Saturday, February 18, 2012

Yazoo Fortuitous Day

Today was a Yazoo sort of day.  Started with the "Yazoo Barely a 4K run."  Even though I failed miserably on my "run the whole run" goal (darn those hills... I guess I need to get outside for runs more often instead of sticking to the level, cushioned surfaces of the gym... the hills totally killed me), I was still glad I did the run. My goal is to actually run one all the way through in the Fall as I start to get my fat self back in shape.  Likely the earliest I have popped a beer in many moons, as we were drinking Gerst and Sly Rye at 7:45a before the run and at 10:00 or so after.  Though I didn't win any raffle swag, I got another Yazoo pint glass, a couple plastic Yazoo cups, and a nice Yazoo hoodie.

Later, we moved to the brewery for Fortuitous day.  This link tells the full story behind the brew (go ahead...  I'll wait), and the culmination was a party on the upper deck of the brewery that was coupled with the lottery for chances to buy this limited edition soured imperial smoked porter.  The party ended up being a nice beer swap/share, with lots of great beers available for consumption (Pliny, Founders BS and CBS, Ommegang, Mikkeller, FFF, Bell's, Racer5, and many more... oh, and of course Gerst, Sue, Sly Rye, etc. from the home team).  I provided some FFF, Bell's, and Sun King as my contribution, but I think that the beers I tasted far outweighed my contribution to the party.

Unfortunately I accidentally left my phone in Franklin so I didn't get any pics.  So I instead linked some pics here that others posted:


My lottery number did not get called (bummer!), but I was able to take home 4 bottles of Fortuitous due to a freind and his wife both hitting their numbers.  One in the fridge, one to be cellared, and a couple to be used to share with friends or swap.  I also took home a bottle of the original soured Sue that lead to this beer and event even happening.

Thanks to Yazoo Brewing Company for a great day all around...

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Blackstone Brewery tour and Beer School

The Blackstone beer tour was a great of fun. For those outside of Nashville, Blackstone has been in existence since '94 or so, so they are Nashville's oldest brewer still in existence. They have won many awards at the GABF and WBC, as evidenced by:

Their Porter, for instance, is the most honored porter in the country. It has won more awards than any other beer in that category...

When I got a great Groupon deal to tour their new facility (opened six months ago), I jumped at the chance. The tour (and "brew school") consisted of a 2-hour tour and tasting at their new brewing/bottling facility. 

Arriving at the facility, we were handed our 'beer goggles,' as this is a working brewery:

We were greeted by the owner of Blackstone, Kent Taylor, who informed us of the history of Blackstone and gave a nice "beer school" of the process of brewing:

The tour ended with a tasting of five of the Blackstone beers (four pictured, plus an Irish Stout):

and then finally, lunch and a sampler at the brewpub/restaurant:

Really glad I went.  And what a value...  tour and school, tastings, free sampler, four bottles to take home, and a pint glass for $10!   I didn't learn a lot that I didn't know about brewing, but I learned a lot about their actual setup and history. And also about their future, as it seems they've really set this facility up for the future. Seeing their spiffy new computer controlled mash/lauter/hops/boil/whirlpool setup made me very jealous. And their kick-butt bottling system they bought from Magic Hat pushes 100 bottles per minute (Magic Hat's replacement one pushes 400/min). I wonder if they'd let me use their equipment on the weekends... Apparently I'd only take less than a minute to bottle... 

Interesting side note...  Dave Miller, Blackstone's brewmaster for many years, used to work for Schlafly.  When Schlafly heard about this new brewery that Blackstone was setting up, they approached them about brewing Schlafly Pale for them, as they were exceeding the capacity of their brewery.  Thus, this facility also brews Schlafly Pale for distribution in kegs in this region.

Very interesting day...  Blackstone is at many points in the shadow of Yazoo (and they seem to have a chip on their shoulder about it), but they are a fine brewery who has a fine brewmaster that creates very tasty brews.  They only distribute in middle TN right now, but be on the lookout for their bottles once they expand their distribution.

EDIT:  The Lost Beers did a nice profile on Blackstone, including the publication of five of the homebrew recipes that were used to develop the Blackstone core beers.