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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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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Wil Wheaton and #FoothillsIPAdog

EDITOR’S NOTE: what follows is a full transcript from our interview with Wil Wheaton about featuring his pit bull rescues, Seamus and Marlowe, on our July IPA of the Month label.

Foothills: How did Seamus and Marlowe come into your life?
Wil: A few years ago, our dog, Ferris, died suddenly and unexpectedly from cancer. It was a crushing loss to our family, and while we grieved, we decided to walk in the Pasadena Humane Society’s Wiggle Waggle Walk, which is an annual fundraiser for them. I wrote a memorial for Ferris on my blog, and linked it to our fundraising page. We were hoping to raise $7000, because she was with us for seven years. The Internet got very generous, and in less than a week we had raised around $13,000 for Team Ferris.

Seamus and Wil

Someone from PHS contacted us and said, “Um … who are you people and how in the world did you do this?!” We told her our story, and she asked us if we would be willing to walk a shelter dog in the walk, as a way of raising adoption awareness. We thought that would be awesome, so we said yes.

On the morning of the walk, Kevin, an adoption coordinator at PHS, brought this happy, dopey, incredibly affectionate puppy over to us. That dog was Seamus (though at the time we just called him “DOG”, a nod to Half Life 2). My wife Anne and I were not interested in getting a new dog, and the timing was all wrong for a bunch of reasons, but it took us about a mile of the three-mile walk to completely fall in love with him. I quietly slipped off his “ADOPT ME” bandana, and by the end of the walk, we had put ourselves on a list to adopt him. A few days later, he came to live with us.

MarloweAfter we’d had Seamus for a few years, we stopped by PHS (where Anne has become a board member) to drop off some paperwork. While we were visiting with Kevin and some other staff, and telling them how much we loved Seamus, one of their employees brought in a tiny puppy who had the happiest face you’ve ever seen. She looked like a little Staffordshire terrier, and I remember saying, “The thing about these dogs is that …” then I saw her, and continued, “they are just so dopey and happy and lovable!” As I said that, I crouched down to pet her, and she somersaulted into my lap. I fell in love before I drew my next breath. But we really couldn’t have another dog. Seamus was three, and our other dog, Riley, was ten, in no mood to have a puppy in the house. The next day, Anne and I were walking along the beach, and I said, “Just to be clear: there is no way in the world we can adopt that puppy, right?” I can’t recall what happened immediately after that, but I know the conversation ended with her calling PHS and asking to be put on the list to adopt her, if nobody claimed her. About a week later, Marlowe joined our family.

We lost Riley about two months ago, and we all miss her terribly, but Seamus and Marlowe are closer than ever, and without the old lady in the house, are able to play as loudly and enthusiastically as they want.

Foothills:
How did you became aware of the #FoothillsIPAdog project, and what made you want to get involved?
Wil: About eighteen months ago, my friend, Charlotte, informed me about the existence of Sexual Chocolate. Through the magic of Twitter, I was able to get a bottle for myself, and I became a fan of Foothills before the bottle was empty. Since then, we’ve had a bunch of Foothills beers, including the #FoothillsIPAdog releases. I thought it would be awesome to have my dogs on a label because I love them, I love IPAs, and I love letting the world see how wonderful pit bulls are, contrary to some of the pernicious myths surrounding the breed.

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Foothills: Describe your reaction to seeing Seamus and Marlowe’s label for the first time.
Wil: I thought it was amazing! I loved that they were exploring a planet that looked very similar to all those planets we saw in 1950s B movies, and I thought they wore their space suits very, very well. That rocket ship is cooler than any of the spaceships I’ve gotten to ride in, too.

Foothills: There seems to be a lot of traffic at the intersection of ‘dog people’ and ‘craft beer people’; why do you suppose that is?
Wil: We love the good things in life, obviously.

Foothills: So being able to combine those two passions in your own lives with this project has been gratifying?
Wil: I’m just really happy and grateful that our dogs get to be part of this project. I’ve loved all the other dogs and their stories, and it’s really cool that Seamus and Marlowe get to be in such great company.

Foothills: We’re often told one of the coolest parts of this project has been our donating a portion of the beer’s proceeds to a rescue organization in the community where that month’s dog lives; tell us about Pasadena Humane Society, where Seamus and Marlowe’s donation is headed.
Wil: Animal rescues and humane societies do important and compassionate work for their communities. Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA does so much for the nine communities they service. The provide low-cost vaccinations, spay and neutering services (for free to Chihuahua and Pit Bull owners, because those breeds are so populous in their serviced communities), obedience and agility training classes, day care and boarding for dogs, and many other community outreach programs. Without PHS, I wouldn’t have Seamus and Marlowe in my life, so I’m honored and privileged to give something back with this month’s IPA.

July 2 reduced

July IPA of the Month will be available beginning July 3rd at our pub and tasting room, as well as bars and bottle shops all across the great state of North Carolina. For shipments outside North Carolina, please contact Bruisin’ Ales.


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Queue For A Cause

SC for blogOnce again Foothills is offering you the chance to eBay your way to the front of the Sexual Chocolate Release line — and help some worthy charities while you’re doing it.

Last year we auctioned off the first spots in line for Sexual Chocolate Release (January 31), with all the proceeds benefiting local Winston-Salem charities. We’re doing it again this year, with the first three spots up for grabs.

Details:

  • Auctions will be held daily for 3 consecutive days starting Monday January 26, 2015 at 9am EST. One spot will be auctioned each day (January 26, 27, and 28). Per eBay rules each of our auctions has to last at least 3 days, so bidding will last 72 hours for each spot.
  • In addition to getting a spot at the front of the line (without having to camp out), winning bidders will also receive a Foothills prize pack with all kinds of cool stuff in it.
  • Forsyth County Humane Society, Habitat For Humanity, and Piedmont Environmental Alliance are the charities involved.
  • Like last year we’re letting the charities compete for the lion’s share of the auction proceeds by building up Loyalty Card points at the pub. So if you’re in for a pint or a bite, and want to have your check total added to one of the charities, just ask your server to do so.

Good luck and happy bidding! We’ll post the auction links on our Twitter and Facebook pages once they’re live.