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Enjoying Wine and Beer in the Augusta GA area

Wicked Weed Tap Takeover-The Hive-Nov. 3

Wicked Weed Sales Reps Samer Sabbagh and Andy Bibliowicz where on hand to talk about their great brews

Wicked Weed Sales Reps Samer Sabbath and Andy Bibliowicz where on hand to talk about their great brews

We stopped by the Hive at five and the place was already filling up. This was a Mega Takeover. Forty of their 72 taps were dedicated to Wicked Weed, an Asheville brewery that has been creating some great sour and barrel-aged ales. Unfortunately they couldn’t bring any of the bacon/brown sugar braised brussels sprouts their downtown Asheville restaurant is famous for but then again that’s just me. (If you are in Asheville you got stop by and try them).

Where: The Hive, 215 Tenth Street, Augusta, GA 30901.

Here is my flight of sours in the order I tasted, left to right.

I’ve never been a big fan of sours. But every now and then I find one that I like but someone has to point me to them. So I asked Wicked Weed sales reps Samer Sabbagh and Andy Bibliowicz to curate my flight of 4. Andy provided me with four he knew I would like. He also curated Mrs. Dan’s flight knowing she didn’t like sour beers. She wanted dark and malty and coffee flavors.

My four were: Red Angel Barrel Aged American Sour with raspberries; Bombadile Brettanomyces Farmhouse Ale fermented with strawberries; Pernicious IPA and Metatropics Brettanomyces Farmhouse Ale fermented with tropical fruits.

The Red Angel uses a wild yeast. The raspberries give it a nice reddish color. super dry finish. I was tasting more cranberry than raspberry but that’s probably because of the wild yeast. This is a very dry sour.

The Bombadile Brettanomyces Farmhouse Ale has strawberries but the flavors are not as distinctive as the Red Angel. It was as if you had strawberry candy but without any sugar or sweetness. Not sure how you would separate strawberry flavors from its natural sugary taste but this does it.

The Bombadile and the Metatropics are both Brettanomyces brews. That’s a wild yeast whose name is translated from greek as “British Fungus.” This was a yeast strain that was isolated around 1900 as a reason British beer was spoiling. Face it, sour usually means something has spoiled. But we aren’t talking milk here. We are talking beer. This “spoilage” is used in both beer and wine to add distinctive flavors. Beer takes a relatively short period of time to ferment and be ready to serve. But many of today’s sours aren’t sour from the start. They are given a special yeast or other bacteria that slowly reacts with the beer as it ages, usually in barrels. Since most modern aged beers are being aged in second or third use barrels the original charred wood doesn’t affect the flavor as much as the fact that wood allows just enough air into the barrels so the yeast/bacteria can do their job. It can take months Sorry. I digress into a history lesson that might not be totally accurate but is probably close enough. Bottom line, making an aged sour takes time and time means money because you have to store it for a long time. Sorry I digress again.

Metatropics is a collaboration beer between Wicked Weed and Trois Dames, a Swiss brewer who has been pushing the limits of sour ales in Europe. This brew is an IPA at heart but it uses real pineapple, passionfruit, mango, grapefruit, and tangerine to emulate tropical hop flavors. Add the brettanomyces and you got a new funky IPA. To me the Metatropics was a whiskey-sour without the whiskey.

Speaking of IPA the third beer of my flight was the Pernicious IPA. I got into a discussion with Andy on whether this is a West Coast IPA or Northeast or Southern IPA. He said West Coast. I said no way because to me…. and I say to me… a West Coast IPA is bitter enough to disinfect your socks. He said the West Coast definition is changing and isn’t necessary so strongly bitter. That’s probably the West Coast is being infiltrated by Eastern Brewers who are slowly altering the region’s beer personality. Pernicious IPA has pine resins that smack your nose as soon as place the glass to your mouth. It starts a bit smooth then finishes bitter but not super bitter. I say Northeast IPA. I guess we’ll have to have this discussion again sometime over another beer. IPAs are not my favorite but I think I can easily order this one.

Here is Mrs. Dan’s Flight

I then started to eye Mrs. Dan’s glasses. I had just finished 4 sours and was ready for something malty. Her curated flight was: Silencio Bourbon Barrel-Aged Black Sour fermented with coffee and vanilla; Old Fashioned Bourbon Barrel-Aged Old Ale with orange and cherry; Dark Age Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout and Bedeviled Belgian-Style Golden Strong Ale.

All of my brews were in the 6 to 7% ABV range. Her’s where in the 10% range.

Her first was the Silencio Bourbon Barrel-Aged Black Sour. I think he snuck this one is to convince her that sours weren’t all bad. She didn’t like it. It was sour. I liked it actually better than the sours I had. But that’s probably because it’s mixing dark with sour.

Next was the Old Fashioned Bourbon Barrel-Aged Old Ale. Thumbs up on this one. She liked this one as did I. Dark, malty coffee not super toasty. Little big of candy sugar toward the end with just a slightly bitter finish.

Dark Age Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout. Very dark. Nice malty backbone that’s been mellowed out by its time in the barrel. Starts off a bit malty then dries out quickly. They use Kentucky bourbon barrels from Blanton’s, Buffalo Trace and Four Roses. No slackers there. High quality one-use barrels that are placed into service at Wicked Weed within a week of being emptied. How long does it age? It’s a game of patience. As it ages the flavors change and when it hits the right spot they move it to the market. This is the third brew they produced when starting Wicked Weed. I forgot to ask if this is a flagship for them. I would like to think it is.

Last was a really nice brew. I need a growler of this. Bedeviled Belgian-Style Golden Strong Ale is nice dense malty golden ale. It belittles its bright clear golden yellow color. This was my favorite of the night and Mrs. Dan’s as well.

If you like sours especially farmhouse ales then these guys are the bomb. I just checked the barrel levels at The Hive and many are still available but are getting low. With the overwhelming selection of sours last night I felt I had to try them because I seldom order them. But I wish I could have had more time to explore their other brews. This was a Mega Tap Takeover.

Next tap takeover at The Hive will be from Founders out of Michigan on December 7th. See you there.

When: Friday, November 3, 2017. 5 until closing.

Here’s the Tap List for the night:
Wicked Weed ’16 Chocolate Black Angel Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Sour w/ Chocolate & Cherries ABV 7.2%
Wicked Weed Bedeviled Belgian-Style Golden Strong Ale ABV 9%
Wicked Weed Bombadile Brettanomyces Farmhouse Ale Fermented W/ Strawberries ABV 4.2%
Wicked Weed Brettaberry Brettanomyces Farmhouse Ale Fermented W/ Blackberries, Blueberries, Strawberries & Honey ABV 5.5%
Wicked Weed Bretticent Brettanomyces Farmhouse Ale ABV 6.5%
Wicked Weed Calimost Grapefruit & Honey Gose W/ Grapefruit & Salt ABV 4.1%
Wicked Weed Cerise Morte Barrel Aged American Sourfermented W/ Cherries ABV 6.1%
Wicked Weed Dark Age Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout ABV 12%
Wicked Weed Denouement Barrel-Aged American Sour ABV 7.4%
Wicked Weed Devilwood Bourbon Barrel-Aged Belgian Golden Strong Ale ABV 10%
Wicked Weed Dunkelweizen German Style Dunkelweizen ABV 5.5%
Wicked Weed Ferme De Chien Brettanomyces Farmhouse Ale Fermented W/ Cherries ABV 5.8%
Wicked Weed Fest Bier Marzen ABV 5.6%
Wicked Weed Freak Of Nature Double IPA ABV 8.5%
Wicked Weed Garcon De Ferme Brettanomyces Farmhouse Ale Fermented W/ Peaches ABV 5.6%
Wicked Weed Genesis Sour Blonde Ale W/ Tropical Fruits ABV 6.6%
Wicked Weed Hefeweizen German Style Hefeweizen ABV 5.6%
Wicked Weed Imperial Coolcumber Golden Ale W/ Cucumbers, Basil & Juniper Berries ABV 9%
Wicked Weed Infidel Porter ABV 7.1%
Wicked Weed La Bonté Fig Brettanomyces Extra Strong Pale Fermented W/ Figs ABV 6.3%
Wicked Weed La Bonté Pear Brettanomyces Farmhouse Ale Fermented W/ Pears ABV 5.7%
Wicked Weed Lieutenant Dank IPA ABV 6.5%
Wicked Weed Lunatic Belgian-Style Blonde Ale ABV 6.5%
Wicked Weed Marina American Sour Fermented W/ Peaches & Apricots ABV 6.5%
Wicked Weed Medora Sour W/ Blackberries & Raspberries ABV 6.6%
Wicked Weed Metatropics Brettanomyces Farmhouse Ale Fermented W/ Tropical Fruits ABV 6.2%
Wicked Weed Mompara Honey Ale W/ Wild Flower, Orange Blossom Honey, Gesho Root & Black Cardamom
Wicked Weed Montmaretto Barrel-Aged American Sour Fermented W/ Cherries & Almonds ABV 6.6%
Wicked Weed Napoleon Complex Hoppy Pale Ale ABV 5.2%
Wicked Weed Old Fashioned Bourbon Barrel-Aged Old Ale W/ Orange & Cherry ABV 10%
Wicked Weed Orange Peel Pale Ale ABV 6.1%
Wicked Weed Pernicious IPA ABV 7.3%
Wicked Weed Prevelance Barrel-Aged American Sour Fermented W/ Elderberries & Juniper Berries – Barrel Aged (Red Wine) ABV 7.2%
Wicked Weed Puer Saison ABV 6.4%
Wicked Weed Red Angel Barrel Aged American Sour W/ Raspberries ABV 7%
Wicked Weed Reticent Saison ABV 6.4%
Wicked Weed Rick’s Pils Pilsner ABV 5.3%
Wicked Weed Silencio Bourbon Barrel-Aged Black Sour Fermented W/ Coffee & Vanilla ABV 6.6%
Wicked Weed White Angel Barrel Aged American Sour W/ Wild Grapes ABV 7.3%
Wicked Weed Xibalba Imperial Pumpkin Ale W/ Cacao Nibs, Ancho, Serano, Habanero Chiles, Nutmeg, Ginger & Cinnamon ABV 8.2%

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