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Enjoying Wine and Beer in the Augusta GA area

Augusta BeerFest-Aug. 20

These are from my beer festival. I guarantee no one else in Augusta had these this weekend.

These are from my beer festival. I guarantee no one else in Augusta had these this weekend.

Expecting coverage from the BeerFest? Nah. Seems like the folks at James Brown arena don’t read their messages or listen to their voicemails. I tried several times to get a media pass to the event but they never called back. We’ve never had a beer festival snub us. So I decided to have my own beer festival.

Now my tasting wasn’t like the Augusta Beer Festival held back in April at Green Jacket Stadium (put on by another group). That was a great beer festival. Can’t say if the folks that use the James Brown arena for this beer festival pulled it off or not. I don’t know a soul who went. This was their first use of James Brown arena instead of the Bell as in previous years. The first year was marred by hundreds waiting more than an hour to get through the door. I had hoped to talk to some of the Georgia brewers to see how the year is going. There are more festival to come. I’ll catch up then.

Here’s a list of participating breweries they posted:
Monday Night Brewing
Jekyll Brewing
Red Hare Brewing
Eagle Creek Brewing
Lonerider Brewing
Southern Tier Brewing
New Belgium Brewing
Mckenzies Ciders
Bulldog Ciders
Prairie Artisan Ales
Breckenridge Brewing
Riverwatch Brewing
Reformation Brewing
Left Nut Brewing
Jailhouse Brewing
Hi Wire Brewing
Greyton Brewing
Goose Inland Brewing

Here’s a list of the breweries who attended my beerfest. Of course they didn’t send any representatives because I didn’t invite them.

Short’s Brewing
Anderson Valley
Upslope Brewing
Sierra Nevada/Ovila
Bardic Wells Meadery

None are local I admit but then again there’s no duplicates from the beerfest.

One of my top 5 Brown Ales

One of my top 5 Brown Ales

Short’s Bellaire Brown Ale |Bellaire, MI
First up I had Short’s Bellaire Brown, their flagship Brown Ale. “Full-flavored with notes of sweet caramel, chocolate, and toasted malt, Bellaire Brown is balanced with a mild and earthy hop quality. This ale is dark and rich with a medium body. It’s hardly classifiable as a brown, but is certainly considered a delicious masterpiece. Bellaire Brown was originally created to appeal to people who enjoyed drinking coffee, and to beer drinkers who are not interested in hoppy options. When Joe Short was creating the Bellaire Brown recipe, he desired a beer that was meatier and burlier than most browns. Bellaire Brown is a great gate-way beer for drinkers to be introduced to darker beer varieties. 7% AB 19 IBU.”–From their Website
I love this brew. I love a good brown ale with caramel and toasted malts. This is in my top 3 now. I had to fly to Colorado to try this brew. This is a Michigan brew. Mrs. Dan is from Michigan and we visit there every other year. I guess I need to try something more than Bell’s, New Holland and Founders. While attending a family reunion (her family) in Colorado, one of the Michigan attendees brought a bunch of beer with them. I snagged a bottle of this that night and gushed on and on about that they gave me another to take home, which I did. I need to see if Toast carries this one.

Anderson Valley Boont Amber Ale |Boonville, California
This is one of my bargain brews. I bought it off the End of Bins sale at Wine World. I paid $1. I’ve had Anderson Valley brew before at Wine World’s beer tastings. (they carry it at the Vineyard as well). They make some nice bourbon barrel brews. I like this one. Their website says “Balance is what makes our Boont Amber Ale so unique: rich, crystal malts give this beer a deep copper hue and contribute a slight caramel sweetness while the herbal, spicy bitterness from carefully selected whole-cone hops impart a crisp, clean finish. Hints of sun toasted grain, toffee, and fruity esters compliment the mellow, noble hop aroma. ALC 5.8%, 16 IBU.”

Once again a nice brown caramel brew but it has a bit of a sharp edge. The hops do stand out a bit more than the Short’s. I like this one as well. I might have to buy one that’s fresh and see if it matters. They do make a good brew. Well enough to stick around for the End of Bins sale.
Brewery: Anderson Valley Brewing

Bardic Wells Apple Sass |Montague, MI

Apple Sass comes in a bomber bottle

Apple Sass comes in a bomber bottle

I would be surprised to find anyone in Augusta that has tried Bardic Wells Apple Sass, much less any of their meads. (for those who don’t know a meadery from a brewery, meadery brews with honey instead of malts and hops. This one is a strange gathering of ingredients. It has locally grown honey but also has apples and root beer. Hmmm. Root beer. I bought this while visiting Michigan in July of 2015. A year ago. I over bought while visiting and couldn’t get it all back on the plane so Mr. Dan-in-law brought it down for me at Christmas. This has been refrigerated since I bought it. Their website doesn’t say much other than that they make it. But they say Apple Sass is a “hard Apple Cyser made with Honey, Apple and Root Beer. In May 2007 Bardic Wells Meadery completed a four year long licensing process and became Michigan’s first licensed, commercial meadery. A meery is a winery that produces ONLY meads. Mead, sometimes called Honey Wine, is fermented honey and is the original alcoholic beverage – predating both beer and wine.” Yes but did mead save the world like beer did… Sorry. I digress

I like this mead. It has a root beer aroma for sure. The flavor starts off with the root beer taste then comes the slightly tart apple flavor. I found some cinnamon and even apple pie on the long finish. Most unusual. Very refreshing summer sipper. Especially after dinner. Next time I’m in Michigan I’ll have to try and find some fresh and see if there’s a difference. Bardic Wells website

Does that look like a 19.2oz can on the left to you? By they way I didn't drink the IPA. I saved it for later.

Does that look like a 19.2oz can on the left to you? By they way I didn’t drink the IPA. I saved it for later.

Upslope Imperial IPA |Boulder, Colorado
We bought a summer pack of Upslope’s brews during our vacation. I brought back 2 cans. I didnt’ get to try this one while out there. The other I had. It’s an IPA for sure but has a malty edge to it. Almost a Belgian edge like it has Belgian sugar or something. That slight malty edge sticks with the bitter on the finish. I need a palate cleanser after this one. Their other IPA is more traditional straight on West Coast bitter.
Their website says this one is packaged exclusively in 19.2 oz. Royal Pint Can’s. Funny. I could have sworn that can was the same size as the others. I think they need to update their website. Here’s what they say “Each barrel is brewed using six pounds of a unique blend of hops to impart subtle flavors of pineapple and melon to the central hop notes of citrus and pine.” They added “We took our time to develop a unique brewing technique for the Imperial India Pale Ale,” says Upslope Brewing founder Matt Cutter, “Our brewers developed a process for adding hops to the beer, that maximizes the hop flavor and aroma without producing astringent or grassy flavors, typically associated with a highly hopped ale.” I agree. This is not a straight IPA. But I’m not sure where I’m getting that malty edge from.

Ovila Abbey Tripel |Chico, California

Ovila Abbey Tripel

Ovila Abbey Tripel

T his is one of my Michigan purchases from summer 2015. I think. Beer Brother Mark brought me some nice brews for my birthday last September. It included one of these. I drank one of them earlier in the year. All I know is that this brew was good back then and is good now. This brew comes with a cork so I made sure it stayed upright in the fridge. This is a rotating collaboration brew between Sierra Nevada and the monks of the Abbey of New Clairvaux in Vina, California. I had heard about this at one of the World Beer Festivals in Columbia. The monks were revitalizing an old monastery and needed some help getting things going. Sierra Nevada was more than willing to help.

Their website say “Each beer is a modern twist on a traditional Belgian-style abbey ale—monastic inspiration and American innovation. These rotating Ovila Abbey Ales highlight, when possible, local ingredients grown and harvested by the monks on their nearly 600-acre working farm. We hope you enjoy these one-of-a-kind collaboration ales.” -Sierra Nevada Website

So, I was drinking one of the brews that have rotated out. These are well made and I hope they age well sitting on the shelf. I had keep mind cold. But I am willing to take a chance if I find one on the shelf.

 

Well, that ends the Big Dan BeerFestival. Hope you enjoyed it. Come back next time. Hmmmm. I think I might have one next weekend. I do have to finish up that Bell’s Hopslam.

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