#123 – Blue Stallion Brewing Co in Lexington, KY

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(1) THE BREWERY & OUR EXPERIENCE

During our time in Lexington, KY, we received multiple recommendations to check out Blue Stallion Brewing company. We originally made our way over there on Saturday night and then went back the following day to speak with co-founder Jim Clemons. Blue Stallion is currently the only brewery in Kentucky distributing lagers, which became a focus of head brewer Nico Schulz after getting his brewing start in Germany and then attending the Siebel Institute of Technology in Chicago, IL. Blue Stallion has a principal focus on traditional German lagers and English ales featuring traditional and proper glassware to pair with each style; they do not make any American styles. The taproom features a bar taller than any we have experienced in a space that used to house an old iron working studio. We had an incredible time there both days and thoroughly enjoyed all of the beers we got to try, including a collaboration they did with Against the Grain called All Funked Up Berwynnerweisse.

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#122 – Country Boy Brewing in Lexington, KY

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(1) OUR EXPERIENCE

Our stay in Lexington, KY led us over to Country Boy Brewing on a Sunday afternoon. This brewery has a rugged feel both inside and out on their back patio and completes the mood with country music playing in the background. There are 24 tap handles at the bar: 11 of which were in-house Country Boy brews that ran the spectrum from a blonde to a gose to a barrel-aged stout during our visit, while the other 13 were guest tap handles from various breweries in the area as well as across the country. These guys have made themselves stand out by barrel aging beers right from the start, doing collaborations with multiple other breweries, and even growing their own peppers to add to their beers. The bartender, Zac, will help direct you in the right direction for your tastes and mood, so don’t miss out on a trip to their taproom!

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#120 – Jackie O’s Brewery in Athens, OH

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(1) OUR EXPERIENCE

Our visit to Jackie O’s was top notch and ended up being the longest one we’ve had yet, as we spent just over 12 hours talking to their owner, brewers, and other staff between our visits to the new production brewery and the original brewpub location downtown. This growing Ohio brewery has many unique things going on, like having their own farm offsite to grow ingredients on, multiple bottle releases every year, expanding barrel age and sour programs, and more; all of which you can get more information about by reading below. Their brews are packaged in kegs, cans, and multiple sizes of bottles for you to purchase and share with your friends, growler fills are offered at the production facility tap room, and the brewpub has excellent food to pair with whatever you end up drinking. As of now, you can only find Jackie O’s beer in Ohio and in a few counties in Kentucky, so be sure to pick some up if you’re ever in the area!

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#104 – Sixpoint in Brooklyn, NY

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(1) OUR EXPERIENCE

Although Sixpoint is not open to the public at all, we were able to get in contact with them to set up some time to check out their Brooklyn facility in the Red Hook neighborhood on a Friday afternoon. Most of the staff was there working away, but everyone took some time out to say hi to us, gave us samples of just about every beer they had at the time, and even offered us a slice of pizza. Most of our time was spent with Jamie who walked us through all of the areas of the brewery, including the second floor break room/ office/ kitchen/ bachelor pad area; the view of New York City from the roof is incredible. The experience there was top-notch and I cannot thank everyone we met enough for being as kind as they were. We were also told that some exciting news is on the horizon in regards to their Brooklyn facility, so make sure to look out for that!

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#102 – River Horse Brewing Company in Ewing, NJ

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(1) OUR EXPERIENCE

We visited River Horse Brewing Company in NJ on National Beer Day, however they were not open to the public so we were given a private look at the inside of the brewery while the staff told us all about what makes River Horse unique. It was obvious that they work hard to make a great product rather than get wrapped up in the glamorous media side of brewing. The head brewer Chris said: “It’s fun and it’s great; I love it. There’s nothing else I ever want to do or plan to do, but we’re working in a factory. We’re not ‘too cool’ for anything, ya know?” All of the beer we sampled was straight forward, clean, & well-done, all of the staff were great to talk to and humble, and the facility has plenty of room for expansion. Gotta love the art on their walls.

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#90 – Stewart’s Brewing Company in Bear, DE

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After caving for the first time and spending the night in a hotel because of a pretty heavy snow storm, we made our way to Stewart’s Brewing Company in Bear, DE on Thursday, 3/27/2014. The first thing we did when we walked in was order a flight of their beers, then head brewer Ric Hoffman sat with us while we indulged. Afterwards, he showed us around and went over everything that makes the brewery unique.

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#79 – Blue Mountain Brewery in Afton, VA

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Our visit to Blue Mountain on Thursday, 3/13/14 was a unique one, in that we visited both the brewery/ restaurant Blue Mountain Brewery in Afton, VA as well as the production facility Blue Mountain Barrel House in Arrington, VA. Both facilities have taprooms, fields of cascade hops, incredible views, and awesome beers, but are also distinctive in their own ways.

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Michael’s Thoughts 3/24/2014 – Part 2

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Continued from Part 1

From there we drove up to Jamestown and went on an archeologist-lead tour about the area, which was quite interesting. Afterwards, we stuck around so that Haggis could ask the guy about beer, and he said that Jamestown might be the first place that beer was brewed in America. That is not confirmed, but we’re going with it – we visited the site of America’s first brewery – hell yea. He suggested that we go to AleWorks in Williamsburg, so we picked that up on a whim. After that, we made our way to Hardywood Park Craft, and then spent the night at Capital Ale House in Richmond. That night was pretty sweet, because Capital Ale House knew we were coming and had blasted it through their social media, so we got to meet with and talk to a few fans. One of them was a guy we had met back in Dallas at our going away party, Tony Crawford, and he hung out with us most of the night. The next day we went to Strangeways and then got to check out Mekong which has been voted as the best beer bar in America. While there, Tony met up with us and so did Shannon, a girl we had met the night before. We all ate, drank, and had good times, before Tony headed off for the night and Haggis, Shannon, and I went back to our hotel where we spoiled ourselves by hanging out in the hot tub.

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[Jamestown]

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[Me, Shannon, Tony, Haggis]

The next morning Haggis and I ate more than we needed for breakfast, and then we made our way to Midnight Brewery at 9am, followed by Licking Hole Creek at 1130am where I got to ride around the land on an ATV. It was the earliest day we had so far, so afterwards we had time to go to Monticello where I ninja kicked Thomas Jefferson respectfully, and Haggis made out with him lovingly. We weren’t sure of what to do that night, so we drove into Charlottesville, NC and hung out at Three Notch’d Brewing. We were originally just going to be there unofficially to hang out, but after liking what they have going on and feeling it was perfectly in-line with what we’re doing, we picked them up as an official stop. Afterwards, we slept in the van again in a parking lot nearby.

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[Me ninja kicking Thomas Jefferson with respect]

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[Haggis kissing Thomas Jefferson with love]

We awoke in the van and drove a short distance to Subway for breakfast (again), then had a busy day going to Blue Mountain Brewery in Afton, the Blue Mountain Barrel House in Arrington, and the Devil’s Backbone brewpub in Roseland. All three had amazing views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and all three places were very fun to hang out at – the people that work at all of these breweries are badass. Rather than stay the night in that area, we drove all the way up to Dumfries, south of DC. We stayed the night with my sister’s father in-law, Chuck, who talked with us about fascinating subjects. He is incredibly intelligent and had a lot of interesting stories to tell us – both Haggis and I wish we had more time there to really pick his brain about some things. Most of the next day was spent writing and then we drove up to Alexandria to meet with another friend of ours.

Amber is a friend of ours from the Dallas beer scene and she just moved up to Alexandria for a job, but her husband Eric, another friend of ours, is still back in Dallas. The three of us went out to dinner that night and then went back to her place. I got a kick out of being able to tell Eric I slept in his wife’s bed that night, even though she was two stories up on a couch. The next day was Haggis’ 29th birthday (WHAT WHAT) so we went to DC Brau Brewery off the record and indulged in some good beers. After that, we met back up with Amber at her place, popped a bottle of Cigar City Amplitude that we had been holding on to, and then went to Port City also off the record to enjoy even more beers. She then drove us (yay, a DD!) over to eat some Korean BBQ with some of her friends before the five of us went back to Amber’s and proceeded to drink the night away. Again, it was Haggis’ birthday, and he had a good one.

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[Amber!]

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The next day, Amber, Haggis, and I drove into DC to try out a rare cask of Cantillon Iris Grand Cru up at ChurchKey and ended up staying for a while to try quite a few more crazy beers – that place has such a ridiculous selection! Our drive up there was madness, though, as a lot of the streets in DC were blocked off for some marathon, so it took us about 3 times as long as it should have. After ChurchKey we walked over to Shake Shack and got a cheeseburger and a peanut butter shake, then made our way back to the car and Amber drove us back to her place. We chatted for a little longer over a bottle of Bruery Bois and then said our goodbyes, since it was time to make our way to another friend’s place in Maryland just east of DC. When we went back outside to go to our van, though, it had started snowing flakes that were larger than I’ve ever seen in my life (but that’s not saying much).

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[Amber again!]

To be continued…

#64 – Triple C Brewing in Charlotte, NC

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Wrapping up the end of our second month of traveling on Friday, 2/28/14 was a trip to Triple C Brewing in Charlotte, NC. Chris Harker, one of the owners, had reached out to us back in January after finding our blog, so we made sure to make time to visit them. He greeted us as soon as we walked in the door and proceeded to show us around the 20,000 sq ft facility while we all enjoyed some laughs over pints of Triple C beer.

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#62 – Fonta Flora Brewery in Morganton, NC

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After leaving Asheville on the morning of Wednesday, 2/26/14, we spent some time at Pisgah Brewing, then continued east to Fonta Flora Brewery. Not only is the name ‘Fonta Flora’ a beautiful Latin alliteration, it also has significant historical ties to the area. Just a little northwest from the brewery, the Linville River runs through a gorge and into Lake James, where an old sharecropping community lived back in the late 1800s/ early 1900s. The community was known as Fonta Flora but, once people created Lake James by damming the Linville River, the community was flooded. The brewery pays homage to this lost community through their logo of an underwater town.

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