• Sierra Nevada Finds Rich Water Source

    As I have discussed here before, water is a very important part of beer production.  Any well established brewing company will go to great lengths to secure and protect its water supply.  It turns out that Sierra Nevada brewing is sitting on a water gold mine.

    Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. has learned it can supply most of the water the brewery will need from a well on its property in Mills River.

     

    In January, the California-based company announced it was building an East Coast expansion facility in Western North Carolina, and initial plans called for the company to purchase water from Asheville, whose water lines serve the site.

     

    After the announcement, Sierra Nevada decided to drill for water at Ferncliff Industrial Park, where the company has purchased 100 of the park’s available 262 acres for development. On the second attempt, officials tapped into a dream water source.

     

    According to Stan Cooper, who will co-manage the Mills River plant, the well will generate about 160 gallons of water per minute, which is roughly 50 gallons a minute more than Sierra Nevada needs for the brewing process.

    The water source is a good, pure one, and Sierra is going the extra step to protect the well.

    Sierra Nevada has lined the well, which is only about 500 feet from where the main building of the facility will be, with stainless steel — an expensive process but one that ensures higher quality water over time.

     

    “We have probably one of the only stainless steel-cased wells in Western North Carolina, or North Carolina,” brewery co-manager Brian Grossman said. “It’s encased down to 75 feet.”

    It’s good to see that they are doing this with an eye towards conservation, as well.

     While the brewery appears to have plenty of what it needs with regard to water supply, it will place great emphasis on conservation.

     

    “It’s going to take a lot of water to make beer,” Grossman said, “but this brewery will be very, very efficient.”

     

    He said Sierra Nevada estimates it will churn out about 1 gallon of beer for every 2½ to 3 gallons of water it brings in during brewing, compared to the 10- or 12-to-1 ratio of some other breweries.

     

    Sierra Nevada also plans to have an anaerobic wastewater digestion system on site, recovering bio-gas — a natural byproduct of the process — as an energy source for the brewery. It also has tentative plans for a unique rainwater utilization program.

     

    “We definitely want to be good stewards” of the land, Grossman said.

    Source: http://www.blueridgenow.com/

  • Good Beer Festival


    Wow, the Good Beer Festival was a lot of fun!!! Kelli and I sampled so many beers that I’m glad I took some notes. The festival ran on both Saturday October 8th, 2011 and Sunday October 9th, 2011 from 12:30pm to 6:30pm both days. We only went on Saturday and arrived at around 1pm. We decided that next year we are going to make a weekend out of the festival and go both days, doing the 5k hangover race on Sunday morning, as well.

     

     

    As we made our way through the entrance area we found the event to already be in full swing.  There were over 50 craft beers from 25+ breweries waiting for us to enjoy!!!  Just past the entrance way and along the back fence were 10 cornhole stations setup for gaming by festival goers that were already in full use.  This wasn’t too surprising as the day was already in the mid 70’s with temperatures expected to rise to around 80.  WBOC 16 & FOX 21 had a tent with 4 large flat screen TVs showing college football games.  There were not too many kids around, but there were enough to let you know that it was family friendly event.

     

    Kelli and I started the one of our local favorites, Dogfish Head.  They were close to the entrance and I was craving the Punkin.  Kelli went with the 120 minute.  We roamed about while enjoying the first of many samples and found a good crowd with shoulder to shoulder action close to main stage that got thinner back towards entrance.  There seemed to be a Jovial spirit among festival goers, with everyone enjoying the great day.

    It wasn’t long after we arrived at the festival that I had to start removing layers of clothing.  We weren’t sure if the the weather was going to hold, so we dressed in several layers, of which the long sleeve layer came off of me within the first hour.  In retrospect, I probably should have worn shorts and flip flops, but who knew that an October day in Maryland was going to be so nice?

    There were plenty of various vendors selling their goods at the festival.  A few sold clothing, and a few more were selling food.  Kelli bought me a Good Beer Festival hat to wear.  The reason for the hat was because she found out from someone about the festival because they were wearing a hat form last years festival.  She thought I, too, should have a hat!!!  I in turn bought Kelli not one, but two shirts.

    The only downside of all this was that I forgot to bring cash.  The onsite ATM charged $3.25 to pull out cash (plus any charges you bank may assess) .  It was, however, good to be able to grab some cash once inside the event.  I’m not sure how close another ATM would have been, but my guess is it would involve getting in the car and driving to the location.

     

     

    After a few beer samples we were getting hungry, and this festival had the usual fried food offerings, but there was something I had never had before, an oyster fritter.  I was reluctant at first to have one, as I thought they would be a slimey mess to eat, and be too much oyster for one man to take.  Boy was I wrong.  They were so good we ended up getting a second one.  The pepper crust outside that was deep fried to a golden brown easily held the oysters and breading inside in a fantastically delicious treat!!!

    There was plenty of music all day long, and the Time Police on the bar stage did a great rendition of Jackson 5’s I want you back.  One of the reason we had come to this festival was to see The Electric Company play.  We have long followed the band and it’s members though the various iterations of musical groups through the years, and this day was no different.  They not only put on a great show, but they let me record one of their songs from the performance for free download!!!  Feel free to grab the MP3 file here for your listening pleasure:

    FREE MP3 – The Electric Co. – 2011 Good Beer Festival Live – 01 – I Need You

    We also did a tour of Pemberton Hall.  The tour included a brief description of the history of the property, as well as a visit to the rooms within the structure.  This would be a good stop for anyone who is a history buff, but not too interesting for others.  We ended up leaving the tour early to get back to beer drinking.

    Outside there was a gentleman dressed in period costume brewing beer as would have been done in colonial times.  He explained the processes that would have been required using the now archaic methods of brewing.  There was no beer to sample, but I would have liked to have tasted the end product of what he was making.

    With the end of the day coming at this point, we decide to slow our drinking and work towards heading home.  Overall the event was a really fun time, and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys craft beers.

     

    I interviewed a few people over the course of the day, and here are some notable quotes:

    -Brian McDavid, Fenwick Island, DE
    What do you plan on trying next?
    Whatever is closest to me

    -Nathan W. Clendenen – Ocean City, MD
    What Beer are you drinking?
    Sierra Nevada Tumbler.  I don’t get a chance to drink nearly as much Sierra Nevada as I used to in the past.  It’s delicious.  It’s a little more complex.

    -Corlie Brice – Crisfield, MD
    What are you drinking right now?
    Double pumpkin Sam Adams
    What do you think of that so far?
    It is delicious
    Have you had any of the other pumpkins today?
    I’ve had three other pumkins and this is by far the most pumpkin-y
    What were the other pumpkins you had?
    I had the blue moon and then I had another one I don’t even remember, maybe, flying dog and it would make sense the double pumpkin has more pumpkin in it.

    -Tony Shipyan – Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
    What brought you out to the event today?
    These guys here, they kind of led me in on it, they’re kind of beer aficionados

    -Josh Owens – Milton DE
    What is your favorite beer fest to go to?
    This one is looking pretty good.  The one in the Poconos is pretty crowded and you can’t get around but this is pretty nice being wide open and just being able to walk up.
    Have there been any standouts for you?
    The Duck Duck Goose was really good, that and the 1554 by Fat Tire.

    -Marc Gloyd – Milton, DE
    You’re wearing a beer advocate shirt.  Are you associated with beer advocate?
    No, I’m just an alcoholic.

    -Sonny Martin – Millville, DE
    Right now you are enjoying the Hoptopber what do you think?
    It’s got a slight little piney after taste.
    Do you typically like the hopped beers?
    No I’m typically a pale ale guy, but this is nice, I might have to get a full pint of this. This is sweet.

    Kelli’s new favorite quote seen at the festival: Everyone needs something to believe in and I believe I need another beer.

     

    Here are the list of Beers Kelli and I had for the day (with and notes we may have made at the time of sample).  I may have missed some of Kelli’s beers because we were separated for a while, but this is most of them.  I may have missed one or two on my list, but I definitely had all 17 listed.

    Kelli
    Dogfish Head – 120
    Stone – Arrogant Bastard (Hoppy, Medium Colored, I liked it)
    Oskar Blues Brewery – Hemp Ale (Kelli liked it because it was cold, the perfect temperature, Kelli like it because it’s easy to drink).
    Oskar Blues Brewery – Stillwater Artisanal
    Evolution – #3 (delicious, perfectly hopped) Hopped at a rate of over 2% per barrel, great flavor, perfectly chilled temperature.
    Sierra Nevada – Tumbler (I think it’s good, definitely a brown ale)  Amidst all these crafts brews it’s kinda funny that Sierra, who’s one of the best well known beers has no one in line and they only have 2 beers to show today.
    Sierra Nevada – Torpedo (Kelli, as a hophead I like it, but they are sort of falling a little under my radar today because they’re so many other great beers here, but still you can’t not be happy with a little Sierra in your life)
    Evolution – Jacques Au Lantern (I think my glass is so messed up from so many different beers that the smell might be a little off, but the taste is great.  It’s my favorite kind of flavor in a pumpkin beer because you can taste the spice and they’re actually not advertising it as a pumpkin beer.  They’re advertising it more as a fall seasonal with spices and pumpkin.  They’re not really directly calling it that)
    Sierra Nevada – Torpedo

    Scott
    Dogfish Head – Punkin
    Ommegang – Hennepin (tasted like a Belgium wheat, Not a big fan of it, hoping to find something better)
    Magic Hat – Hex (Kelli says I got a nice size pour)
    Oskar Blues Brewery – Hemp Ale (Definitely a brown ale that doesn’t taste overly brown, actually has a nice flavor to it)
    Oskar Blues Brewery – Stillwater Artisanal (because we were already standing next to it)  Didn’t like it. Bad lemonade. Dumped it out.
    Eastern Shore Brewing Company – Duck Duck Goose (brown ale.  Very Dark.  Can’t see through it holding it to the Sun)
    Evolution – Lucky 7 porter (lighter side, not very heavy which is working out very well on a day like today)
    Sierra Nevada – Tumbler (Autumn Brown ale, as you would expect from SN a quality product, not too heavy, not too light, just a perfect balance of taste)
    Sierra Nevada – Torpedo (as an IPA lover, this beer is delicious.  It’s a little more heavy than their pale ale, full of that hopped flavor that you love)
    Evolution – Summer Seasonal (no nose or I’ve had a lot of beer today. The flavor is mild, like a heavy pale ale that you drink all day),
    Evolution – Pumpkin Ale – (I don’t like it at all.  It is overly infused with flavor and I don’t feel like it’s a natural flavored beer.  It just has that artificially injected flavor to it)
    Sam Adams – Double Pumpkin ale (not much of a nose, it is, however, full of pumpkin flavor.  Almost over-pumpkin-ed, but certainly enjoyable)
    Fat Tire – 1554 (very dark brown ale.  Thick red muddy color, nothing on the nose, a Chris beer for sure)  This may be a stand out for those who like brown ales, but I prefer the lighter brown ales.
    Stone – Arrogant Bastard –
    Yards Brewing Co – brawler ale – Brown ales ( I have found some good brown ales, and this one is not good.  A sour flavor that rides on the back of your tongue) I dumped it out
    16 mile brewing – Amber sun (good on a day like today.  Sun in the name is indicative of the environment in which it should be drank)
    Sierra Nevada – Torpedo
    Fat Tire – Hoptober