This is the fifth installment highlighting the craft beer scene of Florida State's opponent. This segment will feature a brewery from the area and a beer from another brewery in the area, with a focus on best representing the craft beer scene of the Noles’ weekly opponent. We also try to include options that are readily available to those who may not be traveling to the games and want to pick something up from their local package store. Without further delay we present to you craft beer in North Carolina
The state if North Carolina has no shortage of home grown breweries as there are over 140 across the state, up from 40 in 2010. The vast majority of these breweries are small and unavailable outside state lines so that is why we decided to dedicate this week to the big boys that have expanded east. We are talking about the three craft beer giants that have built lavish and massive breweries in North Carolina, expanding their production and distribution.
I was fortunate to visit each brewery this past summer and they were all truly beautiful in the own right. Oskar Blues located in Brevard was exactly what you would expect from the company that pioneered craft beer in a can. The tasting room and outdoor sitting area were no frills and really catered to the outdoor spirit that you experience from their Colorado Facility. As far as the beer went they had their standard lineup that you would expect but also three or for one offs as well as an experimental treatment.
New Belgium in Ashville sits on the French Broad River and while beautiful it is an odd environment. The brewery itself sit about 200 yards from the tasting room making it that much more of a chore to go on a tour. The tasting room has bench style seating inside with multiple projection televisions while they outdoor has high tops and stools. As for the beer, I could not have been more disappointed. There were 15 beers on tap and every single one I could have found at my local Publix. Hate to say it but if you’re in Ashville, there are plenty of better places to spend your time.
It is really hard to put into words how stunning the Sierra Nevada facility in Mills River is. The $110 million dollar compound is the everything you could ask for in a brewery and worth the visit no matter who you are traveling with. A full restaurant with delicious plates that includes indoor seating around a massive bar with 30 plus taps. Feel free to grab one of their standard or one of the many one offs that are brewed right there on site and take it out back to their amphitheater. Not only is it a music venue but there are multiple games to be played to keep you entertained. Yes it appears very corporate, yes it is very large but you are doing yourself a disservice by not taking a couple hours to enjoy the beauty of the Sierra Nevada campus.
With the changing of the month right around the corner and the time honored tradition of Oktoberfest in Germany coming to an end it seems appropriate that we partake in drinking a Marzen this weekend. From the German Beer Institute...
Märzen is the historic forerunner of the Oktoberfestbier. In the Middle Ages, brewers had a difficult time brewing good-tasting beers during the hot summer months when the brew could easily become infected with air-born bacteria. To have an ample supply of saleable beer on hand during the summer, brewers worked overtime in March to brew an extra strong and well-hopped beer that would keep for a long time. Märzen is German for March, so the beer came to be known for the month in which it was brewed.
In time, the March beer turned into an October beer. When the summer was over and it was safe to resume brewing again, the brewers needed to empty their kegs to make room for the new brews. That meant that Märzen had to be finished off in a hurry. Throw a little bit of merriment into the mix, and you've got an Oktoberfest with a Märzen beer party. Modern Märzen, like Oktoberfestbier, is always well-aged, usually for at least four to eight weeks. It is usually amber in color and has an alcohol content of 5 to 6.2%.
The above mentioned Sierra Nevada has a solid take with their Mahrs Brau. Some of my favorites include Great Lakes, Harpoon and Cigar City. Not a fan of the style? Let us know what you will be drinking instead and remember its an early start, so pace yourselves.