TK’s Beer & Wine, Now With Growlers!

My Beer Friends,

TK’s Beer & Wine in Tifton, Georgia, has been a virtual oasis for local beer enthusiasts for almost two years now.  Troy (the owner) runs the store with a few employees and has done a fantastic job advocating for his customers and doing his best to have good craft beer available.IMG_7043

Adding to this awesomeness, I am proud to announce that Troy has expanded the store to include twenty taps from which he can fill your quart or half-gallon growler.  Yes, you read that correctly: 20 taps.  For growlersIn TiftonIt’s true.

A little about growlers: the word growler dates back to the 1800s when customers of the local tavern would buy beer to-go and take it home in a covered pail.  As they walked home with the pail they’d inevitably shake it, causing the CO2 to escape (like shaking a bottle of soda).  The lid would gurgle as the gas forced it open a bit, sometimes sounding like a growl.  Growlers today are typically 32-, 64-, or 128-ounce containers, commonly made of glass and used to package draught beer at a brewer or retailer for consumption at home.  Georgia state law has only allowed growlers for a couple of years now, and only from retail establishments.

Our local availability of take-home draught craft beer has many benefits.  For starters, TK’s is the only retailer refilling growlers within a 90-mile radius.  Second, not all small craft breweries have a packaging line (read: bottles and cans) limiting their availability only to restaurants and bars who can serve beer on tap.  Before Georgia allowed growlers, there were many craft beers you could only find on tap and you couldn’t take it home.  Now you can.

There are some seasonal and other limited-quantity beers that even the larger craft breweries don’t put in bottles or cans – they release it only in kegs.  With the ability to get a quantity of draught beer to take home, we can experience so much more of what the craft beer industry has to offer.

And since draught beer packaged this way is in larger quantities, the product moves faster – this equates to fresher beer, which is closer to what the brewer wants you to experience.  Bottles and cans can sit on the shelf for months, which is not always a good thing.  Draught beer will move faster and be replaced by other fresh beer much sooner.

IMG_7036TK’s has some breweries’ year-round offerings (e.g. Brooklyn Lager, Sam Adams Boston Lager), and limited seasonals from well-known and upcoming brewers (Dogfish Head Punkin, Founders Rubæus).  Check out TK’s Facebook page for updates on what they have available, or call them!  Prices vary based on quantity. Currently they can fill your 32-ounce and 64-ounce growlers, or you can buy one of theirs for $7.99 (plus the price of the beer).  Re-fill anytime!

Whatever you do, go check it out if you’re in the area or just passing through.  TK’s also has a decent walk-in cooler with a wide variety of craft beers available.  Go take a look!

Review: 2014 Dogfish Head Punkin’ Ale

Dogfish-Head-Punkin-Ale-labelI’m surprised that I never posted a review of Dogfish Head Punkin’ Ale over the last few years.  This year was special – a local retailer added growlers to their offerings and I got to have Punkin’ from the tap!

The half-gallon went pretty quickly, but I did take some notes.  I have said in the past that I didn’t want to do quantitative reviews, but if I don’t keep to some kind of standard I’ll never be able to keep up with what I’ve experienced.  I have decided to use the Beer Judge Certification Program‘s beer scoresheet to take my notes and give ratings.  This will also allow you to bench my scores against other ratings, though others may be on a different scale.  BJCP scores are 0 to 50.

Aroma

Sweet alcohol, cinnamon & nutmeg.  To my olfactory, this was a lot like last year.  Appropriate for this style.  (9/12)

Appearance

It pours clear in a deep amber color.  The keg it came from was perfectly carbonated.  It has a foamy yet crisp head that lingers.  (3/3)

2014-punkin-in-globe

Flavor

Hoppy up front, followed by sticky sweetness with an only slightly-floral bitterness in the alcoholic finish.  The next breath is of alcohol and spices. (16/20)

Mouthfeel

Positive.  The palate is well-compensated as it comes in to balance.  Warm in the throat.  The low carbonation makes it very smooth.  (5/5)

Overall Impression

After drinking for a few minutes, it begins to warm up (and so do I).  More spices surface and everything comes into play.  The alcoholic finish, while a bit strong at first, subsides and becomes quite enjoyable.  If I could change anything about this beer, it would be the quantity of spices present – its festivity gets a bit overwhelming in the same way that a strong scented candle does in a small room. (9/10)

Score

The tally is 42 out of 50 (Excellent).

With that said, I want to make sure no one reads this review as a desire to change what Dogfish Head does.  There’s absolutely no way I’d tell any brewery to do anything differently – from my I love Craft Beer perspective, it’s perfect.  I wouldn’t believe for a second that a batch of Punkin’ that reached consumers wasn’t what Dogfish Head wanted to serve, so I know that this beer is exactly what they wanted me to have.  Besides – Dogfish Head makes “Off-centered ales for off-centered people.”  It would only be an odd beer if it were a perfect example of a particular style.

In the end, I highly recommend Punkin’ to those adventurous enough to tackle this year’s craft Pumpkin beers – it’s worth the time.