But what’s a trip away from home without throwing beer into the mix?
Enter the Six-Pack Project. It’s a new, collaborative effort between beer bloggers from around the country to highlight a six-pack of our state’s native brews that we believe best represent what the beer culture of our respective states offer. If someone is coming to visit, what bottles or cans would we want to share?
Here are our rules:
- Pick a six-pack of beers that best represents your state and/or state’s beer culture.
- Beer must be made in your state, but “gypsy” brewers are acceptable, so long as that beer is brewed with an in-state brewery and sold in your state.
- Any size bottle or can is acceptable to include.
- Current seasonal offerings are fine, but try to keep selections to year-round brews as much as possible. No out-of-season brews preferred.
Welcome to the inaugural round of the Six-Pack Project. I hope to include bloggers from across the U.S. in future versions, so contact me on Twitter if you or someone you know may fit the bill.
Some quick notes to about selections for my state, North Carolina:
1. I approached this task as if I were building a flight of beers for you to try. Because of that, I’ve picked six different styles of beers that would (hopefully) take you through a great North Carolina beer experience, although subjectively selected by me.
2. All of these picks can be found year-round in NC beer shops.
Without further adieu, let’s find out what North Carolina has to offer…
Mother Earth’s Endless River from Kinston, NC
This kolsch offers a good start to your North Carolina beer journey with light touches of lemon and grassy hops. It’s thin in body and with plenty of carbonation to start your journey on a refreshing note.
Triangle Brewing’s Belgian Golden Ale from Durham, NC
Purposefully brewed to maximize fruity esters of Belgian yeast, you might find some citrus notes to pair with typical peppery spice. At 8 percent ABV, it’s nothing to laugh about, but it’s light enough not to weigh you down while you prepare for the state’s hoppier offerings.
Highland Brewing’s Gaelic Ale from Asheville, NC
My go-to pale ale from North Carolina, which matches enough malt body to stand up to the use of Cascade and Willamette hops. The balance is ideal for any beer drinker who won’t be put off by too much sweetness or bitterness.
Foothills Hoppyum IPA from Winston-Salem, NC
Much like Gaelic Ale, this is a must-have NC beer, which uses a healthy dose of Simcoe hops to provide resinous citrus flavor. A great IPA that will never leave your taste buds dry or spent, this is a brew that satisfies hop heads but isn’t so bitter it would turn others off. If you want to get adventurous, try Hoppyum’s big brother, Seeing Double IPA.
LoneRider Beer’s Sweet Josie from Raleigh, NC
I’ve found this to be the standard when it comes to brown ales in NC, especially around the Triangle, which LoneRider calls home. You’ll find flavors and aromas you’d expect – toasted malt, caramel, coffee, chocolate – but at 6.1 percent ABV this brown is a little different than others. Hop usage gives this just a touch of bitter to balance it all.
Duck-Rabbit Milk Stout from Farmville, NC
If not the best-known North Carolina beer among drinkers, it’s near the top. This beer may be among the best milk stouts in the U.S. – just ask this guy. The lactose keeps it sweet, but the roasted malt keeps it grounded with a hint of acidic bitterness. You may be surprised by a jab of vanilla.
Traveling this summer? Don’t forget to check out other entries in the first round of the Six-Pack Project (links posted as available):
- Virginia/DC by Scott from Beerbecue
- South Carolina by Nick from Drink. Blog. Repeat.
- Colorado by Eric from Sheppy’s Blog
- Pennsylvania by Justin from Justin’s Brew Review
- New Jersey by Ryan from Mould’s Beer Blog
Contact me on Twitter if you want to talk NC beer or offer up selections for your state in the Six-Pack Project. Debate is welcome!