Friday, August 31, 2012

Denver Rare Beer Tasting IV Announces Participating Breweries

(Denver, CO) – Organizers of the Denver Rare Beer Tasting IV, which supports the mission of the Pints for Prostates campaign, have announced the list of 33 breweries for the sold out Oct. 12 event.

“The Denver Rare Beer Tasting is beer passion in its purest form. Brewers bring true works of art to this event and beer fans get the chance for an afternoon to remember of tasting rare beers,” said Daniel Bradford, publisher of All About Beer Magazine, which presents the event. “This event is a major highlight for beer lovers and brewers who are in Denver for the Great American Beer Festival.”

The Denver Rare Beer Tasting IV will feature 33 rare and exotic brews. The list of confirmed breweries includes: Alaskan Brewing, Juneau, Alaska; Allagash Brewing, Portland, Maine; Avery Brewing, Boulder, Colo.; Bear Republic Brewing, Healdsburg, Calif.; Big Sky Brewing, Missoula, Mont.; Boston Beer, Boston, Mass.; Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Milton, Del.; Elevation Beer, Poncha Springs, Colo.; Elysian Brewing, Seattle, Wash.; Epic Brewing, Salt Lake City, Utah;  Firestone Walker Brewing, Paso Robles, Calif.; Founders Brewing, Grand Rapids, Mich.; Full Sail Brewing, Hood River, Ore.; Great Divide Brewing, Denver, Colo.; Jester King Craft Brewery, Austin, Texas; Laughing Dog Brewing, Ponderay, Idaho;   Laurelwood Brewing, Portland, Ore.; Left Hand Brewery, Longmont, Colo.; The Lost Abbey, San Marcos, Calif.; New Belgium Brewing, Fort Collins, Colo.; Odell Brewing, Fort Collins, Colo.; Perennial Artisan Ales, St. Louis, Mo.; Portsmouth Brewing, Portsmouth, N.H.; Rogue Ales, Newport, Ore.; Sierra Nevada Brewing, Chico, Calif.;   Short’s Brewing, Bellaire, Mich.; Smuttynose Brewing, Portsmouth, N.H.; Stone Brewing, Escondido, Calif.; Stoudt’s Brewing, Adamstown, Pa.; Surly Brewing, Minneapolis, Minn.; Tröegs Brewing, Hershey, Pa,.; Uinta Brewing, Salt Lake City, Utah; and Wynkoop Brewing, Denver, Colo.
“We are really proud of the combined brewing talent that will be represented at the Denver Rare Beer Tasting IV. The breweries are the heart and soul of America’s craft beer movement and each will bring a rare, limited release brew to the Denver Rare Beer Tasting,” said Rick Lyke, a prostate cancer survivor, drinks journalist and founder of the Pints for Prostates campaign. “The event has a well-deserved reputation and the brewers respect it by pouring incredible, exotic brews. This is a special day for true beer fanatics.”

All of the tickets for the Denver Rare Beer Tasting IV have been snapped up prior to the announcement of this brewery list. The beer list for the afternoon is being finalized and will be announced shortly. The event takes place at Wynkoop Brewing on 18th Street in Denver on Oct. 12 from 1-4 p.m., during a relatively quiet period while the Brewers Association Great American Beer Festival is taking place in the city. Only 500 tickets were sold for the event.

About All About Beer Magazine

Now in its 33rd year, All About Beer Magazine has been the essential source for the evolving beer culture. Winner of numerous awards and recognitions, All About Beer Magazine publishes the best on beer — its history and culture, beer travel, entertaining, brewing and collecting — six times a year with one additional bonus issue annually. The magazine promotes the positive attributes of the growing beer culture by hosting the World Beer Festivals where guests have the opportunity to taste samples from a wide range of beers and to discuss the beer with brewers and knowledgeable servers. For more information, please visit, follow @allaboutbeer on Twitter and like the magazine on Facebook at

About Pints for Prostates

Pints for Prostates is a 501(c)3 a campaign that reaches men through the universal language of beer to encourage them to take charge of their health. The group was founded by prostate cancer survivor and beer writer Rick Lyke in 2008. The grassroots effort raises awareness among men of the importance of regular health screenings and PSA testing by making appearances at beer festivals, social networking and pro bono advertising. More information is available at Pints for Prostates also has a presence on Facebook and Twitter (@pints4prostates).

Thursday, August 30, 2012

8-Ball Stout – Lost Coast Brewery – Eureka, CA

When I first veered off of the typical Mega-Brewery route, it was the Stout that captured my imagination. At first, it was Guinness, then it was Murphy, and finally, it was any and all Stouts that promised dark, rich brews that would linger in my imagination, long after the night had ended. Today, I’m checking out the 8-Ball stout. This one caught my eye just the other day in my local shop. Quick side bar here, I never say enough about my local shop.

Is it some local folk hero who peddles away dreams in a bottle? Nope! Is it some big, huge beer distribution version of Costco? Nope! What it is though is my local Class Six. For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, well here’s the deal. Every Military installation has a Class Six. It’s a store that sells nothing but beer and liquor. Now, most times, they’re selling your run-of-the-mil brews, but here at Fort Drum, NY, the Manager (who will remain nameless) has chosen to seek out the rarest of brews, and the most popular Craft Beers from the farthest regions of the planet. Score one for me. So here’s to our troops all around the world. You guys are carrying the ball for the rest of us. Anyway, let’s get to the Brew. Tonight we’re checking out the 8-Ball Stout…here’s what the web had to say:


ABV 6.2%

Not for the faint hearted! Our stout rewards the palate with robust flavor of roasted malts (malts are roasted like coffee beans) and heavy hops. A creamy smooth surprise.


The Lost Coast Brewery
The Lost Coast Brewery and Café began with a common dream.  In 1986 Barbara Groom, a pharmacist, and Wendy Pound, a family counselor, wondered what it would require to start their own brewpub.  After years of experimental home brewing, planning and studying, which included visiting scores of pubs in England & Wales, Barbara and Wendy were ready to transform their dream into a reality.

With the 1989 purchase of the Pythian Castle, a 100-year-old building in Eureka, California, the café was ready to open.  The building, a restored wood frame structure constructed in 1892, was purchased from the original owners, The Fraternal Order of the Knights of Pythias.   After spending the winter and spring engaged in extensive remodeling, the Lost Coast Brewery and Café became a living dream in July of 1990.

The cool maritime climate of the Humboldt Bay region has proved to be very conducive to brewing quality ales.  The year round average temperature of 55º Fahrenheit is ideal for top-fermenting ale yeast.  While embracing the rich tradition of English-style ales, Master Brewer Barbara Groom has added a distinctive West Coast flavor to her ales by brewing with Western Plains barley and wheat and the exceptionally clean water of Humboldt County.

Since its humble beginning in 1990, the brewery has outgrown the original facilities in the Pythian Castle and moved production to a larger site down the street. After a record breaking year in 2005, producing over 24,000 barrels, Lost Coast Brewery had expectations of breaking the 30,000-barrel mark. In 2009, it broke that record producing over 50,000 barrels making Lost Coast Brewery the 33rd largest brewery in the United States. Lost Coast Brewery distributes its fine ales in 22 states, in Puerto Rico, and in three Canadian Provinces! Lost Coast Brewery has plans to move to a new location where it can barrel to greater heights!



The Stout! When you go out with your friends, and everyone orders a couple of Coronas…that’s when you order a Stout! The whole table stares at you, your closest friends are thinking that they should have ordered one, and the waitress is smiling as she scribbles her number at the bottom of the bill. Okay, so I’m exaggerating, but that is what you were thinking though, right? People just love a good, strong stout. It shows that you care about good beer. Even in a world that is falling all over themselves to populate the shelves with all kinds of IPA’s, the stout is still the king when it comes to classy, excellent brew.

The 8-Ball does not disappoint. The pour is liquid gold. The head is strong and thick, but not over powering. The aroma is thick with malt and bitterness. The first sip is definitely one to savor. It’s not as thick and dominating as a Guinness, or as strong as Murphy’s, but it is an excellent Stout that is full of flavor and class. I would recommend it for those of you who are new to stouts. It will not let you down.


8/10 – Will not let you down

Misery Bay IPA – The Erie Brewing Company – Erie, PA

In my quest to try just about every Craft Beer out there, every once in awhile, I come across something that I’ve never heard of. Case in point with Misery Bay IPA. If I told that I had just been passing it up all this time, then I would be lying. It must be new to my shops shelves. The only other explanation is that the labeling is so non-descript, that it just never caught my attention before…which is entirely possible. I do like what the Erie Brewing Company has been doing though. They appear to have truly harnessed what their local history has to offer, and I can appreciate that. Let’s see if their IPA stands out amongst a crowded IPA grouping. Here’s what the web had to say:


Flavor Profile

India Pale Ale: Light to medium maltiness with an explosive blast of hop flavor. Light Amber.

Alcohol by Volume: 6.5%   
Degree’s Plato: 15.7   
Hop Bitterness IBU’s: 75
Availability: Year Round

The view from Oliver Perry Monument across Lake Erie’s historic Misery Bay provides a constant reminder of the hardships endured during the Battle of Lake Erie. Misery Bay IPA is brewed as a tribute to Misery Bay and Graveyard Pond, final resting place for many brave sailors and soldiers. Misery Bay IPA offers a complex malt profile loaded with American hops at 75 IBU’s, and finishes at 6.5 % alcohol by volume.

Food Pairing

Cheese: Peppery cheeses (Montery Jack, Pepper Jack)

Entrée: Poultry, shellfish, sausages; Japanese, German, Thai, Vietnamese cuisine (spicy pork, poultry, fish)

Dessert: Apple Pie




IPAs are everywhere today. I’m just waiting to walk into my shop and see a display for Budweiser IPA (that’s when I will most likely quit drinking). Anyway, back to Misery Bay. Surprise surprise…it wasn’t miserable. The pour was clean, the head tight, but without much staying power. The taste…well is full of hops, and flavor. The only problem that I had with this brew was that it just wasn’t very memorable. It was one hell of a boring IPA. There just didn’t seem to be much effort put into it. You will forget it as fast you sip it. I already have…misery who?


6/10 – Forgetful

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Two Beers Brings Back Fresh Hop, Followed by Heart of Darkness and Pumpkin Spice

(Seattle, WA) – As the most highly anticipated beer on the growing brewery’s impressive tap list, Two Beers Brewing Co. is excited to announce the early release of its 2012 Fresh Hop.

Hop-enthusiasts can enjoy their first sip of this long-awaited beer beginning August 31 at the Two Beers Brewing tasting room – the earliest release for this beer yet – followed by its release in bars, restaurants and retail establishments throughout the Pacific Northwest beginning September 3. Adding to the excitement, Fresh Hop will soon after be accompanied by Two Beers Brewing’s Heart of Darkness Imperial CDA and Pumpkin Spice Ale – now both available in 22-ounce bottles.

“We look forward to this time of the year at the brewery and the flavorful beers that come with it,” said Joel VandenBrink, Two Beers Brewing founder and head brewer. “Plus, we’re excited to add Pumpkin Spice to our lineup of 22-ounce bottles, meaning more opportunity for our fans to enjoy the delicious flavors of fall.”

First brewed in 2009, Fresh Hop enters its fourth season on the brewery’s fall lineup. This Northwest-inspired brew’s strong citrus aroma – featuring hints of grapefruit and passion fruit – can be attributed to the freshly picked, Yakima Valley-grown Centennial hops used to create it. Copper in color with deep caramel malt tones, Fresh Hop 2012 settles in at 6.2 percent ABV resembling an aggressively dry-hopped mid-range IPA, but packing the punch only fresh hops can deliver. In addition to Centennial hops, this beer features locally grown Apollo, Cascade, Columbus, Super Galena, and Warrior hops, helping this popular beer achieve its bright and delightfully bitter flavor.

“This beer is a true demonstration of team work and our love for craft beer,” added VandenBrink. “Each year, we wait with anticipation for the call that the hops are ready. The moment we receive it, we drive to Yakima to pick them ourselves and that same day, we’re back at the brewery with staff and loyal fans handpicking the hops off the vines. There’s nothing else like it.”

“Two Beers Brewing does an amazing job capturing the flavor of the season with its Fresh Hop, which was voted top Washington fresh hop at our annual Fresh Hop Throwdown last year,” said Ellen Kelly and Rick Weersing, owners of The Noble Fir in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood, known for its outstanding craft beer selection. “It’s a true tribute to local beer and Washington-grown hops, and we couldn’t be more excited for its return.”

Adding to the excitement, another of the brewery’s popular fall seasonals – Pumpkin Spice Ale – will be available in 22-ounce bottles for the first time in the beer’s four-year history. Malt forward with a nutmeg and clove aroma, drinkers of this fall-focused brew will enjoy cinnamon lingering on the tongue, with allspice rounding out the back end of the palate. First released in the fall of 2009, this perfectly spiced, deep copper colored ale – brewed with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and allspice – makes its return in 2012 on September 7.

Also joining the Two Beer Brewing tap list in September is the brewery’s Heart of Darkness Imperial Cascadian Dark Ale (CDA). Coming in 67 IBUs and a 8.4 percent ABV, this beer was first brewed as a limited release in 2011 and quickly became a popular pick, both on tap and in a bottle. An imperial version of the emerging “Black IPA” style, the Heart of Darkness Imperial CDA mixes dark roasted specialty malts with highly citrus and floral hops, and is then dry-hopped with Columbus hops for a smooth finish. Featuring flavors of molasses, dark cherry, oak and chocolate, this noteworthy beer will be available in 22-ounce bottles at select retailers and on tap at The Woods tasting room beginning October 1.

Two Beers Brewing will continue to distribute its five year-round offerings this fall, as well as a host of packaged products. In addition to Fresh Hop 2011, Heart of Darkness Imperial CDA and Pumpkin Spice Ale, craft beer enthusiasts can pick up Persnickety Pale Ale and Evolutionary IPA in 22-ounce bottles. Also available is Two Beers Brewing’s popular line of 12-ounce aluminum cans – sold in six-packs at select retailers including Whole Foods and Central Market – featuring Evolutionary IPA, Immersion Amber, Panorama Wheat, Persnickety Pale Ale, Trailhead ISA and SoDo Brown.

Offering twelve beers – including five year-round, seven seasonal, and a host of intricate infusions and limited releases – Two Beers Brewing also offers pints, growlers and kegs-to-go in its 4,800-square-foot SoDo brewery and tasting room, dubbed “The Woods.” Packaged products can be found throughout Washington, Oregon and Alaska, in addition to being available on tap in more than 500 restaurants and bars in Washington and Idaho. For more information, be sure to follow Two Beers Brewing on Facebook and Twitter, or visit

Media interested in additional information, photos or tasting notes are encouraged to contact Caitlin Braam at Retailers interested in learning more about Two Beers Brewing’s line of cans and bottles should send inquires and requests to

About Two Beers Brewing Co.

Two Beers Brewing Co. – makers of Evolutionary IPA and a host of Northwest-inspired beers – began operations in a small Seattle basement in 2007. Today, Two Beers Brewing produces twelve unique beers including five year-round, seven seasonals and a host of intricate infusions in its 4,800-square-foot SoDo brewery. Two Beers Brewing can be found in Seattle-area bars and restaurants, with tastings kegs and growler fill-ups available at their tasting room located at 4700 Ohio Ave. S. (Unit A) in SoDo, open weekly Tuesday – Friday from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturdays from 1 – 6 p.m. Select brews can also be found in 22-ounce bottles and 12-ounce cans through the tasting room, as well as local retailers in Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Idaho. With a strong belief in supporting the local economy, Two Beers Brewing takes pride in using Washington ingredients to create all of its handcrafted beers. For more information, visit

Monday, August 27, 2012

Pints for Prostates is still going strong

It’s been awhile, but once again, I’m here to talk to you about Pints for Prostates…a campaign that uses our favorite beverage to get the word out about this all too overlooked health concern. As you’ll notice, I’ve included a link on the right of the Blog so that you can learn more about Pints for Prostates. This one is important Gentlemen so check it out…and Ladies, please feel free to pass the info along to your significant others. Here’s a little more about them:

About Pints for Prostates

Pints for Prostates is a grassroots campaign that uses the universal language of beer to reach men with an important health message. Founded by prostate cancer survivor Rick Lyke in 2008, the campaign raises awareness among men about the need for regular health screenings and PSA testing by making appearances at beer festivals, social networking and pro bono advertising.

Pints for Prostates has registered as a 501(c)3 charity and 100% of all funds raised by the group go to fighting prostate cancer and assisting men with the disease. Us TOO International Prostate Cancer Education and Support Network, a 501(c)3 charity that works to support, educate and advocate for men with prostate cancer and their families, is a recipient of Pints for Prostates financial support.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Barley Brothers Traveling Beer Show celebrates fourth year Labor Day weekend at new venue

MERIDIAN, Idaho (Aug. 24, 2012) -- Treasure Valley beer geeks will be interested to learn about two noteworthy changes to the fourth annual Barley Brothers Traveling Beer Show next weekend: The new venue, Julius M. Kleiner Memorial Park in Meridian, boasts better parking and bathrooms than the previous location, and this year event organizers are kicking it off with a private, over-the-top VIP beer dinner.

Friday Aug. 31 is a Private Brewers Dinner from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. This exclusive event is limited to 200 seats and features unlimited samples of 50 rare and one-off beers plus a six-course dinner prepared by Chef Ryan Hembree and the Brewforia Beer Market culinary team. On stage they'll have live entertainment all night long, as well as many prizes to take home. One lucky person will even win an all-expenses-paid trip for two to the Great American Beer Festival Oct. 11-13.

Saturday Sept. 1 is the public Beer Show featuring unlimited tastings from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. There will be more than 200 rare, vintage, and one-off beers from America's greatest craft brewers available at this year's Beer Show plus a Featured Brewers Tent with even more beers to sample. Saturday's attractions also include unique food from some of Idaho's top chefs, a stage filled with great live music, a kids area, and several lively competitions: the second annual Brewathlon Homebrew Competition (the results of which will be on display at the Homebrew Tent), bocce ball and sand volleyball tournaments, and best beard and karaoke competitions.

Tickets to Friday night's Private Brewers Dinner are $60. Admission to Saturday's public Beer Show is free, but tickets for the unlimited tastings cost $20. A combo package is available for $75. Buy tickets at either Brewforia Beer Market -- the flagship location in Meridian at 3030 E. Overland Rd. or the new site in Eagle at 78 Eagle River St. near Saint Alphonsus Eagle Health Plaza -- or online at or

Julius M. Kleiner Memorial Park is on Fairview and Records avenues in Meridian just east of the corner of Eagle Road and Fairview and behind Big Al's.

The Barley Brothers Traveling Beer Show is staged by Fermentation Events, which is run by Brewforia Beer Market owner Rick Boyd. The special events company also stages the Ale Fort at the Treefort Music Festival, the Pigapalooza celebration of all things pork, and the Winter Ale Festival in conjunction with the McCall Winter Carnival. Boyd plans to take the Barley Brothers fest on the road next year to additional markets and is currently considering Missoula, Reno/Sparks, Phoenix, and Albuquerque.

Rick Boyd, 208.559.0435,
Tony Harrison, 208.880.9814,

Brewforia Beer Market | Rick Boyd || Call Tony Harrison at 208.880.9814 or email him at for more details. |

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Samuel Smith’s Strawberry Organic Ale - The Old Brewery - Tadcaster, North Yorkshire, UK

Every once in awhile, you get a little bored with the selection in your local shop, and you end up looking for something a little more off of the beaten path. Ok, so maybe I wasn’t exactly bored, but rather a little distracted. When that happens, I wander over to the “Overseas” section of the shop, where the shelves are lined with selections from Germany, Australia, Russia and England. Of these, I often wind up picking up a pint of something special from the Old Brewery, and its signature Samuel Smith Ales. In this case, I’ve decided to review their Strawberry Organic Ale. Now typically, I hate fruit-infused Ales, but I’m always willing to try something new. Here’s what the web had to say about this Organic brew:


Handcrafted at the tiny All Saints Brewery set in a time warp in Stamford using the old manually operated brewing equipment. Finest organically grown barley and wheat are used to create a complex ale which, having undergone primary and secondary fermentation with different yeasts and extended maturation, is taken to Samuel Smith’s small, independent British brewery at Tadcaster. There it is blended with pure organic cherry, strawberry or raspberry fruit juices and more organic beer to create fruit beers of considerable strength and flavor. The smooth distinctive character of the matured beer serves as the perfect counterpoint to the pure organic fruit juice.

Organic barley and wheat are milled by two belt driven rollers powered by the old steam engine.

All Saints Brewery mash tun was built in 1876 and is used to make these fruit beers. The mash tun rakes are driven by the old steam engine.

The antique brewing copper at All Saints Brewery is still used to boil the organic hops, which are added by hand.

Best served at about 44°F (7°C).


The Old Brewery at Tadcaster was established in 1758. It is Yorkshire’s oldest brewery.

Traditional methods of brewing have been retained at The Old Brewery.

The brewery still has its own cooper making and repairing all its oak casks. All Samuel Smith’s naturally conditioned draught beer is served from the wood.

The original well at The Old Brewery, sunk in 1758, is still in use, with the brewing water being drawn from 85 feet underground.

Samuel Smith’s ales and stouts (except draught Sovereign and Extra Stout) are fermented in ‘stone Yorkshire squares’~ fermenting vessels made of solid slabs of slate ~ which give the beers a fuller bodied taste.

The All Saints Brewery
The yeast used to ferment Samuel Smith’s ales has been of the same strain since the nineteenth century.

Samuel Smith’s grey Shire horses are stabled behind the Angel & White Horse, the pub next to the brewery.

Samuel Smith’s Shire horses are used to make local deliveries five days a week.

All Samuel Smith’s beers are brewed solely from authentic natural ingredients without any chemical additives, raw material adjuncts, artificial sweeteners, colorings, flavorings or preservatives.

The little town of Tadcaster is home to three breweries. Samuel Smith’s is a small brewery producing less than 5% of the beer brewed in the town.

The brewery operates in the region of 200 pubs. Many are small pubs situated in the post-industrial urban areas of the north of England. The pubs only stock Samuel Smith’s products.



Ok, first of all, when you think of Fruit-infused beers, you think of light overtones, giving off a nice, fresh, aroma of fruit. Maybe a slight fruit flavor is present, but nothing too overpowering. When I first cracked open this Strawberry Organic brew, I was absolutely greeted with the strongest scent of strawberries ever present in Ale. In fact, when I sat down to watch the University of Washington Soccer game, my wife (who is used to all kinds of beers being present in the house), turned to me and asked “what the hell is that smell”? Clearly, this was a strong beer. To top it all of, the syrup-like consistency made it feel like it was sliding down your throat. Although I do like the Organic tag, I don’t think I’ll be seeking this one out again.


2/10 – Too much Strawberry


The Big "O"—Defining Organic Beer

By Brittany Dern

Let’s talk about The Big “O”—organic beers and breweries. When discussing organic beer, perhaps the most important question to start with is, why brew organic beer at all? The easy answer is, why not? In many other product markets organic options flourish, so it seems natural—or maybe even organic—that the craft beer industry would eventually go down this path.

In this quickly growing beer market, 100 new craft breweries popped up in the U.S. between July 2009 and July 2010. According to Sustainable Business Oregon’s article, “Organic beer industry flourishes,” organic beer sales reached $41 million in 2009, more than double the sales of organic beer in 2005.

Levels of Organic Certification

But are all organic beers created equal? Organic certification has several different levels. The highest level of certification is “100 Percent Organic,” and is achieved when only organically produced ingredients and processing aids are used (i.e. no chemicals or pesticides). Next is “Organic,” which are those products that contain at least 95 percent organically produced ingredients. The remaining ingredients must be proven not to be available in organic form in the quantity and quality needed for the product. The non-organic ingredients must be included in the USDA's National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances. At present, hops usually comprise the non-organic component of certified organic beers, because some varieties can be hard to obtain in organic form.

The fact that 5 percent or less of the ingredients in a certified organic beer are not organic hasn’t deterred most consumers from the products. This is normally due to the consumer being unaware of the 95 percent threshold, they feel that 95 percent organic is sufficient, or because they have determined that their organic beers of choice are made with organic hops. However, some consumers, hops growers, and brewers feel differently. Some argue that consumers who choose organic beer are making a conscious decision about what they put into their bodies, and feel that any pesticides or chemicals are unacceptable. Some beer lovers also choose organic beer because organic farms help reduce pollution to soil and water.

Organic Hops—A Regulatory Catch-22

Members of the American Organic Hop Grower Association (AOHGA) have argued that the National Organic Standards Board’s (NOSB) allowance of non-organic hops in organic beer has created an economic disincentive to grow organic hops. In turn, many brewers, some of whom are also AOHGA members, who produce beers with organic hops have argued that their costs are higher, and that there is a difference between their products and those produced without organic hops. The dynamic created by the NOSB, a regulatory catch-22, has slowed the growth of U.S. organic hop production by preventing the development of a feasible organic hops market in America.

In December 2009, the AOHGA petitioned the USDA to have hops removed from the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances. As a result, in October 2010, the NOSB Handling Committee recommended a two-year transition period towards removal of hops from the list. By 2013, all beers bearing the word “organic” on their labels must be brewed with organic hops. The two-year window is intended to give brewers and growers time to secure organic hop stocks, and should result in the availability of a much greater variety and supply of organic hops in the long term.
Organic Brewing Pioneers

The national trend toward organic products is nothing new to consumers. So when and where did these organic beers and breweries come into existence? Answering this question is tricky; several breweries were experimenting with organic beer in the mid-90s. Lakefront Brewing Company claims it had the first certified organic beer to be labeled in the U.S. in 1996. According to Wolaver’s Organic Ales Facebook page, they brewed “the nation’s first certified organic beer in 1997.  Eel River Brewing Company also claims to become the first certified organic brewery in 1999. Perhaps the point to take away from this is that breweries were catching onto the organic movement in the mid-90s. I’ll let them hash out the rest!

Big River Grille & Brewing Works to Host 18th Annual Southern Brewers Festival

(Chattanooga, TN) – This year marks the 18th Annual Southern Brewers Festival, presented by Big River Grille & Brewing Works, to be held in downtown Chattanooga on Saturday, August 25, from 2pm to Midnight. For the seventh consecutive year, all festival proceeds will benefit Chattanooga’s Kids on the Block (CKOB).

With 10 new breweries this year, the festival will feature over 30 of the Southeast’s most notable microbreweries and will showcase over 75 premium, handcrafted ales and lagers on Riverfront Parkway. Crispin Cider, Green Flash Brewing Company and O’Fallon Brewery will unveil new beers at the event. In addition to the vast selection of beer, musical entertainment will include five live national and regional bands, all taking the stage in front of the Tennessee River.

Advance General Admission tickets can be purchased for $20 each online at and through the Southern Brewers Festival Facebook page.  Prices increase at the gate to $25.  All General Admission tickets include a commemorative mug and one token towards the purchase of a beer.
CKOB will receive the net profit from this one-day event to assist in its operating budget.  Over the past six years, Big River Grille & Brewing Works has presented donations to CKOB from the festival totaling $650,000 to assist in their efforts in educating children in the region.

For the past 32 years, CKOB has featured life-size puppets designed to teach children and adults about social concerns and differences in a non-threatening manner, giving them skills to stay safe and healthy.  The programs are free of charge to schools in 14 counties in Southeast Tennessee and Northwest Georgia through funding from United Way, Chattanooga Area Brain Injury Association, SertomaClub, 1st & 10 Foundation, Wal-Mart, Tennessee Donor Services, CVS Caremark, BASF, Civitan Club, and Kiwanis Club among others, as well as individual donors and fundraising events such as the Southern Brewers Festival.

Since 1993, Big River Grille & Brewing Works has delighted the Chattanooga area with fresh, handcrafted beer and premium, made-from-scratch regional cuisine. Committed to using only the freshest and finest ingredients, Big River showcases a passion for food with seasonal menus, daily specials and frequent changes to the regular menu.  Handcrafted and brewed to perfection, Big River goes to great lengths in serving each guest the freshest beer possible. This promise to serving nothing but the finest and freshest beer possible has led to numerous awards.
For more information on the 18th Annual Southern Brewers Festival, visit, or call the CKOB office at 423-757-5259.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Otter Creek Black IPA – Otter Creek Brewing – Middlebury, VT

Hmm, for me the India Pale Ale is the epitome of Hoptastic Brews. Now I realize that the hip thing to be seen sipping on is an aroma blasting IPA that tickles the senses while it quenches the thirst. That said, for me, it doesn’t get much better than a fine IPA. I don’t really care what’s hip and what’s not. I’m too old to really care anyway, but the sense arousing aroma of a good IPA...the strong, bursting flavor of a great IPA…and the smack-you-in-the-mouth-with-a-bag-of-marbles attitude of an awesome IPA…well, it just doesn’t get any better than that. 

In Vermont, the Otter Creek Brewing Company is cranking out some outstanding brews, and today, we’re checking out their Black IPA. Here’s what the web had to say about the Beer from the Green Mountains:


Brand Name: Black IPA
Style: Black India Pale Ale
Color: Black
IBU: 60
ABV: 6.0%
Date of Introduction: October 2010
Malts: 2-Row, Caramel 60L, Carafa III
Hops: Apollo, Centennial, Citra
Packaging: Six and 12 Pack Bottles, Five Gallon Logs and Half Barrel Kegs
Availability: Year Round

Description: dark in color and character, this unfiltered Black IPA exudes caramel and roasted notes while highlighting a bold hop bitterness and citrus aroma. Apollo, centennial, and citra hops intermingle with the deep complexities provided by copious amounts of caramel malts and de-husked roasted barley.

Style History: Black IPA is a relatively new variant of IPA, with a characteristically dark or black appearance, due to roasted malts, while retaining the hop aroma typical of the IPA style. Greg Noonan in Vermont pioneered the style in the early 1990s. This version is Otter Creek’s homage to a great Brewer.

Food Pairings: Heart spicy foods such as chilies or grilled or roasted meats.

Glassware: Pint

Rated a Top 10 Beer by Slash Food in 2010


The Otter Creek Brewery
In March of 1991, Otter Creek brewed its first Copper Ale. Otter Creek Brewing originally opened its business at 616 Exchange Street in Middlebury. Four years later, the brewery expanded and moved down the road to 793 Exchange Street, where it resides today. With a 60,000-barrel capacity and plenty of room to grow, Otter Creek Brewing distributes its year-round and seasonal beers to fifteen states in the mid-Atlantic and northeast regions. In 1997, Wolaver’s became the first USDA-certified organic brewer. At first a satellite brewery, Vermont’s organic lifestyle fit the product that was envisioned, so Otter Creek and Wolaver’s merged. The brewers worked with the organic barley and farmers in the area, and together they created an “organic beer market.” Since 2002, all Wolaver’s Organic and Otter Creek Ales have been brewed in Middlebury, Vermont.

Finished product.

Otter Creek brews and bottles all of its beers in small batches and uses natural Vermont water; domestic malts and hops; and its own top-fermenting yeast. All of Wolaver’s styles are certified as organic by the Vermont Organic Farmers, and feature wheat and oats grown locally in Addison County, Vermont. Otter Creek Brewing produced approximately 30,000 barrels of beer in 2005, and they distributed in 22 States.



The pour was pretty smooth, and the head was built up rather nicely, but I have got to tell you…this was a pretty average Black IPA. The coloring was good, but maybe a little watery. The aroma was full of hops, but it just seemed a little generic. There was really nothing to set this brew apart from the many other variations out there. I would even go so far as to call it unmemorable. It just felt like I had tasted something very similar many times before, and there is no crime worse than brewing something, just for the sake of adding it to your stable. In the end, it was pretty average. Even the Brewery looks pretty average, as you can see by the included picture.


6/10 - Average

Atwater Vanilla Java Porter – Atwater Block Brewery – Detroit, MI

Okay, I’ve been reviewing Craft Beer for quite awhile now. I don’t claim to be expert, but what I do know is that I have never seen a Craft Beer come out of the Motor City. Some of you out there are getting ready to make an attempt to reach through your screens and teach me a lesson in just what Detroit is all about…I ask you to refrain. Or at least…let me explain myself. The root of the problem is two things, marketing and distribution. I’m sure that there are plenty of well-known Craft Breweries in and around Detroit, but no one knows about them. They are not marketed Nationally, or Regionally for that matter. The other strike against them is distribution. If you live on the East Coast or the West Coast, the chances of you walking into a shop and seeing a six pack out of Detroit are about as good as the Cubs winning the World Series. That said, I was happy to pick up this intriguing offering from Atwater. I love Porters, and Coffee for that matter, so my hopes are high for this brew that can probably be found in the hands of Red Wings fans across Michigan. Here’s what the web had to say:


ABV 5.50% IBU 12
Made with fine-roasted coffee beans and vanilla extract, this is one of the most admired beers Atwater offers. Unique and flavorful, with a chocolate malt finish.


Located in Detroit’s historic Rivertown district, and housed in a 1919 factory warehouse, Atwater Brewery was founded in March of 1997 with the purpose of carrying on the rich history of breweries in Detroit. Our brewing process, however, is over 200 years old.

The Atwater Brewery
Our imported Kasper Schultz brew house allows us to brew our brands in the true heritage-style of traditional German lagers. And, when we say, “imported brew house,” we mean it! All of our main brewing equipment was brought in from Germany, where precision and passion for beer has its roots. In fact, when we have service calls on our equipment, we call in the Germans!

Likewise, we only use the finest malt and hops from Germany to brew our lagers. Our specialty ales, on the other hand, are brewed with only the finest American hops. All of which makes Atwater Block beers distinctly fresh and flavorful. Which is exactly why we live by the slogan: “We drink all we can and sell the rest.”



The first thing that you notice about this brew is the ease with which it pours. It is so smooth and thick. The head is not too thick, but rather the entire brew takes on a syrup-like consistency. This bodes well for a nice Porter. The aroma is all coffee, with just a hint of chocolate. This does produce a sweetness that takes a second to adjust to once you take your first pull, but over all, it is a very drinkable brew. On a positive note, it truly grew on me. I got used to the sweetness and enjoyed the rest of the six-pack like a kid in a candy store. Which brings me to my only issue with the brew…it’s a little on the sweet side for me.


7/10 – Too sweet

Sierra Nevada’s Homegrown Estate Ale – Sierra Nevada Brewing Company – Chico, CA

Wow, why is it that I consistently seem to lean back towards Breweries located on the Left Coast. Is it because they take so much more care in what they produce? Is it because they’re just hipper then Breweries on the East Coast? Or, is it because they remind me of Mountains, Trees (Seriously huge trees) and Oceans? It’s most likely none of these things, but rather a nod to an area of the Country that has some of the freshest ingredients around. To top it all off, The Homegrown Estate just magnifies this fact by marketing itself as a brew that is crafted with nothing but locally procured ingredients. Nice, a brewery that champions sustainability, environmental stewardship, and now…a true nod to locally procured ingredients…supporting locally, by buying locally (even if it comes from their own fields…think of the impact that it has on emissions). There is a lesson here…but first the brew. Here’s what the web had to say:


Here in the sun-drenched fields of California’s North Valley, the black soil is rich with promise.
In winter, rows of barley seed are laid in the freshly tilled dirt. In spring, trellises are set for hops.

From our fields comes a remarkable homegrown ale, made with organic wet hops and barley grown at our brewery here in Chico and one of the few estate-made ales produced anywhere in the world!

This Estate Ale is rich with the flavors of the valley—featuring hops with earthy, grapefruit-like flavors and layered spicy aromas and barley with mild sweetness and smooth, toasted flavors. Together, these crops grow alongside the brewery to make a truly unique brew.



Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. was founded with one purpose: to brew the finest ales and lagers. We follow traditional brewing methods, using only select malted barley, whole hop flowers, brewer's yeast, and pure water. The quality of our ingredients and our devotion to the craft of brewing shows in the superior flavor, aroma, balance, and character of our ales and lagers.

The brewing process starts in our hydrating malt mill, where we crack the malted barley grains. Spraying the grains with hot water before crushing softens them, yielding a more intact husk. The resulting grist is then mixed in the mash tun, activating naturally present enzymes to convert the barley’s starches into fermentable sugars.

In the lauter tun, hot water is run through the mash, extracting the sugars, color, and flavor components into a sweet, nutritious syrup called wort. For the next hour and a half, the wort is boiled with hops in our brew kettles. While some breweries brew their wort into “high-gravity” concentrate that they then water down before packaging, we adhere to the time-honored brewing traditions that shun this cost-cutting practice.

In our fermentation tanks, living yeasts convert the malt sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide. The type of beer produced depends on the strain of yeast and the fermentation temperature. To make our ales we use top-fermenting yeasts, which produce a robustly flavorful and aromatic beer.

During this process, we allow the temperature of the fermenting beer to climb to 68°F, hold it there for several days, and then slowly cool the fermented beer. The beer naturally clarifies and the flavor matures during an additional period of cold conditioning below32°F. Our lagers are produced by bottom-fermenting yeasts at temperatures below 50°F. After fermentation, the lagers are cold-stored in their tanks for up to eight weeks. Though expensive, this aging time is necessary to fully develop each beer’s quality and character.

Next, we carefully centrifuge and cold-filter our ales and lagers. This gentle process removes haze-forming proteins and yeast, producing a clear, bright beer without affecting flavor, aroma, or mouthfeel.

At last, the beer is ready to be bottled or racked into kegs. All our beers are naturally carbonated. For the bottled ales, we employ the same bottle-conditioning techniques used for centuries to produce the finest champagnes.

Just before bottling, our ales receive a small dosage of brewer's yeast, which produces a secondary fermentation in the bottle, adding character and developing the perfect level of carbonation. The small amount of brewer's yeast at the bottom of each bottle attests to this traditional method of natural carbonation.           

Tour Hours:

Monday – Thursday: 12:00 pm, 1:00 pm, 2:00 pm & 4:00 pm
Friday and Saturday: 12:00 pm, 1:00 pm, 2:00 pm, 3:00 pm, 4:00 pm & 5:00 pm
Sunday: 12:00 pm, 1:00 pm, 2:00 pm, 3:00 pm & 4:00 pm

All tours are free of charge
All guests need to sign in at the Tour desk, located in our Gift Shop lobby prior to each tour
All tours are approximately 1 ½ hours
Guided tour is for ages 12 and above, Educational Tasting for ages 21 and over
Closed toed shoes are preferred in production areas


Barley Malt

Our beer begins life as plump grains of premium two-row barley. In the malting process, the grains are soaked in water and allowed to germinate. Kilning or roasting the malted grains develops distinctive character and gives the beer its rich flavor, color, and body. We use only premium barley malts, and never corn or rice fillers.


Each year, we hand-select the finest hop cones from growers around the world. To achieve the complex hop character that is our trademark, we add different varieties of whole hops to the brew kettles at specific points during the boil. Bittering hops go into the brew kettles early to balance and offset the sweetness of the malt. The most aromatic hops are added near the end of the boil to capture the volatile oils that infuse our beers with their intense flavor and aroma. Our Bigfoot Ale, Celebration Ale, and other specialty beers receive an additional “dry-hopping” during the maturation period.


Yeast is the magical organism that works its alchemy on the malt and hops to produce our flavorful brews. We maintain and culture several different strains in our laboratory to produce our classic ales and lagers. Our ales are produced utilizing our original distinctive strain of top-fermenting yeast. This special yeast, and our carefully monitored fermentation profile, helps to produce the wonderful aromatic qualities found in all of our ales. We seasonally propagate a classic cold-fermenting lager strain to produce our range of traditional all-malt lager beers. We will often culture unique yeast strains from around the world to produce small batches of distinctive beers.


Chico's location at the base of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges affords us a pure and plentiful source of water. Our brewing water is pumped from a deep aquifer that is continually recharged by the snow and rain falling in the nearby foothills and higher peaks. Like all of our brewing ingredients, we carefully treat and monitor this vital raw material. Because of our commitment to the environment and our local community, we strive to use this valuable resource efficiently. Wastewater generated by the brewery is thoroughly treated in our state-of-the-art recycling plant before being discharged.


In 1979, Ken Grossman began building a small brewery in the town of Chico, California. His goal: to brew exceptional ales and lagers. Today, the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. is considered the premier craft brewery in the United States. And the beer? Critics proclaim it “Among the best brewed anywhere in the world.”

Ken’s passion for brewing began when a friend showed him the basics of home brewing. Using homemade equipment, Ken began brewing five-gallon batches of beer on his own, and soon became a proficient home brewer.

The Sierra Nevada Brewing Company
In 1976, after studying chemistry and physics at Butte Community College and California State University at Chico, Ken opened his own store, The Home Brew Shop. There, he supplied Chico’s home-brewing community with equipment, materials, and advice, but dreamed of opening his own brewery.

Two years later, it was time to make the dream a reality. Ken and co-founder Paul Camusi cobbled a brewery together from dairy tanks, a soft-drink bottler, and equipment salvaged from defunct breweries. Though the equipment was secondhand, they created a first-rate microbrewery. The ingredients were premium, including the copious quantities of hops that would become the brewery’s trademark. An avid backpacker, Ken named the new company for his favorite hiking grounds—the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Finally, on November 15, 1980, the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. brewed the first batch of what would soon become a landmark in American craft brewing: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.

Word spread quickly, and over the next decade the demand for Sierra Nevada brews soon exceeded the brewery’s modest brewing capacity. Despite nearly constant additions to the brewery, Ken was soon back at the drawing board, planning a new brewery. In 1989, the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. moved to its current site.

Ken traveled to Germany and brought back a traditional 100-barrel copper brew house, which became the heart of the new brewery. This met demand for a while, but the brewery soon needed to expand again. In 1997, Ken commissioned the original coppersmiths to match new kettles to the originals, bringing the brewery’s total capacity to almost eight hundred thousand barrels per year.

Building the new brewery afforded Sierra Nevada the opportunity to create two stunning showcases, both featuring exceptional dining, live music, and its award-winning beers. The elegant Sierra Nevada Taproom and Restaurant has become a destination in its own right. With mouthwatering lunch and dinner menus, an impressive dining room, and a large outdoor dining patio, it offers distinctive, contemporary cuisine as well as an opportunity to sample the brewery’s entire line of premium ales and lagers, including hard-to-find specialty drafts. The 350-seat Big Room—a beautifully designed live music and multi-purpose room—was constructed on the west end of the brewery to feature live music events for all ages and is a perfect facility for weddings, reunions, and business conferences.

To this day, the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. remains true to its roots. Ken is still personally involved in every aspect of brewery operation. Most importantly, the Sierra Nevada commitment to quality remains the same. Premium ingredients and time-honored brewing techniques make Sierra Nevada ales and lagers truly exceptional beers.



Well, this was just about the freshest brew that I’ve had in a long time. Yes, the hops are front and center, and yes, you get that full-bodied flavor that Sierra Nevada is famous for. But in addition to the already high quality that Sierra Nevada is well known for, you get a level of freshness that is rarely seen, or appreciated. I would definitely recommend that you seek this one out. You will not be disappointed, but more importantly, you will be doing your part in supporting locally grown produce…while enjoying a fine, fine brew.


9/10 – A Local Champion



Local food is fresher and tastes better than food shipped long distances from other states or countries. Local farmers can offer produce varieties bred for taste and freshness rather than for shipping and long shelf life.

Buying local food keeps your dollars circulating in your community. Getting to know the farmers who grow your food builds relationships based on understanding and trust, the foundation of strong communities.

There's never been a more critical time to support your farming neighbors. With each local food purchase, you ensure that more of your money spent on food goes to the farmer.

Knowing where your food comes from and how it is grown or raised enables you to choose safe food from farmers who avoid or reduce their use of chemicals, pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, or genetically modified seed in their operations. Buy food from local farmers you trust.

Local food doesn't have to travel far. This reduces carbon dioxide emissions and packing materials. Buying local food also helps to make farming more profitable and selling farmland for development less attractive.

When you buy local food, you vote with your food dollar. This ensures that family farms in your community will continue to thrive and that healthy, flavorful, plentiful food will be available for future generations.