This is an episode of the Libation Liberation Front podcast.
In this episode, another recording from Balticon, we were joined by friend of the show, Scott Roche. We mixed up a round of sazerac cocktails to share, made with Mitchner’s Rye, Bitter Truth Creole bitters, Abbott bitters, agave nectar, Leopold Brothers Highland Absinthe, with a blood orange wedge for garnish.
We talked about Scott’s recent move, getting set back up to brew, and his next planned beer. His idea is to make a honeysuckle saison, an idea that has been attempted but apparently with only limited success. His new place is surrounded by honey suckle and the strong, ever present aroma has been driving his desire to figure out this recipe. Scott will include two friends in his brew day, two additional beers, with one of them a newcomer to the hobby.
As challenging as this floral saison idea may be, there is cause for optimism. Scott’s family enjoys the idea of using honeysuckle. A co-worker of John’s and mine used lavender in a saison and it was amazing. Subtlety seems like the wise course, undershooting meaning a decent saison in the worst case.
Scott shared his ambition, if things continue to go well, to eventually down the road open a nano brewery, an idea that seems to be going around. He mentioned a new one in Winston-Salem, called Small Batch Brewing, that is doing well. The most interesting thing is they are the result of a successful crowd funding campaign. Scott also visited Burial recently, another very small brewery, that did a nice split batch including one flavored with chilis. Another chili beer Scott liked is Fire Escape from Asheville Brewing which had a nice flavor beyond just the heat of the chilli.
John asked Scott for an update since the last time we talked, when New Belgium and Sierra Nevada had just come to the area. Scott mentioned going to Highland Brewing after five years, to see how they’ve grown including housing a small distillery. All the locals Scott has talked to are excited about the arrival of the larger craft breweries, especially since those breweries supported equal tax treatment not just for them but for all craft breweries. Scott thinks Winston-Salem is set to grow, as well, based on the capacity increase and imminent tap room addition at Foothills, to the point where it may surpass Red Oak.
Talking about the reasons that breweries should be more disposed to cooperate than be secretive and competitive, led John and I to talk about our last homage beer, to G’Knight, and our planned one for Celebrator. Scott agreed and even talked to some of the craft brewers in North Carolina, who apparently intentionally transplanted from Colorado because of the awesome community. There is plenty of evidence that sharing runs deep in the North Carolina craft beer community, including what we had discussed thus far as well as even some work on collaborative buying to help the smaller breweries have a greater reach than they would have otherwise.
We talked about how this reflects into the tastes of the enthusiast. The more variety, the more experimentation, the more to fuel the experience of the taster. Scott warns his friends not to get too attached to a favorite, in part because so much tends to depend on local ingredients, but also because of that open ended play with flavors that means you may not find the same beer twice all that often. Scott folded in the culture, too, that is so dependent on the local sensibility. He offered Pisgah, again, one of his favorites in that it is growing into a strong music venue, too, that means taste overlaps beer and so much more, as it should. I mentioned Baying Hound, near us, going through a similar evolution.
We closed out talking for a moment about Scott bringing his daughter to Balticon, her first experience, and his reading from his piece in the anthology, The Way of the Gun, from Iron Kilt Productions.
You can grab the flac encoded audio from the Internet Archive.
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