English Mild local brew coming to beer festival

Sep. 26, 2013 @ 06:54 PM

“You can taste the hops in it. I like that,” Jonathan Seiglie told Seth Gross and colleagues at Bull City Burger and Brewery Thursday.

Zack Wheeler compared the brew to “a hybrid between English Mild, Oktoberfest and an earthy pale ale.”

Seiglie, an attorney who works on Parrish Street, and Wheeler, who runs the beer-tasting site BrewChief.com, were getting some of the first sips of Beer Fest Beer, which will be one of more than 200 beers that visitors will be able to sample at this year’s World Beer Festival, coming Oct. 5 at Durham Athletic Park. The beer was given an inaugural pour at Thursday’s tasting at Bull City Burger.

Durham-based publication All About Beer Magazine, which runs the annual World Beer Festival, teamed with Durham brewers Fullsteam Brewery and Bull City Burger and Brewery to create the Beer Fest Beer. The beer, called a “fresh hop English Mild” beer, was made with barley and hops grown in North Carolina.

For this year’s festival, the staff at All About Beer decided to “put something together celebrating the premier beers of Durham,” said Chris Rice, vice president of All About Beer. They reached out to Seth Gross, owner of Bull City Burger and Brewery, and Sean Lily Wilson, owner of Fullsteam Brewery, to produce the Beer Fest Beer. Both brewers have different approaches to how they make beer, and Beer Fest Beer has elements of both approaches, Rice said.

They brewed seven barrels of the brew, or 14 kegs, said Gross. He has held some kegs for the festival, but expects the beer to sell out at his restaurant well before then. English Mild is a style of beer that has lower alcohol content but still has taste. At the same time it’s “not very bitter as well, so it’s very drinkable,” Gross said. Beer Fest Beer has less than 4 percent alcohol, Rice said.

Rice pointed out the beer’s “deep amber color,” and its caramel-like smell. The malts in the beer give it a biscuit-like flavor, he said.

The World Beer Festival, in addition to offering beer drinkers a chance to taste, also is about education. The festival will have a tent with beers from 30 North Carolina brewers, “which is a huge hit at our festival,” Rice said. There also will be an on site brew demonstration. Newlands Systems, a Canadian company that makes brewing equipment, will bring a scaled-down model of a commercial brewery to the festival.

The number of small, local breweries in Durham and throughout North Carolina has grown since 2005. That year, the N.C. Legislature passed the “Pop the Cap” bill, which raised the legal alcohol limit for beers to 14.9 percent. Fullsteam Brewery founder  Wilson played a pivotal role in getting the law changed.


More information about the World Beer Festival is at allaboutbeer.com.