February may be a short month but we’re definitely not short of news here at Foothills! Click the boxes below to learn more.
Tag Archives: beer
Beer To The Rescue
It’s been more than a week since Hurricane Florence roared ashore in North Carolina.
There were those who watched from afar. There were those, like us here in Winston-Salem, who felt a muted version of her fury.
Then there were those who were directly impacted by, and continue to deal with, one of the most damaging natural disasters to hit our state in decades. Long after the flood waters recede (as of Sunday there were still 9 NC rivers at major flood stage), long after the news crews pack up and leave, long after we have all turned our attention to other matters — those directly impacted, our NC neighbors, will be dealing with Florence’s aftermath. Governor Roy Cooper put it best — “Hurricane Florence has deeply wounded our state, wounds that will not fade soon as the flood waters finally recede.”
Like many of you, we’ve been thinking about how to best help communities affected by the hurricane. And how to best help is to do what we do best – brew beer.
Earlier this month, the same week Florence was barreling toward our coastline, we brewed our latest Craft Happiness Project IPA. It’s called Responder, and is dedicated to honoring the brave men and women in our community who are North Carolina’s first responders in times of crisis — like the aftermath of hurricanes.
For those of you who don’t know, Craft Happiness IPA Project was started in 2017 by Foothills as a way to bring attention to all manner of needs in our community, state and region. Each month we brew a different IPA, name it based on the particular need we’re focusing on, and give a portion of proceeds to an organization that services that need.
Rarely has Craft Happiness had an opportunity to have a bigger impact than now. So we’re throwing a Release/Relief Party at our tasting room for Responder IPA on Wednesday October 10th. Members of Winston-Salem Fire Department Station #2 will be here — partly to show off their ladder truck and partly for us to show how grateful we are for the work they do.
We’ll also have our regular weekly Foot Soldier Run Club at 6pm. For every mile run that day, Foothills will donate $1 to the North Carolina Disaster Relief Fund.
Running’s not your thing? That’s OK. Beer drinking can be your thing. Because we’ll also be donating $1 from every pint of Responder sold that day – at all three of our locations – to the same Relief Fund.
Can’t make it that day? That’s OK too — we’ll be giving a portion of total Responder IPA proceeds to hurricane relief at the end of the month as well. So stop by and have a pint anytime during the month of October.
Good Beer That Does Good. That’s the mission of Craft Happiness Project, through which Foothills has donated over $11,000 (to date) to more than a dozen local and regional charitable organizations. So come have a beer and make a difference for our neighbors, who will still be dealing with Florence’s aftermath for weeks and months to come.
Bourbon Barrel Aged Sexual Chocolate 2018
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!
In its short one-year history, our tasting room has become a place for like-minded people to gather, to do whatever their like minds, um, like.
You a dog lover? We’re the coolest indoor dog run in the Triad. A giver? We’ve hosted charities and pet adoptions. Artsy? Painting classes and craft fairs have found their way to our door.
But our athletic endeavors are where we’ve really shone. In addition to sponsoring a stock car and a Gaelic football team (who, news flash, can down a pint or two), we hold weekly yoga and crossfit classes that draw more and more participants every week.
So we’re adding a new athletic undertaking – the Foot Soldiers Run Club. Every Wednesday at 6pm, we’re inviting the Triad running community to gather at our tasting room (3800 Kimwell Drive), go for a run around our palatial industrial park, then enjoy a pint or two afterwards.
We’ve partnered with Fleet Feet and Junction 311 Endurance Events, who will help provide something cool for the running community every week – gear and shoe reps, run coaches, race reps, doctors and chiropractors… you name it.
We’ll also have yoga instructors from Rock Water Yoga on hand periodically to stretch you before you run.
Our first run club will meet Wednesday May 18 at 6pm. We’re starting with 1, 2 and 3-mile courses. Besides great beer and a great running group, we’ve come up with a few incentives to get you to join us:
- Everyone who shows up for our first Run Club (and signs up for our newsletter) gets a free limited edition Foot Soldier pint glass
- Our friends from JDL Fast Track down the street will be here handing out race packets for their Indoor Insanity Marathon, and offering $50 off solo marathon registration and $25 off registration for each relay participant
- And we’ll be raffling off several Foothills swag items — include a bottle of a little beer we call Barrel Aged Sexual Chocolate
Come out and run! It’s gonna be fun.
Bourbon Barrel Sexual Chocolate time is here – earlier in the year than ever before.
This year, for the first time, we’re releasing this NC Beer rarity in the spring, on Saturday May 21. We received a fresh batch of bourbon barrels late last year and, not wanting to wait to fill them, brewed a special batch of Sexual Chocolate just for barrel aging. And they’re ready.
It’s created sort of a perfect storm for this most sought-after of beers; since we weren’t pulling a percentage of the overall yield for barrel aging, like we normally do, there’s a little more available this year than there has ever been – so much so we are upping the bottle limit for this year.
So if you’ve ever thought about coming to Sexual Chocolate Release, this is the year to do it. The release of this beer is one of the biggest parties on the NC craft beer scene. For those who’ve never come, and as a refresher for you veterans, here’s a few guidelines to having the best, um, Sexual experience:
– We always throw a Bottle Share Pre-Release Party on the Friday night before the Saturday event. On May 20th beginning at 7:00 pm-ish, we’ll open up the brewery 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; but show up with a 6-pack of Shock Top and mocking is sure to ensue.
– 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 unnecessary, since we all know what a well-behaved and chill crowd craft beer drinkers are. #lookingatyou
– There’s a rumor that those nice officers will let you enjoy your own 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. You’re welcome.
– Around 7:00 am our way-too-cheerful-for-this-early-on-a-Saturday 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.
– Bottle sales commence at 9:00 am. You’ll be summoned by your wristband number in groups of 50. Bottles are $20 each, limit 12 per person. Any questions about that? Then the answer is 20 and 12. And yes, that is a one-time increase on the bottle limit, thanks to our terrific yield this year. 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 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: if you’re getting your limit, then we’ll have a box for your beer. If not, 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 (insert number you’re buying) bottles big.
– In the history of mankind, there have never been growler fills of BBA Sexual Chocolate. That trend will continue.
– 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!
#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:
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.
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
NC Beer Month #HopSwap
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.”
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.
The NC Beer Month Challenge
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.
Which 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.
To 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.
A Dog Blog
When 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.
It’s a legacy we should have seen coming.
Our 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.
When we broke ground for the tasting room, Barley made frequent full-circuit inspections…
…and even gave the project his final and permanent seal of approval.
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.
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.
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.
Editor’s note: you can follow Barley on Instagram. He’s hilarious.
Beers on Tap for Sexual Chocolate Weekend
Since our 10th Anniversary Gala got snowed out last weekend, we’ve decided to take all the goodies we had stashed up for that party and tap them this weekend at the annual release. Here’s what we’ll have on hand – starting with the beers being tapped for the first time ever:
Sexual Chocolate 2016 – several of us have already tasted this year’s vintage (you know – quality control), and all are in agreement that this beer has some depth to it –
Barrel Aged Sexual Chocolate 2016 – so for our gala we had decided to designate one barrel of BA Sexual Chocolate, just because we were curious what it tastes like so far (been aging a few months already). This is a very rare opportunity to try this beer outside of its normal August-September release date.
ALSO: Caskmaster Matt has created a couple of special casks of this year’s Sexual Chocolate that we’ll be tapping (one at a time) as soon as we open Saturday morning; one flavored with white chocolate and raspberry, and one with habanero peppers (which we are affectionately calling ‘Hot Chocolate’).
February Hop of the Month (Mandarina Pilsner) – Only available since 2012, The German Mandarina Bavaria is derived from Cascade hops, and is known for its distinctive tangerine, pineapple and lemon notes. The result is a distinct citrus flavor profile, with a touch of sweetness, in this German-style Pilsner.
Other specialty beers on hand:
January Hop of the Month (Wakatu Vienna Lager) – Wakatu hops are a hybrid with northern and southern hemisphere roots. Mild, subtly spicy Hallertau hops, produced in the largest hop-growing region in Germany, were crossed with a New Zealand varietal. The result is an unusually aromatic hop with citrusy, almost lime-like qualities. Those characteristics expertly balance the delicately dry malt sweetness of this Vienna Lager.
Pilot Mountain Pale Ale – our spring seasonal’s back! Normally it comes out February 1st, we figured we’d fudge it a day for you guys.
Frostbite Black IPA – going, going . . . the appearance of our spring seasonal means our winter seasonal is going into hibernation soon – get some of this roasty goodness before it’s gone. Six-packs and twelve-packs to go will also be available.
Foot Men Series Barleywine – Caskmaster Matt, mentioned above, has been a busy guy . . . not only did he create two special casks of Sexual Chocolate but he brewed the strongest beer we’ve ever made for his turn in our Foot Men Series. This 10.2% beast is as complex and layered as it is hefty. It’s a full-bodied, big malty ale, with lots of toffee and raisin notes. Notes of the wine (the beer was aged on American Oak spirals soaked in Jones von Drehle Old Railroad Red 101) poke through with some oak tannin balancing some of the sweetness.
The rest of the lineup:
Hoppy Medium Imperial Brown Ale
Seeing Double IPA
Pretty epic tap list – hope you can make it out this weekend!