Saturday, April 28, 2012

How to piss people off by selling 1.5% of your beer.


Here is a great BLOG entry from Adam Jackson that truly illustrates the madness that is involved with being a fan of the Craft Beer community. It’s one hell of a read, and I highly suggest you give it a look. What follows is the BLOG entry in its entirety:

The Drama

I took some time to respond. A lot of people encouraged me to jump in the conversation early on around my actions but it’s important to listen to the thoughts and opinions of many and come to a solid realization instead of going on the defensive. We’re better than just to react to rumors and unproven stories. I still think 24 hours for a response is pretty good compared to a lot of corporations dealing with crisis management.

There are 300 auctions on eBay for beer as I write this. On average, 2,500 beer sales occur on eBay each month. It’s not a huge number but it’s a big one. Buying beer on eBay is not something I have ever done or condone. I tell people to avoid it because I believe it inflates the value of beer and ruins the very personal craft connection between craft brewers and the men and women who buy their beer. I also believe that beer communities contribute to the same underlying hype around beer. The man who paid $900 dollars for beer was not random. He believes this is the value of that beer based upon reviews, discussions and groups of people in line for its release. The community is fantastic at connecting fans, giving feedback to brewers and helping the advocacy of craft beer which raises awareness and thus grows the market. For this, communities like Beer Advocate are hugely important but, there’s no denying that communities do more to hype eBay sales than those selling the beer on eBay. The seller puts a buy it now price in line with what people are trading for that beer and the buyer pays it because it’s clear everyone thinks highly of it. We are all to blame for this scenario.

I am easily obsessed.

It’s something I’ve been aware of since childhood. We moved a lot when I was a kid so I was in a new school every year. I never had any friends growing up and we never had a home that I spent more than 2 years in so, a lot of my hobbies center around the mindset of  ”nesting”. Most men are hunters and I am not. I don’t like to wrestle or conflict with others. In school, I’d get beat up and then try to make the bully my friend with gifts and favors. This tactic never worked but, to this day, it still resides within me. I “nest” into my homes and decorate and only have ever been in long-term relationships. I like a constant predictable lifestyle with little change. It’s nice when things stay the same and I’m able to nest.

My first post on BeerAdvocate was “You guys intimidate me.” I still feel that way. When a guy has some awesome collection of beers, has been to Dark Lord Day 5 times or can smell the liquorice in a beer and I cannot, I get a little depressed and go home an drink a lot of beer and setup more trades. I’m driven to find acceptance and, in this community, this need to be accepted drove me to do insane things.
I had a nice savings account at the end of last year, I was debt free and had some plans to go on a month long trip to India at the end of 2012 and was saving like crazy for that. Then, I saw this video on YouTube. I was in awe of it. I went on my first cellarable beer run in mid-December. I picked up Duvel and Chimay and mostly Belgian-Quads. On January 5th, I made my first post on BeerAdvocate and jumped right into the conversation.

A few days later, I was banned for reasons unrelated to what the rumors have said. I wasn’t banned for “being a d-bag”. I was banned for an illegitimate reason that, at the time, others agreed was unfair. I joined a Facebook beer group that a friend invited me to and I took a few weeks away from trading or talking about beer. Then, I went all-in again on a Facebook group. My communication style rubs people the wrong way. I’m well aware of this.

My tone is authoritative. I’ve taken courses to change my writing style to passive and the teachers have always said most people are passive and want the opposite but understood my reasoning. Either way, my responses to every thread on Facebook’s group and my constant buying of beer rubbed people the wrong way. Others have other reasons why they didn’t like me but I think it’s all personal choice. You can’t get along with everybody. I have some great friends still in the beer community but, the in public chatter would have you not believe that. Either way, I left that group. The reason? I was wasting my entire free time in there and it was affecting my daily activities. I was talking about beer more than drinking it. It was time for a change.

Shortly after joining RateBeer, something came up. I needed money fast and had depleted my savings. As of today, from December 20th to April 25th, I’ve spent $11,000 USD on my beer hobby. Gas for road trips, shelf beer buying, trades, shipping, packing materials, shelving and an A/C unit to keep my cellar cool. When life happened and it was time to actually take care of something, I was broke. I thought, a lot of these beers I bought off the shelf. Some were sent to me in trades..most of which I thought were fair trades $4$ and a couple of beers were actually bought from people via Paypal and I paid their markup just below eBay prices for those beers.

I don’t believe in the current state of eBay sales. The impossibly high Buy it Now prices or hidden Reserve prices with outrageous Shipping fees like $30 for one bottle to ship via UPS Ground. I chose to do things fairly. I posted 10 bottles on eBay mid-March. I set the starting price at 99 cents with no reserve and no buy it now with a flat rate of $15 shipping which was about $2 more than the most I’ve spent to send a single bottle of beer to California. I love beer so only sold bottles of beer that I already had tasted before. My gross sales were around $900. This was incredible and completely insane considering I started the bidding at under $10 for all 10 bottles. eBay is not as it would seem though. People do pay outrageous prices for beer but, what’s hidden are the fees.

eBay Listing Fee
Final Value Fee
Shipping Value Fee
Paypal Fee
Shipping Expenses due to miscalculation of my part
Packing Materials
Initial Investment (Price I paid for each bottle)

My net earnings were $250 on 10 bottles. At an average billable rate of $20, I also spent 5 hours in total setting up auctions, taking photos, fielding questions, packing and shipping bottles and then hassling buyers to pay. Deducting $100 for my time, the net was actually only $150. It’s hard to truly measure time expenses but it’s clear that eBay is NOT the right way to offload beer to pay bills and it’s also a royal pain in the ass. The $150 I acquired didn’t make a dent in my bills and I was left still with over 25 pending auctions for March. I asked a lot of people to wait until April for our trades which I didn’t want to do because then people wouldn’t like me. I tapped into my savings more to do trades for people that I had promised. Some still carried on into April.

Up until Monday, I was receiving 2 trade requests each day. Half of the people who requested to trade with me via BeerAdvocate, RateBeer, Facebook, Messages based on my YouTube videos of my cellar and via strangers texting and calling me. I’ve started getting weird voicemails from strangers asking me to send them things. I traded so much, I began feeling like I was a prisoner to my own hobby. Every day, boxes of beer arrived at my home and, every day, I visited the store to drop off more boxes.

All of April has been a blur. I come home, open a beer, start packing up beers and fielding questions about trades. I post on the forums a bit, go to tasting groups, buy tickets to beer events and hosted 3 people at my cabin who were just passing through. People in the beer community can stay with me for free and nothing in my cellar is off-limits.

Aside from my failure at eBay, I participated in tons of non-reciprocal beer trades and, everytime someone asked for what I wanted in return, I’d respond, “I want local and tasty. Love wilds and sours. Send what you want.” I never told someone “I’ll trade you a Heady Topper for your Kate the Great”. I got a lot of great beers in return but I never asked for great beers. I asked for $4$ trades and went broke doing it.

After 4 months in the beer world, my openness and transparency got the best of me but I think it’s a good thing. A lot of people laughed at my inability to cover up my actions of trading and what I was trading. I use my name and profile pic on every site and don’t hide what I buy or trade. My ebay profile I’ve had since 2003 so that name is not the one I use now but you can search Adamjackson on any site and find me. I like transparency. No one is catching me as a fraud just for their ability to use Google. I live transparently and don’t hide who I am to anyone. I wasn’t abused as a child but, if I was, I wouldn’t mind talking about it. What’s the point in hiding from people? Anonymity is wrong. I can’t change how people behave online but it does bother me that everyone on beer sites uses aliases and rarely has profile pics of themselves. People on Xbox live wonder why I use my real name. Why not? If I piss you off or screw up, you should be able to google me and write me an email. I believe in transparency and everyone that has publicly called me a fraud hides behind fake names.

Despite how people perceived me, those that traded with me (aside from 2 people who’s beers ended up on eBay) and those who stayed at my home and those who received beer from me and the people who invited me to their tastings know who I really am. The guy who got a 4-Pack of Heady Topper from me last time I was at hill Farmstead randomly because I heard he may not be able to get any on this trip to Vermont knows that I have been generous and open to everyone. It’s a shame the only support I’ve received has been in private via calls and emails because a lot of people will continue to trade with me and I’m happy to call them my friends.
This is the truth in everything. It’s the story of how a love of beer paired with a savings account and an obsessive personality and desire to be accepted completely changed my life with the outcome being I alienated my friends who don’t like craft beer and pissed the people off who do like craft beer. I’ll keep drinking craft beer, continue to cellar beer and buy beer and review it. Nothing will stop that because it’s a hobby that I truly enjoy. I’ve reached out to people like Shaun Hill with similar thoughts as above but with more personal correspondence. No one has to forgive me but everyone should know the truth.

Also, I didn’t get help from Shaun of Hill Farmstead and then sell a beer he gave me. I bought Damon on launch day in person and sold that bottle for 5 times what I thought I’d get for it before I even knew Shaun. I was just trying to recoup some of my costs and pay bills. I wasn’t trying to get rich or alienate anyone. Now that I know Shaun, that selling of his bottle has been a weight on my shoulders for the last month. That’s what really happened.

Moving on, there’s a bigger picture to all of this and I’d like to talk about it.
The Big Picture

There is no way to ignore the bigger picture and it’s one only rare mentioned by the beer community. Beer that changes hands for profit or trade is no different than that of the eBay Market. My hatred as a beer buyer for services like eBay is equivalent to my hatred of unfair trades or sales that don’t take place on eBay. They come in a few forms:

Trade requests from guys asking for whales or rare beers in exchange for a local and easy to get beer that’s popular at the moment. Men who trade Pliny, Heady or Hill Farmstead for “all the whales!” are crooks. $4$ or rare for rare is fine. Heady Topper is popular. I trade it a lot but I’ve never gotten some insanely amazing beer for one as a request. I have gotten great beers for Heady but the conversation always starts with “local and tasty” is what i want. When I trade a Vermont beer, i say, “I can get it easily and it’s local. No matter what you think of it, in return I want something that’s local and easy to get for you.” That’s how trades should work.

In person sales of beer. “I have some Cantillon I need to get rid of. Message me and we can meet in person.” Then, the person wants $50 a bottle. Remember, this is illegal. Selling beer is illegal but we have all done it. Trades are still an exchange of goods. Just because the sale doesn’t take place on eBay doesn’t mean it’s okay.
Cellar Cleaning Sales are the worst. I’ve been in on a few of these. I’ve always talked the person down to just over retail pricing and I always pay the shipping myself. Either way, every single person who has offered to sell 20+ beers to me, I hear them out and the pricing is 2-5X retail pricing aka eBay prices. This happens a lot and these forum posts are not scrutinized like eBay sales.

Muling. I’ve muled for people but never had someone mule for me. The best part about beer is camping out at a brewery, meeting great people and then buying beer and enjoying it at home or at a tasting with friends. It’s a great feeling. I know everyone can’t with kids and jobs and money but it is a lot of fun. Muling is bad because it decreases what’s on the shelf for others who did make the trip. The beer isn’t the reward but it sure is a nice finish line for a great beer-cation.

Shelf Hoarders. I’ve never bought EVERY beer on the shelf of something rare. I buy what I can drink which is one or two bottles or packs. if there are 2 bottles left, I only grab one. There’s always ONE person behind me that will be looking for the same bottle. To steal that from them is wrong and the shelf hoarders don’t get called out enough. Guys say, “bought the last case of Hopslam” and no one says, “did you really need a case? Why didn’t you just take half a case and leave it for someone else?” Nope, these shelf hoarders are cheered on from the side-lines with hoorahs and jealousy.

These are all examples of things I think are on par with eBay sales but not discouraged by the community. Offer you’re selling some Dark Lord on a forum and you get tons of messages. Post to the forum you put Dark lord on eBay with no reserve and a 99 cent start price with free shipping and people threaten to kick your ass. Neither of these are alright.

Of the 650 beers I bought since January 1st, I traded / gave away 150 of them, cellared 400 and sold 10 of them. As a percentage of my total beer purchases this year, I sold 1.5% of my beer. There are 300 auctions going at any time on eBay so it is a big market. I barely penetrated the top eBay sellers. In fact, my auctions were one-off and there are auctions going for beer 24/7 every single day of the year. Who are these people? I’ve messaged a few of them and they are among you. I know you don’t want to admit it. A lot of people blamed me for making the beer community look bad. I was a face to the eBay phenomenon but there are hundreds of people just like me doing eBay in a far more corrupt way. They don’t start their auctions at 99 cents. They start them at $100 or $900 and a guy comes along and buys beer at those prices. I let the market decide what my beers were worth. These guys set the market price with their auctions and pay their rent from these beer sales. This is wrong and, these salesmen are all around you. You trade with them, interact with them and send them kudos and extras in your trades. Some guys go to these events and buy the max bottles only to sell them online later. A man I spoke to on eBay bought 4 bottles of Lawson’s at $9 a piece and sold them for $100 a piece on eBay.
It’s very clear that there is outrage in this community about eBay. I think it’s misdirected outrage because no one is voicing the same anger for those trading Heady Topper for a King Henry or trying to sell a $15 Dark Lord Day ticket for $200 or “will trade for whales”. I would like to put forward a suggestion. We should out the guys who use eBay and bar them from the community. I will still get a paycheck every two weeks but these guys will suffer greater and should for the massive fraud they are committing by doing $200 Buy it Now prices on beers that someone else bought and traded to them or sold to them at cost and paying their bills with eBay sales of beer. I recently discovered someone I sent a beer to put my beer on eBay. I paid $15 + $12 in shipping and asked for “something local and tasty” and got a standard IPA from California. Then, my beer was on eBay for $75 on a 30 day auction as a buy it now only. In the next 30 days, someone will pay it. I don’t know his username because we did everything through text message but, when I find out, I’ll publish it in the comments.

Closing

I’m new to craft beer. I spent all of my free time and money over the last 4 months but I’m still new to it. I have never told anyone I’m an expert but, the fact that I’m so public about my life makes people think I’m arrogant. Those that know me know this isn’t true but there’s no way I can meet everyone and buy them all a beer. Those that read this are welcome to setup trades with me, stay at my cabin or ping me and we can chat. I’m not too hard to reach and consider this my very open and honest message to everyone in the community. I’m going to head home at 5, open a beer and review it. I love craft beer and will continue to be involved. I’ll still be lurking online and am open and receptive to everyone’s thoughts. Personal attacks, cursing and hate mail won’t be responded to. I don’t curse in conversation and won’t deal with it. if you comment, please do so in a civilized manner.

I would like to be friends with everyone. I realize more each day that is just not possible. This is the last time I’ll write on the subject. Have a great day! Thanks for reading.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Marine’s American Dream Boasts Beer Variety


NEW BERN -- Dustin Canestorp is on what he calls Stage 2 of his American Dream, and he’s not the only one enjoying the ride.

The Marine Major, who has nearly two decades of military service, has recently opened a new Beer Army storefront on Highway 70 in New Bern near Coastal Carolina Regional Airport. The store, which currently boasts 400 different beer choices, has the goal of offering 1,000 selections by the end of the year.

And don’t think the irony of a Marine opening a store called Beer Army is lost on Canestorp.

“I do catch it for that from a lot from the guys,” Canestorp said. “Beer Marines, well … Beer Army sounds better, and beerarmy.com was available, so that's what I took.”

The Marines aren’t without representation in the Beer Army. The store’s logo features a graphic created from a photo of Canestorp’s snarling Doberman – his Devil Dog, so to speak.

While he was deployed overseas, it was an Iraqi interpreter who triggered the idea in Canestorp’s head of the American Dream. That interpreter wanted to one day come to the U.S. to pursue his, and Canestorp realized that he hadn’t yet thought of what he’d do once his military career was over.

“When I did decide to pursue my American Dream, I decided I was going to dive head first into brewing,” Canestorp said.

But that’s the endgame.

Canestorp has been brewing at home since 2008, and he does have the goal to one day run a craft brewery in New Bern. He knew there was a lot of work that had to take place first.

Stage 1, he said, was building an interest (or seeing if there was one) in what would be his product.

The mastermind behind beer festivals in Greenville and New Bern – Jolly Skull Beer Fest and Brew Bern Beer Fest, respectively – Canestorp is now preparing for each festival’s third edition. His direct focus now, however, is the Beer Army Outpost’s grand opening, which is scheduled for the week of May 14-19.

The store, which is already open, allows patrons to pick from the wide variety of bottles (and even a few cans) or have a taste of one of the 11 beers on draught.
“It’s easily the best selection,” said Joe Carorette, a customer who was at the Beer Army Outpost last week. “I’ve never bought the same beer twice.”

Canestorp has plans to eventually transform his bottle armory into a micro-brewery.

“We first wanted to introduce the area to craft beer,” Canestorp said. “We really want to try some different things (with the beer we will brew), and we’re excited to make New Bern a place where people come for craft beer.”

As he waits to launch that third stage of his American Dream, Canestorp said he’d raise a glass and hopes people enjoy Stage 2 for a while.

Original article in it’s entirety can be found at http://www.wcti12.com/news/30948147/detail.html

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Charleston Craft Beer Week


The Charleston Restaurant Association and Charleston South Carolina area beer distributors are preparing for the first ever Charleston Craft Beer Week, which will take place April 22 - 29.

Patrick Collins, President of local beer distributor, Lee Distributors said, “craft beer is in high demand in Charleston, there will be something for everyone, from pub crawls to high end beer dinners.”

Charleston Craft Beer week kicks off with “Bark for Your Brew”, a dog friendly beer festival, which will take place at the Charleston Riverdog’s Stadium from 2pm until 5pm on Sunday, April 22. From Monday, April 23 through Saturday, April 28, events featuring craft beers will be held in dozens of restaurants and bars throughout the area. More than sixty events throughout the Charleston area will showcase the area’s vast selection of craft beers through beer tastings, beer dinners, film screenings, concerts and a Rare Beer Bar Crawl

Charleston Craft Beer Week concludes on Sunday, April 29 with The SweetWater Music Festival, an all-day craft beer and live music event featuring popular national and regional bands. The festival, hosted SweetWater Brewing Company, will take place at The Citadel’s Johnson Hagood Stadium from 11am until 8pm. The music lineup includes Rehab, Drivin’ N Cryin’, Eddie Bush, The Piedmont Boys, Homemade Wine and The Blue Dogs.  Just one week after their 8th annual SweetWater 420Festival in Atlanta, SweetWater Brewery representatives will be on site to host the event and serve up their lip-smackin’ lineup of brews.
Lee Distributors | Denise Boozer | dboozer@reyesholdings.com |

www.charlestoncraftbeerweek.com

Monday, April 23, 2012

Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout - The Brooklyn Brewing Company - Brooklyn, NY


Last Thursday, I made my way to my local brew shop, in search of something a little different. Do you ever get bored with the selections that have been stacking up in your cellar, and just crave something different? Well, that need for the beaten path to be shaken up has led me to Brooklyn’s Black Chocolate Stout. Usually, I’m a fan of Brooklyn. They manage to fuse old world tradition; artistry and an outstanding brew almost every time. The Black Chocolate Stout was one that I was truly looking forward to, and well…here we are.  Here’s what the website has to say:

THE BEER:

BROOKLYN BLACK CHOCOLATE STOUT

This is the famous Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout, our award-winning rendition of the Imperial Stout style, once made exclusively for Catherine the Great. We use three mashes to brew each batch of this beer, achieving a luscious deep dark chocolate flavor through a blend of specially roasted malts. We brew it every year for the winter season. It is delicious when newly bottled, but also ages beautifully for years.

SPEC SHEET

Style: Imperial Stout
Malts: American two-row pale malt, caramel malt, malted wheat and a blend of American roasted malts and barleys
Hops: Willamette and American Fuggle
Alcohol by Volume: 10.0%
IBUs: 51
Original Gravity: 21.7° Plato
Calories: 320
Food Pairings: Served in a snifter glass, Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout is excellent with chocolate desserts, cheesecake, fruit tarts, and ice cream. It is also a very good accompaniment to strong cheeses, such as Stilton.
Availability: October-March
Format: 15.5 gal kegs; 5.2-gal kegs; 24/12oz bottles; 4-packs

THE BREWERY:

Brooklyn Brewery makes beer. Good beer. Not only does it taste good and make your meal better but we like to think that since its founding in 1988, Brooklyn Brewery has brewed flavorful beers that enrich the life, tradition and culture of the communities it serves. Its award-winning roster of year-round, seasonal and specialty beers have gained the Brewery notoriety as one of the top craft beer producers in the world. While striving to brew the best beer possible (and make time for our growing families), The Brewery promotes the proliferation of good beer and good food whenever it can. Brooklyn beers are currently distributed in 25 states and 20 countries. Throughout 2011 The Brewery underwent an expansion that will double overall capacity in 2012 and quintuple by 2013. Brooklyn Brewery probably exports more beer than any other American craft brewery.

The leaders of Brooklyn Brewery have also led the industry in publishing.

Brewmaster Garrett Oliver, widely acknowledged as the world’s foremost scholar on beer, wrote The Brewmaster’s Table: Discovering The Pleasures of Real Beer with Real Food in 2003. The book was firmly established as the first and final word on beer and food pairings in addition to being an entertaining guide to the world’s best beers and breweries. In 2005, Co-Founders Steve Hindy and Tom Potter wrote Beer School. Beer School’s real world stories about starting a brewery from scratch continues to inspire entrepreneurs today. The Brewmaster's Table is reportedly selling for about a dollar more than Beer School on amazon.com and that does not bother Steve.  More recently, in 2011, Garrett acted as the editor-in-chief of the comprehensive Oxford Companion To Beer. Essentially a beer encyclopedia, the book documents everything from malt disease to beer clubs to the ancient process of bottle re-fermentation.

In addition to facilitating community meetings at its Tasting Room, brewery employees serve on not-for-profit boards, including the Prospect Park Alliance, the Open Space Alliance, Transportation Alternatives and the Brooklyn Historical Society. Each year the company supports many charitable and arts organizations including BAM, Brooklyn Museum and MoMA, and partners with food purveyors across the country to produce beer dinners and tasting events.

The Brewery is open to the public Monday-Thursday from 5-7pm for reservation-only Small Batch tours, Friday evening for Happy Hour, and Saturdays and Sundays for Tours and Tastings. For more mind-blowing Brooklyn Brewery fodder go to facebook.com/thebrooklynbrewery, follow @BrooklynBrewery on Twitter, and treat your eyes to some videos.

THE WEBISTE:


THE REVIEW:

Wow, it has been long time since I’ve tried a beer that truly knocked my socks off. I’m talking about feeling as if you were just smacked in the mouth with a bag full of marbles. I’m talking that kind of wow. In the Black Chocolate Stout, you get one incredibly well balanced brew. The pour is slick and thick, with the bitter aroma of a Stout creeping up towards you. There is barely a head to speak of, but perfect for fine Stout. The taste is bitter, as it should be, and you can definitely taste the higher ABV. It’s got that liquor taste to it. Definite hints of Chocolate, licorice and a sweet flowing flavor wrap this brew up nicely. What we have here is an awesome brew.

RATING:

10 /10 – Awesome

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Clarksville festival-goers enjoy 'beer 101'


CLARKSVILLE, TENN. — A small crowd gathered around the gates of Brewfest at 6 p.m. Friday, ready to try a sampling of more than 80 beers, all served in Clarksville.

Brewfest is a new event at the Rivers & Spires Festival. The idea was to showcase beers for those that love craft, connoisseur-type varieties, said Patrick Turner, a representative of Ajax Distributing Co., one of the event’s organizers.

“This is kind of a Beer 101 to people who are really trying to get into the craft and business,” he said. “There’s many different styles, and what we’re trying to do is explain to the consumer about the beer and how to taste beer to really learn how to romance the beers.”

Kent Taylor, a co-owner of Nashville-based Blackstone Brewery, gave a quick lesson to those who stopped by his tent. He offered four types of beer to please the palate and teach the drinker how to taste his or her brew.

“When you’re sampling beers, remember that you want to go from the lightest in flavor to the strongest in flavor,” he said. “Color is not necessarily an indicator.”

Taylor said there are three things you want to notice when drinking the beer.

“You notice what happens at the beginning – the aroma that you get – and what happens at the very front of your tongue,” he said. “The second is how it lays on your tongue, that’s the body or the mouth feel. The third thing is how it finishes. The bittering taste buds are on the very back of the tongue. So you have to swallow the beer in order to notice that. That’s how beer is judged in the competition.”

The event has a limited number of tickets, but some may still be available. They can be purchased in advance online at riversandspires.com/events/brewfest. Tickets are $20 each day, and guests, who will receive a commemorative beer mug, are required to show an ID at the gate. Brewfest will be open from 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday.

Original story can be found at http://www.theleafchronicle.com/article/20120420/NEWS01/304200022/-1/RSS04

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Beerita: the dumbest cocktail ever?


Saturday mornings are spent just taking it easy in my house. My wife and I slowly digest the news of the week, sharing ignorant stories here and there, and passing our morning being reminded of just how ridiculous people can be. One of the stories that peeked my interest this morning was a story arguing the merit of the Beerita (a frozen margarita with a bottle of beer stuck in it). Has anyone ever heard of this ridiculous concoction…because I haven’t? Anyway, I wanted to share the article with everyone here, so that you could decide for yourselves if it’s worth drinking. The original article was written by Leslie Brenner, Restaurant Critic and what follows is the article in its entirety.

Somehow a drink craze that's been sweeping the nation -- for years! -- has escaped my noticed until recently. It's the beerita -- a frozen margarita with a bottle of beer stuck upside down in it, so the beer dribbles into the margarita. The earliest mention of it I found in a quick web search is 2007, when it was appearing in Minnesota, Florida and Boston; who knows where and when it was actually created. Anyway, a colleague had one in Grapevine, in a restaurant called Esparza's. It's also been spotted at Katy Trail Ice House, Yucatan Taco Stand in Fort Worth, and Place at Perry's, the subject of my latest review. There I had a chance to sample it.

At first, I thought it sounded dumb, then I thought maybe it would be just the thing to fix up a margarita that's too sweet. At Place at Perry's, the beer in question is a Shiner Bock (more typically, a Mexican beer, usually a Corona, is used); the margarita's made with Azunia Reposado tequila. It wasn't bad, but the beer seemed to seep in more slowly than it should have, and it just tasted like a frozen margarita with a little beer in it. But I couldn't help but wonder: Do the bartenders wash those beer bottles before putting them in your drink? How many people had handled it? I put the question to Place at Perry's, whose publicist emailed me this: "Our bartenders wipe the bottles wtih a sanitzer solution prior to serving."

Really? That almost seems worse than the alternative.

OK. Where do you stand? Is a beerita an incredibly dumb idea, or one whose time has come?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Rogue Juniper Pale Ale – Rogue Ales – Newport, OR


Every time I see something different in my local shop from the Best in the West…The Rogue Brewery. I jump on it pretty quick. Here in Northern New York, although Rogue is available, it’s not available in abundance. So if you see it, you need to grab it. Not only does Rogue brew some fantastic beer, always infusing odd flavors and spices, but they also champion their considerable differences with Mega Breweries, as well as their general quirkiness. Anyway, reference the Juniper Pale Ale…I was really looking forward to something light and fresh, which I could enjoy while watching the Baseball game. I decided to go ahead and give the Juniper Pale Ale a shot. Here’s what the website has to say:




THE BEER:

Style: Pale Ale      
Food Pairing: Turkey, Hot & Spicy
ABV: 5.2

Tasting Notes:
A Pale ale, saffron in color with a smooth malt balance, floral aroma with a dry spicy finish from whole juniper berries.

11 Ingredients:
Malts: Maier Munich,Crystal, Triumph, C-15, Great Western 2-Row
Hops: Styrian Golding, Amarillo, Perle Speciality: Juniper Berries
Yeast & Water: Pacman Yeast,Free Range Coastal Water

Specs:
13º PLATO
34 IBU
77 AA
3.2º Lovibond

World Class Package:
Draft, 22oz Bottle, 12oz Six Pack

HISTORY: The Turkey was named the official bird of the Rogue Nation in August 2007. To commemorate the momentous occasion, Rogue Juniper Pale Ale was dedicated to “the turkey in each of us.” An axe and the dedication have been added to the serigraphed 22oz bottle and Juniper Pale Ale tap stickers.

The Pilgrims were ale drinkers and most likely enjoyed beer at the first Thanksgiving. Juniper Pale Ale, like all Rogue products preserves water by using more ingredients, contains no chemicals, additives or preservatives and uses Free Range Coastal Water.

AWARDS:

2011 World Beer Championships - Gold
2010 World Beer Championships—Gold
2010 Australian International Beer Awards—Bronze
2010 6 US Beer Tasting Championships—PNW Champ

THE BREWERY:

Construction began in June of 1988 in Ashland along a very scenic little stream called Lithia Creek. The 10 bbl brew system was set up in a basement with a 60 seat Pub above. The first brews were Amber and Gold. The Brewery and Pub opened in October 1988.

While the Brew Pub was located in a very pretty and scenic location, had a beautiful deck and enjoyed moderate success and the beer was great, Ashland was not to be Rogue's only adventure. Ashland was basically land locked, and frankly we were losing our butts in Ashland, trying to sell our hand-crafted ales. Rogue needed room to grow and grow we did. So Jack set off in search of greener pastures.

In early February of 1989, Jack wandered to Newport in search of the perfect place for another Rogue Pub. Legend has it that a terrible and unusual snow storm struck and Jack found himself stranded on the Historic Bay Front, with no way up the hill. He was forced to walk the streets until he met up with Mohave Niemi, founder of the famous Mo's Clam Chowder. She took him to the original Mo's restaurant, gave him a bowl of hot clam chowder and told him about her dream of living above a Bar and how she might just have the perfect spot for the next Rogue Brew Pub. The large building sported 3 full time apartments upstairs, a sweater shop, an Art Gallery and 1,100 sq. ft. of empty store front and an 800 sq. ft. garage that was currently being used to store antique cars. Mo offered the vacant space and the garage to Jack at a very generous price, under two stipulations: that a picture of Mo herself, naked in a bath tub, be forever displayed at the Pub (it's still there today just to the left of the Bar) and that Rogue "feed the fisherman", meaning that we give back to the local community. This building was known as the Front & Case Bldg.

In Feb of 1989, construction began on the Bay Front Brew Pub. Making this a step up in the world by going from a basement in Ashland to a garage in Newport. The front of the house also was being readied. The back bar was originally from the old Elk Tavern.

In May of 1989, John Maier joins Rogue after a stint with Alaska Brewing. John is a former Senior Technician with Hughes Aircraft Co. in El Segundo, CA from 1975 to 1986 and Seibel Institute graduate.

The Pub opened in May of 1989, with a small but enthusiastic customer base, made up of curious locals who dropped by to see what was going on and never left. Many joined in and helped with the construction and other projects as needed. The names of many of these early customers have been immortalized with brass plaques that grace the bar today. One of the most notable of these future customers was Chuck Linquist. He was retired, was a home brewer, and had an interest in microbrews. He was also bored and wanted to do something useful. We consider him one of our first employees. His handiwork is still visible at the Pub, the shelves that line the bar area, the light sconces, as well as the memorabilia on the shelf above Mo's picture, that Chuck brought back from Europe.

So begins the story of Rogue Ales, enjoy!

THE WEBISTE:


They have their own Pledge of Allegiance – to The Rogue Nation (Rogue Ales--Rogue Nation Pledge of Roguellegiance – it can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7vSNd1wjtA&feature=player_embedded


THE REVIEW:

If ever Rogue were to produce something for the masses, The Juniper Pale Ale would be it. At 5.2% ABV, this is one brew that can be enjoyed by many. My expectations were high though, as they always are whenever I crack open a Rogue Brew. The pour was clean but a little over-carbonated. There wasn’t much of a head produced at all. In fact, I was a little worried that perhaps the beer had gone bad, but nope, it was fine. As for the taste, it was clean and refreshing, which was great when watching the game in the middle of the afternoon, but there was a bitter aftertaste that I just couldn’t shake. I just wound up putting up with it as I tore through my sixer. Overall, The Juniper Pale Ale is a fine brew, with a complex makeup. There is a lot going on with the brew. The overpowering Juniper though steals the show, taking over everything else fighting for recognition in this brew. Not a bad table beer, but you have to be able to get pass the Juniper.

RATING:

6.5/10 – Not the Best

Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week: April 20-28


Pittsburgh, PA - The Pittsburgh Craft Beer Alliance is pleased to introduce the first annual Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week (PCBW), slated to run from April 20-28, 2012, here in the ‘Burgh.' 

Local breweries, distributors, bars, restaurants, and other passionate fans will be teaming up for numerous events during PCBW to spread the gospel of all things craft beer.

“Other cities across the country have had craft beer week celebrations for many years, but this is the first time we’re taking the plunge here in Pittsburgh,” said Andy Rich, Chairman of the Pittsburgh Craft Beer Alliance and head brewmaster at Penn Brewery.

“Our goal is to educate Pittsburghers about craft beer and help them appreciate the vibrant scene that’s right here in their own back yard. Among other events, PCBW will feature beer tastings, beer pairing dinners at local restaurants, and Meet the Brewers sessions. A special highlight will be the unveiling of three collaboration beers that will be made by mixed teams of brewers from various local craft breweries. Ghese will be served on draft at participating bars and restaurants during PCBW.

Collaboration Brews Include:

- Cheeky Yinzer: British IPA made at Penn Brewery
- Inaugural Ale: sour mash red ale made at Church Brew Works
- Home Opener: American Kölsch-style beer made at Rock Bottom Brewery

Event planning is underway, and a calendar of activities for the week is listed on PittsburghCraftBeerWeek.com. The list of events continues to grow as additional bars, restaurants, and breweries sign on to participate.

PCBW is being funded via paid sponsorships from local businesses involved with the craft beer industry. More information on sponsorships is also available on the PCBW website.

The Pittsburgh Craft Beer Alliance is a non-profit 501(c)(6) organization overseen by a board of brewery managers, restaurant managers, craft beer industry employees and others to help promote and raise awareness of Pittsburgh craft beer.

For more information about Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week, please contact Chris Momberger at 412-215-2611 or visit PittsburghCraftBeerWeek.com.
Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week | Chris Momberger | 412-215-2611 | www.pittsburghcraftbeerweek.com

Inaugural Missoula Craft Beer Week Set for May 1-5, 2012


The inaugural Missoula Craft Beer Week, presented by the Missoula Downtown Association, Growler Fills - Craft Beer Enthusiasm and Montana Beer Finder, is set to kick off on May 1, 2012. The week-long celebration of craft beer will include over 20 events spread over a dozen different venues. In the spirit of craft beer festivals taking places in larger cities around the country, Missoula Craft Beer Week honors the fact that Montana is home to 34 breweries and receives beer from another 28 craft breweries from around the United States.

“Montana is an excellent place to explore craft beer,” says Alan McCormick, beer blogger for Growler Fills and co-planner for the Craft Beer Week, “and Montanans continue to show and grow their appreciation for it. It makes sense for Missoula to host the first Craft Beer Week in the state, given its four vibrant breweries, two new brewpubs, and many other great places for craft beer.”

The week’s events start at the Rhino with a “Taster Tuesday” special that includes a free tasting glass. Other key events included a “Beer and Cheese” pairing at Caffe Dolce, the Montana debut of “The Love of Beer,” a documentary about women in the craft beer industry showing at the Wilma Theater, a homebrewing demonstration at Summer Sun Brew Supply, a Garden City Brewery Bus Tour, a Big Sky Beer Brunch at the Old Post, the chance to earn a unique Missoula badge via Untappd, a beer-themed social app, and the crowning event of the week – the 20th Annual Garden City Brewfest at Caras Park.

As a signature show of support, all Missoula’s breweries and brewpubs have brewed special “Anniversary” beers to recognize the 20th Annual Garden City Brewfest, which caps off Craft Beer Week on Saturday May 5.

“The Garden City Brewfest is one of the most popular events held at Caras Park,” says Linda McCarthy, Executive Director for Missoula Downtown Association. “We’re now the oldest continual brewfest in the state and we appreciate the support we receive from our vibrant community of craft beer enthusiasts and the area breweries. Without them, this wouldn’t be possible.”

A full list of events and supporters is available at http://www.missoulabeerweek.com. Contact Ryan Newhouse at (406) 546-5280 or ryan@missoulabeerweek.com for interview requests or for more information.

About Missoula Craft Beer Week

Launched in conjunction with the 20th Annual Garden City Brewfest, Missoula Craft Beer Week showcases craft beer served and/or made in Montana at businesses and venues throughout Missoula. The variety of events is designed to grow appreciation for the art, science and social nature of craft beer, the people who make it and the fans who enjoy it. Missoula Craft Beer Week is presented by the Missoula Downtown Association, Growler Fills- Craft Beer Enthusiasm and Montana Beer Finder. Over 20 events are scheduled at over a dozen locations in 2012.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

2nd Annual Portland Beer Week June 7-17


This is different, it’s unique, it’s Portland Beer Week 2012 Portland Beer Week is presented by: APEX, Columbia Distributing, Deschutes Brewery and Google Places

Portland Beer Week returns to the greatest beer city in the world this June 7 through June 17. After a successful first year, Portland Beer Week has brought together an even more exciting group of events for its second year including a new official beer, a dry-hopped India Red Lager created in collaboration with Deschutes Brewery and Hopworks Urban Brewery — available in both bottles and on draft through this 10-day beer week.

In addition to having more breweries than any other city in the world, Portland enjoys one of the most advanced beer cultures — and a thirst for fun and educational craft beer events. Portland Beer Week aims to celebrate and expand that culture, not just by promoting Portland brewers and breweries, but tap houses, restaurants, food, and underexplored beer styles. Craft beer culture is not just about the beer itself but about the people, food, camaraderie, and education that comes along with this art form.

Festivals are a key component to this week’s Portland Beer Week; the return of the popular Portland Fruit Beer Festival (June 9 & 10) — in its second year, newcomers like the Rye Beer Fest (June 8), and the return of one of Oregon’s most unique events, an Olympics-style Brewers Summer Games (June 16).

Much more than a series of festivals though, Portland Beer Week aims to educate as well as entertain with a series of beer-related seminars, exploring everything from how to taste and evaluate beer, to pairing food with beer, barrel-aging beer, sour beers and blending, and wild and farmhouse-style ales.

Because Portland beer isn’t just celebrated in Beeverana, Portland Beer Week has invited an astounding roster of out-of-town and out-of-state brewers to represent, with a series of state-themed Brewers Nights. Meet Mitch Steele, Brewmaster of Stone Brewing Co., Eric and Lauren Salazar of New Belgium Brewing, Dick Cantwell of Elysian Brewing, Brewers from California’s Beachwood BBQ, Almanac and Drake’s Brewing. Plus the relaunch and debut of 10 Barrel Brewing’s all-star lineup of brewers and reimagined beers with Jimmy Seifrit, Tonya Cornett and Shawn Kelso. That is just for starters, with more brewers joining the lineup over the next few months.

Portland Beer Week kicks off Thursday, June 7 at Spirit of 77 with the release of the 2012 reserve India Red Lager, a mini brewfest and a bracketed Brewers Pop-A-Shot Tourney. Two versions of the official reserve India Red Lager beer will be brewed, with Deschutes brewing the first batch meant for draft sales and Hopworks taking on the beer destined for bottles. Limited quantities of Portland Beer Week India Red Lager will be available at participating bars, breweries and restaurants of Portland Beer Week.

Just like the city itself, this is different, it’s unique, it’s Portland Beer Week!

Portland Beer Week is Presented by:

APEX was founded with the singular goal of bringing the best beers in the world together under one roof. The never ending quest to find the finest quality, most interesting beers available is what drives and defines APEX. Representing the last mile a beer travels before reaching its final destination, your mouth, APEX strives to honor, maintain and protect the quality and integrity of the amazing products found here. The attention to detail and passion for draft quality and beer presentation are hallmarks of the APEX experience and it is our pleasure to share them with you, the discerning beer lover. And we love bikes. www.apexbar.com

Columbia Distributing are proud distributors of beers, ciders and wines for more than 75 years. Named Distributor of the Year by Beverage World in 2011, Columbia’s passion and dedication to the craft brewing industry dates back to it’s infancy in the early 80s and we are proud to be a part of the second annual Portland Beer Week.

Deschutes Brewery: Located on the banks of the Deschutes River in beautiful Bend, Oregon, Deschutes Brewery is in the business of daring people to expect more from their beer. That’s why we started off back in 1988, selling Black Butte Porter at a time when others were sure a dark beer would never catch on. Our brewers love to buck convention, especially if it makes someone nervous. For us, however, the highest praise is a raised glass and a toast of “Bravely Done!” For more information about Deschutes Brewery and its courageously crafted beers, please visit www.DeschutesBrewery.com, on Facebook or @DeschutesBeer.

Google Places, the new local recommendation engine that connects people with the places they love.

www.pdxbeerweek.com - @pdxbeerweek – Facebook

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Bay Area Craft Beer Festival on April 21st on Martinez waterfront


At Martinez' fourth Bay Area Craft Beer Festival this weekend, there will be more than 30 microbreweries pouring specialty brews and limited edition fermentations.

"It's focusing more on West Coast breweries," said Jason Petros, beer expert and spokesman for the festival. "There are a couple from Colorado; a lot from the Bay Area."

Stephen Lopas, owner of Ale Industries in Concord, is one of the many local breweries that will be pouring Saturday. Lopas said they will have a special brew for the occasion called Spring Fling. It's brewed with roasted coffee beans, mixed with chocolate from Rachel Dunn Chocolates, located around the corner from the Concord brewery.

"It's unique," he says. "It has an ice mocha flavor."

Ale Industries will also have their popular Orange Kush and Rye'd Piper. Rye'd Piper is a hoppy red beer with a touch of rye malt to complement its roasty-chocolate flavors. Lopas said it is available at Whole Foods and some local liquor stores.

Lost Coast of Eureka will again be pouring, but Bay Area Territorial Manager Jack Van Stone said they don't plan on having a special edition beer, but promise to have their favorite IPA (Indian Pale Ale) and Tangerine brew.

"It was great last year," Van Stone said of the festival, and he expects this year to be better with the move to Waterfront Park and the predicted good weather. If the weather turns bad, there will be tent coverage.

When Main Street Martinez held its first beer festival in October 2010, Lopas, who is on the beer fest board said, "It had a pretty good turnout."

He said the second one in March 2011 had nearly triple the turnout.

"It was much more than we expected, we were running out of beer early."

The same thing happened with the third one, so for this year, there are a limited number of tickets.

Main Street Martinez executive director Leanne Peterson said the change is to assure all attending there will be enough beer as well as to cordon off enough room to allow people to move about. She says 2,000 tickets have been printed up and are on sale for $35. If the event doesn't sell out Friday, tickets will be sold at the door, but will cost $45.

The cost of the ticket includes admission, a commemorative glass, unlimited tasting and entertainment.

In addition to the regular ticket, festival producers will sell a $5 "designated driver" ticket to those who are 21 and over wishing to attend the event, but not drink. Those purchasing this ticket do not get a glass and their wristband is a different color.

Peterson said security will closely monitor the pouring and drinking.

Along with the various breweries, including E.J. Phair Brewing Company, Creek Monkey Tap House, Drake's Brewing and Sierra Nevada, there will be food and live entertainment.

Martinez' own Garageland Rodeo will be up first followed by PUSH, featuring Dan Ashley, local anchor for Channel 7 News.

BART is running a free shuttle bus looping from the North Concord BART station at Highway 4 and Port Chicago Highway to Best Western John Muir Inn, 445 Muir Station Road, to the Martinez Amtrak station across from the festival.

Peterson said there will be two buses running about 30 minutes apart. There will be a stop at Main Street and Alhambra Avenue and possibly another added. The shuttles will run until 7 p.m. Best Western John Muir Inn is providing discounts to those booking rooms and attending the festival.

If all goes well, Peterson said there are plans for an October Brew Crawl on Main Street. Pours will take place inside participating downtown businesses.

If you go

What: Bay Area Craft Beer Festival
When: Noon-4 p.m. Saturday, April 21
Where: Waterfront Park, Martinez
Cost: $35 pre-sale or $45 at the gate. Includes unlimited tasting and commemorative glass. Also available $5 designated driver tickets, no tasting or commemorative glass.

REPRINTED from the original article at http://www.contracostatimes.com/martinez/ci_20417181/bar-area-craft-beer-festival-april-21-martinez?source=rss

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Beer-Geek Speak: A glossary of beer terms


Aubrey Laurence of the Northwest Craft Beer Examiner put together a nice list of Beer-Geek terms for the uninitiated. What follows is his article in its entirety:

You read them in beer articles and you hear them in beer commercials, beer bars and breweries. Beer terminology can be confusing. And sometimes it’s like trying to interpret a geeky, esoteric language. So to help you better understand it all, here is a glossary of beer terms with no-nonsense definitions.

Adjunct: Any ingredient used in brewing other than the four main ingredients – malted barley, water, hops and yeast. There are many adjuncts used in brewing, but the popular ones include corn, rice, sugar, rye, oats, honey, herbs and spices. It should be noted that adjuncts are not necessarily bad. More importantly, you should ask why they are used, and if they’re used to enhance or diminish flavor. Many macro/industrial breweries, for example, use adjuncts such as corn and rice to lighten the flavor and the body of the beer, and they also use them because they are cheaper than malted barley. Some adjuncts are even used as a cheap way to increase sweetness and/or alcohol.

Alcohol By Weight (ABW) and Alcohol By Volume (ABV): After Prohibition in America, breweries wanted their beers to seem more temperate, so they used the alcohol-content-measurement system that provided the lowest number, which is ABW (due to the fact that alcohol is lighter than water). Today, most macro/industrial breweries still use ABW, whereas most craft breweries and most foreign breweries use ABV. For reference, 3.2 percent ABW is equal to about 4 percent ABV.

Ale: One of the two major classifications of beer. Ales are made with top-fermenting yeast and they are aged for shorter periods of time at warmer temperatures (relative to lagers).

Balance: To oversimplify, a balanced beer has a complementing amount of sweetness and bitterness. But balance can also mean other things. A beer with a harmonious blend of different flavors and aromas might be described as balanced, for example. And there can be many dimensions of balance beyond flavors and aromas, such as mouthfeel/texture and body (i.e., dry versus cloying, over or under carbonated, etc.). It should also be noted that hop bitterness isn’t the only element in beer that can be used to counteract malt sweetness. Sometimes sharply roasted notes and/or nips of alcohol can cleave off some of the sweetness, and thus balance out the beer.

Barrel: Unit of measurement in commercial brewing equal to just over 31 U.S. gallons. A “half-barrel,” which is 15.5 gallons, is the most common keg size. Even though there are many different keg sizes, when people refer to a “keg,” they’re usually referring to the 15.5-gallon size.

Barrel-Aged Beer (aka, Oak-Aged Beer): Beer that was stored in a new or used oak barrel for a period of time – anywhere from months to years. In the last decade or so, barrel aging became quite popular in America. At first, used whiskey/bourbon barrels were all the rage, and the most common styles to age in these barrels were imperial stouts and barley wines. Of course, they are still popular today. But in recent years, many breweries have started aging a variety of beers styles in other types of barrels that were previously used for other spirits or wines (red and white wines).

Body: A quality of beer – typically modified with “light,” “medium” or “heavy” – that is determined by the amount of proteins, carbonation, unfermented sugars and hop oils in the beer. Light-bodied beers may feel thin and watery in your mouth, whereas heavy-bodied beers may feel thick and chewy.

Cask Beer or Cask-Conditioned Beer (aka, Real Ale): Unfiltered and unpasteurized beer that undergoes its final fermentation in the serving vessel, where it is allowed to condition and carbonate naturally (instead of being force carbonated with carbon dioxide or nitrogen), just before serving. To pour the beer, a handpump, also known as a beer engine, is used to siphon the beer up from the cask to the glass. Cask simply means container. And a firkin is a traditional British cask that holds 10.8 U.S. gallons or 9 Imperial gallons. Cask beer was popularized in England and it’s gaining popularity in America.

Craft Brewery (formerly known as a Microbrewery): According to the Brewers Association, a craft brewery is small (producing less than 6 million barrels annually), independent (less than 25 percent of the brewery is owned or controlled by an alcoholic beverage industry member who is not themselves a craft brewery) and traditional (where the brewery brews all-malt beers or beers that use adjuncts to enhance rather than lighten flavor). Many people also use the term “craft” to describe artisanal, innovative and creative breweries that put quality and flavor ahead of quantity and appealing to the masses.

Dry Hopping: The practice of adding hops to fermenting beer, which imbues it with additional hop aromas but no additional bitterness.

Fermentation: To simplify, fermentation is a biochemical process whereby yeast consumes sugars (and propagates) and then produces alcohol, carbon dioxide and yeast esters.

Finish / Aftertaste: “Finish” typically refers to the flavors and aromas detected right after swallowing, whereas “aftertaste” typically refers to the flavors and aromas that linger during the moments after swallowing. Contrary to what multi-million-dollar ad campaigns want you to believe, aftertaste is not necessarily a bad thing.

Hoppy: A vague term used to describe a beer made with lots of hops. Depending on the types of hops used, how much are used and when they’re introduced into the boiling wort, hops can imbue beer with different levels of flavor, aroma and bitterness, and there is an infinite combination of those variables. “Hoppy” can sometimes equate to “bitter,” but some beers can be aromatically “hoppy” yet have low bitterness levels. Most “hoppy” beers contain flavor notes that can be described as floral, piney, citrusy and/or grassy.

Hop Back / Hopback: A hop-filled container between the brew kettle and the wort chiller that contains whole hops. When the hot wort passes through the hops, it takes on additional hop flavors and aromas.

Hybrid Beers: Styles of beer that are difficult to classify as either an ale or a lager. California common, made famous by Anchor Brewing’s Steam Beer, is one example of a hybrid style because it is brewed with lager yeast but it is fermented like an ale (i.e., at a warmer temperature). Kolsch is another example, which is a beer style that is brewed with ale yeast but aged like a lager (i.e., cooler and for longer periods of time).

Hydrometer: A measuring device used in brewing to calculate the specific gravity of wort and beer. Specific gravity is a measurement of density, relative to the density of water, and it can tell how much fermentation has taken place. It can also help to calculate the beer’s alcohol percentage.

International Bitterness Unit (IBU): This is the most popular unit of measurement to describe hop bitterness in beer. Rough IBU calculations are made using a complex formula that is based on variables such as amounts of hops used, percentage of alpha acids in the hops used, length of time the hops are boiled in the wort, and the wort volume. IBU numbers range from the single digits (which is the level you find in many mainstream light lagers) to more than 100 (which is what you might find in many double/imperial India pale ales). A side note to keep in mind: The maltier and stronger a beer is, the more it will obscure the perceived bitterness in the beer. In other words, a 50-IBU pale ale will seem to have more bitterness than a 50-IBU barley wine.

Lager: One of the two major classifications of beer. Lagers are made with bottom-fermenting yeast and they are aged for longer periods of time at cooler temperatures (relative to ales). Lager, as a verb, comes from the German word lagern, which means “to store.”

Lautering: Filtering or straining sweet wort from spent grain by using a “false bottom,” which can range from a metal screen to a manifold made of copper pipes with holes drilled in the bottom. Lautering is not the same as sparging, which is rinsing the sugars from the grain. These two processes are typically done together, which is why there is so much confusion between the two.

Lightstruck: A “skunky” off-flavor in beer caused by exposure to light, especially sunlight. Cans block out all light and brown bottles block out most light, but green and clear bottles offer little to no protection from light.

Mashing: Mixing and soaking malted and crushed grains, known as grist, in hot water – sometimes at varying temperatures – for specified amounts of time. During the mash, enzymes convert starches and complex carbohydrates to fermentable sugars.

Malt: Barley and other grains that have gone through the processes of germination, drying and, for some types, roasting to different degrees. Right before malt is used in brewing, the grains are crushed (i.e., slightly cracked, not pulverized) in a grain mill.

Malty: A vague term used to describe a malt-forward beer that might have flavors such as toast, nuts, caramel, cereal, toffee, chocolate, bread, etc. “Maltiness” does not necessarily equate to “sweetness.” In other words, a “sweet” beer might be described as malty, but a “malty” beer may or may not be sweet.

Mouthfeel (aka, Texture): How beer feels in your mouth. Texture qualities in beer are mainly produced by its level of carbonation (carbon dioxide or nitrogen) and body (proteins, unfermented sugars, hop oils, etc.). Beers can vary from thin and watery to thick and chewy, and carbonation levels can range from nonexistent to livelier than sparkling wine.

Pasteurized Beer: Beer that has been sterilized by heat. Pasteurization helps to extend shelf life, but many believe it robs the beer of some of its flavor. Most macro/industrial beers are pasteurized whereas most craft beers are unpasteurized. It’s best to keep unpasteurized beer cold, but it can be left at room temperature for short periods of time. Hot temperatures (i.e., the trunk of your car on a hot day), on the other hand, can really impact the beer in a negative way.

Session Beer: An easy-drinking beer that you can drink a lot of in one “session” without becoming too bloated or drunk. Session beers, which may also be described as sessionable beers, typically have low levels of alcohol, sweetness and bitterness.

Sparging: Rinsing the grains with hot water to extract as much of the remaining sugars as possible after mashing. Sparging is typically done in a lauter tun, though it can also be done in a mash tun. (See “Lautering” above.)

Wort: Unfermented beer. This is the sugary liquid derived from the mash. After the yeast is pitched, fermentation begins.

Zymurgy: The science of fermentation.