Foothills Brewing

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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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Autumn’s Awesome

FHB (4)As we savor the waning days of summer 2015, it’s hard to not to wax nostalgic over here at the brewery. It’s been an epic year so far, what with all our 10th Anniversary celebrations, and we’re ending the summer/starting the fall with a flurry of beer releases that is at once epic in scope and broad in assortment.

We’ve released four beers in the last few weeks, including:

BBASC5Barrel Aged Sexual Chocolate: We came out with this one a month early this year; the beer said “I’m ready” so we bottled it. And here’s a little secret: we cold-stored the barrels longer this year, which resulted in a little less tannin from the barrel wood, and more bourbony chocolaty flavor (at least to our taste buds). The release was, as always, a great way to catch up with our extended Foothills family and share some great times (not to mention those sleeping-on-the-sidewalk bonding moments). The pub is all tapped out but (as of the moment this is being written) there’s still some left at the Tasting Room.

AugustAugust IPA of the Month: “Spot” is an ideal summer IPA, with nice synergy between lemony Sorachi Ace hops and the orange/citrus character of Simcoe hops. Some German Tradition hops add a little earthiness and compliment the sweetness in the malt bill. Good way to round off the hot weather and start working this series into fall. None left on draft but a few bombers left at the tasting room.

Pumpkin:
I count close to a thousand pumpkin beers on Beer Advocate. Not sure how you stand out in a crowded patch like that, but there are a couple of unique things about our own Cottonwood Pumpkin. For one, instead of using canned pumpkin, we use actual labelsfresh pureed pumpkin; also, every spice we use (nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, and allspice) is organic.

Oktoberfest: We’re pretty excited about this one, it’s always been available on draft and in bombers, but this year for the first time we’ve included it in our year-round Seasonal Series, in 6-packs and 12-packs. If you don’t know anything about the Oktoberfest beer style other than the raucous shindig thrown every year in Munich, it has an interesting history. Crown Prince Ludwig got married in 1810, and magnanimously decided to invite the entire town of Munich. The resulting party was sufficiently epic to warrant throwing another one the following year. They eventually coined this annual celebration Oktoberfest, and brewed a beer specifically for the occasion; a dark, sweet amber lager with notes of toasted bread and roasted almonds. Now you can have a little bit of Prince Ludwig’s legacy sitting in your fridge.

A word here about the dreaded and much-maligned ‘seasonal creep’: some seem inordinately bothered by seasonal beers (like Oktoberfest and Pumpkin) coming out ‘before their time’. While it really doesn’t bother us, we do get your point. It’s the same feeling you get when you see Christmas decorations before Halloween, right? If it bothers you that much, may we suggest doing what we do when we see those decorations: ignore them until you’re ready to pay attention to them.

If you’d like to educate yourself on why this has become a thing, this is a good place to start.

foothills png

To go with the four we’ve recently released, we’ve got ANOTHER FIVE waiting in the wings, all of which should be on tap within the next month:

IPAOTM 2015 GenericSeptember IPA of the Month: as the weather cools, we usually ramp the ABV back up in this series, and September is no exception, weighing in at 6.9% to go with 72 IBUs. After the lighter, fruitier flavors of the summer month IPAs, a generous double dry hop with Chinook will give this one some hefty pine notes to go with a nice hint of grapefruit. And the label dog, as usual, is adorable.
AVAILIBILITY: state of North Carolina, release date September 4th 

fat bastard get in my belly gifFoot Men Series Wee Heavy: Of the beer styles brewed in Scotland, There are both “Scottish” and “Scotch” ales . . . the latter generally falling under a category known as “Wee Heavy”. Sweeter, fuller in body, and higher in alcohol than Scottish ales, the name derives from the small (wee) 6 oz. bottles in which Scottish brewers sold their strongest ale in the late 1800s. Our next beer in the Foot Men Series — highlighting the vast talents of our brewing staff — will be a Wee Heavy brewed by Brent. Super malty and sweet, unfiltered, it’s a hardy autumn beer full of toffee and raisin notes – and at 8.3%, the perfect pint to take the nip out of the air when it starts turning cool. You’ll have to roll your r’s and say “Brrrent’s Wee Heavy” when you drink it.
AVAILIBILITY: pub and tasting room in Winston-Salem; a handful of kegs may trickle out across the state for special events, release date TBD

jade-rgb_NEWSauvignon Blanc Wood-Aged Jade: this one’s the brain child of our head brewer TL (as was Jade, by and large). TL’s always been intrigued with New Zealand Jade hops, and is equally curious about complimentary flavor profiles. So he took some sweet maple honeycombs and soaked them in Sauvignon Blanc wine, from grapes grown in the same NZ region as our Jade hops. The result has an intriguing blend of fruity and acidic notes, balanced by sweetness in the maple used to age it.
AVAILIBILITY: pub and tasting room in Winston-Salem ONLY, release date TBD

Fairhaven Helles: this beer is part of an annual tradition, we invite the winner of the Gambrinus Cup homebrew competition to brew their winning beer at the pub, then have it served at the Carolina Renaissance Festival. This year’s recipe is a Munich Helles brewed by David Jones. The Helles style is so popular in Germany that it’s actually replaced the Oktoberfest style . . . at Oktoberfest! A straw-blonde lager that’s at once light and intensely flavorful, it’ll be a welcome addition to Fairhaven Village at Carolina Rennaissance Festival in Mooresville this year beginning October 3rd.
AVAILIBILITY: Carolina Renaissance Festival, pub and tasting room, release date October 3rd

Blueberry Pale Ale: This one we came up with to put on at Lowe’s Beer Dens. If you’ve had our Carolina Strawberry, then you know we do fruit beers a little differently; the fruit’s a little more subtle and acts as a complement to the beer ingredients, rather than serving as the main flavor ingredient. This beer is no exception . . . as our head brewer describes it, “it’s a pale ale that just happens to have blueberries in it”.
AVAILIBILITY: select NC Lowe’s Growler Den locations to start, eventually pub and tasting room, release date TBD

Stay tuned to our social media pages for exact release dates on all these.
Belly up everyone . . . Autumn’s gonna be awesome.


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Opening Party Details

Can’t wait to see all of you on June 20 for our 10th Anniversary/Tasting Room Opening Party. IT WILL BE FUN. There is, however, a certain amount of protocol we need to follow in order to accommodate the number of people we’re expecting. So here’s a LOT of helpful info. Grab a beer, sit back and read carefully.

LOCATION: 3800 Kimwell Drive  in Winston-Salem. NOT the downtown pub on 4th Street. Although I hear there’s a kickass afterparty being planned there. And we’ll be running shuttles from that location (details below).

TIME: Noon – 10pm

CAMPING OUT: unlike our Sexual Chocolate releases, camping out for this event will not be allowed. Simply because we have no space for it. Correction – we have no flat space for it. We have a berm in front of the brewery you could pitch a tent on but you’d keep rolling out of your sleeping bag.

ADMISSION PRICE: there is no cost to attend. That’s right. Admission is free. You’re welcome.

BANDS:
2pm     Hump Day Funk Day Players
4pm    Big Daddy Love
6pm     Emma Gibbs (reunion show!)
8pm     The Connells

BEERS: you will, however, have to pony up for beer. More specifics on pricing in a second. We’ll have 28 beers on tap, including the now-legendary 9-year Sexual Chocolate draft vertical. We’ll also have last year’s Bourbon Barrel version of Sexual Chocolate on tap. Here’s the rest of the lineup:

HIGH GRAVITY
Gruffmeister Maibock
Oak-Aged Maibock
Blendiculous Imperial Brown
Seeing Double IPA
YRK Series Doppelbock
10th Anniversary Imperial Pilsner
(NOTE: this is a brand new beer brewed on our actual birthday, March 17, especially for this party — first time we’ve ever served it!)

IPAs
Hoppyum IPA
Jade IPA
HopJob Session IPA
June IPA of the Month (Wally)

Not IPAs
Stout
Bourbon Barrel Stout
Torch Pilsner
People’s Porter
Carolina Blonde
Carolina Strawberry
Footmen Series American Wheat
YRK Series India Pale Lager

SEXUAL CHOCOLATE: so here’s the deal: obviously we have a finite amount from each year. If you’re intent on getting to try all 9 years, and didn’t buy a ticket to our Friday night VIP event to ensure that would happen, please plan accordingly (i.e. get here early). When it’s gone it’s gone. If you show up at 6pm and complain bitterly that every single year is no longer available, you’ll instantly be put on mandatory bounce house safety guard duty for the rest of the evening. ALSO: to let as many people as possible take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, we’ve instituted a couple of guidelines for Sexual Chocolate: 1) we’re only doing 6 oz. pours, and 2) a maximum of five pours allowed with each trip to the bar. Yes, that means if you want all 9 years, you’ll have to get in line twice. Yes that’s a little extra work. But logistically it’s the safest, most crowd-friendly way to maximize service and the amount of beer we have. And face it you can’t carry nine glasses at once anyway. Suggestion: take a cue from scuba divers, use the buddy system.

FOOD: We’ve lured four top-notch meat masters out here for a barbecue competition — and you get to choose the winners. Doc Brownstone’s, Bib’s Downtown, Smoky Daze and Saponi Smokers will be working all night barbecuing up some dreamy pulled pork and ribs for y’all. The main food tents will be set up at the front of the building, the competition works like this: for $15 (1/2 lb. pulled pork plate), $18 (1/2 lb. ribs plate) or $30 (1 lb. combo plate), you’ll receive color-coded portions and tickets, along with jalapeno cornbread and choice of two sides (baked beans, collards or black bean corn salad). After you’ve tasted all portions, simply take your colored ticket and drop it in the jar at the front of the barbecue stand you think did the tastiest job. IMPORTANT: competition wraps late afternoon; barbecue will not be available for the entire evening. We will, however, have Jersey’s Best Hot Dogs out later in the afternoon for your noshing pleasure. Still working on a couple of other food options as well.
Also, if barbecue’s not your thing, we’ll have plenty of snack vendors around as well, including:
Buck O’Hairen’s Legendary Sunshine
Rosa’s Straws
Gone Jerky
Brown Bear Nut Mix
Chad’s Carolina Corn
Steve’s Exquisite Boiled Peanuts
Roots Hummus
Gigi’s Cupcakes
The Ice Queen

PAYMENT INFO: once you’ve been carded and wristbanded at the entrance, there’ll be separate booths for beer ticket purchase and food ticket purchase. Both will be clearly marked, and there will be several intern-type helpers in Foothills t-shirts to help you find your way. Beer tickets will be $5 each. One ticket will get you a pint of any beer, with the exception of Sexual Chocolate and the high gravity beers listed above. The high gravities will be two tickets for a full pour; the Sexual Chocolate will be one ticket for a 6 oz. pour of any vintage of you’d like – we’re not pricing them based on vintage or rarity. You’re welcome again. If you’re tempted to complain about pricing, please ponder that while you’re watching all these fantastic bands for free. You can get a maximum of 5 beers on any single trip to the bar, and only two of those can be full pours. We’ll also have satellite beer stations set up outside with some of our core brands.

TRANSPORTATION: we have a really big parking lot out here – unfortunately this friggin’ party is taking up the whole thing. So the only thing we can offer you is roadside parking. HOWEVER . . . we will be running a shuttle (approximately every 15 minutes) between our downtown pub (638 West 4th Street) and the party (3800 Kimwell Drive). Last shuttle will leave Kimwell brewery at 10pm.

TASTING ROOM OPERATIONS: normal stuff like brewery tours will be suspended for the day. Tours will resume on Sunday if you’re still in town and want to see the brewery.

THINGS YOU CAN’T BRING: Pets (sorry – they can have the run of the place every other day but this one). Coolers. Glass containers. Skateboards. Bullhorns. Weapons. Confetti. Bad attitudes.

OK you can bring confetti.

THINGS YOU CAN BRING: Kids (we’ll have a bounce house). Containers of water. Your dancing shoes.

Comment on this post with any questions and we’ll be happy to provide answers. Or get answers.


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Pickle for your Thoughts

??????????There are lots of perks to working at a craft brewery. Your friends are mostly envious. You dress how you like. Every day is ‘Bring Your Dog to Work’ day.

And oh yeah — free beer.

Perhaps the greatest perks is are not quite so obvious, but just as important. The opportunity to work around like-minded people. The opportunity to support those whose passion creates an incredibly inspiring work community.

And, every now and then, the opportunity to try a really good pickle.

It might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of quality North Carolina products. Beau Martin is hoping to change that.

Beau is in to pickles. Like, REALLY into pickles. Ever since he replicated his grandad’s pickled green tomatoes when he was a teenager, Beau dreamed of having his own pickle business. A couple of years ago, after a decade of restaurant work, he figured it was time. And Green River Picklers was born.

Fast forward to a recent camping trip — Beau ran across a fellow camper who was part of Appalachian State’s Brewing Sciences program.

“There we were, out in the woods,” Beau recalls. “He had all this beer and I had all these pickles.”

picklesThe tasting marathon that ensued gave birth to an offbeat notion . . . Brews n’ Brines, an event pairing the best of two worlds — craft beer and craft pickles.

I can feel you out there, chortling as you sit at your computer. Trust me, I was no different when they approached us about pairing some of our beers with some of their pickles.

Then they came by the brewpub, and we sat around tasting them with different beers (I know, tough job). You cannot believe how good these two products taste together.

You will, however, get a chance to find out . . . Green River Picklers will be at our brewpub Wednesday July 16th, 7-11pm, for a Brews n’ Brines event — 4 beers and 4 pickles for $10. Come get pickled with us!

FootHIllsB&BposterALTPairings:
Hoppyum / The Narrows (sweet and spicy cucumber chips; a little kick from cayenne pepper and crushed garlic)
People’s Porter / Blue Ridge Beets (sweet, with subtle notes of clove, onion, and bay leaves)
Carolina Blonde Cream Ale / Willy’s Dillys (bold and zesty, made with fresh dill and garlic)
Pilot Mountain Pale Ale / Spicy Appalachian Okra (marinated in whole cayenne peppers, organic vinegar, and spices)

Find the full list of Green River products here. They are nutrient dense, vegan, and gluten-free, and brined in organic vinegar.


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Foot Men

Foot_Men_logoConsider the life of the professional craft beer maker. Most days up you’re before dawn. You pretty much live in rubber boots. It’s hot. It’s wet. There’s chemicals. There’s bumps and bruises.

All, just so you can wrestle with the brain-teasing, fickle chemistry of fermentation. Not to mention cleaning up its less-than-appealing aftermath.

That dedication to pursuing one’s passion, in virtual anonymity, has inspired our latest beer series. We’ve decided to cast the spotlight squarely on the talented brewers at Foothills – the Foot Men.

Periodically, we will encourage one of our guys to tear themselves away from the massive batches of Foothills beer they produce daily, and dial back to that which got them started – brewing something just for the fun of it.

pub brewery

The Playground

The idea took form a couple of years ago, as the brainchild of our brewmaster Jamie Bartholomaus and our head brewer T.L. Adkisson. Foothills was making plans to give the brewing staff a little more breathing room with a new, bigger facility. The question subsequently arose . . . what should be done with the pub brewery?

“We got the idea that we could use the pub as kind of a playground for ‘fun’ stuff,” says T.L. “Let our brewers experiment, do some stuff we wouldn’t normally do. Keep it fun and fresh.”

“We’ve got a really talented stable of brewers here. We need to let ‘em do their thing. They’ll enjoy it, and hopefully the customers will too.”

Gonzo

look at that concentration

schwarz

Dave’s Foot Men Schwarzbier

You won’t have to wait long, at least if you’re in walking/driving/crawling distance of our Winston-Salem pub (which, at least for now, is the only place these very small batches of beer will be available). The Foot Men Series begins today, with a schwarzbier brewed by our pub brewer, Dave Gonzalez. According to Dave, it’s a black lager that drinks like a pilsner, medium-bodied, not overly roasty, with some really nice malt tones. And, as the first of the Foot Men, he’s a huge fan of the idea.

“It says a lot about us as a brewery,” he says. “It says we want to be diverse, let our brewers
do their own thing and be creative, kind of show off their talents.”

The goal of our new program? “Have fun and make great beer,” says T.L. simply.

Then, after a pause, “that’s the goal ALL the time.”

SO . . . any ideas for the Foot Men?