Sunday, September 26, 2010

Confusion in Carolina

No, this post is not about the woeful Carolina Panthers who are now 0-3 after a sloppy loss to the Bengals today. The Cats do looked confused on the field though. Things are not looking any better with upcoming games against the Saints and Bears.

Living in North Carolina and enjoying many different types of beers, I like trying the various local brews. There is one problem with beer from this area however, particularly if you are trying to keep track of what you are drinking. There are multiple brews available with "Carolina" in the name. In fact, there are two separate operations with "Carolina Brew..." in their name. The Carolina Brewing Company is located in the town of Holly Springs which is a short drive south of Raleigh. Their Spring Bock and Summer Wheat are on my Beer List, and I have previously had some of their other brews.

There is also Carolina Brewery which operates two brewpubs in this area. The original is in Chapel Hill. I have never been to that location, but I have been to their newer location in Pittsboro. Beers from Carolina Brewery are available in other places besides the two brewpubs.

In addition to the "Brewing Company" and "Brewery", there is the "Beer Company". Carolina Beer Company is located in Mooresville which is just north of Charlotte. They offer "Carolina"-branded beers plus specialty brews under the Cottonwood brand. Their Cottonwood Pumpkin Ale was the first pumpkin-flavored beer that I tried, and I still think it is the best pumpkin beer I have tasted. Try it in a half-and-half with Guinness or Murphy's Stout.

Finally, there is the string of Carolina Ale House locations. To be completely confusing, they offer their own special brews plus they have beers from the Carolina Brewing Company on tap. The Ale House's Hat Trick Red is on my Beer List.

Ordering a draft of the "Carolina" special around here is an iffy proposition. I was recently at a bar, and I had an oatmeal porter and an Oktoberfest from one of the "Carolina"-named companies. It took some investigation, but I was able to figure out that these two beers were from Carolina Brewery. First, I had the Oatmeal Porter. The Internet tells me that the addition of oatmeal to a porter or stout gives a smooth creaminess. That is definitely the case for this brew. It is a delicious beer, but one is really all I could drink. I followed the Oatmeal Porter with the Oktoberfest. Not quite as tasty as the smooth porter, but also a good beer.

While I am on the subject of local beers, I would like to mention a new brewery that recently opened in north Raleigh. According to their website, Roth Brewing Company was founded in 2008, but their beers have only started appearing in the past few months. I have only had two of their beers, and to be completely honest, I did not care for either one. Their FoeHammer is a big barleywine with a hefty 10.5% ABV. I thought this beer had a very strong alcohol flavor. It seems to be a high-gravity beer for the sake of the high-alcohol content. I have also tried their Forgotten Hollow which is suppose to be a cinnamon porter. It definitely was flavorful, but to me it did not taste like cinnamon. Even though I did not care for these two brews, I would still like to welcome Roth to the neighborhood. I am looking forward to trying more of their offerings, and I am sure I will find several that I enjoy.

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