Foothills Brewing

Musings and Mashings


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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.

 


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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).

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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


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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.

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.


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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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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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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!