Raleigh Beer Week!

by Renee on October 6, 2018

It’s Raleigh Beer Week, y’all! When I landed in Raleigh in April, I was thrilled to discover it was North Carolina Beer Month, and happily took part in Brewgaloo, the largest beer festival in the state. A month later, I had the chance to visit Asheville, one of the beeriest cities in my new state. Recently, I discovered my fair city has a Beer Week all to itself, and I picked a couple of events to go to. Admittedly, the calendar isn’t quite as robust as Cleveland’s Beer Week, which has literally hundreds of events to choose from, but Raleigh hasn’t been doing it quite so long. (Cleveland’s Beer Week hits its 10-year milestone later this month. I’m still thinking about getting up there for a few days of the celebration.)

Last night I visited Bottle Mixx bottle shop for their beer and donut pairing, because DONUTS! (And beer!) I was excited to learn that Duck Donuts were featured, as I’d heard good things about them, and had never tried them. I will tell you, they are delicious! Soft and pillowy, drizzled with rich glazes and full of flavor, I was impressed.

Here are the pairings:

Commonwealth Papi Chulo New England IPA paired with an orange flavored donut with vanilla drizzle

Cigar City Good Gourd pumpkin beer and a cinnamon sugar donut

Wicked Weed Hop Cocoa with a s’mores donut

Prairie Artisan Ales Birthday Bomb stout and a chocolate donut with sprinkles (or jimmies, if you prefer).

I don’t think I can pick a favorite, because they were all fantastic! The place was packed–it was great to see so many folks out celebrating Raleigh Beer Week. I would love to see organizers add a flagship event, like Cleveland has in Brewzilla or the Off-Shore Pour, and a few more events would be nice in general, but I am sure it will naturally grow as the years go by. I’m all in! Cheers~

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A Weekend in Asheville: Beer City USA

by Renee on May 28, 2018

There’s good reason Asheville is known as Beer City, USA–there are more breweries per capita in this beautiful mountain town than any other city in the U.S. I made my first visit over Memorial Day weekend, just six weeks after moving to Raleigh, North Carolina, with trusty traveling companion, Porter, my Springer Spaniel.

My best friend Cami met me there, at a friend’s lovely Air B&B rental, tucked away on a mountain hillside in nearby Marshall. While I waited for her arrival, I enjoyed a peaceful view and a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Ken Grossman’s flagship brew was directly inspired by New Albion Ale in those early days of craft beer in California, so it was a fitting start to the weekend.

Once Cami arrived, we headed into town for some live music and a few food truck bites and beers at New Belgium Brewing, another Western U.S. brewery that has brought operations east to Asheville. I had met the architect/designer of the space a few years ago at the Craft Brewers Conference in Washington, D.C. Russell Mills Studios has won a number of awards for the design, it’s an absolutely beautiful space–a must see. We also stopped into Wedge Brewing, and a hit few other spots including some local art galleries…loved the easy, dog-friendly atmosphere wherever we went.

The next day we had reservations for lunch and a tour of the Sierra Nevada brewery, so eventually we meandered into Asheville and the Mills River operation–I can only describe it as Beer Disney World…it’s just beautiful. The menu was full of delicious options, and we started with thrice fried duck fat fries with aioli that had a kick to it, salty warm pretzels and bubbling spicy pimiento cheese and a couple of flights of brew. A band was playing out in the amphitheater, and the sun-dappled beer garden was packed with families and friends enjoying the festive atmosphere. After lunch we toured the impressive facility, and I was glad to hear that everyone who participates in the tours hears a bit about Jack McAuliffe at the outset.

Later we headed back into Asheville proper, and enjoyed a dinner of tapas at the bar at Curate–if you have the chance: go. Highlights included the grilled octopus, and for dessert, the apple tart with hazelnut praline. Oh, my.

Our weekend visit was complete with a number of other beery stops including Burial Beer, where we found the Skillet donut stout, a favorite. Their obsession with Tom Selleck was amusing…and we sipped our brews in the beer garden under the watchful eyes of Tom and the monster from the Goonies.

We also hit Wicked Weed for brunch, happy to learn they served cocktails as well as beer…a girl can’t live by beer alone. We started with popcorn dusted with hop salt, a tasty treat.

Needless to say, we didn’t get to everything we wanted to do, (including the Biltmore) as we ran out of time. But it’s definitely worth another visit or three… cheers to craft beer bringing so much happiness to one city!

 

 

 

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With spring comes the annual Cleveland International Film Festival, in its 42nd year. A great event, this year’s fest represents 72 countries, brings 216 feature films, 253 short films, 14 virtual reality films, and offers six interactive media projects. Taking place at Tower City, it runs from April 4 through the 15th.

On Friday, April 6th at 4 p.m., the movie “Brewmaster” will be screened, followed by a panel discussion. I will be part of this panel, along with Jeremy Langham of Ironborne Brew Works,  local brewing legend Pat Conway of Great Lakes Brewing Company, as well as Douglas Tirola, director of the documentary. We’ll discuss building a community around craft beer. 

This will be a sort of last Cleveland hurrah for me, as I pack up and move to Raleigh, NC the next day. Yes, it’s time to head south of the Mason-Dixon Line once again for this girl. I grew up in Maryland, and had spent a lot of vacation time in beautiful North Carolina over the years, it has always called to me. While I have loved my 30+ years in Ohio, and the memories I’ve made and the people I’ve met, recent changes in my life prompted me to finally say “it’s time.” My best friend took off for the City of Oaks a couple of years ago, and I’ve been to visit more than a few times. I love the vibe there, the beer scene, the people and yes, the more temperate weather, not to mention the easy access to beach and mountains. I’m planning a trip to Beer City, Asheville, NC soon after I arrive. (Look for a future post about that!)

I still plan on brewing New Albion beers with Platform Beer in Cleveland. With their recent expansion of distribution out of state, perhaps you’ll see our beer head South as well. Stay tuned…and cheers to changes!

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New Albion Can Release Party

October 9, 2017

What a great week I had with my Dad! Jack got into Cleveland a day or so ahead of our New Albion Ale can release party on October 5th, and I had the opportunity to take him to the new Platform production facility, which was once the old Cleveland Leisy Brewing Company. He enjoyed the […]

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