Pintful: Special brew lined up for Raleigh Beer Week

jfrank@newsobserver.comAugust 13, 2013 

  • What’s On Tap Lonerider Movie Night

    8:30 p.m. Aug. 24 at Lonerider Brewing Co., 8816 Gulf Court #100, Raleigh.

    The inaugural movie night at Lonerider Brewing’s onsite taproom features “Beer Hunter,” a documentary film about Michael Jackson, the legendary author of “The World Guide to Beer” and TV beer evangelist. Free, but donations for charity suggested. Info:

    Raleigh Beer Week

    Aug. 25-Sept. 1

    A weeklong celebration of the local beer scene starts with the noon tapping of the special Mon Cheri collaboration ale. Also Aug. 25, Flying Saucer in Raleigh will feature eight exclusive cast ales from North Carolina breweries. Natty Greene’s will show the “Beer Hunter” documentary at 9 p.m. at the brewery. Info:

    High Country Beer Fest

    Aug. 31 in Boone, at Broyhill Inn and Conference Center, 77 Bodenheimer Drive.

    More than two dozen breweries – including a number of North Carolina favorites – will serve from 3 to 7 p.m. in a beautiful mountain setting. Tickets start at $35. Info:

Raleigh’s emergence as a craft beer city now includes its own brew – a Belgian pale ale made with cherries and aged in North Carolina apple brandy oak barrels.

The special collaboration beer – called Mon Cheri – is the highlight of the upcoming Raleigh Beer Week that starts Aug. 25.

It draws inspiration from the legendary Cherry Bounce liqueur that local lore suggests influenced state lawmakers in 1788 to locate the state capital within 10 miles of Isaac Hunter’s Tavern.

“We talked about making something Raleigh – what makes Raleigh Raleigh,” said Chris Powers, the organizer and co-owner of Busy Bee Cafe and Trophy Brewing in Raleigh.

Big Boss spearheaded the beer with help from many of the 13 venues that are participating in the weeklong ode to the city’s growing craft brewing scene.

Now in its fourth year, Raleigh Beer Week is designed to showcase the city’s beer bars and breweries, the latter of which now number near a dozen within city limits.

With at least three events a day, it’s a craft beer enthusiast’s playlist and serves as a guidebook for newcomers with mix beer dinners and special brews. Trophy Brewing also collaborated with Johnston County’s Deep River for an imperial India pale ale, dry hopped with hops from Farm Boy Farms in Pittsboro.

“We think there is a really big beer scene in Raleigh and we are trying to draw attention to it,” Powers said.

To help with the Mon Cheri, Powers said he milled the grain while staffers from other Raleigh craft beer havens, such as Tasty Beverage Company and Tyler’s Taproom, added hops and assisted Big Boss’ lead brewer Bobby McInerny.

The commemorative ale – which is fermenting on cherries and aging in the brandy barrels for another week – is likely a one-hit wonder. Here’s how McInerny describes the taste: a little fruity and spicy from the Belgian yeast strain with a tartness and light sweetness imparted by the cherries, finished with a little wood flavor and a faint brandy hint. Translation: Don’t miss it. All 13 venues will tap kegs of the beer at noon Aug. 25.

An ode to the master

Being known as a “craft beer columnist” is a cool title. But Michael Jackson’s moniker is the best: beer hunter. It’s the name of Jackson’s former Discovery Channel television series and an apt description for the world’s best-known beer writer, the man who catalogued brews from around the world in his definitive 1977 tome, “World Guide to Beer.” The book serves as a basis for how we categorize beer today and still inspires enthusiasts, even years after his 2007 death.

Jackson’s story comes to Raleigh next week with the screening of a documentary as part of beer week festivities. Director John R. Richards traveled with Jackson as he hunted for rare beer across the world, visiting Belgium, the Czech Republic and California, and the documentary celebrates how the writer helped launch the craft beer movement.

Lonerider Brewing’s taproom will screen “Beer Hunter” at 8:30 p.m. Aug. 24. Or see it a day later, on the opening of Raleigh Beer Week, at Natty Greene’s in downtown Raleigh at 9 p.m.

What I’m tasting

A summer’s worth of traveling for vacation means my fridge is filled with special out-of-state brews. These are the ones amateur beer hunters like myself go miles out of their way to taste. So while you can’t find these at local beer shops, add them to your bucket list.

The first is Alchemist’s Heady Topper, a double India pale ale brewed in Vermont, that comes in a silver bullet, 16-ounce can. You don’t know IPA until you’ve had one.

Likewise in the pale ale category, Three Floyds Brewing’s Alpha King and Zombie Dust make hops dance on your palate. The Munster, Ind., brewery is worth a pilgrimage and offers some of the most sought-after beers in the nation.

Another obscure brewery that deserves a mention is Jackie O’s in Athens, Ohio, where I tasted a divine double stout called Oil of Aphrodite that is thicker than its namesake and way tastier.

Contact John at 919-829-4698 or On Twitter @ByJohnFrank.

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