I Tried It: Lenny Boy Brewing Company

I went into Lenny Boy already knowing that I liked their beer, so I was just as excited to see the space as I was to drink the beer. If you’re not familiar with wild ales or kombucha, Lenny Boy is a great place to go learn more about them. If you are familiar with wild ales, then you will find yourself in good company at Lenny Boy and will still probably find yourself, like I did, delightfully surprised with their creative and elegant beers.

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I Tried It: Beer, (Veggie) Bacon, & Blue Cheese Potato Salad

You can get the entire Beeroness recipe here, but the main ingredients are (duh) bacon, red potatoes, blue cheese, and beer, specifically IPA. Since I had just gotten my Chicago beer supply restocked (and because I wanted an excuse to open it), I used Space Station Middle Finger from Three Floyds. And yes, I know, I know - Space Station Middle Finger is technically a Pale Ale, but c'mon.

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I Tried It: Beer & Cheese Pairing

If you’re curious about pairing beer with food, I think it’s helpful to start out on a smaller scale with something like a beer and cheese pairing because the legwork of figuring out what pairs well with what is already done for you. It’s helpful to break down the flavor components of the beer and the cheese, which I did in a PowerPoint (I can’t un-nerd myself, even when I’m doing things for fun), so that you understand the why behind the pairings, but there is no guesswork involved. It’s like coloring in a coloring book rather than picking up a paintbrush and expecting to be the next Monet.

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I Tried It: Beer Pairing by Julia Herz and Gwen Conley

Beer Pairing: The Essential Guide from the Pairing Pros by Julia Herz and Gwen Conley is a book about, unsurprisingly, pairing beer and food. Beer Pairing walks its readers through the basics of beer, perception, and tasting, and then moves onto providing detailed instructions for which beers pair the best with which foods and why.

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I Tried It: Walmart's Private Label Beer

You may have heard a few months ago that Walmart had quietly started selling its own beer. If you didn’t hear that, you’re hearing it now: Walmart has entered the “craft” beer market with four private label beers contract brewed by Trouble Brewing: Red Flag Amber, Cat’s Away IPA, After Party Pale Ale, and ‘Round Midnight Belgian White. A twelve can variety pack of all four beers retails for about $12.00.

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I Tried It: Opening a Beer Without a Bottle Opener

I usually have no less than two bottle openers on my person at all times, except all those times I need a bottle opener and that sinking feeling comes over me as I pat my pockets and reach for my purse only to find my suspicions are correct: no bottle opener!

Fear not, for a quick Google search opened my eyes to the world of opening beers without a bottle opener.

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I Tried It: American & International Lagers Blind Taste Test

Being a craft beer person, it’s not often I drink beers that fall into the rather euphemistically named American Light Lager, American Lager, and International Pale Lager categories, such as Bud Light, Budweiser, and Heineken. I’m not above buying a gallon of Budweiser at a sporting event or drinking a Miller Lite at a cookout if that’s all that’s available.

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I Tried It: Gluten-Free & Gluten-Reduced Beer

Overall, my gluten-free and gluten-reduced experience was a positive one. While I probably won’t seek out gluten-free or gluten-reduced beers solely because of their gluten content or lack thereof, I definitely won’t skip them over for fear they’ll taste strange or not like beer.

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I Tried It - Thirsty Nomad Brewing Co.

After a few delays, Thirsty Nomad Brewing will officially opening soon. I had the privilege of being able to get a sneak peek this past weekend. You can check out the brewery at the grand opening this Saturday, July 23rd, from 2:00 pm to 10:00 pm at 4402 Stuart Andrew Blvd in Charlotte.

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I Tried It - Corona Extra vs. Corona Familiar

I think labeling Corona Familiar as “familiar” is a very strange choice. There is nothing familiar about the way Corona Familiar tastes compared to Corona Extra. Maybe they should change the name of Corona Extra to Corona Familiar and change Corona Familiar to something like “Corona Bland” or “A Quart of Weird Corona.”

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I Tried It - #instabeerupCLT

I’ll admit I was a little hesitant at first to attend an #instabeerupCLT event because I worried that at 35, I was going to be the oldest person in the world and interacting with people like Lillian on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: “So what do you do for work? Oh, I’m sorry, I meant can you believe you get paid to chase your bliss?” I don’t have perfectly imperfect mermaid hair and a cool, effortless looking wardrobe – my wardrobe consists of clothes that are either suitable for work or are brewery T-shirts.

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I Tried It - Spent Grain Dog Treats

The recipe itself is super simple with only four basic ingredients: spent grain, flour, eggs, and peanut butter. One thing I love about the recipe is that I know exactly what goes into the treats I give my dogs and there’s not anything mysterious in them that can also be used in yoga mats or anything I can’t pronounce. 

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I Tried It - Blue Blaze Brewing

Here I was, thinking I would have this perfectly scheduled I Tried It about checking out Blue Blaze Brewing before their grand opening scheduled for Saturday, June 25th, and they went and opened early. I guess when you’re as awesome as they are, it really is a disservice to the community to not open early and share your beer goodness with the world. Fear not, the grand opening celebration is happening this Saturday, June 25th, from 12:00 pm to 10:00 pm, at their taproom at 528 South Turner Avenue in Charlotte.

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I Tried It - 2015 Goose Island Bourbon County Coffee Stout & Barleywine

A word of warning: I don’t hate Goose Island and I don’t drop breweries when they sell to bigger guys or sell controlling stakes. I’ve encountered a lot of Goose Island hate since moving back to North Carolina that I didn’t really encounter in Chicago. What changes most people’s minds about what it means for a brewery to “sell out” is having a beloved local or regional brewery go from being independently owned to being part of another company or to no longer have a controlling interest in its operations. 

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I Tried It - NoDa's White Elephant Bottle Party

If you’ve never been to a White Elephant Bottle Party at NoDa, I highly recommend going. Don’t feel intimidated about bringing the “right” beer and don’t worry about whether your beer is “special” enough because it’s very likely that whatever you bring is going to be new and exciting to someone there. To find out about the next White Elephant Bottle Party at NoDa, like their page on Facebook and keep an eye on their Events page. 

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