Many moons ago, Crop Bistro & Brewery  ordered an 8.5-barrel brewing system from Caspary, a Bavarian brewhouse and manufacturer that produces compact, multiple-vessel systems. Then the staff waited — as did Crop’s head brewer, Will Gilson, who joined the bistro in September.
Gilson is known for his German-style beers, Weiss beers in particular, to which he has devoted himself during decades of brewing in Utah, in Vermont and at New Hampshire’s Moat Mountain Smoke House & Brewing Company.
In December, the system finally arrived, accompanied by Caspary founder Rudolf Caspary, who traveled from Germany to help install it. In early January, Gilson and Caspary brewed two batches of Münich-style Helles lager together.
Last week, that Helles was tapped for the first time, as was Gilson’s hallmark style: a Bavarian-style Weiss beer.
At 4.5 percent alcohol by volume, the Helles is light on its feet; Gilson wanted to create a standard session beer for the pub, and this is it. The Weiss — brewed with 50 percent wheat — is zesty, with tart-sweet flavors and a spicy underpinning of banana and cloves.
Up next: an English-style brown ale and an American-style double-brown ale, both set to be tapped this week.
Greensboro’s Hill Farmstead Brewery  continued its march toward world domination when it beat out more than 14,000 breweries all over the world to be named 2013 Best Brewery by RateBeer , the world’s largest beer-review website. Eight of Hill Farmstead’s beers were listed in the top 10 new beers of 2013, and the brewery picked up 31 awards overall.
RateBeer executive director Joe Tucker says it was the first year the top brewery picked up so many high-level awards, and he called 2013 “the (First?) Year of Hill Farmstead.”