Natalie Cilurzo is mad as hell and won’t take it anymore. “It” refers to black-market sales of hard-to-find beers on sites such as eBay and Craigslist for many times what the original buyer paid the brewery for them. Cilurzo, the co-owner and president of Russian River Brewing Company, complained to California regulators after seeing Russian River’s beers offered online at heavily marked-up prices. The regulators set up a meeting with eBay, which agreed to take steps to prevent users from selling alcoholic beverages online.
Breweries like Russian River need the websites on their side. Even though it’s illegal to sell alcohol without a license, the probability of getting caught is low because the police don’t have the resources to go after violators.
Thirteen years ago, I drove Paul to the airport, where he hopped a plane to California and headed up U.S. 101 to California’s wine country. Not to visit the wineries but to try the microbrews that, for the most part, weren’t available back home. Since then, both of us have made several trips to the San Francisco area, and the beer has gotten even better. In fact, northern California has become a craft beer destination in its own right.
Tim O’Rourke of the San Jose Mercury News recently fired up his app, enlisted a designated driver, and journeyed north along the NorCal Ale Trail. His travels began at the Marin Brewing Company in Petaluma, and wound their way up the coast to the Mad River Brewing Company in Humboldt County. Even if you’re not from California, you’ll recognize many of the breweries O’Rourke visited along the way. They’ve become that popular.
When Maryanne and I first visited the Continent 20 years ago, friends advised us to “drink beer in beer countries, drink wine in wine countries.” France definitely qualifies as a wine country, but today, you can find good beer in that county’s capital. Really good beer.
In today’s Daily Beast, Jeff Campagna describes a recent beer expedition to Paris. His first stop was the city’s 18th Arrondissement, where Brassere de la Goutte d’Or (in English, “drop of gold”) is making craft beer, some of which uses ingredients bought in local markets. According to Gouette d’Or’s brewer, Thierry Roche, the French are no strangers to locally-brewed beer, despite two world wars and industry consolidation. Roche believes the time has come for Parisians to take up this tradition again.
On this day in 1837, Canadian journalist and politician William Lyon Mackenzie wrote an essay calling for a rebellion against the United Kingdom. During the 1990s, the Upper Canada Brewing Company honored him with an ale called “Rebellion.”
And now….The Mash!
We begin in Hyde Park, Utah, whose heavily Mormon population voted nearly 2-to-1 to allow beer sales. The town’s mayor said it was the most emotional issue he’s ever seen.
Spain’s Catalonia has its own language, customs, and cuisine. If brewery owner Alex Padro has its way, it will soon have its own beer as well.
Sonoma County, California, the birthplace of modern craft brewing, boasts 20 craft breweries. The breweries have a significant economic impact, and have become a tourist attraction.
Heady Topper, a double IPA made by The Alchemist brewery, is so popular that the brewery’s owners had to close their retail store after neighbors complained about rowdy customers.
Patagonia, the outdoor clothing company, is celebrating its 40th anniversary with the California Route Lager. It’s a California common beer made by the New Belgium Brewing Company.
Garrett Oliver talked with the New York Times about his favorite places to drink beer in Sweden. Oliver has teamed up with Carlsberg to start The New Carnegie Brewery in Stockholm.
Finally, two men are raising funds on Kickstarter.com for The Beer Tusk, a device for those who like to “shotgun” their beers. It’s safer than a key, and less likely to make the beer backsplash.
Most readers of this blog are familiar with the role women once played in brewing, and how the rise of commercial brewing pushed them to the sidelines. But times are changing. Slowly but surely, women are raising their profile in the craft brewing industry. Krystal Baugher, writing in Atlantic magazine, explains why this is happening:
Thanks to the “good food” movement, a push to recognize local, organic, and high quality-flavored food and beverages, there has been a steady increase in craft beer at the expense of large-scale facilities. Because of its emphasis on creative flavors, food pairings, and the DIY hobby culture it steams from, craft beer gives women slightly more opportunity for inclusion.
That said, Baugher concedes that many men still don’t take their female counterparts seriously. She points out that Colorado has 154 breweries, but only ten women are known to be part of the main brewing process. There’s work to be done.
No, “chili and frosty” isn’t today’s weather report. Those were once the signature items of Wendy’s restaurants, the first of which opened on this day in 1969. Founder Dave Thomas named after it after his daughter Melinda Lou Thomas, known to her family as Wendy.
And now….The Mash!
We begin in Germany, where an official of the national health system infuriated psychotherapists by suggesting that a bottle of beer might be more effective than a trip to the couch.
A store in Louisville sells hand-rolled cigars seasoned with Samuel Adams beer. They combine the beer’s sweetness and maple and vanilla flavors with a spicy flavor from the tobacco blend.
In many U.S. states, anti-drunk driving groups have put an end to drive-through beer stores, but they’re still common in Mexico. Some are operated by the Modelo brewery’s parent company.
Last week, the carrier U.S.S. Gerald R. Ford was launched. Founders Brewing Company, located in Ford’s hometown of Grand Rapids, released a special ale to celebrate.
Next February, the University of Kentucky will host a one-day seminar on the importance of beer writing to the craft beer industry. Garrett Oliver is the headline speaker.
Alan Newman, the founder of the Magic Hat Brewing Company, has gone back to basics. His Just Beer Project is a brewery that focuses on traditional beers. His first offering is a session-strength IPA.
Finally, some gift ideas for the beer lover who has everything. Paste Magazine’s ten best items made out of beer cans include a Christmas tree, a corset, and a World War I biplane.
On this day in 1889, Montana was admitted to the Union as the 41st state. Montana, with 36 craft breweries and a population of just over one million, ranks third in number of breweries per capita, behind only Vermont and Oregon. No wonder its nickname is the “Treasure State.”
And now….The Mash!
We begin in San Francisco, where a company called ReGrained is using spent grain from beer brewing to make granola bars. The bars also contain Ghirardelli chocolate and other local ingredients.
Bottle-share parties have gotten much more sophisticated over the years. Portland, Oregon, writer Lucy Burningham sampled rare beer and gourmet food at a high-end gathering in her hometown.
Why are holiday beers already on the shelves? Because early rollouts work. Sales of seasonal beers have risen by 15 percent or more in the past few years.
Cassava is the second most-consumed source of carbohydrates in sub-Saharan Africa. Multi-national breweries are buying the crop from farmers and using it to brew beer.
Japanese baseball players have their version of America’s post-game Champagne celebration: a victory beer fight in which players spray one another. The tradition dates back to 1959.
Craft beer might be the next big tourist attraction in the Tampa Bay area. Four micros have recently opened in St. Petersburg alone, and Tampa’s Cigar City Brewing Company has a nation-wide following.
Finally, it has been a year since Hurricane Sandy heavily damaged the Jersey Shore. Flying Fish Brewing Company’s “F.U. Sandy” beer has generated $75,000 in donations to a number of New Jersey charities.
Two years ago, Minnesota lawmakers passed the “Surly Bill,” which allows the Surly Brewing Company and other breweries to open tasting rooms. Last week, Surly broke ground on its much-awaited “destination brewery” in Minneapolis.
The $20 million complex is located on an “environmentally challenged” site near the light-rail line and TCF Bank Stadium. In addition to the brewery infrastructure, the complex will include a full-service restaurant, a 300-seat beer hall and beer garden, and an event center. Construction is expected to be completed by late next year. Surly intends to keep its present location open and brew a range of experimental beers there.
Seventy-two years ago today, photographer Ansel Adams took a black-and-white photograph of a moonrise over the town of Hernandez, New Mexico. The image has been called “a perfect marriage of straight and pure photography.”
And now….The Mash!
We begin in St. Louis, where Busch Stadium beer vendor Patrick Ferris donated all of his tips from Game 3 of the World Series to a family whose seven-year-old son was killed in a house fire.
Hard-line Islamists in Indonesia are pushing for national alcohol prohibition. Many localities in the world’s fourth most-populous country have already banned the sale of alcohol.
Tool time! In China’s Shandong Province, 20 helicopter pilots tried to to open a beer bottle…using bottle openers mounted to the skids of their choppers.
Winchester, Kentucky, is the official birthplace of beer cheese, and the city now offers a self-guided tour of businesses connected with this distinctive Kentucky product.
Now that marijuana is legal in Washington, the Redhook Ale Brewery is teaming up with a Seattle micro to produce a hemp-infused beer called–you guessed it–Joint Effort.
This might win you a bar bet. The nation’s first brewery to can its beer was the Kreuger Brewery of Newark, New Jersey. The cans were so popular that Kreuger took market share away from national breweries.