Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Blue Ridge Brewing Company

Friends of Mrs Velkyal and I are getting married in April and have asked me to "consult" on the beer selection to be available for the reception. Thus it was, yesterday, that we found ourselves sat in the most convivial surroundings of the the Blue Ridge Brewing Company in Greenville, South Carolina. Unfortunately we didn't have our camera with us, so to get an idea of what the place looks like, see the Photos section of the their website.

Before I start on about the beer, just a quick word about the food - delicious. That's enough of a digression methinks.

On to the beer, I ordered a flight and in return received 6 decent sized samples of:
  • Kurli Blonde Ale
  • Colonel Paris Pale Ale
  • Rainbow Trout ESB
  • Total Eclipse Stout
  • Santa's Little Helper Porter
  • Little Wille Barley Wine
I have to admit that I have grave misgivings about blonde ales, I usually find them boring - perhaps that is because they are generally thought of as a crossover beer to introduce drinkers of regular beers to craft beer. Kurli Blonde really didn't change my opinion, sure it's well enough made, but just unexciting for me, but then I doubt I would be the target market for these kind of beers any more. The Colonel Paris Pale Ale on the other hand did make an impression, largely because it wasn't as in your face hoppy like some American Pale Ales and all the better for it.

The ESB was, well, an ESB, full of all the goodness of Kentish hops and with a nice malty body, very nice beer, so I had a pint of it once the flight was done, whilst wistfully wondering how much better it would be served from cask at cellar temperature rather than a tad too cold. They describe the stout as "Guinness without the acidity", which is certainly is, an excellent stout which belies its 6.7%ABV to be very drinkable.

Santa's Little Helper is their Christmas oatmeal porter, hopped with Galena apparently, and again a very nice beer, by this point my pulled pork sandwich had arrived, see previous comment about food. Last up on the beer front was Little Willie Barley Wine, a total treat and proof that an 11.5%ABV beer need not feel like drinking paint stripper, lots of seville orange flavours and a beautifully smooth body, simply a wonderful beer.

Overall I was very impressed with the Blue Ridge Brewing Company and will certainly be recommending at least one of their brews to our friends for their wedding. Just another quick digression into food, they make thier own tomato ketchup and it is delicious, it actually tastes like tomatoes instead of red coloured sugar.

Fantastic stuff.

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