June 2010

Hey! What Happened to the Hops?

Sierra Nevada Brewing Company CEO Ken Grossman comments on the disappearance of hops from macrobrewed beer (hat tip: Jeff Alworth of Beervana):

Fun fact: Coors, once the hoppiest national-brand beer, is down to a puny 6.5 IBUs.

Beer-Centered Series to Air on Discovery Channel

This fall, the Discovery Channel plans to air a new series, BREWED, “exploring the culture, history and variety of beer.” The star of the new show is none other than Dogfish Head Craft Brewery founder Sam Calagione. The show’s crew will follow Sam inside the brewery and when he “hits the road for the ultimate beer tasting road trip.”

As luck may have it, Paul just bought a four-pack of Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA. One of them will certainly be cracked open during the premiere episode.

Update (7/7): BREWED is now expected to air next January, not this fall as we’d been led to believe.

New Abita Beer Aids Oil Spill Victims

Louisiana-based Abita Brewing has established a charitable fund that will help Gulf Coast residents and the environment recover from the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The centerpiece of Abita’s fund-raising effort is a new beer called SOS (for “Save Our Shore”).

Abita’s website describes the new beer as an “unfiltered Weizen Pils is made with Pilsner and Wheat malts. It is hopped and dry hopped with Sterling and German Perle hops. It has a brilliant gold color, a sweet malt flavor, and a pleasant bitterness and aroma.” SOS will generate 75 cents for every bottle sold. The website goes on to describe SOS as “a message in a bottle…a distress signal for the troubled waters of our Gulf Coast.”

Even if the beer isn’t available where you live, you can still help out by buying SOS T-shirts, baseball caps, and lapel pins, or donating to the SOS fund.

GABF Tickets Now Available to the Public

Earlier this afternoon (Ludwig lives in Michigan), the Brewers Association began the public sale of tickets to this year’s Great American Beer Festival, which will take place September 16-18 in Denver. The GABF website has information on the availability and price of these tickets, which are expected to go fast.

Got a minute? Here’s the Brewers Association’s 60-second-long video of last year’s GABF:

Much Ado Over a Label

We ran across an interesting story about a beer label in BeerNews.com. It involves Hangin’ Frank India Pale Ale, a product of Short’s Brewing Company of Bellaire, Michigan.

Like many beer names, Hangin’ Frank is derived from a local legend. In this case, it’s Frank Fochtman, the former owner of the City Park Grill in Petoskey, who hanged himself a century ago. It is said that Fochtman’s ghost, Hangin’ Frank, haunts the establishment to this day.

The label, which depicts a hanging man, stirred up a hornets’ nest at BeerAdvocate.com after “Aesopsgato” claimed that Frank looked like a lynching victim. Other BAers jumped in and, after the thread drew more than 250 replies, forum moderators locked it.

Short’s quickly reacted to the outcry, announcing that it had redesigned the label to make Frank look Caucasian. Whether that design change ends the controversy remains to be seen.

For the Love of Beer

“For the Love of Beer” is the name of the film being produced by Oregon-based documentarian Allison Grayson. It focuses on the women in the beer community, including writer Lisa Morrison; Sarah Pederson, the owner of Saraveza; and Tonya Cornett, the brewmaster at Bend Brewing.

Take a look for yourself. . If you like what you see, you might want to send Grayson a few dollars to enable her to complete the documentary:

The Friday Mash (Bar Code Edition)

Thirty-six years ago on this date, a Universal Product Code was scanned for the first time to sell a package of Wrigley’s chewing gum at the Marsh Supermarket in Troy, Ohio.

You won’t find any UPC codes on The Mash…because it comes to you free of charge!

It’s Craft Beer Week in Ontario, and Kingston-based blogger Alan McLeod (A Good Beer Blog) fills us in on how his province’s beer tradition started.

In just two years, Jacksonville-based Bold City Brewery has signed up more than a hundred tap accounts and is about to up its production to 7,000 barrels a year.

Who are Herb and Helen Haydock? They just might be the nation’s biggest breweriana collectors.

Charlie Papazian has the latest on independent hop farmers and how tough a business they’re gotten into.

For his 20th ascent of Mount Everest, Apa Sherpa brought some craft beer to the summit: Bohemian Brewery’s Viennese Lager and Czech Pilsener, imported from Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.

No, Zane Lamprey isn’t an invasive Great Lakes fish. He’s a comedian who’s on the Drinking Made Easy tour. Jay Wilson of Brewvana sat down and chatted with Zane.

Finally, The Onion pokes fun at a Heineken commercial.

In 1895, All Helles Broke Loose

Don Russell, a/k/a “Joe Sixpack,” went back in time for his most recent column. Back in time more than a century, when Munich’s brewing establishment was fuming over a plague called Pilsner. As the owner of the Augustiner Brewery put it, “I take the view…that the reputation of Munich beers has been greatly damaged by the brewing of pale beers.”

By 1895, however, Spaten–the brewery that invented the original Oktoberfest style–concluded that “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em,” and brought out Munich Helles. That beer looked like Pilsner, but its signature was a malty character rather than Pilsner’s Saaz hops (Helles was brewed with Tettnang and Hallertau hops). Russell explains that Spaten added those hops for balance, not bitterness, because Munich’s water gives hops an overly harsh tang.

Ruminations on Philly Beer Week

After a ten-day-long Philly Beer Week, the city’s beer journalists are having their say about this year’s festivities:

Brew Lounge’s Bryan Kolesar recounts the highlights and lowlights of this year’s Philly Beer Week.

Andy Crouch wonders whether PBW has gotten too big, and goes on to explain why this year’s edition left a bad taste in some brewers’ mouths.

Jack Curtin weighs the pros and cons of keeping the event in June versus holding it in March.

Finally, Stephen Lyford shares some Beer Week photos. Actually, lots and lots of Beer Week photos.

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

It’s summertime, which means it’s time for Maryanne and Paul to hit the road and take in some baseball at the old ballpark. Not to mention a cold beer or two. Over the weekend, they stumbled upon an article by Kristine Hansen of Wine Enthusiast magazine. She knows where to find craft beer at major league parks.

Of course, no trip to the ballpark is complete without a trip to the concession stand, and that’s where David LaHuta comes in. LaHuta, who writes for Travel + Leisure magazine, directs us to the best ballpark eats. The best of the best, by the way, can be found at AT&T Park in San Francisco.

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