September 2010

CNN Picks Five Fall Festivals

Beer festivals have gotten the attention of CNN Travel, which asked Todd and Jason Alstrom of fame to pick five October beer festivals. We’re pleased to find the Michigan Brewers Guild’s Detroit Fall Beer Festival on the list

Beer: The Final Frontier

This isn’t rocket science, but…

Astronauts4Hire, a non-profit space research corporation, is testing a beer suitable for consumption in space.

The beer itself (sorry, no tasting notes are available) is a joint venture between Saber Astronautics Australia and 4 Pines Brewing Company. It will be tested on board Zero Gravity Corporation’s modified Boeing plane, which flies a series of parabolic arcs that simulate weightlessness.

If this beer–pardon the pun–ever gets off the ground, the likely customers will be space tourists. Spring breakers, perhaps, if the drinking age up there is lower than 21.

Britain’s Cask Ale Revival Continues

In Britain, the latest Cask Report is out, and the numbers show that cask ale continues to gain fans–especially among women and younger drinkers.

According to the report, the cask ale market grew last year by five percent, compared to a two-percent decline in the UK’s total beer market; and it now accounts for 15.2 percent of beer sold in pubs. Foodies are helping the trend along, choosing cask ale instead of wine with their meal.

One other interesting finding involves Scotland, where the craft brewing segment is booming: last year, cask ale production rose by 31 percent.

If you’re interested in reading the entire report, you can find it here.


The full moon has been associated with all kinds of natural–and not-so-natural–phenomena. Including faster fermentation. Beer brewed by the light of a full moon is more potent, without the harshness that sometimes goes with the extra strength.

Brewery Caulier, a family-owned operation in a small Belgian town, took advantage of last week’s harvest moon to brew a batch of Paix-Dieu, a gold-colored beer expected to check in at 10% ABV. Roger Caulier, the brewery’s owner, came up with a nine-step process that involves a two-week secondary fermentation process inside the bottle, similar to the process of making Champagne.

The brewery plans to produce 12,000 bottles of Paix-Dieu. If the beer proves a success, part of a future batch might find its way to stores in America.

Canadian Brewing Awards

As part of Toronto Beer Week, the eighth annual Canadian Brewing Awards were announced on Friday night at the Cool Brewery in Etobicoke. This year’s competition was the largest ever, with 76 Canadian breweries entering beers in 31 style categories. Central City Brewery (Surrey, British Columbia) took home both Canadian Brewery of the Year and Canadian Beer Of The Year awards.

Follow the link for a complete list of winners.

Get Ready for New York Craft Beer Week

The folks at have ransacked the library of movie cliches to come up with this cheesy, but amusing, promo for New York Craft Beer Week:

The festivities, which opened yesterday, run through October 3. The New York Craft Beer website has all the details, including a full listing of events.

Time to Hit the Books

Martyn Cornell’s Amber, Gold and Black first appeared in electronic form two years ago, and Stan Hieronymus was one of the first to review it.

Charlie Papazian reviews Beer is Proof God Loves Us by Charles Bamforth, the Beer Prof.

Mention Latvia and beer doesn’t come to mind. But Atis Rektin has written a guide to his country’s beer (yes, it’s in English). Joe Stange, The Thirsty Pilgrim, reviews it.

Finally, better late than never. Here’s Canadian Beer News’s review of Brew North by Ian Coutts.

The Friday Mash (Guinness Edition)

On this date 285 years ago, Arthur Guinness was born. He used a £100 inheritance–a considerable sum of money in those days–to get into the brewing business; and in 1759, he signed a 9,000-year lease for his brewery at St. James’s Gate in Dublin. The rest is, literally, history.

And now…The Mash!

We begin with the winners of this year’s Samuel Adams Category 23 Longshot competition. They’re Richard Roper (Friar Hop Ale) and Rodney Kibzey (Blackened Hops beer).

At this year’s Oktoberfest, some beer halls are using stench-eating bacteria to combat the smell of stale beer. Cigarette smoke used to cover it up, but smoking is now verboten.

Attention New Englanders and imperial stout fans. Kate the Great Day 2011 is scheduled for March 7.

Believe it or not, commercial extract brewers are still out there.

Viking Brewing Company has sold its U.S. trademarked name “Viking” to a brewery in Iceland. Viking, whichis based in Dallas, Wisconsin, will mark the transaction with–what else?–a Viking funeral.

Detroiters, you’re on notice. A guerrilla marching band is roaming the area, and might make an impromptu appearance at a bar…or beer festival…near you.

We end on a sad note. Syracuse’s Clark’s Ale House will close its doors tomorrow. It has no immediate plans to reopen.

A Pint With Roger Protz

Few people make make enough money writing about beer to afford quitting their day job. But Britain’s Roger Protz is one of them. Recently, Protz sat down for an interview with Phil Mellows of the Morning Advertiser, which reports on the country’s pub trade.

To call Protz an interesting character would be an understatement. During the 1960s, he left the editorial staff of London’s Evening Standard to become the editor of the Socialist Worker. That wasn’t the best career move, but it led to a job at the Campaign for Real Ale. Protz was already a CAMRA member and his immediate boss had worked on the Standard with him.

Today, Protz calls himself a “green socialist,” and he remains a critic of the big breweries’ business practices. But he’s optimistic about craft beer in England, saying, “I think we’re about to turn a corner. Pubs are being saved by local communities. There’s a counter-culture.”

Protz’s writing includes two or three books that are “in the pipeline” and, of course, editing the 18th edition of CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide.

This Wasn’t in the Official Program, But…

Dave Keene, the owner of San Francisco beer bar Toronado, and his longtime girlfriend Jennifer Smith, got married at Saturday afternoon’s session of the Great American Beer Festival.

According to Jay Brooks, who was on hand for the nuptials:

The impromptu ceremony took place in front of the Russian River Brewery booth, with Vinnie Cilurzo as best man and Natalie Cilurzo as Jennifer’s maid of honor. Brett Joyce, president of Rogue Ales [and an ordained minister], officiated the ceremony.

He adds, “as far as I know this is the first impromptu wedding at GABF.”

Brooks’s post on the Brookston Beer Bulletin also links to a Flickr gallery from the wedding.

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