For the 11th straight year, Zymurgy magazine asked members of the American Homebrewers Association to vote for their favorite commercial beers. One again, homebrewers expressed a preference for hoppy beers, with India pale ales and imperial IPAs dominating the leaderboard. This year’s top five were Russian River Pliny the Elder, Bell’s Two Hearted Ale, Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA, Bell’s Hopslam Ale, and Ballast Point Sculpin IPA.
Stone Brewing Company and Russian River Brewing Company each had five beers in the top 50, followed by Sierra Nevada Brewing Company with four. Boston Beer Company had the best portfolio of beers, with 40 of their products earning votes from AHA members.
On this day in 1790, in Bourbon County, Kentucky, an American clergyman named Elijah Craig produced the first batch of whiskey distilled from corn. What better excuse to have a beer aged in a bourbon barrel?
And now….The Mash!
We begin in Cambridge, England, where the city’s first Bitcoin transaction recently took place. Andrew Bower bought a pint of beer at The Haymakers for just over 0.02 Bitcoins, or £1.55.
Can’t find a bottle opener? S.E. Smith of Networx.com to the rescue. He has 16 ways to open a beer bottle without one–and without damaging your teeth.
Japanese craft brewers might get a boost from their government’s decision to weaken the yen in an effort to stimulate the economy. A weak yen means higher prices for imported brands.
Fort Collins, Colorado, is one of the nation’s top beer destinations. For your enjoyment, the staff at FermentedlyChallenged.com has compiled a three-day guide to the city’s breweries and bars.
If you’re in the lower deck at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, listen for Mark Reiner, the singing beer vendor. He sings his personalized spiels to the tune of pop songs any fan would recognize.
Crikey! Residents of a Melbourne, Australia, suburb discovered their cellphones weren’t working. The problem? Radio waves emitted by a neighbor’s beer fridge.
Finally, craft beer returns to television this fall. The new Esquire Network will air a show titled “BrewDogs” starring James Watt and Martin Dickie, the founders of–you guessed it–BrewDog.
The New Yorker magazine took the newly-released 2012 data gathered by the Brewers Association, and made an interactive map out of it. The map allows the user sort states by number of breweries, annual production, year-on-year production growth, and breweries per 500,000 people; and to locate the 50 largest breweries, fastest-growing breweries, and breweries that opened in 2012.
Hat tip: Jay Brooks, keeper of the Brookston Beer Bulletin, who says:
Here’s an interesting video on craft beer by a Jeremy Williams entitled Craft Beer–A Hopumentary. What’s cool about it is that it features Ron Lindenbusch from Lagunitas, Craig and Beth from City Beer Store, Andy French from Southern Pacific Brewing, Zeitgeist, and homebrewer Nathan Oyler. My favorite factoid: craft beer represents 7% of the market, but employs 50% of the employees in the industry.
Twenty-two years ago today, Mount Pinatubo experienced the first of a series of eruptions. Those eruptions expelled so much particulate matter that temperatures fell by nearly 1 degree Fahrenheit world-wide, reducing the demand for beer.
And now….The Mash!
We begin in Spain, where a beer commercial has locals up in arms for an unusual reason: the actors committed the culinary offense of adding onions to paella.
Will the summer of 2013 be the summer of shandy? The beer and lemonade mix, first created for German bicyclists in 1922, has gained a following in North America.
First, Buffalo Wild Wings, now World of Beer. The fast-growing chain of beer bars is brewing its own-label beer. It’s a Belgian ale called C’est La Vie!
Jay Brooks posted an unusual infographic about the brewing process in his Brookston Beer Bulletin. It cites the various names given to beer in the process from grain to glass.
Now that craft brewers have revived oyster stout, what’s the next step? Lobster beer, of course. Redhook Brewing Company’s Black Lobstah Lager is made with New Hampshire lobsters.
Blair Robertson of the Sacramento Bee reports on his road trip to Chico, where he toured Sierra Nevada’s brewery and got to talk beer with famed brewmaster Steve Dresler.
Finally, former Philip Morris CEO Bill Howell passed away at the age of 85. Howell was the man who convinced millions of American men to drink a new beer called Miller Lite.
It’s sometimes easy to forget that craft brewing is a business, and that building a brand is just as important to your local micro as it is to the makers of Budweiser, Miller, and Coors.
Case in point: Crux Fermentation Project, a micro in Bend, Oregon. Larry Sidor, co-owner at this one-year-old operation, is considered one of the best brewers in the business. Paul Evers, one of Sidor’s partners, has a background in marketing and has created branding campaigns for several craft breweries. Evers contends that the idea that good beer speaks for itself is only half right. He says, “How is a beer supposed to speak for itself when it’s in a bottle on a shelf? You know you can do amazing things, but unless you’re building that bridge or connection to the consumer, they’re not going to find out about it.”
Evers goes on to say, “And it’s not just advertising. It’s not just packaging. It’s everything that that company does. It’s their employment policies, the trade policies that they adopt, what does the president say in a press release.”
Oliver Gray of LiteratureAndLibation.com gives us, “distilled from the hot mash of beer culture,” the ten archetypal craft beer drinkers. Gray describes himself as a mix between “The Appraiser,” a person who loves pretty much everything he tastes, “even beers that could potentially be toxic or cause a severe allergic reaction,” and “The Comparer,” a person “who’s on a mission to compile a mental database of every beer ever,” an obsession that makes him tough to hang out with.
Gray’s funniest category is “The Critic,” and we’ve seen our share of them in online beer forums. The Critic is “a roiling mess of negativity, who despite having downed some of the best beer in existence, cannot seem to say anything good about any beers. His rampant criticism of anything and everything beer related makes the people around him wonder if he actually likes beer at all, or if he just really likes to talk about how much he doesn’t like beer.” The Critic has tried more beers than people who say the love craft beer, but “no one has ever seen him actually enjoying a beer. The day he does, the universe might implode.”
The editor of Poor Richard’s Almanac discusses the virtues of Philly Beer Week:
On this day in 1819, Walt Whitman was born on Long Island. He is best known for his epic poem, Leaves of Grass, which he published with his own money in 1855. Whitman, who had strong political views, originally supported the temperance movement, but came to enjoy wine and Champagne later in life. Too bad craft beer hadn’t been invented yet.
And now….The Mash!
We begin in Germany, where brewers are worried that extracting natural gas by “fracking” threatens the purity of the water they use to make beer.
This summer, Rachel Dean of Cincinnati will be offering guided tours of her hometown’s microbreweries. Her tours will also include tasting and sensory education.
Philly Beer Week kicks off this evening, and SeriousEats.com has ten places to drink beer in the City of Brotherly Love.
After two years of delays, the 1990s boy band Hanson finally has its own beer. It’s called–what else?–Mmmhops, and it makes a cameo appearance in the film Hangover 3.
Fat Head’s Brewery, which has gained national acclaim, will build a brewpub in Portland, Oregon’s Pearl District. It will sell local micro products as well as its own beers.
A clever German, who apparently had a lot of time on his hands, has invented a device that can open 24 beer bottles at once.
Finally, ESPN’s DJ Gallo has a remedy for the less-than-hygenic conditions found in ballparks: drink beer, which might contain enough alcohol to kill those nasty bacilli.