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Brewtopia Events LLC

Owen Ogletree's Brewtopia Brewsletter: 05/20/2012

In this issue:


2013 Atlanta Cask Ale Tasting & Classic City Brew Fest Tickets NOW ON SALE!

Terrapin's Norway Connection

Brewers Association: Craft Brewing Volume Hops 13 Percent

Pubs to Host Homebrew Competitions

Featured Beery Links & Events

Tasting Notes: UK-Inspired Brews

"People's Choice" Cask Awards at Classic City Brew Fest

Craft Beer on the Coast

ORT's Classic City Brew Fest Report

Brewsletter Sponsor

Follow Brewtopia Events on Facebook!

Follow our craft beer adventures on Facebook...


"We absolutely love Owen's Beer Bingo events!"... Kimberly Charles of the Georgia Ale & Lager Sirens (GALS).


Taste 12 world-class beers and try to match each beer to a styles list at Owen Ogletree's two upcoming Beer Bingo sessions. It's a great party, enjoyable beer education, and our beer limerick hints are hilarious! Prizes for top scorers include t-shirts, gift packs, brewery tour passes and free tickets to the Atlanta Cask Ale Tasting and Classic City Brew Fest!


Click below to purchase Beer Bingo tickets today at only $18.50 per person. Each session is limited to only 20 participants.


ATHENS: Sunday, June 3, 2012, 3:00-5:30 PM

Aromas Craft Beer & Wine Bar - 1235 S. Milledge Ave., Athens, GA

Click here for tickets!


ATLANTA: Sunday, June 24, 2012, 3:00-5:30 PM

5 Seasons Westside - 1000 Marietta St. NW, Atlanta, GA

Click here for tickets!


A benefit for Project Safe Women's Shelter. This event is for craft beer education and involves NO gambling. 21 and up. No tickets will be mailed - your name(s) will simply be on a guest list at the door. No refunds on tickets.


2013 Atlanta Cask Ale Tasting & Classic City Brew Fest Tickets NOW ON SALE!

Tickets have now gone on sale EARLY for our 2013 Atlanta Cask Ale Tasting and Athens Classic City Brew Fest...


ATLANTA CASK ALE TASTING (Saturday, January 26, 2013) allows attendees to sample almost 40 rare, cask-conditioned real ales from the USA & UK, take home a free Peak Organic pint glass and vote for "People's Choice" cask - all while experiencing one of the Southeast's most highly regarded craft beer events! Delectable food from 5 Seasons and Taco Mac will also be on sale! A benefit for the Atlanta Humane Society. Click here for tickets and full details.


CLASSIC CITY BREW FEST (Sunday, April 7, 2013) offers sampling of around 300 world-class craft beers from around the world, a cask ale pavilion with 15 one-off real ales and live music from Tropical Breeze. A benefit for the Athens-Area Humane Society. Click here for tickets, information and Foundry hotel rooms for Saturday and Sunday nights on our newly revamped BrewFest website. Yes, right now the Foundry is offering deeply discounted hotel rooms for each night of BrewFest weekend! Get a beautiful room at the Foundry for Saturday and Sunday nights, tour Terrapin and Athens' pubs on Saturday, then hit the BrewFest on Sunday!


Terrapin's Norway Connection

By Owen Ogletree (From the current issue of Southern Brew News)


Collaborate (col•lab•o•rate): to work jointly with others or together, especially in an intellectual endeavor.


Brian "Spike" Buckowski lives in Athens, Georgia and loves The Grateful Dead, Heavy Metal and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Kjetil Jikiun is a licensed airline pilot who hails from frozen Norway, is built like a Viking, wears shorts year-round and enjoys eating boiled sheep's head. What do these two unlikely collaborators have in common? They are fervent craft brewers who worked together last February in the creation of a new beer - Nøgne Ø / Terrapin Imperial Rye Porter.


Spike, the co-owner and brewer of Athens' Terrapin Beer Company, truly enjoys brewing collaborative beers in other countries. The tradition began two years ago in Belgium at the De Proef brewery, and 2011's mutual brew took place at BFM in Switzerland.


"Doing our 2012 international collaboration beer in Norway with Nøgne Ø was great," notes Spike. "It's a rewarding learning experience to watch how other brewers formulate recipes compared to myself. I really think that our Imperial Rye Porter was a fun exercise for Kjetil and I, and I think it's safe to say that we both feel this beer will be something special for both of us and our fans."


Community of Cooperation


Kjetil feels that the craft beer community as a whole must labor together in promoting their flavorful beers, and Nøgne Ø embodies this attitude of openness and cooperation. "We share information on our brewing processes and recipes," Kjetil explains. "Everyone in Norway thinks of us as 'the friendly brewery.' We try to work with other breweries, because this is good for the overall craft beer culture."


Nøgne Ø stands as the pioneering craft brewery in Norway, and the road to building a viable beer culture in the country proved to be anything but easy for Kjetil and his team. Restrictive Norwegian alcohol laws, along with a population enamored with light, continental lagers required Nøgne Ø to focus as much on beer education as brewing.


"We want to make our region understand craft beer, and this really requires us to educate the drinkers here about what we are doing," says Kjetil. "We were the first craft brewery to start in Norway, and so far we have been successful in creating a growing beer culture here."


Alex, Charlie and Kjetil brave the

Norwegian cold in shorts!

They look like cell phone bars!


Recipe for Success


Only four years ago, only 40% of Nøgne Ø's beers were sold in Norway, with the rest exported to other countries. Today, Norwegians consume more than 80% of the brewery's production. After just a few years in their current building, Nøgne Ø ran out of space and were forced to move beer storage to a leased barn just down the road and convert a cold liquor tank into a fermenter just to keep up with demand for their popular IPA.


The Nøgne Ø / Terrapin Imperial Rye Porter holds the promise of being equally popular and will most likely sell out in short order. The ale also marks the first time that Nøgne Ø has used spicy rye malt in a dark beer. Spike loves using rye, and his only solid request in producing recipes for collaborative ales is that rye malt must make up a portion of the grist.


Hop to It!


Spike and Kjetil actually decided on which hops to use in the Imperial Rye Porter while mashing in. Amarillo formed the first choice, but a severe shortage of this hop in the U.S. made it unavailable. The two brewers finally decided on a hop bill of Chinook for bittering and Bobek Styrian Golding B from Slovenia and Columbus as flavor and aroma hops. While Kjetil despises math and has developed quite an insightful, artistic way of estimating hop quantities for a brew, Spike grabbed a calculator and crunched the numbers for several minutes. In the end, both brewers were surprisingly close in their hop computations.


As karma would also have it, the day of the Terrapin brew fell very close to the 10th anniversary of Nøgne Ø, and a huge celebration took place in the brewery that evening - including tasty beers from Spike and Kjetil and, of course, boiled sheep's head.


My, How You Have Grown


Nøgne Ø's brewery home for the past seven years has been an attractive, old hydroelectric plant that was built in 1914, but a new, more spacious location has been secured for a gradual move over the next few years.


Growth seems the order of the day for Terrapin as well, with a load of impressive new fermenters being installed along with a state-of-the-art 100 bbl Rolec brewing system slated for installation in August. Spike anticipates, "Terrapin is definitely going to be cranking out much bigger batches this fall."


Collaboration = Creativity


Being innovative and energetic leaders in their two breweries, Spike and Kjetil seem skilled at making thoughtful, independent decisions about brewing schedules, recipes and distribution. However, both personalities meshed extremely well in a spirit of cooperation and creativity during the collaborative brew.


Kjetil's love of craft beer and his brewery makes him a visionary and leader at Nøgne Ø. Throughout the day, employees constantly come to him for decisions and guidance. "If I'm not at the brewery making decisions, then things tend to slow down and crash," he says. "I should feel flattered, but I wish sometimes I could just have some time off."


Participating in the formulation and production of a new collaboration formed an energizing growth opportunity for both brewers. "Naturally, we at Nøgne Ø were excited to have Spike come over," remarked Kjetil. "Terrapin's affinity for Rye was not an oddity for Nøgne Ø, but we were slightly puzzled when Spike suggested imperializing our porter and giving it a 'Terrapin touch.'  But this rye porter worked out well and is unlike anything we have brewed before - it surely has its own identity."


UPDATE: The collaboration ale has now made the journey across the Atlantic, so beer fans in the Southeast should expect the beer to hopefully hit shelves sometime in the next couple of weeks! Owen and Spike got to taste the brew at the recent Craft Brewers Conference in San Diego, and are pleased to report that it is a truly magnificent ale loaded with spicy rye notes, rich dark malts and an impressive hop backdrop.

Brewers Association: Craft Brewing Volume Hops 13 Percent

Craft brewers saw volume rise 13 percent, with a 15 percent increase in retail sales from 2010 to 2011, representing a total barrel increase of 1.3 million.


“While the overall beer market experienced a 1.32 percent volume decrease in 2011, craft brewing saw significant growth, surpassing five percent total market volume share for the first time,” said Paul Gatza, director, Brewers Association. “It’s becoming increasingly clear that with the variety of styles and flavors to choose from, Americans are developing a strong taste for high-quality, small-batch beer from independent brewers.”


“We saw rapid growth in brewery openings last year, particularly with microbrewery start-ups, and these numbers are poised to rise even more in 2012,” added Gatza. “In February 2012, we already topped 2,000 operating breweries - a truly remarkable milestone. We look forward to even more success and the continued expansion of the craft beer market.”

Pubs to Host Homebrew Competitions

Twain’s Billiard’s & Tap in Decatur, GA presents the First Annual Lights vs. Darks Homebrew Competition. Twain’s is offering Atlanta homebrewers the chance to compete for the opportunity to brew a winning beer at the brewery and have it served to the public. As the name suggests, this competition will focus on both light and dark beers. Judges will choose their favorite of each, and the brewer(s) of the two winning beers will spend a day brewing their recipe in-house along with Twain’s brewers David Stein and Chase Medlin.


Submissions must be all-grain with a sufficient recipe to back it up. There is no limitation on style or number of beers submitted. Simply, light beers will range from golden to amber and dark beers from brown to black. Brewers are required to submit three 12 ounce bottles of each beer. Bottles must be labeled in some way with a beer name, style, and contact information. All beers must be submitted to the brewery at Twain’s by Monday, June 25, 6pm.


Taco Mac also plans to accept homebrew submissions in July for a Pro-Am competition, with the winning beer to be made by Red Brick in January of 2013. Visit the Taco Mac website for details.


Featured Beery Links & Events

  • 06/06/2012 - CASK ALE NIGHT at Copper Creek in Athens, GA. Stop by at 6 PM to see which special beer the brewer has conditioned in a firkin.
  • 06/03/2012 - BEER BINGO ATHENS hosted by Owen Ogletree - 3 PM Aromas Craft Beer & Wine Bar. Get Tickets.
  • 06/24/2012 - BEER BINGO ATLANTA hosted by Owen Ogletree - 3 PM 5 Seasons Brewing Westside. Get Tickets.
  • 06/8-9/2012 - SAVOR: An American Craft Beer & Food Experience - Washington, DC.
  • 01/26/2013 - ATLANTA CASK ALE TASTING. 5 Seasons & Taco Mac Prado. Tickets are available NOW!
  • 04/07/2013 - CLASSIC CITY BREW FEST. Foundry Park Inn & Melting Point, Athens, GA. Tickets are on sale NOW!
  • BREWTOPIA EVENTS' FULL INTERACTIVE BEER CALENDAR is always just a click away - featuring the best beer happenings around the Southeast and beyond.


Tasting Notes: UK-Inspired Brews

Owen Ogletree, The Beer Wench and Nick Allen conducted a blind tasting of ten UK-style brews from America and England. Check out our summaries...

ANCHOR PORTER 5.6% ABV - Sweet, fruity aromas of chocolate malt and cocoa. Pleasing flavors of chocolate and mild hops. Sweet brown sugar hints and caramel malts backed by a somewhat dry, toasty finish. A classic, well-made porter.


CAINS DARK MILD 3.2% ABV - Light and refreshing with hints of caramel, cocoa, toffee, and fruit. Lots of flavor for such a low gravity brew. Briny with notes of hard water. Quite quaffable, and a perfect example of this rare style.


DUCK RABBIT BROWN ALE 5.5% ABV - Tart notes of acid fruit and yeast complexity. Background is chocolate and caramel malts. Beautiful appearance.


FRENCH BROAD 3 REBELS ESB 5.2% ABV - Earthy, herbal, over-ripe fruit. Sweet, grassy, toast, and complex esters. Lots of caramel and toffee hints.


HARPOON CELTIC ALE 5.4% ABV - Notes of hops, caramel malts, and tea. Carbonation seems mild, which is good for style. Great balance of malt, hops and fruity esters. Nice session beer.


NEWCASTLE FOUNDERS ALE 4.8% ABV - Earthy aromas and hints of herbs. Very mild, earthy flavors. Muddled and a bit lifeless. Hop bitterness comes through a bit.


OLD SPECKLED HEN 5.2% ABV - Apple hints and notes of sweet butterscotch and complex fruits. Deep flavors of toffee, dark fruit, tea, thyme, wood, and mild English hops. Finishes somewhat dry and slightly bitter.


PEAK ORGANIC NUT BROWN ALE 4.8% ABV - Mild aromas of chocolate, caramel and brown sugar waft from the glass. Roasted nuts, slightly smoky malts, dark caramel and subtle hops highlight the flavor profile. Quite refreshing at 4.8%.


SHIPYARD EXPORT 5.0% ABV - Fruity, floral, jasmine-like, woody aroma. Nice hop flavor on a base of golden malt and subtle fruit esters. Hints of toffee and citrus. An extremely appealing, drinkable ale.


THOMAS CREEK APPALACHIAN AMBER 5.5% ABV - Sweet malt in the aroma with hints of fruity esters. Dark fruit flavors with notes of cocoa and toffee.  A malty amber ale with herbal undertones.




"People's Choice" Cask Awards at Classic City Brew Fest

17 amazing, one-off cask ales were up for sampling on the new Cask Ale Pavilion at last April's very successful Classic City Brew Fest in Athens, Georgia. Here are the results of our People's Choice voting for favorite cask...



WRECKING BAR SLAP-YO-MAMA SMOKED PORTER with Tahitian vanilla beans. See photo above of Wrecking Bar's Kristine & Bob Sandage at the BrewFest.



LAZY MAGNOLIA BONNIE BLUE BOMB - Southern Pecan with blueberries, coconut, lemon and cinnamon. A thoroughly complex and flavorful cask.



MAX LAGER'S IMPERIAL MOCHA OATMEAL STOUT (IMOS) on dark roast coffee and Ghana cocoa nibs. This is the same base beer that took a bronze medal at the Great American Beer Festival for brewer John Robers (pictured below with Classic City Brew Fest award).



Craft Beer on the Coast

Savannah's Distillery craft beer bar has slated their 3rd annual Belgian Beer Week for June 18-23. The pub will dedicate all 21 draft lines to classic Belgian beers and U.S. inspired Belgian-style ales, and customers can pair their ale with daily mussel and frites specials. On June 21, Darren Quinlan of Wetten Importers will be on hand to showcase his intriguing Belgian portfolio. Also be on the lookout in early June for Distillery's release party kick-off of Coastal Empire Beer Company's new Tybee Island Blonde kolsch.


Owen poses with Distillery owners

Ben (L) and Michael Volen (R).


ORT's Classic City Brew Fest Report

Brew Fest Notes Found in a Soggy Pocket


Ort attended the 2012 Classic City Brew Fest, and his mind has finally cleared enough to tell us about it.


From William Orten Carlton = ORT


It was a daunting task, it was, but I managed to pull it off. The 17th annual Classic City Brew Fest, that is. I made it all the way through without falling asleep, falling over or falling in love. (The last was the biggest challenge of the day. Sigh.) Let me begin at the beginning...


Read ORT's full Flagpole report.


Brewsletter Sponsor

Monday Night Brewing Drafty Kilt Scotch Ale


From our friends at Monday Night...

A roasty scotch ale with a hint of smoke. Full-bodied, but not overpowering. Smokey, but not in a creepy bar kind of way. Sweet, but not obnoxiously so. Sound like your ideal mother-in-law? Fair enough, but it also is a pretty dead-on description of our Scotch Ale. In a difficult hop-growing climate, Scottish brewers relied on other ingredients to impart flavor and bitterness – one such ingredient was smoked malt. Drafty Kilt is a dark, malty bombshell of a beer.


7.2% ABV / 26 IBUs / Hops: Columbus and Willamette.

Grains include cherrywood-smoked malt, chocolate malt, and roasted barley


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CLICK HERE and "like" Brewtopia Events on Facebook and see photos and posts from Owen Ogletree and The Beer Wench as they sip, quaff and sniff craft beer around the world. Also join in our lively craft beer discussions, posts and updates on exciting beer happenings!



  • Owen posts from Left Hand, Oskar Blues, Avery and New Belgium breweries in Colorado.
  • Hear about the amazing cask ales in Leeds, England and the Lake District as Owen once again heads across the pond to sample cask ales this summer.
Owen Ogletree is an Athens, GA beer writer, beer traveler, nationally certified beer judge, and founder/director of, the Classic City Brew Fest, and the Atlanta Cask Ale Tasting. Phone: (706) 254-BREW.
Brewtopia Events LLC • 265 Newton Bridge Rd. • Athens, GA 30607
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