This Beer Used 77 Hop Varieties, But Not for the Reason You May Think

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There’s something rugged and romantic about the Wild West.

Beyond the dusty plains and horseback rides under the gleaming sun, there’s an ideal of self sufficiency, born from the created reality of Manifest Destiny. It wasn’t necessarily about going it alone, but recognizing the opportunity to make something of oneself in the midst of everyone else doing the same.

To seize a moment when odds were stacked against you.

Kind of like business.

“We were all standing around one day, lamenting hops,” said Lonerider Brewing Company CEO Sumit Vohra, recalling a conversation that led to the creation of a potentially record-setting beer. “I’m saying to my team, ‘I can’t believe we’ve got to a point where we can’t find hops.”

Of course, that’s not entirely true. Vohra and his brewery staff could certainly find hops to use for their Shotgun Betty Hefeweizen, Sweet Josie Brown Ale, Peacemaker Pale Ale and even their IPA, Addie’s Revenge. It was just the fact things were getting a little harder.

“Our brewers have to predict our production levels two years down the road to contract hops now,” Zohra said. “That’s the business reality of it.”

Which led to a decision that may have been part parody of the situation or part marking inspiration, but really just an excuse to play.

It was a fitting chance to explore the outlaw theme of Lonerider.

It was an opportunity to create a traditional, American beer, utterly untraditional in its conception.

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Summer Has Arrived: June 2015 Beertography

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June has now come and gone, which means it’s time for my monthly roundup of beertography.

Below you’ll find some of my recent photos, which you may also come across on my Instagram page, Twitter account or even Untappd. If you like these, you can find more beertography on Instagram or in my running archive.

Let’s see what June had to offer…

Homebrew Blonde – Celebrating Summer

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Fullsteam Brewery – Proper Glassware

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Perennial Peach Berliner Weisse – Quenching My Thirst

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NoDa Brewing Nodajito – The Ultimate Lawnmower Beer

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Small Town Brewery Not Your Father’s Root Beer – Just Desserts

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Here’s hoping July will continue to offer inspiration. As always, you can go back to see previous beertography posts:

Bryan Roth
“Don’t drink to get drunk. Drink to enjoy life.” — Jack Kerouac

The March Toward Summer: May 2015 Beertography

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May is inching toward its end, which means it’s time for my monthly roundup of beertography.

Below you’ll find some of my recent photos, which you may also come across on my Instagram page, Twitter account or even Untappd. If you like these, you can find more beertography on Instagram or in my running archive.

Let’s see what May had to offer…

Catawba Brewing Peanut Butter Jelly Time – Adult Order from the Kids Menu

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Sam Adams Rebel Rouser – Trouble Maker

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Adroit Theory Blvck Celebration – Celebrate Good Times

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Wicked Weed TakeTake – Finders Keepers

wicked weed-taketake-saison-farmhouse-beer-craft beer-beertography

Widmer Brothers Hefe Shandy – Feels Like Summer

widmer brothers-widmer-hefe-hefeweizen-hefe shandy-beer-craft beer-beertography

Here’s hoping June will be just as fruitful as the last few weeks. As always, you can go back to see previous beertography posts:

Bryan Roth
“Don’t drink to get drunk. Drink to enjoy life.” — Jack Kerouac

Spring Has Sprung: March 2015 Beertography

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March has reached its end, which means it’s time for my monthly roundup of beertography.

Below you’ll find some of my recent photos, which you may also come across on my Instagram page, Twitter account or even Untappd. If you like these, you can find more beertography on Instagram or in my running archive.

Let’s see what March had to offer…

Haw River Ales No Holdsies – Hands Off

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NoDa Brewing Coco Loco – Don’t You Know I’m Loco?

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Sierra Nevada Nooner – Beer O’Clock

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Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin – Gone Fishin

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Ballast Point Habanero Sculpin – Spicing Things Up

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Here’s hoping April will be just as fruitful as the last few weeks. As always, you can go back to see previous beertography posts:

+Bryan Roth
“Don’t drink to get drunk. Drink to enjoy life.” — Jack Kerouac

The Six-Pack Project, Revisited

six-pack project logo 6Over a year ago, I started an effort called the Six-Pack Project. It’s purpose was simple:

…bring together writers from all over the country (and maybe world)  to highlight a six-pack of our home’s native brews that best represent what our beer culture has to offer. If someone is coming to visit, what bottles or cans would we want to share?

I had lots of success early on, recruiting friends and beer lovers from afar to help in my quest of finding special “six-packs” to represent the culture of their home state. But in recent months, my luck has run out.

Part of it has been time spent with some in-depth reporting and part of it has simply been  failed attempts to bring people on-board. So, I’m starting a renewed effort to bring some attention to the project and I’d love your help.

I’m starting by revisiting my own contribution, focusing on North Carolina. I’ve updated selections from my original piece, mostly thanks to the burgeoning craft beer industry in the state. I’m also on the lookout for new contributors, so you’re welcome to see the archive to help fill in blanks from around the U.S. or the world. Contact me on Twitter or leave a comment below to discuss some more.

Need a refresher on the Six-Pack Project? Here are the rules:

  1. This isn’t simply a “best of” list. The goal is to pick a collection of six beers that represents your state and/or state’s beer culture.
  2. Beer must be made in your state, but “gypsy” brewers are acceptable, so long as that beer is brewed with an in-state brewery and sold in your state.
  3. Any size bottle or can is acceptable to include.
  4. Current seasonal offerings are fine, but try to keep selections to year-round brews as much as possible. No out-of-season brews preferred. Specialty or one-off brews are not allowed.

With that said, let’s see what you need to check out next time you’re in North Carolina.

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The Eye of the Beerholder: April 2014 Beertography

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It’s the end of the month, which means it’s time for my regular roundup of beertography from the last few weeks.

Below you’ll find some of my favorite, recent shots, which you may also come across on my Instagram page, Twitter account or even Untappd. All my shots are taken with my iPhone 5 unless otherwise noted. The space where I shoot my photos – around the house – offers somewhat limited opportunities for pretty backdrops, which is why I try to get inventive with my photo ideas.

Let’s see what April had to offer…

Big Boss Zombie – Bringing Dead Back to Life

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Dogfish Head 120 Minute (cap) – Off-Centered Ale

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Boulevard Chocolate Ale – Getting Sweet

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MadTree PsycHOPathy IPA – Rorschach on Rorschach

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Stone Enjoy By 4.20.14 – Running Out of Time

stone-beer-beertography-enjoy by-watch(Above shot with Nikon D90)

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As always, you can go back to see previous beertography posts:

I’m running low on inspiration for May, so send good vibes or ideas! I’m also always looking for tips, tricks and other suggestions for beertography, so fire away below!

+Bryan Roth
“Don’t drink to get drunk. Drink to enjoy life.” — Jack Kerouac

Drunk on Visuals: February Beertography

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Yeah, yeah. A day late and a dollar short. Whatever.

It’s March 3, but February only had 28 days and I was busy last week with my latest series on the socio-economic side of the beer industry. Or maybe I’m just lazy.

Either way, I still have my monthly roundup of beertography posts to share. I’m sure to be on time with my March delivery later this month, but I hope these pics give you a nice buzz to hold you over in the meantime.

Below you’ll find some of my favorite, recent shots, which you may also come across on my Instagram page, Twitter account or even Untappd. All my shots are taken with my iPhone 5 unless otherwise noted. It seems like I had a rather hoppy February…

Westbrook Brewing IPA – Back to the Basics

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Foothills Brewing Jade IPA – Green Eyes of Envy

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Widmer Brothers Upheaval IPA – Returning from Whence it Came

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RJ Rockers Black Perle – Dark Pearl in a Sea of White

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For what it’s worth, that last one – Black Perle – was my favorite tasting of the bunch. It’s the stoutiest black IPA I’ve ever had and mixes its roasted-chocolate aromas perfectly with a twinge of hop flavor on each sip.

As always, you can go back to see previous beertography posts:

Looking forward to sharing the next round of pics later this month.

+Bryan Roth
“Don’t drink to get drunk. Drink to enjoy life.” — Jack Kerouac

From Taproom to Kitchen: A Taste Test with Hi-Wire Brewing

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Back in September, I made a trip to beer Mecca, Asheville, NC, to visit friends. During my stop, I made sure to check out one of North Carolina’s newer breweries, Hi-Wire Brewing, which opened up over the summer.

As you’d expect from any Asheville business, the place was cozy and friendly … but what about their beers?

Well, it just so happens that Hi-Wire recently began distributing three of their year-round beers to the eastern side of North Carolina. After finding them in my local bottle shop – an IPA, pale ale and brown ale – I decided to do a retroactive taste test.

What I’ve done is taken my initial impressions, as captured on Untappd, and separately taken notes on the bottle versions I bought last week. I was curious to compare and contrast my thoughts.

As I’m sure you know, getting beer straight from the source is always the best way to do things – a la my great Beergrimage of 2013 – but I figured this would be a fun way to offer up a few new NC beers in case you happen to pass through the state.
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Long Live the King? Hops, IPAs and Beer Business

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I am no stranger to harping on the potential calamity of the craft beer bubble. Whether we’re reaching maturation for the market or over-saturation, there’s no denying something big is happening when we’ve got about 2,400 breweries in the U.S. with another 1,250 in the works.

So what’s recently happened here in North Carolina piqued my interest.

Recently, a local brewery, Roth Brewing (no relation), was sold, changed its name and promised a reinvention of its purpose. Gizmo Brew Works was born. To me, at least, it came as something of a surprise.

Roth Brewing – of FoeHammer barleywine and Forgotten Hollow cinnamon porter fame – was started and run by homebrewers. Their passion led them to going pro, but perhaps they just weren’t cut out for the business side of things. Presumably, the new owners are a little more focused on business, but does that translate to a passionate connection to brewing?

I ask this after reading this (first) quote from Gizmo’s CEO in a recent article in the Raleigh News and Observer:

“They were not fans of IPAs,” [Bryan] Williams, 31, said in a recent interview. “We were the IPA fans.”

… and there’s the rub. At a time when the craft beer business is booming, a brewery that exclusively makes malt-forward beers may not have a place (Roth Brewing) but one that embraces the hop-head craze does (Gizmo).

Do those green hops simply mean green cash, too?
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Six-Pack Project: New States and Where to Buy Beer in North Carolina

six pack-beerToday marks the second round of entries into the Six-Pack Project, an effort to bring together writers from all over the country to highlight a six-pack of our home’s native brews that best represent what our beer culture has to offer. If someone is coming to visit, what bottles or cans would we want to share?

There’s a great lineup of beer bloggers sharing their insights this time around, including our first Fantasy Beer Draft between Baltimore Bistros and Beer and Literature and Libation. Need to familiarize yourself with the Six-Pack Project? The rules…

  1. Pick a six-pack of beers that best represents your state and/or state’s beer culture.
  2. Beer must be made in your state, but “gypsy” brewers are acceptable, so long as that beer is brewed with an in-state brewery and sold in your state.
  3. Any size bottle or can is acceptable to include.
  4. Current seasonal offerings are fine, but try to keep selections to year-round brews as much as possible. No out-of-season brews preferred.

Here are the locations we’ve got covered this month (updated as applicable):

While these writers got to have all the fun, I decided to join the fray by revisiting my original post on what to buy in North Carolina. While I (hopefully) offered a solid collection of brews that represent all the NC has to offer, the key to enjoying NC beer is finding a place to buy it. All six of my selections should be easily found in nearly any grocery or beer store, but what if you really wanted to get into the weeds of North Carolina beer?

I’m here to help. If you or anyone else is searching for the best places to buy local beer in North Carolina, let’s check out some great options from across the state…

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