Boo Who?

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Happy Halloween! The gals of 287 Evergreen had quite a festive weekend. Saturday night Allison and I planned a pumpkin beer/cider tasting to have before we went to a Halloween party. The standouts on the list were Downeast’s Pumpkin Blend and the Evil Twin/Two Roads Pachamama. Pachamama is a porter brewed with sweet potatoes, purple mais, and chili peppers. It has a nice sweet potato/coffee aroma, and then the flavor is roasty, chocolatey, and slightly spicy from the peppers. So good!

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I was most excited about Flying Dog’s Gourd Standard, which is described as a pumpkin IPA. It isn’t a bad beer, but I didn’t really think it tasted like an IPA. It reminded me a lot of the Pumking actually–pumpkiny, slightly sweet, and boozy on the finish.

Can you tell what we are?
Can you tell what we are?

Sunday we spent the day recuperating and watching Stranger Things! Have you seen it? We were a little late to the game, but once we started we couldn’t stop. Perfect spooky show for Halloween weekend! How are you guys celebrating the holiday? Any pumpkin beers in your fridges? Making yourselves sick on candy corn? 😉 Tell us, tell us!

 

Bae-Day Beer Tasting

Hey there, folks! It’s your old pal Maddy. You may remember me from less well written posts from like…a year ago…I know, I know…I’m the lazy sister. Anywho, we’re gathered here today to discuss a delish beer tasting held in honor of Rach!Rachie and Flowers

During our vacation in Folly Beach, we were lucky enough to spend Rachel’s birthday together as a family.

There was a lot of this:
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IMG_4313 (1)But it’s not a birthday with the Barley Babes without a beer tasting! Without further ado, here are our thoughts on the Bae-Day Beer Tasting and #Splash Celebration.

FULL BOTTLES

First up, Prairie Flare Gose from Prairie Artisan Ales. I was super stoked to find this gem at the Charleston Beer Exchange for two reasons.

1.The gose is my most favorite style of Beer.

2.Prairie can do no wrong in my opinion.

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The addition of orange results in a tart, pulpy, orange juice flavor that was both highly drinkable and very enjoyable. My Dad described it as zippy, and I think that’s spot on. It’s bright and slightly salty. Also, look at the little Kanye flare button. Adorbs!

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Next, we sampled Evil Twin’s Food & Beer, an all brett pale ale brewed with peaches– Ed’s contribution to the tasting. Evil Twin brewed this beer to celebrate the release of their book, Food & Beer. The book is a shout out to the fact that beer can be the perfect complement to a meal. Probably going to order a copy; that’s my kinda book.

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Mom immediately picked up on a bandaidy flavor that at first I didn’t taste. It’s so cool how our palates become accustomed to certain flavors over time! As the beer warmed a bit, I started to notice some of the more complex flavors like creamy peach, funky band aid, and mild, musty grain. Typing those descriptors, I feel like they sound like they would all be really potent, deep flavors, but they were light and balanced one another.

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We moved onto a farmhouse saison called Brand New Eyes from Birds Fly South Ale Project. For me, Brand New Eyes wins the best packaging award. It is just damn dreamy! Do you ever see a gorgeous label and wonder “Who came up with that brilliant packaging?” I know I do, and I was delighted to see that the artist, Chris Koelle, was included on the label.

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Brewed with Motueka hops and a house yeast, then bottle conditioned for a month with brett and wine yeast, Brand New Eyes is complex and superbly crafted. The New Zealand hops lend a tropical, sweet aroma that cuts the tartness of the sharp funk. The flavor developed from tangy vinegar, to sticky kumquat, and finished with a soft, champagne like yeastiness. This was a crowd favorite!

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We ended the tasting with another Birds Fly South creation, The American Sour, brewed in collaboration with Thomas Creek Brewing Co. This delicious aperitif begins as a golden saison, then is aged and soured on various fruits for over a year. Our bottle had been aged over black currants, but there were also varieties featuring cherry, blackberry, and raspberry. The 6.8% wild ale had a hazy, ruby coloring and tasted like tangy sangria. It was super jammy, nicely complementing the funky backbone. I paired it with the chocolate cake of my cupcake, and it really took it to the next level.

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So there you have it! Straight from the horse’s mouth! If I do say so myself, this was one of our best tastings yet.

Until next time….hopefully not a year from now,

-Maddy

The Charleston Beer Exchange

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While waiting for us gals to arrive on Saturday, our dad and Ed did some exploring in downtown Charleston. They stumbled upon a cute beer shop near the battery called Beer Exchange. We returned to Beer Exchange during our Charleston day, and after browsing their exciting selection, quickly decided to buy a few bottles for an impromptu (birthday) beer tasting.
The Beer Exchange was Charleston’s first craft beer store when it opened in the fall of 2008. In addition to 900+ bottles and cans, they have nine rotating draft lines to fill growlers, and will ship any of the beers listed on their website (state laws permitting). One of the coolest services they provide is personalized beer tastings for parties or business events. You can hire the Beer Exchange staff to come to your home and deliver a blind tasting of several different beers of the same style, brewery-specific tastings, or chocolate and cheese pairings– just to name a few of the options.
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In contrast to our experience at Westbrook, the Beer Exchange staff couldn’t have been friendlier. After asking where we were visiting from, the cashier pointed out the famous Tørst glasses available for purchase–owners Scott Shor and Rich Carley have a close relationship with Jeppe of Evil Twin. We told her that a visit to Westbrook was on the agenda, and she suggested visiting The Revelry, a new brewery downtown, and Edmund’s Oast, a brewpub also owned by Shor and Carley. She was clearly passionate about beer, but totally unpretentious– a rare thing in the beer world.
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Photo credit: The Beer Exchange
For our tasting we decided on two local beers and a couple interesting bottles from old favorites. Prairie’s Flare, a citrus-forward gose, and a black currant sour by SC’s Thomas Creek were the crowd favorites. But that, my friends, is a post for another day. Have a great weekend!
-R

The Only Good Thing About Winter…

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…is dark beer! I’ve had so many delicious porters and stouts lately. There’s no better style to curl up on the couch with on a cold winter night. Here’s a look at some of the beers we drank while snowed in last weekend!

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On Saturday morning, once I got the official word that Hops and Hocks was closed, we made a big country breakfast and cracked open Hardywood’s Gingerbread Stout. We’ve talked about our love for this beer before, and I was pleased to find out that this year’s batch is just as good.

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We also did a taste comparison of Evil Twin’s Christmas Eve at a NYC Hotel Room from 2014 vs. 2015. We found both to be chocolatey, a bit smokey, and surprisingly easy-drinking for the ABV. The major difference was that the aged version was considerably boozier.

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I was surprised and delighted by the Mackeson Triple Stout, a milk stout that one of my Beer of the Month Club members dropped off for me to try. This thing is so ridiculously light bodied, smooth, and sweet, I could drink ’em all night. That’s a claim I rarely make about dark beers.

The cutest snow bunny of all!

This weekend I’m planning to have Prairie’s Barrel-Aged Bomb! and new dry-hopped dark farmhouse, Ape Snake. Those are sure to go on my list of Must Have Winter Beers. I’m pleased, happy, ecstatic to see warm weather in the forecast for the coming week. One weekend of blizzard was enough for this Barley Babe. What did you drink during your blizzard?

-R

Geyser Gose

I’m going to give you guys a sneak peek of the November Hops and Hocks Beer of the Month Club package! Not only are the beers all really delicious this month, they all have cool back stories!

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First up, the Geyser Gose, the first collaboration brew from Evil Twin and Connecticut-based Two Roads Brewing Company. In 2014 Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø of Evil Twin and Two Roads Brewmaster Phil Markowski decided to do a unique collaboration at the geographic mid-point between America and Denmark. Earlier this year the pair traveled to Iceland, and with the help of a local farmhouse brewery sourced local ingredients—Icelandic moss, rye, herbs, sea kelp, skyr (Icelandic yogurt) and birch-smoked sea salt to create a twist on this refreshing style. Geyser Gose is medium bodied with mild tanginess, notes of grass and lemon, and a clean finish.

Allison, Kristin and I split this one last week, and we all agreed it was refreshing and delicious. Maddy took a couple back to Virginia to try with Mac and Parkway peeps; can’t wait to hear her verdict. That’s right!! Maddy was in Brooklyn last week! We had many beer drinking Barley Babe adventures, so look forward to some good posts in the near future. Here’s a sneak peek:

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Life Gose On

We’ve entered that gorgeous, magical, fleeting period between summer and fall. Yesterday I went for an afternoon run and wasn’t afraid of collapsing from heat exhaustion! Allison wore pants to work! The smell radiating from the trash piles on the streets wasn’t quite as pungent! To celebrate, Allison and I took to our fire escape (in jeans and sleeves!) and enjoyed Evil Twin’s Mission Gose.

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A gose is a salty/sour beer with a low alcohol content. They’ve been my (and everyone else’s) beer of the summer. Maddy, who is typically ahead of the curve, has been into the style for quite a while.

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Evil Twin’s Mission Gose is more sour than salt forward, and has a slightly lingering pucker. The carbonation is mild and there are strong flavors of lemon, coriander, and grass. It’s flavorful, refreshing, and the bottle makes you feel like you’re at a swanky cocktail party, not just chillin’ on the fire escape because you’re too scared to climb the ladder to the roof. As a professed lover of warm weather, I’m usually sad to say goodbye to summer, but you know what? Let’s do it. I’m ready for a change. I’m ready for a fresh start in a new season. Farewell Summer 2015! This is the perfect beer to gose out on.

(I had to get one more pun in there.)

-Rach