The fact that my future brother-in-law (@Wisk_E) keeps dropping mind blowing North Carolina brews on me goes a long way to erase the mental image of him “spooning” with my little sister. His latest delivery of craft brew goodness include some brews from Olde Hickory Brewery (Hickory NC). There were five Olde Hickory Brews in this package four of which are reviewed below.
The tasting of these brews included G-lo, LimpD, Crazy Eye, and me on the my deck enjoying a beautiful cool spring May night. We tried these in order of lightest to heaviest as they are reviewed below.
This Pils kicked off the sampling and it was a bit of quiet start.
Appearance – Clear Golden
Aroma – Chemical sweetness. Almost a bit of chlorine
Taste – Very light and effervescent. Gentle cereal notes.
The group described this as a bomber sized lawnmower beer. It was very light and crisp but did not have much flavor. G-lo remarked that both Miller High Life and Philly Tap water might have more flavor.
Even though this wasn’t well received by the group I found nothing wrong with this beer. If you want a very light crisp refreshing brew you can’t go wrong with this one. It would be great to knock the edge off of a spicy meal or refreshing on a hot day but it is so light you are not getting much more than you would from a big label beer.
Table Rock Pale Ale
Things picked up with the Table Rock Pale Ale.
Appearance – Hazy amber with a beefy head
Aroma – Sweet caramel with light hops
Taste – Creamy. Hops upfront with light bitterness that mellow quickly for a balanced finish
This was a damn solid brew. Great balance with good creamy texture. Both rich and light at the same time.
Wish_E had told me the hoppy brews from Olde Hickory were good so as the hops entered the picture our impression of the brews got elevated. This one was hoppy but overpowering, striking the difficult balance between sweetness and bitterness.
Black Raven IPA
Rich black IPA! Now we’re talking.
Appearance – Opaque dark brown with a rich creamy tan head
Aroma – Hops, malt, and cocoa
Taste – Big roasted malt and coffee flavor that is so rich it covers any upfront hops leaving just a slight peppery bite of hop bitterness in the finish
This one was very rich. Darker and richer than most other black IPAs I’ve tried. It was a fantastic beer that I would definitely love to try more of. It would pair great with a big piece of chocolate cake or any other rich chocolaty dessert.
Note to Wisk_E: This one deserves another taste. I would love another bottle or three.
Death by Hops
One of the Booze Dancer rules is if there are hops ON the bottle there better be hops IN the bottle. Death by Hop meets this important requirement.
Appearance – Clear copper
Aroma – Piney hops and earthy notes
Taste – Very hoppy and slightly sweet
For those that don’t like hops this may be a killer but for a hop head like me this was a great brew. Despite the hoppiness this manages to avoid the bitterness that usually goes with hop bombs. This is very well balanced beer deserving of the hops on the label. It’s not hoppy enough to kill a hop head but this one is hoppy enough to do battle with some of the top West Coast IPAs.
Note to Wisk_E: Please sir, may I have some more?
Wisk_E dropped off another great care package (Thanks, Bro!). Even though the Piedmont Pils left us a little flat, taken as a whole, the brews from Olde Hickory were great. For me the favorite was the Black Raven IPA. Not only was it a great brew is was a different take on the Black IPA style with a more deep and complex flavor profile.
Not reviewed yet is the Hickory Stick Stout from Olde Hickory and a pair of brews from Roth Brewing Company (Dark Construct and Sex Viking) that were in the Wisk_E delivery. We haven’t cracked them open yet but will be doing so soon. Stay tuned!