Highland Brewing Kicks Off New Barrel-aged Series with Release of Bourbon Barrel-aged Black Watch

HighlandBrewingLogo2Highland Brewing (Asheville, North Carolina) has officially announced that it will launch the Southern Nouveau Series, a new barrel-aged beer program, with the Limited Release of Bourbon Barrel-aged Black Watch on Black Friday, November 29.

With a name inspired by “the architectural beauty” found in Highland’s home city of Asheville, the Southern Noveau Series is a new lineup of carefully crafted offerings that will “encompass both clean and sour barrel-aged beers.”  The first three offering in this series will be “bourbon barrel-aged stouts with exciting additions, like earl grey tea from local tea shop Dobra Tea and cacao nibs from Asheville’s own French Broad Chocolates. The first sour beers in the series will debut in the Spring of 2020 alongside the opening of Highland at the S&W Market.”

“There is such excitement and anticipation on our team about these beers,” said Highland Family-Owner and President/CEO, Leah Wong Ashburn. “The Southern Nouveau Series name was inspired by the architectural beauty of Asheville, which has been called the Paris of the South, and our connection to the history of this place. The beers showcase the innovation and quality at the Brewery Taproom in East Asheville and in 2020, they will shine in the Art Deco glamour of Highland at the S&W Market.”

 

Trace Redmond, Brewing Innovation Manager, said, “We have been building the barrel program for two years now and I’m excited to share the fruits of our labor. With the Southern Nouveau Series, we are exploring Southern ingredients and bringing together the beer, barrels and time to create something new. We want these beers to feel true to Asheville and Highland. You don’t get to be a 25-year-old brand without patience. You also don’t get great barrel-aged beers without patience, so these beers will reflect our past and the future we’re building.”

The first official release in the Southern Noveau Series will be Bourbon Barrel-aged Black Watch, an amped up version of Black Watch Double Chocolate Milk Stout that has “aged in bourbon barrels for one year.”  Weighing in at smooth-sipping 11.5% ABV, Bourbon Barrel-aged Black Watch “features the brownie batter character fans enjoy from Black Watch, but with spicy bourbon and oak notes that soften the mouthfeel.”

Bourbon Barrel-aged Black Watch will officially release at Highland Brewing during the Black Watch Release Party on Black Friday, November 29.  Like all Southern Noveau Series releases, Bourbon Barrel-aged Black Watch will be available in 500ml bottles and on draft for a limited time.  Bourbon Barrel-aged Black Watch is a brewery exclusive release and is not expected to see distribution.  Prost!

Vital Information for Bourbon Barrel-aged Black Watch from Highland Brewing

Release – Limited/Southern Noveau Series; November 29, 2019
Style – Milk Stout
ABV – 11.5%
Treatment – Aged for over a year in Bourbon barrels
Availability – 500ml bottles & draft
Distribution – None; brewery exclusive release

Thunderstruck Coffee Porter Makes Seasonal Return for Highland Brewing

TS-Web-Render_2f738ceffacd75bb03d92ae127419836Highland Brewing (Asheville, North Carolina) has announced that Thunderstruck Coffee Porter is officially back on shelves and taps to serve as the brewery’s Fall/Winter Seasonal.

Crafted to be “the perfect pick me up” during the colder months, Thunderstruck is an American Porter brewed with “200 pounds of Dynamite coffee” per batch.  Clocking in at 5.8% ABV, Thunderstruck supplies its drinker with plenty of “coffee aroma and flavor with subtle spice and fruit notes.”

Thunderstruck Coffee Porter is rolling out now and is scheduled to hang around through January 2020.  You can expect to find this Seasonal offering available in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft at craft beer-friendly retailers, bars and restaurants located in Alabama, Florida, North Carolina and throughout the rest of Highland Brewing’s distribution footprint.  Prost!

Vital Information for Thunderstruck Coffee Porter from Highland Brewing

Release – Seasonal; October 2019 – January 2020
Style – American Porter
ABV – 5.8%
IBUs – 30
Malts – Pale, Caramel 60, Chocolate & Midnight Wheat
Hops – Chinook, Hallertau Mittlefrue & German Select
Added Ingredients – 200 lbs. of Dynamite Coffee per batch
Availability – 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles & draft

Highland Brewing Company Brews 25th Anniversary Rustic IPA with Sierra Nevada

HBC_16oz_CanMockupHighland Brewing Company (Asheville, North Carolina) officially announced that it is brewing a new collaboration brew – Rustic IPA – today alongside Sierra Nevada Brewing Company (Chico, California | Mills River, North Carolina) and independent, family-owned hop and malt suppliers including Riverbend Malthouse, Briess Malting, Crosby Hop Farms, Roy Farms, and CLS Farms.

Brewed by Highland Brewing and Sierra Nevada – two multi-generational, independent craft breweries – with malt and hops exclusively sourced from independent, family-owned suppliers, Highland’s Rustic IPA 25th Anniversary Ale is a Hazy India Pale Ale featuring “experimental hops like Motueka, Zappa, Azacca, and Strata that lend notes of tropical fruit and lemongrass to the brew.”  A “hazy malt bill featuring flaked oats, rye, pilsner malt, and wheat” rounds out the recipe and further accentuates the beer’s “fruity hop character.”  Coming in at 5.8% ABV and 45 IBUs, Rustic IPA promises to be “a balanced showcase for the best of innovation and tradition from each of the collaborators.”

Brian Grossman, Family-Owner and Second-Generation Brewer for Sierra Nevada in Mills River, said, “When Sierra Nevada chose to build our second brewery in Asheville, Highland welcomed us with open arms. Being multigenerational, family-owned companies, we share similar values and experiences. We were proud to collaborate with our friends to brew a special beer to celebrate their 25th anniversary. “

 

“Good businesses are built on relationships and we genuinely enjoy and are proud of our relationships with Sierra Nevada and these suppliers,” said Family-Owner and President of Highland Brewing, Leah Ashburn. “Brian and I are in a small group of second-generation family leaders in craft beer and we intend to build a sustainable future for both our breweries. This collaboration beer celebrates that future.”

Rustic IPA will debut at Highland Brewing Company’s two-day anniversary festivities on May 3-4 and limited distribution is scheduled to follow the on-site release.  You can expect to find this special collaboration available in 4-packs of 16 oz. cans and on draft at select craft beer-focused establishments located in North Carolina, Tennessee, and South Carolina.  Prost!

Vital Information for Rustic IPA from Highland Brewing Company & Sierra Nevada 

Release – Limited, May 2019
Style – Hazy India Pale Ale
ABV – 5.8%
IBUs – 45
Hops – Motueka, Zappa, Azacca & Strata
Grains – Flaked Oats, Rye, Pilsner Malt & Wheat
Featured Malt & Hop Suppliers – Riverbend Malthouse, Briess Malting, Crosby Hop Farms, Roy Farms & CLS Farms
Availability – 4-packs of 16 oz. cans & draft
Distribution – Limited; North Carolina, Tennessee & South Carolina only

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On the morning on March 19, representatives from Highland Brewing Company, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Riverbend Malthouse, Briess Malting, Crosby Hop Farms, Roy Farms, and CLS Farms gathered at Highland Brewing Company to mash in the brewery’s 25th Anniversary Ale – Rustic IPA.  Photo Credit: Highland Brewing

Highland Brewing Adds Slow Crush Tart Spritz Ale to Year-Round Lineup

Slow Crush Small Highland Brewing Carson HillHighland Brewing Company (Asheville, North Carolina) has officially announced that Slow Crush, a Tart Spritz Ale, will launch in May 2019 as the brewery’s newest Year-Round offering.

Developed to be Highland Brewing’s “sessionable fresh take on kettle soured beers”, Slow Crush is a refreshing Tart Spritz Ale “inspired by the incredibly popular cocktail Aperol Spritz.” Showcasing “all-natural . . . botanicals like gentian root, cinchona bark and hibiscus flowers”, the recipe for Slow Crush is rounded out with “flaked rye and citrus-forward American hops like Citra and Amarillo’ to give the experience “a very craft spin.”  Clocking in at an easy-drinking 5% ABV and 20 IBUs, Slow Crush is “effervescent with a refreshing acidity that makes a perfect libation for any occasion.”

“This is a dynamic time in the industry and at Highland. We are exploring what Highland beer can be and creating beers that are different from anything we have ever done before. Slow Crush refers to the tradition of gruits and aperitifs and the way that brewers and distillers tried to achieve balance with different herbs and spices. In blending the past and present, we are creating beers that fit uniquely into this moment and in Highland’s portfolio.”

 

– Trace Redmond, Highland’s R&D Brewer

Slow Crush Tart Spritz will officially debut at Highland Brewing’s two-day anniversary celebration on May 3 & 4 and is scheduled to enter distribution shortly after the event.  You can expect to find this new Year-Round offering available in 4-packs of 16 oz. cans and on draft at craft beer-focused establishments located in Alabama, Florida, North Carolina and throughout the rest of Highland Brewing’s distribution footprint in the Southeast.  Prost!

Vital Information for Slow Crush Tart Spritz from Highland Brewing Company

Release – Year-Round, launching May 2019
Style – American Sour Ale 
ABV – 5% 
IBUs – 20
Featured Hops – Citra & Amarillo
Added Ingredients – Gentian root, cinchona bark & hibiscus flowers
Fun Fact – Slow Crush will be the first Highland Brewing offering to launch in a 16 oz. can format
Availability – 4-packs of 16 oz. cans & draft
Beer Finder – https://highlandbrewing.com/beer (located at the bottom of the page)

Highland Brewing Introduces Midnight Summit Milk Stout as Newest Seasonal

MidnightSummit-Web-Render_2f738ceffacd75bb03d92ae127419836Highland Brewing Company (Asheville, North Carolina) has announced that Midnight Summit Vanilla Milk Stout will officially join its Seasonal lineup in late December 2018.

Surfacing just in time for the cold winter nights ahead of us, Midnight Summit is a Milk Stout that blends “trails of smooth, creamy vanilla . . .  with shades of chocolate and coffee.”  Weighing in at a comforting 6% ABV, Midnight Summit “is a beer that is best enjoined by a roaring fire while the snow falls outside.”

Midnight Summit will make its official debut at a Release Party at Highland Brewing on December 21 and is scheduled to enter distribution at or around that date.  You can expect to find this new Seasonal offering available in 6-packs of 12 oz. cans and on draft at select craft beer-friendly establishments located in Alabama, Florida, North Carolina and throughout the rest of Highland Brewing Company’s distribution footprint in the Southeast.  Prost!

Vital Information for Midnight Summit from Highland Brewing Company

Release – Seasonal; launches December 21, 2018
Style – Milk Stout
ABV – 6%
IBUs – 40
Malts – 2-Row, Munich, Wheat, Caramel 80, Black Prinz, Flaked Oats, Chocolate Malt & Midnight Wheat
Hops – Summit & Willamette 
Added Ingredients – Vanilla
Availability – 6-packs of 12 oz. cans & draft
Beer Finder – https://highlandbrewing.com/beer (located at the bottom of the page)

 

 

Highland Brewing Company Adds Starchaser White to Year-Round Lineup

Starchaser-Web-Render_2f738ceffacd75bb03d92ae127419836Highland Brewing Company (Asheville, North Carolina) has announced that Starchaser White will officially join its Year-Round portfolio on Friday, December 21.

Introduced earlier this year as a Seasonal offering that received much acclaim, Starchaser White is back to provide craft beer fans with the same “Belgian-inspired white ale . . . brewed with coriander, candied ginger, and grapefruit peel” on a Year-Round basis.  In an effort to keep things as local as possible, Highland Brewing is taking great care to source the ingredients for Starchaser from two other Asheville companies:

  • The wheat and rye used in the brewing of this beer will be sourced from Riverbend Malt House, a malt roaster located in Asheville that sources all their grain from local farmers.
  • The coriander for Starchaser will be acquired through Spicewalla, an Asheville-based spice wholesaler founded by James Beard-nominated chef Meherwan Irani.

Built for ultimate refreshment, Starchaser White comes in at an easy-drinking 4.8% ABV and 22 IBUs.

Highland Brewing will welcome back Starchaser White with a release party on December 21 and plans to send it out to distribution at or around that date.  You can expect to find this Year-Round offering available in 6-packs of 12 oz. cans and on draft at select craft beer-friendly retailers, bars and restaurants located in Alabama, Florida, North Carolina and throughout the rest of Highland Brewing’s distribution footprint in the Southeast.  Prost!

Vital Information for Starchaser White from Highland Brewing Company

Release – Year-Round; December 21, 2018
Style – Witbier
ABV – 4.8%
IBUs – 22
Malts – 2-Row, Riverbend Flaked Wheat, Riverbend Malted Wheat, Flaked Oats & Riverbend Flaked Rye
Hops – Perle, Saphir & Hallertau Blanc
Added Ingredients – Grapefruit peel, candied ginger, & Spicewalla Brand coriander
Fun Fact #1 – Starchaser White was originally released in the summer of 2018 under the name “Stargazer White”.
Fun Fact #2 – On the decision to make Starchaser White a Year-Round offering: “Named the fourth best American wheat ale by Vine Pair Inc. in August 2018, and wildly popular in the Highland Tasting Room, the resounding acclaim for this beer made it an easy decision to upgrade the brew to be included in Highland’s year-round portfolio.”
Availability – 6-packs of 12 oz. cans & draft
Beer Finder – https://highlandbrewing.com/beer (located at the bottom of the page)

 

Highland Brewing to Release Stargazer White Ale as First Canned Seasonal

stargazer-can_180320_083533_2f738ceffacd75bb03d92ae127419836Highland Brewing (Asheville, North Carolina) has announced that Highland Stargazer White Ale will officially release on April 27 as the brewery’s first Seasonal to be packaged in cans.

Named after the Stargazer Lily, Highland Stargazer is a fresh, new take on the Witbier style that employs the use of grapefruit peel, candied ginger, and coriander in its recipe.  The stylistic tweaks continue from there as Highland’s brewers reinforce the “spicy character of the Belgian ale yeast” with added spice notes from Saphir hops and locally sourced rye malt.  Clocking in at a sessionable 4.8% ABV, the summer-appropriate Highland Stargazer is here to supply craft beer fans with “a bright and balanced white ale in a stellar can.”

“In addition to the non-traditional fruit peel, we integrated the spicy characteristics of Saphir hops and rye with the Belgian yeast,” said Trace Redmond, R&D Brewer at Highland Brewing. “I love the balance in the traditional approach, so we have that and some fun complexity.”

Highland Stargazer White Ale will officially debut at a brewery launch party on April 27 (click here for more details) and will enter distribution shortly after that release event.  You can expect to find this new Seasonal offering available in 6-packs of 12 oz. cans and on draft at craft beer establishments located in Alabama, Florida, North Carolina and throughout the rest of Highland Brewing’s distribution footprint.  Prost!

Vital Information for Highland Stargazer White Ale from Highland Brewing

Release – Seasonal, launching late April 2018
Style – Witbier
ABV – 4.8%
IBUs – 22
Malts – 2-Row, Riverbend Flaked Wheat, Riverbend Malted Wheat, Flaked Oats & Riverbend Flaked Rye
Hops – Perle, Saphir & Hallertau Blanc 
Added Ingredients – Grapefruit peel, candied ginger, & coriander 
Availability – 6-packs of 12 oz. cans & draft
Beer Finder – https://highlandbrewing.com/beer

Highland Brewing Unveils Refreshed Look

unnamed (92)Highland Brewing (Asheville, North Carolina) announced today that it has officially launched a complete rebrand that includes a new logo, new-look packaging for all beers, an updated website, and a soon-to-be fully updated taproom aesthetic.

After spending the last few years refreshing their beer portfolio so that it is more aligned with the tastes of today’s craft beer drinker, the folks at Highland Brewing began to realize that the brewery’s look and imagery no longer matched their updated brews and vibe.  After much deliberation and extensive research and development work with the Austin, Texas firm Helms Workshop, the tough decision was made to rebrand and move on from the bagpipe-toting Scotsman who has served as the company’s iconic logo since 1994.

All “marketing, labeling, point of sale, packaging and merchandise” will still wear the Highland Brewing name, but these items will now sport a logo that consists a highly-stylized “H” set within a pioneer’s compass that is surrounded by “the clear messaging that Highland remains Asheville’s first craft beer.”  The Blue Ridge Mountains are now artfully depicted on all packaging, and the “Highland” name will continue to honor the area’s Scots-Irish heritage and the brewery’s setting “on high land – in the mountains and on a hilltop.”

HighlandNewCans

“Highland Brewing has been a pioneer in beer since my father founded the company in 1994,” said Leah Wong Ashburn, President of Highland Brewing. “Over two decades, we led with beer, and in recent years, we developed our beer portfolio significantly with fresh new styles and our innovative spirit is firing. The result of the changes was that our beer and our brand were sharing different messages. I love that we are now aligning the message.  

What that means is we focused on the four things we know to be true about ourselves: authenticity, sense of place, consistently excellent beer and an inventive spirit.”

Fully committed to this rebrand, Highland Brewing will be closing its doors on February 19 so that it can update its taproom to match the rebrand.  After a four-day renovation, the taproom will officially reopen on February 23 with a launch celebration that will show off the new branding/packaging and “feature new small batch beers, including Highland’s very first Brett brew, as well as throw-back favorites including Little Hump, Razor Wit, and Vintage 20th Anniversary Scotch Ale.  The event will also boast live music, new merchandise available for purchase, and popular food trucks.  The launch celebration is free and open to the public.

For those of you that do not live within driving distance of Highland Brewing, the rebrand will reach you any day now as the new-look 12 oz. bottles, 12 oz. cans and tap handles hit craft beer establishments located within the brewery’s distribution footprint.  Just be sure to keep these changes in mind the next time you are out looking for your favorite Highland brew.  Prost!

 

Tasting Notes: Daycation IPA from Highland Brewing Company

daycationbottle1000This week’s installment of Tasting Notes provides us with an early jump on the weekend as we get into a little Daycation IPA from Highland Brewing Company (Asheville, North Carolina).

To provide their fans with a bit of an escape from daily life, Highland Brewing Company launched Daycation IPA as their newest year-round offering back in March.  While creating the recipe for this low-gravity, sessionable IPA, the brewers at Highland intently focused on the grist bill – comprised of six malts: 2 Row Brewers Malt, White Wheat, Rye, Vienna, Caramel 20 and Flaked Oats – so that they could achieve a “desired balance and body” that would make a memorable impression on the drinker.  Once this goal was met, the recipe was then loaded with Mosaic, Azacca and El Dorado hops to yield a refreshing, 4.9% ABV India Pale Ale that is packed with “tropical, lemony, pineapple leaf flavors and aromas, perfectly balanced with a bready, bright, sessionable body.”  Daycation IPA is available now as a year-round offering.  You can find this brew available in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft at craft beer establishments located in Alabama, Florida, North Carolina and throughout the rest of Highland Brewing’s distribution footprint.

Now that the particulars are out of the way, it is finally time to kick back and experience all that a Daycation has to offer!

Tasting Notes for Daycation IPA from Highland Brewing Company

Appearance: Daycation IPA presents itself pale golden in color with a solid finger of fluffy white foam resting on top.  Held to the light, the color softens even more to expose some straw-colored tones.  The body is immaculately clear and displays a bustling carbonation activity.  Although stubbornly persistent, the head eventually falls to a thin but complete top cap that sporadically spots the glass with lace.

Aroma: Ripe to overly ripe peaches hit the nose first with a bright, juicy sweetness.  This is followed quickly by an interesting mix of mango, pine and grassiness.  Things then take a tropical turn as lemon, tangerine and pineapple all raise their hands for roll call.  The aroma closes with a lightly-sweet, cracker malt presence.  Beautifully dynamic and complex here.

Taste: Papaya and its slightly spicy/peppery seeds delightfully kick off the flavor experience and open up further to expose a wealth of tropical fruits.  Mango, pineapple, tangerine, sweet orange, cantaloupe and grapefruit are all accounted for.  A wave of earthiness then moves in with piney, grassy and floral tones.  Consistent with the nose, the flavors subside to expose a wisp of bready malt character.

Mouthfeel: This beer is light in body and has a spirited level of carbonation. Although it is light, the beer still retains some weight to it.  It is difficult to explain, but it possesses an airy creaminess that allows its flavors to casually move across the palate.  With that said, the beer remains ridiculously refreshing, easy drinking and clean.  At 4.9% ABV, there is no indication of alcohol presence.  Just bitter enough on the palate to remind you that this is an IPA, but not at all aggressive.  Aftertaste is just a touch of citrus and pine.

Final Thoughts: Overall, Daycation IPA coolly represents all that I expect when I think “Session IPA”.  It quickly checks the boxes of light and easy drinking, but it still showcases a level of complexity that demands your attention.  The aromas and flavors sourced from the hop bill are markedly impressive and dynamic.  Its hoppy bitterness has enough presence to grab you by the palate, but it then politely excuses itself before any destruction can take place.  Then you have the malt bill . . . I never thought I would be noting the exceptional mouthfeel of a Session IPA, but here I am.  Being both airy and noteworthy, the feel and texture of this beer is nearly indescribable.  Everything about this beer keeps things interesting and complex while somehow remaining effortlessly approachable.  Honestly, not a gripe can be found.  In fact, the best course of action here is to just close the laptop and have another pour.  Prost!

Highland Brewing Launches Big Briar Tart Raspberry Ale as New Seasonal

bigbriardrop_editedHighland Brewing Company (Asheville, North Carolina) has announced the release of Big Briar Tart Raspberry Ale as the brewery’s spring to summer Seasonal offering.

Brewed with all natural ingredients, Big Briar Tart Raspberry Ale arrives as the perfect option to help us all transition from spring to summer.  The recipe for this new seasonal brew employs the use of “seven and a half pounds of 100% raspberry puree per barrel of beer.”  The raspberries are added during “the most aggressive stage of fermentation” so that the yeast is able to “eat the berries’ natural sugar, removing sweetness and leaving raspberry essence in aroma, color and tartness.” The berries may be the headliner, but the base beer still comes through to lend “complementary lemon notes to the raspberry aroma and flavor.”  The finished beer clocks in at an easy-drinking and refreshing 5.4% ABV and 15 IBUs.

There’s natural convection when we add the raspberry. The yeast is churning so much that the berries distribute naturally in a 200-barrel tank, top to bottom. The blowoff is pink,” said Brewmaster Hollie Stephenson.

Like all seasonal offerings from Highland Brewing, Big Briar Tart Raspberry Ale has been named after a land or water feature protected by Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy.  Big Briar Cove is a conservation easement donated in memory of inventor and electronic music pioneer, Bob Moog. Big Briar is part of a network of 10,000 protected acres in the wider Sandy Mush area of the French Broad River watershed in North Carolina.  During the Big Briar Tart Raspberry Ale release party on April 28, Highland Brewing will donate $1 per pour of the Seasonal to benefit the mission and efforts of Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy.

Big Briar Tart Raspberry Ale will officially release at the brewery on April 28 and hit the market by late April.  This Seasonal offering will be available in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft at craft beer establishments located in Alabama, Florida, North Carolina and throughout the rest of Highland’s distribution footprint.  Big Briar Tart Raspberry Ale will only be around for the warm weather months, so be sure to check it out once it drops later this month.  Prost!

Vital Information for Big Briar Tart Raspberry Ale from Highland Brewing Company

Release – Seasonal, launching late-April 2017
Style – Fruit Beer
ABV – 5.4%
IBUs – 15
Malts – 2 Row Brewers Malt, White Wheat, Caramel 20 & Sauermaltz
Hops – El Dorado
Added Ingredients –  Pureed raspberries
Availability – 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles & draft
Beer Finder – https://highlandbrewing.com/beer-finder/
Suggested Food Pairings – “Balance the pleasant tartness of this brew with grilled sweet Italian sausage and caramelized onions on a hoagie roll. For a sweeter pairing, try cheesecake topped with a berry reduction.”

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