Tasting Notes: Stargazer White from Highland Brewing

HighlandStargazerPour_editedFor this installment of Tasting Notes, Tuesday has arrived and brought with it the inspiration – or excuse – to daydream while day-drinking a pour of Stargazer White from Highland Brewing (Asheville, North Carolina).

Named after the Stargazer Lily that blooms in mid-to-late summer, Highland Stargazer is a fresh 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.”

Stargazer White is available now in 6-packs of 12 oz. cans and on draft.  You can expect to find this Seasonal offering at craft beer establishments located in Alabama, Florida, North Carolina and throughout the rest of Highland Brewing’s distribution footprint.

Now that we are all a little more familiar with this new Seasonal, let’s crack open these cans and get lost in fanciful thought with some Tasting Notes!

Tasting Notes for Stargazer White from Highland Brewing

Appearance: A careful pour produces a soft-yellow-colored brew that is capped with right at a finger of wispy, airy white foam.  When held to direct light, the yellow gains some vibrancy and intensity.  The beer is slightly cloudy but remains clear enough to display the exuberant carbonation presence streaming throughout.  Head retention is decent but falls quicker than expected to a thin cap that still retains the ability to leave wide streaks of lace behind on the glass whenever it is jostled.

Aroma:  The aromatics kickoff with a pronounced and distinct ginger presence that eventually settles down enough to allow earthy and spicy hop tones to come forward.  Citrusy coriander then builds from this and brings with it gentle notes of grapefruit and lemongrass.

Taste: The grains surprising get top billing here, starting things off with slightly sweet wheat and spicy rye.  The malts act as a solid foundation to carry the brighter, more assertive ginger and grapefruit notes that follow closely behind.  The hops then gently work their way in, offering complementary earthy, floral and spicy notes.  The experience closes beautifully with just a bit of bubble gum and musky coriander.

Mouthfeel:  Light side of medium in body with an effervescent carbonation level, Stargazer is all about being easy-drinking and refreshing.  The beer is wonderfully balanced across the board as the spices, hops and grains all know that this experience requires focus and teamwork.  The 4.8% ABV is not at all noticeable, upping the refreshment level even further.  Aftertaste is minimal, leaving just a slight trace of ginger behind.

Final Thoughts:  Just as the brewery hoped, Highland Stargazer comes together to be an updated, slightly exotic take on the Belgian Wit/White style.  The ginger adds a fun new dimension to the flavor and aromatics but does so without taking anything away from the style’s trademark wheat and coriander notes.  The addition of grapefruit peel rather than orange is also a nice touch that adds just a grace of balancing bitterness that the style often begs for.  There is not one ingredient added to this beer that ever considers getting aggressive, and that is no small feat when you are working with ingredients such as ginger, coriander and grapefruit peel.  Everything just knows its role, works for the greater good, and results in an ultra-refreshing brew that is absolutely perfect for summer sipping.  Speaking of sipping . . . we are going to get back to that and encourage you to pick up a sixer of Highland Stargazer so that you can do the same.  Prost!



Highland Brewing and Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats Collaborate on Half Yüszch

HalfYuszchHighland Brewing (Asheville, North Carolina) has officially teamed up with Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats to create a special collaboration beer, Half Yüszch Pilsner, that will be featured at the band’s sold out May 11 tour stop at the iconic Asheville brewery.

Brewed as an homage to Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats’ yüszch – or usual – tradition where they drink a beer and take a shot, Half Yüszch (a.k.a. the beer half) is a Limited Release Czech-style Pilsner that has Weyermann Pilsner malt supplying “a clean and elegant mouthfeel, while Saaz hops contribute mild earthy, floral, and herbaceous aromas.” Clocking in at a “crisp and crushable” 4.5% ABV, Half Yüszch promises to be the perfect pairing for “an evening of restless and soulful music.”

Half Yüszch is a brewery-only release that will be available in 12 oz. cans and on draft during the sold-out Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats show at Highland Brewing on May 11, and also on draft at the band’s sold-out shows in Charlotte, N.C. (May 8) and Raleigh, N.C (May 9).  If you were unable to land tickets for those concerts, Highland Brewing has also scheduled a listening party of Tearing at the Seams, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats’ newly released album, on Thursday, May 10. Half Yüszch will be available in 6-packs of 12 oz. cans and on draft at the listening party as well.

More than just an awesome collaboration, Half Yüszch also has a charitable cause as “$1 from each beer sold will support The Marigold Project, a foundation established by Nathaniel Rateliff to address issues of economic and social justice.”

For those keeping score at home, Half Yüszch basically serves as a junction that unites damn good beer and music with a great cause . . . and you simply cannot go wrong with that combo.  Be sure to check out this Limited Release if you have the chance.  Prost!

Vital Information for Half Yüszch from Highland Brewing and Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats

Release – Limited; May 10 & May 11, 2018 at Highland Brewing
Style – Czech-style Pilsner
ABV – 4.5%
Featured Malts – Weyermann Pilsner
Featured Hops – Saaz
Fun Fact – On the label artwork: Highland Brewing “worked with local poster artist Drew Findley with Subject Matter Studio for the can graphics.”
Availability – 6-packs of 12 oz. cans & draft 
Distribution – None, brewery-only release


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.”


“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!