Friday, September 30, 2011

Dogfish Head Punkin Ale - Dogfish Head Brewery - Milton, DE

What's the best part about living on the East Coast? Dogfish Head! It is everywhere, and I love it. They rarely let me down. I've tried a few different Pumpkin Ales, but I was really looking forward to seeing what the boys at Dogfish Head had to present. They're known for being on the forefront of creative, flavorful Craft Brewed Ales, and I knew that their Punkin Ale would not disappoint. here's what the website had to say:

The Brew:

Punkin Ale


A full-bodied brown ale with smooth hints of pumpkin and brown sugar. We brew our Punkin Ale with pumpkin meat, organic brown sugar and spices. This is the perfect beer to warm-up with, as the season cools.

Punkin Ale is named after a locally-famous and seriously off-centered event here in southern Delaware - Punkin Chunkin (check out some of these Discovery Channel videos of Punkin Chunkin, you gotta see it to believe it!). In fact, Punkin Ale made it's debut as it claimed First Prize in the 1994 Punkin Chunkin Recipe Conest - yes, that was a full 6 months before we even opened our doors for business. Punkin Chunkin has grown in size and scale with pumpkins now being hurled more than 4,000 feet through the air! If you come down to see if for yourself - come by and visit us.

Since then, we've brewed Punkin Ale each and every fall. It is released right around September first each year. When you find it, grab some extra because it's usually gone by Thanksgiving.

ABV: 7.0

IBU: 28

Original Release Date: 11/1994

Food Pairing Recommendations: Turkey, roasted duck, lamb, stuffing, dessert dumplings

Glassware Recommendation: Pint

Tasting Notes: Malty, pumpkin, caramel, brown sugar


Free tours of our Milton, DE brewery include sampling (only for those of legal drinking age, of course!), a guided tour, and even a chance to get all your beer and merchandise needs met in our on-site gift shop.

The tours are fun and give you a chance to get a behind-the-scenes peek at our brewhouse, the cellars (including our 3 huge wooden tanks), and our packaging hall.

Tour times vary by season, but in general run Tuesday - Saturday afternoons. See link below for specific times on a specific date.

Each tour time is limited to 35 people (so you get the best experience), and all tour participants must wear closed-toe shoes. Reservations can be made by clicking the icon below or calling 302-684-1000 x0 or 1-888-8dogfish. Walk-ins are welcomed if there are non-reserved available spaces on a particular tour.

And that's not all... every Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday we offer a free tour of our home base - the brewpub in downtown Rehoboth Beach, DE. There you'll see the experimental brewery (where we still brew our Brewpub Exclusive beers about once a month) and our upstairs distillery (where we make vodka, gin & rum). If you're interested in the pub tour, just show up at the pub (320 Rehoboth Ave, Rehoboth Beach, DE) tour begins at 4:30pm.


In the past, the various Pumpkin Ales that I've tried have kind of let me down. They've either been too heavy on the Pumpkin, or too earthy, but the Punkin selection from Dogfish Head appears to have gotten it right. The Pumpkin flavors are light and not overbearing at all. The pour is clean, and the head is thick. I was impressed with the presence that the spices and brown sugar have to offer. I do believe that the season had found it's brew. Enjoy.


8/10 - Fall has arrived

Ommegang's Three Philosophers - Ommegang Brewery - Cooperstown, NY

I've sampled a lot of beer, but when a recommendation comes from so close to home...I have to jump on it, especially if I see it available in my local shop. That's pretty much what happened here. I received a great tip from a gentlemen that my wife works with, a guy by the name of Mr. Mcgrath. He'd told her that I should make an effort to try out The Three Philosophers from the Ommegang Brewery out of Cooperstown, NY. This would not be the first time that I've gravitated towards the Ommegang Brewery, but it would be my first taste of The Three Philosophers. Here's what the website had to say:

The Beer:

Three Philosophers Quadrupel

Cynics can't believe it, Epicures hail it a sensation, and Pythagoreans just can't add up what makes this luscious blend of rich malty ale and cherry lambic so delightful. It might be the flavor of dark chocolate and cherry cordials; it could be the way it acquires wisdom and grace in the cellar. Maybe it's a conundrum. What's your theory?

The essence of wonder is a unique and masterful blend of strong malty ale and authentic Belgian Kriek. Our philosophers deduce that this powerful marriage of cherries, roasted malts, and dark chocolate will only achieve more wisdom and coherence as it broods in the dark recesses of your cellar.

Try Three Philosophers as:

a delightful accompaniment for roasted meats, rich cheeses, desserts, and for after dinner sipping as with a fine port.

The Brewery:

Brewing as an Art

Before mass-produced beers ruled the earth, brewers used a variety of yeast strains, spices, grains, and artisanal methods to produce rich, heady brews full of robust aromas and exciting flavors. For years, the tiny nation of Belgium, situated at the crossroads of various European culinary traditions and agricultural regions, has been at the center of this brewing heritage, where hundreds of breweries produce countless styles and varieties of beer.

Partaking as a Passion

At the end of the twentieth century, American tastes were rapidly evolving to encompass a rich and expanding multicultural cuisine. Home brewing was becoming a popular hobby, and sales of cookbooks and cooking magazines were growing at an astronomical rate. It was obvious: America was hungry (and thirsty) for something different.

Brewery Ommegang

In October of 1997, not far from the birthplace of baseball, ground was broken for what was to become America's most unique microbrewery. Based on traditional Belgian farmhouse architecture and set on a former hop farm in upstate New York, Brewery Ommegang was born with the philosophy that truly unique ales must be built from the ground up. Now brewing five award-winning Belgian-style ales and offering daily tours and tastings, plus a full calendar of special events, Brewery Ommegang is the place where brewing is an art and partaking is a passion.



Pour it slow so, as to not disturb the sediment. If you're not into beers that have sediment at the bottom of the bottle, steer clear from this beast. Of note, if you're also not into heavy beers, you should also steer clear from this one. But if you're still game, then prepare yourself for a ride. The bottle claims that it's 98% Ale, and 2% Cherry Ale. You know those chocolate covered cherries that you buy around the Holidays? Well in this beer, you get that in a bottle. I could clearly taste the dark chocolate and cherry flavor. To be honest, the cherry was a little overwhelming, but still good...just not average. The pour was thick and the taste immediately present on the palate. There was a heaviness to the brew, but if you sip slowly, this will be a beer that will impress.


9/10 - Impressive

Karl Strauss “Reverse Tap Takeover” Puts the Spotlight on LA Breweries

Karl Strauss is teaming up with four of Los Angeles’ favorite breweries to kick-off LA Beer Week with “Reverse Tap Takeover.” This exclusive craft beer and food pairing event will take place Thursday, October 13, 2011 from 5-9pm at Karl Strauss Brewing Company, CityWalk. Karl Strauss will be turning over its taps to showcase LA’s vibrant and growing craft beer community.

Angel City Brewing, Eagle Rock Brewery, Golden Road Brewery, and Ladyface Ale Companie will each pour two beers at the event alongside two special release brews from Karl Strauss. In addition to a stellar beer line-up, Karl Strauss’ culinary team has prepared unique small plates designed to pair specifically with each beer. “LA has a great food reputation and we want to showcase how well beer and food pair together,” says Karl Strauss Executive Chef, Gunther Emathinger. “It was also important for us to center this event on LA’s local breweries and really highlight what’s going on in the beer scene up here.”

After enjoying the all-local line-up, you can mingle with the brewers, take a brewery tour, or taste a sample off the freshly-tapped cask. Your $20 ticket gets you into this private event along with 10 beer and food pairings and a commemorative event glass. For tickets and more information visit: Share it. Cheers.


Lagunitas Brewing cancels Brown Shugga’ for 2011

(Petaluma, CA) – Here is the scoop from Lagunitas Brewing Owner, Tony Magee, via Beer Advocate:

I had to ax the Brown Shugga’ this year and we are going to make a different beer, for this one year only. For the handful of haters out there the name of the new beer is the “Lagunitas Sucks Holiday Ale“, so I beat you to it!

The truth is that since 1996, given the expensive ingredients, the lengthy time in the brewhouse, and the extra time in the fermenters, we have sold the BrownShugga at far less than it costs to brew, but I have no regrets. In order to brew the Shugga’ this year, I would have had to push my year-round friends, our IPA, PILS, Little Sumpin’, Pale, and Maximus to the back of the bus. Not gonna happen. I could’a gone with the usual craft brewing bullshit of ‘allocation’ but if I can’t supply it, I ain’t gonna brew it. Just give me a break if, for this one year I have to make some room.

I also have to curtail the Hairy Eyeball’s availability by 50% of its normal time window and we won’t even try to brew the also slow brewing Gnarlywine until the new 250bbl brewhouse is on line. It will be the beer we break the brewhouse in with, in late January.

I’m glad to hear that some of you dug the Imperial Red, but it just didn’t sell very well, simple as that. Sometimes good things don’t work. It was fun while it lasted.


Historic Brew Brought Back To Life

Courage Imperial Russian Stout, a beer last brewed in London in 1982, has been recreated by Wells and Young’s head brewer, Jim Robertson, who last crafted the beer in Horselydown, London. The beer, which has become an iconic and much sought after brew, is being officially launched at the Great American Beer Festival at the renowned Falling Rock Taphouse, Denver, on the 30th September.

The beer has been maturing since May this year and Robertson admits brewing the iconic beer has been a joy. He says: “I was one of the last brewers to produce this beer in London and it has been an honour, a privilege and, I must admit, a labour of love for me. This beer is a real test of my abilities as a brewer – it uses a large amount of raw ingredients and brewing the beer in an automated brewery has been a real challenge. But I’m incredibly happy with the final brew, and can not wait to share it with people at the launch.”

The 10% ABV beer, which is set to be produced yearly by Wells and Young’s, will be available in the US initially, but beer lovers in the UK need not worry as there are plans to make Courage Imperial Russian Stout more widely available in 2012.

Leading beer journalist Melissa Cole has been working closely with Jim and was instrumental in persuading Jim to take on the challenge to brew this iconic beer again. She says: “This beer is as steeped in history as it is in flavour, and I’m thrilled to be just a small part of its story because I personally know of at least three professional brewers that this beer inspired to get into the industry, that’s how amazing it is.

“I can’t wait to hear what people think of it because Jim has done such a great job of re-creating the unique flavour fingerprint of Courage Imperial Russian Stout, which is so indulgent it should almost be illegal!”

Russian Imperial Stout is a strong dark stout dating back to the 18th century when it was produced at Thrale’s Brewery in London to export to the court of Catherine II of Russia. The high alcoholic strength was necessary to prevent the beer from freezing in the temperatures of the Baltic Sea on its voyage to Russia and along with a high degree of hop it has the keeping quality of a fine wine.

In 1791 the brewery changed hands and the beer became known as Barclay Perkins Imperial Stout. When the brewery was taken over by local rivals Courage the beer was renamed Courage Imperial Russian Stout.

Wells and Young’s Brewing Company acquired the Courage brands in 2007 with Jim Robertson overseeing the transfer of Courage Best and Directors to the brewery in Bedford.

Courage Imperial Russian Stout has a rich, espresso body with pear overtones and an intriguing fresh, smoky, fruity finish. The beer is brewed with chocolate, amber and pale ale malts, Hersbrucker and Styrian Goldings hops and accredited natural mineral water from the brewery’s very own well.

Jim adds: “Although the beer has been maturing since May 2011, if you really have the patience and the willpower, it is best to let the beer mature in the bottle for up to thirteen years!”


Milk Stout Nitro: Left Hand Brewing becomes the first U.S. craft brewer to bottle a nitro beer

Left Hand Brewing will make a big splash tonight by becoming the first craft brewer in the United States to release a nitro beer in a bottle. Milk Stout Nitro pours like a draft beer, complete with a thick, billowy head and bubbles that cascade up from the bottom, similar to the way bars are able to pour Guinness drafts with special taps.

But instead of using a device known as a "widget" to recreate that effect in the bottle, Left Hand spent two and half years and hundreds of thousands of dollars figuring out another way to gas its beer with a blend of carbon dioxide and nitrogen.

How they did it is a secret: "We thought about taking out a patent on that process," says Chris Lennert, vice president of operations for Longmont-based Left Hand. "But then our process would become public and other people would be able to figure it out."

The gasses are added throughout the process of brewing and bottling the beer is all he would say, "from the filtration to the fermentation to the packaging."

But that's not the only secret Left Hand's been holding. The brewery has kept the entire project under wraps until recently when it took out an expensive ad on the back of Draft Magazine and scheduled a huge party at the Hyatt Grand for tonight. The add said read, "On September 29th, we declare independence from imported stouts."

"This is a game changer. It's really a game changer," Lennert says.

Guinness was the first brewer to sell nitro beers in a bottle using the gas-producing widget, which would activate when the bottle was opened and create the signature fluffy head on the beer. Since then, the brewery figured out how to inject C02 and nitrogen into the beer itself. It still sells cans with the widgets, however.

The key to making the Milk Stout Nitro work is pouring it hard and not tilting the glass, something Lennert demonstrated. The point is to release the nitrogen. And in case, drinkers have trouble figuring it out, the brewery added a QR code to its striking label that allows people to go straight to a video that shows them how to do it.

"Five years ago, we couldn't sell Milk Stout in Colorado," says Left Hand spokesman Chris Lennert. "But it's become really popular, and it has really taken off on draft."

Six-packs of Milk Stout Nitro will go on sale at liquor stores in Colorado on September 30 for $10 $11. The silky-textured beer will only be for sale in-state through the rest of year. After that, Left Hand plans to take the beer to all 27 states where it distributes.


Brewers And Beer Lovers Tap Into Craft Beer Craze

Thousands of craft beer makers, distributors and just plain beer fans are descending on downtown Denver Thursday for the start of the annual Great American Beer Festival.

The event's 40,000 public tickets sold out in just a few days — an indication of how well this growing industry is doing even in a poor economy.

Nearly 150 small craft breweries have opened their doors in the U.S. this year, including Pateros Creek Brewing Co. in the craft beer mecca of Fort Collins, Colo.

The brewery's owner and head brewer, Steve Jones, mashes up grains there in a small mill for a fresh batch of ale. Jones, along with his father and his wife, opened up this tiny brewery and adjoining taproom just three months ago. They're the only employees, not counting the volunteers.

"We have my mother, we have my sister, my brother-in-law; we have a friend Jeff, we have a friend Rick, and we have a friend Franklin," Jones counts off.

All of them will be manning the taps at the brewery while Jones spends the weekend at Denver's festival. Even though his fledgling business has only been open for three months, he didn't think twice about forking over $600 to enter his beers into the competition.

"The crazy thing is, this is one of those industries, at least right now, that people are accepting as, 'Hey, you know, I will spend my extra dollar here, versus ... somewhere else,' " Jones says.

Indeed, sales of craft beer have risen by 15 percent just this year, while sales of large, mass-produced beers like Coors and Budweiser have dipped. Paul Gatza, director of the Brewers Association trade group that puts on the beer festival, says many states have made it easier for small breweries to open up.

"It doesn't cost much to get licensed," Gatza says. "What it takes is skill and expertise at the brewing process. But right now craft beers are very popular, and it's a pretty good environment for a new brewery to open."

The 'Napa Valley Of The Brewing Industry'

More than 400 breweries young and old are coming to the Great American Beer Festival. It's considered the premier venue for new breweries to get noticed and distinguish themselves in a market that's getting more and more crowded.

All the innovation going on within the craft beer industry is exciting for aficionados like Paul Bestafka. At the new Renegade Brewery in Denver, he tasted beers like a Mexican amber spiced with poblano peppers.

"Frankly, we're here in the mecca, we're in the Napa Valley of the brewing industry here in Denver, Colo.," Bestafka says. "It's following the same lines of the culinary movement that the United States has followed over the past 10 to 15 years, and the future's really bright for craft brewing, thank God."

Brian O'Connell is Renegade Brewery's co-owner, brewmaster, business manager, bartender and nearly everything else you can think of. He quit his job as a statistician because he wanted to turn his love of home brewing into a career.

"Busy doesn't quite describe it," O'Connell says. "It's nonstop work, basically, seven days a week, 12 to 14 hours a day."

Like Pateros Creek Brewing, Renegade has only been open for three months, but sales have been strong, says O'Connell, led by the early customer favorite: a rye India pale ale. It's one of five beers he'll enter in the competition.

"Our brewery is five blocks from the festival, so we can stand at our booth and say, 'Hey, go check out the brewery, you can walk there from here,' " O'Connell says.

And even if he doesn't win, O'Connell figures just being at the event will lead to a further boost in business.


Rule change could prompt increase in organic hops

TOPPENISH, Wash. — Call it a hops revolution.

Northwest farmers have begun planting new varieties of the key flavor ingredient in beer and working with researchers to develop ways to grow the crop without pesticides. The movement stems from a federal decision last year requiring brewers who label their beer as organic to use organic hops beginning in 2013.

Some say the U.S. Department of Agriculture's new rule could force organic craft brewers to tweak longtime recipes. Others believe the change will spark even more creativity among producers of organic beer, an industry that continues to gain speed.

Ultimately, it should mean that people who want to buy organic beer will find more choice in the beer aisle, though they might have to pay a few cents extra per bottle.

"The organic beer market is still relatively small, but it's definitely catching on," said Ronnie Cummins, national director of the Organic Consumers Association, a nonprofit that promotes organic goods. "Just like a few years ago, organic cosmetics and body products were a niche. Across the board, whether it's pet food or whatever kind of consumer product, there's increasing demand."

The U.S. is the world's second largest producer of hops, behind Germany, with more than a quarter of the world crop. Most are grown in the Northwest — where the craft beer movement hatched.

In central Washington's Yakima Valley, home to thousands of acres of crops from apples to mint, the hops industry celebrates its contribution to agriculture with an annual "fresh hop" ale festival complete with beer competitions and tastings, but only a few local growers have tried to tackle growing hops organically.

Brad Carpenter's family expanded their hops operation to include organic hops in 2000. They quit six years later.

Without chemicals, pests such as mites and aphids can damage the crop and reduce yields. Alternative methods to controlling pests also tend to be more expensive, making the organic crop costlier to produce.

And for many years, brewers could market their beer as organic even if they used conventional hops, arguing that organic hops simply weren't available.

Organic hops can be anywhere from 30 percent to 50 percent more expensive to brewers, so even if they could buy organic hops, many brewers opted for conventional varieties.

"We just didn't have enough market," Carpenter said.

Last year, the National Organic Standards Board, which advises the U.S. Agriculture Department, decided that organic brewers must use organic hops beginning in 2013, and the Carpenters are back in the organic business. About six acres of the farm are now planted in organic hops, comprising less than 1 percent of their total crop, but more will be planted in the future.

Carpenter is working with Fremont Brewing Co. of Seattle on test plots with new varieties and alternative growing methods for planting, managing and harvesting hops.

Other growers, both inside and outside the Northwest, also are boosting organic acreage, many in hopes of surpassing New Zealand as the world leader in organic hops production.

Some fear the changes won't keep up with demand in the short term. Hops generally take two years to come to full production.

"It's new territory for both brewers and growers," said Doug Hindman, brewer at Elliott Bay Brewing Co. in Seattle.

The company brews about a half-dozen organic, year-round beers, including its creamy No Doubt Stout and a classically hoppy Highline IPA, and a number of seasonal beers.

The challenge will be finding varieties needed for his seasonal recipes, Hindman said.

"There are a couple of proprietary varieties that aren't grown organically now," he said. "That's not to say they won't be there in 2013, but I don't doubt that we're going to have to do some substitution and recipe modification."

However, Hindman also said the new rule has pushed hops growers and organic brewers to improve their communication, rather than rely on middlemen who handle hops sales.

"It's a good change," he said. "The growers, when they speak directly with brewers, can find out exactly what they need."

According to the Organic Consumers Association, organic beer accounts for only about $50 million of the overall $7 billion craft beer market, but the figure continues to steadily grow.

Research on the organic growing side and growth in the brewing side just means greater chance for innovation, said Jon Cadoux of Peak Organic Brewing Co. in Portland, Maine.

The brewery's beers, such as a malt-based black IPA called Hop Noir or a copper-colored Maple Oat Ale, have always been produced with organic hops, but some haven't always been exclusively organic.

"It means new incredible hops to play with, which is the fun part about brewing — the opportunity," Cadoux said.


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Fargo brewery unveils its first beer: Wood Chipper

FARGO, N.D. - First there was Fargo, the movie. Now there's Fargo, the beer.

Four native sons are hoping that the name recognition generated from the 15-year-old Coen brothers flick will help launch their fledgling brewing company in North Dakota's largest city. Their first beer is called Wood Chipper, a whimsical reference to the famous prop from the movie.

"We probably won't go with that sort of tongue-in-cheek movie reference for all of our beers," said Chris Anderson, brew master of the Fargo Beer Co. "We just thought it was just a great way to start out."

The name Wood Chipper also rolls off the tongue, Anderson noted - so it's easy to order.

The official unveiling of the India Pale Ale was tapped for Wednesday at the popular HoDo bar in downtown Fargo. The bar is located a block from a 19-story hotel, believed to be the second-tallest building in North Dakota, that on Thursday will serve as a giant screen for the movie "Fargo." The screening is part of a celebration known as Fargo Fest. To top it off, the second annual Fargo Beer Festival is scheduled Friday.

The back-to-back-to-back Fargo parties are a coincidence, but the brew crew - Anderson, his brother John and business partners Jared Hardy and Aaron Hill - is going with the, um, flow.

"It's a crazy week in Fargo. We didn't plan it but it worked out well for us," Hardy said.

Chris Anderson left Fargo a decade ago for the Pacific Northwest, and honed his beer-making skills at a brewery in Idaho. By the time he returned home about a year ago, the Fargo and Moorhead, Minn., metro area had increased in population from 174,000 to 208,000 people, and the state of North Dakota grew from a break-even budget to a $1 billion surplus.

Anderson saw a place with a large population base in a small area, three colleges, a revitalized downtown, a thriving business community - and no brewery.

"On the West Coast, every little town, everywhere, has a brewery," he said. "When I left Fargo, there wasn't even Fat Tire here. Your craft beer option was Summit EPA, or if you wanted something dark you could get a Guinness or a Michelob AmberBock. That was kind of the beer world here in Fargo."

The company has 17 investors, mostly friends and family, who came up with $40,000 for start-up costs. The beer is currently being brewed in Wisconsin because the group wanted to quickly get the beer to market, but the owners hope to eventually set up shop in a Fargo industrial district.

Wood Chipper is believed to be the first locally produced craft beer in six years, and the initial shipment of 85 kegs arrived last week. Previous brewpubs in Fargo have not survived, and Chris Anderson believes it's partly because of licensing rules that require 50 percent of profits to come from food. He said there are no plans to expand beyond a brewery.

Wood Chipper is available at about a dozen local establishments. The company plans to have four beers on its menu within the next year, but decided that the India Pale Ale, or IPA, was the best choice to play lead.

"The IPA is ubiquitous," said John Anderson, Chris' younger brother. "It is the No. 1 selling style of craft beer in the United States. It made sense to start with that, because people are fanatical about it. They can't get enough."


Oh Christmas Ale - On Tap in Cleveland Brewpub 10.25.11!

Put in your vacation requests now! GLBC is proud to announce that their beloved Christmas Ale will go on tap in the Ohio City Brewpub (only) on Tuesday, October 25th at 4 PM. Bring your holiday spirit and join them for an afternoon of good cheer and good beer. Holiday attire is encouraged (yes, they are talking about those ugly Christmas sweaters!). Growlers of Christmas Ale will not be available to fill or purchase until Monday, October 31st.

Would you like a chance to savor the VERY FIRST POUR from their 2011 batch?? Here’s how to enter: If you are local and able to visit them on October 25th, email them your favorite Christmas Ale picture or memory (please keep them appropriate!). Email photos and/or memories and your current address to by Monday, October 17th. A winner will be notified with full instructions by email by Friday, October 21st.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Pumpkin Beer History: Colonial Necessity to Seasonal Treat

Far from being a modern invention of the craft beer scene, pumpkin beers have a long history in the US. Samuel Stearns' The American herbal; or, Materia medica (published in 1801), name-checked pumpkin beer just after porter and ale. Stearns considered pumpkin beer especially healthful, noting:

"Different kinds of beer, ale, &c. are often prepared according to the prescriptions of the physicians, all of which, as well as pumpkin and bran beer, partake of the virtues of the ingredients put into such liquors."

And before it was deemed a health tonic, pumpkin beer was a popular component in cups of flip—something akin to a cocktail that typically mixed rum, beer, and sugar. Pumpkin beer and brown sugar were more easily found in early America than their all-malt and refined counterparts, so they became part of the go-to recipe.

But the main reason pumpkin was adopted as a beer ingredient during the early colonial period was simple availability—pumpkins were a native plant (one completely unknown to most Europeans before the 16th century), while good malt was not so readily accessible—fermentable sugars had to be found where they could, and in the first pumpkin beers, the meat of the pumpkin took the place of malt entirely.

Indeed, the role of the pumpkin in brewing and as a means of general sustenance was a key subject of a satirical song that has become known as "America's first folk song"— first written in 1643, but rediscovered by folksong collectors of the 18th and 19th centuries:

Instead of pottage and puddings and custards and pies,
Our pumpkins and parsnips are common supplies;
We have pumpkin at morning and pumpkin at noon;
If it was not for pumpkins we should be undone
... Hey down, down, hey down derry down....
If barley be wanting to make into malt
We must be contented and think it no fault
For we can make liquor, to sweeten our lips,
Of pumpkins and parsnips and walnut-tree chips.

Others found the pumpkin's versatility a wonderful thing; in a history of Connecticut, first published in 1791 and aimed at a British audience that still had little knowledge of Things Pumpkin, noted that the pumpkin, (or pompion) could be used to make ', bread, custards, sauce, molasses, vinegar, and, on thanksgiving day, pies, as a substitute for what the Blue Laws brand as antichristian minced pies.' And not just any beer, but 'good beer' at that.

Pumpkin beer continued to be a staple throughout the 18th century—one of the most oft-quoted recipes for pumpkin beer dates to 1771—but its popularity began to wane by the early 19th century as the pumpkin itself began to be viewed as something quaint and rustic, and as access to quality malts became commonplace. It re-appeared as a beer ingredient in the colonial revival of the 1840s (this time as a flavoring agent, as opposed to a full-blown pumpkin beer), but never regained its previous ubiquity.

Modern pumpkin beers tend to aim for more of a 'pumpkin pie in a glass' as opposed to 'pumpkin in a glass' aesthetic; spices such as nutmeg and cloves are very common ingredients—but where did the notion of reviving pumpkin beer originate? The honor goes to Buffalo Bill's Brewery, which has been making their America's Original Pumpkin Beer since the late 1980s, using one of George Washington's recipes as an inspiration. Although the experimental batches used pumpkin as an ingredient, the commercial version stuck with pumpkin pie spices instead (though there is now an Imperial Pumpkin Ale with actual pumpkin).

Other modern pumpkin beers do use pumpkins—Brooklyn Brewery's Post Road Pumpkin Ale evokes the 18th century in its name (using the name of the colonial road between Boston and New York) and includes pumpkin in the recipe, while Dogfish Head's Punkin Ale also adds pumpkin to the mix.

With more than 400 pumpkin beers to choose from today, modern drinkers may not be tasting anything like their beer's colonial ancestors, but it's still a nice (and now, a tasty) nod to brewing history.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Brooklyn Oktoberfest - Brooklyn Brewery - Brooklyn, NY

There hasn't been very many breweries in New York State that have really impressed so far, but the Brooklyn Brewery stands apart from the rest. Every one of their offerings are well-crafted and made from not only superior ingredients, but with time and patience. As soon as I realized that they had released their Oktoberfest, I made a mad dash for my local shop to pick up a few bottles. Here's what the website had to say:

Brewed by Brooklyn Brewery

Style: Oktoberfest/Märzen

Brooklyn, New York USA




ABV: 5.5%

Brooklyn Oktoberfest was introduced in 2000. It is true to the original German style, full-bodied and malty, with a bready aroma and light, brisk hop bitterness.


Brooklyn Brewery was started in 1987 by former Associated Press correspondent Steve Hindy and former Chemical Bank lending officer Tom Potter. Hindy learned to brew beer during a six year stay in various Middle Eastern nations such as Saudi Arabia and Syria, where possession and consumption of alcoholic beverages were forbidden. Upon his return to his home in Brooklyn in 1984, he and Potter, his downstairs neighbor from Park Slope, quit their jobs and founded the brewery. The pair hired graphic designer Milton Glaser, best known as the creator of the logo for the I Love New York campaign, to create the company logo and identity.

Originally all their beer was brewed by contract by Matt Brewing Company, and the pair started their own distribution company and personally transported and marketed their beer to bars and retailers around New York City. In 1996, they acquired a former matzo factory in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and converted it into a functional brewery.

Although the brewery looked to expand its brewing capacity in the City, originally most of the production, including all Brooklyn Lager and all bottled products, were brewed by contract in the upstate New York city of Utica, due to the limited ability to meet demand at the Williamsburg brewery, its lack of a bottling line, and the cost benefits of contract brewing. The company later sought to expand its facilities in Brooklyn, but had difficulty finding a suitable site within the borough. However, an economic recession allowed them to remain in Williamsburg and undertake a $6.5 million expansion of the brewery in 2009.

Garrett Oliver, Brewmaster

At their Williamsburg location, they offer guided tours on Saturdays starting at noon and beer tastings on Friday nights from 6pm to 11pm.

Since 1994, Garrett Oliver has been the Brooklyn Brewery Brewmaster. In 2003 he published the book "The Brewmaster's Table: Discovering the Pleasures of Real Beer with Real Food". Garrett has also been a judge at the Great American Beer Festival for eleven years.

In 2005 John Wiley & Sons published the story of Steve Hindy's and Tom Potter's successful start up in the book Beer School: Bottling Success At The Brooklyn Brewery.



In the Oktoberfest, we have a pretty standard Fall brew. There's the traditional sweet malt flavor, complemented by a nice, not-to-bitter, aftertaste. The problem with some of the Oktoberfest selections is that there just isn't much that sets them apart. Every so often, you run into a brewery that puts out something, just a little bit different, but unfortunately, this is not one of those times. That said, the Brooklyn Brewery has put out a very nice Oktoberfest...just nothing over the top good. Enjoy with friends.


7/10 - Enjoy with friends.

Odell Isolation Ale returns on October 1st

On October 1, 2011, Odell Brewing will celebrate the return of fall with its winter seasonal, Isolation Ale. Following the brewery’s summer release, St. Lupulin, Isolation Ale is a caramel malty ale balanced by a subtle crisp hop finish.

“A funny thing happens here around summer’s end – our eyes start searching the skies for those first fall flakes. As we welcome autumn’s first snow, we celebrate the return of Isolation Ale,” reads the label. “Whether you ski, shred, or shoe, Isolation Ale will inspire you to make first tracks.”

Odell Brewing will host an Isolation tapping party in the brewery’s tap room on Saturday October 1st as part of a weeklong celebration for the Great American Beer Festival. Local food truck favorites, StrEats Mobile Bistro and the Cupcake Cruiser will be onsite offering tasty bites to pair with the brew.

Isolation Ale is available October through December throughout the brewery’s ten state distribution region.

Founded in 1989, Odell Brewing was started by Doug Odell, his wife Wynne, and his sister Corkie. Twenty-one years later, the culture of family and collaboration still thrives fostering a brewery full of beer-centric people. It is this passion for beer that inspires Odell Brewing to create quality, hand-crafted, innovative brews. In 2010 the brewery completed its fourth expansion, adding a wood-aging cellar, a 750 ml bottling line, and a 76 kilowatt photovoltaic system capable of providing 25% of the brewery’s peak energy demand. As a regional craft brewery, Odell Brewing is committed to serving the communities in which it distributes by sourcing local raw materials, and through its charitable giving program known as Odell Outreach. Odell Brewing was recently named a “Top Company of 2010” by ColoradoBiz Magazine and is an award winning brewery, nationally and internationally: 2010 North American Beer Awards – gold medal for Woodcut No. 3. 2009 BrewNZ Awards – gold for 5 Barrel Pale Ale. 2008 World Beer Cup® – gold for IPA. 2007 Great American Beer Festival® – gold medal for IPA.


Monday, September 26, 2011

Beer Birthday: Charles Finkel

Today is the 68th birthday of Charles Finkel (Pictured at Left), one of the pioneers of the better beer movement. He founded Merchant du Vin (See below history) in 1978, the company responsible for importing a number of word-class beers to the U.S., including a few favorites of mind: Traquair, Ayinger, Westmalle, Rochefort and Orval. He also started the Seattle brewpub, Pike Brewing , in 1989, where Fal Allen was head brewer there from 1990-96. In 1996 the Finkels sold both Pike Brewing and Merchant du Vin. In 2006, they bought back Pike Brewing. Charlie and his wife Rose Ann are some of the best people in the industry. Join me in wishing Charlie a very happy birthday.


Specialty beer importer Merchant du Vin was founded in 1978, a time when Americans could not buy the world's classic beer styles - in fact, unless they had travelled to Europe most Americans had never even heard of pale ale, hefeweizen, or Trappist ale. MdV founder Charles Finkel realized that the flavors found in the great beers of England, Germany and Belgium were a universal pleasure that should be available to all adults.

The goal of Merchant du Vin is to enhance people's lives via the unmatched aromas and flavors found in great beer. Merchant du Vin's selling proposition is to educate the consumer and arouse curiosity as to the differences among the classic beer styles, and to make these beers available for purchase at stores, restaurants, and bars. Merchant du Vin's portfolio of beers comes from the nations with deep, rich brewing traditions: England, Scotland, Germany, Belgium, and the Czech Republic.


Our Customer — Discriminating persons who recognize and enjoy beer as a high-quality food product. Our direct customers are distributors who have a proven track record in the distribution and sale of fine alcoholic beverages. Thousand of retailers, both on and off premise, stock our beers and profit from their sale.

Our Scope — Worldwide. Our products are currently distributed in all 50 US states and in many other countries.

Our Purpose — To be the country's leading agent for the world's finest handcrafted beer.

Our Product — Beers which are produced, packaged, and promoted to reflect the high quality of the product. Our goal is to set the standard for quality and variety in the industry.

Our Core Values:
Act with integrity, courtesy and respect.
Unleash the power and potential of our people.
Represent excellent products.
Provide exemplary customer service.
Promote product education.




Pike founder, Charles Finkel was born to a family of food lovers in New York City. The same year, Preston Sturgis directed the Hollywood hit, The Lady Eve, a hilarious comedy about the love life of Charlie Pike, scion to the Pike Brewing Company fortune. Charlie couldn't remember whether pale ale, brown ale, porter and stout were bottom or top fermented - he was more interested in rare snakes and beautiful women. The movie featured Pike Pale, "the Ale that won for Yale." In local bars, people were clamoring for it. Finkel didn't see the movie until beer anthropologist, Alan Eames, told him about it years later!


Charles moved with his family to Oklahoma which was a "dry" state until 1959. Only beers under 3.2% alcohol were legal. During his youth, Charles’ favorites were Greisedick (he liked the name) from St. Louis, Missouri and Stag, brewed in Oklahoma City. By his senior year in college, prohibition had been voted out and Charles managed a liquor store, leading to a life of good spirits, wonderful wine and the best beers.


Finkel experiences Europe, exposed to many beautiful things, including ales in England, fruit beers in Belgium and pils, dunkels and dopplebocks in Bavaria.


Rose Ann Martin meets Charlie Finkel at a wine tasting that he is conducting. Over shared Shiner's they discovered they both love beer and each other. Their partnership leads to Bon Vin, America's first boutique wine distributor.


Bon Vin is sold to the owners of St. Michelle Winery. Finkels move to Seattle. Charles is responsible for helping design Chateau Ste. Michelle; marketing; and sales . Visits to the Pike Place Market became a favorite activity. The same year, a petition to demolish the historic market replacing it with a parking lot was met with significant resistance from people who cherished the unique cultural and gastronomic icon and the market was saved.


With partners, Rose Ann opens Truffles in Seattle’s Laurelhurst neighborhood. Time Magazine names Truffles “One of America’s five best specialty stores.” The gourmet grocery/deli specialized in artisan foods, wines, and beers.


Charles and Rose Ann Finkel founded a second importing company, in part "according to Charles" to satisfy their taste for authentic beers. At the time, the United States had 40 breweries, only one made beer according to the Rheinheitsgebot, the world's oldest food purity law. With an idea of marketing different tastes in beer, like different tastes in wine, Charles visited more than a dozen independent American breweries seeking marketing and distribution arrangements. He discovered that most small breweries copied the big ones brewing with corn syrup and rice filler (adjunct) chemicals and additives. Charles decided to market beers of his own design using other people’s breweries.

Finkel, who majored in design in college, became the agent for D.G. Yuengling of Potsville, PA, America's oldest brewery (for states west of the Mississippi). While he did not change the beers, he did choose labels from the brewery’s early archives.

Finkel launches Cold Spring Export, from one of only two remaining Minnesota breweries. In doing so he became America's first modern "contract brewer." Finkel specified that the beer had to meet Rheinheitsgebot standards, created the recipe, designed the label and sold it nationally. Years later, he did the same for the August Schell Brewery of New Ulm, Minnesota.

Frustrated by the lack of great American beers, Charles and Rose Ann set a goal of marketing great beers of each of the classic brewing styles and educating the American beer drinker about them. To do so quickly, the only choice was to concentrate on classics from Europe. The same year, the Finkel’s discovered Michael Jackson's seminal World Guide to Beer first published in 1978. Inspired and informed, Charles and Rose Ann became the exclusive agent for some of Europe's finest independent brewers including Ayinger, Lindemans, Melbourn Bros, Orval, Pinkus, Samuel Smith and Traquair House. Their's was the first company to offer a range of Belgian beers; to work with British brewers to create long forgotten styles like Oatmeal Stout, Porter, Imperial Stout and Scotch Ale; and to repackage classic Bavarian dopplebock under a private label that eventually became the Ayinger Brewery's world-wide brand. They introduced many people including many early craft brewers, to the glories of great beers.


Writing about Charles in Beers, A Connoisseur's Guide to the World's Best, Christopher Finch writes "No beer supplier in the world represents such a catholic range of beers, and in each range is a masterpiece, or something remarkably close to it."



The Finkels talked of creating their own brewery for years. Working with the world's greatest brewers was inspiring. Wanting a location in the famous Pike Place Farmers Market, they convinced John Farias, the owner of Liberty Malt Supply Company, to sell them the business with the idea of creating a microbrewery as a way to show home brewers how beer is brewed. Liberty, founded in 1921, was originally upstairs in the main section of the market, but had moved to the LaSalle Hotel Building after the space had been vacated by a small winery.

The Finkels opened The Pike Place Brewery in the Pike Place Public Market. Well, not exactly "in" the market, but “under" the market in the La Salle Hotel at 1432 Western Avenue. It was one of the country’s smallest breweries with the tallest smoke stack. A four barrel copper kettle was custom made by Seattle's Alaska Copper and Bass Company and though tiny, the brewery was state of the art. From the beginning the goal was to brew world class ale to accompany great food. The Finkels wanted the beers of Pike to be the equal or better, and in better condition than any that they represented from Europe. Charles and Rose Ann favored beers that went well with food, especially the classic British brewing styles like Ales, Porters, Stouts, Scotch Ales and Barley Wines. There was great anticipation among the Seattle brewing community as a little red and white tile brewery in the lobby of a former bawdy house took shape. Articles appeared in newspapers and posters announcing the brewery opening and inviting friends and beer lovers to participate in the "World's Shortest Non-Motorized Uphill Parade", from the brewery to Cutter’s Bay House at the corner of Pike Place and Western Avenue were distributed to local pubs and retailers. The opening day weather was as good as the beer. Leading the parade was John Farias pushing a keg in a silver two wheeled hand truck. Following were the Finkels, Franz and Angela Inselkammer from Bavaria's Ayinger Brewery, Pike brewer, Jason Parker, a host of TV and newspaper photographers and writers, and almost 100 beer lovers. Joining the group was a llama from The Herb Farm, a walking geoduck from the Seattle Sheraton Hotel, dogs, a cat and an oyster. Everyone ) perhaps not the oyster, which was eaten, and the llama) sensed that they were making history. The premier pint of Pike Pale was tapped by Braü Franz Inselkammer, Braü Von Aying. In the weeks and months that followed, Pike gained a following among the growing rank of beer lovers, became available at some of the finest restaurants, hotels and pubs in Washington and developed a loyal following. In addition to draft, Pike Pale and XXXXX Stout were offered in beautiful swing top bottles which required a deposit. They were so popular that consumers didn't return them and for practical reasons, the brewery switched to 12 and 22oz. bottles. The labels were created by Charles, inspired by views of the entrance to the art deco market. The original logo was cut out of a stencil. He later switched to a computer to do the designs, but always retained the stenciled look. As soon as the brewery opened, the bottles were featured in a full page color photograph in Beer, a Connoisseur’s Guide to the World's Best, Beer by Christopher Finch. The beautiful coffee (beer) table book was published in 1989 by Abbeyville, the country’s finest art book publishers.


Fal Allen joins Pike as head brewer. Algernon "Fal" Allen began as a home brewer. He brewed at Pike until 1996, creating some of the great Pike recipes Pike IPA introduced.
StarPike Kilt Lifter, a scotch style ale made with peated malt was introduced.
StarLiberty Malt is expanded and moved next door, and 1451 Western Ave. A small quantity of Old Bawdy Barley wine was brewed.


When Michael Jackson was asked in a newspaper interview by Roger Protz "After tasting and retasting all of the world's finest, which brews would The Beer Hunter choose for a desert isle --- which eight beers would he take with him in bibulous isolation?" From the United States--the products of the tiny Pike Place Brewery in Seattle. Of Pike's beers, he said "In the days when most ales were dark brown, a translucent russet counted as ‘pale’ This is a pale ale in that traditional, robust style, full of nutty malt flavors, with fruit and balancing hoppy dryness; a wonderfully appetizing beer that slips down like cream." Pike brews an authentic 18th century Spelt beer for an exhibit of Flemish Old Masters at the Seattle Art Museum. Birra Perfetto, made with Oregano; Auld Acquaintance with orange peel; Cerveza Rosanna with fresh chilies; oyster stout with 'crassosterea gigas' oyster liquor were each hand crafted.

Microbrew Appreciation society elects Charles to Microbrewers Hall of Fame "For your outstanding contribution to the NW Microbrew industry."


Bill Owners, beer writer and artist describes the Pike beers as "the finest in the Northwest.”

Pike XXXXX Stout places number one in Tacoma's Engine House Stout Bout.

The British Independent Newspaper features Pike in an article about food tourism in Seattle written by Michael Jackson.


British Beer writer Roger Protz names Pike Porter as "the finest in America."

Pike Pale is brewed under license at Catamount Brewery in Vermont.

Old Bawdy Barley Wine wins bronze medal at Great American Beer Festival.

Pike brews Old Companion to commemorate Michael Jackson 50th birthday.


To accommodate demand, the Finkels decide to move Pike to a larger location to include a brew pub. Potential locations are considered.

Pike Pale wins Bronze Medal and Old Bawdy silver at GABF


Pike Pale Ale tops Samuel Smith's Old Brewery Pale Ale at California Beer Festival.

Real Estate maven Tom Leavitt becomes president and partner of Pike, charged with identifying a location for expansion. New location, adjoining Pike Place Market is chosen. Name is changed from Pike Place to Pike Brewing to avoid legal problems with the Pike Place Market authority. Pike ales are contract brewed in Vermont and Minnesota and sold through the MdV sales network nationally.


Pike and Liberty move from Western Avenue to 1415 1st Avenue.

Seattle Microbrewery Museum is created downstairs from Liberty Malt, at the back entrance to the Pike Pub.

Charlie Papazian calls Liberty Malt Supply the finest home brew shop in the country. Pike receives three gold medals at World Beer Championships for Pale, XXXXX Stout and IPA.

Pike Pale receives a gold Medal, California Beer Festival.

Pike Voted Best Microbrewed Beer - Members Vote, Microbrew Appreciation Society.

Writing in Wine Enthusiast Magazine, Beer expert Stephen Beaumont describes Pike as "One of the ten best beers in America."

In America's Best Beers, Pike beers receive the highest ratings. Scott Griffin rates Pike, "Outstanding beers, I have the highest regard for Charles as a creative force and educator in the craft beer category. In the same book, co-author Christopher Finch writes, "Pike Beers - whatever their gravity - have a rich, creamy, malt character, always balanced by generous hopping.

Randy Moser, beer writer and home brew expert names Pike among 11 of America's most innovative beers. He says "It has a knock-you-down fullness seldom seen in British beers."

Bruce Raymond assumes job as Pike Publican.


Pike wins a Platinum and two Gold medals at World Beer Championships.

Pike IPA was described by beer specialist David Brockington as "A well balanced, subtle ale which was clearly crafted with excellence. I would drive across town to sample it on successive days.

In the Simon and Schuster Pocket Guide to Beer, Michael Jackson rates Pike Pale and Stout. Of XXXXX he says "Very soft, smooth, toasty, dryish and even more delicious."

Charles is presented the Midwest International Beer Exposition Lifetime Achievement Award at a Legends of Beer Dinner in Chicago by Michael Jackson - sharing the award, Anthony Fuller of Fuller Brewery, London and John Hall of Goose Island Brewery, Chicago.

Gary Marx becomes Pike's Executive Chef.

Tom Schleis of the Northwest Beer Journal writes of our IPA. I recently tasted Pike IPA and was nothing short of amazed. Generally, with an IPA, the predominant impact is the hops. With Pike IPA, the flavor of the brew predominates over even the hops. Now don't make any mistake, this is a highly hopped beer, but it has a flavor that hits you that almost defies explanation. This is a MUST TRY beer!

The Pike Pub is named the best local brew pub.

Finkel's buy back Levitt's interest in Pike.

Contract brewing is discontinued.

The Finkel's sell Pike Brewing, Liberty Malt Supply Company and Merchant du Vin Corp.

Steve Sinser becomes president of Pike.


Charles Finkel, no longer in the beer business, receives the annual recognition award form the Institute of Brewing Studies at their national conference in Portland.

Rich Hamilton becomes president of Pike.

Kim Brusco appointed head brewer.

Liberty Malt Supply is closed.

Pike beers now sold in Washington, Oregon, British Columbia, Alaska, Montana, Idaho, and Utah.


Naughty Nellie Golden Ale is introduced on draft and in six packs.

Pike Celebrates 10 years of brewing with the introduction of a XXXXX Stout as a seasonal offering.

Pike installs bio filter on roof. In doing so history was made as it is the first brewery in the country to do so. The brewery exhaust, a glorious aroma of malt and hops are filtered through natural materials to be environmentally correct, and all but eliminates the aroma to satisfy the neighbors.


Pike Pub is voted best brewpub by City Search.


Pike Pub is voted best brew pub by Where Magazine readers for a second time. Pike is Zagat rated.


City Search lists Pike as "best local brewpub"

Andy Walls joins Pike in sales.


Bootleg Brown Ale is introduced.

Pike Brewery reaches a milestone of 7,200 barrels. In number of tap handles, it is number 14 of almost 80 breweries in Washington State.

Pike Naughty Nellie wins gold medal at 2005 Spring Beer and Wine Fest, Portland, OR

Pike XXXXX Stout named Best of the Nortwest/Pacific in the Stout category at the category at the 2004-2005 United States Beer Tasting Championship.

Pike Pale Ale was named Best of the Northwest/Pacific in Bitter/ESB category at category at the 2004-2005 United States Beer Tasting Championship.

Pike Auld Acquaintance named Best of the Northwest/Pacific in the Strong/Old Ale United States Beer Tasting Championship.


At the Craft Brewery Conference in Seattle in April. Pike is site of many tastings, parties and get togethers. The Rolling Boil Brew's band preformed. Guests included the head brewers of Belgium's Orval, Westmalle, St. Bernardus & Rodenbach plus many top American craft brewers.

The Finkel Family buys back the brewery from Merchant du Vin. Deal is closed on May 1. The two are now separate companies.

Charles Finkel becomes president of his company, for the first time in 11 years.

Rose Ann Finkel becomes vice president.

Articles about the surprise takeover appear in the Puget Sound Business Journal, The Seattle Times, and in newspapers and magazines internationally.

Pike menus are changed to reflect a philosophy of quality and sustainability.

Drew Cluley, assistant head brewer for five years, becomes head brewer. Dean Mochizuki becomes second head brewer.

Patti Baker joins Pike as bookkeeper and office manager.

Under the direction of Andrew Finkel, renovation begins including a new entrance bar, reception stand, Museum Bar on two levels for private events and restaurant expansion, kitchen expansion and relocated office and restrooms.

Bruce Raymond leaves Pike to start his own business. Company presents Bruce with a new bike to thank him for 10 years service.

Gold Medal winning Bootleg Brown ale is re-formulated and re-christened Pike Tandem.

Pike XXXXX Extra Stout is re-introduced using the original recipe.

Pike bottled and draft products are repackaged under Charles' direction.

Family owned is added to announce the new/old ownership.

Charles and Rose Ann present Pike beer to the Great Canadian Beer Festival.

Charles gives the commencement address at the Seattle Central Community College Culinary Arts program.

N.W. Brewing News readers vote Pike Kilt Lifter "Best N.W. Scotch Ale"

Pike moves into its own warehouse at 1255 Harrison in the South Lake Union neighborhood.

Pike introduces Monk's Uncle Triple at Brouwers Cafe.

Pike teams up with Seattle Art Museum to be the official beer for the opening of The Olympic Sculpture Park and the new SAM.


Pike re-introduces Old Bawdy Barley Wine, after an eight year absence. Old Bawdy 2006 is well received at The Alaska, Tornado, and Hard Liver Barley Wine Festivals, presented by Drew Cluley and Andy Walls. 500 cases are bottled, designed to age.

Pike Old Bawdy 2006 wins gold medal in American Barley Wine category at The North American Beer Awards.

Pike IPA and Pike XXXXX Extra Stout earn silver medals at The North American Beer Awards.

In the "most ambient" section of Seattle Magazine Best Restaurant Issue; April, April 2007 Seattle Magazine Annual Best Restaurants Issue under "Best Ambience," the editor said "Truly a renaissance for a Seattle favorite."

Bicyclists of the Month awarded to Charles and Rose Ann. A half page interview in The Cascade Courier addresses significant subjects, beer and bikes.

Charles judged number one among "10 Beer Innovators"

A story and photograph of Charles at Pike appeared in the July/August issue of Draft Magazine by Don Russell. It says "You can’t understate the impact of his quest. The exotic flavors of Merchant du Vin’s imports later influenced a whole generation of craft brewers. Today, dozens of other companies, following the path that Finkel cut, import hundreds of even more obscure wonders. Just take a look at the takeout selection at your favorite deli and you get an idea of how a wine merchant, of all people, changed the American beer scene."

Brewer Drew Cluley brews FSB (Finkel Special Bitter) to coinside with the 20th Anniversary of Latona Tavern, one of the earliest of Seattle's famous ale houses which was founded by Bob Brenlin. Latona's version is called BSB (Bob's special bitter).

Andrew Scott (Drew) Gillespie is named Pike Pub General Manager.

In July, Drew Cluley is invited by the Smithsonian to Washington, D.C. to present Pike Beers.

In the Sept. All About Beer Magazine, author Roger Protz selects Pike IPA as, “one of five best IPAs in U.S. and among the 10 Best IPAs in the World."

N.W. Brewing News readers name Pike Kilt Lifter “Best N.W. Scotch Ale” two years running.

Seattle Magazine names The Pike Pub microbrewery museum, “Best place to learn about beer.”


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Belhaven Wee Heavy - Belhaven Brewery, UK

So I walk into my local Brew Shop this past Friday, and start my weekly task of selecting the Beers that I'm going to review this weekend. Out of the corner of my eye, I spot the Wee Heavy. My shop usually carries the more popular Belhaven selections, but I had not seen the Wee Heavy yet. That, combined with my wife's proud Scottish heritage...I think it would have been a crime to have passed it up. So, today, we review the Wee Heavy. here's what the website had to say:

Belhaven Wee Heavy

Abv 6.5%

It may have come from a right old recipe but Wee Heavy fits the bill today as much as it ever has. It is a classic Scottish heavy but has a lightness of flavor and a great reddish color in the glass. Cracking stuff if we do say so ourselves.

The History...

While 1719 may be the earliest documented evidence of the Belhaven Brewery, there may well have been beer production on the site pre-16th century as the wells and certain cellar vaults are known to date from around the time of the Reformation.

Monks (noted for brewing skills) settled in the area from the 12th century. Luckily they had access to both fine water and top quality local barley.

Keep it in the family

John Johnstone took ownership of the site in 1719 and it's widely accepted that under his ownership the brewery started brewing for commercial sale.

1815 saw the end of the Johnstone dynasty when Ellis Dudgeon married into the Johnstone family. For nearly 150 years, the brewery traded as Dudgeon & Co. Under Ellis Dudgeon and his successor, son-in-law Alexander Hunter, a wide variety of ales were produced. At this time, the 'shilling' terminology was widely used to categorize beers in Scotland. It was really just an invoice price but was a useful indicator of ascending strengths (although not particularly accurate!).

The Dudgeon range stretched from light table / harvest beers (27/- and 36/-) to much stronger, export ales like the 54/- and 80/-.

Times they are a changing

Commercial rail made it to Dunbar in 1846 both opening Belhaven up to a wider audience but conversely exposing the brewery to competition from further afield. At this time, Dudgeons diversified the business to focus on the maltings side (while still producing beer but in smaller quantities). It is thought that this diversification enabled Dudgeons to survive the widespread changes affecting other smaller Scottish breweries whose numbers dwindled as a result of closure or amalgamation.

Through both world wars, Dudgeon continued malting and brewing for the military with a notable key customer - Belhaven Beers. After WWII, Sandy Dudgeon Hunter (son of Ellis) joined the firm and spearheaded the successful development of award winning ales.

Advertising with Bill

Belhaven Bill, the famous trademark, first made an appearance in the 1950s. Created by Sandy Hunter and his friend Bill Woodward, Belhaven Bill became synonymous with the beers and the location - a large, heavy fisherman wearing seaboots with Dunbar Harbor behind him. He continues to make his presence known at the Belhaven Brewery - pop by and say hello!

All change again

By the 1970s, the malting side of the business that had seen the company survive two world wars, was feeling the strain of competition from modern automated plants. In 1972, family ownership came to an end as the business was sold.

But this end was just the beginning of a twenty-year vibrant and significant period of growth for Belhaven.

1993 and a Management buy-out led by Stuart Ross enabled the management team to further expand and develop the business resulting in a successful flotation on the London Stock Exchange in 1996.

Most recently (2005), Belhaven was bought by Greene King.

To the future - All the Best!

Belhaven Best - what a success story! Launched in 1991, the beautifully balanced smooth and creamy honey-colored beer pioneered a new concept in beer drinking in Scotland. Best is dispensed using a mixture of nitrogen and carbon dioxide - otherwise known as nitrokeg technology.

Adding to the family, in 1998 Belhaven introduced Best Extra cold - the same delicious pint but with the temperature dropped a few degrees.

All the Best! Cheers!



Beautiful coloring combined with an awesome caramel aroma makes this a sight for sore eyes. The pour is thick but not syrup-like. On the palate, there is a lightness that you do not usually associate with a heavy brew. That said, you can definitely taste the alcohol as it seems to linger just a bit on the palate. This is a wonderfully-balanced brew. I would not gulp it though, this one is meant for sipping. It's not that it's going to put you on your ass or anything, it's just that it needs to be savored. Enjoy...


8.5/10 - Wonderful

Beer - A green alternative to pesticides

Most of us don’t usually think of beer as an earth-friendly alternative to improving our gardens and lawns or dealing with a host of pests. However, if you can bring yourself to part ways with your favorite brew, or at least invest in some of the cheap stuff, you’ll be surprised by beer’s many uses.

1.Trap slugs and snails: Place dishes or jars of beer around your garden, especially in the evening. In the morning, the slimy critters, which have been drawn by the beer’s aroma/fermentation, will have drowned. The beer can be re-used until it evaporates for garden pest control.

2. Trap fruit flies: If you keep a compost pail in your kitchen, you will also likely have fruit flies. Just place a jar or can of beer on the kitchen counter. Cover the top with plastic wrap or paper, leaving a small opening for the flies to get into. The fruit flies won’t be able to get back out.

3. Distract bees and wasps from your outdoor gathering: Beer placed in cups around the outskirts of your picnic or barbeque will attract bees and wasps. It’s not a long-term wasp control tactic; it’s more like placing difficult relatives at the furthest table.

4. Get rid of mice: If you don’t have a cat, a small amount of beer placed in a pail will help take care of a mouse problem, especially if you prefer to capture mice in a humane fashion. Just put an inch or so of beer in the pail, place some type of ramp, such as a piece of wood for the mice to crawl up. The mice fall into the pail and then you can remove your inebriated mice to someplace outside.

5. Cockroach trap: Put a piece of bread soaked in beer in a jar. Put Vaseline around the lip of the jar. Roaches are attracted, get in, and can’t get out.

6. Fertilize your gardens: The sugars in beer are also enjoyed by your garden vegetables and flowers.

7. Fertilize your indoor plants: Yep, they like beer too. You don’t want to over-do it with indoor plants since they are contained and not subject to the cleansing distribution of rain. Use flat beer, just a small amount at the base of the plant.

8. Get rid of brown spots in your lawn: The acids in beer kill off fungi and pests, and the fermented sugars feed the grass.

9. Stain removal: Instead of pulling out a chemical cleaner when you’ve dribbled tea or coffee on your clothing or rug, soak the stain in beer. Let the beer sit for awhile then dab with a clean cloth. Wash well with soap and water once the spot has soaked. Always spot-test the fabric first.

10. Spruce up wooden furniture: Rub flat beer gently onto furniture using a soft cloth. The beer will help restore some of the polish and color.

11. Clean gold jewelry: Similar to how you would use commercial gold-cleaning chemicals, just place your gold jewelry in a dish of beer. Let it soak, then remove, rinse, and gently polish with a dry cloth.

12. Polishing brass pots: Using a soft cloth, gently rub beer onto the pot. Let the pot sit for awhile, rinse, and dry with another soft cloth. The acids in beer work wonders on most metals.

13. Loosen rusty bolts: Using beer to loosen bolts is a bit “Macgiver-ish”, but the acids in the beer may dissolve enough rust to allow you to get them loose.

14. Insulation: Lastly, for the truly adventurous and creative, if you use full, unopened cans of beer in construction of walls, the beer absorbs the cold.


New Belgium investigates eastward expansion

North Carolina among sites considered for new brewery

New Belgium Brewing Co. is considering opening a new brewery in Asheville, N.C.

Bryan Simpson, media relations director at New Belgium, said the brewer has narrowed its search for a new brewery on the East Coast to four cities, and Asheville is on the short list. Simpson declined to reveal the other three cities under consideration.

The Fort Collins brewery, known for such beers as Fat Tire and Sunshine Wheat, has been exploring locations for a second brewery this year.

New Belgium sent a team to Asheville to talk with city officials, and Simpson said they received a warm welcome.

He said Asheville made the cut because of its central location on the East Coast, providing an easy jumping off point for distribution along the eastern seaboard that New Belgium is eyeing for expansion.

In addition to the prime location, Simpson said the city provides access to a high-quality water supply and a savvy beer drinking population.

"At this point, it's on the short list; a few others are on the list," Simpson said. "It's not a decision we make lightly. ... This is a big chapter for us to open a new brewery."

Earlier this year, New Belgium expanded its distribution into Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia, making New Belgium's beers available in 28 states plus the District of Columbia.

The brewery hopes to have a final decision on where it will open the new brewery by the end of the year.

New Belgium has grown by leaps and bounds since it started with an estimated 60 cases a week in 1991. The brewery added its second brewhouse in 2002 and expanded its keg line in 2010. Cellaring expansion for the company has been ongoing.

Like Fort Collins, Asheville is a brew-focused community.

According to The Asheville Brewers Alliance, formed to promote Asheville produced beers, the city loves craft beer and dubs itself "Beer City USA!" Asheville has nine local breweries, including Asheville Brewing Company.

Asheville is home to the University of North Carolina-Asheville, and the community has a population of about 369,000.


Asheville has seen rumors swirl for weeks that New Belgium is considering the city for a new brewery and looking for economic development incentives. Today, Sept. 22, Council member Jan Davis publicly confirmed the rumors at a Council of Independent Business Owners forum. He tells Xpress that while he welcomes the company, he's skeptical about the need for incentives.

In response to a question on how to improve the business environment at the CIBO forum for Asheville City Council candidates, Davis revealed that the city is communicating with New Belgium over a possible move, and that economic incentives for the company are a possibility.

"We have an opportunity with the New Belgium brewery," Davis said. "We're going to have to make a decision on that, whether to help the brewery with incentives or encourage them to be here because of the quality of life."

In recent meetings, Sept. 13, Council and the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners went into closed session to discuss an unspecified economic development incentive deal.

Davis noted that he supported the earlier Linamar deal, which involved over $2 million in city tax incentives for the Canadian auto-parts manufacturer, and says that due to the company's move, related manufacturing companies are looking at Asheville.

Davis tells Xpress that "I'd love to have New Belgium here. I don't think it would hurt the economy particularly; it's going to create good jobs. I'm not really in favor of incentivizing that. I think that's an issue. They're a well-off company, nobody incentivized Oscar Wong [founder of Highland Brewing] or anyone like that."

REPRINTED from both

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale - Smuttynose Brewing Company - Portsmouth, NH

Here's the thing. The beautiful thing about craft beer is that you can always count on some truly original brews, made from some off-the-wall ingredients. That said, it is also the downfall of craft beers, when you see some breweries try some really odd combinations. Is that the case tonight...I have no idea. What I do know is that the Smuttynose Brewery has never let me down, and I love the Fall season, so why not give their Pumpkin Ale a shot and give the Smuttynose Brewery a chance to do what they do best...impress. Here's what the website has to say:

Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale is our homage to the craft and heritage of America’s brewers. Recipes calling for the use of pumpkins in beer date back to early colonial times, when brewers sought to extend their supply of costly imported malt with locally grown ingredients, such as squash and “pompions.”

In that spirit, we brew our ale with the addition of pumpkin to the mash, along with traditional spices to create a delicious American original.

Available in sixpacks and on draft from mid-August through October.

Recognized as one of Wine Enthusiast Magazine's Top 25 Beers in 2009.

ABV 5.6%



How much do you like Pumpkins? Is it enough to have your senses bombarded with the aroma of pumpkins? Yes? Well, maybe the Pumpkin Ale is for you. Do you know that smell that you smell at Thanksgiving, just before Mom brings out desert, which inevitably is Pumpkin Pie? Well, that's what you get here. As soon as I cracked the seal, Pumpkin escaped everywhere. It filled the air with the smell of Mom's post-dinner attempts at desert. Do I like Pumpkins...sure I do, but I think it might be a little much here. The coloring? Well, it's unbelievably pumpkin colored, and I already broke down the aroma. As for taste, it definitely tastes like pumpkin. What more can I say...if you like extreme pumpkin flavors in your brew, then this one is for you...but if you like you additional flavoring to be feint, then skip this one and go for something less extreme.


6/10 - Only in the Fall

Stone Cali-Belgique IPA - Stone Brewery, Escondido, CA

As usual, when I want the best, I turn to Stone. The Stone Brewery routinely puts out some of the best brews around. Tonight, we're reviewing the Cali-Belgique IPA. Stone bills it as a California-style Indian Pale Ale with roots from Belgium. This is a true International IPA. Here's what the website had to say:

The Beer:

When reading the name "Stone Cali-Belgique IPA", "Cali" hints that it is a California-style IPA, and this brew has an undeniable Belgian influence, indicated by the word "Belgique" (which is how Belgium's French-speaking population says the word "Belgian"; the Dutch-speaking Belgians say "België"). We carefully selected a Belgian yeast strain that illuminates a fascinating new aspect of the beer that is otherwise quite simply Stone IPA. The result is both completely new and different, while still being recognizable as a Stone brew—and Stone IPA in particular. Think of it as an otherwise identical twin to Stone IPA that was raised in a Belgian culture. Literally.

Stone Beer Quick Facts

First Release Date: August 2008

Hop Variety: Columbus, Chinook & Centennial

Stats: ALC/VOL 6.9%, 77 IBUs

Availability: 22oz Bottles & Draft

The Stone Brewing Company:

A Brief History of Time...

• Stone Brewing Co. was founded in 1996 by Greg Koch and Steve Wagner in San Marcos, CA. (In the spot where our friends at Port Brewing Company/The Lost Abbey now call home!)

• First keg of Stone Pale Ale sold on July 26, 1996 to Vince Marsaglia of Pizza Port fame

• Arrogant Bastard Ale unleashed upon the world November 1, 1997

• Moved to our current facility in Escondido, CA, in December 2005

• Opened the adjacent Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens in November 2006

• Named "All-time Top Brewery on Planet Earth" by BeerAdvocate magazine in 2008…AND 2009! "The most popular and highest rated brewery – ever!"

• In December 2009, we published a formal Request For Proposal to evaluate potential sites for a brewhouse in Europe. We have narrowed the field from 79 different submitted locations (from nine different countries!) down to two—Berlin and Bruges—and hope to reach a final decision soon

• In May 2011, we unveiled huge local expansion plans, including Stone Company Store – South Park, Stone Farms, Stone Catering, Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Liberty Station (Spring 2012), and Stone Hotel (Early 2013)

One of the fastest growing breweries in America in the past fifteen years...

• INC 500 list two years in a row (2002 & 2003)

• San Diego Business Journal's "Top 100 Fastest Growing Private Companies" seven years in a row (2004-2010)

• Averaging 43% year-to-year growth over the past 15 years

• Currently distributed to 36 states (plus Washington, DC!), and a minute amount of our beer is exported to the UK, Sweden, Japan, and Singapore

• Now the 14th largest craft brewery in the United States (2011)

The brewery...

• 55,000 square feet and growing!

• 120 Bbl brewing system built by Rolec in Bavaria, Germany

Selected Awards and Recognition

• Malt Advocate magazine's "Brewery of the Year" (2004 and 2005)

• BeerAdvocate magazine's "All-time Top Brewery on Planet Earth. The most popular and highest rated brewery – ever!" (2008 and 2009)

• – "Stone Brewing is one of craft brewing's stars – one of the 10 best breweries in the world"

• Forbes – "Stone has America's Top Brewery Tour" (47,204 people toured our facility in 2010 alone!)

• Greg Koch is knighted by the Belgian Brewers Federation (2010)

• Greg Koch named Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year (2011)

• Great American Beer Festival medals

• Silver Medal for Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine (2000)

• Bronze Medal for Stone Pale Ale (2006)

• Gold Medal for Stone Levitation Ale (2007)

• Bronze Medal for Stone Sublimely Self Righteous Ale (2010)

• Silver Medal for Stone Smoked Porter w/ Chipotle Peppers (2010)

• Other festival wins

• Gold Medal for Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine at the World Beer Championships (2002)

• Gold Medal for Stone IPA at the Stockholm Beer & Whiskey Festival (2007)

• Gold Medal for Stone Imperial Russian Stout at the Australian International Beer Awards (2007)

• Bronze Medal for Stone IPA at the Australian International Beer Awards (2007)

• Silver Medal for Stone Pale Ale at the European Beer Star Awards (2009)

• Silver Medal for Stone IPA at the European Beer Star Awards (2010)

• Gold Medal for Stone Smoked Porter at the Asia Beer Awards (2010)

• Silver Medal for Stone Imperial Russian Stout at the Asia Beer Awards (2010)

• Silver Medal for Stone Sublimely Self Righteous Ale at the Australian International Beer Awards (2011)

• Silver Medal for Stone Imperial Russian Stout at the Australian International Beer Awards (2011)



There is a such a nice balance of complexity to this brew. You can definitely taste the traditional spice of a good IPA, but it all of a sudden gets kicked in the teeth with a true Belgian bitterness. At first, I thought, this doesn't make any sense, but then after awhile, it felt just right. The coloring is a beautiful autumn and the aroma reminds me of a meal fit for a king. This is a fine brew and one that you should seek out.


8.5/10 - Well-Balanced

European-Style Beer Garden Opens In Detroit’s West Village

DETROIT (WWJ) - A scrubby patch of vacant land in Detroit’s old West Village is being transformed by a group of local artists, foodies, designers and writers into the Tashmoo Biergarten for the next five Sundays, beginning this weekend.

The family friendly event plays on local history while providing a new venue for Detroiters to enjoy a cold brew, and come together as a community.

Tashmoo Biergarten, located on three lots at 1416 Van Dyke, lent to the project by Land Inc., will pop-up once a week and feature a rotating selection of beer by Michigan brewers, local food vendors, a corn hole court and ample board games to keep patrons entertained throughout its run.

Suzanne Vier, co-founder of the event, said the idea was inspired by traditional European-style beer gardens.

“I love how traditional eastern European beer gardens are open outdoor spaces within an urban landscape that have a communal feel,” Vier said in a release. “They’re a great place for people within a community to come together while drinking a beer, having a bite to eat, or playing a game of chess outdoors with their neighbors.”

The beer garden’s name was chosen because of the location’s ties to local history. Tashmoo - a Native American word understood to mean “meeting place” – was once the name sake of an amusement park on Harsen’s Island at the northern edge of Lake St. Clare. It was also the name of a side-wheeler steamboat known as one of the fastest ships to sail the Great Lakes.

The beer garden’s location itself is also the site of a home that was occupied for generations by the family of one of the Tashmoo’s crew. The house was demolished in August 2011.

Hours of operation are from noon to 9 p.m. each Sunday, from Sept. 25 through Oct. 23. Find out more at


If you can make sure to check it out.

I hear that it took brewmaster extraordinaire John Maier three times to “get it the way he wanted it.” And that this was a beer that kept Maier up at night, trying to figure out how to make it — sometimes even compelling him to head to the brewery in the middle of the night to try something.

I can tell you that this beer, in a Voodoo Pink bottle, is made with three different kinds of smoked malt, including house-smoked Hickory malt, Applewood Smoked bacon and maple. No doughnuts were harmed in the making of this beer.

Rogue says Voodoo Doughnut Bacon Maple Ale goes well with doughnuts and pork. (But the little icon that indicates the food pairings made the doughnut look like a boob, and with the pink bottle, I thought perhaps it was a fundraiser for Breast Cancer Awareness. But maybe that’s just me.)

This is a limited Rogue beer, so get it while you can. You can head over to Rogue today and pick some up from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Pabst goes to LA: Will brew lose groove in move?

Will hipster brew lose groove in move? It belongs in the Midwest, its fans say.

CHICAGO - Pabst Blue Ribbon: the breakfast of Chicago hipsters. Old Style: beer of the Chicago Cubs. Schlitz: "The beer that made Milwaukee famous."

In Los Angeles?

It would be difficult to find a more quintessentially Midwestern pack of brews than those owned by Woodridge, Ill.-based Pabst Brewing Co., whose announcement last month that it would move its headquarters to LA took state officials and branding experts by surprise.

"I do kind of want to grab these guys by the ears and say, 'Hey, do you not know what this (group of beers) is?' This is a Midwest portfolio of beers, and it makes no sense to plop them in, of all places, LA," said Kelly O'Keefe, professor of brand strategy at the Virginia Commonwealth University Brandcenter.

A lot has changed since food industry magnate C. Dean Metropoulos bought the company in June and granted control to his Los Angeles-based sons Daren and Evan Metropoulos. The change in power resulted in the departures of its CEO and other executives.

In an interview with Bloomberg Television recently, the Metropoulos brothers, the youngest of whom lives in Hugh Hefner's former mansion in LA, touted a new turn for the company that would include a star-studded cast of movie stars and pro football players backing everything from Schlitz to Colt 45.

Branding experts say such tactics could backfire.

The flagship brand, Pabst Blue Ribbon, or PBR, has a cult following of young, hip urbanites who say they enjoy the beer because it is unsexy, unpretentious and blue-collar Midwest.

"I like PBR because it doesn't taste like beer," said Brenna Ehrlich, 26, co-author of the blog Stuff Hipsters Hate and a book by the same name. "It tastes like water. Dirty water."

Hipsters, she said, are "people who define who they are by who they aren't," and they wouldn't drink PBR if it "looked like Urban Outfitters," she said. "PBR is like the nectar of the hipster gods."

The company hasn't done a lot of advertising in recent years, O'Keefe said, because it hasn't needed to. And with such a band of cult followers, advertising could have the opposite effect intended.

"It's a brand people like to feel they've discovered," he said. "If it's countercultural, you don't want to make it cultural."

As long as Pabst's new management doesn't attempt to become trendy or change the look of the product, he said, they should survive a move to Los Angeles, but the city wouldn't be his first choice.

"I picture movie stars and sunglasses and people in not-too-much clothing. It's sort of the opposite of blue collar," he said.

At the Boiler Room in Chicago's Logan Square neighborhood, general manager Andy Gould, 27, said brands like Old Style, Schlitz and PBR run in the veins of patrons in a way that can't be matched.

The cash-only bar and pizza restaurant runs a popular $7.50 special called PB&J (pizza, beer and Jameson whiskey) that comes with a tall can of PBR. Locals call it the hipster special.

Hipsters weren't the only ones disappointed by Pabst's announced departure.

Pabst's move to Woodridge from San Antonio in 2006 was backed by $1million in state tax incentives and training funds. In exchange, the company pledged to create 31 full-time jobs within two years and make an investment of $2.4 million in its facilities.

The company started receiving the tax credits in 2008, state documents show. The agreement required the company to remain in Illinois and retain those jobs for 10 years.

Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity spokeswoman Marcelyn Love said the state could go after the company for those taxes.

"It is unfortunate that Pabst chose to make this decision without consulting with the state," she said.

A Pabst spokesman said the company's owners would not provide interviews for this report.

PBR's comeback began about 10 years ago, but as recently as 2005, the company was on the brink of bankruptcy, said former Pabst CEO Kevin Kotecki, who resigned in November.

"We created a new vision, new strategies, built a new team and started reinventing the brands," he said.

Data from market-research company Symphony IRI Group shows the Pabst outpaced the rest of the beer category over the past three years, averaging 4.3percent growth, compared with 0.81percent year-over-year for all beer.

C. Dean Metropoulos bought the company for about $250 million last year.

Recent data from Symphony IRI shows growth has slowed to 3.2 percent over the past 12 months.

Pabst doesn't actually brew PBR. The beer is made in six breweries across the U.S. in facilities owned by Miller Brewing Co.