Brewers Association

Top Craft Breweries of 2013

The Brewers Association has released its annual list of the top 50 craft breweries. Boston Beer Company once again holds down the top spot, followed by Sierra Nevada Brewing Company and New Belgium Brewing Company.

Newcomers to the top ten include Duvel/Moortgat USA, the Belgian company that acquired Boulevard Brewing Company; and Brooklyn Brewing Company. They replace F.X. Matt Brewing Company and Harpoon Brewery, which rank 11th and 12th on the list.

The Friday Mash (Ale and Pi Edition)

Today is Pi Day, an annual celebration commemorating the mathematical constant. It’s celebrated today because Americans write the date as 3/14; and “3″, “1″, and “4″ are the three most significant digits of pi in decimal form. Ludwig recommends a beer, preferably a Real Ale, to go with your pi.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Boston, where Jim Koch invited survivors of last year’s Marathon bombing to his brewery, which is again brewing a special “26.2″ ale to raise funds for those injured last year.

A company in Canada plans to brew a “recovery ale” for athletes. It’s called “Lean Machine”; and it has 77 calories, 0.5 percent alcohol, and contains nutrients, antioxidants, and electrolytes.

Jonas Bronck’s Beer Company has tapped into New York tradition with an egg cream stout. An egg cream contains milk, chocolate syrup, and seltzer water–but no eggs.

A Wisconsin lawmaker has introduced a bill that would create a state Beer Commission. It has the backing of the state’s breweries.

Charlie Papazian, head of the Brewers Association, has decided to discontinue the Beer City USA competition because it has “served its purpose.” Grand Rapids won last year’s competition.

investor C. Dean Metropoulos, who bought Pabst Brewing Company four years ago, is reportedly considering a sale of the company, which could be worth as much as $1 billion.

Finally, John Verive, a food writer for the Los Angeles Times, explains why the classic tulip glass is the only glass you’ll need. It’s versatile, supports the beer’s head, and holds in its aromas.

Too Much of a Good Thing?

Some industry observers worry that the craft beer market might be getting saturated. Brad Tuttle of Time magazine cites two states where that could be happening. One is Vermont, which despite its small population, ranks 15th in overall craft-beer production and has the most craft breweries per capita in the U.S. However, the state’s beer production fell 2.5 percent from 2011 to 2012. The other is Indiana, where the number of craft breweries has tripled in just four years, and new brewers complain about the difficulty of getting their beers on tap at restaurants and bars.

On the other hand, Bart Watson, a staff economist for the Brewers Association, contends that there’s still plenty of room for growth. He points to Oregon, a mature craft beer market, where production still grew by 11 percent last year.

Putting Craft Beer on the Map

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.

The Top 50 Breweries

This week the Brewers Association released the list of America’s 50 largest craft breweries. Heading the list is the Boston Beer Company, followed by the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company; the New Belgium Brewing Company; The Gambrinus Company (best known for Shiner, but also brews BridgePort and Trumer); and Deschutes Brewery.

The BA points out that of the top 50 overall brewing companies, 39 are small and independent operations. It also notes that craft beer’s market share is over six percent, and that both volume and dollar sales are at an all-time high.

The Friday Mash (Ball Four Edition)

On this day in 1939, Jim Bouton was born. Bouton, who pitched for the New York Yankees and several other clubs, is best known for Ball Four, a tell-all account of a major leaguer’s life. The book, which infuriated the baseball establishment when it was published, has become a classic.

And now…Play Ball!

We begin in Cleveland, where the Indians are trying to attract fans by rolling back the price of beer for the upcoming season. A 12-ounce domestic brew will cost $4. Want a hot dog with your beer? It’ll cost you $3.

Celebrity chef Rick Bayless plans to create a new, Latin-themed beer. He’s working with Crown Imports, the company that distributes Corona and Negra Modelo in the United States.

It’s never too early to plan your beer travel, and Robin Fuchs, the founder of Beer Tours USA, has some suggestions: the five best small-brewery tours.

The 2013 Major League Soccer season is underway, and Portland Timbers fans can cheer their team on with Green & Gold Kolsch brewed by Widmer Brothers.

The Brewers Association has added Adambier and Grätzer to its Style Guidelines. The two newcomers bring the BA’s list of recognized beer styles to 142.

Where is John Hall, the former brewmaster at Goose Island Brewing Company, these days? He owns the Virtue Cider Company in Fennville, Michigan.

Finally, if you’re really lazy, and have $1,150 to blow, GrinOn Industries has something for you: an armchair that refills your beer from the bottom up. You’ll still have to arrange your own trips to the bathroom.

Choose the Right Glass

It’s Saturday, and we know you’re going to have some beer today. Here’s a gentle reminder from the Brewers Association about how your choice of glassware can make that beer even more satisfying:

Choose the Right Glass from Brewers Association on Vimeo.

The Friday Mash (Winter’s Tale Edition)

Winter is here! The southern solstice occurred at 11:12 am Greenwich Mean Time. Both ancient and modern cultures have marked the first day of winter, and the lengthening days that follow it, with rituals and celebrations–and the liberal consumption of beer.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Nashville, where country singer Thomas Rhett has stirred up a hornets’ nest with his new single, “Beer With Jesus.” It stands at number 21 on the country charts.

The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal will hear a complaint against Earls Restaurants, which serve Albino Rhino beer. Earls says the name is derived from an animal, not people suffering from albinism.

Why did St. Sixtus monastery allow Westvleteren 12 to be sold in the United States? The monastery needed a new roof, and the monks knew American beer geeks would pay big bucks for their ale.

One of the beer world’s trends of 2012 is nanobreweries. These pint-sized breweries (pun intended) require less than $100,000 to start, and their product serves as “a liquid business card.”

From the Odd Couple Department: in La Crosse, Wisconsin, City Brewery is turning biogas into electric power, then sending some of it to Gundersen Lutheran Health System, which is aiming to achieve energy independence.

Ever have problems transporting multiple growlers? Now there’s a solution: Growler on Board, which not only holds three growlers, but also keeps them from bumping into one another.

Finally, the Brewers Association’s definition of “craft brewery” didn’t sit well with the August Schell Brewing Company. The 152-year-old brewery blasted the BA for excluding it because its grain bill includes a small amount of corn.

This just in: Ludwig wants you to know that he’s going on vacation for the Christmas holidays. The lion limo will arrive Sunday, and he doesn’t expect to get back until after New Year’s. In the meantime, keep quaffing those holiday ales.

The Friday Mash (Pop Art Edition)

Today is the 75th birthday of Peter Max, the pop artist who’s famous for his use of psychedelic shapes and color palettes. Max has been the official artist for the World Cup, the Grammy Awards, and the Super Bowl…but, so far as we know, no beer festivals.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Frederick, Maryland, where the Monocacy Brewing Company has released its first Civil War commemorative beer, an English session bitter called Antietam Ale.

Kendall Jones of the Washington Beer Blog describes a weekend beer getaway in Victoria, British Columbia. Final stop on the tour: Garrick’s Head Pub, which has been serving beer since 1867.

Congratulations to Brown Distributing Company, of West Palm Beach, Florida, which was honored as the Craft Beer Distributor of the Year by the National Beer Wholesalers Association.

According to the Beer Institute, New Hampshire ranks first in per-capita beer consumption. Rounding out the top five: North Dakota, Montana, South Dakota, and Nevada.

From the Department of Higher Zymurgical Education: Arizona State University offers a course called The Cultural and Chemical History of Beer. The course has been rated “challenging.”

A British microbrewery has developed a freeze-resistant beer for researchers working in in Antarctic cold. The beer, an India pale ale, is packaged in plastic, vacuum-sealed bottles for the journey to the Pole.

Finally, Scott, who blogs at The Brew Club, serves up 12 Things You Don’t Know About Your Beer. For instance, there are more calories in a pint of Budweiser than in a pint of Guinness.

The Winners: America’s Top Beer Bars

The results are in. Nearly 30,000 people voted for America’s top beer bar, a competition sponsored by the Brewers Association’s CraftBeer.com. The overall winner was Mekong Restaurant in Richmond, Virginia. HopCat in Grand Rapids, Michigan, was the runner-up, and The Thirsty Monk in Asheville, North Carolina, finished third.

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