I Tried It: BJCP Beer Judging Exam

I held out on becoming a BJCP judge for a surprisingly long time for someone who is obsessed with getting points and advancing ranks. There are plenty of times, even for me, when I want to just. drink. a. beer. Not evaluate it.

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I Tried It: Backwoods Bastard Vertical

There are a lot worse things you can do on a Tuesday night than drink a four year vertical of Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company. Like anything else, because four bottles of this delicious barrel aged Scotch Ale is a pretty sweet Tuesday night. 

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I Tried It: Wild Brews by Jeff Sparrow

It will likely surprise no one that I routinely won the "Most Book Reports" award when I was in elementary school. I regularly cashed in my Book-Its points for personal pan pizzas at Pizza Hut, wearing my giant purple Book-It pin as I chowed down on my pizza.

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I Tried It: Stout Beer Barbeque Sauce

So smoky, so barbeque saucy, and so firm. Truly, I think I could turn any tofu skeptic into a tofu believer with this tofu and barbeque sauce combination. I served it with green beans and pimento mac and cheese, which is pretty amazing in itself, but the ingredient list is not for the faint of heart (among other ingredients, the recipe calls for a literal stick of butter and a quart of whole milk. It also lists the cheese needed in pounds, so...probably not for anyone counting calories.)

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I Tried It: 100% Brett-Fermented Homebrew - Part 1

I imagine that the trajectory homebrew has taken in my household is akin to parents with babies - at first, everything has to be clean and sanitized nearly to the point of being sterile to protect your offspring/homebrew; after awhile, though, you realize that your baby will live even if it eats Cheerios off the couch cushions and that your beer will still be drinkable even if you forgot to sanitize the scissors you used to cut open your yeast packet.

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I Tried It: Sierra Nevada Self-Guided Tour

A little over two years ago, Sierra Nevada opened its East Coast brewery and taproom to the public. Although it may be more accurate to say that, a little over two years ago, beer drinkers were bestowed a little slice of heaven here on earth.

"Little" being relative of course - the 27,000 square foot facility in Mills River, North Carolina (about 17 miles from downtown Asheville) sits on 190 acres, 27 of which is developed. 

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I Tried It: Doc Porter's Craft Spirits

I recently had the opportunity to take one of the fully-guided owner tours that Doc Porter's offers most Saturdays by reservation. The 45 minute tours include a tour of the facility, an overview of Doc Porter's grain-to-glass process, and a tasting of all three of their liquors: vodka, gin, and bourbon.

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I Tried It: (Americanized) Belgian Wild Ales

One thing I realized very quickly when searching out different types of Belgian wild ales for my studies is that traditional wild Belgian beers, such as gueuze, faro, and fruit lambic, would be extremely hard to find stateside. Most of what is available, particularly fruit lambic, is heavily sweetened with fruit puree and syrups and is not reflective of the funky, tart, and complex wild ales for which Belgium is famous. A lot of what we think of as fruit lambic in the United States has more in common with fruit juice than with traditional fruit lambic. 

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