Foothills Brewing

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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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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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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.