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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Happy Birthday Chocolate

Editor’s Note: Our Sexual Chocolate release party takes place Saturday January 30 at our pub on West 4th Street in Winston-Salem.

This blog is about a special event separate from that release.SC for Facebook

Hey remember that epic Sexual Chocolate party we threw last year?

We’re gonna do it again.

While those of you who know what I’m talking about finish hyperventilating, a little history for those who don’t: last year was the tenth anniversary of our brewery opening, and we’ve been making Sexual Chocolate almost that long. So to celebrate our decade in business, last summer we threw a party at our tasting room featuring a nine-year vertical, with every vintage of Sexual Chocolate ever made. We think it was the largest draft vertical ever offered on the planet (we invited a Guinness World Record guy to come but he didn’t show, the bugger).

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So while 2015 was the tenth anniversary of Foothills, 2016 is the tenth anniversary of Sexual Chocolate. We thought hey, why not throw a birthday party for our most iconic beer? She’s certainly held up well.

So here’s the deal: on Friday January 22, at 7pm in our tasting room, we’re throwing Sexual Chocolate’s Tenth Anniversary Gala. Like last year, there will only be 100 tickets sold. Here’s some of the stuff happening exclusively at this party:

  • sexual-chocolate-tulip-glassWe’re putting the 2016 vintage of Sexual Chocolate on tap for the first time, so attendees will be the first to try it (NOTE: no 2016 bottles will be for sale, those will only be available at release January 30)
  • Brewmaster Jamie and Head Brewer T.L. will be on hand to give you the particulars on this year’s vintage
  • We’ll break out vintage Sexual Chocolate from the last four years for a 5-year vertical tasting
  • Brewer Matt has made two casks of Sexual Chocolate – one flavored with raspberry and white chocolate, one with habanero peppers (‘hot chocolate’?)
  • Matt’s new Foot Men Series beer, a hefty and complex barleywine, will also get its debut at the party
  • Bar Manager Caleb will have a house-roasted Coffee Sexual Chocolate randall
  • This, to us, is the coolest part: our head brewer has agreed to let partygoers have a sneak preview of this year’s Barrel Aged Sexual Chocolate – normally we release it in August or September, but it’s been aging a few months now, so we’re emptying a barrel just for you. This will be the only chance to try this beer until it’s released later this year.
  • We will once again crack open our beer vault and have a limited number (2 per person) of vintage Sexual Chocolate bottles for sale
  • We’ve designed a special 10th Anniversary Sexual Chocolate label, which will be unveiled at the party (and which you will get a commemorative label sticker of)

Sound like fun? It will be. Ticket price includes:

  • five 4-oz. pours of any Sexual Chocolate beer, and two 16-oz. pours of any other beer.
  • An absurdly large and sumptuous buffet cooked exclusively by Chef Shane
  • A gift bag that includes a Rastal Teku Sexual Chocolate stemware glass

IMG_7795But wait there’s more! Every year we try and use part of the proceeds from our Sexual Chocolate events to help our local community, and this year’s no different. We’ll have a big silent auction at the party, with proceeds benefitting Habitat For Humanity, Forsyth Humane Society, Yadkin Riverkeeper, and Piedmont Environmental Alliance. Items up for auction include:

  • Brewer for a day – spend the day with our pub brewer making a batch of Foothills beer
  • Beer dinner for 6 people in our pub’s private dining room, with certified cicerone beer pairing
  • Beer For A Year (growler, growler koozie and gift card equal to 12 growler fills)
  • Private brewery tour/tasting room flight sampling/choice of t-shirts for 4 people
  • 2016 Sexual Chocolate Bottle #1 – signed by TL and Jamie
  • First 2 places in line for Sexual Chocolate Release (includes prize pack and $50 gift card)
  • 5 pounds of coffee hand-roasted by our owners Jamie and Sarah Bartholomaus

Our local business community is chipping in as well, including:

  • Winston-Salem Dash
  • Spring House restaurant
  • Quanto Basta restaurant
  • Fleet Feet
  • Raylen Vineyards
  • Southern Home & Kitchen
  • Salem Baking

Ticket price is $120, and tax and gratuity is included. Limit of 4 per person. Tickets will go on sale Friday January 15 at noon on EventBrite, stay tuned here and to our social media channels for the link.

She’ll only turn ten once. Join us for the party.

UPDATE: Marriott is offering a special $95 rate for the evening


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Drink Local . . .

NC Beer FBYou hear that phrase all the time in craft beer. And for good reason . . . it makes a difference. Anything made within a few miles of your favorite watering hole is most likely not long from the fermenter, and still retains the qualities your local brewer strived to put there in the first place. Most of us who make craft beer believe in accentuating that vibe, locally sourcing brewing ingredients whenever possible.

There is, however, one ingredient that every brewer in the country has no choice but to source locally.

Water.

It’s arguably the most vital resource to every community in the world. It’s also over 90% of every beer you drink, and is even the foundation for the origin of some beer styles. The original Pilseners were characterized and influenced by the soft, low alkaline water present in Pilsen, Czech Republic.

Dedication. In ink.

So water’s important to us. It’s important to you. And it’s REALLY important to Dean Naujoks.

Dean is head of The Yadkin Riverkeeper, whose mission is to protect and improve the Yadkin Pee Dee River Basin.

He’s also a little nuts.

Dean’s safety talk. Summary: don’t die.

He spends the month of June, every June, paddling the entire 215-mile length of the Yadkin River. And he and his Riverkeeper staff manage to get over 600 people on the water with them, at different stages of the annual event that’s become known as the Tour de Yadkin.

As you might imagine, it’s an adventure that calls for strength, stamina . . . and not a little swarthiness. Dean camps for the first two weeks of the tour, which this year equated to 3 showers in 17 days. For a guy who advocates responsible water usage, he sure doesn’t use very much. 

Along the way he routinely deals with any number of issues and near-calamities; from capsized kayaks, to bugs and snakes, to a singularly awkward encounter between Shiner the Paddling Dog and a baby deer. Bad Shiner.

Shiner 2014 Tour de Yadkin

Shiner. In a more pensive moment.

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gently down the stream

Dean invited us out recently to paddle a leg of the Tour de Yadkin with him and his staff, and see firsthand the health of this vital natural resource that supplies water to 734,000 people in the Piedmont. The nine miles of the river we paddled were pristine, and natural, and blessedly free of bugs and snakes. At one point a bald eagle wheeled out of the trees and circled majestically overhead. There’s something we don’t see at the brewery every day.

But not all of the river is in good shape. Some parts are listed as impaired by the EPA. To the river, according to Dean, it’s “death by a thousand cuts”, the cumulative impact of all the pollution sources that are impacting water quality issues as you head further downstream.

That’s why we’re thankful for The Riverkeeper, and those who work tirelessly to protect the river that’s the lifeblood of our entire region. Dean has taken on, and successfully regulated in court, billion-dollar corporationswho routinely abuse our waterways.

IMG_5345 As a result, our support for the Riverkeeper goes beyond simply advocating their work. And marveling at bald eagles flying overhead. You can find their logo on bombers of our Gruffmeister Maibock and Baltic Porter, along with the simple phrase that summarizes our philosophy on the subject:

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IMG_5373   EQUIPMENT NOTE: huge thanks to Outdoor Provision Company in Winston-Salem for providing the gear for our day on the Yadkin. Go see them. They rock. (Yes. 9 miles on a standup paddleboard. Boom.)