Game On: Small Batch Beer Company and Foothills Brewing

Small Batch chalk board beer list

Small Batch chalk board beer list

Every other Thursday at 6:30pm, the Camel City Gamers group meets to play strategy board games. Since I get off work at 4:30, my husband, Jerry and I decided to have a drink at Small Batch Beer Company first. They are a local brewery that recently opened on 5th Street in Winston Salem at the location of the old Copper Kitchen restaurant. Street parking is a bit scarce near the bar so we headed to our usual spot a block down the hill, the city garage, which charges $1/hour. It was a rainy day, and we hurried towards the bar to get out of the weather. Don’t let the dark windows fool you, they are open and have started putting a chalk board sign out on the sidewalk. (Operating hours: Tue-Fri: 4pm-2am, Sat: 12pm-2am, Sun: 12pm-10pm) Once inside, you will see a long bar with 2 TVs, a mixture of high tops and community tables, a dart board and a living room style sitting area.

Columbus IPA and Sweater Melons saison

Columbus IPA and Sweater Melons saison

We started off with a Columbus IPA for me and a Sweater Melons saison for Jerry. I thoroughly enjoyed the IPA with its nice dry hops bite, great floral aroma, and hints of grapefruit. It was unfiltered with a 6.5% ABV. Small Batch released their saison 5 months early to celebrate the warm weather we were having back on December 20th. The saison was slightly hazy, very lightly hopped, moderately bitter, and had a strong charred wood aftertaste (6.5% ABV). Jerry never mentioned a melon flavor. We love trying new beers especially if they are unusual, so this fit the bill. Both beers were served in a tulip beer glass. [Googled Fact of the Day: A tulip beer glass not only helps trap the aroma, but also aids in maintaining large heads, creating a visual and olfactory sensation. The body is bulbous, but the top flares out to form a lip which helps head retention. Good for serving Scottish ales, barleywines, Belgian ales and other aromatic beers.]
Round two for me was the BBA – Big Beautiful Amber (6.9%ABV), and Jerry had the Radagast India Porter (6.0% ABV). You’ve gotta love a beer with a name that gives a nod to Tolkien. His porter had a creamy head, was the color of a stout, moderately bitter from the hops, and smoky. It’s my #3 pick at Small Batch with their Kranked and Limonhead being my #2 and #1 choices. We’ll review those another day. So far they have kept my two favorites in their regular rotation. If you follow Small Batch on Facebook and see a post about a new beer, be sure to try it ASAP. Everything is brewed in small amounts of around

Big Beautiful Amber and Radagast Indian Porter

Big Beautiful Amber and Radagast Indian Porter

60 to 65 gallons. We’ve tried something new every visit. My BBA (6.9% ABV) had a hazy reddish amber color and was richer in flavor than the golden larger style beers you see in so many sports bars. If you’ve been drinking the large commercial beer company options like Bud, Coors, etc., this will be a slightly heavierbeer with a more robust flavor. I would say it’s a good jump off point to switch over to unique, creative, locally crafted beer. The BBA was a nice refreshing, easy to drink beer that I enjoyed trying. Our bill before tip was $17.35. The bartender remembered us from a previous visit and stopped by to let us know that the Kickstarter growlers could be picked up on Saturday. We have enjoyed ourselves every time we’ve been to Small Batch, from opening night to weekends to stopping in for a pint before gaming on Thursdays after work.

Frostbite Black IPA

Frostbite Black IPA

It was time for our gaming group to meet up, so we headed over to Foothills Brewing. They have a separate room along the right wall that our group uses. Typically they have the room setup with 5 tables, 6 chairs per table for CCG. Our waitress forthe evening came into the room and immediately took our drink orders and handed us menus. I love IPAs, and she listed off all of the ones they have on draft. I elected to start with the Frostbite (6.5% ABV). It’s a black IPA with a nice amount of hops, delicious bitterness, light carbonation, not too thick, and aromas of pine and coffee. Very tasty indeed. Jerry had the Octoberfest (6.5% ABV). It was a rich copper color with a nice brilliance, not heavy on the hops but with a slight bitterness. The toasted malts came through in the aroma. Overall it was an easy drinking beer.
As our friends set up Lords Of Waterdeep, we finished our sandwiches. I had Paul’s Spicy Ostrich Burger ($12.99) with fries. The meat was juicy and flavorful prepared medium with some pink. I was trying to figure out if they used some type of dry spice seasoning beyond the usual salt & pepper. The brewhouse sauce, pepper jack cheese and red onions provided tasty accents to the sandwich. I only wish I had paid more attention to the description when I ordered, so I could have asked for extra jalapenos. I love hot peppers and for me, the burger could have been spicier. The fries were skin-on, crispy bites of yumminess served with regular ketchup or their homemade house ketchup. It has their beer in it and is sweeter than your regular Heinz. I think it complements certain dishes. Jerry ordered the grilled pimento cheese and bacon sandwich ($8.99) with fries. The house ketchup

Grilled pimento cheese with bacon & fries

Grilled pimento cheese with bacon & fries

is too sweet for him, so he always requests regular when they ask. The blend of four cheeses on the large slices of sourdough bread was flavorful but the pimento cheeseblend overpowered the scant amount of bacon. However the sourdough bread was buttered and toasted perfectly. Throughout the evening, our sever ‘C’ did a fantastic job of refiling beverages, clearing plates and checking to see if we needed anything, and bringing us the check to tab out.

I enjoyed my second Foothills beer, Hoppy Medium (7.8%ABV), while we played a game called Sushi aka Wasabi (in which ‘M’ thoroughly trounced us!). The heady citrus and piney hops smelled wonderful. It had a bit of sweetness to provide balance alongside the hop bitterness. The bill was $36.46 before tip. It was a fun night of gaming with friends, good food, great drink and outstanding service.

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