Foothills Brewing

Musings and Mashings


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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.

IMG_6913

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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An Unlikely Gift

sculpture1Gifts can come from the strangest places. In this season of gift giving, we wanted to share a little story with you about that.

IMG_3552Back in 2013, we took delivery of four 200 BBL fermentation tanks. The tanks came all the way from British Columbia on the back of a semi, and arrived in Winston-Salem without a scratch.

Unfortunately the driver tried to deliver them to our downtown brewpub, not our main production facility, and in doing so made the grievous error of driving under the Broad Street bridge with our shiny new tanks.

Tank met bridge, with predictable results.tank3 Long story short, the tank company flew in a couple of metal fabricators, who made the tanks good as new on site. The twisted metal carnage of the bridge debacle was tossed in a corner and quickly forgotten.

sculpture3Fast forward to earlier this year, when our new maintenance supervisor casually inquired about the scrap sheet metal gathering dust in the corner. With some encouragement and assistance from our marketing department, that conversation became a project, and the resulting handiwork is now proudly displayed on the wall of our tasting room. Look closely and you can see the scrapes where the tank went under the bridge.

You just never know where a gift might come from. Bear that in my mind as you enjoy what we hope is your happiest holiday season ever.


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Let There Be Jade

Guessing you’ve all been very good little girls and boys this year.

Jade2‘Cause Santa brought you an early Christmas present.

Got to work on a cold, dreary, rainy Monday yesterday – when what to my wondering eyes should appear – 12 ounce bottles of Jade rolling off the bottling line.
Jade5 Jade8 Jade6
That’s right — our amazing brewery production staff has been working overtime to get this done – and they got it done earlier than we thought. Take that Santa’s elves.

As of 11am Tuesday morning, Jade six packs and cases will be on sale at our pub. The tasting room will also have them when they open at 4pm Tuesday. Palettes will also be leaving our brewery destined for our distributors’ warehouses; you can expect to start seeing them on shelves all over North Carolina next week at the latest. For now, ours will be the only state you can buy these.

Our Beer Finder will help you locate where they are but be patient — inventory doesn’t register on the Beer Finder until it’s been delivered.

A month ago we blogged about the evolution of this beer, announced we were putting it in six-packs, and said we hoped to have them out by early 2016.

It truly is the most wonderful time of the year.

Jade1


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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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Hello Neighbor

Mister Rogers spent generations advocating the neighborly thing.

These days ‘the neighborly thing’ extends to your wallet. Drink Local. Eat Local. Spend Local. We’ve all seen our share of calls to action to ‘fill-in-the-blank local’ these days. But it’s become more than a catchphrase for local governments and small businesses — supporting your community economically is increasingly considered to have a wide-ranging economic impact globally.

Those of you intimate with the inner workings of craft beer know it’s an industry built on a local foundation. Any craft brewer worth their malt is pouring as much effort into the surrounding community as they are their beer. That shows up in charitable contributions made by craft brewers — but more importantly it shows up at the neighborhood level, often where it does the most good.

We’re no different – here’s a few examples of how we’re putting our Foot in our neighborhood.

BEND N’ BREW YOGA
Deanna-Dzybon
I promise you we didn’t send over to Central Casting for Deanna Dzybon. It just looks like we did. She’s the free spirited, soft spoken, calmly focused epitome of what you expect from an elite yoga instructor. Her Bend n’ Brew yoga classes have quickly gained popularity at our tasting room, where every Saturday morning she leads an all-levels yoga class for an hour — after which everyone grabs a pint, which is included in the cost of the yogaclass. The first class had a half dozen people . . . two weeks later her class was so big we had to move it to another part of the brewery. “The intent of my yoga,” says Deanna, “is similar to what the goals of craft beer are . . . . support local, build a community, add a little something to peoples’ lives.” Well said.

PINTS IN THE PITS
52_vipRacing courses through the lifeblood of our state — pick a spot in central or western North Carolina, and there’s probably more race teams and drivers and tracks in a random 50-mile radius than anywhere else in the country. In fact Bowman-Gray track, right here in Winston-Salem, is NASCAR’s oldest affiliated track, continuously operating for 60 years now.  And with good reason – over 100,000 fans pass through the turnstiles every season.
52David Sell knows the racing life well – he’s been behind the wheel of various classes of stock cars for the better part of a decade. That’s why, when he came to us to sponsor his limited late model car, we saw another chance to help our local community. And I do mean local – David’s garage is a mile from our tasting room. The Foothills 52 has already been in a couple of races — no winner’s circles yet, but we’re keeping the Hoppyum chilled just in case David needs to spray one on his crew.

CRAFTY CATTLE
cows3One of the only solid by-products for any brewery, and by far the most voluminous, is spent grain. Once the grain has been steeped and had its sugars extracted for fermentation, it’s no longer of any use in making beer.

But there’s still a use for it. A very good one, as it turns out.

cows2

“Got any Jade on ya?”

JG Farms in Lexington collects our spent grain and feeds it to their herd of prize-winning beef cattle. While it certainly helps our sustainibility efforts, it more importantly helps makes happy cows. Turns out, there’s still a lot of nutrients in spent grain, and the fact it’s been cooked makes it a lot easier on bovine digestive systems than what the farmers call ‘hot’ feeds like corn, that aren’t digested nearly as easily. The cattle are subsequently healthier, more well-fed, and thus gain weight quicker on spent grain. And, according to JG Farms owner Joseph Groce, the beef tastes a lot better as a result (a fact you can judge for yourself, as we periodically feature JG Farms ground beef in our ‘Shanewiches‘ at the pub).

A few ways we’re helping our neighbors — in addition to continuing to be a neighborly place to grab a pint. We like to think Mr. Rogers would approve.


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Jade-olution

There’s a scene in Dances With Wolves where Kicking Bird says to Lt. John Dunbar, “We’ve come a long way, you and me.”
(only 90’s movie reference of the blog, I swear.)

Jade 6 Pack RT_purple handleThat’s how we feel when we look at our new 6-packs of Jade IPA.

Yes, we are finally succumbing to the voluminous passionate tweets, posts, messages and general beseeching you’ve done, imploring us to package one of your (and our) favorite Foothills brands in 12-ounce bottles.

In what we feel is the formidable lineup of our brands, Jade has more than held its own over the course of its short lifetime. Since it introduction Super Bowl weekend 2011, it’s been one of our best-selling and most talked-about beers. It has indeed come a long way — from its humble and auspicious birth amongst the sights (and scents) of the 2007 Craft Brewer’s Conference in Austin, Texas.

It was there that Jamie Bartholomaus, brewmaster of then-barely-two-years-old Foothills Brewing, and T.L. Adkisson, head brewer for Ham’s in Greenville, NC, were wandering through the Conference Expo, looking at equipment and raw materials and dreaming of bigger and better days for their respective breweries. As is usually the case, the hops growers (Hop Union, in this case) had several bales of hops broken open, to allow brewers to taste and smell their wares. Jamie picked up a handful of a new varietal called New Zealand Pacific Jade and took a deep whiff.

Turning to T.L. he said “Man I could make a pillow out of this stuff.”

T.L. was equally enamored. As he remembers, “It was definitely unique. Instead of having the citrusy qualities of Pacific Northwest hops, I smelled mango, guava — Jade Jade 6 Pack Side RT_purple handlehad all these tropical fruit notes going on.”

Back home,  both Jamie and T.L. followed up with Hop Union, trying to get their hands on some Jade hops. Both were told the same thing . . . what they’d seen (smelled) in Austin was only samples — the initial big harvest wasn’t due for another few years.

Fast forward to 2010 . . . T.L. had been hired as head brewer at Foothills, and one day his brewmaster (Jamie) walked up to him and said, “Guess what? Remember those hops we fell in love with in Austin? I just bought 440 pounds of ’em.” Scratching his head, he added “I’m just not sure what we’re gonna do with ’em.”

T.L. smiled. “I know what we’re gonna do with ’em.”

Within an hour he had written out a recipe for Jade IPA — the same recipe that, with a few minor tweaks, we’re still using today.

More than a third of that first batch disappeared that Super Bowl weekend, and the love affair was kindled. North Carolina craft beer drinkers spent the next three years downing pint after pint, pining for the day they could take this magic elixir home with them.

So toward the end of December 2013, on a whim, our marketing department posted on Facebook that, if we could get to 15,000 likes by the end of January 2014, we’d bottle Jade.

It took less than a month.

jade-rgb_NEWSo we got busy. Our artist Kyle Webster came up with the iconic brand logo; his vision was so spot-on that almost no changes were made to the original drawing (we did add the little logo hair lock). Instead of trumpeting the coming arrival of Jade bombers, we kept it a secret from everybody but employees and distributors, not releasing the info until the day bottles were actually on shelves.

The result? Demand for Jade skyrocketed, and we spent most of 2014 trying to keep up. In fact, after the initial two bottling runs, demand for draft remained so high we didn’t bottle it again for 10 months.

Since then we’ve installed four massive 300 BBL fermenters, so keeping up with your insatiable thirst for Jade has become a lot more manageable – to the point we’re ready to put 6-packs on the shelves. Not sure when they’ll be available, we’re aiming for early 2016, so stay tuned. Meantime, if you haven’t yet, get familiar with the Find Foothills Beer Finder on our website — it’ll help you find these when they come out.

And by all means — feel free to make a pillow out of them.

 


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RIP IPA of the Month

What began as a crazy idea hatched over a couple of beers, and grew to become a 2-year-long series of increasingly large scope, is going away.

That’s right — our December IPA of the Month will be our last IPA of the Month.

The concept began as the brainchild of brewmaster Jamie and head brewer T.L., who for years contemplated the idea of producing a different, seasonally aligned beer every month in Foothills most-loved style, the India Pale Ale.

We finally decided it was time to try it in 2014, and produced a series that included an ode to vintage pinup art on the bottles.

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That was followed by our #FoothillsIPAdog series in 2015, which has not only been wildly popular (even with Hollywood) but has also seen us donate to dog rescue organizations in a dozen different communities nationwide.

But for those of you lamenting the demise of these highly anticipated beers — fear not. There’s a plan of succession.

In January we’ll introduce a new monthly series — one dedicated to furthering the innovative goals on which IPA of the Month has thrived.

We’re taking IPA of the Month one step further — we’re starting a Hop of the Month series.Hop of the Month 2016 Generic

Understand, these will not be single hop beers. That’s been done. No, these will be beers specifically formulated to accentuate the unique flavor characteristics of a single hop varietal. T.L. is currently sourcing hops from all over the world for this series and, while some of the beers will assuredly be IPAs, expect all kinds of different styles to show up in this series.

Producing an IPA (and accompanying label) every month for the last two years has been fun. And for the record, we received enough #FoothillsIPAdog entries to supply label art for the next ten years. But Hop of the Month has us all pretty excited around here. Here’s hoping your anticipation of the series is just as enthusiastic. You can let us know what you think in our comments section. And stay tuned to the blog for the December announcement of our first Hop of the Month beer!

 


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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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Here We Come Georgia

JamieIt’s been almost twenty years since a certain young anthropology student began whiling away his free time homebrewing with friends in a dorm room at University of Georgia. Probably against school policy but whatever.

That student was Jamie Bartholomaus, who would use those humble beginnings as the genesis for a stellar career in craft beer  — a career that is now coming full circle.

Our brewmaster and president is pleased to announce that Foothills will begin distribution in the state of Georgia by early 2016.

“Georgia is where it all began for me,” Jamie says, “so obviously I’m pretty excited about finally getting an opportunity to sell our beer there.”

Adds co-owner Matt Masten,”Atlanta’s the biggest market in our region, we’re looking forward to having the Foothills brand there as well as GAthroughout the state.”
Beyond our emotional ties to the Peach State, distribution expansion to Georgia also makes practical sense. We distribute beer in every state that shares a border with North Carolina — except Georgia.

This territory expansion coincides with a planned brewery expansion, as we get set to install several new 400-barrel fermentation tanks (our largest ever) in our main brewing facility in Winston-Salem. Those tanks are scheduled to be online prior to delivering our first shipments to Georgia, and will increase Foothills capacity to around 70,000 barrels annually.

Lots more news to come on this, so stay tuned here on our blog as well as our social media pages for details as they become available – we’ll see you soon Georgia!.