Thursday, January 31, 2013

Corporate Beer Still Sucks All Year Long


As if five years of celebrating the twentieth anniversary of Seattle indy label Sub Pop weren’t enough, Elysian Brewing’s erstwhile summer seasonal, Loser, is going year-round, just in time for anniversary number 25. The distinctive, tropical hop character and golden, warming maltiness will be available on draft, in 22-ounce bottles and in six-packs throughout the year starting March 1.

Loser began its life in 2007 as a collaboration between two Seattle alternative institutions. Elysian Brewing Company got together with Sub Pop Records to craft a beer that was available exclusively backstage at the anniversary celebration held at Marymoor Park. The next year the beer was back, on draft and in 22-ounce bottles at restaurants, taverns and stores that got the message, and just last year six-packs hit the shelves for the first time. Response has grown every year, and now it just won’t go away.

Loser was one of the first general-production beers to use Sorachi Ace hops, the Japanese variety rescued from obscurity and grown exclusively by Virgil Gamache Farms in Washington’s Yakima Valley. The waxy, coconutty and compelling flavor carries through the beer, combining with crisp and spicy Crystal finishing hops. And at 7% alcohol by volume, Loser isn’t your mainstream summer lightweight. For Elysian, Sub Pop and the beer-savvy public, having Loser available throughout the year is a clear win-win.


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Budweiser Project 12 Batch No 23185 – Anheuser-Busch Brewing Company – Williamsburg, VA


First of all, let me be perfectly clear…this is NOT a Craft Beer. This is a curiosity. This is an attempt from a Mega-Brewery to remain somewhat relevant in the Specialty Beer Market. That said, the question begs to be asked…is there a place for Project 12 in the brewing landscape? I know that I’m not committing huge resources to it. I only purchased one bottle, choosing instead to stay away from a six-pack investment. Who knows, maybe it won’t be bad. In addition to the brew, I’m going try to give a little background on the project itself. In the end though, YOU be the judge. It only matters if you, the consumer, like it. Let’s take a look at this brew.

THE BEER:

From the Website…

Budweiser Batch No. 23185 (Williamsburg, Va.):

A bourbon cask lager with 5.5 percent ABV.

The beer is brewed by Daniel Westmoreland from the Williamsburg, Va. brewery and was developed in collaboration with brewmasters Mike Anderson in Jacksonville, Fla. and Dan Kahn in Cartersville, Ga. 

“We took staves from fresh bourbon barrels and we aged the beer on those staves and spiced it with a hint of vanilla,” said Westmoreland, who has been a Budweiser brewmaster for more than 30 years.  “It’s an all-malt brew, and it has a perfect color that is similar to the color of bourbon itself. Batch No. 23185 has a nice vanilla aroma with a little oakiness on the end – it’s a great beer.”

THE STATS:

ABV: 5.5%

THE BREWERY:

Budweiser, an American-style lager, was introduced in 1876 when company founder Adolphus Busch set out to create the United States’ first truly national beer brand – brewed to be universally popular and transcend regional tastes. Each batch of Budweiser follows the same family recipe used by five generations of Busch family brewmasters.  Budweiser is a medium-bodied, flavorful, crisp and pure beer with blended layers of premium American and European hop aromas, brewed for the perfect balance of flavor and refreshment.  Budweiser is made using time-honored methods including “kraeusening” for natural carbonation and Beechwood aging, which results in unparalleled balance and character.  The brand celebrates great times and has used the phrase “Grab Some Buds” in advertising since 2010.

THE PROJECT:

“Project 12” started in the early spring when Budweiser’s 12 brewmasters across America were asked to write a unique beer recipe worthy of the Budweiser name. After internal discussion and debate, six of the recipes were chosen to be brewed in small batches. Now, after a summer-long nationwide sampling effort involving thousands of consumers at dozens of events, U.S. beer drinkers have provided feedback, which helped Budweiser decide which three beers would be available for sale in a limited-edition sampler pack this fall.

The “winning” recipes, named for the ZIP Code in which the beer was originally brewed, are from brewmasters at the Budweiser breweries in Los Angeles, St. Louis and Williamsburg, Va.

Tens of thousands of consumers tasted and gave feedback about the Project 12 beers. This included approximately 10,000 festival- goers to the Budweiser Made in America music festival in Philadelphia over Labor Day weekend, where Budweiser’s 12 U.S. brewmasters personally sampled the beers and asked for feedback. At other sampling events throughout the United States, brand ambassadors asked consumers to describe the taste, freshness, style and flavor of the six Project 12 beers, and to choose their favorites. Consumers also were able to enter feedback onsite via iPad stations.

“We’ve never done anything like this before,” said Rob McCarthy, vice president of Budweiser. “With all this feedback from consumers, I guess you can call this the largest focus group in Budweiser history, maybe even beer history. There really were no winners or losers with Project 12, but we wound up with three great beers that slightly edged out the others.  It certainly wasn’t an easy choice. Best of all, we listened to what our beer drinkers told us and we let them help us make the decision about what to bring to stores.”

The limited edition sampler pack, available for sale starting on Oct. 29, is a 12-bottle package containing four each of the special “ZIP Code” beers.

Budweiser will continue to request feedback from beer drinkers on these three beers. Via a QR code on the package, as well as an in-pack flighting sheet, the brand is asking consumers their opinions of these three new Budweiser-inspired beers. The flighting sheet also includes tasting notes and details about each beer for in-home tastings.

While not available in the fall sampler pack, the Project 12 beers developed in Baldwinsville, N.Y.; Columbus, Ohio; and Fort Collins, Colo. also received favorable feedback from consumers, creating a task for the team responsible for paring the six Project 12 beers to three.

All the beers developed for Project 12 pay homage to Budweiser’s clean and crisp taste by using the proprietary yeast directly descended from the original Budweiser yeast culture used by Adolphus Busch in 1876. The yeast is still used by Budweiser today.

“Budweiser is an exacting style of beer to brew,” said Peter Kraemer, a fifth-generation brewmaster who leads Anheuser-Busch’s brewing operations in North America. “Our brewmasters are responsible for one of the world’s most technically challenging beers and are able to make a high-quality beer that is consistent all over the United States and the world. Project 12 was a way for our world-class brewmasters to have fun experimenting with new ingredients, flavors and brewing processes to bring beer lovers some new options inspired by our flagship beer.”

Anheuser-Busch’s commitment to quality and its spirit of innovation have been defining characteristics of the company since its beginning.  This passion helped the company expand from a local St. Louis brewery to a leader in the industry.  Today, Budweiser’s recipe for success brings together its proud heritage and talented teams to brew, package and sell some of the most popular beers in the world.

For more information on Budweiser’s Project 12, visit www.anheuser-busch.com/Project12.

THE WEBSITE:


THE REVIEW:

Here’s the deal…it really wasn’t that bad. But it also wasn’t that good. The pour was fine, but the head was weak and unassuming. There’s too much carbonation, and you still get that metallic aftertaste that Budweiser is well known for. You HAVE to drink it cold. Please do not let this one sit. It gets bitter when it warms up. Wow, I don’t know what to say. It just wasn’t for me. You could not taste any flavor, and for what I was looking for, it sorely disappointed. That said; if you’re new to Specialty Beers, give it a shot. It IS better than your average Bud, so it’s probably a good place to start.

THE RATING:

4.5/10 – A good place to start

PROJECT 12


Rogue Morimoto Black Obi Soba Ale – Rogue Brewing Company – Newport, OR


Did you ever find that one great restaurant? You know the one…it has a menu that you could spend hours pouring over, and in the end, it really doesn’t matter what you order, you’re pretty sure that it’s going to be awesome. Well, that’s pretty much the story of Rogue. Their menu grows every year, but one thing remains constant, a serious commitment to quality and originality, that will keep you coming back for more. I recently reviewed the Morimoto Soba Ale (9/10), and I was so impressed, that I immediately picked up a bottle of its sister, the Black Obi Soba Ale. Rogue tells us that the Black Obi is a fuller, richer version of the Soba, but that it still finishes crisp and clean. Well, I was so impressed by the Soba Ale that I figured there was no way that I could go wrong with its sister. Let’s take a closer look at the brew.

THE BEER:

Launched in the spring of 2003, the signature series from Rogue is the pride and joy of internationally acclaimed chef Masaharu Morimoto. Chef Morimoto is probably best known as a star on the Food Network Series…The Iron Chef. Although I’m not a big fan of the Iron Chef, I certainly am a fan of well-made beer, so I’m more than willing to see what the good Chef has brought us today.

The Black Obi Soba Ale is dedicated to Phred Kaufmann, Rogue’s Distributor in Japan for the past decade. Phred runs “Beer Inn Mugishutei” in the city of Sapporo.

Soba, also known as buckwheat, is a staple of Japanese cuisine, primarily for its nutritional value. The Soba produces a fruit, which is milled and then roasted more or less like a grain. That makes this particular brew slightly different than others, but just a good. The soba is one of the primary malts.

THE STATS:

Style: Specialty Grain     
Food Pairing: Pork, Beef
Tasting Notes: A richer version of our Soba Ale with the addition of specialty malts and a special blend of hops to give it a fuller, nutty flavor while retaining a clean, crisp finish.

12 Ingredients:
Malts: Roasted Soba, Harrington, Metcalf, Munich, C-15, C-60 and Carafa Special No. 2
Hops: Horizon, Sterling and Cascade.
Yeast & Water: Rogue's Pacman Yeast & Free Range Coastal Water.

Specs:
12º PLATO
30 IBU
75 AA
36º Lovibond

World Class Package: Draft, 22oz Bottle only

THE BREWERY:

When I think of Craft Breweries, Rogue is the industry standard that others are measured against. Based out of Newport, OR, Rogue beers are available in just about every corner of the United States. They are well known for producing dozens of specialty brews such as their famous Dead Guy Ale, as well as their not-so-famous Voodoo Bacon Maple Ale. Since they began operations out of a basement in 1988, on a scenic little stream called Lithia Creek, they have been pushing boundaries in both creative instincts, as well as the marketing of their products.

But what truly sets them apart from their competitors are the standards that they set for themselves. Rogue sees the brewing process as an art form, which should be given as much attention as possible. To them, it’s not just about profit, but about art as well.

THE WEBSITE:


THE REVIEW:

Well, as I stated previously, I was so impressed with the Soba Ale, that I really couldn’t wait to crack the seal on its sister brew, the Black Obi. And as expected, it did not disappoint. As soon as I cracked it open, I was greeted with a mild carbonation, along with slightly nutty overtones. The pour was slick, producing a gorgeous cream-colored head. At first sip, you truly get a feel for just how much richer this brew is then its sister. The coloring is deep and dark, giving you the impression that you’re about to embark on a stout-like adventure. Here’s the twist though, it’s not a stout, and so you don’t get that “I just drank a loaf of bread” feel to it. It’s still light and refreshing, but with a much bolder approach to the beer. The lacing is nice, and the beer finishes just as strong at it began. Well done Rogue…well done.

THE RATING:

9/10 – Well done


Green Death Pays Tribute to Historic West Coast Ale During SF Beer Week


In celebration of SF Beer Week, the San Francisco Brewers Guild is proud to announce the release of their new collaboration beer called Green Death. It’s a modern interpretation of a historic West Coast ale once produced in San Francisco, that beer fans have enjoyed in green bottles and cans since Prohibition ended.

Green Death will be served for the first time at the SF Beer Week Opening Celebration on Friday, February 8th, at the Concourse Exhibition Center in San Francisco. After the event, Green Death will be available on draft only, from February 9-17 at Guild member locations and a limited number of bars throughout the Bay Area.

The inspiration for Green Death was once produced at 1550 Bryant Street in San Francisco, beginning in 1934, where a staggering 350,000 barrels of beer were produced each year. It wasn’t labeled Green Death back then. That became the beer’s affectionate nickname in the 1960’s, and has persisted ever since, because of its green packaging, unsuspecting high alcohol content, and later popularity as a 40-ounce malt liquor product.

Over the years, Green Death has also been a favorite of several important San Franciscans. Celebrated Chronicle writer, Charles McCabe, consistently mentioned the beer in his column. He even referred to it as his “working breakfast,” which he would enjoy at 8am while reading the paper after working all night to meet a deadline. Neal Cassady, famous for his role in Jack Kerouac’s novel On the Road, was also fond of Green Death. According to literary lore, he once traded his San Francisco cab driver badge for a bottle.

The members of the San Francisco Brewers Guild have turned up the volume on the 1934 version of this historic ale by using high quality ingredients; a larger amount of hops, and decided to push the alcohol content even higher. Green Death was made at Speakeasy Ales & Lagers using 2-row malt, Cluster hops, California ale yeast, and 30% of the recipe consisted of flaked corn, which gives it a creamy texture and bumped the alcohol by volume up to 7.75%. The resulting beer is smooth, rich in flavor, and surprisingly not boozy. It will go down very easy, so be careful!

Green Death is part of a series of collaboration beers that the San Francisco Brewers Guild has created each year since SF Beer Week was launched in 2009. According to San Francisco Brewers Guild Executive Director, Brian Stechschulte, “The brewers enjoy working together each year on one-off recipes that challenge conventions, acknowledge brewing history, and surprise beer fans. Green Death is a wonderful addition to our lineup of collaboration beers.”

The San Francisco Brewers Guild would like to thank SF Beer Week sponsor, Brewers Supply Group, for donating some of the ingredients to make Green Death. Their support is greatly appreciated.

Contact Info

Company: San Francisco Brewers Guild
Contact: Brian Stechschulte


Boulevard teams up with Sporting KC


Partnership with Sporting KC aligns hometown team with hometown beer.

Boulevard Brewing Company today announced it has entered into a sponsorship agreement with Major League Soccer’s Sporting KC to become the official craft beer sponsor of the team. The five-year deal expands last season’s informal partnership between the two homegrown organizations.

“This has been in the works for a long time,” said Jeremy Ragonese, Boulevard’s Director of Marketing. “Our mutual fans have been outspoken in their support for an alliance between Boulevard and Sporting KC, and their passion for our brands makes this a natural fit.”

The brewery will serve as title sponsor of the Boulevard Members’ Club, enjoyed by fans before, during and after games at Sporting Park. The club – adjacent to the Members’ Stand – is home to the most vocal supporters of Sporting KC. In conjunction with its local distributor, Central States Beverage, Boulevard will also implement a variety of programs and initiatives throughout the city in support of the new alliance. Central States is also the brewery’s partner in the new agreement.

“The synergy between our two brands has been incredible, so we’re obviously thrilled to continue the partnership in an even bigger way,” said Andy Tretiak, Chief Marketing Officer of Sporting Club. “We’re already working on some cool new programs for the upcoming season.”

About Sporting Kansas City

The only professional sports organization in Kansas City with local ownership, Sporting KC plays at state-of-the-art Sporting Park. The team recently opened a world-class training center at Swope Park and sponsors the Sporting KC Academy, designed to help local youth develop into homegrown talent. Sporting Kansas City is a charter member of Major League Soccer, and will mark its 18th season in 2013. The team finished in first place in the Eastern Conference each of the last two seasons. As winners of the 2012 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, Sporting KC will represent Major League Soccer in the 2013-14 CONCACAF Champions League.

About Boulevard Brewing Company

Boulevard Brewing Company has grown to become one of the largest specialty brewers in the Midwest, dedicated to the craft of producing fresh, flavorful beers using traditional ingredients and the best of both old and new brewing techniques. Boulevard beers are distributed in 25 states and in the District of Columbia. For more information, visit www.boulevard.com, facebook.com/Boulevard, or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/Boulevard_Beer.

Contact Info

Company: Boulevard Brewing Co.
Contact: Julie Weeks


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A Homebrewing Competition of Epic Proportions


The Cascade Brewers Guild, BEWBC, Impaling Alers, and WAHA are proud to combine the 17th Annual Cascade Brewers Cup with the 7th Annual Puget Sound Pro-Am for a homebrewing competition of epic proportions. Compete for great prizes as well as a chance to have your beer brewed by one of over a dozen local breweries. Winning beers of AHA members may be submitted to the Great American Beer Festival’s Pro-Am Competition for a shot at bringing home medals for the brewery and homebrewer!

Join the AHA in advance to be eligible for competition at the GABF. Fire up your kettle now and see the website listed below for more details and the Enter the combination of one of the state’s longest running competitions & the country’s largest GABF Pro-Am qualifier!

Entry Fee: $7 per entry (3 bottles per entry)
Judges and volunteers get $1 off / entry
Entries Due: April 2nd – April 20th, 2013

Drop Offs:
Bob’s Homebrew Supply
The Cellar Homebrew
The Beer Essentials
Mountain Homebrew
Diamond Knot Brewery
Fish Brewing Company
Olympic Brewing Supplies

Mail to / Drop Off:
Larry’s Brewing Supply
7405 S 212th St. #103
Kent, WA 98032

Details available at www.wahomebrewers.org/jcbcpspa
link to the registration tool.

(Judges and volunteers can register through the site)
Complete List, Rules, and a List of Participating Breweries Posted at


FOUR KEY BEVERAGE WHOLESALERS JOIN FORCES TO FORM GREAT ARTISAN BEVERAGE CO., LLC IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST TO REPRESENT CRAFT/SPECIALTY BRANDS


Seattle, Washington – January 24th, 2013 – Marine View Beverage Inc, The Odom Corporation, Sound Beverage Inc., and C. Stein Beverage officially announced their partnership in a new company to distribute and manage a selection of key Craft/Specialty Brands throughout the Pacific Northwest within “Great Artisan Beverage Co.”

Each of the partners has dedicated exclusive personnel in their respective territories and the company will be managed and run independently, reporting to a Board of Directors representing the ownership group.

Nick Gagliardi, a veteran in the beverage business and the President of Great Artisan Beverage Co. states, “We have united as one and can now offer a Sales and Marketing platform to build and execute Craft/Specialty brands across one of the most dynamic and critical footprints in the United States.”

Dave Mickelson, formerly of Craft Brewers Alliance and a long time Redhook Ale Brewery executive, who will head up the Operations of Great Artisan Beverage Co. stated, “We now have the dedicated ability to pro-actively work with our craft brewery partners to better plan, forecast, and execute our Craft/Specialty Breweries overall objectives.”

Great Artisan Beverage Co. will represent some of the finest Craft/Specialty and Import brands from its backyard in the Pacific Northwest, the United States and around the world.

Marine View Beverage Inc is a distributor based in western Washington, and services 7 counties in the south Puget Sound and Olympic Peninsula region. Marine View Beverage provides sales, marketing, warehousing, and distribution services for a wide range of beer, wine, spirits and non-alcohol products. A recipient of numerous supplier awards, Marine View Beverage prides itself on market level execution, and being a valued partner to suppliers and retailers. Marine View Beverage is also an integral part of its community and has been for over 40 years. For additional information, please visit www.marineviewbev.com

The Odom Corporation is a Bellevue, Washington based company that provides wholesale distribution, sales, and marketing of beer, non-alcoholic and soft drink beverages in Alaska, Washington, Oregon and Idaho. For additional information about The Odom Corporation, visit www.odomcorp.com or please call 425-456-3535

Sound Beverage Distributors, Inc.is a Bellingham, Washington based company that provides wholesale distribution, sales and marketing of beer, wine and non-alcoholic beverages in northwest Washington. For additional information about Sound Beverage Distributors, Inc. call 360-734-7360.

C. Stein Beverage is a Vancouver, Washington, based company that provides wholesale distribution, sales and marketing of beer, wine, spirits and non-alcoholic beverages. C. Stein Distributing has been in business for over 22 years with distribution warehouses in SW Washington (C. Stein Distributing in Vancouver), SW Idaho (Idaho Distributing in Boise) and Sun Valley Idaho (Nouveaux Distributing). For additional information C. Stein Beverage, please visit www.csteininc.com or call 360-823-2536.


Monday, January 28, 2013

Big Apple Hosts Premier Craft Beer and Food Pairing Experience


After five consecutive years of hosting SAVOR: An American Craft Beer & Food Experience in Washing ton, D.C., the Brewers Association is bringing the event to New York City. In 2013, SAVOR will be held on June 14 and 15 at the Metropolitan Pavilion and adjoining Altman Building in Manhattan. The two-night event will return to the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. the year after on May 9 and 10, 2014.

As the benchmark beer and food pairing event, SAVOR's format will remain the same-an intimate and engaging reception, with a menu carefully designed by Brewers Association culinary consultant Adam Dulye, chef/owner of The Monk's Kettle and The Abbot's Cellar in San Francisco. As in years past, small and independent breweries representing all geographic regions of the country will be selected to participate by a lottery drawing. Guests will be served by the notable personalities behind the craft beer brands and have an opportunity to interact with them during private tastings throughout the two nights.

"Part of our mission as a national, industry association is to promote small and independent craft brewers and their craft brewed beers to audiences around the country," said Sam Calagione, chair of the Brewers Association's board of directors.

"Moving SAVOR to New York City, the culinary capital of the world, in 2013 is an incredible opportunity to showcase craft beer from a diverse sampling of small U.S. producers who have helped shift the perception of beer from something predictable and homogenized into the dynamic, flavorful, food-friendly beverage it is recognized as today. Craft brewers, beer lovers and foodies who attend SAVOR contribute to a historic localization of beer and a shift in the culinary arts world."

The nation's capital will play host to other Brewers Association events in 2013. The industry-only Craft Brewers Conference & BrewExpo America® will be held from March 26-29 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. The craft brewing industry's largest annual event gathers thousands of small and independent American brewers and their trade partners for workshops, collaboration, education and discussion on important matters facing the community.

"With D.C. hosting the Craft Brewers Conference in 2013, this was the right time for the Brewers Association to bring SAVOR to a new market and expand the audience," added Calagione. "We're excited to see what New York has in store for SAVOR, and look forward to returning SAVOR to the National Building Museum in 2014."
Tickets go on sale to the public April 17, 2013. A ticket pre-sale exclusively for members of the American Homebrewers Association and the Brewers Association will take place April 16. For more information about SAVOR, visit www.SavorCraftBeer.com.

SAVOR: An American Craft Beer and Food Experience




Super Bowl XLVII: Craft Beer Covers the Spread


The fridge at many a Super Bowl party is stocked with big name beers from multi-national brewers. But on February 3, why not celebrate the AFC and NFC champs with craft beer, brewed by small and independent brewers from the teams’ home turfs? After all, the stomping grounds of both the Ravens and 49ers (and even New Orleans, the game’s host city) are home to a number of widely distributed craft breweries. For more local brewery options in each of the team’s states, as well as the rest of the country, visit www.CraftBeer.com Brewery Locator.

Ravens | Baltimore, Maryland

Clipper City’s lineup of Heavy Seas beers is so wide and varied that almost anyone will find a style to enjoy, while Flying Dog Brewery’s aggressive and unique interpretations will smack your gums the way Ray Lewis tackles running backs—except in a good way.

Crab is the game day protein of choice in Baltimore, and whether it’s blue and fried or shaped like a cake, the delicate meat and Old Bay seasoning pairs well with a variety of craft beers, including Flying Dog’s Gose, a sour and salty wheat beer with ancient German roots.

49ers | San Francisco, California

One of the most storied and iconic craft brewers in the country calls San Francisco home: Anchor Brewing Company. With origins in the California Gold Rush, Anchor Brewing Company has stood the test of time, weathering numerous challenges including Prohibition, which spelled death for most breweries in the U.S. Best known for their Steam Beer, Anchor offers many other regular and seasonal beers that will turn your tailgate into a celebration not just of the 49ers, but all of San Francisco.

Meats and cheeses may be the simplest and most sublime accompaniments to craft beer, and Magnolia Pub & Brewery pairs their award-winning beers with only the choicest cuts and wedges. You’re Super Bowl spread wouldn’t be complete without a cooler or two, and the incredible designs and expansive lineup of canned beers from 21st Amendment Brewery’s help you celebrate in style.

Superdome | New Orleans, Louisiana

Billed as “a beer for all things Cajun and Creole,” Bayou Teche Brewing Company’s LA-31 Louisiana Pale Ale brewed with Belgian malts and American hops and yeast, sounds like a veritable match for your game day gumbo. Meanwhile, NOLA Brewing can not only be enjoyed at their location in the Irish Channel, but also in the shadow of the Superdome thanks to their snazzy cans.

Halftime | Houston, Texas

Don’t care about what’s happening on the field until halftime? Only in it for the Destiny’s Child reunion? Toast the Houston natives with Texas’ largest craft brewer: Saint Arnold Brewing Company. With their vast variety of regular and seasonal beers, you’ll be hard-pressed not to find a perfect culinary accompaniment.

Information for this post was gathered from “Craft Beer’s NFL Season,” a complete team-by-team craft beer guide to the NFL.



Southern Tier Eurotrash Pilz - Southern Tier Brewing Company – Lakewood, NY


Sometimes, you just need something light and refreshing. You get tired of all those heavy brews weighing you down, and you just want something that you can quickly crack open with dinner, and not have to worry about the fact that you have to be up by 5:00 AM the next day (damn I’m happy to be retired from the Military). Anyway, that’s where the Eurotrash Pilz comes in. From a small brewery in New York, it claims to be a true session beer that won’t leave you longing for flavor. Let’s take a closer look at the brew.

THE BEER:

This beer may have a cheeky name, but don’t be fooled; it is modeled after fine European pilsners to be light and crisp. Aromatic Noble hop varieties, 2-row malted barley and European style pilsner malt contribute to this pale beer’s smooth character.

THE STATS:

STYLE: Pilsner Lager
BREWED SINCE: 2010
ABV: 5.2%
FERMENTATION: Lager yeast, two varieties of hops, two types of malts
COLOR: Pale yellow
EFFERVESCENCE: Light carbonation
NOSE: Sweet malts, hint of hops
FLAVOR: Cereal grains, light sweetness, finishes with mild hops and a lingering hint of grassiness.
BITTERNESS: Very low
BODY: Light
SERVING TEMPERATURE: 40-45°F
GLASS: Pilsner glass
AVAILABILITY: Release begins in January / 12oz (6pk and 24 bottle cases) / 1/2 keg, 1/6 keg
CELLARING: 40-45°F

THE BREWERY:

In operation since late 2002, Southern Tier Brewing Company of Lakewood, New York, has grown to produce around 50,000 barrels of beer annually. The hand-crafted ales are now available in more than half of the United States, as well as parts of Australia, Denmark, Japan, Philippines, Singapore, Ontario, British Columbia, and the United Kingdom.

Founders Phineas DeMink and Allen “Skip” Yahn started the brewery with the vision of reviving the practice of small batch brewing to a region rich in brewing tradition. In 2002, with equipment gained from the purchase of the Old Saddleback Brewing Co. in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, the Southern Tier Brewing Company began production in the Stoneman Business Park just outside of Lakewood, New York. By 2003, select varieties of small batch ales were locally distributed, and by 2005, sales covered the majority of New York State and Pennsylvania. Before launching a successful roster of seasonal beers, the brewery produced Pilsner, Mild Ale, and India Pale Ale.

Southern Tier immediately garnered regional attention and demand for the product quickly outgrew what their modest facility could handle.  In 2009 a new 20,000 square foot building was built for the purpose of brewing innovative, high-quality beer to accommodate an expanding customer base. In this new facility, the small brewery was able to grow and offer the product both nationally and internationally, while still satisfying its loyal fans.

Steadily growing, throughout 2010 it became clear that more beer needed to be produced to satisfy a growing customer base. 800 barrels of fermentation vessels were added to the production area and a 7500 square foot addition was added for use as a conditioning room. The constantly running brew house has also been expanded and updated from 20 BBL to a 50BBL system. In keeping pace with the expanded brewing capacity, the company replaced its bottling line with the most high-tech, state of the art bottling line of its size in North America. It fills, caps and labels an impressive 10,000 bottles per hour at full speed. Our cellar has been expanded to allow for more than 3200 BBL of fermentation space as of late 2011.

A drive by the brewery will reveal a new expansion is underway.

THE WEBSITE:


THE REVIEW:

This brew was not what I expected. I was looking forward to a decent Pilsner, but what I got instead was a poor attempt at replicating a fine European Pilz. The pour was flat producing very little head. There was a certain degree of effervescence, but it was weak and understated. The flavor was touch and go, and although it tried really hard, it failed to hit the mark on many attempts. I guess if you’re looking for a good session beer, it will do, but even that is off point, as it’s a little heavy on the ABV to be a true “Session” Beer. You can do better.

THE RATING:

5.5/10 – You can do better

THE SOUTHERN TIER BREWING COMPANY




Marin Brewing Company Releases Brass Knuckle Imperial IPA


Larkspur, CA – From the land of big and bold IPAs comes Marin Brewing Company’s biggest and baddest IPA yet, the Brass Knuckle Imperial IPA. Compared to the classic White Knuckle Double IPA, Brass Knuckle is stronger and hoppier with 6 pounds of hops per barrel and 10.8% alcohol by volume. Brass Knuckle is the ultimate hop monster featuring several sought-after hops including Simcoe, Centennial, Columbus, Citra, Chinook, and Amarillo and comes in at over 100 IBUs! Marin Brewing Company is releasing the Brass Knuckle on Monday, February 1, 2013 at the pub.  This brew will be available on tap, in growlers and kegs and for the first time, in 3 litre bottles for only $69.

For more information about the beer or the brewery, visit www.marinbrewing.com. For sales and distribution please contact Sales Manager Curtis Cassidy: curtis@moylans.com. For media inquires contact Gabby Cullen: gabby@moylans.com

Contact Info

Company: Marin Brewing Company
Contact: Gabby Cullen


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Rogue Morimoto Soba Ale – Rogue Brewing Company – Newport, OR


Once again, we turn attention to the Rogue Brewing Company from Newport, Oregon. Does it seem like I keep coming back to Rogue? Does it seem like I dabble slightly in other Breweries, but that my attention keeps coming back to the pride of Newport, Oregon? You know what, I believe it does. Why do I keep turning to them…the answer is simple, quality. Rogue uses only the finest ingredients, and the results are some of the best brews around. Tonight, we’re turning our attention to one of their signature series, their Morimoto Soba Ale. Let’s take a closer look at the brew.

THE BEER:

Launched in the spring of 2003, the signature series from Rogue is the pride and joy of internationally acclaimed chef Masaharu Morimoto. Chef Morimoto is probably best known as a star on the Food Network Series…The Iron Chef. Although I’m not a big fan of the Iron Chef, I certainly am a fan of well-made beer, so I’m more than willing to see what the good Chef has brought us today.

Soba, also known as buckwheat, is a staple of Japanese cuisine, primarily for its nutritional value. The Soba produces a fruit, which is milled and then roasted more or less like a grain. That makes this particular brew slightly different than others, but just a good. The soba is one of the primary malts.

THE STATS:

Style: Specialty Grain      
Food Pairing: Seafood, Poultry
Tasting Notes: The delicate flavor of our roasted Soba brings a nutty finish to this light and refreshing ale. A perfect accompaniment to lighter cuisine.

8 Ingredients:
Malts: Roasted Soba, Metcalf, C-15, Great Western 2-Row
Hops: Cascade, Perle
Yeast & Water: Pacman Yeast & Free Range Coastal Water.

Specs:
12º PLATO
30 IBU
75.2 AA
36º Lovibond

World Class Package: Draft, 22oz Bottle

THE BREWERY:

When I think of Craft Breweries, Rogue is the industry standard that others are measured against. Based out of Newport, OR, Rogue beers are available in just about every corner of the United States. They are well known for producing dozens of specialty brews such as their famous Dead Guy Ale, as well as their not-so-famous Voodoo Bacon Maple Ale. Since they began operations out of a basement in 1988, on a scenic little stream called Lithia Creek, they have been pushing boundaries in both creative instincts, as well as the marketing of their products.

But what truly sets them apart from their competitors are the standards that they set for themselves. Rogue sees the brewing process as an art form, which should be given as much attention as possible. To them, it’s not just about profit, but about art as well.


THE WEBSITE:


THE REVIEW:

The anticipation is killing me. I crack the seal on this one, and I’m greeted with a wonderful malty scent. The pour is clean, producing a golden coloring, with a nice, thick head, trapping in those floral scents. This is one good-looking brew. The first sip hints at a seriously fresh taste, light on the palate, and easy to drink. When I was in the shop picking this beauty up, there was a couple discussing the merits of Rogue. The woman was saying how everything from them was dark and heavy, and that if her husband/boyfriend didn’t like that, then they should go to another brand. This is not the case with the Morimoto Soba. It’s light and refreshing, more in line with a true “session” beer. If I could find that couple again, I would set them straight. I took my time with it, savoring every last sip, and I truly enjoyed every drop. It was fantastic.

THE RATING:

9/10 – Fantastic


Brewery Profile - Dirty Bucket Brewing Company in Woodinville, WA


Dirty Bucket Brewery is a small brewery in Woodinville founded by brothers Steve and Chris Acord, along with Steve’s wife Sharon. The brewery opened in April of 2012. Dirty Bucket Brewery features a comfortable tasting room where visitors can enjoy pints of Dirty Bucket beers. Kids are welcome. They’ve even got rootbeer on tap.

The original seeds for the brewery were planted when Steve Acord was stationed in Hawaii. A California native, he served in the National Guard. He spent some time stationed in Italy during the Kosovo conflict and eventually found himself in Hawaii where one of his neighbors introduced him to home-brewed beer. He got the bug and was soon brewing his own beer. Acord’s military career ended in 2005 and he went to work for Costco. That is how he ended up in Washington.

Dirty Bucket Brewery is located in a light industrial park in Woodinville. The diminutive space features a cozy tasting room and a garage door that opens to a roped-off outdoor seating area. A half-wall separates the brewery from the tasting room.

Acord brews the beer on a Sabco BrewMagic system: the same kind of system that Sam Calagione used to start Dogfish Head Brewery in Delaware. Steve’s brother Chris, an artist by trade, produces the logos and artwork. Steve’s wife Sharon manages the financial end of things. Dirty Bucket Brewery is truly a family affair.

Dirty Bucket Brewery
19151 144th Ave NE
Woodinville, WA 98072

Hours

Friday 4:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Saturday 12:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Sunday 12:00  p.m.  – 5:00 p.m.


Kona Fire Rock Pale Ale – Kona Brewing Company – Kailua Kona, HI


I don’t want to give the impression that I’ve veered off course. I fully realize that my mission is supposed to be focused on West Coast Breweries, but I feel that it would be criminal if I didn’t include Breweries from Hawaii. And although the Kona Brewing Company is fairly mass-produced, they are considered one of the better offerings from the Islands. This will be my first taste of the Kona offering, and I certainly hope that it lives up to the hype. My selection today is the Fire Rock Pale Ale, a brew that claims to be a “Hawaiian-style” Pale Ale. I have no idea what that means, but I’m certainly game to give it a shot. Let’s take a closer look at the brew.

THE BEER:

The Kona Brewing Company markets their Fire Rock Pale Ale as a “Hawaiian-style” Pale Ale, and although it does seem enticing, it appears that it’s nothing more than an American Pale Ale, brewed on the islands (in most cases, Kona isn’t even brewed on the islands). Okay, so that isn’t very impressive, but let’s take a look at the brew. It claims a vibrant mix of specialty malts, with a nice citrus background and generous amounts of Cascade and Mount Hood Hops (now we’re getting somewhere). I’m looking forward to cracking this one open, as it’s showing a fair amount of promise.

THE STATS:

BITTERNESS: 35 IBU
ALCOHOL BY VOLUME: 5.9%
ORIGINAL GRAVITY: 14.0 P
MALTS: PALE, WHEAT, MUNICH, HONEY
HOPS: GALENA, CASCADE, MT.HOOD

THE BREWERY:

In February of 1995, the Kona Brewing Company began operations. It was first started by father and son team Cameron Healy and Spoon Khalsa. Since then, production has mushroomed by over 585%. That’s a pretty serious increase, and it’s a testament to just how committed they are to bringing their product to the masses.

In 2009, the Kona Brewing Company was ranked #14 in sales of all craft brewers in the US (approximately 1,450 at the time) according to the Brewers Association. Kona's beers are available in twenty-five States as well as the District of Columbia.

The Kona Brewing Company supports numerous community events throughout the year, including surf and surf-inspired events as well as causes that celebrate the love of people, land and water.

In late 2009, the Hawaii Organic Farmers Association (HOFA) granted Kona Brewing with organic certification for its Oceanic Organic Saison, the first certified organic beer in the state of Hawaii.

The Kona Brewing Company is very active in the community, and continues to be an advocate of environmental awareness and sustainability through the continued use of solar panels to provide 900 kWh of electricity, which allows the Kona Brewing Company nearly 60 percent offset of its current electricity usage.

THE WEBSITE:


THE REVIEW:

I had no idea what to expect when I picked up a six-pack of the Fire Rock Pale Ale. I had always passed it up in light of something that was a little less “mainstream”, but today, I felt like going out on a limb and giving it a shot. As I cracked the seal, I was amazed at just how little carbonation there was. The pour was slick, but it produced absolutely no head. The beer seemed watery and flat. The brewery spoke of floral scents and a hoppy taste, but truthfully, I found neither. The brew was bitter, but with very little flavor. I thought that maybe I had gotten hold of a bad bottle, but the process was repeated throughout the entire six-pack. In the end, this was a beer with very little flavor. It wasn’t bad, but it certainly wasn’t good either. The coloring was nice, but it was flavorless.

THE RATING:

4/10 – Flavorless


Saturday, January 26, 2013

Brewery Profile - The Bellevue Brewing Company in Bellevue, WA


Bellevue was incorporated in 1953.  Since then, for some unknown reason, the beer consumed by its thirsty residents had always been brewed and shipped to Bellevue by breweries beyond city limits; from exotic, far away places such as Woodinville, Redmond, and Seattle.

It was this basic realization that compelled founders John Robertson and Scott Hansen to take action.  One dark, rainy afternoon in November 2009, John and Scott met to conceive of a local brewery that would one day produce fresh, world-class beer for its deserving residents.

On January 26, 2010, the entity to be known as the Bellevue Brewing Company was formed.  During the following two years, John and Scott worked diligently to create a solid business model, identify the real estate, design the brewery, procure the necessary licenses, and, most importantly, assemble the best brewing team possible.

On December 10th, 2012, the Bellevue Brewing Company opened its doors, the good people of Bellevue rejoiced, and a calm settled over the land.  Now, and forevermore, Bellevue has a locally owned craft brewery to call its own.

A little bit about John Robertson…

John is a longtime resident of Bellevue and he loves his city.  John is also very serious about craft beer both in terms of the artistry involved in creating world-class beers and also in terms of its inclusiveness.  He’s fond of extolling the virtues of craft beer, how it will save the world, its universal appeal, and its association with memorable times spent with friends and family.  John’s excitement and enthusiasm regarding craft beer is highly contagious.  Enjoy a pint with him and you’ll soon be a believer, too.

John spent more than 20 years working in commercial real estate finance before embarking on his craft beer journey.  This experienced proved to be very useful in terms of selecting the proper location, negotiating all of the various contracts, designing and building out the space, and completing the other million or so punch list items.

“People don’t realize how much they need to communicate with each other on a daily basis just to keep the world spinning.  Beer lubricates the vocal chords, thereby keeping the lines of communication open and the world spinning at the proper speed.”  - John Robertson

Opening Hours

4:00 pm - 11:30pm Mon. - Fri.
11:30 am - 11:30 pm Sat.
11:30 am - 9:00 pm Sun.
All ages welcome until 9:00 pm

On the web at www.bellevuebrewing.com