I just finished off all of the beer I received as Christmas gifts this year. My sister Jen, who lives in North Carolina, gave me a mixed six pack of North Carolina brews (from left to right):
- From the Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery in Farmville, NC, the hoppy Brown Ale and robust Porter.
- From Highland Brewing Company in Ashville, NC, the delicious Black Mocha Stout, amber Gaelic Ale, and crisp St. Terese’s Pale Ale.
- From Carolina Beer Company in Mooresville, NC, the smooth Cottonwood Low Down Brown.
I enjoyed all of these beers and am looking forward to my business trip to Charlotte in March and the chance to sample more Carolina beers.
From my sister Susan and brother-in-law Rich, I got a custom mixed 12-pack with four each of:
- Raging Bitch, a Belgian-style IPA from Flying Dog Brewery in Frederick, Maryland. This is my new favorite beer! From the Flying Dog web site: “An American IPA augmented with Belgian yeast, our 20th anniversary beer jumps out of the glass and nips at your taste buds with its delicate hop bitterness. At 8.3% ABV, this bitch is dangerously drinkable.” I started really Diggin’ the Dog after visiting the brewery last summer and this new beer makes me love the brewery even more.
- The First Snow Ale, a hearty American Pale Ale from RJ Rockers Brewing Company in Spartanburg, SC. This is the first beer I’ve had from the brewery, despite seeing it on the shelves at Magruder’s for about a year. After this pleasant introduction, I’ll definitely try some of their other offerings.
- Christmas Ale, a hearty Scotch Ale from Bell’s Brewery in Comstock, Michigan. All of the Bell’s beers are outstanding.
In addition to the beer, I got a few other beer-related gifts this year. First and foremost were the gift cards for DuClaw Brewing Company and Rock Bottom (thanks Karen & Glenn and Beth!). I also got a beautiful 0.5 liter Julius Echter Hefe-Weissbier glass from Aunt Lou, which had belonged to the late Uncle Art. My parents gave me a book written by George Wendt (Norm from Cheers) called Drinking With George – A Barstool Professional’s Guide to Beer.
As a post script to this post, I have to note the beers I had at Rich and Susan’s house on New Year’s Day. January 1, 2010 will be memorable for me on two accounts. First, we watched Bobby Bowden’s last game as coach of Florida State University (’95) — the Gator Bowl against West Virginia, a 33-21 victory for the ‘Noles! Second, I was treated to three delicious RAW Brewing Company beers (Rich’s home brew). I enjoyed the Cherry Pale Ale and Molasses Wheat, and a just-brewed Maple Porter, notable for its strong alcohol profile. We also drank a bottle of fruity Blue Moon Grand Cru.
The nice thing about the custom 12 pack is that we ended up with a custom 6 pack. I had the First Snow Ale last night and it was good – very smooth and drinkable. S