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Carolina Brewing Company Wet Hop IPA The Beer of Clarity

This week’s beer is Carolina Brewing Company’s Wet Hop IPA. Emphatic and to the point—a beer that knows where it stands, made by brewers who are crystal clear about how they want to make their beers and run their business. A no-frills, unpretentious, IPA with a name that tells it like it is—a sort of offensive lineman of beers. A beer that says “I know I’m good and I came to play”.

October 21, 2013—It’s been a week of clarity—where everything seemed to happen with purpose and intent. Instead of the typical week of guarded anticipation, touchy flexibility and general wariness, it seems that, for once in a blue moon, things seemed to go exactly as planned. How ironic then, that we would take a trip this weekend to a local brewery who are very clear about their own ideas—both about beer and about the business of beer.

Especially rewarding was they had a brew on tap that captured that theme of clarity quite nicely. Carolina Brewing Company’s Wet Hop IPA is a beer that knows what it wants. This ale is crisp and flavorful with just the right touch of understatement. Drinking the Wet Hop IPA evokes the same comfortable warmth as wearing your softest, best-est pair of jeans with your 15 year old sweatshirt, the one with at least three holes and the frayed cuffs and collar.

Carolina Brewing Company in Holly Springs is an old-school brewer, not only in philosophy but in chronological terms. Founded in 1995, these guys have dedicated themselves to making traditional beers without exotic additives. They have also controlled their growth in a fashion that suits their comfort levels. During the brewery tour, given by one of the partners, it was obvious that these guys have been doing things their very own way for a very long time. This is probably a good time to give them big props for using North Carolina hops grown by Mim’s Distributing in Raleigh, NC.

While Craft beer lovers are no strangers to beers brewed with exotic additives like cocoa nibs, sweet potatoes, espresso, licorice, and yada yada, CBC makes it clear that they are traditional brewers who use only wheat, water, yeast and hops—and no preservatives. These guys are the flannel shirts and two-day-beard-growth of brewing. It isn’t about flair, market penetration and over-the-top salesmanship for them. Their logo and graphics could use a little nip and tuck but then again, why? There’s a lot of icky beer on the market with great graphics and hip marketing behind it. CBC’s wet hop is a reminder that it’s what is in the glass that counts.

Can I re-mention a founding date of 1995? This is about the same time that Stone, Founders and Dogfish Head came into existence. Right here in the RDU area, we have a brewery that was in the vanguard of the craft beer movement. And they have controlled their growth and remained true to their traditional brewing values. That’s pretty dang cool. Here’s to clarity and here’s to Carolina Brewing Company’s Wet Hop IPA. Cheers!

The Playlist

  1. 4
    Celtic Pop. Three gorgeous brunette Irish sisters with sweet voices. Hello? This song apparently was lost to the rest of the world except to me and Brazil where it went #4 on the charts due to play on a popular soap opera…
  2. 4
    This is my absolute favorite song by the Connells. From the album Boylan Heights, I often play it several times in a row. I love the jangly opening and love the whole Raleigh, NC hometown band thing.
  3. 0
    Like Regina Spektor, another eastern European songbird. Google the controversy between her and scientist Simon Singh on this very song and its lyrics.
  4. 0
    At first, I thought the title was an entry in my diary, but I just happen to like this artist’s style and broad range of sounds.
  5. 4
    The lyrics and the sound of this song seem a little at odds with one another--relatively upbeat music behind lyrics of futility. I like the dichotomy.
  6. 4
    Fun, upbeat tune by a fun, upbeat group. I love the clever lyrics. And the international flavor of the rest of the title tracked album.
  7. 0
    I was initially intrigued by the title of this tune, but in the end it was a tune I simply came to like. What more can a person ask of a song?
  8. 4
    Playlist takes a bit of a turn with this classic blues howler. Raw and visceral, makes you want to cruise down a gravel road in that old car you shouldn’t have sold and still regret having done so.
  9. 4
    Always confused by the nuance (and pretense) of musical genres/sub-genres and instead of wondering whether this is Afrobeat or the Afrofunk hybrid pioneered by Allen, I just dig the tune.
  10. 0
    What a great gumbo of sounds and influences. These guys might be an acquired taste for some but I once played all their albums back to back.
  11. 0
    Funky horns. Lots of ‘em….New Orleans jazz, hip hop, funk all twisted into one jamming tune. Listen to this one before you go into a boring meeting.
  12. 3
    Been revisiting the funk sound I loved as a kid (and still do). Dug this one up flipping through the Ipod one night this week…Not as fast a song as I ordinarily end with but man those horns…