A Very Craft Beer Saturday

I slept like a baby on Saturday night. If babies were allowed to drink beer all day and fed only fried food and cheeses (if that’s how your baby sustains life, we’ll just keep that on the down low.)

See, sometimes, the craft beer stars align (actually, more often than sometimes in this beer-centric Triangle) and I’m presented with not one, not two, but three impossible-to-pass-up craft beer events.  Who am I to mess with destiny?

Though I only stopped by briefly, the Lonerider Brew It Forward event was PACKED, I assume all day.  This incredible event, benefiting Nourish International, invited home brewers to submit their beers to judges from Lonerider for a chance to “brew with the big boys.”  While I only saw the third place announcements, I heard that there was a number of tasty selections and the live music drew a big crowd of beer enthusiasts and family folk, alike.

I stayed a little longer at the other events, though.  Namely, the most arrogant bar in America.

New Favorite Bumper Sticker?

After selling the most Arrogant Bastard Ale from Stone Brewing Company in a designated week’s time, the Raleigh Times Bar was given the prestigious title of the Most Arrogant Bar in America.  The joint was jumping (though I couldn’t tell if this was the norm for Raleigh Times) but I think the main draw was also the main attraction.

Greg Koch, one of the co-founders of Stone and basically a rock star in the craft beer world.

Wait, let me put this better.

If all the giant, brewery-shirt wearing, proud, beardy men are teenage girls, Greg Koch is their Justin Bieber.

It was a total sausage-fest, which was not surprising considering Koch’s numerous fanboys.  I’ll admit, I was initially a little surprised, and even  thought to myself “what’s the hype? It’s good beer, but REALLY?” as the grown men went up to Koch, visibly shaking, to ask for his autograph. But real talk, let’s be honest, I think he’s got Bieber beat.

Another one of the magnificent beards of beer

I couldn’t resist getting a photo with the man (the myth, the legend) as he offered me an autographed CD or DVD or something (I haven’t had enough time to even see what it was. First class, Jordan.)  But I think he was really just playing the crowd well, as we sipped on Stone Smoked Porter with Vanilla Beans (decadent, smooth, and delicious, a great treat for a sweet tooth like myself), Arrogant Bastard Ale with Chipotle Peppers (whoah! spicy!!), and Dry Hopped Arrogant Bastard (which, in my opinion, was much tastier than the classic Arrogant Bastard due, primarily, to the added enjoyment from the olfactory experience of floral hoppiness).  Thanks to Daniel, one of the nicest, most generous beer buddies I know, for that Dry Hopped delight! I never would’ve known the joy were it not for him.

As they say, though, there’s no rest for the wicked. Or the Arrogant, in my case, and I soon had to head back across the Triangle. We had a Craft Beer and Cheese Pairing to get to!

Another amazing event thrown by my favorite beer broads!!

Erik Lars Myers, Head Brewer and owner of Mystery Brewing in Hillsborough, NC invited us to come and taste four of Mystery’s signature beers.  My favorite was the  Six Impossible Things (a Chocolate Breakfast Stout), though we also enjoyed  the Gentlemen’s Preference Blond Ale, Mousqueton, a Belgian-Style Tripel and Queen Anne’s Revenge, a Carolinian Dark (which I’d tried before).  He paired each beer with a different cheese, all of which were provided by Weaver Street Market.  All I could think about was how much I want to have a beer and cheese party of my own (add it to the Triangle bucket list?!)

Beer and Cheese is a glorious match!

Melissa invited a number of her buddies, who were fantastic new additions to the NCGPO crew, and I was so happy to have a new bunch of lager-loving-ladies to crack jokes and beers with!

Beautiful beer babes!

We quickly realized that girls can’t survive on beer and cheese alone (hard as we may try) and decided to end arguably my LONGEST beer day/night in some time at Hillsborough’s Wooden Nickel Pub. If these fish and chips have anything to say about it, it was a brilliant idea.

Come to mama!

This EPIC platter of fish and chips was split between three of us, and, even then, was still a hefty meal. The Wooden Nickel certainly knows how to feed folks!!

Once the music got too loud (and, after realizing I’d had something like 13 beers in the previous 24 hours (the UNC game had been on the night before, enjoyed at a bar), I asked Melissa if we could head home. She happily obliged my sleepy eyes, and I drifted off into a dreamless sleep. The kind of sleep only beers, cheese, friends, and fun can bring.

Epic day? Yes.

Do I want to repeat it any time soon? No.

Well… at least not until World Beer Festival.

Can you go-go-go all day, or do you like to save your festivities for either morning, day, or night?

I realized a little while ago that, if I’m going to be fun at night after enjoying beer events earlier in the day, I definitely need a nap.  Otherwise, I’m a sleepy Sally (you know… like a Debbie Downer, but less depressing and more tired.)

“Hi, Neighbor! Have a ‘Gansett!” Narragansett Pint Night at the Flying Saucer

Ah, NC Girls’ Pint Out… even when you throw together an event last minute, you are always fun!

Last night, I ventured over to Raleigh’s Flying Saucer with a few of my favorite princesses of pilsner for an impromptu GPO get-together featuring the special of the night, the Narrangassett Lager, and their GORGEOUS 20 oz glass that went along with it!

Brews for ALL!

It was a packed house at the Flying Saucer and, for my first time visiting the establishment, this place ROCKS! They have a fantastic club called the UFO club where, for $18, you can join, get a sweet shirt, and a magnetic card to track all the unique beers you drink. After 200 unique beers, you get a saucer on the wall with your name for all the world to see!  If I lived a little closer to this joint, I’d be there ALL the time.  Luckily for my wallet (and my liver), it was a bit of a hike… But I still love it.

ANYWAY, Melissa and I grabbed ourselves some veggie-friendly (and tastebud friendly) nachos, which were fantastic, as well as a beer for each of us.

Fun fact: Narragansett was the official beer of the Red Sox for 32 years! Melissa clearly knew this, and dressed accordingly:

And adorably

The beer was what all of us at the GPO table called “A Beery Beer”. Refreshing, tasty, and crisp, we struggled to find words other than “Lager-y” and “beer-like”.  I know, I know, all those beer education classes for naught, right?

I volunteered to help Jim, who came all the way from Providence to pub the beer, out by running around and taking pictures, as well as handing out some raffle tickets for swaggggg.

The Holy Grail for swag-grubbers all over!

I schmoozed with strangers, even pestering a few for pictures with Jim… Luckily, they obliged my blogging tendencies.

Jim and a few of his buddies

I also got to try some of the fancy (and seasonal) Narragansett Bock (that fancy green can pictured above) that was definitely more my style.  From the brewer:

Gansett Bock is a deeply flavorful beer with a rich golden color and a full body.  It is drier, hoppier, and slightly more bitter than a traditional bock, but still with a relatively low hop flavor.  It offers an extremely approachable craft experience not to be confused with the double and triple bocks out on the market.  The beer pours well, producing a large creamy, persistent white head, and moderate carbonation.  Despite its full body, the flavor is not overly malty and delivers an elegant spicy character from the hops that produces a balanced, smooth finish.

From the ME:  I liked this beer a LOT more than the lager. Though I received it in a can, I promptly poured into my new Narragansett glass for consumption. A little sweeter, a little fuller in the mouth, and with a drinkability that I don’t always get from the aforementioned double and triple bocks “out on the market”, this beer was a slightly more complex tasting brew without being too intimidating for the average beer drinker (you know, the one that might not be interested in a Habanero Pale Ale or something crazy like that…)

ANYWAY, as with all the nights with NCGPO, my favorite part was socializing and, after collecting all the signups for swag, it was time to kick back and relax with my ladies.

Ladies of Lager, repping it so hard.

And a few of us even managed to walk away from the event with some new swag of our own….

You better believe I’ll be rocking my new, kelly green ‘Gansett shirt come March 17th.  No pinches for this girl.

What’s the “weirdest” or most “out there” beer flavor you’ve ever tried?

I make it a point to try any and every wonky brew I can find.  I definitely did try the habanero pale ale (not my favorite) and the “bacon beer” of Fullsteam’s Hogwash still stands out as a pretty intense flavor-profile.