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Wisconsin grappling with growlers in grocery stores

December 17, 2013

By Bryan Born, Wisconsin Corespondent

Beer_growlerThere is exciting news for craft beer lovers coming out of Wisconsin. Just before the weekend, Madison, Wis. newspaper The Capital Times published an article that more grocery stores may begin providing growler fills of draft beer in their liquor departments. Although nothing is official yet, I for one could not be happier about this possibility.

Currently, a Class A liquor license in Wisconsin permits “retail sale of fermented malt beverages (beer) for consumption off the premises. Examples: grocery or convenience stores.” Allowing customers to fill growlers seems like a big opportunity for microbreweries.

Just imagine the possibilities; stores could offer a much wider array of beer. Because most start up microbreweries do not bottle their beer for sale at stores, the only way to obtain their beer is to visit their brewery, or a bar or brewery that may be guest hosting a tap for them. Permitting growler fills at grocery stores would increase the opportunity for craft beer makers to get their product out to the public. And, since most people do not live next door to their favorite brewery, this could make it easier for beer drinkers to obtain their favorite beer.

Scott Stenger, spokesman and lobbyist for The Tavern League of Wisconsin said it is not likely his organization would support the idea. Though no proposal has been made yet, whether one would through legislature is in doubt.

On the upside of the issue, Whole Foods in Milwaukee allows customers to drink pints of beer from their taps as they shop.

“The beer on tap is extremely popular. People grab a beer and do some grocery shopping. It’s a good time,” Mike Buetow, the store’s manager said in The Cap Times article, “The growlers are popular, but the beer on tap is the bigger draw.”

So, while this measure does not seem popular with the Tavern League. I remain optimistic until I hear otherwise. I just hope this opportunity for craft brewers and drinkers alike is not lost in bureaucracy.

Bryan Born is a beer enthusiast, plain and simple. His motto for beer is, “Gotta try ’em all.” Being from Wisconsin he has grown up in a culture that loves its beer and he celebrates the diversity of the fine beverage. He is on a personal quest to visit as many different breweries across the country as possible, to learn and meet as many other enthusiasts as he can.

You can follow Bryan on Twitter @borno23

 
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Posted by on December 17, 2013 in Beer News

 

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FunkyBuddha’s Maple Bacon Coffee Porter to be bottled and released in January

funky-buddha-logo-featureDown in South Florida, Funky Buddha Brewery made a splash earlier this year with the opening of their bigger and better brewery in Oakland Park. Now, the very same brewery that is legend among Florida beer lovers has announced the release date for their highly-sought Maple Bacon Coffee Porter. First released as a draft-only brew in April of 2011 at their original Boca Raton lounge and brewery, this will be the first time the brew will be bottled for release.

The beer rating website BeerAdvocate.com lists Funky Buddha’s Maple Bacon Coffee Porter as the second highest-rate porter in the world with an astounding 99 out of 100 points and over 50 raving reviews.

Ryan Sentz, Funky Buddha’s founder and head brewer said in a press release, “Maple Bacon Coffee Porter was the first beer that really earned us attention outside of our taproom. I remember thinking how crazy it was that this little brew pub in Boca Raton was being noticed nationally, and our success is definitely owed in part to that.”

The release for the first ever bottle offering of the beer will be marked with a full day of activity specially selected for the momentous occasion. Expect to enjoy live music, five food trucks – some with dishes specially prepared to pair with Maple Bacon Coffee Porter and other special release beers from Funky Buddha and other Florida breweries on tap.

The event takes place on Saturday, January 11, 2014 with bottle sales beginning at 11:00 a.m. Bottle sales are limited to two bottles per person.

Read the entire press release below:

OAKLAND PARK, FL – Get ready, Buddha fans: Maple Bacon Coffee Porter, one of the most highly sought after beers in Florida, will be commercially released in bottles for the first time ever on January 11, 2014. This limited run of 22-ounce bottles will be sold exclusively at Funky Buddha Brewery and be accompanied by a festival atmosphere featuring live music, food trucks, and a host of special release beers on tap.

A true one-of-a-kind beer, Maple Bacon Coffee Porter was initially released as a small batch run at Boca Raton’s Funky Buddha Lounge & Brewery in April of 2011. Since then it has become one of the most heralded porters in the world, earning national acclaim from fans and critics alike. BeerAdvocate.com currently lists MBCP as the #2 rated porter in the world with above 50 user reviews, boasting an overall rating of 99 out of 100. Ratebeer.com also lists the beer as the #1 user rated sweet stout in the world with a perfect 100 out of 100.

“Maple Bacon Coffee Porter was the first beer that really earned us attention outside of our taproom,” says Funky Buddha’s Founder and Head Brewer, Ryan Sentz. “I remember thinking how crazy it was that this little brew pub in Boca Raton was being noticed nationally, and our success is definitely owed in part to that.”

Maple Bacon Coffee Porter’s official release will coincide with a day’s worth of activities at the brewery. Live music from local acts will be scheduled throughout the day in the brewery’s public plaza. Five food trucks – including fan favorites The Rolling Stove and Pescados Unidos – will be serving dishes specially paired with Funky Buddha’s beers. A host of special release brews from both Funky Buddha and other Florida breweries will be available on draft, with very limited beers being tapped throughout the day. Bottle sales will begin at 11am and run until 7pm, and will be limited to two per customer; first-come, first-served.

Evoking a complete diner-style breakfast in a glass, Maple Bacon Coffee Porter is a complex beer with a multitude of flavors at work. It pours an opaque, ebony brew with a frothy tan head. Aromas of sticky maple syrup and fresh-brewed coffee creep forth from the glass. The mouth feel is luxuriously creamy, with layers of sweet malt and roast giving way to waves of smoke, coffee, and dark salted chocolate. The finish is sticky, rich, and sweet, with flavors of maple syrup lingering pleasantly on the tongue.

Praise for Maple Bacon Coffee Porter

99 out of 100 – BeerAdvocate.com

100 out of 100 – Ratebeer.com

“Best Beer at the Great American Beer Fest 2013” – The Empty Growler

“Six Beers that Blew Our Minds at GABF” – Serious Eats

“10 Weirdest Beers Ever Brewed” – Mental Floss

ABOUT FUNKY BUDDHA BREWERY: Founded in 2010 in Boca Raton, Florida, Funky Buddha Brewery is committed to producing bold craft beers that marry culinary-inspired ingredients with time-honored technique. Its lineup includes year-round brews Floridian Hefeweizen and Hop Gun IPA, along with specialty releases such as No Crusts Peanut Butter and Jelly Brown Ale and the highly sought after Maple Bacon Coffee Porter. Its Oakland Park production brewery opened in June 2013 and distributes draft beer to over 250 restaurants and bars across South Florida.

 
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Posted by on December 13, 2013 in Beer News, Beer Styles

 

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Head crashing beer fountain phenomena explained

English: bubble of beer on a bottle Bierblase ...

English: bubble of beer on a bottle Bierblase auf einer Flasche (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A group of European scientists have finally found the answer to the age-old question; why does beer come foaming out when the top of your bottle is taped by the bottom of another. The answer it seems is quite complex and involves fluid dynamics and a process called cavitation.

“We wanted to explain the extremely high efficiency of the degasification process that occurs in a beer bottle within the first few seconds after the impact,” Javier Rodriguez-Rodriguez, lead researcher from Carlos III University in Madrid, Spain said.

Rodriquez, along with researchers from the Universite Pierre et Marie Curie, Institut Jean le Rond d’Alembert, France found that cavitation, a phenomena that is of concern to engineers when exploring the reason for propeller breakdown, is the culprit.

When your prankster friend “crashes heads” with you by tapping your bottle with the bottom of his, he sets off expansion waves that causes the bottle to compress and expand. The rapid back and forth movement of the waves cause bubbles to form and quickly collapse. As the larger, mother bubbles breakdown they form tiny clouds of carbonic gas that form daughter bubbles. These smaller bubbles expand at a faster rate than the larger ones and become boyant.

“Buoyancy leads to the formation of plumes full of bubbles, whose shape resembles very much the mushrooms seen after powerful explosions,” Rodriguez-Rodriguez said in a statement. “And here is what really makes the formation of foam so explosive: the larger the bubbles get, the faster they rise…”

What follows is the characteristic gusher of beer.

The scientist’s presentation, entitled “Why does a beer bottle foam up after a sudden impact on its mouth?” was presented on Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Physical Society Division of Fluid Dynamics. The presentation provided findings that will have wider application beyond the tavern. Certain to benefit will be other engineering systems.

In some circles, such as fraternity houses, locker rooms and anywhere there is an abundance of juvenile-minded guys around, crashing heads is an acceptable and hilarious prank to pull on an unsuspecting bottled beer drinker. But, be warned, there can be consequences. Crash heads too hard and you could chip or even shatter the bottle creating a cut hazard. And, for heaven’s sake, if you do find yourself compelled to crash heads with a buddy, be sure he is drinking one of the mass-produced mega lagers rather than a fine craft beer!

 
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Posted by on November 25, 2013 in Beer Education

 

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Florida legislators backing bill to increase growler sizes

A growler of beer

A 64 ouce growler of beer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Unbeknownst to many beer lovers in Florida, the size of the container in which your favorite brew is packaged has been a hotly debated topic in Tallahassee for quite some time. Back in 1959, Florida legislatures passed House Bill 563.06, this law placed restrictions on malt beverages and the containers in which they can be packaged. That short piece of legislature has changed the way that Floridians can enjoy beer for over 50 years.

To many, the law is overly restrictive and, well silly. So, why was the law put into place at all? According to an article in the Florida Times-Union on June 20, 1999, the law may have been put into place, at least in part, because legislators “were mad at Miller Brewing Co. for building a plant in Georgia instead of Florida and in effect outlawed a 7-ounce bottle sold by Miller.”

A Florida Senate document from September 1999 titled, Review of the Malt Beverage Container Size Restrictions lays out many of the arguments that have been made as to why the law should not be changed. Some of these include:

  • Beer prices might rise due to increased competition
  • Multiple container sizes might confuse unwary consumers
  • Container sizes larger than 32 ounces may encourage over-drinking or send the wrong message to young people

The current law places Florida craft brewers at a distinct disadvantage to similar brewers in other states. This is because the most common growler size across the country is 64 ounces or a half gallon. And if you think about it 64 ounces is a size that makes more sense than the 32 or 128 ounce growlers that are currently allowed by Florida law. A 32 ounce growler contains enough brew for approximately two pint glasses of beer or a little over two and a half bottles or cans of beer. If you have a friend over, that is not really a lot of beer. On the other end of the spectrum, a gallon growler is too much beer for a single sitting yet, once a growler is opened, it must be consumed relatively quickly of it will go flat.

But, now there is a House Bill, presented by Rep. Katie Edwards, D-Plantation, that would allow breweries to sell 64 ounce growlers. The bill, HB 715, does not change any other portion of the current malt beverage laws in Florida, however. What it does do though, is put Florida breweries on even footing with their competitors in other states and give Florida beer consumers the opportunity to bring home fresh beer in a size that is more convenient.

In the past, attempts to change the growler laws have met steep opposition and failure. But this year, Edwards has an ally in Rep. Dana Young, R-Tampa. An article in the Sarasota Herald-tribune from February 15 of this year quotes one of Young’s aides, Ryan Terrell, as saying, “We’re just attempting to deal with the size issue. That’s where the economic development will come into place.”

Young’s district includes Cigar City Brewing Company, a brewery keen to see the size restrictions changed as are others across the state.

You can follow the progress of the bill by going to http://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2013/0715 and setting up a Bill Tracker account.

 
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Posted by on February 18, 2013 in Beer, Beer News

 

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Super Bowl Sunday beer availability and events sure to keep you cheering

super bowl

super bowl (Photo credit: sinosplice)

Super Bowl Sunday, for many this is the day that they have been looking forward to since August when their teams began playing practice games in the sweltering heat. This is the day that friends gather around the television, stock up on snacks and beer, and choose a team to root for. Sometimes that gathering takes place at a home, other times it takes place at a watering hole or restaurant. Where ever it takes place, beer is generally at the forefront of necessities and local craft beer purveyors are ready to make your game day experience something to remember.

If it is growlers, cans, bottles or kegs of beer you need; most of the local breweries are ready to fulfill your needs. Thirsty game day revelers can stock up on growler fills, cans, kegs of Intuition Ale Works brews from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. today. You can also fill up your growlers at Green Room during their normal Sunday business hours and Brewer’s Pizza, home of Pinglehead, during their business day as well.

If your preferences run to having some great beer and watching the game at the place serving that beer, cruise on over to Engine 15 at the beach for some pints of their fine brews or one of the dozens of others they have on tap. The great guys at E15 will even have free chicken wings and snacks during the game and special $3.50 pints of their own brews. You could do the same at Mile Marker Brewing in St. Augustine where they will have beer, games, and snacks during the pre-game festivities and all the way through the big game.

If a special tapping is what you are looking for, look no further than the King Street Beer District destinations of Pele’s Wood Fire and Dahlia’s.

At Dahlia’s you can participate in a special release party of Redhook’s Audible Ale that will include $3.50 pints o Audible and great schwag give-aways. You can also participate in the all-you-can-eat, all-you-can-drink Super Bowl party with transportation included for around $30. This is sure to me a raucous and exciting time.

If hops are your thing and you want to watch the game with a great pizza, cruise on over to Pele’s Wood Fire for a special tapping of Hopslam, the eagerly awaited annual hoptacular from Bell’s Brewery. This special beer is very limited in availability and is a must drink for any respectable – or disrespectable, for that matter – hops head.

Of course, there are many other Super Bowl happenings around town today – too many to list here, in fact. But, the ones listed above are some of the best, so be sure to stop by and show your support for your team and for the local beer community that is making Jacksonville a true beer-lovers destination.

 
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Posted by on February 3, 2013 in Beer, Events

 

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