Foothills Brewing

Musings and Mashings


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Return Of The Moravian

Beer-Thumbnails-MoravianPeoples
Quick. Think of something synonymous with the holidays.

What’d you come up with? Santa Claus? Christmas trees? Ugly sweaters?

Here in Winston-Salem, this time of year is laden with the culture of the Moravians who originally settled our little slice of North Carolina. Which means holidays include Moravian stars, Moravian Lovefeasts . . . and Moravian cookies.

Last year, in a nod to the culture that so richly defines our home city, we borrowed a few ingredients from our favorite Moravian cookie recipe – ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, to name a few – and created a Moravian Porter.

It was introduced on Black Friday — and didn’t last a week.

So this year we made a little more. And bottled it. And got our friends up the street (literally) at Salem Baking to chip in some Moravian cookies to pair with the beer. It will be available only in the Triad.

porterGrowler fills will be allowed for this beer.

The Moravians have a motto: In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, love.

We love making beer. And we love our hometown. Come share some love with us during the holidays, won’t you?

moravian-box2016 UPDATE: the response to this beer has been such that we’re making more than we ever have this year! Release date will be Friday November 25, at our pub and tasting room. New this year: we’ve partnered with Dewey’s Bakery to offer a Moravian Holiday Gift Box – a bottle of Moravian Porter, a box of Moravian Spice cookies, and a Foothills tulip glass – all for only $20! Boxes will be available on release day at both our locations.

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Hello Neighbor

Mister Rogers spent generations advocating the neighborly thing.

These days ‘the neighborly thing’ extends to your wallet. Drink Local. Eat Local. Spend Local. We’ve all seen our share of calls to action to ‘fill-in-the-blank local’ these days. But it’s become more than a catchphrase for local governments and small businesses — supporting your community economically is increasingly considered to have a wide-ranging economic impact globally.

Those of you intimate with the inner workings of craft beer know it’s an industry built on a local foundation. Any craft brewer worth their malt is pouring as much effort into the surrounding community as they are their beer. That shows up in charitable contributions made by craft brewers — but more importantly it shows up at the neighborhood level, often where it does the most good.

We’re no different – here’s a few examples of how we’re putting our Foot in our neighborhood.

BEND N’ BREW YOGA
Deanna-Dzybon
I promise you we didn’t send over to Central Casting for Deanna Dzybon. It just looks like we did. She’s the free spirited, soft spoken, calmly focused epitome of what you expect from an elite yoga instructor. Her Bend n’ Brew yoga classes have quickly gained popularity at our tasting room, where every Saturday morning she leads an all-levels yoga class for an hour — after which everyone grabs a pint, which is included in the cost of the yogaclass. The first class had a half dozen people . . . two weeks later her class was so big we had to move it to another part of the brewery. “The intent of my yoga,” says Deanna, “is similar to what the goals of craft beer are . . . . support local, build a community, add a little something to peoples’ lives.” Well said.

PINTS IN THE PITS
52_vipRacing courses through the lifeblood of our state — pick a spot in central or western North Carolina, and there’s probably more race teams and drivers and tracks in a random 50-mile radius than anywhere else in the country. In fact Bowman-Gray track, right here in Winston-Salem, is NASCAR’s oldest affiliated track, continuously operating for 60 years now.  And with good reason – over 100,000 fans pass through the turnstiles every season.
52David Sell knows the racing life well – he’s been behind the wheel of various classes of stock cars for the better part of a decade. That’s why, when he came to us to sponsor his limited late model car, we saw another chance to help our local community. And I do mean local – David’s garage is a mile from our tasting room. The Foothills 52 has already been in a couple of races — no winner’s circles yet, but we’re keeping the Hoppyum chilled just in case David needs to spray one on his crew.

CRAFTY CATTLE
cows3One of the only solid by-products for any brewery, and by far the most voluminous, is spent grain. Once the grain has been steeped and had its sugars extracted for fermentation, it’s no longer of any use in making beer.

But there’s still a use for it. A very good one, as it turns out.

cows2

“Got any Jade on ya?”

JG Farms in Lexington collects our spent grain and feeds it to their herd of prize-winning beef cattle. While it certainly helps our sustainibility efforts, it more importantly helps makes happy cows. Turns out, there’s still a lot of nutrients in spent grain, and the fact it’s been cooked makes it a lot easier on bovine digestive systems than what the farmers call ‘hot’ feeds like corn, that aren’t digested nearly as easily. The cattle are subsequently healthier, more well-fed, and thus gain weight quicker on spent grain. And, according to JG Farms owner Joseph Groce, the beef tastes a lot better as a result (a fact you can judge for yourself, as we periodically feature JG Farms ground beef in our ‘Shanewiches‘ at the pub).

A few ways we’re helping our neighbors — in addition to continuing to be a neighborly place to grab a pint. We like to think Mr. Rogers would approve.


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Jade-olution

There’s a scene in Dances With Wolves where Kicking Bird says to Lt. John Dunbar, “We’ve come a long way, you and me.”
(only 90’s movie reference of the blog, I swear.)

Jade 6 Pack RT_purple handleThat’s how we feel when we look at our new 6-packs of Jade IPA.

Yes, we are finally succumbing to the voluminous passionate tweets, posts, messages and general beseeching you’ve done, imploring us to package one of your (and our) favorite Foothills brands in 12-ounce bottles.

In what we feel is the formidable lineup of our brands, Jade has more than held its own over the course of its short lifetime. Since it introduction Super Bowl weekend 2011, it’s been one of our best-selling and most talked-about beers. It has indeed come a long way — from its humble and auspicious birth amongst the sights (and scents) of the 2007 Craft Brewer’s Conference in Austin, Texas.

It was there that Jamie Bartholomaus, brewmaster of then-barely-two-years-old Foothills Brewing, and T.L. Adkisson, head brewer for Ham’s in Greenville, NC, were wandering through the Conference Expo, looking at equipment and raw materials and dreaming of bigger and better days for their respective breweries. As is usually the case, the hops growers (Hop Union, in this case) had several bales of hops broken open, to allow brewers to taste and smell their wares. Jamie picked up a handful of a new varietal called New Zealand Pacific Jade and took a deep whiff.

Turning to T.L. he said “Man I could make a pillow out of this stuff.”

T.L. was equally enamored. As he remembers, “It was definitely unique. Instead of having the citrusy qualities of Pacific Northwest hops, I smelled mango, guava — Jade Jade 6 Pack Side RT_purple handlehad all these tropical fruit notes going on.”

Back home,  both Jamie and T.L. followed up with Hop Union, trying to get their hands on some Jade hops. Both were told the same thing . . . what they’d seen (smelled) in Austin was only samples — the initial big harvest wasn’t due for another few years.

Fast forward to 2010 . . . T.L. had been hired as head brewer at Foothills, and one day his brewmaster (Jamie) walked up to him and said, “Guess what? Remember those hops we fell in love with in Austin? I just bought 440 pounds of ’em.” Scratching his head, he added “I’m just not sure what we’re gonna do with ’em.”

T.L. smiled. “I know what we’re gonna do with ’em.”

Within an hour he had written out a recipe for Jade IPA — the same recipe that, with a few minor tweaks, we’re still using today.

More than a third of that first batch disappeared that Super Bowl weekend, and the love affair was kindled. North Carolina craft beer drinkers spent the next three years downing pint after pint, pining for the day they could take this magic elixir home with them.

So toward the end of December 2013, on a whim, our marketing department posted on Facebook that, if we could get to 15,000 likes by the end of January 2014, we’d bottle Jade.

It took less than a month.

jade-rgb_NEWSo we got busy. Our artist Kyle Webster came up with the iconic brand logo; his vision was so spot-on that almost no changes were made to the original drawing (we did add the little logo hair lock). Instead of trumpeting the coming arrival of Jade bombers, we kept it a secret from everybody but employees and distributors, not releasing the info until the day bottles were actually on shelves.

The result? Demand for Jade skyrocketed, and we spent most of 2014 trying to keep up. In fact, after the initial two bottling runs, demand for draft remained so high we didn’t bottle it again for 10 months.

Since then we’ve installed four massive 300 BBL fermenters, so keeping up with your insatiable thirst for Jade has become a lot more manageable – to the point we’re ready to put 6-packs on the shelves. Not sure when they’ll be available, we’re aiming for early 2016, so stay tuned. Meantime, if you haven’t yet, get familiar with the Find Foothills Beer Finder on our website — it’ll help you find these when they come out.

And by all means — feel free to make a pillow out of them.

 


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RIP IPA of the Month

What began as a crazy idea hatched over a couple of beers, and grew to become a 2-year-long series of increasingly large scope, is going away.

That’s right — our December IPA of the Month will be our last IPA of the Month.

The concept began as the brainchild of brewmaster Jamie and head brewer T.L., who for years contemplated the idea of producing a different, seasonally aligned beer every month in Foothills most-loved style, the India Pale Ale.

We finally decided it was time to try it in 2014, and produced a series that included an ode to vintage pinup art on the bottles.

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That was followed by our #FoothillsIPAdog series in 2015, which has not only been wildly popular (even with Hollywood) but has also seen us donate to dog rescue organizations in a dozen different communities nationwide.

But for those of you lamenting the demise of these highly anticipated beers — fear not. There’s a plan of succession.

In January we’ll introduce a new monthly series — one dedicated to furthering the innovative goals on which IPA of the Month has thrived.

We’re taking IPA of the Month one step further — we’re starting a Hop of the Month series.Hop of the Month 2016 Generic

Understand, these will not be single hop beers. That’s been done. No, these will be beers specifically formulated to accentuate the unique flavor characteristics of a single hop varietal. T.L. is currently sourcing hops from all over the world for this series and, while some of the beers will assuredly be IPAs, expect all kinds of different styles to show up in this series.

Producing an IPA (and accompanying label) every month for the last two years has been fun. And for the record, we received enough #FoothillsIPAdog entries to supply label art for the next ten years. But Hop of the Month has us all pretty excited around here. Here’s hoping your anticipation of the series is just as enthusiastic. You can let us know what you think in our comments section. And stay tuned to the blog for the December announcement of our first Hop of the Month beer!

 


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Get Thee To Renfest

The Carolina Rennaissance Festival gets cranked up again this weekend – for you knights and damsels who aren’t familiar with it, RenFest is a 2-month medieval party held in Huntersville, complete with entertainment (12 stages), vendors (over 100), food (plenty), and beer (also plenty).

We chatted with Matt Siegel last week, RenFest’s director (or king or duke or earl or baron) of marketing and entertainment, who emphasized all The Carolina Renaissance Festival offers; “non-stop variety entertainment, an artisan marketplace where vendors are creating, demonstrating and selling hand crafted items in all mediums, and of course the very best in food and craft beer.”

That last part is significant; RenFest was embracing craft beer before the 2005 ‘Pop The Cap’ change in state legislature that allowed for higher gravity beers, which has helped fuel a craft beer ‘renaissance’ in this state.  Fast forward 10 years and the majority of RenFest tap handles are reserved for craft beer. They also build relationships with home beer brewing clubs and co-sponsor the annual Gambrinus Cup Homebrew Competition – the winner of which, Fairhaven Helles, will be on tap there this year.

So what’s new at Renfest for 2015? Lots. This year features the largest number of improvements and additions to the Festival than since they first opened in 1994.

New for 2015:

  • New Queen’s Kitchen & Pub
  • enhanced Beer Garden featuring early releases of popular Foothills seasonal brews
  • Pony Rides for kids
  • New Edgewood Theater featuring limited engagement special guests that include:
    • The Tartan Terrors – Celtic Rock, Comedy & Dance!  October 3 & 4.
    • Fool Hearty – Fool School & Untrained Dog Show!  October 10 & 11.
    • The Freestylers of Piping – Bagpipes and Percussion!  October 17, 18, 24 & 25.
    • MooNiE the Magnif ‘cent – Juggler, rope walker, & foolish mortal  October 31, November 1, 7 & 8.
    • The Great Fettuccini – Circus Variety Show November 14 & 15.
    • The Lost Boys – Renaissance Rock & Roll  November 21 & 22

New Stage Acts for the entire season include:

  • The wet and wacky Washing Well Wenches
  • Fool Hearty Foolish Comedy & Untrained Dog Show
  • Roses of the Realm Belly Dance & Comedy

As for our beer, we’re pouring a pretty formidable lineup at Renfest: Hoppyum IPA, Torch Pilsner, People’s Porter, Jade IPA, Carolina Blonde, Cottonwood Pumpkin, Oktoberfest, Frostbite Black IPA, Hoppy Medium Imperial Brown, Stout, and Fairhaven Helles. Note that RenFest will have our Frostbite Black IPA before market release, and Foothills Oktoberfest after it’s gone from shelves elsewhere.

There’s also a BrewFest happening October 17 & 18 – we’ll be pouring the above beers as well as Barrel Aged Porter, Carolina Strawberry, Seeing Double IPA, October IPA of the Month, Gruffmeister Maibock, Foot Men Series Wee Heavy Scotch Ale,  and Riverkeeper Series Doppelbock and India Pale Lager. Yes, that’s 20 Foothills beers in one location.

We’ll let Matt have the final word: “The Carolina Renaissance Festival truly has something for everyone.  You can choose your own adventure and have a family fun Disney-esque experience without breaking the budget. Everyone loves the costume party atmosphere with unmatched people watching.  And the food and beer is amazing.  You don’t have to take my word for it,  see feedback from our patrons.”


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Autumn’s Awesome

FHB (4)As we savor the waning days of summer 2015, it’s hard to not to wax nostalgic over here at the brewery. It’s been an epic year so far, what with all our 10th Anniversary celebrations, and we’re ending the summer/starting the fall with a flurry of beer releases that is at once epic in scope and broad in assortment.

We’ve released four beers in the last few weeks, including:

BBASC5Barrel Aged Sexual Chocolate: We came out with this one a month early this year; the beer said “I’m ready” so we bottled it. And here’s a little secret: we cold-stored the barrels longer this year, which resulted in a little less tannin from the barrel wood, and more bourbony chocolaty flavor (at least to our taste buds). The release was, as always, a great way to catch up with our extended Foothills family and share some great times (not to mention those sleeping-on-the-sidewalk bonding moments). The pub is all tapped out but (as of the moment this is being written) there’s still some left at the Tasting Room.

AugustAugust IPA of the Month: “Spot” is an ideal summer IPA, with nice synergy between lemony Sorachi Ace hops and the orange/citrus character of Simcoe hops. Some German Tradition hops add a little earthiness and compliment the sweetness in the malt bill. Good way to round off the hot weather and start working this series into fall. None left on draft but a few bombers left at the tasting room.

Pumpkin:
I count close to a thousand pumpkin beers on Beer Advocate. Not sure how you stand out in a crowded patch like that, but there are a couple of unique things about our own Cottonwood Pumpkin. For one, instead of using canned pumpkin, we use actual labelsfresh pureed pumpkin; also, every spice we use (nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, and allspice) is organic.

Oktoberfest: We’re pretty excited about this one, it’s always been available on draft and in bombers, but this year for the first time we’ve included it in our year-round Seasonal Series, in 6-packs and 12-packs. If you don’t know anything about the Oktoberfest beer style other than the raucous shindig thrown every year in Munich, it has an interesting history. Crown Prince Ludwig got married in 1810, and magnanimously decided to invite the entire town of Munich. The resulting party was sufficiently epic to warrant throwing another one the following year. They eventually coined this annual celebration Oktoberfest, and brewed a beer specifically for the occasion; a dark, sweet amber lager with notes of toasted bread and roasted almonds. Now you can have a little bit of Prince Ludwig’s legacy sitting in your fridge.

A word here about the dreaded and much-maligned ‘seasonal creep’: some seem inordinately bothered by seasonal beers (like Oktoberfest and Pumpkin) coming out ‘before their time’. While it really doesn’t bother us, we do get your point. It’s the same feeling you get when you see Christmas decorations before Halloween, right? If it bothers you that much, may we suggest doing what we do when we see those decorations: ignore them until you’re ready to pay attention to them.

If you’d like to educate yourself on why this has become a thing, this is a good place to start.

foothills png

To go with the four we’ve recently released, we’ve got ANOTHER FIVE waiting in the wings, all of which should be on tap within the next month:

IPAOTM 2015 GenericSeptember IPA of the Month: as the weather cools, we usually ramp the ABV back up in this series, and September is no exception, weighing in at 6.9% to go with 72 IBUs. After the lighter, fruitier flavors of the summer month IPAs, a generous double dry hop with Chinook will give this one some hefty pine notes to go with a nice hint of grapefruit. And the label dog, as usual, is adorable.
AVAILIBILITY: state of North Carolina, release date September 4th 

fat bastard get in my belly gifFoot Men Series Wee Heavy: Of the beer styles brewed in Scotland, There are both “Scottish” and “Scotch” ales . . . the latter generally falling under a category known as “Wee Heavy”. Sweeter, fuller in body, and higher in alcohol than Scottish ales, the name derives from the small (wee) 6 oz. bottles in which Scottish brewers sold their strongest ale in the late 1800s. Our next beer in the Foot Men Series — highlighting the vast talents of our brewing staff — will be a Wee Heavy brewed by Brent. Super malty and sweet, unfiltered, it’s a hardy autumn beer full of toffee and raisin notes – and at 8.3%, the perfect pint to take the nip out of the air when it starts turning cool. You’ll have to roll your r’s and say “Brrrent’s Wee Heavy” when you drink it.
AVAILIBILITY: pub and tasting room in Winston-Salem; a handful of kegs may trickle out across the state for special events, release date TBD

jade-rgb_NEWSauvignon Blanc Wood-Aged Jade: this one’s the brain child of our head brewer TL (as was Jade, by and large). TL’s always been intrigued with New Zealand Jade hops, and is equally curious about complimentary flavor profiles. So he took some sweet maple honeycombs and soaked them in Sauvignon Blanc wine, from grapes grown in the same NZ region as our Jade hops. The result has an intriguing blend of fruity and acidic notes, balanced by sweetness in the maple used to age it.
AVAILIBILITY: pub and tasting room in Winston-Salem ONLY, release date TBD

Fairhaven Helles: this beer is part of an annual tradition, we invite the winner of the Gambrinus Cup homebrew competition to brew their winning beer at the pub, then have it served at the Carolina Renaissance Festival. This year’s recipe is a Munich Helles brewed by David Jones. The Helles style is so popular in Germany that it’s actually replaced the Oktoberfest style . . . at Oktoberfest! A straw-blonde lager that’s at once light and intensely flavorful, it’ll be a welcome addition to Fairhaven Village at Carolina Rennaissance Festival in Mooresville this year beginning October 3rd.
AVAILIBILITY: Carolina Renaissance Festival, pub and tasting room, release date October 3rd

Blueberry Pale Ale: This one we came up with to put on at Lowe’s Beer Dens. If you’ve had our Carolina Strawberry, then you know we do fruit beers a little differently; the fruit’s a little more subtle and acts as a complement to the beer ingredients, rather than serving as the main flavor ingredient. This beer is no exception . . . as our head brewer describes it, “it’s a pale ale that just happens to have blueberries in it”.
AVAILIBILITY: select NC Lowe’s Growler Den locations to start, eventually pub and tasting room, release date TBD

Stay tuned to our social media pages for exact release dates on all these.
Belly up everyone . . . Autumn’s gonna be awesome.


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Bourbon Barrel’s Back

Foothills Sexual Chocolate Imperial Stout BBA Bourbon Barrel Sexual Chocolate, that boozy, heady elixir you all know and love, is back.

This year, for various reasons, we’ve had to move the release date up from its traditional date during the first weekend of September. This year’s release will take place Saturday August 8th.

For the unintiated, this is one of the biggest parties on the NC craft beer scene. It’s a ton of fun and an experience you’ll not soon forget. For those who’ve never come, and as a refresher for you veterans, here’s a few guidelines to get the most out of your, ahem, Sexual experience:

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– We always throw a Bottle Share Pre-Release Party on the Friday night before the Saturday event. On August 7th beginning at 7:00 pm, we’ll open up the brewery portion in back of our brewpub at 638 West 4th Street in Winston-Salem for anyone who wants to come and hang out. Chef Shane puts out a terrific (complimentary) spread of appetizers. Price of admission is a bottle or two (or three or four) of something rare, unique or coveted in the craft beer world. Interpretation of that description is up to you; however if you show up with a 6-pack of Shock Top mocking is sure to commence.

??????????– The line to buy bombers (22-oz. bottles) starts on the sidewalk outside the front door of the pub. You’re welcome to queue up any time after we close at 2:00 am the previous evening. Hey, for once you don’t have to actually go home at closing time.

– City police officers will be on hand overnight—this will no doubt prove completely unnecessary, since we all know what a well-behaved lot y’all are.

– There’s a rumor that those nice officers will let you enjoy your own, um, refreshments until daylight. We can neither confirm nor deny . . . we will, however, refer you to the aforementioned good behavior.

– There will be portable restroom facilities in the back parking lot. Insert sigh of relief.

BBASC1– Around 7:00 am our cheerful (if bleary-eyed) staff will begin distributing numbered wristbands that denote your place in line. (Captain Obvious says make sure you have your ID with you.)

– The pub opens at 8:00 am. BBA Sexual Chocolate will be tapped and waiting. We’ll also have breakfast available for purchase. Actual food, not beer. Not judging,  just saying.

BBASC5– Bottle sales commence at 9:00 am. You’ll be summoned by your wristband number in groups of 50. Bottles are $20 each, limit 8 per person. Any questions about that? Then the answer is 20 and 8. And yes, that is another increase on the bottle limit. We take all forms of payment — cash, credit cards, first born . . .

IMPORTANT: Bottles and draft both tend to move quickly. Please plan accordingly. If you show up late in the afternoon and complain bitterly that there’s none left, you will only create bad karma for yourself. That and the staff will be doing impressions of you until next year’s release. Also, please do not ask us on Facebook or Twitter what time you should get there to get bottles. WE DON’T KNOW. Every year is different.

ALSO IMPORTANT: we will not have a lot of extra boxes or bags  – that would uncomfortably expand our carbon footprint. Please bring something to safely cart away your newly purchased liquid treasures. How big? About 8 bottles big.

– In the history of mankind, there have never been growler fills of BBA Sexual Chocolate. That trend will continue.

teku glass

Been there. Done that. Bought the glass.

– We’ll have some nifty Sexual Chocolate Teku glasses for sale, $15 each. No limit. Buy a case if you want.

Stay up to date on all the latest leading up to the event by following us on Twitter and Facebook. Also check back to this blog, we’ll update it frequently with new info. In fact I just added this sentence.

Hope to see you there!