Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Washington Beer Commission Announces Events For 2012

Seattle, WA (Nov 2011) - The Washington Beer Commission is proud to announce that two of its distinguished beer tasting events are moving to exciting new venues in 2012. The Washington Brewers Festival, the commission's premiere, Father's Day weekend event, is moving to King County's Marymoor Park in Redmond, WA after spending five of the last six years at St. Edward State Park in Kenmore, WA. The move will allow the 64 brewery event to continue its steady growth and expose Washington craft beers to a new clientele. Also on the move is the commission's wildly popular Belgianfest which will relocate from the Workshop at Magnuson Park to Bell Harbor on Seattle's waterfront on the first Saturday in February each year. This venue change is also to accommodate an increasing demand and should serve as home for the event for years to come.

The 2012 Washington Brewers Festival will take place June 15-17, and festival goers will find ample parking and a spectacular tree lined venue. “We are proud to offer Marymoor Park as the new home of the Washington Brewer’s Festival in 2012 – a showcase of our state’s finest craft brewers,” said Jessica Emerson - King County Parks’ Business Development Manager. “King County’s Marymoor Park is a fantastic location, with convenient access to much of the region, and features the kind of amenities that make it a perfect fit for this traditional Pacific Northwest event.”

The commission's third annual Belgianfest will take place on Saturday, February 4, 2012 and in this first year at Bell Harbor on Pier 66 the event will occupy the International Promenade event space. "The Bell Harbor International Conference Center gives us multiple options for continuing to grow Belgianfest in the coming years. This is a versatile venue with a beautiful waterfront location," said Matt Russell - Washington Beer Commission Director of Festival Operations.

Here is the current calendar for Washington Beer Commission tasting events in 2012:

February 4, Belgianfest - Bell Harbor International Conference Center (Pier 66)

March 31, Cask Festival - Seattle Center, Fisher Pavilion

June 15-17, Washington Brewers Festival - King County's Marymoor Park

July 21, Bremerton Summer Brewfest - Downtown Bremerton (Pacific Avenue)

September 21-22, Spokane Oktoberfest - Riverfront Park, Downtown Spokane

December 7-8, Winter Beer Festival - Hale's Ales Palladium, Seattle (Ballard)

Don't forget that the 2011 Winter Beer Festival is this weekend (December 2-3) at Hale's Palladium!

Established in July 2007 the Commission represents all 153 breweries in Washington State. The Commission’s mission is to promote Washington beer, benefit the state's breweries, and increase awareness and demand. It is still the only beer commission in the country!

For complete information including event ticket sales visit

Beer Prehistory: Celtic Beer from France

While France may be best-known for its wines these days, in the Iron Age, they were making plenty of beer—and now we have a reasonably good idea of what that process looked like (at least for one archaeological site).

The site of Roquepertuse lies in Provence, just inland from France's southeastern Mediterranean coast. From the Late Bronze Age (c. 1400-750 BC) to the Late Iron Age (c. 450-25 BC), the local inhabitants cultivated barley, as well as millet and emmer—all grains used in ancient beer brewing, although of course barley is the most recognizable to us today.

When originally discovered in the 19th century, Roquepertuse was thought to be a Celtic religious center (or 'sanctuary'—when in doubt, archaeologists always invoke 'ritual' to explain just about everything), thanks to some impressive statuary found at the site, but more recent excavation and analysis points to a more prosaic village settlement (albeit one that was violently destroyed on more than one occasion over its time 'in operation').

But what is especially interesting about Roquepertuse is that the its Iron Age residents were not just growing barley—and by this point, it was already domestic barley, not the wild variety—but they were malting it.

Before diving into the archaeology, a little background on basic brewing may be useful. The barley found at the site was six-row barley; the number refers to the arrangement of the grains on the plant. While many brewers now prefer two-row barley because of its higher starch content, six-row barley is still widely used, especially by larger commercial breweries. Barley on its own won't magically become beer, however—it needs to be malted first, and the resulting malt is what is used to make beer. The malting process involves steeping the grain in water and allowing it to germinate, and then drying the malt; nowadays, the drying portion of the process typically takes place in a kiln.

It seems that things were not so different in Celtic France, albeit on a thoroughly domestic scale—today's locavores would be thrilled by the fact that everything needed to make the beer was grown or processed within walking distance of the site, much of it within the likely dwelling space.

The key to the Roquepertuse site is the oven, discovered just two meters from a large concentration of germinated, carbonized barley, essentially in the next room. It's likely that the barley was soaked in one part of the building, then dried in the oven. The malt was probably much smokier than most are today, given the limitations of Iron Age ovens, but that was not the only difference from modern beer.

The brewing process likely included ingredients beyond this carefully-malted barley—bog myrtle has also turned up in archaeobotany analyses from Iron Age Germany (and, indeed, was used commonly through the Middle Ages as well), and it's possible it was a common additive in contemporary European beer, along with potentially mind-altering substances like henbane.

Beginning around 500 BC, evidence for grape vines becomes more pronounced in the region, but most archaeologists agree that wine-drinking and production was brought to France and Spain from the eastern Mediterranean by Greeks and Phoenicians—beer was the native drink long before wine caught on.

We know from other evidence that beer was a very visible part of Iron Age culture across much of Europe—drinking horns, cauldrons, cups and the like appear everywhere from high-status graves to (wait for it) ritual deposits. A few centuries later, Greek and Roman writers noted varieties of Celtic beer and mead (typically in a disapproving context, at least in relation to wine)—corma, made from wheat and honey; zythos, from barley and honey; cervesius, derived from unnamed grains, and barley-specific beer in southeastern France known (to the observers) as krithinon poma.

Some Celtic tribes even forbade the importation of wine—most notably the Germanic Suebi and the Belgic Nervii—something that baffled Julius Caesar in his Commentarii de Bello Gallico, although given Belgian and German beer cultures today, perhaps that is not surprising. Even Pliny the Elder remarked on long 'shelf-life' some Celtic beers were rumored to have, long before his namesake beer was dreamed of:
"The nations of the West have their own intoxicant made from grain soaked in water; there are a number of ways of making it in the various provinces of Gaul and Spain and under different names though the principle is the same. The Spanish provinces have by this time even taught us that these liquors will bear being kept a long time".
While it is unlikely Pliny thought of Celtic beer as potentially lasting quite this long, certain basic elements of early European brewing still survive—future research should continue to highlight other aspects of ancient beer we're missing out on (or, perhaps, are lucky to be avoiding) today.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Boston Beer Company

When Samuel Adams Brewer and Founder Jim Koch started making sales calls to bars in 1984, he encountered a disconnect between “American” and “high quality beer,” it was as if it were impossible to brew great beer in the U.S. But, when he’d pour a bottle of the “sample brew” eyes widened at the appearance and the taste.

That beer, which he first homebrewed in his kitchen, Samuel Adams Boston Lager®, came from Jim’s great-great grandfather’s mid-19th century recipe. Its beauty lies in its balance: the spiciness and subtle bitterness of Noble hops balanced by the body and sweetness of the decoction mash and two-row malt.

Nearly 30 years later, it’s as hard to remember a world without American craft beers as it is to remember a world without the Internet. American thirst for Samuel Adams and other craft beer has grown dramatically, yet today, Sam Adams has less than 1% of the beer business.

Since 1984, international competitions have proliferated. We enter our beers because we feel it’s important to have our beers judged next to the world’s best. We are proud that our Samuel Adams® beers have won more international medals and competitions than any brewery. American beer has begun to reclaim its dignity in the beer world.


Over the years we have brewed more than 100 different styles, and we bring out new ones every year. Our “Extreme Beers” stretch the very definition of beer. At the lunatic fringe of the brewer’s art is Samuel Adams Utopias®. It weighs in at a hefty 27% ABV. It’s not carbonated and is served at room temperature. It has bested some of the world’s finest Cognacs and Ports in blind tastings.

Utopias is aged in the Barrel Room at our Boston brewery where we also develop and perfect all of our recipes. We own three breweries that brew nearly all of our beer. Each features a traditional Brewhouse and a historic four-vessel brewing process. To this day, Jim Koch tastes a sample from every batch of beer we brew.


In 2010, Samuel Adams accepted the challenge to create a brand new beer with the help of Weihenstephan, the World's oldest continually operating brewery, in Bavaria. Their goal was to brew a beer following the Reinheitsgebot; the German Beer Purity Law which dates back to 1560 which allows the use of only water, malt, hops and yeast.

After two years of research and work, Infinium, a Champagne-style beer, was released in 2010. Below, Boston Beer Brewer and Founder, Jim Koch discusses the 2011 release of this one of a kind beer.

The Samuel Adams Community

As one of the first craft brewers, we are happy to have been joined by hundreds of others. As part of our commitment to the community of brewers, we host an American Homebrew Contest that introduces three homebrews nationwide through our Longshot® six-pack. Our philanthropic program, Samuel Adams Brewing The American Dream, helps low income entrepreneurs and has already saved or created over 700 jobs.


Monday, November 28, 2011

New Beer: Samuel Adams Black & Brew Coffee Stout

This year's winter variety pack from Sam Adams includes the standards—Holiday Porter, Old Fezziwig, Winter Lager, and Chocolate Bock, plus a new coffee stout made with Sumatran coffee beans. It's certainly not the richest, roastiest stout you'll find, but it's pleasantly mouthfilling (with much more body than a Guinness) and offers a a nice coffee-and-cocoa flavor. We're not sure how caffeinated it is, but you can definitely taste the coffee. "I like that it tastes like espresso," noted one of our tasters, "and not like coffee sludge."

Don't go planning to use this in a beer affogato though—this isn't a sweet beer, and it's far from dessertlike. It's not super-hoppy, but the East Kent Goldings make their presence known, and the beer has a sourness that some might find a little offputting. Pair it with a Christmas ham (or a Christmas ham sandwich), or try it with barbecue or Peking duck.


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Flying Dog Kujo Imperial Coffee Stout debuts next month

(Frederick, MD) – Preceding the January release of Wildeman Farmhouse IPA will be the December release of Flying Dog Kujo Imperial Coffee Stout. Kujo is part of the Wild Dog Series.

“Enjoy your new pet!” he said. Twelve hours later, your heart is pounding as you wake up to find the savage beast growling over a puddle of your neighbor’s organs.

Made with locally-roasted coffee from Black Dog out of West Virginia, Kujo is a savage spawn from when two brewing worlds collide. With a beautiful balance of coffee, vanilla and chocolate roasted notes, there will be more than just coffee on your breath. Its deep, dark appearance might just breed a little fear. Sleep tight, my friend.

Packages: 6-packs and draft

Availability: Mid-December in DC, MD, VA

ABV: 8.9%

Specialty Malts: Chocolate, Debittered Black, Roast, Cara-Munich

Specialty Ingredients: Locally-roasted Black Dog coffee

Hops: Northern Brewer, Goldings

Friday, November 25, 2011

Asheville's beer scene hopping as usual this Thanksgiving weekend

ASHEVILLE — Want a beer after that bird? Asheville’s many craft breweries will be busy this weekend, and they’re a great place to take out-of-town guests for a visit.

Asheville is Beer City USA, a title it has earned three consecutive years in a national online poll. Buncombe County is home to 10 breweries, nine of them in the city.

Asheville Brews Cruise offers walking and mobile van tours of the breweries. It’s a really fun way to check out an assortment of brewing operations and get samples and behind-the-scenes tours. Check their web site for availabilty today-Sunday:

Highland Brewing, 12 Old Charlotte Highway, is open 4-8 p.m. today and Saturday, owner Oscar Wong said. The tasting room offers a full line of Highland beers including the popular Cold Mountain Winter Ale, and it also serves small-batch brews not available anywhere else.

Tonight, Whitewater Bluegrass Company performs and on Saturday, Blind Boy Chocolate and the Milksheiks are in the house. Admission is free.

Asheville Pizza and Brewing, 675 Merrimon Ave. and Asheville Brewing Company, 77 Coxe Ave. downtown will keep regular hours this weekend opening at 11 a.m., company president Mike Rangel said. Try their Christmas Jam ale.

The Merrimon Avenue location will be screening “The Help” at 1, 4 and 7 p.m. and “50/50” at 10 p.m. and

Wedge Brewing, 125B Roberts St., will be open this weekend at 3 p.m. today and 2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday in the River Arts District, owner Tim Schaller said. It’s a great spot to kick back and savor one of their craft brews.

Green Man Brewing, 23 Buxton Ave., is known to its fans as “Dirty Jacks.” This is a real old-school brewpub, with a handful of tables and seating at the bar. Along with the Green Man brews, they have a handful of guest taps including brews from Old Hickory Brewing in Hickory. Ask about what cask conditioned beer is available.

Craggie Brewing, 197 Hilliard Ave., is located near Asheville Brewing’s downtown location, and it’s fun to pop between the two spots. Craggie specializes in very drinkable lower-alcohol “session beers.”
Hours are 4-10 p.m. today and Saturday.

French Broad Brewing, 101 Fairview Road, will have the band Tennessee Hollow doing rock and country blues at 6 p.m today, and Bob Burnette plays alternative and indie rock at 6 p.m. Saturday.

Lexington Avenue Brewery, 39 N. Lexington Ave., has a full restaurant and bar and live music. Jahman Brahman plays tonight. Malcolm Holcombe is in the house Saturday night. This is a great place to grab brunch on Sundays.

Oysterhouse Brewing is one of the city’s smallest breweries, tucked in the Lobster Trap Restaurant, 35 Patton Ave. Ask about the specialty of the house: the famed Moonestone oyster stout, made with oysters (you can’t really taste them, but there’s a slight saltiness in the beer). www.oysterhousebeers

The Thirsty Monk’s south location in Gerber Village, just off Hendersonville Road, is the city’s newest brewery, making small batches of beer which are quickly enjoyed by customers. There’s also a nice variety of imported and American craft brew.

Pisgah Brewing, 150 Eastside Drive in Black Mountain, is famous for its live music and selection of house beers.

On Saturday night, the Secret B-Sides play a free show at 9 p.m. and Pisgah Pale Ale is on sale all day for $2 a pint. The brewery will be open at 2 p.m. today-Sunday.


Upper Deerfield beer expert appearing on History Channel program

UPPER DEERFIELD TWP. — “He was a wise man who invented beer.”

When Plato uttered these words in the third century BC, beer had been a staple of the human diet for more than six millennia.

The history of beer and the brewer’s art date back to roughly 6000 BC, and coincides with the history of civilization. References to beer are found in the earliest writings of the ancient Sumerians.

One Tuesday, Nov. 29, at 9 p.m., Upper Deerfield Township resident and leading beer expert Gary Monterosso will appear on the new History Channel special, “The Epic History of Everyday Things,” to explain the history of the world’s most popular alcoholic beverage.

“Evidence suggests that the first beer was brewed by the ancient Sumerians, who had settled the fertile areas between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. The first beer was most likely brewed by accident,” Monterosso explained. “Probably some grain was being stored in a container and water got in by accident and it sat for a few weeks. The first beer probably tasted pretty vile, but people liked the effect.”

Beer has been such an integral part of the development of human society that even the ancient epic “Gilgamesh” credits beer as helping to tame Enkidu, a wild man who was raised in the wilderness by animals, and transform him into a civilized human being.
Over the past 8,000 years, beer has spread throughout the known world and evolved into the form we enjoy today.

“Beer evolved into the forms we now recognize sometime during the Middle Ages,” said Monterosso.

Central to this brewing revolution was the cultivation of hops, which were used to flavor beer as early as the 11th century.

Before the introduction of hops to the brewing process, beers had been flavored with a variety of herbs and other plants, according to the local environment. A bittering agent that also acts as a natural preservative, hops transformed the flavor of beer, and by the 16th century nearly all European beers were hopped.

Beer was so culturally significant to Europeans that in 1516 the Reinheitsgebot, also called the German Beer Purity Law, was established in Bavaria and codified which ingredients could be used in the production of beer.

According to “German standards,” only malted barley, malted wheat, hops and water may be used to make beer. Though the law has since been repealed, many modern beer-makers still adhere to this ancient law.

From the ancient cities of the Middle East, to the monasteries of Medieval Germany, to the tap-rooms and outlet stores of today, beer has been a medium of cultural exchange throughout the world for many thousands of years.

In modern America, 95 percent of the beer market is controlled by the major mass-production commercial breweries. In the past few decades, however, the popularity of craft beers, also known as micro-brews, has exploded.

Craft beers are beers produced by small, independent brewers, and are limited to an annual production of 2,000,000 barrels. Craft brewing companies range in size from Boston Beer, producers of Samuel Adams, to local brew pubs that brew their own beer for sale on premises.

Monterosso, who recently authored a book titled “Artisan Beer” that examines the craft-brewing phenomenon, explains the growing popularity of small-scale brewing.

“Since the late 1970s, small-scale brewing has really exploded in popularity, and today’s beer market offers more variety than ever before. Today there are over 1,600 breweries and brew pubs operating in America.”

The local area is teeming with small, independent breweries that produce a wide range of styles and flavors.
“There are a lot of home-brewing clubs, such as Tap It in Egg Harbor Township, and small-scale brewers in the area. There is even a business in Freehold, called Brewer’s Apprentice, that lets customers experience the beer-making process by brewing their own beer on-site.”

Monterosso is also an expert on the beer-making process, and offered some advice for aspiring brewers.

“I would suggest that anyone interested in making their own beer contact a local home-brew club. The people who participate in these clubs love beer making and are always willing to share their knowledge.”

One major ingredient in making a great beer is enjoying not only the production, but the product.

According to Monterosso, “Successful brewers make beers that they like to drink themselves.”


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Molson Canadian - Molson Coors Brewing Company - St. Johns, Newfoundland to Vancouver, BC and across America too

In Canada, the two largest breweries are Labatt and Molson. They are know everywhere, and although there are others, Labatt and Molson are known and sold everywhere. I needed an average beer for this holiday weekend, as I was having some guests over who are not as keen on craft beers as I am, so I figured that I would turn to one of the most Canadian beers out there...Molson Canadian. Here what the website had to say:


Around the world, Canada is seen as a shining example of nature at its best. We have thousands of freshwater lakes and barley fields as far as the eye can see. That's what makes us so proud to brew Molson Canadian, our signature beer.

Brewed without preservatives, from St. Johns to Vancouver, over 3000 Canadians have a hand in bringing Molson Canadian to their family, their friends, and their communities. The people who live here truly deserve a beer brewed with the best this land has to offer. That’s why we make sure our award winning lager is as clean, crisp and fresh as the incredible country it comes from.

We hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoy brewing it. Cheers.

ABV: 5.19%


Founded in Montreal in 1786, Molson Coors Canada is the oldest brewery in North America and continues to produce beer on the site of the original brewery. The company brews and markets a number of the most popular brands of beer in Canada. Domestic labels include Molson Canadian, Molson M, Molson Export, Molson Dry, Old Style Pilsner, Rickard’s, Creemore Springs and Granville Island Brewing. Through partnerships with other major brewers, Molson Coors Canada also offers a diverse portfolio of beer brands, including Coors Light, Corona, Miller Genuine Draft, Heineken, Foster's Lager and Tiger. Molson employs 3,000 people in Canada and operates five breweries in locations across the country (Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Moncton and St. John's), as well as the Creemore micro-brewery in Ontario and Granville Island Brewing in British Columbia. Molson Coors Canada is part of the Molson Coors Brewing Company.

Founded by John Molson in Montreal in 1786, and now seven generations later, the Molson family name in brewing is the second oldest company in Canada, after the Hudson's Bay Company. The Montreal facility is the oldest brewery in North America, with operations ongoing on the site of the original brewery since the time of founding. Although the plant has undergone numerous transformations in the past 224 years, the cellars once used to store beer are still intact beneath the current building.

Not long after his arrival in Montreal in 1782, Molson sensed the market potential for beer in the then British colony. Prices for wine, rum and port were rising and an influx of English and Irish immigrants were particularly partial to beer. When he became of legal age, Molson used the money inherited from his parents to acquire a small brewery housed in a wooden building on the shores of the St Lawrence, just outside the fortifications of the burgeoning City of Montreal.

Molson worked hard to perfect the brewing process. He returned to England to purchase the finest quality barley seeds. Upon his return, he offered the seeds free of charge to neighbouring Montreal farmers who agreed to grow them to satisfy the brewery's need for malt. Molson delivered his first brew in 1786, only six weeks after taking the helm. Priced at just five cents a bottle, his brew sold very well.

Molson took advantage of the many business opportunities of the time. He quickly diversified his investments, opened a lumber yard and began issuing loans to local Montreal merchants. In 1816, the family enterprise began to take shape when founder John Molson entered into an association with his three sons, John Jr., Thomas, and William.

Although brewing proved to be Molson's most sustainable field of endeavour, other activities were added down through the company's lengthy history. Molson was the first company to own and operate a fleet of steamboats which were used to transport people and goods between Quebec and Ontario. John Molson and his sons also founded the Molson Bank which later merged with Bank of Montreal.

Molson Brewery considerably expanded the breadth of corporate activities throughout the 20th century. In 1945, the family decided to transform the company into a public, limited liability enterprise. It then became possible to acquire an ownership in the company without being a member of the Molson family. This made it possible for the company to expand and inaugurate a new brewery in Toronto in 1955. Two years later, in 1957, the family acquired the Montreal Forum and the famed Canadiens Hockey Club, initiating the start of a long and glorious association with Montreal's ever popular hockey team. The company continued to develop and, in 1958, acquired Six breweries which included five establishments in Western Canada, lending Molson nationwide presence. In 1989, the company consolidated market share in Quebec through a merger with Carling O'Keefe. As a result, Molson became the largest brewery in Canada and the fifth largest in the world.

In 2005, Molson merged with US-based Coors to form Molson Coors Brewing Company. This was followed in 2007 by the opening of a new brewery in Moncton, New Brunswick. Sixth generation Eric Molson retired in 2009 however his sons Andrew and Geoff continue to be active in company affairs within as members of the corporate Board of Directors.

Molson Coors executive offices are located in Montreal, Quebec and Denver, Colorado. The Canadian operational headquarters are located in Toronto (in addition to several breweries across Canada). United Kingdom headquarters are in Burton upon Trent.

Molson Coors Canada is part-owner of The Beer Store in Ontario Brewers Retail Inc.,operating as a beer distribution and retail chain, which—protected by legislation—has an over 85% market share of total Ontario industry beer sales. Molson Coors Canada owns 50% of Brewers Distribution Limited in Western Canada.

Molson Coors bought Creemore Springs Brewery on 22 April 2005. Operations of Molson Coors in Brazil was sold to the Mexican group FEMSA in 2006. On October 9, 2007, SABMiller and Molson Coors agreed to combine their U.S. operations in a joint venture called Miller Coors. SABMiller is to own 58% of the unit, which is to operate in the U.S. and Puerto Rico but not Canada, where Molson Coors is strongest. Molson Coors is to own 42%, but the parties are to have equal voting power.



Well, there isn't much that I can say about this brew that you probably haven't already guessed that I would say. First off, let me explain that I grew up with this brew. When I would go see hockey games in Montreal, we would pass the Molson Brewery on the way to the old the Bell Center. The first time that I drank a beer, it was a Molson in my hand. For me, it embodies home. That said, it doesn't mean that it's a great beer. As you would expect, the taste is a little flat, with a somewhat boozy aftertaste. It's better served cold, but then again, aren't all lagers. As for taste, there isn't much. Ok, so it's not great, but if you're looking for an off-the-shelf lager that you can buy and serve in large quantities, then for Gods sake, serve up a Molson Canadian before you turn to a Budweiser, or a Miller. At least you're going to get more flavor then those weak beers. This is absolutely not the worst of the Mega-Brewed beers out there.


5/10 - Not the worst

Saranac India Copper Ale - Matt Brewing Company - Utica, NY

Happy Thanksgiving everybody. I hope that everyone had a fantastic holiday, and that there were many brews out on the table. In my household, we had my parents down for the weekend, as we celebrated the American version of the holiday (last month, we were North of the border celebrating the Canadian version). Two Thanksgivings in one year? Ahh, the benefits of being a dual citizen. Anyway, along with our feast this evening, I decided to crack open an India Copper Ale from Saranac. This is another in the Winter Series that I've been all over lately. Here what the website had to say:


Taking an India Ale to the next level, Saranac India Copper Ale has the malt backbone to carry the hoppiness you expect in an India Ale.  Carefully selected malts from North America and Europe are decoction mashed to highlight their character and the brew is complimented with generous amounts of citrusy Columbus, Cascade and Centennial hops.  Cheers! 

Beer Style: Strong Brown Ale
Malt Selections: Marris Otter, Crystal
Hop Selections: Fuggles
Color: Dark Brown
Mouthfeel / Body: Full
Food Companions: Hamburgers, Smoked Fish, Sausage
Alcohol By Volume: 6.0%
Original Gravity: 14.5


As one of the few remaining great American regional breweries, the Matt Brewing Company has prospered at the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains in Central New York for over a century. Under the leadership of the third (Nick) and fourth (Fred) generations of the Matt Family, the Brewery has earned the reputation as one of the most respected specialty brewers in the country, producing a variety of distinctive, flavorful beers.

In 1885, young F.X. Matt I, a German-born immigrant, left a promising career at the famous Duke of Baden Brewery in the Black Forest region of Germany to travel to the United States with the determination and dream of owning his own brewery someday. After several years of brewing experience at the Bierbaur Brewery, F.X. Matt re-organized the faltering brewery to create The West End Brewing Company in 1888. Serving as both the star salesman and brewmaster, the brewery quickly became one of the largest and most successful of the 12 breweries operating in Utica at the time.

Today, Nick Matt (Chairman and CEO) and his nephew Fred (President and COO) continue this proud tradition with the celebrated Saranac family of beers – a beer brewed to the same exacting standards of quality F.X. Matt established more than a century ago.



This brew was sampled along with a huge Thanksgiving feast, but I promise that a serious look was given to the beer. The pour was fine, but a little watered down. The coloring was of a deep copper. The head was fine, but fizzled away quickly. As for the taste, there was a certain degree of bitterness to it, but surely nothing to shy away from. All in all, another boring selection from Saranac. As I roll through this seasonal variety pack, I'm struck by how unspectacular these selections are. The taste was fine...but no more...just fine.


6/10 - Ok

BeerMongers in Portland, OR: your Thanksgiving and Black Friday refuge

Craig, Sean, Leah and the lads will be open on Thanksgiving just in case you need to escape the in-laws and leftovers, and on Black Friday, should you want to shirk your duty as an American consumer, or just consume a pint or's a service to humanity, is wot it's the email:

Thursday November 24th: For the 3rd year in a row the Mongers will be open all day on Thanksgiving in order to "keep Portland beered" We will have some special beers on draft including a Pumpkin Stout from Flat Tail Brewing in Corvallis and Pumking the Imperial Pumpkin Beer from Southern Tier in Lakewood New York. Football on the big screen and other treats too...

Friday November 25: Black Friday at the Mongers will include some secret shopping specials for our customers (may include "lost" bottles of Pumking, Deschutes Black Butte XXIII, North Coast Old Stock 2009, etc.). We will tap a Firkin of Firestone Walker Reserve Porter at 5 p.m. Friday,  and everyone who buys a glass will enter our Black Friday Raffle. Bring your computer and do your shopping on-line while drinking beer and avoiding the crowds.

Saturday November 26: 12:30 Kick-off for the 115th Civil War football game. We will have some special kegs from Eugene and Corvallis.


New York Times tasting panel picks Cascade Kriek as #1 sour beer

Eric Asimov wrote about sour beers in the Times earlier this week, and their tasting panel rated Cascade Kriek #1 out of 20 sour beers sampled...Cascade's Kriek is about the perfect beer for holiday meals because of its layered complexity and the way it stands up to the rich dishes of the season...and where better to try it than at the Cascade Barrel House, where the beer is aged and blended---939 S.E. Belmont St.

"No beer impressed us more than our No. 1 bottle, the 2010 Kriek Ale from Cascade Brewing in Portland, Ore. This lambic-style vintage beer is flavored with cherries, but was not sweetly fruity or cloying. Rather, it was beautifully tart and richly complex, with just a hint of fruit flavor for balance. We liked this beer so much, we gave a rare top score of four stars."


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Saranac "Lake Effect Lager" - Matt Brewing Company - Utica, NY

When I left the rains of the Great Pacific Northwest, and moved back to the Northeast with its snow and long winters, I knew what I was getting into. This may not have been the case for my family, who added a new term to their vocabulary...Lake Effect Snow. They're used to it now, but back then, the sudden appearance of snow so deep that your snow blower is useless certainly threw them for a loop. With that in mind, tonight we review Saranac's "Lake Effect Lager". Here's what the website had to say:


Our Saranac Lake Effect Lager is a rich, malty, old school German lager, made with traditional German malts and hops and fermented with a lager yeast.  Look for a rich but smooth malty taste, balanced by an impressive Hallertau hopping-A nice reward for enduring our winter months. 

Beer Style: German Style Lager
Malt Selections: Pilsener, Kiln Coffee Malt
Hop Selections: Perle, Hallertau
Color: Deep Amber
Mouthfeel / Body: Full
Food Companions: Hearty, Spicy Food; Chili, Stews
Alcohol By Volume: 5.95%
Original Gravity: 16.5


F.X. Matt Brewing Company is an American family-owned brewery at the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains in Utica, New York. It is the second oldest family-owned brewery in the United States, as it has been brewing beer since 1853. Its most popular product is the Saranac line of beers, although soft drinks such at Root Beer and Ginger Beer are also produced by the company.

Per the Brewers Association, Matt Brewing Co. ranked as the 7th largest craft brewing company in the US based upon 2008 beer sales volume. They were ranked as the 15th largest overall brewing company in the US based upon 2008 beer sales volume. Matt Brewing Co. currently produces a line of beers under the Kirkland brand for distribution at Costco stores in the Eastern United States.

After working at the Duke of Baden Brewery of the Black Forest region in Baden, Germany, Francis Xavier Matt I immigrated to the United States in 1880. Matt worked at the Charles Bierbauer Brewery as lead salesman and brewmaster in Utica for a few years before reorganizing it into The West End Brewing Company in 1888.

During Prohibition, the company stayed afloat by producing soft drinks under the label Utica Club. After the end of Prohibition, Utica Club became the name of the brewery's flagship beer, promoted during the 1950s and 1960s by two puppet characters, Schultz and Dooley, voiced by Jonathan Winters.

The brewery, later renamed Matt Brewing Company, became popular throughout the Northeast based on Utica Club and its current flagship beer, Saranac. The company is in its fourth generation of family ownership and is led by Nick Matt (chairman and CEO) and Fred Matt (president). The brewery is served by the New York, Susquehanna and Western Railway (NYS&W) from their line next to the brewery which runs down the middle of Schuyler Street. The NYS&W delivers covered hoppers carrying the grain products needed for brewing. Insulated boxcars carrying the finished product out of the brewery are also brought out daily by NYS&W. Gondolas carrying glass for recycling are also seen in the consist of NYS&W locals serving the brewery.

 On May 29, 2008, a fire broke out in the packaging section of the F.X. Matt Brewery. Brewing and kegging of Utica Club resumed the following week, but canning and bottling was temporarily disrupted. On June 30, 2008, the bottling operation returned at the brewery. However, as of June 23, 2008, canning operations have temporarily been moved to the High Falls Brewing Company (makers of Genesee beer) in Rochester, NY, until the damaged equipment can be replaced.

Since the fire, brewery officials have focused on a rebuilding effort that essentially enhances their brewing operations. As current brewery chairman Nick Matt told the Utica Observer Dispatch in May 2009:

"We have had an opportunity to upgrade equipment. We are going to end up with a canning facility that is more flexible, faster and more efficient. It will be a facility that is better than before. We lost 15,000 square feet (1,400 m2) of warehousing space, and now we are building 23,000 square feet (2,100 m2) of warehousing space. And as a result of changing and moving operations, we are going to be able to streamline some of our operations."

 Francis Xavier Matt earned his brewing expertise as a student of the Duke of Baden, and was considered a proficient brewer upon his arrival in the city of Utica in 1880. His grandson, F.X. Matt II, remarked that, under the duke's tutelage, F.X. Matt I gained brewing experience "as an art, not a science; as a way of life, not a way of making a living." Combining his talents with Charles Bierbauer, who was additionally skillful in old world brewing techniques, Matt nurtured a reputation in Utica's westside that resulted in his role as brewmaster, superintendent, and treasurer of a newly organized West End Brewing Company in 1888. F.X. Matt led the brewery until 1951.

Though F.X. Matt I stayed on to serve as brewery chairman until his death in 1958, his son Walter Matt began his tenure as president of the West End Brewery in 1951, serving in that role until 1980. While his father had seen the brewery through Prohibition and World War II, Walter took responsibility for modernizing brewing operations in the post-war era. Walter Matt was considered a talented manager with a keen sense of civic responsibility, assisting regional leaders to attract new businesses to the Utica area as the region entered its post industrial period.

F.X. Matt II, upon being named president of the West End Brewery in 1980, became the third generation to lead the brewery, and soon thereafter renamed the brewery the F.X. Matt Brewing Co. in recognition of his grandfather's contributions as brewery founder. F.X. Matt II made several notable contributions to the brewery of his own, keeping the brewery competitive throughout the 1980s and 1990s with the much larger national beer brands. The brewery not only kept up with national trends, but became a leader of the craft-brewing market with the introduction of the Saranac brand in 1985. F.X. Matt II, a college English major, brought a poetic flair to the brewery's marketing during his leadership tenure (he served as brewery chairman until his death in 2001). Upon the unveiling of the Matt's Premium Light Beer in 1982, Matt II exemplified his brewery's place in the pantheon of national brewers:

Look out Bud! Look out Miller!
New Matt's Light is a giant killer
With taste that's great and body surprising
Look out you guys--a new sun is arising.

We're not very big compared to you
But we love our beer and know how to brew--
A great light beer--with malt and hops
Shove over guys--your monopoly stops

Competition with larger brewers, within the context of staying afloat in a Rust Belt city such as Utica, was a continual theme for the Matt Brewery throughout the 1980s. For example, in 1985, F.X. Matt II sponsored an open letter to then Utica Mayor Louis LaPolla which criticised the mayor for not featuring Matt products at a fundraiser hosted by LaPolla. Matt II admitted that not seeing local beverage products at the event "was a real blow to our pride," arguing that such oversights eliminated "the thought that its in the community’s self interest to be a booster of those products which it makes itself.” Matt II had identified that the Matt Brewing Company was "in a war for [its] very survival," given that so many smaller breweries during that era were annexed or consolidated by larger brewing interests.

LaPolla and Matt II moved on to build a more positive relationship, and Matt Brewing Company continued to be a business anchor in the city, spurred particularly by the popularity of its Saranac line of beers among the growing market of microbrew or 'craft beer' enthusiasts. In order to maintain its market presence amidst the larger ongoing beer pricing war, F.X. Matt II developed a two-pronged strategy. First, Matt II initiated the new Saranac line of beers with the advice of notable brewmaster Joseph Owades (originator of the 'Light Beer' formula). Second, teaming with families members, including his brother Nick, Matt II purchased the brewery from a family trust, subsequenttly reconfiguring the breweries corporate strategy with the ultimate goal of augmenting the Saranac brand. The Saranac brand eventually gained the brewery new esteem in the 'microbrew' category of brewers, and a company that had seen sales of its beers plummet during the 1980s witnessed a doubling of sales during the early to mid-1990s.

Currently, the brewery is overseen by Nick Matt, chairman and CEO, with his nephew Fred Matt serving as president. The brewery continues to host, as it has for the past eleven years, Saranac Thursday Night, a weekly social event during the summer featuring beer, food, and live music, drawing thousands of people to Utica's Varick Street. As a result the surrounding confines of the brewery has been marketed as the city's "Brewery District," which has witnessed a renaissance of local night spots and the addition of restaurants and live music venues.

The brewery also offers paid tours during tourist season. A tour lasts for about one hour.



The pour produces a nice copper coloring, with a head that unfortunately fizzles away pretty quickly. At first, you can definitely smell the aroma of rich malts, with a nice, old-world appeal to it. The taste is a little bitter, but it does go down very easily, with a nice, balanced finish. I know that Saranac gets a bad rap in the industry. It has a reputation of being a "Supermarket Beer", but in the end, it does produce some well-crafted, balanced brews, that will and do appeal to the masses. But then again, isn't that the case with larger breweries like The Boston Beer Company? If you're looking for a good beer to share with your friends, maybe Saranac's Lake Effect Lager is for you.


6.5/10 - A Decent Brew

Saranac Lake Chocolate Lager - Matt Brewing Company - Utica, NY

Okay, so we continue with the Winter series from Saranac Lake out of Utica, NY. This time, we're working the sweet tooth, with a quick review of their Chocolate Lager. This one caught me off guard. Usually, when "Chocolate" is included on the label, you expect an Ale, maybe a Stout, but Saranac Lake sports a Lager with Chocolate overtones. Here's what the website had to say:


Saranac Chocolate Lager is a sinfully delicious deep amber lager made with certified organic cacao from Belize.  Our brewers looked far and wide for the highest quality cacao to create a smooth chocolaty taste that only comes from the most exclusive cacao plants.  We used the roasted seeds of these decadent plants and perfectly paired them with caramel malt and German Hallertau hops to create a malty chocolate sweet flavor. You'll love savoring this beer with your favorite holiday foods or on its own for a delicious treat!

Beer Style: Chocolate Bock
Malt Selections: Munich, Aromatic
Hop Selections: Hallertau
Color: Dark Amber
Mouthfeel / Body: Full, Sweet
Food Companions: Dark Chocolate, Truffles, Hearty & Full Holiday  Foods
Alcohol By Volume: 6.0%
Original Gravity: 15


As one of the few remaining great American regional breweries, the Matt Brewing Company has prospered at the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains in Central New York for over a century. Under the leadership of the third (Nick) and fourth (Fred) generations of the Matt Family, the Brewery has earned the reputation as one of the most respected specialty brewers in the country, producing a variety of distinctive, flavorful beers.

In 1885, young F.X. Matt I, a German-born immigrant, left a promising career at the famous Duke of Baden Brewery in the Black Forest region of Germany to travel to the United States with the determination and dream of owning his own brewery someday. After several years of brewing experience at the Bierbaur Brewery, F.X. Matt re-organized the faltering brewery to create The West End Brewing Company in 1888. Serving as both the star salesman and brewmaster, the brewery quickly became one of the largest and most successful of the 12 breweries operating in Utica at the time.

Today, Nick Matt (Chairman and CEO) and his nephew Fred (President and COO) continue this proud tradition with the celebrated Saranac family of beers – a beer brewed to the same exacting standards of quality F.X. Matt established more than a century ago.



This Chocolate Bock does present well, but sometimes that just isn't good enough. The coloring was a somewhat copper tone, instead of a darker "chocolate" coloring that you would expect. The head was pretty weak, quickly loosening up. As for the flavor, well you could definitley taste the chocolate overtones, but it doesn't exactly knock you down. Instead, it seemd a little average. the closest lager that I can compare it to is the Guinness Black Lager. That said, you could probably do better if you're looking for something dark and mysterious.


6.5/10 - Mysterious? I don't think so.

Smuttynose 2012 Big Beer Series schedule announced

(Portsmouth, NH) – Smuttynose Brewing just sent out a newsletter this morning updating fans on brewery news. Here’s the latest on the Big Beer Series…
Fresh from an amazingly smooth meeting, here is the 2012 Big Beer Series line-up:

January- Baltic Porter
March- Really Old Brown Dog
May- Wheat Wine Ale
June/July- Homunculus
September- Scotch Ale
October- Stout (possibly Imperial, possibly something new)
December- Gravitation

Astute readers will notice that two of these releases were carried over from the 2011 schedule. Due to increased demand for our core brands, we lost the ability to have more than one Big Beer in process at a time. This caused two significant delays in 2011′s series and a few small ones as well. We still wanted to brew Baltic Porter and Really Old Brown Dog, so we’ve simply bumped them onto 2012. Otherwise, we tried to make the new schedule with realistic ease-of-production in mind. On other words, we hate missing deadlines and as a result, we set deadlines that were more attainable than last year’s.

These changes won’t affect the Big Beer Series Subscription, as each subscription is good for nine releases, regardless of when you sign-up or how many we offer during the year. We hope that all holiday gift givers clicked on the above link because the Subscription is a great gift for the beer lover on your shopping list and it’ll keep giving all year long.

Smuttynose S’muttonator Double Bock returns

Cases and kegs of S’muttonator Double Bock began shipping on November 14 and will be available as part of the Big Beer Series Subscription or in Big Beer accounts in our 19 state distribution area.

Monastic breweries across Europe brewed beer to sustain their brother monks during fasts. The Paulaner monks of Munich, were particularly famous for brewing a stronger, darker lager beer especially for their 46-day Lenten fast. This beer, which came to be known as Salvator, was the world’s first double bock and probably led to some very inspired prayers. Many imitations quickly came to the market and thus a new beer style was born.

S’muttonator Double Bock displays the characteristically full malt flavor that can only come from using the best German specialty malts and a traditional decoction mashing technique. The extra effort also adds a lot of extra time to each batch, but that’s the only way to get the nuttiness, toffee notes and a characteristically smooth melanoidin character that are signatures of the style.

150 barrels were produced.

8 beers that are perfect for your thanksgiving weekend

Thanksgiving is a great time to enjoy some of the best beers of the fall season.

But, it can be hard to keep up with the latest trends in the brewing industry.

Garrett Oliver, author of Brewmaster’s Table, says the best style of beer for Thanksgiving is the French Farmhouse ale.

This fall, be the classy host or guest that brings some quality craft beers to the table, instead of the typical Budweiser or Miller High Life.

Will Stephens, co-founder of BeerMenus, the beer connoisseur's search engine, breaks down these nationally available brews for us.

Stephens recommends these eight unique beers to go with your delicious Thanksgiving meal.

Two Brothers Domaine DuPage - This is a great example of Oliver's recommend French Farmhouse ale. The herbal and earthy qualities of turkey stuffing pair perfectly with this Biere de Garde.

Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout - This jet black stout is sure to warm you up.  Dark roasted malts give this beer a roasted flavor.  At 10.6 alcohol, this is the strongest drink on the list.

Anchor Christmas Ale - It is often described as a liquid gingerbread cookie, this spiced Christmas ale is another perfect dessert beer.

Sierra Nevada Tumbler - It uses chocolate and smoked malts, this beer has a smooth malt character.

Ommegang Abbey Ale - This burgundian brew gives off a variety of aromas, including plum and cinnamon, and packs in flavors such as caramel, and toffee.

Dogfish Head Punkin - This Fall seasonal brewed with pumpkin meat, brown sugar, spices, and cinnamon. This beer and is a perfect match for post-turkey apple pies.

Sierra Nevada Big Foot - This ruby red barleywine clocks in at 9.6% alcohol and is sure to put you in the holiday spirit.

The Bruery Autumn Maple - It's brewed with yams, maple syrup, and molasses.  This beer comes in a big bottle that is sure to impress. 


Sound Brewery’s beers now in bottles

Sound Brewery is now bottling beer. The Poulsbo brewery hit the ground running last winter. You never would have guessed it was a new brewery. The very first beers I ever tasted from Sound Brewery were polished to perfection. Now you can enjoy that same deliciousness in bottles.

Once again, Sound Brewery seems to have very carefully thought this through. The bottles are beautiful. (Photos shamelessly lifted from the Sound Brewery Facebook page.) Every step this young brewery makes seems so very carefully placed. It is impressive. The beers available in bottles include: Koperen Ketel, Tripel Entendre, Dubbel Entendre, Humulo Nimbus and Monk’s Indiscretion. The 22 ounce bottles are available at the Sound Brewery tasting room, and at the retail outlets listed below.

Marina Market – Poulsbo
Europa Bottleshop – Poulsbo
Garguilles Red Apple – Bremerton
Poulsbo Red Apple
Malt&Vine – Redmond
99 Bottles (blog sponsor) – Federal Way
Beer Junction (blog sponsor)- West Seattle
Beer Authority – Lake City


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Northstar Imperial Porter Returns to Twisted Pine

Boulder, Colorado – November 21st 2011 – As winter settles in around Boulder, Colorado, fans of Twisted Pine Brewing Company are bristling with the excitement that surrounds the annual release of the brewery’s Northstar Imperial Porter.  The Baltic-style porter will make its 2011 debut on December 1st to a select few ticket holders for the vertical tasting which coincides yearly with the beer’s release.  The highly regarded ale will be available to the public at large beginning December 2nd. 

Northstar, which carries a 98 on, is black as a moonless night and gives off an aroma of toffee and dark fruit laced with licorice.  Once the porter hits the palate, the tongue dances to notes of chocolate-covered raisins which harmonize well with subtle traces of roasted nuts and molasses.  The beer is dry enough to punctuate the flavors with a crisp finish, while just silky enough to leave a stamp of the epic experience behind for a while.  An ABV of 9.1% provides a slight warming glow that grows up the chest as the ale drops in the glass.  Northstar was awarded a gold medal at the 2010 Colorado State Fair, a silver in the 2006 World Beer Cup, and a bronze in 2008’s State Fair.

A great beer for the cellar, Northstar ages gracefully, which has led to the increasing popularity and decreasing availability of tickets for the brewery’s fourth annual vertical tasting.  Starting with the 2004 vintage, participants will have the opportunity to sample nearly every version since, plus a few other porter varieties that the brewers have created for the occasion, all tastefully paired with small bites of food, cleverly crafted for accompaniment by the Twisted kitchen. 

In addition to state-wide availability in Colorado, this year’s Northstar will find its way to Texas, Florida, Missouri, New Mexico, Nebraska and Louisiana.  Visit for more information on Twisted Pine and Northstar Imperial Porter.

Saranac Lake Vanilla Stout - Matt Brewing Company - Utica, NY

We continue with our reviews of Saranac Lake's Winter Series, and their Vanilla Stout. Stouts are truly one of my favorites. There's just something about a good Stout on a cold winter's day. Here today in Northern New York, it's raining, but with the temperature getting ready to dip to around 16 degrees, there could something slicker by morning. Yep, on a night like tonight, a good warm Stout just plain warms the belly. Here's what the website had to say:


Few ingredients rival vanilla's ability to add richness and roundness to food.  Blended with a traditional blend of caramel and chocolate malts plus roasted barley, the result in Saranac Vanilla Stout will surpass your expectations.  Enjoy the brew on it's own or with a bite of dark chocolate for a real treat. 

Beer Style: Flavored Sweet Stout
Malt Selections: 2 Row, Chocolate Malt
Hop Selections: Willamette
Color: Black
Mouthfeel / Body: Full Body, Sweet
Food Companions: Dark Chocolate, Fruit Desserts
Alcohol By Volume: 4.8%
Original Gravity: 14


The Matt Brewing Company was founded in 1888 by German-born immigrant Francis Xavier Matt, or F.X. as he liked to be called. After Prohibition, F.X., then 74, was joined by his sons Walter and Frank. Walter Matt, who served as company president until 1980, is credited with increasing sales and many building renovations, including the model brewhouse and Tour Center.

The Matt Family of Brewers


Today, under the leadership of the third and fourth generations of the Matt family, the brewery still crafts beer to the exacting standards set forth over a century ago.

True to their German brewing heritage, the Matt Brewery Company has earned its reputation as one of the country's most respected brewers of specialty beers. In each bottle of Saranac, you'll find a commitment to quality and patient attention to detail that is the signature of the Matt Brewing Company.

Nick Matt
In 1989, Nick Matt joined the Brewery as president and has led the effort to re-focus the brewery's business. In 2008, Nick was announced Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of the brewery.  He has guided the development of the Saranac brand and successfully led the Brewery into new areas of growth and expansion, including successful line extensions and seasonals in the Saranac Family and new specialty products, like 1888 Tavern Root Beer. Before joining the family brewing business, Nick enjoyed a successful career as President and General Manager of Procter & Gamble's Vick's Health Care Division. He received his MBA from the Johnson School of Management at Cornell University. He also spent three years as a United States Naval Officer after obtaining a BA degree from Union College in 1967. Nick and his wife Susan have three children.

Fred Matt
With his uncle, Fred Matt has been successful in leading the Brewery into new areas of growth and the development of the Saranac brands. As President and Chief Operating Officer, Fred has been a key member of the management team since joining the Brewery in 1989. Instrumental in expanding the distributor network, Fred has successfully rebuilt the sales and marketing organization in order to support the explosive growth of the Saranac brand. In 2008, Fred was named President and Chief Operating Officer of the brewery.  Before joining the Brewery, Fred worked for several years as a Account Supervisor for Grey Advertising in New York City. He received his MBA from the Simon School of Business and his BA from Hobart College. Fred and his wife Carrie have three children.

F.X. Matt
brewing student of the Duke of Baden and grandfather of F.X. Matt II, left Germany for the United States in 1878, becoming an intensely patriotic citizen. Proud of his brewing abilities, "The Founder" was flamboyant, excitable and hard-working.

Walter Matt
company president from 1951 to 1980, had a "people sense," his son F.X. II said of his father, smoothing ruffled feathers F.X. Matt I left behind at the brewery. Dedicated to the Utica community, he worked behind the scenes to attract new industry after textile mills left in the wake of World War II.

F.X. Matt II
was president of the brewing company from 1980-1989 and Chairman from 1989 until his untimely passing in 2001. He was a graduate of Princeton University with a major in English, and had a knack for composing original limericks. In addition to managing the Brewery, FX II was a well-beloved local figure who devoted much of his energy to helping his community.



Some of you out there fear the Stout. You fear the darkness, the thickness and heft. But you definitely should not be living in fear, you should embrace it. There is nothing quite as refreshing as a well crafted, complex Stout. In the Vanilla Stout, that is precisely what you get. The pour is thick and inviting, as it produces a nice, thick head. The head does break down a quickly though, so don't expect it to hang around while you finish your conversation. The Stout does go down smoothly though, quickly laying to rest any thoughts that you may have that you're dealing with a bitter, difficult to drink beverage. The flavor is pure vanilla with a velvety finish. Lovely!


8.5/10 - Lovely

Allies Win the War! now available in stores

(San Francisco, CA) – In a surprising turn of events, rival superpowers have joined forces to bring a beer of might to the world. According to top-secret documents, recently unclassified, brewmasters for 21st Amendment in California and Ninkasi in Oregon began their brewing careers together many years ago. The two leaders reunited recently at a secret camp in the Sierras to devise their master plan. “We are more alike than we are different,” said 21st Amendment’s Shaun O’Sullivan. “We must unite in our common cause,” added Ninkasi’s Jamie Floyd. The resulting collaboration, an English-style Strong Ale brewed with California dates, an aggressive arsenal of all-Northwest hops and an unmistakable aroma of victory, deals a unified blow to unoriginal beers everywhere.

Behind the scenes, O’Sullivan and Floyd have been friends since they first started brewing together at Steelhead Brewery back in the 1990s. Even then, English-style strong ale was a “signature” beer for the two brewers and each won GABF medals for his own version of the style.

More than a decade later, after each had started their own breweries, the two friends-turned-rivals decided to reunite to make a collaboration brew that would bring together the best of their Strong Ale recipes with unexpected ingredients that hail from each brewer’s local area. 21st Amendment brought fresh dates from its home state of California, the only place in the western Hemisphere where dates are grown. Ninkasi, of Eugene, OR, brought a new blend of Northwest hops, called Falconer’s Flight. Falconer’s Flight is named in honor of the late Glen Hay Falconer, a Eugene brewer and good friend of Floyd’s. “He brought the hops, and I brought the dates,” says O’Sullivan. “Jamie has always been slightly bitter. I’m the sweet one.”

The two brewed a test batch at 21st Amendment’s San Francisco brewpub and then perfected the recipe at 21st Amendment’s partner brewery in Cold Spring, MN. The resulting profile is a rich, brandy-colored beer with complex malt flavors, nuanced by the sweetness of dates and aggressively hopped for a balanced bitterness and pleasant dry hop aroma.

Allies Win the War! is now available in four-pack cans and on draft at quality bars and stores in all 15 of 21st Amendment’s current distribution territories, including CA, OR, WA, AK, ID, MN, OH, MA, NY, NJ, DC, MD, PA, VA, and GA. Beer lovers in California, Oregon, Maryland, New York and Washington, DC will have a chance to meet the brewers at kick off events slated for November 4 – 17. For up-to-date availability, events and promotions, visit

About 21st Amendment’s Insurrection Series
Allies Win the War! is part of our Insurrection Series, a limited edition, once-in-a-while, four-pack release of a very special beer that rises up in revolt against common notions of what canned beer can be.

About 21st Amendment Brewery
Who the heck are these guys? Hey, we’re Nico and Shaun. We live for great beer. In 1920, there were thousands of breweries across America making unique, handcrafted beer. The passage of Prohibition wiped out this great culture. After thirteen years without beer, the states ratified the 21st Amendment, ending Prohibition in America. At the 21st Amendment Brewery, we celebrate the right to brew beer, the freedom to be innovative, and the obligation to have fun.

Lompoc Brewing releases ten holiday beers

(Portland, OR) – The brewers at Lompoc Brewing have been as busy as elves preparing for the holiday season; this year, the Portland brewery has created 10 different holiday beers. The Lompoc Holiday Beer Extravaganza will feature nine of these on Tuesday, Nov. 29 from 4 to 10 pm at the Lompoc Sidebar, located at 3901 N Williams Ave. The tenth, a Chanukah beer, will be released at its own party at Sidebar on December 14.

The 2011 Lompoc holiday seasonals include Blitzen Spiced Golden Ale, Cherry Christmas Sour Blend, Brewdolph Belgian Style Red, Holiday Cheer Robust Vanilla Porter, Jolly Bock German Style Bock, C-sons Greetings Imperial IPA, Bourbon Barrel Aged C-sons Greetings, Old Tavern Rat Barley Wine, Bourbon Barrel Aged Old Tavern Rat and 8 Malty Nights Chocolate Rye.

All beers except 8 Malty Nights will be on draft at Sidebar on November 29; most of the beers will also be available at the other Lompoc pubs: New Old Lompoc, Hedge House, Oaks Bottom and Fifth Quadrant. Two of the beers, C-sons Greetings and Bourbon Barrel Aged Old Tavern Rat, are also available in 22 ounce bottles.

Portland’s first and only Chanukah seasonal, 8 Malty Nights Chocolate Rye, will be released at its own party at Sidebar on December 14 from 4 to 10 pm. This will be followed by an event on December 17 at Green Dragon, 928 SE 9th Ave, titled “Chanukah vs. Christmas: The Battle Royale of Beers.” This event will pit five beers from Shmaltz Brewing (Jewbelation 15, Genesis 15:15, Hop Manna, Vertical Jewbelation and Geektoberfest) against five beers from Lompoc Brewing (8 Malty Nights, 2010 Franc’ly Brewdolph, Cherry Christmas, Old Tavern Rat Barley Wine and Bourbon Barrel Aged C-sons Greetings). There will also be an Extreme Dreidel Tournament.

Infinium™ 2011 debuts on shelves this week

(Boston, MA) - Infinium, the limited-edition, champagne-like collaboration brew between Samuel Adams and Germany’s Weihenstephan Brewery, hits shelves just in time for the 2011 holiday season.

The brewers have spent years perfecting this boundary-pushing new beer style that unites 1,000 years of combined knowledge and innovation between the two breweries. Initially launched in 2010, Infinium is the first completely new beer style created in more than 100 years to adhere to the rigorous standards of the German Reinheitsgebot purity law—which states that all beer must be brewed using only four ingredients: malt, hops, water and yeast.

The brewers are mixing things up with this year’s batch, offering beer lovers an unexpected element to the Infinium toasting experience.  Samuel Adams tapped mixologist Jill Schulster of New York City restaurant JoeDoe to create three Infinium cocktail recipes—the Mr. AdamsInto the Woods, and Winter Rush—each infused with seasonal ingredients that pair perfectly with Infinium’s effervescent character.

Unlike any other beer, Infinium is light and dry, yet complex with a sparkling effervescence. The beer pours out a deep golden color with fine bubbles, and its acidity creates a dry tartness on the palate that is balanced with a smooth malt body. The brewers enhanced this year’s beer by dry hopping with fresh Hallertau Mittelfrueh hops late in the brewing process, imparting a fresh yet delicate citrusy hop character. Infinium’s fruity, elegant aroma makes the brew an ideal mixer with seasonal flavors like apple cider.

“We’ve spent years perfecting the recipe for Infinium. Combining revered German brewing traditions with American innovation, we rewrote the beer world’s rules,” said Jim Koch, Samuel Adams founder and brewer. “This beer is unlike anything else we’ve brewed so we thought, ‘Why not take the experiment one step further and develop beer cocktails to play off the flavors and enhance the experience for our drinkers?’ We found that the quality ingredients we use in our beer translate well, and the cocktails actually showcase Infinium’s flavors in a new and unexpected way.”

This crisp, vivacious brew is certain to make a palate-pleasing holiday gift for food and beer connoisseurs, and its light, sparkling character makes Infinium the ideal beverage for a celebratory holiday toast. Available at select locations worldwide for a limited time, Infinium hits shelves in late November for a suggested retail price of $19.99 per bottle. It is packaged in 750mL cork-finished bottles and contains 10.3 percent alcohol by volume, twice the amount of an average beer. For additional information and to locate a retailer, visit

Port City Brewing Co. Brings Good Tidings This Holiday Season

Alexandria, Virginia (November 2011) - Bill Butcher, owner of Port City Brewing Company, located at 3950 Wheeler Avenue in Alexandria, VA is excited to announce the release of his special edition Tidings Ale just in time for the holiday season. Crafted by Head Brewer Jonathan Reeves, this strong Belgian style blond ale is made with local Maryland wildflower honey and Virginia wheat, and is gently spiced with coriander, cardamom, fresh ginger and grains of paradise. The limited production Tidings Ale is the second seasonal beer produced by Port City Brewing Company, and the first seasonal beer that will be available by the bottle. Tidings Ale is available in six-packs and on draft beginning December 1. The suggested retail price for the six pack is $11.99 and patrons can find it at the brewery’s Tasting Room, and on tap at select area restaurants and bars, as well as fine beer, wine and liquor retailers.

Celebrating its first holiday season in Alexandria, the 11,000 square-foot craft brewery is dedicated to bringing great quality, innovative, handmade craft beers to the DC and Mid Atlantic market. Port City produces world class quality craft beer, brewing four year-round beers along with a rotating seasonal selection. In addition to the Tidings Ale, the brewery is currently offering its complex and full bodied Monumental IPA, the crisp and refreshingly fruity Essential Pale Ale, as well as the Optimal Wit brewed in the Belgian wit bier tradition and the Porter, which shows flavors of roasted coffee and bittersweet dark chocolate. All beers are made with the world’s highest quality ingredients and are brewed to be complex, balanced and deliciously easy to drink.

Named by Washingtonian magazine as Washington, DC’s best brewery tour, Port City Brewing Company is located two miles from the King Street Metro at 3950 Wheeler Avenue Alexandria, VA 22304. For more information please call (703) 797-2739 or visit

Holy Brew Joins Forces With Lost Rhino Brewing Company

Ashburn, VA (November 21, 2011) - Holy Brew Brewing Company has formalized a working relationship and part ownership into the Lost Rhino Brewing Company, a new production brewery in Ashburn, VA to develop and brew new high end craft Belgian brands released under the Holy Brew label. The high caliber recipes will be developed in partnership with Matt Hagerman and Favio Garcia, the majority partners at Lost Rhino. Matt and Favio both have a strong brewing heritage with many years of experience in brewing and operations, which previously was spent at the Old Dominion Brewing Company, which was acquired by Budweiser. Holy Brew will operate as an independent unit within Lost Rhino, managed by the existing Holy Brew management team and will be distributed by Hop & Wine in Sterling, Virginia.

The new craft brews will be released under the Holy Brew label as Belgian style beers available on draft and in 750 ml. corked bottles. The specific recipes are currently in final development and will include a wide range of styles from session ales to strong robust Belgian beers.

“We are incredibly excited to be launching these high end Belgian brews in partnership with Holy Brew,” said Matt Hagerman, President of Lost Rhino Brewing Company. “Holy Brew has developed a loyal following and unique lifestyle brand that will be the perfect match for these exciting new beers. The Holy Brew fans will not be disappointed by these new top notch craft brews that will proudly wear the Holy Brew label.”

Initial launch of the new Holy Brew beers is planned for the first quarter of 2012 on location at the Lost Rhino brew house in Ashburn, Virginia at 21730 Red Rum Drive, # 142. Distribution through Hop & Wine distributors is expected to also commence in that same timeframe. Watch for further details about the special launch event.

Lost Rhino currently brews a variety of beers, including Rhino Chasers Pilsner, Face Plant IPA and New River Pale Ale, a favorite of Virginia Tech students and alumni since 1999 which has been reintroduced into the marketplace with the original formula developed by Kenny Lefkowitz.

About Holy Brew Brewing Company
Holy Brew Brewing Company was founded in 2008. Crafting brews with the input from Master Brewers at its contracts, creating products that have generated a loyal following throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. Known for their crisp clean taste and their mystical powers Holy Brew has made a positive impact on the craft market. For more information visit

About Lost Rhino Brewing Company
Lost Rhino Brewing Co. challenges the craft beer enthusiast to experience adventure and awesomeness in each of our beers. The brewery was born out of the fierce desire to keep the tradition of craft brewing alive in Northern Virginia. We were longtime brewers from Old Dominion and bought back the brew house and moved it to its new location in Ashburn, VA. It is here that we're brewing some of the most outstanding brews in the Washington, DC area. For more information visit

Brick Brewery brings North American Breweries craft brewed beers to Canada

WATERLOO, ON, CANADA (Nov. 21, 2011) - Brick Brewing Company announced today it will start importing and distributing select North American Brewery beers into Canada. Included within the mix is Magic Hat; craft brewed in Vermont, this quirky and mysterious brand is currently the 10th largest craft brand in the United States and 3rd largest in the Northeast USA.

"As Ontario's original craft brewer, we were determined to share Magic Hat with beer drinkers in Canada" said George Croft President and CEO of Brick Brewing Co. Limited.

A long-term arrangement between North American Breweries, the fifth largest craft brewer in the U.S. and Brick Brewing Company, the fifth largest brewer in Canada, will see many more popular out-of-the-ordinary, distinctively different easy-drinking craft brewed beers introduced into Canada over the coming years.

"Not unlike the recent growth we've observed with our own US craft brewed beers, we've also witnessed tremendous growth within the Canadian craft beer market" said Rich Lozyniak, CEO of North American Breweries "So naturally we're excited to give Canadians an opportunity to try our US craft beers" added Lozyniak.

Together, North American Breweries and Brick Brewing Company will significantly expand the choice of U.S. craft beers available to beer drinkers in Canada. For all of those people who have travelled to the States, sampled a great craft beer and wished they could get it back home in Canada: consider this the start of something great.

About Brick Brewing
Brick Brewing Co. Limited is Ontario's largest Canadian-owned and Canadian-based publicly held brewery. The Company is a regional brewer of award winning premium quality and value beers. The Company, founded in 1984, was the first craft brewery to start up in Ontario, and is credited with pioneering the present day craft brewing renaissance in Canada. Brick has complemented its Waterloo brand premium craft beers with other popular brands such as Laker, Red Baron, Red Cap and Formosa Springs Draft. Brick trades on the TSX under the symbol BRB. Visit us at

About North American Breweries, Inc.
Headquartered in Rochester, New York, North American Breweries, Inc. is a national platform for investments and growth in the beer and malt beverage industries. Formed in 2009, North American Breweries is one of the largest independently owned beer companies in the United States. NAB manufactures, imports, markets and sells its branded product portfolio through an independent network of wholesalers throughout the U.S. NAB's portfolio of brands includes: the Labatt brands; the Genesee brands; the Original Honey Brown Lager and Dundee Ales & Lagers; Seagram's Escapes; Magic Hat; Pyramid; and MacTarnahan's. NAB also performs contract brewing of beer and other alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages on behalf of other companies. Additionally, NAB is the U.S. distributor of Imperial from Costa Rica. NAB operates four breweries across the United States, including its flagship brewery, the Genesee Brewery, in Rochester, NY, which is one of the largest and longest continually-operating breweries in the United States.