Brew Review

The Brews of Olde Hickory Brewery


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.

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Piedmont Pilsner

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.

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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.

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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.

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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?


The Verdict

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!

5 replies »

  1. As a Durham resident, I can safely vouch for the wonderful quality and very wide selection of NC brews – cheers to this post!

    While I wasn’t terribly crazy about Sex Viking (light on flavor/smell so good lawnmower beer), I did like Roth Brewing’s Dark Construct.

    If you ever have the excuse, Asheville is worth a trip. It’s like the beer gods smiled upon some college town and bestowed all that is righteous to them.

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    • You guys seem to have a great beer scene developing down there in the Raleigh/Durham area. My favorite so far has been the Devil’s Tramping Ground Triple from Aviator Brewing. This beer is easily in my top 10 all time and this is coming from a guy who has had access to Russian River’s Pliny the Elder, Ballast Point’s Sculpin, and Founder’s KBS.

      Hopefully I will get a chance to visit the area and my sister soon!

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  2. The Pilsner was the worst of the bunch by a long shot. As you said, the smell screamed swimming pool. If you want to be more specific, freshly “shocked” indoor swimming pool. And the taste, well, there wasn’t much of one.

    As far as the others go, the Black IPA and Death by Hops were dee-lish! Would welcome a second try to explore them further.

    Nice job on the recap Wookie! Nice pics too!

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    • Freshly shocked indoor pool water is a bit of a heavy comment. I definitely got a touch chlorine but more like chlorinated tap water than pool water. Pilsner is a tough style to make. It, like kolsch, is so light that it is easy to screw up. This is why, though I don’t like most “big beers”, I have to respect that they can churn out massive quantities of their light flavored pale brews with such consistency.

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      • The other beers were great. The Pilsner, not so much. I may have exaggerated a bit, but since when are you accurate?

        As far as big beer and their consistency, I would say that the vast majority are consistently bland and flavorless, especially their “light” beers. Did we learn nothing at The Perch Pub?

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