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Sold-out 5th annual Cooper-Young Regional Beerfest showcases best beers from South

October 13, 2014 By: mike Category: Breweries, Craft beer, Events, Homebrew, Memphis

Cooper-Young Regional Beerfest

The best beers in the South were on tap at the 5th annual Cooper-Young Regional Beerfest on Saturday.

The sold-out craft beer festival, which is a fundraising event for the Cooper-Young Community Association, showcases breweries within a day’s drive from Memphis, plus beer from Memphis-area homebrewers.

Rain had threatened the festival, but it stayed pretty dry, and the festival might have been the best yet. I felt the beers were particularly strong this year, featuring an impressive variety of styles, and the vibe was as laid-back as ever.

My goal this year was to sample beers from breweries that were largely unfamiliar to me. I had some really great beers  — so picking my favorites was tough — but here’s my Top 5 beers from the festival :

1. “Bourbon Barrel Cocoa Porter,” Country Boy Brewing, Lexington KY — This decadent beer was my favorite of Country Boy’s strong slate of offerings, delivering a rich cocoa flavor with a bourbon finish.

2. “Peanut Butter AstroNut Brown,” Rocket Republic Brewing Company, Madison, AL — People looked at me with raised eyebrows when I suggested they try the “peanut butter beer” from Rocket Republic, but I think a lot of folks were won over by this American Brown Ale. The peanut butter was surprisingly subtle, adding just enough sweetness to make this a beer a winner.

3. “Breakfast Stout,” Bluff City Brewers & Connoisseurs, Memphis, TN — Brewed by homebrewer Adam Steele, the recipe is essentially the “Brewing Classic Styles” oatmeal stout, using a Randall to infuse the beer with Ugly Mug coffee beans. Adam also cold-steeped the roasted grains, pasteurized them at 180 degrees for 10 minutes and added directly to the fermenter. The result was a delicious coffee stout.

4. “Brother Joseph’s Belgian Dubbel,” Straight to Ale, Huntsville, AL — At 8% ABV, this was a surprising smooth abbey-stye ale with enough flavor that I could still taste the rich malt and fruit character after sampling beers for 3.5 hours.

5. “Masked Bandit India Pale Ale,” Piney River Brewing Co., Bucyrus, MO — There were plenty of hoppy beers on tap at the festival, but I particularly liked this well-balanced black rye IPA., hopped with Amarillo, Citra and Centennial.

What were the best beers you tried? Leave a comment below.

Here are some more photos from the event:

Cooper-Young Regional Beerfest - crowdThe festival drew nearly 1,000 people and sold out in record time.

Cooper-Young Regional Beerfest - YazooNashville’s Yazoo Brewing Company is always a festival favorite. Yazoo’s Ivan Chester (not pictured) brought some special brews for the occasion.

Cooper-Young Regional BeerfestMemphis Made Brewing’s Andy Ashby poured beers at the festival that he helped found five years ago.

Cooper-Young Regional Beerfest - Bluff City BrewersBeers from the Bluff City Brewers & Connoisseurs and Memphis Brewers Association — Memphis’ two homebrew clubs — were popular as always!

Memphis Beer Week: Events and specials at The Growler in Cooper-Young

April 18, 2014 By: mike Category: Craft beer, Events, Memphis, Uncategorized

Growler-Memphis

Here’s what’s happening next week at The Growler in Cooper-Young for Memphis Beer Week:

Monday, 4/21: $4 pints and free growlers to the first 10 growler fills

Tuesday, 4/22: Meet Andy, Drew and Alex from Memphis Made Brewing Company from 6-8 p.m.  Memphis Made Brewery pints will be $4. Also, homebrewers from Memphis’ two homebrew clubs, the Bluff City Brewers & Connoisseurs and Memphis Brewers Association, are planning a meet-up at The Growler at 7 p.m. Come by and talk beer.

Wednesday, 4/23: Ghost River pints will be $4.

Thursday, 4/24: Wiseacre Brewery pints will be $4.

Friday, 4/25: $4 flights and High Cotton Brewery pints for $4, as well.

Saturday, 4/26: Local brewery pints will be $4.

You can see the full list of official Memphis Beer Week events here.

Nick Vincent wins 2013 Boscos Pro Am with “Extracurricular Hoptivity” IPA

May 20, 2013 By: mike Category: Competition, Events, Homebrew, Memphis

Judging beers for the 2013 Boscos Pro Am.

Judging beers for the 2013 Boscos Pro Am.

Memphis homebrewer Nick Vincent is GABF bound.

Nick is the winner of the 2013 Boscos Pro Am, taking first place in the local competition with his Extracurricular Hoptivity IPA.

As the Pro Am winner, Nick, a member of the Bluff City Brewers & Connoisseurs, will get to brew his recipe on Boscos’ 7-barrel system, and his beer will go on tap at the brewpub this fall.

In addition, Nick will get to take a keg of his beer to Denver to compete in the 2013 Great American Beer Festival Pro Am. He’ll get an all-access pass to the festival from Boscos and airfare provided by the homebrew club.

“This was by far my best IPA I’ve ever made, and I was pretty excited about it when I submitted it,” he wrote in an e-mail today.

Best of Show in the Pro Am was rounded out by Ben Pugh (H.E. Wheat) and Charlie Patrick (“S” Stout).

As the winner of the 2012 Pro Am, I got to judge this year’s competition with Boscos head brewer Adam Hargrove. The competition was really tough, but Nick’s beer, a hopped-up American IPA made with Magnum and Citra hops, was our favorite, and I can’t wait to have another pint when it goes on tap at Boscos this fall.

Nick is in for a real treat when he brews the Extracurricular Hoptivity at Boscos in late August or early September. Here’s what I wrote about my experience when I got to brew my Red Hop Ale there last year.

Cheers, Nick!

Sellout crowd packs AutoZone Park for 2013 Memphis Brewfest

April 28, 2013 By: mike Category: Breweries, Craft beer, Events, Homebrew, Memphis

2013 Memphis Brewfest

A crowd of 2,000 beer lovers converged Saturday on AutoZone Park for the 4th Annual Memphis Brewfest, a celebration of American craft beers and international brews.

The 2013 festival, with more than 165 different beers sampled, was a big success. It rained, and the Grizzlies were playing the Clippers in Game 3 of the playoffs a few blocks away at FedExForum, and the festival still sold out on Saturday morning. Thankfully, there was covered space for all the booths in the concourse area of AutoZone Park, so everyone could stay dry.

There was beer from local and regional breweries, including Ghost River Brewing, Boscos, High Cotton Brewing, Yazoo Brewing Company and Blackstone Brewing Company. Two homebrew clubs were there: the Bluff City Brewers & Connoisseurs and Memphis Brewer’s Association. Craft and international beers were provided by distributors A.S. Barboro and Budweiser of Memphis, and for the first time, Joe’s Wines & Liquors even had a booth, pouring high-ABV selections from its Beer Nutz Beer Club.

The festival capped off the inaugural Memphis Beer Week, with beer tastings, beer dinners, firkin nights and pint nights all across town.

High Cotton at Memphis BrewfestMemphis’ High Cotton Brewing, which has just started brewing at its new facility on Monroe, had samples of its Saison and Scottish Ale at Memphis Brewfest.

Bluf City Brewers at Memphis BrewfestThe Bluff City Brewers & Connoisseurs served up some great homebrew, including the “High C’s” IPA, Extracurricular Hoptivity IPA, Rauch Me Like a Hurricane and Strange Fruit Watermelon Wheat, just to name a few.

Yazoo at Memphis BrewfestIn addition to its year-round beers, Nashville’s Yazoo Brewing Company had two special beers on tap — a barrel-aged version of its Sly Rye Porter, as well as the New Belgium sour collaboration “Rufus.”

Yazoo Big WheelYazoo also gave away this awesome custom big wheel to this lucky guy.

Tasters at Memphis BrewfestThe mission of Memphis Brewfest is to raise awareness of Duchenne muscular dystrophy. All net proceeds from the festival benefit Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy and the Memphis Redbirds Foundation.