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Back in the Saddle

The last few months have been a wild ride. Now that the Vicious Fishes taproom is open and we've hired someone to manage it, our family lives are back to some semblance of normalcy. Those of you who've come by recently have probably met Andrew Hendricks, our Taproom & Events Manager. Andrew will have a post up soon to introduce himself to those of you who haven't been in during the last week.

Andrew came in for a few hours last Sunday for his first day. Here's Team Vicious Fishes celebrating with an amazing guava, passionfruit, Berliner Weisse brewed by the awesome team at Barrel Culture Brewing & Blending. A million thanks to Steve English for gifting us the perfect beverage to toast Andrew's arrival. Left to right are Andrew, Ken & Alex.

Last week, we had the opportunity to join Wayne Holt, Adam Eshbaugh and Joe Ovies on the 919 Beer Podcast, sponsored by WRAL Sports Fan. It was awesome to spend some time with the team behind the Beericana festival. Thanks also to Evan Matsumoto who had a nice write up on us on WRAL Out and About.

For the occasion, we brewed a version of Here Be Dragons IPA and did a compare/contrast between New England-style IPAs and traditional West Coast IPAs. For fun, along with Here Be Dragons, we brought along two IPAs in vastly different styles - Trillium Congress Street IPA (99 points on Beer Advocate) and Stone IPA (99 points by the Bros on Beer Advocate). Some might think us a bit cheeky to compare Here Be Dragons alongside two of the best beers on the planet, but our goal is to hold ourselves to that standard in the beers we brew and serve to our customers.

With the air cover we've earned with Andrew's arrival and while we wait for Federal approval to brew in our brewery, Alex and I have started to work on refining recipes. The Angier Bike Fest is next weekend and the town is going to allow us to set up at the event in downtown and serve tastings of our recipes to Bike Fest visitors. As I type this, I'm brewing a double-batch of Siren's Song, Golden Blonde for sharing at the Bike Fest. This is a picture of Here Be Dragons in front of my home brewing setup as I prepare for hop additions.

I'm brewing approximately a third-barrel batch. That means my brew kettle is filled near to the top!

Again with this batch of Siren's Song, I'm intending to highlight the differences between traditional west coast brews and those that follow the emerging New England style. In this batch, the base beer will be the same across each. However, the yeasts used are dramatically different - the West Coast style will ferment out clean and clear, where the New England style will generate transformation of the hop to offer greater aromatics with a softer bitterness. The latter will also finish quite hazy.

Alex is brewing a double batch today, too. He'll also be brewing a blonde ale recipe, so we'll have 4 different variations to evaluate. We look forward to sharing these batches with you and to collect any feedback you might be willing to lend on which styles and recipes you prefer.


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