North Coast’s Tart Cherry Berliner Weisse

Profiled by Ken Carman

Of the many breweries who have entertained my palate over the years; one of the very, very few that have failed to bore me, or even make me go, “Eh,” is North Coast, whose Old Rasputin makes me drool.

Tart is no disappointment; far from it.

The nose is tart cherry with faint malt in the background, at best. Almost sea breeze, minus salt.

Small bubble slight off white head is greeted by a slight haze and a bright, beautiful orange-ish yellow. Magnificent in the glass. The head doesn’t last.

Flavor is cherry tart mixed with background malt. Sweet, yet tart, fruity, yet clean. This is very slightly sour, at best.

Leaves the palate quickly, just leaving the tart and cherry. Low, yet firm, carbonation. A deceptively easy quaff with light body and fruit cling to the roof of the mouth. Almost lawnmower-ish, yet not.

If you don’t try you’re missing a great rendition of a tart cherry Berliner.



Welcome to the PGA beer rating system: one beer “Don’t bother.” Two: Eh, if someone gives it to you, drink. Three: very good, go ahead and seek it out, but be aware there is at least one problem. Four: seek it out. Five: pretty much “perfecto.”


___________________________________________Beer HERE


kYes, to the left is Ken Carman. Obviously Ken is a mere cartoon character who reviews beer. A magical nymph turns the beer into something a cartoon character can drink.

An Open Letter to Wicked Weed

We have all read the caveats offered by those who sold Wicked Weed to InBev. Here’s another perspective-PGA

Dear Rick, Ryan, Luke and Walt,

Let me start by saying I loved working for you. For four years I looked up to your business acumen and craft beer concepts. I was proud to wear, serve and represent Wicked Weed. I enjoyed going to work for a man who knew my name and a company that seemed to echo my personal values and those of Asheville.

How quickly it all changed. I left in December citing an increasingly corporate atmosphere and a declining quality of food. The company I signed on to work for would not have tried to marginalize my health coverage for its bottom line. Ultimately this is why I left.

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Mexican Lagers: Indie Brewers Go Bi-Lingual

Let’s be real, for a moment…

Mexican lagers, in general, are crap beers. I hear people, fresh back from their trip to Cabo or Puerto Vallarta or Cozumel or one of the less-famous Mexican resort towns, seriously comparing the relative virtues of Modelo vs. Corona vs. Indio vs. Victoria vs. Pacifico and it just…makes me tired. I remember similar conversations I sat through, patiently, years ago in Greensboro, before there were Indie breweries, when friends of mine were debating Bud and Bud Light, Miller vs. Coors, Pabst and Keystone. I rarely said anything but I can vividly remember thinking, “This is like comparing Tap Waters of Many Places”, because whatever differences actually were present in those beers were usually the result of the person’s memories that attach to them, rather than anything significant in the bottle.

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Crux “In The Pocket”: In-The-Mouth Perfection

I’m just gonna put this here and you can call it whatever species of hyperbole you want but I wouldn’t say it if I wasn’t ready to own it…

Larry Sidor may just be the best brewer in the United States.  And I suspect he could probably whup Europe’s ass, too, if he wanted.

I hear the muttering already: “Well, this Fool person is obviously an idiot! Better than Vinnie Cilurzo? Tomme Arthur? Sam Calagione? Wayne Wambles? Anthony Bourdain!?!

(Oh, sorry…that last one isn’t a brewer, although, with all the declarative popping off about beer that he’s been doing for the past two years, you can understand how I’d get confused.)

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A Beer Judge’s Diary: Jackalope’s Let’s Get WEIRD

Jackalope Brewing’s Let’s Get WEIRD, 2017

By Ken Carman

Our Judges
         Bailey Spaulding
         Steve Wright
          Katherine Schermerhorn
         Millie Carman
         Grant Ferris
         Stephanie Moore
         Phillip Biggerstaff
         Noah Denney
         Miranda Chandler
         Amanda Crisp
         Ken Carman (and Judge Coordinator)

Just a few of our judges Continue reading “A Beer Judge’s Diary: Jackalope’s Let’s Get WEIRD”

What’s It Like to Work in a Brewery that has “Sold Out?”

The professor understands the need for anonymity, but it does make the content easy to question. How are we to know how legit any of this is?-PGA


Yesterday, the beer world was ablaze with the news that beer giant Anheuser-Busch InBev had purchased Wicked Weed Brewing, North Carolina’s beloved producer of wild ales. The response was as harsh as it was predictable: The outcry of “sell out!” ran rampant across Twitter and Facebook.

This is a narrative we hear a lot—that brewing megalodons like AB InBev, MillerCoors or Constellation Brands are out to gobble up every small brewer they can, crush the ones they can’t, and turn the beer their new subsidiaries produce into bland, watered-down swill. What we don’t often hear, however: What it’s actually like to be an employee at a brewery that’s owned by one of these dreaded macro-brewers.


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Another One Bites the Dust: Budweiser Finds Another Sell-Out

The ugly news broke, just this morning, of the impending sale of Asheville, North Carolina’s, Wicked Weed Brewing….to a company which doesn’t give two shits about WW’s beer, P&L sheet or anything else about it… except its LOCATION

OKAY…here’s a little primer, as we get all set to watch another fine American brewery lose its “Indie Beer” status for good…

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