Foothills Brewing

Musings and Mashings


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Beer To The Rescue

cars on flooded streetIt’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.

Beer-Thumbnails-IPAOTM_Responder_Sept18Earlier 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.

Image result for north carolina disaster relief fundRunning’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.

 

 

 

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Foot Soldiers

TR night

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.
Foot Soldier (Small) (Mobile)
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.


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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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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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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.

IMG_8254 DSCN4372 IMG_8018 IMG_8232

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…

IMG_7556 IMG_7554

…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.

IMG_8009 IMG_8030

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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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:

FHB.13638 Sexual Chocolate 2016 label R02_Page_2Sexual 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’).

Beer-Thumbnails-HOTM-FebruaryFebruary 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
Hoppyum IPA
Jade IPA
Seeing Double IPA
Torch
People’s Porter
Carolina Blonde

Pretty epic tap list – hope you can make it out this weekend!


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Sexual Chocolate 2016

“I loved her – and that is the beginning and the end of everything.”
―F. Scott Fitzgerald

Greetings Chocolate lovers. She’s back.

Time once again to don your parka, pack up your sleeping bag and head to Foothills for our Annual Sexual Chocolate Imperial Stout Release on January 29 and 30 . If you’ve been with us before for this most special of days, then the details below will be familiar to you. Read them anyway. If this is your first time, then congrats on scratching this particular shindig off your Craft Beer Bucket List. You too must read on carefully.

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– Foothills will host its traditional Bottle Share Pre-Release Party on Friday night January 29th beginning at 7:00 pm, in the brewery portion of our brewpub at 638 West 4th Street in Winston-Salem. Here’s how it works: we open up the back of our brewpub to anyone and everyone who brings a bottle or two (or three or four) of their favorite rare, unique or coveted craft beer. Interpretation of that description is up to you, but show up with a six pack of any ol’ beer and we’re not responsible for the incessant mocking which will certainly ensue. We’ll have Sexual Chocolate on tap at the bar, and appetizers to snack on if you’re famished. Oh and The Djangovers are playing the pub that night.

??????????– The line to buy Sexual Chocolate bombers (22-oz. bottles) will begin 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. So for once you don’t have to actually go home at closing time. NOTE: please do not, repeat, DO NOT, start lining up before we close. Violators will be sent to the back of the line and force-fed leftover Zima.

– City police officers will be on hand overnight. No doubt this will prove to be for cosmetic purposes only, since we all know what a well-behaved lot craft beer enthusiasts 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. Wink wink nudge nudge.

– There will be portable restroom facilities in the back parking lot. We’re thoughtful like that.

– Around 6:30 am we’ll BBASC1distribute numbered wristbands to denote your place in line. (Captain Obvious says make sure you have your ID with you.) We’ll also have some schwag to pass out as a ‘thank you’ to those brave souls that camped out.

– The pub will open at 8:00 am, Sexual Chocolate will be tapped and waiting (as will 14 other beers – viva le variété). We’ll also have breakfast available for purchase. You know, solid food. If that’s your thing.

SC for blog– Bottle sales will commence at 9:00 am. You’ll be summoned by your wristband number in groups of 50, whereafter you’ll pay for your bottles in the pub then proceed in somewhat orderly fashion to the brewery in back, where you’ll receive your beer.

Bottles are $15 each, limit of 6 to a person. Any questions about that? Then the answer is 15 and 6. We take all forms of payment — cash, credit cards, your firstborn . . .

– Bottles tend to get snapped up quickly. This is the part where we politely suggest that, if you want to partake in this beer, please please please plan accordingly. If you show up at 4 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.
NOTE: I’m sure a lot of you have read how we increased Sexual Chocolate production this year. that does not mean we will have more bottles for sale – it just means we have a larger territory to cover with the beer.

– Another way to create bad karma? Trying to take the easy way out and asking us on Facebook/Twitter the best time to get in line/show up. Please believe us when we say WE DON’T KNOW. Every year is different. So suck it up and come stand in line. Hang out. Make friends. Be one with us.

– We don’t provide boxes or bags – that would expand our carbon footprint exponentially. Please bring something to safely cart away your newly purchased liquid treasures. How big you ask? About 8 bottles big.

– No growler fills of Sexual Chocolate. And no growling about no growler fills.

teku glass– We will have plenty of Sexual Chocolate Rastal Teku glasses for sale ($15). They’re very cool. Somehow the beer tastes better in them.

– This is the first year our Tasting Room has been open for Sexual Chocolate Release, so it’s getting in on the fun . . . while no bottles will be for sale there, they will have Chocolate on tap Friday night, with a special show from The Phantom Playboys.

Want to stay up to date on all the latest leading up to this event? Then follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Also check back to this blog, we’ll update it frequently with new info. In fact I just now added this sentence.

Headed here from out of town? The Winston-Salem Marriott (walking distance from the pub) has a special $95 rate just for Sexual Chocolate attendees.

Curious about the history of Sexual Chocolate? Read all about it here. Or watch an incredibly hip video about it here.

WEATHER: current overnight forecast low is 29°, 0% chance of precipitation.