Steel String Brewery is a small boutique brewery and taproom located in a rustic warehouse in downtown Carrboro, right next to Chapel Hill, North Carolina’s largest university town. I am on a leisurely tour of the Tarheel state visiting family and friends, and my beer review itinerary has been spontaneous so far – we visited Steel String on my brother’s recommendation. I was glad we did! This is the kind of place I would expect to find in Nashville – I felt right at home.
This brewery restaurant in downtown Durham describes themselves as “farm-to-fork” and “like fine dining in a burger joint”. Clearly inspired by the local food movement, BCBB grinds North Carolina pasture-raised beef in-house for their burgers, bakes their own buns, makes their own pickles, condiments, etc. and…brews their own beer.
Looking for a good place for supper on an evening leg of our trip through the Piedmont, we stopped in downtown Greensboro on Friday night. It was busy! There was a long wait at Natty Greene’s, whose beer I had hoped to try, but we were able to sit immediately at M’Coul’s a block away. It was a lucky break.
This week was bottling week for my home brewery: last Friday I bottled a Celtic Ale (May 18 post), on Tuesday I bottled a Belgian style Dubbel (May 1 post), and yesterday I bottled my Christmas Ale, a recipe that attempts to copy Chimay Grand Cru “Blue”. I brewed the Christmas Ale on April 27, and racked it to a secondary fermenter on May 4, after the initial active stage of fermentation had settled down. Then it rested in a dark quiet closet for nearly six weeks until bottling day. Three days before bottling day, I pitched another dose of fresh yeast to prepare the beer for the second fermentation in the bottle. With most brews this second dose of yeast isn’t necessary, but when a beer has such a high alcohol level, it’s pretty standard procedure.
Bosco’s is a small, regional chain of brewery restaurants that was started in the Germantown neighborhood of Memphis in 1992. Currently Bosco’s operates restaurants in Nashville, Franklin, Memphis, and Little Rock. I have been a regular since I moved here over ten years ago. The Nashville location is in the heart of Hillsboro Village, the small shopping and (mostly) restaurant district between Vanderbilt and Belmont universities, just a few blocks from Music Row.
This beer was an experiment that turned out well. The basic idea was to brew an ale that mimics a lager. Lagers are not in the repertoire of most homebrewers and craft brewers – their need for controlled, lower temperatures for fermentation and conditioning than are needed for ale requires the acquisition of dedicated refrigeration equipment in most cases. Here’s the story of how I brewed an ale at home that is close in profile to a German pilsner – a “mock-pilsner”.
Located in the heart of Nashville’s 12 South neighborhood near Belmont and Vanderbilt universities, 12 South Taproom is a neighborhood beer bar and restaurant par excellence. The Taproom opened in 2006 and I started drinking there sometime in 2007, and have been visiting several times a year since. In the first few years they were open I went even more, as during those years they had live music every night. Some of Nashville’s finest musicians – session players or sidemen of big-name artists – often were there, either showcasing their side projects on the stage or sitting at the bar listening along with the rest of the crowd. After a number of years 12 South Taproom phased out the music, installing flat screen televisions over the bar and thus attracting the sports bar crowd more than those interested in the esoteric music scene. I miss the music, but I guess it was a sound business decision – the place has been absolutely packed every time I’ve been there for the last couple years.