May Craft Beer Report – Granite Falls Brewing, Salty Nut Brewery, Straight to Ale, Wooden Robot Brewery, Birdsong Brewing
Whether a brewery sends me a courtesy sample, I visit a brewery on a press trip, or I just stop in a brewery because beer, I sample a lot of beer. Each month, I summarize my favorites in a craft beer report.
The beginning of May marked a stop at Granite Falls Brewing for a CraftBeer.com freelance assignment. Granite Falls Brewing is a brewery I’d seen around North Carolina in the grocery store and at beer festivals but hadn’t yet tried. I was more than impressed with what I found. I wrapped up the month on a walk down beer memory lane in one of my favorite up-and-coming beer cities – Huntsville, Alabama. And, of course, I always have a local favorite or two from right here in the Queen City – Charlotte.
Granite Falls Brewing Tailypo Belgian Quad (Draught, 14.9% ABV)
Where: Granite Falls Brewing in Granite Falls, North Carolina
Pairing: A mongo flight of beers
Notes: Tailypo is part of Granite Falls Brewing’s Appalachian Storytellers Series where proceeds from beer sales go towards the North Carolina Writers Network. Tailyop is based on Southern folklore of a monstrous cat tormenting a man who stole his tail. However, the real story here is the beer itself. The liquid is aged in Nicaraguan rum barrels that had been in use for over 50 years! This monster cat of a beer roars with a mean flavor punch of figs, dates, raisin, and molasses over a mellow bed of aged rum.
Salty Nut Brewery Hop Naughty IPA (Draught, 7% ABV, 70 IBU)
Where: A mock Oktoberfest at the Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama
Pairing: The sweet taste of victory after co-winning a stein hoisting competition at a beer festival
Notes: On my first trip to Huntsville, I didn’t get a good taste of Salty Nut Brewery as they were in the process of moving to their new location near Campus 805. This time, however, I made sure to sample a full range of their product. Their IPA stood out as a top IPA in Huntsville, and, according to the accolades bestowed on the beer (a gold in the IPA category at the Alabama Craft Beer Festival), a top IPA in Alabama. The Hop Naughty IPA balanced an aggressive citrus over a resiny pine. The low malt structure allows this beer to be a real thirst quencher.
Straight to Ale Velvet Evil Old Ale (Draught, 11% ABV, 68 IBU)
Where: Straight to Ale’s OG location in Huntsville, Alabama
Pairing: Good friends
Notes: The best way to describe Straight to Ale’s Velvet Evil is dessert in a glass. From the moment the beer is poured, a chocolatey perfume of raspberries fills the air in a manner that brings a smile to everyone’s face within a whiffing radius. Those same sweet aromas carry forth to the palate with the slight addition of bitter coffee notes to balance out the sweetness. I’d like to see this beer formed into sauce and poured over a heaping slice of cheesecake.
Wooden Robot Brewery Lil’ Sebastian Northeast IPA (Draught, 7.2% ABV)
Where: Carolina Beer Temple Ayrsley in Charlotte, North Carolina
Pairing: A perfect spring evening
Notes: Charlotte breweries have this bad habit of releasing a Northeast IPA for a week or two and then leaving us fans of the hazy, juicy take on the IPA wanting for more. Wooden Robot Brewery’s Lil’ Sebastian NE IPA is a great example. Lil’ Sebastian in particular stood out as the juicy citrus notes were balanced with more than a touch of dankness to make this Northeast IPA not quite as much of a quaffer but a patio sipper.
Birdsong Brewing Higher Ground IPA on Nitro (Draught, 7% ABV, 65 IBU)
Where: Birdsong Brewing in Charlotte, North Carolina
Pairing: Good friends
Notes: Just when I thought Birdsong Brewing’s Higher Ground IPA couldn’t get any better, I tried it on nitro. The already crushable, West Coast styled, citrus bomb of an IPA became even more drinkable with creamy overtures from the nitro. So nice, I drank and thrice (and made my wife drive me home…).