The Art of Beer

The Tennessee Performing Arts Center is concluding its four-part “art of” tasting series with “The Art of Beer,” 6-8 p.m., Thursday, April 7, at the War Memorial Auditorium. The educational wine, spirits and beer tasting series is sponsored by Lipman Brothers.

The “Art of Beer” two-hour tasting of selected high gravity beers will be led by a representative from each of the three featured craft breweries: Chimay, Yazoo and Abita. High Gravity Beer is a long-standing European tradition and is growing in popularity in the U.S. The term is used to designate specialty craft beers with an increased gravity "pull" in the fermentation process. They are higher in alcohol because they contain more sugar and other ingredients that are used to create complex, flavorful and unique beers. High gravity beers are meant to be sipped and appreciated, even paired with foods like wine. Light refreshments will be served, including an array of award-winning cheeses courtesy of Cabot Creamery of Vermont, hot dogs and brats from The Dog of Nashville, and pizza provided by the Mellow Mushroom.

The Chimay Brewery is a Belgian brewery founded in the Scourmont Abbey in 1862. Its Trappist monks still produce the rare, true Trappist beers in much the same way as they did 150 years ago. Profits from the sale of Chimay beers go to the financial support of the monastery and the less fortunate and disenfranchised of the world. James Williams, National Sales Manager will present Chimay Red, White and Blue from their portfolio.

Yazoo Brewing Company, founded in 2003 by Vanderbilt University graduate Linus Hall, is the local favorite with craft brew loyalists worldwide. The Yazoo Brewing Company is located in Nashville not far from TPAC, in The Gulch. Linus and Yazoo’s Sales and Marketing Manager, Neil McCormick, will present the local favorite, Yazoo Sue.

Abita Brewing Company, located 30 miles north of New Orleans in Abita Springs, Louisiana, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. It is the oldest and largest craft brewery in the Southeast. Scott Hamil is the Brewery Representative and will offer the famous Jockamo and Andygator.

Ovila Dubbel Now in Nashville!

 Back in August, I received the press release (see below) about the collaboration of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. and Trappist-Cistercian Abbey of New Clairvaux. Word on the street from Matt Leff (East Nashville Beer Festival) is that the Oliva Dubbel is on the shelves at Midtown Wine & Spirits. Supply will be limited, so grab one while you can. According to one of my friends on the west coast, this beer is excellent and authentic enough to satisfy any Belgian beer purist. 

"For nearly 1000 years, monks have been brewing ales behind monastery walls. Their closely guarded traditions and techniques produced styles of beer unlike anything else in the world. These unique Trappist-style Abbey ales are known for their uncompromising quality and compelling flavor. In 2011, Sierra Nevada and the Trappist-Cistercian Abbey of New Clairvaux are working to bring this centuries-old tradition to America with Ovila—the nation’s only authentic Trappist-style Abbey Ale.
This series of three Belgian -style Abbey ales is made in accordance with the centuries-old tradition of the monks. Each beer will be only be available for a limited time and will rotate through the seasons. The first beer in the series, scheduled for release in March, will be a Belgian-style Dubbel brewed with authentic Trappist yeast. The second beer in the series, scheduled for release in July, will be a Saison, the traditional Belgian-style farmhouse ale made in honor of the Monk’s dedication to labor in the fields surrounding their abbey. The third will be released in time for the holidays. It will be a Trappist-style Quadrupel rich with dark fruit flavors and the unique wine-like characters of these strong Abbey ales.
Proceeds from this project will benefit the monks of the Abbey of New Clairvaux in their efforts to rebuild an architectural marvel—a 12th century, early-gothic Cistercian chapter house—on their grounds in Vina, California a few miles north of Sierra Nevada’s home in Chico. The medieval chapterhouse—Santa Maria de Ovila—was begun in 1190, near the village of Trillo, Spain.
Cistercian monks lived, prayed, and worked there for nearly 800 years. In 1931, California newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst purchased the abbey and shipped it to Northern California. Hearst’s plans were never realized, and the stones fell into disrepair. In 1994, the Trappist-Cistercian monks of the Abbey of New Clairvaux, gained possession of the ruins, and began the painstaking stone-by-stone reconstruction of the historic abbey.
Located in Vina, California, the Abbey of New Clairvaux is a Cistercian Abbey of Strict Observance (Trappist). The abbey was founded in 1955 on 590 acres of Leland Stanford’s famed Vina Ranch. The monks follow the Rule of St. Benedict—Ora est Labora (Prayer and Work) and spend their days in prayer, meditation, and tending to the labor of the working farm located at the abbey."

Dogfish Head Pulling Out Of TN

I am sure that those of you that belong to online beer communities like Ratebeer and Beer Advocate have already read this, but Dogfish Head is pulling their entire portfolio out of Tennesse. They were at maximum production, and then the Brew Masters TV series created a demand that they can not meet. 14 other states are also on the chopping block. People are already flocking to TN liquor and beer stores and stocking up.

I know that I will miss Squall, Festina Peche, and Palo Santa Marron. As much as I hate seeing a brewery leave Tennesee, that will leave room for others to move in.

April Can Not Get Here Soon Enough!

For starters, the East Nashville Beer Festival is less than a month away. If you have not purchased your tickets, I would suggest you stop reading and take care of it. This event is likely to sell out. Unlike previous local festivals, this one is going to focus on quality, and will offer more out of market beers and limited releases. I am excited about it.

Bounty Bev will be bringing in a few high gravity beers that have me jumping up and down. The first is Lucky Bucket Certified Evil. This is a collaborative Belgian Strong Ale aged in Cabernet barrels for one year. Sounds pretty effing good doesn't it? A secret informant tells me that it might be at the East Nashville Beer Festival as well. If the brewer is going to be there, why wouldn't the beer? Now go buy your tickets. The other beer is Ruckus Brewing Hoptimus Prime. Sound familiar? Yes, it's the same beer as Reading Pennsylvania's Legacy Brewing Hoptimus Prime. This is being contract brewed at Lion in Wilkes Barre, PA by the old Legacy brewmaster. Same recipe I am told. Look for 22 ounce bottles of this Double IPA to run about $6.99!

Speaking of Lucky Bucket, more IPA and Pre Prohibition Lager have hit the beer stores again. Pick up a six of each. You will not be disappointed.

Soon we will finally get to try beers from Jackalope Brewery! When? Where? That's right! East Nashville Beer Festival. April 9th. Get your tickets now!

Do you want to check out another cool Nashville based beer blog? Check out Craig Mangum's Beer Law Blog. Craig knows his beer because he shows up to the same places I do. His latest entry is about...East Nashville Beer Festival. Get your tickets now!

Did I mention the East Nashville Beer Festival? I swear Matt is not paying me. Yes, I bought my ticket at Midtown's beer store. This is a charity event after all. I just like to promote craft beer in Nashville, even if that means bugging the shit out of you. Until next time,  I am off to Florida to enjoy some warm weather, and perhaps some beer from Cigar City.



Beer Review- Lucky Bucket IPA

Josh Scutella over at Bounty Bev is an avid beer aficionado like myself. When they recently introduced Lucky Bucket Brewing Company to the Nashville market, he HIGHLY recommended  the IPA. He thought that it had similarities to Caldera IPA, which was more than enough to peak my interest. The problem was that Lucky Bucket IPA was in limited supply and was flying off the shelves. Lucky for me, I got the second to last six pack at J Barleycorn. Don't worry, more fresh six packs will be here any day now.

Lucky Bucket IPA
Lucky Bucket Brewing Co. -LA Vista, NE
ABV: 6.3%  

Smitty's Review: Sampled at 50 degrees. Pours amber orange with a frothy ivory head that dissipates to a ring. Nice inviting floral hop aroma. Lighter side of medium bodied with steady carbonation and resiny texture. Caramel malt backdrop with a bold piney and grapefruit rind bitterness, with just a hint of orange. Less residual sugars than usual, making this lean toward the dry side. Long hoppy and grassy finish with a bit of a peppery bite at the very end. I picked up a very slight hint of astringency as well. Overall, a nice IPA for those that like an aggressive bitterness. Is it as good as Caldera? There are two ways to find out. The first is to find my review of Caldera. The second is to have a beer with me an ask me in person. What I can tell you is that this will be a repeat buy.

• Rating*: 8.5 out of 10
• Recommended Food Pairing: Spicy foods- Thai, Mexican, Cajun. Buffalo Wings, Pepperjack Cheese.
• Value: Moderate at $11 per six
• Beer Audience: Hopheads
• Where to buy: Craft beer specialty stores like Midtown, Frugal MacDoogal, J Barleycorn, etc.

* rating system based on aroma (1 pt), appearance (1pt), palate (2 pts) flavor (3pts), comparison to other commercial examples of the style (3pts)

Many thanks to the good folks at Bounty Bev for bringing the craft beer to Nashville. Look for this brewery at the East Nashville Beer Festival. Tickets are still available, but they are going fast. This is a festival you will not want to miss- trust me on this. I have had beers with the organizer Matt Leff and it's going to kick butt. Don't forget to join the Nashville Beer Geek Facebook group. Cheers