Foothills Brewing

Musings and Mashings


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#HopSwap – Round 1

We’re celebrating #NCBeerMonth and supporting North Carolina’s small independent breweries by swapping beer with some of them.
Our first round of travel is complete, we’ve exchanged our Hop of the Month beer with Brown Truck Brewery in High Point and Wooden Robot Brewery in Charlotte.
We asked them a few questions while we were there:

Ian

Foothills Brewmaster TL Adkisson & Brown Truck Head Brewer Ian Burnett

 BROWN TRUCK HEAD BREWER/CO-FOUNDER IAN BURNETT (former Foothills brewer!)
Where’d your brewery’s name come from: one of the other owners, Britt Lytle, has a furniture design company, and when he was opening that they were trying to think of a name, and they couldn’t think of anything – he owned this old brown truck, and his young son said, ‘Daddy how about Brown Truck?’ So when the name for this place was being thrown around, we decided it’d be a great name for the brewery as well.

When did you open? February 2016

What’s your favorite beer that you make? I like the saison – it’s very drinkable, and as a brewer you can do so much with it.

What’s your favorite beer that Foothills makes? Everyone says Jade or Sexual Chocolate, but I like the go-to’s, Hoppyum and Torch Pilsner – both very drinkable, awesome in all weather, and they never change – always delicious.

What’s your favorite part of #HopSwap? The camaraderie it represents and nurtures – getting good friends together, swapping good beers, at the end of the day it’s all about the beer and keeping good relationships with all the other brewers – and having fun doing it.

Dan

Foothills Brewmaster TL Adkisson & Wooden Robot Head Brewer Dan Wade

WOODEN ROBOT HEAD BREWER/CO-FOUNDER DAN WADE
Where’d your brewery’s name come from: it’s symbolic – it represents a Belgian farmhouse tradition, really artisanal local beer, and we’re applying our own American innovation to it. So the wooden represents that old school, creative artisanal way, and the robot represents our new school, scientific way of doing things.

When did you open? July 11, 2015

What’s your favorite beer that you make? whatever’s freshest and hoppiest

What’s your favorite beer that Foothills makes? Jade

What’s your favorite part of #HopSwap? it’s really just a lot of fun, and it’s really pretty cool to be able to work with a brewery that we’ve admired and looked up to.

 
THIS WEEK: we’re headed to Crank Arm Brewing in Raleigh and Koi Pond Brewing in Rocky Mount

follow our adventures on Twitter and Instagram


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NC Beer Month #HopSwap

Slide1 (2)By now hopefully you’ve heard about our #NCBeerMonthChallenge, urging all NC breweries and craft beer drinkers to help out their local waterways and riverkeepers during NC Beer Month.

That was not the only idea that came out of our beer-sipping brainstorming meeting.

Craft beer is, by any measure, big business. And, like any big business, competition is fierce. But unlike most businesses, there exists a “coopetition” atmosphere within our sudsy realm. Despite reports of its possible demise, we like to think that atmosphere will continue to be part of the foundation of this wonderful industry of ours.

We wanted to find a way to tangibly express that sentiment.

Our brewmaster’s solution? “Grab your car keys.”

HopSwap (2)What better way to support small breweries than by serving their beer? So that’s exactly what we’re going to do.

For the first time in its 11-year history, Foothills will be pouring NC craft beer other than its own. We’ve selected about a half dozen breweries in North Carolina that brew less than 5,000 barrels a year (us last year: 37,746). Once a week, we’re gonna load a keg of our Hop of the Month Series beer into the back of our car and drive it to one of those breweries, exchanging it (don’t worry we’re paying) for one of that brewery’s signature beers. They’ll serve our beer at their tap room, we’ll serve theirs at ours. We’re calling it our NC Beer Month #HopSwap.

It’s proving to be a popular idea; already two of the breweries we’re trading with have arranged their own #HopSwap with others.

We’ll reveal our #HopSwap partners each week; there’s some beers we’re very excited to pour. And, consequently, some great breweries we feel honored and privileged to support.


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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.

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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…

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…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.

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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.

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


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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

 

 

 


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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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

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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.


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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.
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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


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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.