Showing posts with label thomas creek. Show all posts
Showing posts with label thomas creek. Show all posts

Monday, April 26, 2010

Unscientific Observations

As I mentioned in Friday's post, I was down in South Carolina at the weekend for the wedding of Mrs Velkyal's best friend - which despite the pouring rain was an excellent day.

One thing that I found particularly interesting, not being the kind of person to get on the dance floor, was to observe what people were drinking. The wedding and reception were both held in the Victoria Valley Vineyards, so obviously the booze list was dominated by grape rather than grain, but there were three bottled beers available:
From my thoroughly unscientific observations, I would say the Thomas Creek beer, a very nice hoppy red ale, was the beer of choice for about two-thirds of the beer drinkers, followed by Bud Light and with very few people at all drinking Corona. There also seemed to be an interesting age demographic going on, drinkers who were 40 or under drank Thomas Creek, those over 40 but under 60 largely drank Bud Light, most of the few over 60 people at the wedding were drinking wine.

So extrapolating from my distinct lack of scientific rigour (well, what do you want me to do at a wedding, produce surveys?), I would say that craft ale's future is bright because it is not seen as the drink of choice for the American equivalent of the old man with a flat cap and whippet.

To entirely rip off Orange's advertising slogan, the future's bright, the future's craft.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Brewer of the Week

This week's Brewer of the Week is from Mrs Velkyal's home state of South Carolina, indeed from the city in which we are spending this weekend, attending the wedding of her best friend.

Name: Tom Davis
Brewery: Thomas Creek Brewery, Greenville, SC

How did you get into brewing as a career?

When I discovered beer, I also discovered a lack of higher-quality beers in this region. Having tasted imports and a few other national craft-style beers, I took it upon myself to learn the art of homebrewing. From those beginnings, my career has evolved into commercial brewing over the years, ultimately affording me the opportunity to own and operate my very own microbrewery.

What is the most important characteristic of a brewer?

Probably tenacity! You have to be seriously persistent and driven to make it in this business.

Before being a professional brewer, did you homebrew? If so, how many of your homebrew recipes have you converted to full scale production?

Homebrewing is definitely where I began and I am very proud to have nurtured 5 of my original homebrew recipes over the years and developed them into commercial production. The mainstays that are still around are Appalachian Amber Ale, Dockside Pilsner and Deep Water Dopplebock. A couple of other beers that are out of production at the moment are my Multi-Grain Ale and Hefe Weizen. But hey, they might someday get a reprisal!

If you did homebrew, do you still?

I wish I had time! Several of my employees homebrew and I also run a homebrew shop out of the microbrewery. So, I have lots of exposure and connection to homebrewing to this day, but keeping up with the daily tasks of the brewery tends to occupy most of my time!

What is your favourite beer that you brew?

That’s hard to answer, I love them all! But I would have to say my Deep Water Dopplebock and Pump House Porter tie for that spot. Both those beers are so rich and filled with deep flavor and aroma. It’s hard not to love beers so multifaceted and the Dopple and Porter.

If you have worked in other breweries, which other beer did you enjoy brewing, and why?

The only other brewery I worked in was a brewpub. I founded the brewpub aspect of the bar, so the recipes I developed began as my homebrew recipes. Those same beers have evolved over the years with me at Thomas Creek.

Of the beers you brew, which is your favourite to drink?

I would have to go with the Class Five IPA & the Appalachian Amber Ale. As much as I love my dark beers, you just can’t have as many of those in one sitting as you can a good ole IPA or Amber. I like to put down a few at a time!

How important is authenticity when making a new beer, in terms of flavour, ingredients and method?

Authenticity is extremely important! When I make a beer and put it out into the world with a label on it, it has to be right! Craft brewers are held to strong guidelines set forth by the brewing community. I want to mirror those guidelines as best I can. Every reputable review and opinion of my beer will compare it to those judging guidelines, and trust me when I say I want to be accurate! And on a more theological level, I’m taking cues from centuries of brewers before me; I want to credit those time-honored beer styles and brewers by paying homage to their years of hard work.

If you were to do a collaborative beer, which brewery would you most like to work with and why?

I would probably most like to work with Brian “Spike” Buckowski from Terrapin Beer Co. in Athens, GA. I consider Spike a friend and have a deep respect for him and the work he does. I also think we have similar brewing styles and could put together an amazing collaborative beer or two.

Which beer, other than your own, do you wish you had invented?

I would have to go with Duvel, mainly because it is one of my top favorite beers of all time! It holds true Belgian characteristics and achieves a great level of drinkability all in the same glass.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Das Problem mit Pils

Don't worry, I am not about to start posting in German, getting pasted I most assuredly can do in that noble language, getting posted, erm no. Call it what you will, pils, pilsner, pilsener (grammatically incorrect but there you go), pale golden lager is the dominant style in the global beer market. As Pivní Filosof has noted this week, the spread of pilsner style lager decimated many older brews as consumers flocked to the new product.

This week I have tried several American pilsners, including Brooklyn Pilsner, Victory Prima Pils and Thomas Creek Dockside Pilsner. Whilst they were all perfectly drinkable lagers, none of them came close to a Kout na ?umavě 10°, and this got me wondering about the difference between German and Bohemian style pilsners, but first a little personal background.

When I abandoned the shores of that Sceptred Isle for a far away land about which I knew nothing, I was a happy ale and stout drinker; the ale being Caffrey's and the stout, well there was only one surely, but I drank the other. Suddenly there is no Murphy's, that being the other, and the need for Guinness would have meant frequenting an Oirish pub filled with Brits trying to live their British life in foreign lands, which even after several years they would probably still know nothing. I don't think I ever had a Caffrey's, although there is a bar of that name on the Old Town Square. When in Rome syndrome kicked in and before you know it I am a fan of Velkopopovicky Kozel and Bohemian pilsners in general.

Here is I think the crux of my problem with pils in America so far, they tend more to the German pilsner style - which from my understanding of the BJCP guidelines is thinner in body, and drier in the finish when compared to the complex, malty, floral wonder that is Bohemian pilsner. This is of course to be expected if what I reading in Ambitious Brew is correct, and the American lager brewing industry of the 19th century was essentially German in character - though as with anything from that period in time, nothing is simple and clear cut.

Naturally, this means that more research is required. I will have to hunt out some Bohemian style pilsners made here, the medal winners at the Great American Beer Festival for example, and compare them against Budvar, as well as trying some well regarded German pilsners as a control group for my understanding of the American versions. In the time being though, it is time to spend a week in Florida converting my father-in-law to the delights of pale ale, most likely Sierra Nevada.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

My life in beer

This is entirely the product of a completely random thought - would it be possible to trace the breweries which are local to my family and the life I have led so far, and more to the point I should make an effort to try at least (key phrase there) one beer from each of them. So here goes:

My dad is from Chiswick - making his local brewer the wonderful Fullers, which is ironic in a way as they have long been a favourite of mine.

My mother is from Fraserburgh in the north of Scotland, home to Brew Dog Beer.

My eldest brother lives in Kent, home of great hops, and of course Shepherd Neame.

My elder brother lives in Bicester, near Oxford and not too far from the Hook Norton Brewery - one of the few remaining tower breweries in the UK.

My wee brother lives in Alness, in the far north of Scotland, and just up the road from the Black Isle Brewery.

My wife is from South Carolina, the first Confederate state to secede from the Union and where you will find Thomas Creek beers.

I spent about 6 years in total living in Celle in the north of Germany - the delights of being an Army brat - the local brewer there is Brauerei Carl Betz, whose wares I will be enjoying at Easter when I visit Celle for the first time in over 20 years

I spent most of my childhood in the Hebrides, and there you will find the Isle of Skye Brewing Company.

At university in Birmingham I knew no better so I drank Caffrey's mostly, in various O'Neill's pubs - usually on Broad Street.

Most of my adult life has been in Prague........I guess this is what the blog is about at the moment.

The drink that changed my relationship to beer?


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