Friday Night Hangout Milestone and the Barleywine

#FRIDAYNIGHTHANGOUT

On Friday, March 20, 2015 Craft Beer Nation will reach Episode 150 of the Friday Night Hangout. We’ve celebrating with BARLEYWINE a big favorite of many of us here at Craft Beer Nation. A version of the Strong Ale, Barleywine has been around for a few hundred years. And it is another English style beer that America has taken and loaded up with hops giving us today’s divided Barleywine experience.

The English Barleywine is a big malty beer, often with a raisin or grassy note to it, and a warm alcohol burn.

The American Barleywine is a big Strong Ale loaded with hops. Some American Barleywines can border on the Triple IPA realm in terms of their hoppy profile.

Either way, a Barleywine is a beer you sit back and take a while to work your way though. It’s most definitely a “sipper” beer and not a quick toss one back style at all.

Here’s to the Barleywine. We look forward to enjoying our fair share on Episode 150 of our Friday Night Hangout over on Google+ and YouTube

Feel free to drop us a line over at either location or comment here with your favorite of the style. Cheers!

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusFacebooktwittergoogle_plus

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusrssyoutubeinstagramFacebooktwittergoogle_plusrssyoutubeinstagram

Yes, Airline Attendant, I Will Have Another

Sweetwater Delta logo

SweetWater and Delta logos

 

It’s been a few years since I’ve flown on an airplane, but I remember Guinness during layovers, and, well, nothing during the flight because back then you just got Coke and pretzels.

Now, though, there is talk of our favorite phrase: “Craft beer.” Bart Watson, Chief Economist for the Brewers Association, mentions some of what’s being offered high in the sky. Jet Blue is offering Brooklyn, Frontier is serving Oskar Blues and New Belgium, and Delta has SweetWater (Georgia and Georgia!). These aren’t the only airlines he mentions—he goes into further detail in the video linked above.

He points out that the move to craft beer makes sense, because the demographics match. Frequent flyers tend to be employed, with disposable income, and the same goes for craft brew drinkers.

Craft brew has become more desirable to airlines also because it is increasingly becoming available in cans, which are lighter and easier to transport.

The only drag to this is that you have to be at 37,000 feet. I attempted to find out if short-range commercial flights climb that high. Unfortunately, I got some freaky stories when I Googled “flight 37,000 feet,” so perhaps I’ll leave that for a follow-up one day.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusFacebooktwittergoogle_plus

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusrssyoutubeinstagramFacebooktwittergoogle_plusrssyoutubeinstagram

Pints and Quarts Ep. 030 | Spring House Brewing Co.

Spring House

Live on Thursday (1/22/15) night at 9:30pm EST (and available anytime afterwards right here too), we will spend some time with Rob Tarves of Spring House Brewing Co. in Lancaster, PA Area. Rob is the Head Brewer of Spring House and we will be talking about their history, their beers, and their plans for the future.  We interviewed them a few years back, and are excited to see what delicious concoctions they have come up with since.
IMG_1568

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusFacebooktwittergoogle_plus

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusrssyoutubeinstagramFacebooktwittergoogle_plusrssyoutubeinstagram

Spice, Herb, Vegetable Beer

Whether you’ve brewed 3, 30, or 300 batches of homebrew before, you’ve probably been inclined to brew a beer that’s different than what commercial breweries often produce. Classic styles are great, but, you want to do something different, something special! Enter the Spice, Herb or Vegetable beer category! In this category, you take a classic style— say an IPA—and add a complimentary ingredient, maybe lemongrass. You choose some great flavor hops like Citra and Amarillo to pair well with the added citrus of the lemongrass. The beer still tastes like an IPA, but it also showcases the unique flavor that lemongrass imparts. There are two things to keep in mind when brewing a beer for this category in competition: 1) the base beer style needs to be obvious, and 2) any special ingredients you list need to be obvious. If you brew a beer with five herbs, but only two are really noticeable, it’s better to just list those two rather than lose points because the other three aren’t discernable.

The 2008 BJCP guidelines for this category had two subcategories: Standard Spice, Herb, Vegetable and Christmas/Winter Specialty Spiced. Standard S/H/V received an update in 2014, broadening and clarifying the guidelines for aroma, flavor, and overall style. In addition, the new guidelines have added a third subcategory: Autumn Seasonal. This covers the popular pumpkin and fall spiced beers that have been showing up more often, both commercially and at homebrew competitions. Winter Specialty remained the same as far as guidelines for judging are concerned.

With standard S/H/V beer, the guidelines make it clear to keep in mind the base style when judging the beer. Note how it is affected by the S/H/V ingredients. Some key characteristics of the base style can be subdued, sometimes intentionally, to allow the S/H/V aroma and flavor to shine. Balance is key here, however. The S/H/V shouldn’t completely overwhelm the base style of the beer. Likewise, any S/H/V mentioned on the entry form needs to be noticeable. When judges have to really hunt for these ingredients, they will give the beer a lower score. There was a slight change in this subcategory. This sentence was removed from the 2014 guidelines: “If the base beer is an ale then a non-specific fruitiness and/or other fermentation by-products such as diacetyl may be present as appropriate for warmer fermentations. If the base beer is a lager, then overall less fermentation byproducts would be appropriate.” (BJCP 2008 Guidelines.) This was most likely removed to get rid of generalized assumptions that may not have been accurate. Also added to the 2014 guidelines under Overall Impressions: “The individual character of each SHV may not always be individually identifiable when used in combination.” (BJCP 2014 Guidelines.) The key here for judges is to keep in mind that adding these S/H/V components is going to change the base style of the beer. When the base style is still evident, the S/H/V component(s) is/are appropriately showcased, in balance, and brewing process flaws are not present. That’s an award winning beer in this subcategory.

With the 2014 guidelines, there is a new subcategory called Autumn Seasonal. Beers in this subcategory include any S/H/V that one might associate with fall. An obvious style here, which has taken the American Craft Beer scene by storm in recent years, is the pumpkin beer. Other beers that might fall into this subcategory (pun intended) include beers spiced like pumpkin pie (which don’t contain pumpkin), beers that use other fall squash, and beers that have overall spices reminiscent of fall and harvest. Traditionally these beers are malt forward, with the S/H/V components playing a supporting role. There are certain base beer styles that lend themselves more towards this subcategory, like ambers, stouts, browns, and porters. These beers do not typically display a complex hop profile, as the spices tend to take the place of their role. Again, like in the standard S/H/V subcategory, balance is critical in this style.

If you’re looking to make a beer that’s both unique, yet classic, a Spice/Herb/Vegetable beer may be just what you’re looking to brew. Starting with a base style that you already brew well, like a stout, and then adding a couple of ingredients that compliment it, like chocolate and mint, could be a great way to showcase to your friends what a creative brewer you are! As long as your base style is done well, and your added ingredients are in balance with it, you can brew an award winning beer!

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusFacebooktwittergoogle_plus

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusrssyoutubeinstagramFacebooktwittergoogle_plusrssyoutubeinstagram

The Tourism Exception and Florida Breweries

Uh oh. I don’t get a good feeling when I go to one of my favorite local breweries’ websites and see an open letter. Open letters mean serious business.

However, if all we looked for were the fun aspects of beer, we wouldn’t have any beer to buy. Someone’s gotta pay attention to the business side.

The founder of Intuition Ale Works, Ben Davis, posted a letter on his breweries’ homepage. In it, he talks about a legal challenge filed by the Florida Independent Spirits Association towards the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulations. No, the Florida Independent Spirits Association (FISA) is not a trade group for paranormal entities. That would be cool, though. It’s a lobbying group representing alcohol retailers. Per their website, their “founding set of guidelines…is advocacy for independent alcohol retailers in the State of Florida.”

Ben considers the organizers of the petition to be “strongly opposed to the way [Intuition’s] taprooms currently operate.” He says that now they can sell beer directly to their supporters, but the opposition would have them sell their beer “to a distributor and then buy it back, at a markup, before [they] can sell it to [the consumer]. “

The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), which has also filed a petition, released a statement that they are seeking clarification regarding the tourism law and how it pertains to craft breweries. The “Tourist Exception,” which is the law that allows Anheuser-Busch to sell beer at Busch-Gardens, is the question.

The best source of legal information I’ve found regarding this issue has been at the website for Komlossy Law. Whereas I can talk for hours about what I think and feel, they have a more concise and accurate view of the issue than I could hope for.

Florida breweries, for the most part, believe that this issue affects all Florida breweries, not just start-ups. The Florida Brewers Guild has published a statement to this effect. They also have a good breakdown of the issue here. They consider the outcome to be so integral to the health of the industry, that they urge readers on their homepage to “save Florida’s craft brewers” by going to an Indiegogo campaign.

Mike Halker, president of the Florida Brewers Guild and Due South Brewing, wrote an in depth article about the situation. He goes so far as to say that this challenge is also meant to keep brewers and craft beer enthusiasts busy, so that no one pays any attention to other issues affecting the craft beer industry: “If they keep us distracted with things like keeping our tasting rooms open, they think we won’t be attempting to get things like limited self-distribution or franchise law reform.”

Per Komlassy Law’s Twitter account, the hearing is set for February 9th and 10th. Perhaps we should all clutch our growlers for good luck.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusFacebooktwittergoogle_plus

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusrssyoutubeinstagramFacebooktwittergoogle_plusrssyoutubeinstagram

Measurements: The Pints & Quarts Wrap Up | Alaskan Brewing

Up north, in Alaska, they are making some delicious beer. Everyone west of the Mississippi can get it, and this week on Pints and Quarts, so do some of us Easterners. Watch our conversation with Andy Kline of Alaskan Brewing Company, and see how things are going with their co-gen project, what their seasonals for 2015 are, and what Andy thinks about the Sierra Nevada-Lagunitas brouhaha this past week.

Don’t forget to tune in next week as we interview the fine crafters at Spring House Brewing!

event-trailer-PnQ-brown

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusFacebooktwittergoogle_plus

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusrssyoutubeinstagramFacebooktwittergoogle_plusrssyoutubeinstagram

Beer Brains: The Unsocial Beer App

Berstler App Screenshot

“…no selfies, no shared ratings, no profile pics.”

Just the beer, ma’am.

While it can be fun to toast, like, comment and rage against your friends when they check in their latest beer find, sometimes you just want your beer.

I know for me, when I’m in Total Wine, I’m more overwhelmed than a toddler roaming the aisles of a big box toy store. I suddenly don’t remember what I have, what I’ve had or what I’d like to have. I just find myself grasping at labels and names that sound vaguely familiar.

“There’s an app for that,” you may say. Then I’ll say “Yeah, have you tried to use your data plan in a big box beer store?” There’s a whole bunch of “no service,” and very little actual data being transferred.

I’ve tried making notepad documents, but there’s no way to sort, and typing long/unusual names is a pain!

Turns out Justin Berstler, a classically-trained software engineer, heard the call and took up arms. (Though, currently the arms are only available via Apple’s iOS.)

He’s created an app called Beer Brains. The data stores locally on your device, so even if you have no service, you can still see your beer inventory. The only time you need internet service is when you’re searching for new beers.

The app lets you categorize your inventory, create a wish list, and rate beers. If you want to indicate to yourself that you’ve already consumed a particular beer, then rate it. That will move it to the “ratings” view.

The wish list, by default, itemizes by brewery. That is really handy if you’re traveling to a part of the country with specific distribution reach. You know, like those times when you’re in San Francisco, and you want all the Russian River you can find. (I say that as someone who has never had Russian River, and never been to San Francisco. I know—you’re thinking “cry me a Russian River, lady.)

The best part of the app? It reads bar codes! No matter how many times I hold my phone up to a beer, the notepad program is not going to read a bar code.

The information is sourced from a third-party database (unambiguously called BreweryDB), which in turns gets its information from its own administrators and community. You can submit items for approval at their website. Per Justin, the database also distinguishes different years for certain brews.

I asked Justin if the app lets you indicate whether you consumed the brew in a bottle, can, or on tap, but he said not exactly. Those aren’t categories you can choose, but there is a note section for each entry, and you can notate this for your reference.

Right now the app is intended to be a reference for each individual. There is no account to log into, so there aren’t “friends” to approve, or people to follow. In the future he might add some “light sharing” capabilities: sharing wish lists and recommendations. He might also include average ratings from popular beer sites.

Regarding badges, Justin said “…with Beer Brains I’m not really trying to create another Untappd. Beer Brains is for those craft beer lovers that just want a beautifully simple, handy way to keep track of their beers. And in that way, there is plenty of room in the world for both types of people, and both types of apps.”

He said there isn’t a limit to how many beers you can list (well, unless you have a tiny, tiny hard drive). The only limit is in searching. The cap on returns is 50, so if you search for “ale” you ain’t gonna get all the items.

Beer Brains is free (ad-supported) in the Apple app store. Eventually he’d like to offer a paid ad-free service. If there’s enough interest in an Android version, he said that he would make one. For the record, I’m on Android!

Sources:

Most information comes from a written interview with Justin, but some of it comes from Google Plus. You may send any suggestions, comments or questions to Justin.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusFacebooktwittergoogle_plus

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusrssyoutubeinstagramFacebooktwittergoogle_plusrssyoutubeinstagram

Ommegang – Valar Morghulis

Valar Morghulis

Photo by Lola Lariscy. Clint taught me to build the fire.

 

Beer Name: Valar Morghulis
Brewery: Ommegang
Style: Abbey Dubbel
Hops: Apollo, Hallertau Spalt (Per the website)
Malts: Secret recipe
Availability: 750ml bomber and 1/6 barrel keg
ABV: 8.0%
Glassware: Snifter

It is not readily known amongst those of Westeros, but Valar Morghulis, in the Valyrian tongue, means “All Humans (and Occasionally Trolls) Must Drink.”

It is whispered in the woods of the North, by the followers of the old gods and the new, that there is a liquid. The drops coat one’s tongue with the tastes of dark fruit and sweet caramel. A shock of spice kicks the mouth like Arya’s horse when startled by the Hound. Much like Tyrion, the booziness makes itself known (particularly at the finish), but doesn’t overstay its welcome.

The complexion is darkened by malt, with a creamy, dense head. The carbonation isn’t abundant, and dissipates quickly, but in a beer this full, you want to get straight to the gold.

The aroma is like the best cologne I wish my boyfriend would wear. It’s malty, spicy-pungent and strong enough to raise [SPOILER] from the dead. I bet this would go fabulously with non-pasteurized cheese.

At 8% ABV, I should not drink this entire bottle tonight. However, the night is long, winter is here, and there be crazy snow zombies out there.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusFacebooktwittergoogle_plus

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusrssyoutubeinstagramFacebooktwittergoogle_plusrssyoutubeinstagram

Lagunitas Files and Un-Files Lawsuit Against Sierra Nevada

IPA

Fonts come from Microsoft Office. In case you’re wondering—yes, I paid for the software!

 

What a difference a day makes! Yesterday this was going to be an article about a potential lawsuit by Lagunitas towards Sierra Nevada for trademark infringement. Today it’s a story about…well…that, but also how Lagunitas dropped the lawsuit today.

So here we are. Back to where we all started. The circle of life.

Looking at the Twitter account for Tony Magee (Lagunitas’ founder) yesterday was liking watching a play-by-play of a very long football game. (Did I use that metaphor right? I don’t know much about sports.) Each Tweet gave a little bit more of a clue as to what was going on between the two popular breweries.

The issue was with the branding of Sierra Nevada’s new IPA, Hop Hunter. Lagunitas felt that their trademark had been violated with this packaging. The person Tweeting stated that the issue was not with the letters “IPA,” but with the layout of letters:

Sierra Nevada was quieter on its social media. There was one Tweet regarding the situation, and it pointed to this Facebook post stating that Sierra Nevada has been brewing IPAs since 1981, and that they acknowledge that there will be differences in opinion. The poster stated that “We don’t harbor any ill will toward Lagunitas Brewing and are pleased that we can get back to making great beers.” In a blog post on their site, Sierra Nevada asserted that they “have no interest in [their] products being confused with any other brand.”

So, it seems over. However, the folks over at Lagunitas won’t forget it for awhile: 

While I won’t say it’s the worst day in *my* life, I will say that I hate it when two businesses I love don’t get along. C’mon. Let’s all drink it out.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusFacebooktwittergoogle_plus

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusrssyoutubeinstagramFacebooktwittergoogle_plusrssyoutubeinstagram

Girls’ Pint In

We had a great discussion last night regarding craft beer label art. Some of it is beautiful, some of it is effective, and some of it is baffling in its tone deaf offensiveness.

We weren’t able to crack the enigma of why some breweries think it wise to show blatantly pornographic images on their labels. In fact, most of us think that it hurts their image. Only the A-holish of the A-holes will gravitate towards that type of art, while most sensible people will stay clear of it.

We did talk about how it makes us feel, though, to see that. It’s obvious those breweries aren’t marketing to us. How do we react? Do we make a point to tell the breweries? Do we just not buy that beer?

We go over all of those options on this episode of Girls’ Pint In.

#craftbeer #labelart

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusFacebooktwittergoogle_plus

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusrssyoutubeinstagramFacebooktwittergoogle_plusrssyoutubeinstagram