SB294, the “Gourmet Bottle Bill” will be on the Alabama House calendar this Thursday, May 3rd according to Free the Hops. Currently, Alabama law restricts beer sold in the state to 16-ounce containers or smaller. Alabama is the ONLY state in the US with this restriction on the books. SB294 changes that restriction to 25.4 ounces which would allow the sale of 22-ounce and 750-ml bottles, but NOT the more “controversial” 40-ounce bottles.
13 of the 41 “wet” counties in Alabama have actually changed their local laws to allow the sale of larger beer containers. However, the counties containing Alabama’s four largest cities and the majority of its citizens (Birmingham, Huntsville, Montgomery and Mobile) have not passed these laws. Passing SB294 would change the laws at a state-wide level which would allow the citizens in every wet county in Alabama to purchase large-format beer bottles and cans. Read the rest of this entry »
Los Angeles is a city of diversity, and this reflects a lot in what we eat here, but even more so in what we drink. LA is also a city of dreamers, of folks that punch in every day at gigs to pay the bills, but spend every other waking minute pursuing their passions, their reasons for waking up in the morning and putting on a tie and combing their hair. Some folks are fortunate enough to be able to have multiple passions in their life, and an even smaller slice of those folks who consider beer-making or teaching as those passions. Then, we have Henry Nguyen, who, while pursuing his goal of becoming a university professor, discovered that he really digs beer too, and decided, “Hey, why not do both for a living?” Read the rest of this entry »
Finally! The first official beer tasting from Chicago’s new Pipeworks Brewing Company. I’ve been watching them grow for what seems like forever, from the Kickstarter beginnings, to our first conversation at Dark Lord Day, until their final launch. A few Pipeworks beers have come out by now, but I haven’t had the opportunity to taste any until now. Making such small batches at a time, they flew off the shelves at locations like Chicago-area Binny’s Beverage Depots. I finally ran across bottles of their inaugural double IPA, Ninja vs. Unicorn, as well as their second beer, the imperial stout Close Encounter, at one of my favorite Chicago bars, Maria’s. All I can say is thank god for Maria’s, which somehow always seems to have things in stock that everyone else in the city has sold out of weeks before.
Pipeworks Ninja vs. Unicorn Double IPA
NOTES: 22 oz bomber poured into a tulip glass. Fantastic label art, by the way. It looks like all Pipeworks beers are going to be fun to look at. Read the rest of this entry »
One of the most ubiquitous trends in the craft beer world over the past few years has been barrel-aging. While some time spent mellowing in a nice, toasted oak cask can add wonderful complexity and character to a brew, there are some major hurdles to overcome if your brewery wants to start a barrel program.
First, and most obvious, is the cost. If you want to age your beer on any sort of mass-production scale, you’ll need a LOT of barrels. And a good oak barrel doesn’t come cheap. Most breweries purchase used barrels from the wine or spirits industry (which is why you see so many bourbon and scotch-aged beers). But even used barrels, when purchased in bulk, add up. And don’t forget that the styles of beer that age the best are expensive-to-produce, high-gravity numbers like Imperial Stouts and Barleywines. You’re already plunking down a lot of cash just to purchase the ingredients to make those big beers. Add the cost of brewing the beer to the cost of your aging program and you’re shelling out big bucks for the privilege of brewing that prestige beer you’ve been dreaming of. Read the rest of this entry »
A few weeks back, Maxwell Arndt, co-founder of Swag Brewery asked if the Aleheads would mind helping him get the word out about his new venture. We get a lot of requests like this which is mildly amusing to those of us who remember when 10 hits a day on our site was a big deal.*
*Now we get more like 12 hits a day. Suck it, Google!
Anyways, I usually turn such requests down. We’re a little too self-righteous to serve as a PR machine for other companies and to be honest, why would any business really want to align themselves with us? Read the rest of this entry »
Faithful readers know that I’ve all but given up on writing tasting notes. In the early days of Aleheads, I cranked them out with reckless abandon. It was a fun way to keep a running catalog of the beers I was consuming and it made for a quick and easy post when the site didn’t have much new content.
Over time, I started seeing tasting notes as a bit of a chore. For starters, I’m not very good at them. I LOVE craft beer, but I don’t have a particularly refined palate or sense of smell. My wife can pick out about 10 times the flavor and aroma notes that I can. Hell, I let my three-year-old take a whiff of an Imperial IPA the other day and she picked out some lemon scents that I hadn’t even noticed. Beyond that, tasting notes get mind-numbingly repetitive when you write them in volume. There are only so many times you can write about “toffee notes” or “a touch of grapefruit in the nose”. Craft beer might have a seemingly infinite number of variations, but we seem to always go back to the same few descriptors when writing about it (or at least I do). Read the rest of this entry »
When it comes to beer aficionados, there’s no question that the true fanatic will know multitudes of facts – both mainstream and obscure – about the brewing, distributions, and consumption of their favorite beverage. They’ll know where to find the best microbrews in the U.S., they’ll have a strong understanding of hop content, and they’ll invariably have an opinion about every brand in the local grocery store. In short, they can be expected to be just as knowledgeable about beer as any single man with money can be expected to know about hot sugar daddy models in his area. But in my recent talks with big beer drinkers, I’ve realized that many of us can be found surprisingly lacking when it comes to one crucial talent: pairing the right beer with the right dinner foods. Read the rest of this entry »
When you think of Japan, craft beer rarely comes to mind, yet there is a very strong and innovative craft beer scene going on in the Land of the Rising Sun. At the heart of this scene is Japan Beer Times, a bilingual publication that celebrates the Japanese brewing scene and allows readers to meet some of the influential brewers who reside both in Japan and stateside, further illustrating that while it is a big world, we’re all really just here for the beer. I recently had the opportunity to speak with their editor, Ry Beville, a craft beer fan and publisher who has called Japan home since 1997. Read the rest of this entry »
Like many Chicago natives, I was caught completely by surprise Monday night when Lagunitas owner Tony Magee dropped a major bombshell via the brewery’s Twitter account, 140 characters at a time. Throwing formal press conferences to the wind, Magee revealed that the company had chosen the exact site of its brand-new brewery, and–get this–it’s on the West Side of Chicago.
Immediately, I began to imagine the impact that this will have on Chicago’s craft beer community. Most of the city’s breweries are quite small in their total output and distribution, with the notable exception of Goose Island. The reason for this is that most of the city’s breweries are relatively new, and as such are fairly small. Some of the city’s best beermakers, like Revolution Brewing and Haymarket Pub and Brewery, are just brewpubs as we speak, but almost all have plans for immediate expansion (such as the Revolution production brewery opening this year). As I covered a few months back, Chicago is a city in the middle of a true craft beer renaissance, with planned brewery projects that number into the dozens. Things have grown like gangbusters in the last five years or so, and within a few more, the number of places producing beer in the city will have doubled.
And now, suddenly, you add a giant into the mix. There isn’t any brewery the size of Lagunitas anywhere within Illinois. When it moves in, with its 250 barrel brewhouse, it is estimated that it will be producing more beer in a year than the likes of Goose Island, Three Floyds, Two Brothers, Half Acre, Revolution, Haymarket, Pipeworks, Finch’s, 5 Rabbit and the rest of the city combined. The overall national production will be even more ridiculous. Granted, only a fraction of that beer will actually be sold and consumed in the Chicago area, where Lagunitas is already distributed, but who knows what kind of reactions and concerns the brewers of Chicago might still have regarding this sort of announcement? Read the rest of this entry »
Trey Duval is a man on a mission. By day, he runs campus recreation at a local university in Los Angeles, CA. By night, he becomes the Beer Missionary, spreading the gospel of craft beer far and wide to all those who will listen with open minds and palettes. Over the past year, Trey has been hosting craft brewers on campus and doing what many may call a miracle, getting college kids to care about what beer they drink. I caught up with him at a recent “meet the brewer” night and offered him the chance to share the beer gospel with Aleheads.
Can you tell us a litte about The Beer Missionary and what it is that you do?
I started out a few years ago doing beer tastings as social events at things like birthday parties, wedding receptions, and gatherings of friends. I also taught a “Beer 101” extension class at a local University. Then the craft beer craze finally came to L.A. and that pretty much ended the tastings since people could go and taste/learn about beer at their neighborhood craft beer bar. Currently, I try and keep an eye on the L.A. Craft beer scene and send out information to anyone who is interested and occasionally do a tasting for a group if I have a connection with them. I also use my passion for craft beer to help operate a college pub. Read the rest of this entry »
North Carolina Brewers Guild Director and honorary Alehead Win Bassett checks in to discuss the announcement that New Belgium is building a new production facility in Asheville. We talk about differences from the Sierra Nevada expansion plans, proposed LEED certification, and reactions from NC brewers and drinkers as their state becomes a focal point for craft beer in the eastern United States. At the end, Slouch’s Alehounds make a surprise appearance, only adding to the professional nature of this episode.
Use the audio player to stream this episode in your browser:
The boys are back on a historic day in the craft beer revolution as New Belgium finally commits to North Carolina. Then they get drunk and talk about a bunch of really interesting stuff. If you like beer, that is. Stuff like:
Flying Dog brewmaster Matt Brophy stops by to discuss International Arms Race, their zero IBU IPA collaboration with Brew Dog. We get into the challenges of brewing in a world without hops, how they hooked up with the extreme Scottish brewers for this unusual project, and some details about exciting upcoming beers coming out of Frederick.
If there’s one universal truth in the world of craft beer it’s these days, it’s that you, the drinker, will never be able to try all the good beers out there. No matter how many great beers you sample, there will always be more. This is the gift that the explosion of the industry has presented us with; an almost unlimited variety of choice, where new beers and new breweries are circulated into the fold so quickly that it is difficult if not impossible to keep up, provided you live in the right place.
Chicago, undoubtedly, is one of those “right places,” these days. I live downstate, but whenever I’m able to visit Chicago, I can always be sure I’ll come back with a variety of new brews. Thankfully, some of these beers are even headed to central Illinois now. With the first downstate opening of a Binny’s Beverage Depot package store, a number of “Chicago-only” breweries are now available in my neck of the woods.
One of these ale factories is Central Waters Brewing, which produces beer from smack-dab in the center of Wisconsin, in a small town called Amherst. They were a complete unknown to me prior to my five-day Wisconsin Beer Voyage, a year and a half ago, and only recently has their beer become available in Illinois at all. Read the rest of this entry »
STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN- The Nobel Organization has announced that Sam Calagione of Delaware, USA, will receive the 2012 Nobel Peace prize for his efforts to break down barriers of exclusivity and oppression in the craft beer world. The Nobel Organization cites Calagione’s early 2012 impassioned screed, posted on the Beer Advocate forums, as the impetus for this honor which has also been bestowed upon the likes of Nelson Mandela, Henry Kissinger, and Mother Teresa. This is the highest honor to ever have been bestowed on a craft brewer. Read the rest of this entry »
ST LOUIS, MI- In the wake of the successful launch of their latest innovation, Bud Light Platinum, Anheuser-Busch InBev has announced an even more impressive release, a limited edition, barrel-aged version of Bud Light Platinum that has spent 6 months mellowing in casks of the world’s most popular brand of liquor, Jagermeister. This new product, which in internal AB InBev memos has been described as a “craft beer killer with a powerful punch…like King Hippo” will be on shelves by summertime.
AB InBev’s Strategic Parnerships spokesman, Robert A. Bouie, describes this collaboration beer with great enthusiasm:
Along with our good friends at Jagermeister, we are proud to announce the first of many collaborative beers with the launch of Bud Light Platinum: Oaked Edition. This is what we like to call an “extreme remix beer,” which features the superior drinkability that consumers have come to expect from Bud Light Platinum mixed with the complex herbal flavors and oak notes that are the hallmark of that great “Jager” taste. Market research shows that Bud Light Platinum drinkers also like to responsibly enjoy the rich, smooth taste of Jagermeister, so we view this partnership as a natural extension of both of our brands that will keep fans talking and social media buzzing. We feel that the authenticity of this beer experience will push this limited release to become one of the best sellers of the summer. We also believe that it may convert a few craft beer drinkers. After all, it is barrel-aged, a trend which attracts the hippest segment of the 21-35 year-old male craft beer-drinking demographic. Read the rest of this entry »
Let me start with the worst-kept secret in the beer blogosphere. The rumors that you have probably heard in the comments section on our site over the past few weeks are indeed true. Aleheads has sold a teeny-tiny (and I do mean teeny-tiny) piece of our ownership to the Tenth and Blake Beer Company. Before the backlash begins, allow me to say that I KNOW this announcement reeks of hypocrisy. I can’t really argue with that, but please let me at least attempt to explain…
Over the past year or so, Aleheads has posted some harsh words about MillerCoors’s infestation of the craft beer world via their craft wing, Tenth and Blake. While we certainly stand by much of what was said in those posts, we’ll admit that those missives were naive at best and reactionary at worst. The truth is, the craft beer pie is getting too big for the macros to ignore. Tenth and Blake’s creation and subsequent involvement in craft was, frankly, inevitable. Read the rest of this entry »