Monday, April 14, 2008

A visit to Foothills Brewing in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

After a hike around Pilot Mountain, why not drink some Pilot Mountain Pale Ale?

I went to Foothills Brewing at 638 West Fourth Street in Winston-Salem, N.C., after spending most of Sunday at Pilot Mountain State Park with two of my daughters.

Of course I ordered the Foothills Brewing sampler, which included six of the microbrewery's standards in 10-ounce glasses for $7.99. The server offered me the option of adding the seasonal brew to the sampler for $1, so I did.

Here are my notes:

Salem Gold: This ale was the lightest offering. It had a pronounced wheat flavor and a crisp, clean finish.

Pilot Mountain Pale Ale: A swallow of this gave me one of the cleanest finished I've had from a pale ale. Definite hints of grapefruit and lemonade.

Torch Pilsner: Not strong. Complete and pleasant. I thought it had a slightly lighter body than other pilsners, but that's probably just me.

Hoppyum IPA: As advertised, Hoppyum IPA has "citrusy hops." It is strongly hopped but not extremely hopped like some IPAs these days. Definite presense of grapefruit. Maybe some orange peel in the aftertaste.

Rainbow Trout ESB: Accessible and very drinkable, with a touch of tartness. Yet I thought it didn't have quite as much traditional ESB character in its flavor. I couldn't put my finger on it. It definitely had a hint of roasted-nut in the finish; the sampler placemat had said "nutty chocolate finish." I enjoyed it.

Hurricane Hefeweizen: This seasonal was clean and dry -- perhaps even a bit drier than other hefeweizens I have tried. I thought I tasted a touch of bubblegum in the yeast. No hints of banana, which some hefeweizens have.

Total Eclipse Stout: This was an amazing stout. It's the closest thing to cold coffee I've ever tasted in a beer. If you've had high-quality coffees before, you'll know that some have a rich, almost liqueur-like touch to them. That's what this is like. The richness had me drinking more; the robust, coffee-like bitterness had me looking for the sugar!

Most accessible: Salem Gold, Torch Pilsner, Rainbow Trout ESB

Biggest surprise: Total Eclipse Stout

Visit Foothills Brewing online at http://www.foothillsbrewing.com/. The site includes a list of other eateries in the Carolinas that serve Foothills Brewing beers.

-Colin Foote Burch

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