Growler

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I got this growler a few months ago for “free” when signing up as a member of the Brewmaster’s club (basically I pay a monthly fee and then try to drink enough beer to get my money back) at my local Casual Pint. It’s billed as a $40 value, and it looks like a sort of scepter, so it certainly appears to be at least a $40 value. I feel a little silly and ostentatious carrying the thing around, but boy does it keep my beer fresh. I can pour a glass from it and clamp the lid down and leave it for a couple of days (though that’s a rare occurrence) and it just about bursts open with pressure when I unclamp it again. Every other growler I’ve had loses pressure after the first open and leaves me feeling like I’m racing against the clock to drink the beer before it loses its head. So, silly as it looks and as much room as it takes up in my fridge (the growler itself and not just its big fancy handle is a lot bigger than your typical growler), I’ve sure liked this one.

I got another for Christmas that’s much more streamlined, a vacuum thingy that purportedly keeps things at temperature for a day or so, and I’m looking forward to giving it a proper test drive too.

Crafty Bastard Brewery

Occasionally over the last few years, I’ve gone to a co-working space near downtown to work mostly by myself. Although it’s sort of a co-working space and sort of a community technology center, I seldom run into people there, and it amuses me to co-work alone. When I go, it’s not for the social angle, though. It’s usually because the kids are home for the summer and have a bunch of other kids running in and out of the house, which makes it hard for me to focus. Every once in a while it’s because my internet fails. Sometimes it’s partially because I’m craving a sandwich from Holly’s Corner, which is a short walk from the facility.

In the last year or so, I’ve gone a lot less frequently, and a craft brew pub has opened up across the street in the mean time. The other day, I knocked off work a little early to stop by and see the place, hoping to get a growler filled. The Crafty Bastard is a neat place. I always feel self-conscious about taking photos, so I didn’t get shots of the big local photos framed for sale on the walls. I didn’t get photos of the I’d guess 4-story ceiling. I also didn’t snap any pictures of the barrels and kegs and buckets lining some of the walls in various states of the brewing process. I did quickly snap a shot of the unassuming line of taps and the beer list.

They brew their own beer and bill themselves as a nanobrewery. I wasn’t able to get a growler filled because if they poured out growlers full, they’d run out of stock too fast. Items on the board with a pink dot are brewed in-house, and the others are contributed by local brewers (I read this somewhere but can’t now find the reference).

I tried the Tessellation IPA in spite of the mention of notes of mango (I don’t generally like mango). Only after ordering this one did I see the Samoa Cookie beer, which seemed weird and interesting. So I had one of those too. I liked them both but preferred the Samoa to the other. I quipped that they should garnish the beer with one of the namesake cookies, and the bar tender said that when they premiered the beer, they put a box of Samoas on each table.

This is definitely a hipster bar. As the photo suggests, there’s kind of a DIY vibe, and one of the bar tenders changed the vinyl record he was playing while I was there. There were tattoos and beards and pomaded hair, and I felt very much out of place as definitely the squarest person in the room. At 4:00 on a Wednesday afternoon, it wasn’t very crowded, though, and that’s always a selling point for me, though it was 4:00 on a Wednesday, and I’ll bet that it hops a little more during the more traditional heavy drinking hours.

Thunderstruck Coffee Porter

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Here we have the Highland Brewery’s Black Mocha Stout — one of my very favorite beers — and one new to me, the Thunderstruck Coffee Porter. I had gone out today to pick up a pack of the former and happened to see the latter. Even though I’m not a coffee drinker, part of what I like about the black mocha stout is its roasty coffee(ish) flavor. The Thunderstruck really takes the coffee flavoring to a new extreme. Drinking this beer, to me, seems pretty much like drinking a cold coffee. Since I’m not a great fan of coffee as a dominant flavor (it’s dandy as an accent), the coffee is a bit overstrong for me in this beer. It’s an organic beer, and the coffee is roasted in the brewery’s own Asheville, so the locavore aspect of it (even if Asheville is a couple of hours away from me) appeals to me and is in fact part of why I’m a fan of the Highland Brewery to begin with. I’ve so far liked each of the other Highland beers I’ve tried, with this new one being my least favorite. You can read about some of their other varieties here.