Foothills Brewing

Musings and Mashings


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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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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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Pickle for your Thoughts

??????????There are lots of perks to working at a craft brewery. Your friends are mostly envious. You dress how you like. Every day is ‘Bring Your Dog to Work’ day.

And oh yeah — free beer.

Perhaps the greatest perks is are not quite so obvious, but just as important. The opportunity to work around like-minded people. The opportunity to support those whose passion creates an incredibly inspiring work community.

And, every now and then, the opportunity to try a really good pickle.

It might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of quality North Carolina products. Beau Martin is hoping to change that.

Beau is in to pickles. Like, REALLY into pickles. Ever since he replicated his grandad’s pickled green tomatoes when he was a teenager, Beau dreamed of having his own pickle business. A couple of years ago, after a decade of restaurant work, he figured it was time. And Green River Picklers was born.

Fast forward to a recent camping trip — Beau ran across a fellow camper who was part of Appalachian State’s Brewing Sciences program.

“There we were, out in the woods,” Beau recalls. “He had all this beer and I had all these pickles.”

picklesThe tasting marathon that ensued gave birth to an offbeat notion . . . Brews n’ Brines, an event pairing the best of two worlds — craft beer and craft pickles.

I can feel you out there, chortling as you sit at your computer. Trust me, I was no different when they approached us about pairing some of our beers with some of their pickles.

Then they came by the brewpub, and we sat around tasting them with different beers (I know, tough job). You cannot believe how good these two products taste together.

You will, however, get a chance to find out . . . Green River Picklers will be at our brewpub Wednesday July 16th, 7-11pm, for a Brews n’ Brines event — 4 beers and 4 pickles for $10. Come get pickled with us!

FootHIllsB&BposterALTPairings:
Hoppyum / The Narrows (sweet and spicy cucumber chips; a little kick from cayenne pepper and crushed garlic)
People’s Porter / Blue Ridge Beets (sweet, with subtle notes of clove, onion, and bay leaves)
Carolina Blonde Cream Ale / Willy’s Dillys (bold and zesty, made with fresh dill and garlic)
Pilot Mountain Pale Ale / Spicy Appalachian Okra (marinated in whole cayenne peppers, organic vinegar, and spices)

Find the full list of Green River products here. They are nutrient dense, vegan, and gluten-free, and brined in organic vinegar.


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Foot Men

Foot_Men_logoConsider the life of the professional craft beer maker. Most days up you’re before dawn. You pretty much live in rubber boots. It’s hot. It’s wet. There’s chemicals. There’s bumps and bruises.

All, just so you can wrestle with the brain-teasing, fickle chemistry of fermentation. Not to mention cleaning up its less-than-appealing aftermath.

That dedication to pursuing one’s passion, in virtual anonymity, has inspired our latest beer series. We’ve decided to cast the spotlight squarely on the talented brewers at Foothills – the Foot Men.

Periodically, we will encourage one of our guys to tear themselves away from the massive batches of Foothills beer they produce daily, and dial back to that which got them started – brewing something just for the fun of it.

pub brewery

The Playground

The idea took form a couple of years ago, as the brainchild of our brewmaster Jamie Bartholomaus and our head brewer T.L. Adkisson. Foothills was making plans to give the brewing staff a little more breathing room with a new, bigger facility. The question subsequently arose . . . what should be done with the pub brewery?

“We got the idea that we could use the pub as kind of a playground for ‘fun’ stuff,” says T.L. “Let our brewers experiment, do some stuff we wouldn’t normally do. Keep it fun and fresh.”

“We’ve got a really talented stable of brewers here. We need to let ‘em do their thing. They’ll enjoy it, and hopefully the customers will too.”

Gonzo

look at that concentration

schwarz

Dave’s Foot Men Schwarzbier

You won’t have to wait long, at least if you’re in walking/driving/crawling distance of our Winston-Salem pub (which, at least for now, is the only place these very small batches of beer will be available). The Foot Men Series begins today, with a schwarzbier brewed by our pub brewer, Dave Gonzalez. According to Dave, it’s a black lager that drinks like a pilsner, medium-bodied, not overly roasty, with some really nice malt tones. And, as the first of the Foot Men, he’s a huge fan of the idea.

“It says a lot about us as a brewery,” he says. “It says we want to be diverse, let our brewers
do their own thing and be creative, kind of show off their talents.”

The goal of our new program? “Have fun and make great beer,” says T.L. simply.

Then, after a pause, “that’s the goal ALL the time.”

SO . . . any ideas for the Foot Men?