Foothills Brewing

Musings and Mashings


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A Passion For Porter

cherry porter no logoLike malt and hops, innovation is practically considered a raw material in craft beer. The industry has defined itself in part by its incessant drive to go bigger and badder (and lately, hazier).

While we’re all for that here at Foothills, there’s a distinct comfort in working with a beer style that’s been around almost 300 years. Porter has, to use the beer vernacular, aged well. Considered ‘dark beer zero’, it’s the forefather of all manner of dark, brewed incarnations. That creamy headed Guinness Stout enjoyed the world over? It’s original name was Extra Superior Porter.

Our relationship with the beer named for its popularity with London’s street and river baggage porters has been long and, as of this Friday, fruitful. People’s Porter was first introduced the year we opened (2005) as a winter seasonal, and has been a favorite since then. It also happens to be a terrific example of a Robust Porter – it has numerous awards to its name, including a gold medal from the ‘Oscars’ of beer, the World Beer Cup. (side note: our Baltic Porter has two Great American Beer Festival medals as well).

The beauty of porter goes beyond its rich ruby hue and multiple tantalizing flavors. Those flavors are complementary to myriad others, making variations of this beer as tasty as they are plentiful.  “It’s like chocolate,” says our Brewmaster TL.  “You know how when you get chocolate fondue they bring out all those fruits to go with it? That’s because all those flavors go great together.”

Fruit flavors are something we’ve not added to our porter – until now. Here’s a brief rundown of all the Porter variations we’ve had over the years, culminating with our latest offering – People’s Cherry Porter.

Foothills Peoples Porter BBABourbon Barrel Aged Porter: this was the first of our barrel aged beers. The rich chocolate and toffee notes of our porter blend well with the bourbon, oak and vanilla flavors picked up from barrel aging. We try and barrel age some porter whenever we can acquire fresh bourbon barrels.

Optimized-Peoples Coffee PorterCoffee Porter: Our co-owners Jamie and Sarah have always had a passion for coffee roasting. So it was natural fit to take some of their home-roasted beans and add them to a batch of People’s Porter. While this version of porter has only been available on draft and has  yet to be bottled, that might change now that we have our own coffee place.

peoplesMoravianPorter_CMYK[1]Moravian Porter: This variation was the result of our marketing director begging us to make a holiday beer. Brewmaster TL went to Old Salem to do some research and found an old Moravian cookie recipe. Parceling out the spices in the recipe in the same relative proportions to a batch of People’s Porter, the result was a tasty holiday ale that practically sold out overnight the first year we made it. We now partner with Dewey’s Bakery to make gift boxes every Christmas that contain a bottle of Moravian Porter, a bag of Dewey’s Moravian spice cookies, a bag of Footnote coffee, a limited edition pint glass, and a Moravian star Christmas ornament.

Pepper Porter: Next we decided to add a few organic hot peppers from Jamie’s organic farm to a batch of Porter. The result was a tasty melange of sweet and heat from the six different pepper varietals we used.

Cherry Porter: Our love for all things Porter continues with our newest version, which debuts on Friday November 9th at our pub, tasting room and Footnote – both on tap and in bottles. It’s been aged in Buffalo Trace bourbon barrels, with several pounds of tart red cherries from the Pacific Northwest added to add both sweet and sour notes to the beer.

Hey, anything that’s been around three centuries is worth trying. Come give our new Cherry Porter a taste!

CP

 

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Barrels Of Fun

Sexys Back 6x3 Centerd StackedAh, autumn. Time for football, falling leaves, and more pumpkin spice grocery items than polite society should allow.

2017 BBA Chocolate croppedHere at Foothills we have a little autumn tradition of our own. It actually starts the previous winter, when we brew our iconic Sexual Chocolate Russian Imperial Stout. We squirrel away (intentional seasonal reference) a small percentage of the overall yield in bourbon barrels (usually Buffalo Trace) and let it age into a heady, boozy elixir that we release as the calendar turns to the fall months. The beer has a 100 rating on RateBeer, a 96 rating on Beeradvocate, and is often called one of the most sought after and coveted beers in America.

It’s a tradition we’ve had for over a decade – a tradition that will see an exciting new chapter when we release this year’s version of Bourbon Barrel Aged Sexual Chocolate on Friday, August 24 and Saturday, August 25.

Whether you’ve been to every BASC release, or this is your first, read on carefully . . . a lot will be changing from the schedule you’ve come to know.

For starters, in addition to our regular bottles of BASC, we are bottling/kegging a brand new version of the beer. You know that hip coffee roasting joint we opened earlier this year, Footnote? Well, Joe our head coffee roaster (yes that’s really his name) has selected some very special Peruvian beans to roast, which we will infuse into a select few barrels of BASC. We’ll then have a limited bottling of Coffee Infused Barrel Aged Sexual Chocolate (CIBASC), which will be on sale exclusively at our downtown pub on Saturday of Release Weekend.

Oh and we have one other little surprise for you: Sexual Chocolate Gelato. Read on.

BBA 2017FRIDAY AUGUST 24:
4pm: we will tap Barrel Aged Sexual Chocolate at all 3 locations
7pm: Annual Bottle Share Party – this year the party moves to Footnote, right next door to the pub. For those of you new to all this, we basically throw a big party the night we release this beer. The cost of admission is a bottle (or two) (or six) of your favorite craft beer – the rarer the better. It doesn’t have to a whale, but don’t show up with a six pack of Corona Premier either.
11pm: Friday Night Flicks: every Friday night our pub shows a movie on the big bar screen. This night’s selection is (naturally) Coming to America.

This is a good time to talk about camping out. Used to be, that’s pretty much what you had to do to get bottles of this beer. We’d have 150-200 people in line before the pub doors opened on Saturday morning.

campout

We make more of the beer now than we did back then . . . but it is by no means an unlimited supply. Plus, we will have a brand new, limited edition version for sale in bottles as well – which we expect to get snapped up rather quickly.

Bottom line – the only indicator of when to show up will be your good judgement. Please do not ask us on social media when you should show up – we honestly don’t know. Besides, knowing exactly when to show up would be cheating, and counter to the communal nature we try to achieve with this release. Whenever you show up, there will be fellow craft beer lovers to meet, drink and celebrate with.

Oh, and if you do decide to camp out – start the line at the 4th Street entrance of Footnote, not the pub . . . that will be the first location to open Saturday.

SATURDAY AUGUST 25:
7am: Footnote opens, and you get your very first chance to taste Coffee Infused BASC on draft (regular BASC will be on tap as well). But that’s not the only special treat we have for you . . . it’s also your first chance to try our brand new Sexual Chocolate Gelato. It’s being handmade by West End Coffee House, right around the corner from our pub. (We’ve tasted it already; the word ‘orgasmic’ comes to mind) (but be careful; it’s made with the actual beer, which means it’s got alcohol in it) We’ll have scoops available all day at both Footnote and the Pub.

affogatoOur Footnote staff is so excited about the gelato they’ve made a special coffee drink out of it. Sexual Chocolate Affogato has a scoop of Sexual Chocolate Gelato with two shots of espresso poured over it, topped with dutch chocolate bourbon whipped cream. Yeah.

Other drink specials at Footnote the morning of our release: Frozen BA Sexual Chocolate Coldbrew (our frozen cold brew coffee blended with BA Sexual Chocolate, topped with dutch chocolate bourbon whipped cream), and a 50/50 mix of BA Sexual Chocolate and cold brew nitro coffee.

8am: the party moves over to the pub. Doors open at 8am, we’ll wristband everyone as they come in to determine bottle purchase order.  If any of you release veterans (or rookies for that matter) want to line up early, please make sure the line runs east up 4th Street (away from the monstrous hotel being built next door to us).

In addition to having BASC and Coffee Infused BASC on tap, the Pub will have a few thematic food specials as well. Chef Shane is whipping up a Sexual Chocolate Bourbon Barrel Smoked Cheeseburger with Sexual Chocolate BBQ sauce and fried onion straws. We’ll also have coffee braised pulled pork tacos with spinach, smoked pineapple, and chipotle lime sour cream; and our Smoked Chicken Wings that day will be smoked on BASC barrel staves.

00E3478A9am: Bottle sales of both BASC at Coffee Infused BASC will commence at the Pub. Bottles are $20, limit of 12 for regular BASC and 6 for Coffee Infused BASC.

12pm: Regular BASC bottles will be available at the Tasting Room (PLEASE NOTE: this is only for regular BASC; Coffee Infused BASC bottles will only be available at the pub).

9pm: The tasting room will end BASC Release Weekend as only they know how. The brewery’s being transformed into Studio 54, complete with disco, DJ, dancing, and of course plenty of Barrel Aged Sexual Chocolate and Coffee Infused Barrel Aged Sexual Chocolate on draft. There’s also a photo booth – so dust off your 70s duds and bring your biggest Elton John sunglasses. There will also be a food truck on site. (this event is 21+ only)

BASC disco

LOTS planned . . . all we need is you! Plan to join us for what promises to be an epic Release Weekend.

Check back here and on our release event website page for updates.

Oh and if you want to know what all the fuss is about, read this history of Sexual Chocolate.

BLOG UPDATE 8/22/18: 2 updates for you:

  • We have decided to sell vintage Sexual Chocolate and Barrel-Aged Sexual Chocolate bottles on Saturday at the pub. They’ll be on sale the same time as this year’s Barrel Aged and Coffee Infused Barrel Aged Chocolate. Vintages available:
    2018 SC and BASC
    2017 SC, BASC and Olde Rabbit’s Foot
    2016 SC and BASC
    2015 BASC
    2010 SC
    all vintage bottles will be $25 each with the exception of 2010 SC ($30)

 

  • We also have a little something for the first people in the pub on Saturday morning – a brand new Sexual Chocolate sticker. There’s only 50 of them.

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Picking A New Pumpkin

OK, let’s get this out of the way right up front . . . this is NOT the time of year to be thinking about pumpkin beer.

And we’re aware (as you are) that seasonal creep has become a thing in craft beer when it comes to fall favorites like pumpkin ales and Oktoberfest lagers.

THAT SAID . . . we’re pretty excited about what we have in store for you once it’s pumpkin ale season again. Because we’ll be retiring the Cottonwood Pumpkin Ale (in name only) and putting it under the Foothills name . . . heretofore to be known as Foothills Pumpkin Ale. Same great beer (with a few tweaks), just a different label. And maybe some cool t-shirts.

Speaking of that new label, here’s your first look:

Pumpkin_12oz_singlelabel_MECH_REV

We now return you to your summer drinking pleasures. BUT . . . as the end of summer looms, start looking for Foothills Pumpkin Ale!


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Bourbon Barrel Aged Sexual Chocolate 2018

 

Sexys Back 6x3 Centerd Stacked

2017 BBA Chocolate (2)

Hey, don’t get us wrong. We love summertime. Poolside afternoons with a cold pint or two, baseball games with a cold pint or two, summer vacations with a . . . well, you get the idea.

But here at Foothills, though we love summer, this time of year tends to get us gazing longingly at the calendar, towards the end of summer . . . and the annual release of  Bourbon Barrel Sexual Chocolate.

This year’s event date has been set . . . Saturday August 25. As always, we’ll have our bottle share party the night before — which this year will move to our brand new event space next door to the pub, Footnote.

We’ve got some other fun stuff in the works, We’ll have more event details in the coming month – for now, mark your calendars for the last weekend in August, and join us for the release of Bourbon Barrel Sexual Chocolate Release 2018!

 

 


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Resurrecting Dead and Berried

beer-thumbnails-deadberriedWe have a Russian Imperial Stout that’s kind of made a name for itself. Perhaps you’ve heard of it.

Back in September 2016, we introduced a different imperial stout – a rather potent companion to Sexual Chocolate called Dead & Berried. Brewed with blackberries and aged in bourbon barrels, it became pretty popular. Like, instantly.

Ever since then we’ve fielded fairly steady inquiries from you, our ever-faithful, ever-thirsty beer drinking public, on when we’d be making more Dead & Berried.

Well — your wait is over.

We’ve had a batch of the beer aging in bourbon barrels for a few months now, and it’s time to take it out. And drink it.

That’s not the only good news. We’re also bottling it. For the first time ever.

The draft will go on sale at the pub, Footnote and our tasting room at 4pm on Friday April 13. The bottles (22-oz. bombers) will go on sale the following day, Saturday April 14, at the pub and tasting room at 11am. Bottle limit will be established day of sale but will not be less than a case.

So mark your calendars for the resurrection of Dead & Berried – and stay tuned to our social media channels for more information on release events!

UPDATE: check out the Spring Halloween party the pub is throwing

dead and berried bottle (2).png


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HopSwap Beer List

HopSwap18_medal_CS6If you’re looking forward to running, great.

If you’re looking forward to the beer, even better.

The 2018 HopSwap Half Marathon/5K and FREE Block Party has a killer craft beer lineup. Here’s who’s coming and what they’re pouring:

Foothills – Craft Happiness IPA Project-Create, Pilot Mountain Pale Ale, People’s Porter

Brown Truck – Fainting Goats Spirits Saison

Four Saints – Omie Blonde, Chilly Bin New Zealand IPA

Joymongers – Blood Orange Session IPA, Kolsch

Preyer – Passionfruit Milkshake IPA, Miso Gose

Natty Greene’s – TBA

Hoots – Gashopper IPA, Wheelbite Wheat

Fiddlin’ Fish – Camel City Session IPA, Major Winston’s Wheat

Wise Man – Mountain Calling West Coast IPA, Chasing Happiness Hefeweizen, Dancing Problems English Brown

Wooden Robot – What He’s Having, What She’s Having

Legion – Beauty and the Beets Beet/Orange Saison, Gaze of Eternity NE IPA

Koi Pond – Crazy Mary Banana Wit, Greenwood Session IPA, Falls Road Golden Kolsch

Quest – Makara Double IPA, Killer Bunny IPA

Besides a great race and great beer, we’ll have live music from Stereo Doll, the YMCA Kids Zone, and lots of local businesses for you to check out.

Whether you’re running, or just coming for the free block party, it’ll be a great day. Join us!


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Cheers To New Beers

Occasionally we get to introduce a new beer. Or two.

Not since we opened 13 years ago have we gotten to, all at once, introduce three.

But this spring afforded us that opportunity. We have ‘re-imagined’ Carolina Blonde and Carolina Strawberry, using those mainstays to inspire two new additions to our year-round cast of core beers.

We’re also adding a ‘malternative’ beer to our traditionally hoppy roster.

Here’s the lowdown on our new lineup:

Thousand Smiles logoTHOUSAND SMILES GOLDEN ALE             ABV 4.4%
BACKSTORY: Ever heard those baseball trades where there’s “a player to be named later?” That was Carolina Blonde. When Foothills went in search of a bigger brewhouse in 2010 to put in our (then) brand new brewery, our search took us to Carolina Beer & Beverage in Mooresville NC, where Carolina Blonde was born. That brewer was getting ready to start making energy drinks instead of beer, so when we bought his brewhouse he asked us to take Carolina Blonde in the deal. We changed it from a lager-esque brew to a cream ale, added a little wheat, and it became the lightest core offering we have.
Thousand Smiles is the next generation of that offering. Light bodied, slightly malt forward, with a fuller than expected mouthfeel from the oats addition. The small amount of acidulated malt used in the brew adds balance without adding tartness. Hops are mild and subtle. A very clean, very refreshing beer.
GRAINS: Pilsner Malt, Acidulated Malt, Oats
HOPS: Apollo, Cascade
OF NOTE: the ‘Thousand Smiles’ name came to us one day while driving home listening to a Jimi Hendrix song called ‘Little Wing’: “When I’m sad, she comes to me, with a thousand smiles she gives to me free”.

Tangled VineTANGLED VINE BERRY ROSE’ ALE             ABV 4.5%
BACKSTORY: Like Carolina Blonde, Carolina Strawberry came to us in the ‘bottling line’ deal. It’s always had a bad rap; when people see ‘strawberry’ they think ‘sweet’. Truth is, this beer has always used fresh strawberry puree, which lends more of the pectin from the fruit than the fructose, and therefore has always been slightly tart instead of sweet. Our marketing director declares this his ‘lawnmower beer’ – the one that tastes best after a spring/summer day of working in the yard.
Tangled Vine will be, like Thousand Smiles, a re-imagining of this core beer. It’s a tart fruit beer made with acidulated malt, which provides a rounder, fuller character to the beer, enhancing the flavor while adding mild acidity. That malt is balanced with cranberries, sour cherries and strawberries, to create a dry, tart and eminently drinkable ale. Lively carbonation adds bubbly character, and the balanced fruit taste has just the right amount of pucker.
GRAINS: Pilsner Malt, Acidulated Malt, Oats
HOPS: Apollo
OF NOTE: Rosé Ale is a style relatively new to the craft beer world; it’s kind of a liquid link between beer and wine. Based on styles like gose, Berliner Weisse, sours and more, brewers are producing a variety of rosé-inspired beers.

Malt ShakerMALT SHAKER AMBER ALE                         ABV 5.8%
BACKSTORY: OK, so this technically isn’t a new beer – but it’s the official branding of the amber ale we’ve been producing for a few months now. It came to our attention that, while lots of you enjoy drinking Foothills beer, some of you (gasp) prefer a less hoppy alternative. So our brewmaster T.L. came up with this deliciously malty amber ale. It’s smooth, sweet and mellow – medium bodied with lots of caramel and some nuttiness.
GRAINS: Canadian 2-row Pale, Caramel 20, Caramel 60, Dark Crystal, Wheat
HOPS: Cascade, Apollo
OF NOTE: This beer won the gold medal at the 2017 North Carolina Brewer’s Cup in the amber ale category

Want to find our new beers? Check out our Beer Finder.

tap into 3 new beers