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Category Archives: Beer

For those about to ROCK, we salute you!

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Photo credit: Dogfish Head

Rock and roll is here to stay. When Danny and the Juniors sang these lyrics back in 1958 rock was still new and no one could know just how integral the medium would become around the world. Rock has become not only the soundtrack of the world, but it has also inspired many breweries to collaborate with musicians to create signature beers for the bands that carry on the rock tradition.

Undoubtedly the most prolific brewery when it comes to producing rock-inspired beers is Dogfish Head out of Milton, Del. Headed by music lover and beer genius Sam Calgione, Dogfish Head has unleashed beers that honor such legends as Miles Davis (Bitch’s Brew), Pearl Jam (Faithful Ale), The Grateful Dead (American Beauty) and most recently The Flaming Lips with Dragons and Yum Yums.

Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne and Calgione came together to create a beer and a song based on the dragonfruit and yumberry sour brew. Not only that, but the band released the song on a special clear vinyl disk that is actually filled with the beer. The disks were released in recognition of Record Store Day, April 21. With only 100 beer-filled disks produced, they were hotly sought by beer geeks, record collectors and Flaming Lips fans.

Another rock band with a beer carrying their name is Iron Maiden. Based on and carrying the name of the band’s seminal song, “The Trooper,” the beer is a traditional English ale created with the input of Iron Maiden’s vocalist, Bruce Dickinson. The beer is brewed by the 180-year-old Robinson’s Brewery.

“I’m a lifelong fan of traditional English ale,” said Dickinson on the beer brand’s website. “I thought I’d died and gone to heaven when we were asked to create our own beer. I have to say that I was very nervous: Robinsons are the only people I have had to audition for in 30 years.

Not to be outdone, down under rockers AC/DC have lent their name and logo to Australian Hardrock a German Premium Lager brewed under the mandate of the German purity law of 1516. Brewed by German brewery Karlsberg, the beer was originally commissioned as a collaboration between the band and Germany-based food store ALDI.

Marketing juggernaut and rock mega-band Kiss had its own beer too. Brewed by Krönleins Bryggeri AB in Sweden, Kiss Destroyer beer was a light Euro Lager. Unfortunately, the beer suffered abysmal reviews and never really caught on.

Despite Freddy Mercury’s apparent love for Moet Chandon, Queen partnered with British brewer RnR Brew Ltd. to produce Bohemian Lager in honor of the 40th anniversary of their much-loved “Bohemian Rhapsody.” The beer was brewed in Pilzen, the heart of Bohemia, keeping with the theme and was a Czech-style hoppy lager.

Even alternative rock band The Pixies have had their own beer. The beer named Hey, was created as an accompaniment to the exhibition “Where Is My Mind: The Work of Vaughan Oliver and the Pixies”, first shown at London’s Stephen Lawrence Gallery in 2016. Hey was a bottle-conditioned IPA brewed from a late 19th century recipe that has been described as a lightly citrus, bitter ale with a very dry finish.

With all the beers based on songs and bands available out there, any rock and roll fan with a thirst for a cold beer should have little trouble finding something that tickles their fancy.

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Posted by on August 10, 2018 in Beer

 

That’s one small step for man, one giant gulp for mankind

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Photo credit: Forbes.com

In space no one can hear you drink. Up until recently, even the thought of being able to drink a cold brew in space was ridiculous. Not only because there is no beer in space, but because there are only a handful of people up there and beer has not been at the forefront of their minds. But, with multiple private companies developing space tourism plans and others actively working towards colonizing the moon and Mars, the idea of relaxing with a beer in space is becoming more and more attractive.

In a recent Q&A at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tech entrepreneur Elon Musk quipped, “Mars should have really great bars.” The remark was in response to a question about creating culture on Mars. But, with his company, SpaceX, planning on beginning short trips back and forth to Mars in early 2019, his plan of colonizing the Red Planet with 1 million people is starting to fall into place.

That’s where an enterprising Australian company comes in. 4 Pines Brewing company of Brookvale, New South Wales has created a beer that is attuned to the extreme demands of space both on how beer tastes and how it reacts in the human body.

In 2010, the quest for a beer that was suited to zero gravity began. The brewers at 4 Pines developed a boldly flavored Irish-style stout that was made with seven different malts. The beer had to exhibit a very strong flavor because in space body fluids tend to move up into the head causing the tongue to swell along with sinus tissues and other soft tissues. The swelling results in a decreased ability to taste foods.

Another important issue the brewers had to overcome was that of the beer burp. On Earth, after you drink a beer, the carbon dioxide or nitrogen that provide carbonation often causes a drinker to belch. Because of gravity, the liquid causing the burb stays in the drinker’s stomach. But, in space there is no gravity to hold the liquid, so a burp, well, it can get messy. To combat a sticky situation, the brewers carefully measured the carbonation in the beer to leave the sensation in the mouth, but not cause excess gas in the stomach.

With the brewing issues resolved, the challenge of how to make a bottle that would allow future space traveler drink a beer in the same way someone on Earth would had to be addressed. To drink a beer on the ground, you just pick the bottle up, put it to your lips and tilt it. Beer flows from the bottle through the neck and into your mouth thanks to Newton’s law. In space, liquids do not pour. Instead, they collect in blobs that float around. So, a bottle that wicks the liquid from the bottom up through the neck and then out the top was developed. There’s a lot of high-tech science involved in the bottle, but the end result is that astronauts, space travelers and Mars explorers will be able to enjoy cold beer while they are rocketing around the universe.

With Musk speculating that SpaceX may be able to put man on Mars as early as 2024, the ability to arrive refreshed is certainly, “One giant leap for man.”

 
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Posted by on August 3, 2018 in Beer

 

A Whole New Meaning to “Beer Run”

will-run-for-beerLocal breweries have recently embraced the latest ritual in the Church of the Holy Suds—the Beer Mile. It combines two great activities: running and drinking beer. Many breweries designate a certain night of the week for a beer run; participants meet at the brewery, run a specific course, then meet back at the brewery for post-run beers. In the annals of sporting events since man moved competitively against his fellow hunter/gatherers, there’s one run that’s so brutal, so taxing, runners revere those who’ve posted the best times.

What’s a beer run? It goes like this: Runners must consume a beer, run a quarter-mile, consume another beer, run another quarter-mile-do this two more times, until four beers have been drunk and four quarter-miles have been run. Get it? Four quarter-miles equal … uh … a mile.

The origins of this phenomenon have been shrouded in the mists of time, but it’s widely accepted the sudsy sport began on college campuses in Florida and New England. Variations also appeared in England, Indonesia and Canada. The earliest recorded races were held in the late 1980s and early ’90s, when runners played fast and loose with the rules. A group of runners in Ontario, Canada set down rules that have become the accepted guidelines for most beer run enthusiasts.

Kingston Rules created a standard allowing runners everywhere to measure their performances against others’ efforts. In abbreviated form, the rules are: Each runner must drink four beers and run four quarter-miles. The entire beer must be consumed before a lap begins. The race begins when the first beer is opened. Competition beers must be 5 percent or more alcohol, canned, with a standard opening-no wide-mouths, etc. No shotgunning. You must run a penalty lap if you hurl before the race is over.

Myriad deviations  on the Kingston Rules are legion. For instance, in the U.K., runners must drink an Imperial pint-20 ounces of beer-and may do so from a glass. There’s no penalty for puking. This is called a chunder mile. There’s also a steeplechase beer mile, with 16 barriers and four water pits.

Website beermile.com publishes an extensive FAQ on the sport, along with the more-or-less accepted rules for North America. The gist of it is to run a mile while drinking four beers. You must follow a pattern: drink, quarter-mile run, drink, quarter-mile run, drink, quarter-mile run, drink, stumble to the finish line. A runner must drink the first beer before he or she begins to run and must complete each ensuing beer before continuing the run. If a runner can’t hold down the brew, they must run a penalty lap. Beer must be drunk from a standard 12-ounce can, with no alterations or “Easy Pour” mouths-“shotgunning” is strictly prohibited. Beer must be 5 percent ABV or higher to qualify as competition suitable. The entire endeavor is timed and the winner is celebrated at the end.

So far, the fastest officially recorded beer mile was run in 4:33.6 by Canadian Corey Bellemore; a seemingly miraculous feat never to be beaten. Hey, bartender … or is it coach? Draw three more!

 
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Posted by on July 27, 2018 in Beer

 

Beer Delivery? There’s an App for That.

drizlyIt’s happened to all of us. You’re all set to throw a rockin’ backyard party when you realize you forgot beer. You’re scrambling to get the yard ready and the guests will be arriving any minute. You don’t have time for a beer run. That’s when the plethora of new beer and alcohol delivery services can really save the day.

National players like Drizly, Minibar and Instacart let buyers order brews online or through an app and have purchases delivered a short time later. Even brewery giant Heineken is jumping in the fray.

Drizly got its start when then-college students Nick Rellas and Justin Robinson asked the age-old question: “Why can’t I get beer delivered?” The answer, they found after an all-night Google search, was that it was legal—except no one actually did it. A light bulb went off in their heads: Drizly was born. That was 2012; six years on, the company services more than 70 markets in the U.S. and Canada, including Jacksonville. Drizly partners with local liquor stores to deliver the brew, charging consumers a fee.

A year after Drizly’s launch, rival service Minibar hit the streets. Founders Lindsey Andrews and Lara Crystal launched in New York City where nearly everything is delivered, except alcohol. Identifying a potential opportunity, the two developed an app and went to market. Unlike Drizly, Minibar does not charge consumers; instead, it collects a small percentage of the sale from its retail partners. Minibar also offers bartender-booking service in a few markets.

Instacart is better known locally for its grocery shopping and delivery service through Publix supermarkets, but it’s also pleased to deliver alcohol if the need—or desire—arises.

The services work like most other online delivery services. Download an app, put in a credit card number and address and start shopping. Once you have what you want in your cart, pay and wait for delivery.

All these services require someone at least 21 years old to be present to accept delivery. For most, the delivery person will ask for a valid state ID and require the consumer to sign for the beer. (Drizly actually scans the ID with a proprietary in-app tool to check its validity.) If no one there is 21 or older to accept delivery, the items are returned to the service’s retail partner and a hefty cancellation fee is levied on the customer’s credit card.

Why have alcohol delivery services come to the forefront now? For the retailer, it’s a way to get product out the door without customers actually going to the store. And, with more than 75 million millennials now old enough to drink, the ease of using an app to buy and get delivery of booze as effortlessly as ordering an Uber is very attractive.

So the next time you find the ol’ beer fridge emptying out, consider getting a few six-packs delivered. Oh, and put some clothes on before the delivery person rings the bell.

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2018 in Beer

 

6 Essential Tips for Scoring Great American Beer Festival Tickets

To many beer-lovers, the Great American Beer Festival is the end-all, be-all of beer festivals. It is the epitome of what a beer festival should be and beer nirvana all rolled into one massive event. It is also a very difficult ticket to purchase and, once a ticket is procured, an even more difficult event to navigate.

With just  two months until the 2018 festival, this year’s event takes place September 20-22, you’re going to need a plan for attending. Tickets go on sale to the general public August 1 at 12:00 noon Eastern Time through AXS.

Last year, tickets to the GABF 2017 sold out in mere hours. That means you have to put some serious effort into getting your entry media. Fortunately, there are several ways you can give yourself an advantage over the unwashed masses.

  1. Mark your calendar and take time off.
    Since tickets go on sale on a Wednesday morning, if you work regular hours, you might want to take the morning off. You’ll know by 1:00 p.m. if you have tickets or not, so if you want to work the afternoon, just take a half day. Or, if you want to celebrate (or, heaven forbid, commiserate), take the whole day off and have a few beers in the afternoon.
  2. Check your account.
    A few days prior to the sale date, log in to AXS and make sure all of your information is up-to-date. Keep in mind, that if you do get through and get a chance to purchase tickets, you will only have a few minutes to complete your transaction. Nothing is more depressing than getting through and finding out that the credit card you have on file is expired.
  3. Get membership benefits.
    Consider joining the American Homebrewers Association. Members of the AHA can purchase GABF tickets a day before tickets go on sale to the general public. This is a huge advantage and practically assures you to score tickets. And, with membership to the AHA costing as little as $38 a year, it is a good investment. Not to mention you will get a whole host of benefits including six issues of Zymurgy, the Association’s magazine, discounts and, of course, early access to GABF tickets.

    IMPORTANT: If you decide to join the AHA to score tickets to GABF, be sure to do so before Wednesday, July 18, 2018 11:59 pm MT.

  4. Log in early.
    The interweb is going to be packed on the day of GABF ticket sales and this often means lag. By connecting early you increase your chance of getting through and avoiding long lag times that could cause your browser to crash. Plan on being online at least 45 minutes or more ahead of sale time.
  5. Enlist your friends.
    The Beatles famously said that they, “Get by with a little help from my friends.” Getting tickets for GABF is just the situation you want to put this phrase to work. Since each person that gets through can purchase up to four tickets, get your friends to help with the chase. If you have four friends that want to go, get all of them on their computers trying like mad. If just one of your cabal gets through and succeeds in acquiring tickets, your mission is accomplished.Pro Tip: Be sure all of your friends have AXS accounts and make sure they log in to check their status a few days prior to the sale date.
  6. Refresh as if you life depended on it.
    If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. This is particularly true in this instance. You are battling thousands of other hopeful attendees for the few coveted GABF tickets that exist. If you get an error, just keep refreshing. With luck, you will hit refresh at the precise moment an Internet connection opens and your GABF dreams will come true.

If, after doing all of the above, you still do not manage to grab tickets, there are secondary markets. Sure, you’ll pay more for the tickets, but if you really want to go, that may be your only outlet. Just stay away from Craigslist and any other unverified ticket agency. You do not want to be the guy that shows up at the door with a counterfeit ticket and be denied admission.

Watch for more articles on how to get the most out of your GABF experience.

 
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Posted by on July 13, 2018 in Beer, Beer Festival

 

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British Innovation

curiouser0418Brewers are always looking for new ways to tantalize your taste buds. It seems like every few days, there’s a new style that mashes up several traditional styles. These machinations have inspired brews like white IPA, a cross between Belgian witbier and American IPA, and farmhouse IPA, a blend of farmhouse ale with IPA. Now two British breweries have created new twists on beer.

Newcomer Curious Brewery, just a short train ride from London in Ashford in Kent, is owned by Chapel Down, one of England’s premier winemakers. While the main production brewery and restaurant complex are still under construction, the brewery is producing several beers with its own take on traditional brewing.

Perhaps the most interesting is the Curiouser & Curiouser series of limited-edition beers. The series enlists the help of brewers from around Britain, all with a nod to the winemaker. The first in line, Curiouser & Curiouser Chapter 1, is Bacchus sour ale blended with wild-fermented chardonnay. You read that right: They’re mixing beer and wine to make a hybrid.

The wine-beer admix is produced in collaboration with The Wild Beer Co., about 30 miles west of Stonehenge. Brewers there worked closely with winemakers at Chapel Down by barrel-aging the beer with chardonnay and Bacchus wine yeast. The result? A complex sour beer with aromas of citrus, nuts and vanilla.

The literarily astute have surely already recognized the name Curiouser & Curiouser; it was taken from and inspired by Lewis Carroll’s most famous book, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The packaging even includes the inscription: “Drink Me: Every adventure requires a first sip!” Subsequent brews in the series will be titled and themed to chapters in Carroll’s book.

Another British brewer is tackling the weighty topic of food waste. Toast Ale is produced in association with Wold Top Brewery and uses the ends of loaves of bread to brew delicious beer. The creator, food waste campaigner Tristram Stuart, got the idea after visiting a brewery in Belgium that was doing the same. He teamed with English sandwich-making companies to obtain the unused heels of the loaves.

The innovative idea is a partial solution to a food waste issue involving some 24 million slices of bread thrown away each year in England alone. The bread replaces one-third of the grain used in the mash process. The resulting beer is said to have a slightly sweet caramel flavor, but it’s still very similar to other beers.

Using bread in brewing is nothing new. More than 4,000 years ago, Babylonians used bread as a fermentable for beer. Wold Top modernized the practice for the 21st century.

Last year, Stuart brought his Toast Ale recipe to New York City and, with help from Chelsea Craft Brewing Company in the Bronx, produced the ale. It was served at Tribeca Film Festival in conjunction with the premiere of Anthony Bourdain’s documentary Wasted! The Story of Food Waste. To support his mission, Stuart has vowed to donate 100 percent of his profits from the beer to his foundation Feedback.

Those are just two recent innovations in the brewing industry; I, for one, can’t wait to taste the next big idea.

 
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Posted by on July 13, 2018 in Beer

 

Main & Six Brewing Company Wins Gold

mainandsixIn less than a year since opening, Dennis Espinoza co-founder and brewmaster at Main & Six Brewing Company in the Historic Springfield neighborhood of Jacksonville, Fla. has garnered a gold medal at one of craft beer’s most prestigious competitions — the U.S. Open Beer Championships. The brewery’s American Brown Ale, Handsworth Brown Ale took the honors.

“This competition is significant because it accepts entries from breweries around the world and allows national winning homebrews to compete,” said Dow Scoggins, director of the U.S. Open Beer Championships in a press release. “Also, two college breweries took home medals at the U.S. Open. Niagara College won 2 golds and American Harvest Brewpub at Schoolcraft College brought home a gold and silver medal.”

Judges in the Open are only told the style of beer they will be tasting and scoring. They were not told what beers they taste. This year there were beers entered in 117 categories.

Main & Six beat out, Meddlesome Brewing Company of Tennessee that earned a silver medal and fellow Florida brewer West Palm Brewery that earned a bronze medal in the category.

 

 

 
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Posted by on July 13, 2018 in Beer