knows? It could very well lead to a day when you tell someone there are 157 breweries in North Carolina . . . and they say “I know”.

Editor’s note: special thanks to Margo Knight Metzger, Executive Director of the North Carolina Brewers Guild, for her research and editing assistance. We owe you a pint Margo.

 

Advertisements


2 Comments

A Dog Blog

tasting room dogWhen we opened our tasting room last year, we naturally assumed it would become a haven for those seeking to relax, slake their thirst, and mingle with like-minded souls.

Turns out we were right – in more ways than one.

Our little tap dispensary, set to turn a year old in April, has become a defacto dog den. Thanks to the fact that A) we don’t have a kitchen, and B) we love dogs, our four-legged Foothills friends have helped make us the coolest indoor dog run in the Triad.

IMG_8254 DSCN4372 IMG_8018 IMG_8232

It’s a legacy we should have seen coming.

BarleyOur devotion of a year’s worth of bottle labels (and accompanying monthly donations to rescue organizations) bears witness to our canine compassion. So too, the presence of our de facto brewery dog Barley, who, while technically the property of our owners Matt and Meredith Masten, is such a daily fixture at the brewery that he seems to consider all of us his humans. We don’t argue with him.

Barley’s been a fixture at the brewery since he was a puppy – in fact, his timely interruption of a creative meeting was the inspiration for the 2015 IPA of the Month labels – on which he was the first to be featured.

Barley Hop Beer-Thumbnails-IPAOTMJanuary15

When we broke ground for the tasting room, Barley made frequent full-circuit inspections…

IMG_7556 IMG_7554

…and even gave the project his final and permanent seal of approval.

Barley paw

Given the great dog karma that now fills this space, we think that, in hindsight, he might have been some kind of doggie shinto priest, shaking haraigushi pom-poms and blessing the place for all who were to come . . . two-legged and four.

Those dog-featuring IPA of the Month labels corresponded with the opening of the tap room – as a result we had several visits from our label models.

FEB Charlie MAY Bentley NOV Maddie

Even the Gaelic football club we sponsor contributes to our dog-friendliness  — the Winston-Salem Wolfhounds. Last year when they had a post-tournament party here, some canine namesakes accompanied them. Our version of the Clydesdales.

IMG_8009 IMG_8030

One of our IPA of the Month labels featured dogs belonging to Big Bang Theory star Wil Wheaton; in an interview we asked him why he thought craft beer people tended to also be dog people. His answer? “Obviously, We love the good things in life.”

You and your best friend feel free to come enjoy the good things in life at our tasting room.

DSCN4376

Editor’s note: you can follow Barley on Instagram. He’s hilarious.


Leave a comment

Beers on Tap for Sexual Chocolate Weekend

Since our 10th Anniversary Gala got snowed out last weekend, we’ve decided to take all the goodies we had stashed up for that party and tap them this weekend at the annual release. Here’s what we’ll have on hand – starting with the beers being tapped for the first time ever:

FHB.13638 Sexual Chocolate 2016 label R02_Page_2Sexual Chocolate 2016 – several of us have already tasted this year’s vintage (you know – quality control), and all are in agreement that this beer has some depth to it –

Barrel Aged Sexual Chocolate 2016 – so for our gala we had decided to designate one barrel of BA Sexual Chocolate, just because we were curious what it tastes like so far (been aging a few months already). This is a very rare opportunity to try this beer outside of its normal August-September release date.

ALSO: Caskmaster Matt has created a couple of special casks of this year’s Sexual Chocolate that we’ll be tapping (one at a time) as soon as we open Saturday morning; one flavored with white chocolate and raspberry, and one with habanero peppers (which we are affectionately calling ‘Hot Chocolate’).

Beer-Thumbnails-HOTM-FebruaryFebruary Hop of the Month (Mandarina Pilsner) – Only available since 2012, The German Mandarina Bavaria is derived from Cascade hops, and is known for its distinctive tangerine, pineapple and lemon notes. The result is a distinct citrus flavor profile, with a touch of sweetness, in this German-style Pilsner.

Other specialty beers on hand:
January Hop of the Month (Wakatu Vienna Lager) – Wakatu hops are a hybrid with northern and southern hemisphere roots. Mild, subtly spicy Hallertau hops, produced in the largest hop-growing region in Germany, were crossed with a New Zealand varietal. The result is an unusually aromatic hop with citrusy, almost lime-like qualities. Those characteristics expertly balance the delicately dry malt sweetness of this Vienna Lager.

Pilot Mountain Pale Ale – our spring seasonal’s back! Normally it comes out February 1st, we figured we’d fudge it a day for you guys.

Frostbite Black IPA – going, going . . . the appearance of our spring seasonal means our winter seasonal is going into hibernation soon – get some of this roasty goodness before it’s gone. Six-packs and twelve-packs to go will also be available.

Foot Men Series Barleywine – Caskmaster Matt, mentioned above, has been a busy guy . . . not only did he create two special casks of Sexual Chocolate but he brewed the strongest beer we’ve ever made for his turn in our Foot Men Series. This 10.2% beast is as complex and layered as it is hefty. It’s a full-bodied, big malty ale, with lots of toffee and raisin notes. Notes of the wine (the beer was aged on American Oak spirals soaked in Jones von Drehle Old Railroad Red 101) poke through with some oak tannin balancing some of the sweetness.

The rest of the lineup:
Hoppy Medium Imperial Brown Ale
Hoppyum IPA
Jade IPA
Seeing Double IPA
Torch
People’s Porter
Carolina Blonde

Pretty epic tap list – hope you can make it out this weekend!


4 Comments

Happy Birthday Chocolate

Editor’s Note: Our Sexual Chocolate release party takes place Saturday January 30 at our pub on West 4th Street in Winston-Salem.

This blog is about a special event separate from that release.SC for Facebook

Hey remember that epic Sexual Chocolate party we threw last year?

We’re gonna do it again.

While those of you who know what I’m talking about finish hyperventilating, a little history for those who don’t: last year was the tenth anniversary of our brewery opening, and we’ve been making Sexual Chocolate almost that long. So to celebrate our decade in business, last summer we threw a party at our tasting room featuring a nine-year vertical, with every vintage of Sexual Chocolate ever made. We think it was the largest draft vertical ever offered on the planet (we invited a Guinness World Record guy to come but he didn’t show, the bugger).

IMG_7797

So while 2015 was the tenth anniversary of Foothills, 2016 is the tenth anniversary of Sexual Chocolate. We thought hey, why not throw a birthday party for our most iconic beer? She’s certainly held up well.

So here’s the deal: on Friday January 22, at 7pm in our tasting room, we’re throwing Sexual Chocolate’s Tenth Anniversary Gala. Like last year, there will only be 100 tickets sold. Here’s some of the stuff happening exclusively at this party:

  • sexual-chocolate-tulip-glassWe’re putting the 2016 vintage of Sexual Chocolate on tap for the first time, so attendees will be the first to try it (NOTE: no 2016 bottles will be for sale, those will only be available at release January 30)
  • Brewmaster Jamie and Head Brewer T.L. will be on hand to give you the particulars on this year’s vintage
  • We’ll break out vintage Sexual Chocolate from the last four years for a 5-year vertical tasting
  • Brewer Matt has made two casks of Sexual Chocolate – one flavored with raspberry and white chocolate, one with habanero peppers (‘hot chocolate’?)
  • Matt’s new Foot Men Series beer, a hefty and complex barleywine, will also get its debut at the party
  • Bar Manager Caleb will have a house-roasted Coffee Sexual Chocolate randall
  • This, to us, is the coolest part: our head brewer has agreed to let partygoers have a sneak preview of this year’s Barrel Aged Sexual Chocolate – normally we release it in August or September, but it’s been aging a few months now, so we’re emptying a barrel just for you. This will be the only chance to try this beer until it’s released later this year.
  • We will once again crack open our beer vault and have a limited number (2 per person) of vintage Sexual Chocolate bottles for sale
  • We’ve designed a special 10th Anniversary Sexual Chocolate label, which will be unveiled at the party (and which you will get a commemorative label sticker of)

Sound like fun? It will be. Ticket price includes:

  • five 4-oz. pours of any Sexual Chocolate beer, and two 16-oz. pours of any other beer.
  • An absurdly large and sumptuous buffet cooked exclusively by Chef Shane
  • A gift bag that includes a Rastal Teku Sexual Chocolate stemware glass

IMG_7795But wait there’s more! Every year we try and use part of the proceeds from our Sexual Chocolate events to help our local community, and this year’s no different. We’ll have a big silent auction at the party, with proceeds benefitting Habitat For Humanity, Forsyth Humane Society, Yadkin Riverkeeper, and Piedmont Environmental Alliance. Items up for auction include:

  • Brewer for a day – spend the day with our pub brewer making a batch of Foothills beer
  • Beer dinner for 6 people in our pub’s private dining room, with certified cicerone beer pairing
  • Beer For A Year (growler, growler koozie and gift card equal to 12 growler fills)
  • Private brewery tour/tasting room flight sampling/choice of t-shirts for 4 people
  • 2016 Sexual Chocolate Bottle #1 – signed by TL and Jamie
  • First 2 places in line for Sexual Chocolate Release (includes prize pack and $50 gift card)
  • 5 pounds of coffee hand-roasted by our owners Jamie and Sarah Bartholomaus

Our local business community is chipping in as well, including:

  • Winston-Salem Dash
  • Spring House restaurant
  • Quanto Basta restaurant
  • Fleet Feet
  • Raylen Vineyards
  • Southern Home & Kitchen
  • Salem Baking

Ticket price is $120, and tax and gratuity is included. Limit of 4 per person. Tickets will go on sale Friday January 15 at noon on EventBrite, stay tuned here and to our social media channels for the link.

She’ll only turn ten once. Join us for the party.

UPDATE: Marriott is offering a special $95 rate for the evening


Leave a comment

Here’s Looking At You Georgia

“This could be the start of a beautiful friendship.”
– Humphrey Bogart, CasablancaATL 1Hello Georgia.

We’d like to ask you out on a weeklong date.

Starting Monday, January 11th, a big contingent from the Foothills mothership is headed down for a one-week celebration of our expansion into your fair state.

Following is a list of venues we’ll be visiting/drinking in while we’re there:

ATL 3ATLANTA
• Argosy
• GA Chapter Room
• Brickstore Pub
• Taco Mac
• North Highland Pub
• Cypress Street Pint and Plate
• The Porter
• Hand in Hand
• Tap
• Hop City
• Square Pub
• Kaleidoscope
• World of Beer
• Midway Pub

ATL 2MARIETTA
• The Wing Cafe & Tap House

SMYRNA
• Beer Market

McDONOUGH
• 15th Street Pizza

ATHENS
• Trappeze

KENNESAW
• Taco Mac

SAVANNAH
• World of Beer
• The Distillery
• Ordinary Pub

POOLER
• World of Beer

Looking for the when and where? Gotcha covered. We’ve created a special Georgia Launch page on our website calendar; all times, dates and venues are listed there, along with the beers we’ll be pouring at each location. SPOILER ALERT: we’re bringing some special beers, including Frostbite Black IPA, Barrel-Aged People’s Porter, Hoppy Medium Imperial Brown Ale, and yes, Sexual Chocolate.

Also, we thought we’d have a little fun with you next week (outside of the beer drinking, merrymaking thing – this is a date right?), so we’ve created a #FollowFoothills hashtag, and most of the GA launch events on our website have a question related to our brewery on them. If you’re coming to an event, use the hashtag to let us know; then when you get there find one of us and tell us the answer. We’re bringing tons of swag – in other words, you’ll probably get lucky on our weeklong date.

See you next week Georgia. It’s a date.

GA

 

 

 


Leave a comment

Fun Stuff We Did

A look back at some of the crap work we did this year:

JANUARY: we debuted our #FoothillsIPAdog bottles with our very own beer dog Barley. Apparently both the beer and the bottle were delicious.

JAN Barley

By the way we donated to a dog charity in the community of each label dog in 2015 – one of our prouder accomplishments.

Also, January saw the official kickoff of The Decade Parade, our year-long celebration of our 10th Anniversary. We wound up throwing 15 separate parties across our distribution footprint. Yes it was epic.

NYD

FEBRUARY: Sexual Chocolate Release – which this year came with actual chocolates.

IMG_70141

MARCH: Four Decade Parade parties. Or 1,230 miles on the odometer, if you prefer.

IMG_6913

APRIL: The Tasting Room officially opened! It’s become our pub’s fun little brother.

TR night

JUNE: Our big Opening Party for the Tasting Room Opening/10th Anniversary party featured bands (including The Connells), a BBQ competition, and something that will never happen again — a 9-year vertical tapping of every year of Sexual Chocolate ever made. We threw a separate party just to showcase all that vintage beer . . . tickets sold out in 4 hours.

DSC_7119Ed

JULY and AUGUST: were spent recovering from previously mentioned parties. But we did find time to coax Big Bang Theory star Wil Wheaton to put his rescue pit bulls on our July IPA of the Month label. Kinda cool.

Beer-Thumbnails-IPAOTMJuly15

SEPTEMBER: We announced our expansion into Georgia in 2016 — something Brewmaster (and University of Georgia graduate) Jamie is pretty stoked about.

GA

OCTOBER: Between IPA of the Month, Foot Men Series, and the random brilliance of our brew staff, we averaged one new beer release a week throughout the fall. Personal favorite? Maplewood Aged Sauvignon Blanc Jade IPA. Holy crap that beer was good.

Jade maplewood aged sauvignon blanc

NOVEMBER: Our first-ever bottling of our first-ever holiday beer, Moravian Porter. Bottles sold out in a little over a day.

Beer-Thumbnails-MoravianPeoples

DECEMBER: Goodbye IPA of the Month, hello Jade six packs.

Jade 6 Pack RT_purple handle

It was, by any measure, a special and unique year for Foothills. We raise a glass to you, without whom none of it would have been possible, and wish you lots of fun and success in 2016. That’s our plan, anyway.


Leave a comment

Let There Be Jade

Guessing you’ve all been very good little girls and boys this year.

Jade2‘Cause Santa brought you an early Christmas present.

Got to work on a cold, dreary, rainy Monday yesterday – when what to my wondering eyes should appear – 12 ounce bottles of Jade rolling off the bottling line.
Jade5 Jade8 Jade6
That’s right — our amazing brewery production staff has been working overtime to get this done – and they got it done earlier than we thought. Take that Santa’s elves.

As of 11am Tuesday morning, Jade six packs and cases will be on sale at our pub. The tasting room will also have them when they open at 4pm Tuesday. Palettes will also be leaving our brewery destined for our distributors’ warehouses; you can expect to start seeing them on shelves all over North Carolina next week at the latest. For now, ours will be the only state you can buy these.

Our Beer Finder will help you locate where they are but be patient — inventory doesn’t register on the Beer Finder until it’s been delivered.

A month ago we blogged about the evolution of this beer, announced we were putting it in six-packs, and said we hoped to have them out by early 2016.

It truly is the most wonderful time of the year.

Jade1