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.
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.
FEBRUARY: Sexual Chocolate Release – which this year came with actual chocolates.
MARCH: Four Decade Parade parties. Or 1,230 miles on the odometer, if you prefer.
APRIL: The Tasting Room officially opened! It’s become our pub’s fun little brother.
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.
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.
SEPTEMBER: We announced our expansion into Georgia in 2016 — something Brewmaster (and University of Georgia graduate) Jamie is pretty stoked about.
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.
NOVEMBER: Our first-ever bottling of our first-ever holiday beer, Moravian Porter. Bottles sold out in a little over a day.
DECEMBER: Goodbye IPA of the Month, hello Jade six packs.
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.
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.”
Can’t wait to see all of you on June 20 for our 10th Anniversary/Tasting Room Opening Party. IT WILL BE FUN. There is, however, a certain amount of protocol we need to follow in order to accommodate the number of people we’re expecting. So here’s a LOT of helpful info. Grab a beer, sit back and read carefully.
LOCATION:3800 Kimwell Drive in Winston-Salem. NOT the downtown pub on 4th Street. Although I hear there’s a kickass afterparty being planned there. And we’ll be running shuttles from that location (details below).
TIME: Noon – 10pm
CAMPING OUT: unlike our Sexual Chocolate releases, camping out for this event will not be allowed. Simply because we have no space for it. Correction – we have no flat space for it. We have a berm in front of the brewery you could pitch a tent on but you’d keep rolling out of your sleeping bag.
ADMISSION PRICE: there is no cost to attend. That’s right. Admission is free. You’re welcome.
2pm Hump Day Funk Day Players
4pm Big Daddy Love
6pm Emma Gibbs (reunion show!)
8pm The Connells
BEERS: you will, however, have to pony up for beer. More specifics on pricing in a second. We’ll have 28 beers on tap, including the now-legendary 9-year Sexual Chocolate draft vertical. We’ll also have last year’s Bourbon Barrel version of Sexual Chocolate on tap. Here’s the rest of the lineup:
Blendiculous Imperial Brown
Seeing Double IPA
YRK Series Doppelbock
10th Anniversary Imperial Pilsner
(NOTE: this is a brand new beer brewed on our actual birthday, March 17, especially for this party — first time we’ve ever served it!)
HopJob Session IPA
June IPA of the Month (Wally)
Bourbon Barrel Stout
Footmen Series American Wheat
YRK Series India Pale Lager
SEXUAL CHOCOLATE: so here’s the deal: obviously we have a finite amount from each year. If you’re intent on getting to try all 9 years, and didn’t buy a ticket to our Friday night VIP event to ensure that would happen, please plan accordingly (i.e. get here early). When it’s gone it’s gone. If you show up at 6pm and complain bitterly that every single year is no longer available, you’ll instantly be put on mandatory bounce house safety guard duty for the rest of the evening. ALSO: to let as many people as possible take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, we’ve instituted a couple of guidelines for Sexual Chocolate: 1) we’re only doing 6 oz. pours, and 2) a maximum of five pours allowed with each trip to the bar. Yes, that means if you want all 9 years, you’ll have to get in line twice. Yes that’s a little extra work. But logistically it’s the safest, most crowd-friendly way to maximize service and the amount of beer we have. And face it you can’t carry nine glasses at once anyway. Suggestion: take a cue from scuba divers, use the buddy system.
FOOD: We’ve lured four top-notch meat masters out here for a barbecue competition — and you get to choose the winners. Doc Brownstone’s, Bib’s Downtown, Smoky Daze and Saponi Smokers will be working all night barbecuing up some dreamy pulled pork and ribs for y’all. The main food tents will be set up at the front of the building, the competition works like this: for $15 (1/2 lb. pulled pork plate), $18 (1/2 lb. ribs plate) or $30 (1 lb. combo plate), you’ll receive color-coded portions and tickets, along with jalapeno cornbread and choice of two sides (baked beans, collards or black bean corn salad). After you’ve tasted all portions, simply take your colored ticket and drop it in the jar at the front of the barbecue stand you think did the tastiest job. IMPORTANT: competition wraps late afternoon; barbecue will not be available for the entire evening. We will, however, have Jersey’s Best Hot Dogs out later in the afternoon for your noshing pleasure. Still working on a couple of other food options as well.
Also, if barbecue’s not your thing, we’ll have plenty of snack vendors around as well, including:
Buck O’Hairen’s Legendary Sunshine
Brown Bear Nut Mix
Chad’s Carolina Corn
Steve’s Exquisite Boiled Peanuts
The Ice Queen
PAYMENT INFO: once you’ve been carded and wristbanded at the entrance, there’ll be separate booths for beer ticket purchase and food ticket purchase. Both will be clearly marked, and there will be several intern-type helpers in Foothills t-shirts to help you find your way. Beer tickets will be $5 each. One ticket will get you a pint of any beer, with the exception of Sexual Chocolate and the high gravity beers listed above. The high gravities will be two tickets for a full pour; the Sexual Chocolate will be one ticket for a 6 oz. pour of any vintage of you’d like – we’re not pricing them based on vintage or rarity. You’re welcome again. If you’re tempted to complain about pricing, please ponder that while you’re watching all these fantastic bands for free. You can get a maximum of 5 beers on any single trip to the bar, and only two of those can be full pours. We’ll also have satellite beer stations set up outside with some of our core brands.
TRANSPORTATION: we have a really big parking lot out here – unfortunately this friggin’ party is taking up the whole thing. So the only thing we can offer you is roadside parking. HOWEVER . . . we will be running a shuttle (approximately every 15 minutes) between our downtown pub (638 West 4th Street) and the party (3800 Kimwell Drive). Last shuttle will leave Kimwell brewery at 10pm.
TASTING ROOM OPERATIONS: normal stuff like brewery tours will be suspended for the day. Tours will resume on Sunday if you’re still in town and want to see the brewery.
THINGS YOU CAN’T BRING: Pets (sorry – they can have the run of the place every other day but this one). Coolers. Glass containers. Skateboards. Bullhorns. Weapons. Confetti. Bad attitudes.
OK you can bring confetti.
THINGS YOU CAN BRING: Kids (we’ll have a bounce house). Containers of water. Your dancing shoes.
Comment on this post with any questions and we’ll be happy to provide answers. Or get answers.
Saturday June 20. You’ll want to remember that date. Here’s why.
Foothills Brewing turned ten years old this year. If you frequent this space you probably already knew that.
We also just opened a brand new Tasting Room. Guessing you knew that too.
Stay with me. It’s about to get interesting.
The Wayback Pile
When I first started working here, on my initial tour of the brewery, I pointed to a neatly stacked row of kegs in the corner of our hops cooler and asked innocently, “what’s all that?”
Our brewmaster gave me a vague Yoda-esque response about knowing the brewery and all its secrets in time.
Having since achieved Foothills Jedi status, I’ve discovered those kegs represent the equivalent of a pile of treasure not seen in North Carolina since Blackbeard’s day. That cooler is a strongbox for all the rare and exclusive beers we’ve brewed and saved over the years.
Yep. At least one 1/6 barrel of every vintage ever made of our iconic Russian Imperial Stout. Wish I could see the mass Pavlovian response going on right now.
Have you figured out where we’re going with this yet? I’ll spell it out for you — On Saturday June 20, we’re throwing a Happy Birthday To Us/Happy Tasting Room Opening party out here at the brewery. And Jamie has decided to crack open the treasure chest. On that day we will offer the world’s first, last and only 9-year draft vertical of Sexual Chocolate. Every vintage from 2007 to 2015 will be available. We’re even throwing in a Bourbon Barrel Sexual Chocolate from last year just for good measure — as well as a few other rare beers from the Wayback Pile.
Big Daddy Love
Not enough incentive to entice you to come celebrate with us? OK we’ll throw in a few bands. How about Big Daddy Love? A special reunion show for Emma Gibbs with all original members together for the first time in 15 years? And oh yeah . . . our headliners The Connells. We’ll also have our friends from Rock 92 broadcasting live.
Great beer. great music. Hmm, what’s missing? Of course . . . great food.
Chef Shane has been doing his own stockpiling of treasure . . . he’s convinced a few of the best BBQ barons in the Triad (including Bib’s Downtown, Doc Brownstone’s, Smokey Daze and Saponi Smokers) to have a barbecue competition out here — and you guys get to vote with your forks.
More details to come. For now, just remember — Saturday June 20, 12-10pm, 3800 Kimwell Drive in Winston-Salem. It’s gonna be epic. And completely free to get in.
5/21 UPDATE: the Winston-Salem Marriott is offering a special rate for the nights of June 19 & 20
6/3 UPDATE: beer list for the party: HIGH GRAVITY BEERS
2007 – 2015 Sexual Chocolate
2014 BBA Sexual Chocolate
Blendiculous Imperial Brown
Seeing Double IPA
Doppelbock Lager Imperial Pilsner
June IPA of the Month
OTHERS American Wheat India Pale Lager
2015 BBA Stout
bolded selections are new beers we’re introducing this month