Gov. Bev Perdue with the spoils of war, via Mountain XPress on Flickr
Unofficial (for now) North Carolina Craft Beer Goodwill AmbassadorWin Bassett of ncbrewing.org stops by to discuss the monumental announcement that Sierra Nevada Brewing will be building an east coast production facility just south of Asheville, NC. We discuss the incentive package, the practical and philosophical implications the development might have on local brewing culture, the impending New Belgium announcement, the economic benefits to the region, and more.
We also get into some of the state’s other beer destinations in the Triangle , Charlotte, and Coastal regions, as well as Slouch’s impending hero’s welcome* to visit the state’s myriad breweries and bottleshops.
Also of note: Win has been a leading advocate for getting his local legislators to sign on as sponsors to HR 1236 Small BREW Act. Where do your representative stand on this bill that reduces the tax excise rate for craft breweries that produce less the 60,000 barrels annually? Maybe you should call and ask them!
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Two Brothers Brewing in Warrenville, Illinois, is geographically the closest “major” production brewery to my suburban Chicago hometown, so when they announce big news, I’m always quite excited for them. Throw in the fact that the brewery’s founding brothers Jim and Jason Ebel share my alma mater, and you get a brewery that I’ve tried to support whenever possible ever since I first got into craft beer. This has included a number of trips to the brewery-adjoining tap house and special events like the yearly release of their DIPA “Hop Juice.”
I was excited, then, to see the brewery announce via its Facebook page* Tuesday afternoon that it would officially begin releasing canned brews. And surprisingly, it’s not even one of their year-round brews or a flagship beer like Domaine DuPage that they’re releasing! Instead, it’s an entirely new beer called Outlaw IPA. It’s something quite unexpected from a brewery that already makes a few different IPAs, but indicative of Two Brothers’ obvious confidence in their product and in their fans.
Co-founder, CTO, and Lead Developer Greg Avola of the social beer sharing service Untappd stops by to discuss their newest feature- Brewery Pages, where drinkers will be able to follow breweries of their choosing and interact with them directly after checking into a brew. Over 300 breweries have already claimed their pages, including: Dogfish Head, Stone, Bell’s, Boston Beer Co. and many more. Greg explains the mechanics and benefits from both the consumer and brewery perspective, and talks about other changes and improvements they are working on for the popular service.
For the first time in a long, long time, I am all out of beer. Well, I’ve still got plenty of vintage stuff and special goodies in the basement that I’m holding onto, but for everyday beer the fridge is completely empty. To be honest, It’s a refreshing feeling. No more one-offs from six packs that were less than stellar. No more bombers of seasonal ales that I know I should have knocked back a few months ago. Now I’ve got la tabula rasa, a fresh sheet of ice, an empty vessel that’s yearning to be filled with glorious suds from this land and the next. As I head off to the package store it’s nice to know that I’m not just adding to a stockpile that I know I can’t get through in the weekend. New day, new weekend, new beer. Of course, I have no idea what I’ll be drinking tonight until I get to the store. I know I need some IPA’s, need a porter to get through the snow, need some local New England brews so I feel good about supporting the little guy. I’m thinking maybe a Geuze for a late nightcap. Any suggestions? What have you guys been enjoying lately? And, most importantly…
I think about it a lot, but then I’m reminded that I live outside of Boston, and that to start a new brewery here would be like opening a new steakhouse in Omaha. Only it would be a lot more expensive. And I’d probably have to pay somebody some graft along the way to get the required permits before the year 2016. And I’d fail because I don’t know what I’m doing. I often need to be reminded of all these things so that I stick to drinking beer, writing about it, and remaining in my marriage.
I also need to be reminded (mostly because I drink too much beer) that not everyone lives outside of Boston (although it sure seems like it during the morning commute). Apparently, some people live in places other than the Boston metro area. In fact, I just learned there are even people who live in southern West Virginia*
Ryan from the Chicago-based blog Guys Drinking Beer checks in to talk about the difficult circumstances Anheuser-Busch InBev now finds itself with the Illinois Secretary of State’s office, when it was recently revealed their wholly-owned subsidiary WEDCO (owners of large ABI distributor City Beverage) has never been registered to do business in the state. We speculate on possible repercussions the upcoming decision could have on AB-InBev and the beer distribution landscape in Illinois, talk about the recent influx of exciting new breweries in the state, and get an update from a local on how Goose Island is perceived since they were acquired by ABI.
Ladies and gentlemen, as I was listening to NPR this morning (technically JPR, the State of Jefferson’s public radio station), I was amazed to hear the following bit of trivia. The barrels have been tallied and the results are in: Yuengling, America’s oldest brewery, has surpassed the Boston Beer Company (maker of Samuel Adams Boston Lager, among many other beers) as the largest American beer maker. This title, long held by Anheuser-Busch (makers of the beer-like beverages Budweiser, Bud Light, and the much anticipated Bud Light Platinum) until they were sold to the Belgian beverage giant InBev a few years ago (which is clearly a waste of characters for me to repeat if you’ve ever read this blog before*), and more recently locked down by our friends in Boston, has finally been brought home to Pottsville, PA. Credit for breaking this story of course goes to the Allentown Morning Call (Lehigh Valley’s Newspaper).
I’d tell you more about Pottsville and Allentown (you know how I love geography lessons), but Wikipedia is currently blacked out to protest legislation that would significantly curtail freedom of information on the internet, and I’m utterly helpless without Wikipedia. Call your congressman. Seriously. Read the rest of this entry »
This yoga position is known as "Commander's Repose"
Since you are an Internet dweller, by now you have no doubt heard ofHR 3261, or SOPA (Stop Online Privacy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act). If you care about issues like this, I don’t need to explain that these bills were crafted by entertainment industry lobbyists to make file sharing more difficult for foreign websites hosting copyrighted material, but if enacted would for the first time regulate the United States Internet, making it unlawful to even link to an “offending” domain, breaking the model of an open Internet and putting us on par with some of the most restrictive governments in the world. If you don’t care about these issues, I just explained the gist of it in the previous sentence. Thousands of websites have vowed to “blackout” tomorrow in protest of these proposed legislation, including some of the largest and most innovative in the world: Wikipedia, Reddit, and Tumblr. Others such as Google plan to display links to protest information on their main banner.
No, we’re taking our outrage a step further. Tonight at midnight, in protest against SOPA and PIPA, the Aleheads will begin consuming copious amounts of high gravity craft beer and home brew. We are all aging men of varyingly unimpressive alcohol tolerances, but one thing is certain- as we continue to drink across this great country, one by one we will begin to Blackout. Read the rest of this entry »
I know, I know. There are a lot of breweries that have tried to raise money on Kickstarter. I know that funds are tight, the economy remains in the dumps, and we are most likely spiraling towards the collapse of modern industrial civilization. I know all this. Still, you should consider pledging some money to help our friends get Lucky Town Brewing off the ground. Brother Barley and I interviewed them last month, and here are ten damn good reasons for you to consider helping them out.
Plus in a peak oil, post-apocalyptic world, money will most likely hold no value. You might as well spend it now.
1. Mississippi makes Alabama’s beer laws look progressive.
It’s the final frontier for craft beer. 5% maximum ABV. Homebrewing is illegal. Self distribution is illegal. Thinking about beer is illegal. I think. Anyways, it’s bad. What do I look like, a lawyer?
2. There is only one (1!) production brewery in the state.
Lazy Magnolia. I like their Southern Pecan, but this is fucking ridiculous. Portland has 35 or-so breweries. I’m pretty sure this state can support another.
It has come to the attention of the Aleheads PR division that “the wife beater,” otherwise known as Stella Artois to those stateside, has been singled out by Portland Communications, an ABInbev hired Lobbying company, for termination. According to a recent article from the Independent:
Under the user name Portlander10 it (Portland) removed reference to Stella Artois from the Wikipedia page entitled “wife beater” and replaced it with a generic reference to lager or beer. Portland also tried to remove the reference to wife beater on the Wikipedia page for Stella Artois. But other users spotted the edit and reversed it. Read the rest of this entry »
With all of the coverage of the 2012 presidential election, I began, naturally, to wonder: if the candidates were beers, what beers would they be? The knee-jerk reaction is to say, “They’re all Bud Light/Miller Light/Beer 30. Done. Let’s move on.” However, as a scientist, I oft feel the need to peer deep into the darkness of the unknown, even if the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age (I also feel the need to blatantly rip off turn-of-the-century horror writers). Read the rest of this entry »
In honor of the Crimson Tide’s shutout over LSU in the NCAA Championship Game, I’m proud to present the next installment in our ongoing (but very sporadic) Alehead Nation series. So far we’ve given you the Alehead Map of America and Pennsylvania. Now here’s Alabama! This is a map showcasing all of the existing and upcoming breweries in the Yellowhammer State. There are currently 11 breweries operating or in the planning stages in Alabama. Not much relative to other states, but considering that there was only ONE operational brewery in the state just a few years ago, I’d say we’re making some serious progress.
As you’ll likely recall, I had a lot of fun a few weeks ago compiling a list of some of the worst brewery websites on the internet. We live in an age where having a good website with actual, useful information is an inarguable necessity in operating a successful business, so it was fascinating to see just how badly some of them fell flat. Whether it was not being updated since 2006, having no information on the products, or just being an aesthetic nightmare, there was a little something for everyone.
Of those breweries that were listed on my post, perhaps the very worst was a tiny brewery in Riverside, California, called Krash Brewery. The site combines elements of everything that made up my criteria of awful: Incomplete beer information, buttons that don’t go anywhere, garish layout and grating sound effects on any button you click, broken links and what appears to be inscrutable Japanese kanji sprinkled about at random. It’s got everything! Read the rest of this entry »
Slouch welcomes Jenn Coyle and Lindsey Herrema, founders of The Can Van to the show. What started as a business school project is turning into a mobile craft beer canning operation in Northern California that will go live this month. Join us as we talk about sustainability, the challenges of starting a small business, and of course canning delicious craft beer.
Sweet merciful crap, those were some long holidays we just suffered through. If you were lucky you got out of work early the day before the Christmas weekend, then you got that following Monday off, then you got the Monday after that off. That’s 3 shortened work weeks in a row - Unprecedented in my world. Judging by the comments we’ve been receiving, there has been a whole lot of drinking going on during this relaxed time period. While some of us are probably slowing down, I’m sure a few pops will make their way around tonight.
Beer bloggers love writing about breweries, brewpubs, bars, package stores, and beerfests. But there’s one facet of the beer industry we generally ignore…the wholesalers. There are a few reasons for this. First of all, distribution is an industry based on infrastructure and logistics. In other words, it’s kind of boring. Second, beer distribution is incredibly complex. Different states (hell, different COUNTIES) have wholly different distribution laws. Some allow breweries to self-distribute. Others require all breweries to sign on with a licensed wholesaler. When you combine an industry that is both legally complex AND prosaic, well…it’s no wonder you don’t hear a whole lot about the beer distribution industry in the blogosphere. Read the rest of this entry »
If you had told me yesterday that I would be reading a headline proclaiming the sale of St. Louis’ Schlafly Brewing in the afternoon and would later that evening be writing why it was a good thing, I probably wouldn’t have believed you. After all, Schlafly is a large company*, one that exists right in the shadow of Anheuser Busch, craft’s ancestral foe. It’s almost inevitable, then, that if you live around that area and see the words “Schlafly bought out,” your immediate reaction is going to be automatic, paralyzing terror that somehow, the AB eagle is swooping in to rend and tear a beloved local brewery assunder. But it turns out I needn’t have worried–or so it seems, anyway.
*The #42 largest U.S. craft brewery in 2010, which doesn’t take into account the 20% growth in volume the company experienced in 2011.
Schlafly has in fact laid out a template for every regional brewery that is considering its own “endgame.” This sale shows that it’s not impossible to sell a brewery without kowtowing to the big boys–that there is in fact a practical way to “sell out right” with respect to the company’s legacy. As covered in detail by St. Louis Post Dispatch beer writer Evan Benn (who was quite helpful during my beer trip to St. Louis earlier this year), Schlafly co-founders Tom Schlafly and Dan Kopman chose to avoid a sellout to a larger brewer like Anheuser, Miller-Coors or Tenth and Blake by selling a majority stake of the brewery to a group of 13 local investors. Read the rest of this entry »
Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagi ftagn. – In his house at R’lyeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming.
The translation of this phrase, scrawled on the bottom of the bottle by the half-caste hands of the conjurors responsible for brewing this vile and misbegotten fluid, was obtained in extremis from the captured members of two distinct ritual cults separated by thousands of leagues of earth and ocean. During his studies of the writings of Professor George Gammell Angell while at Miskatonic University in Arkham, Massachusetts, Professor Phineas Humulus Lager identified these cults as the Esquimau wizards of Slovakia, and the degenerate swamp-priests of Louisiana (this prior to his running mad and being confined to the Sanitorium of Saint Benedict of Nursia in Providence, Rhode Island).
Editor’s note: If you would like to skip the story you can scroll down to the actual tasting note at the end.
I dreamt I was at the bottom of this hill. It was a good dream.
Yesterday, I wrote about the levels of craft beer consumerism. The premise was essentially that everyone who walks into a bottle shop looking for beer can be put into a few categories based on how far along they are in their transition to becoming a full-fledged alehead.*
*i.e. insufferable beer snob
One characteristic of those who’ve made the transition to level 3 is that they tend to know when certain seasonal brews come out. Well, here’s what I’m going to be looking for over then next several weeks.* It’s not an exhaustive list by any means. It’s not meant to be. Most of these are beers from the larger or more prestigious regional breweries, and they happen to distribute their wares in my quiet hometown. I realize I’m missing a bunch, but I’d argue that this is a good start. Read the rest of this entry »