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MILTON, Del.—On an endless exploration of goodness, Dogfish Head is proud to be a craft brewery producing and celebrating sour and wild ales for over two decades and is excited to announce the launch of its brand new, funky wild beer program, “Wooden…It Be Nice!” With three wild ales primed for a 2018 Milton-only release, and more releases to come in future years, the brewers at Dogfish have already hand-bottled over two-thousand cork and caged 375ml bottles, each one hand painted with a special stripe signifying its uniquely crafted touch.
“About fifteen years ago, we first started experimenting with sours, beginning with Festina Lente – a peach wild ale that won us a bronze medal at the World Beer Cup in 2006 – then went on to produce SeaQuench Ale which is currently the top selling sour in America,” said Sam Calagione, CEO and founder of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. “Now, we’re amplifying our wild beer program with Wooden…It Be Nice!, as it’s another step forward in our journey and evolution of goodness incorporating everything from herbs and spices, to local fruits, and of course, bringing it all together in wood.” Dogfish Head is the number one producer of the fastest growing beer in the fastest growing craft beer style in America – SeaQuench Ale, a session sour.*
So what makes a beer wild? It’s different from traditional brewing in that it’s fermented with wild yeast variations, like Brettanomyces and often times with bacteria like Lactobacillus or Pediococcus. The yeast and bacteria are carefully introduced to the wood-aged beer, which can develop a wide array of flavors, including degrees of sourness, funkiness and fruitiness. Due to the untamable nature of the yeast, the beer can sit in barrels for months or even years till brewers deem it ready for consumption. This process can sometimes delay the release of the beer, but when it’s finally ready, it’s truly remarkable. Isn’t that wild?
The “Wooden…It Be Nice!” program opens with the release of KnottyBits, a wild ale (8.2% ABV) aged on sweet and sour cherries and rhubarb, available beginning September 29 at 11 a.m. KnottyBits was wood-aged for a year with Brettanomyces and then racked onto several hundred pounds of sweet and sour cherries and locally sourced rhubarb from Fifer Orchards at a rate of more than 2 lbs. of fresh fruit per gallon. KnottyBits is bottle conditioned for an elevated carbonation resembling a ruby red colored sparkling wine of sorts. Priced at $10/375ml bottle, approximately 2000 bottles will be available for purchase at the Milton Brewery.
Look for Wet Hop American Summer in early November – a Farmhouse Ale (7.75% ABV), this beer was aged in freshly emptied Chardonnay barrels with Brettanomyces for over a year, before being racked onto freshly harvested and hand-selected whole leaf Citra hops, still wet from the fields. The resulting beer has a great citrus aroma from the hops which is a perfect complement to the funky and rustic nature of the Farmhouse Ale base. Wet Hop American Summer is priced at $10/375ml bottle, approximately 1500 bottles will be available for purchase at the Milton Brewery.
In mid-December, the brewery will release Eastern Seaboard, a wild ale (8% ABV) brewed with blackberries and beach plums. After spending almost a year and a half aging in wine barrels, the liquid was met with several hundred pounds of blackberry and Eastern Shore beach plums, handpicked and selected by the brewers. The jamminess of the blackberry and tartness of the plums perfectly pair with one another in this deceptively dry beer. Eastern Seaboard is bottle conditioned to achieve champagne-like carbonation and is violet in color. Priced at $10/375ml bottle, approximately 2000 bottles will be available for purchase at the Milton Brewery.
For more information about upcoming “Wooden It Be Nice!” bottle release dates, visit dogfish.com and Dogfish Head social accounts: Facebook: @dogfishheadbeer, Twitter: @dogfishbeer, and Instagram: dogfishhead.
* (IRI Total US Multi Outlet + Conv 28 Weeks ending 7/17/2018)
Dogfish Head has proudly been focused on brewing beers with culinary ingredients outside the Reinheitsgebot since the day it opened as the smallest American craft brewery 23 years ago. Dogfish Head has grown into a top-20 craft brewery and has won numerous awards throughout the years including Wine Enthusiast’s 2015 Brewery of the Year and the James Beard Foundation Award for 2017 Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Professional. It is a 350+ coworker company based in Delaware with Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats, an off-centered brewpub and distillery, Chesapeake & Maine, a geographically enamored seafood restaurant, Dogfish Inn, a beer-themed inn on the harbor and Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, a production brewery and distillery featuring a tasting room and food truck. Dogfish Head supports the Independent Craft Brewing Seal, the definitive icon for American craft breweries to identify themselves to be independently-owned and carries the torch of transparency, brewing innovation and the freedom of choice originally forged by brewing community pioneers. Dogfish Head currently sells beer in 43 states and Washington D.C. and will expand into additional states in 2018. For more information, visitwww.dogfish.com, Facebook: @dogfishheadbeer, Twitter: @dogfishbeer, and Instagram: dogfishhead.
VIRGINIA BEACH, Virg.–With its flagship location in Atlanta, Ga., New Realm Brewing Company is branching out to Virginia Beach. Co-founded by Carey Falcone, Bob Powers and Mitch Steele, the brewery features a tasting room offering more than 15 different types of beers on tap, a 44,000 square feet outdoor beer garden with fire pits, adult game areas and newly added patio bar, and a large private event space.
With a 50-barrel brewhouse spearheaded by brewmaster Mitch Steele and head brewer Evan Chamberlain, the opening tap list includes the popular Hoplandia and Hoptropolis American IPA brands, Euphonia Pilsner and Kikimora Imperial IPA. Patrons will also enjoy select brews from limited release, small-batch specialty beers seasonally. The facility can brew up to 40,000 barrels annually and is built to scale to even larger capacities in the future.
Local food trucks will be on site daily and bands are scheduled every Friday through Sunday. A full-service restaurant is slated to open in early 2019.
“We’re thrilled to open our doors in Virginia Beach,” said Carey Falcone, co-founder and CEO of New Realm Brewing Company. “The Hampton Roads region is known for a fun, active lifestyle, making it a great place to feature our exciting beers, one-of-a-kind restaurant and inviting event venue.”
With a distribution agreement recently inked with Hoffman Beverage, craft beer fans can now knock back pints at local craft-focused bars, restaurants and retailers in Southside Hampton Roads. Packaged beer will be introduced early in 2019.
“Everyone we worked with at the City of Virginia Beach has been extremely helpful to make this a successful venture for New Realm Brewing Company,” said Falcone. “We are investing heavily in our new Virginia Beach brewery and community by enhancing the quality lab, installing additional Krones Unitanks from Germany, as well as building an outdoor bar, a full kitchen and seating for more than 400 people. We anticipate hiring 105 people at current full capacity.”
The tasting room and beer garden are open Monday through Thursday from 4 to 11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to midnight; and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Opening Weekend Events Include:
Thursday, September 6: Music by The Deloreans and cuisine by La Cucina Di Sophia and Hangry’s; Doors open at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, September 7: Music by Brian Schultz beginning at 6 p.m. and cuisine by Pelican Pete’s Pizza and Redwood Smoke Shack.
Saturday, September 8: Music by Michael Clark Band beginning at 6 p.m. and cuisine by Sofrito and Vicki Vails.
Sunday, September 9: Music by Roebuck Band beginning at 3 p.m. and cuisine by Pittsburgh’s Best and 4 Spices Mediterranean.
New Realm Brewing is located at 1209 Craft Lane, Virginia Beach, Va. 23454. For a complete list of hours, information on private events and more, visit www.newrealmbrewing.com.
About New Realm Brewing Company
New Realm Brewing Company is an American craft brewery started in 2016 by co-founders Carey Falcone, Bob Powers and Mitch Steele in Atlanta,Ga. On a mission to rethink tradition and bend the rules, the team planted their first production facility in a 20,000-square-foot space on Atlanta’s east side Beltline trail, featuring a 25hl brewhouse, 3,000-square-foot restaurant, rooftop patio and beer garden. In August 2018, the second location opened its doors in Virginia Beach, Va. Renaissance man and brewing legend, Mitch Steele received the Russell Scherer Award for Innovation in Brewing in 2014 and co-authored the book IPA: Brewing Techniques, Recipes and the Evolution of India Pale Ale in 2012. New Realm Brewing’s core principles are quality, creativity, authenticity, and striving for perfection, all with a customer-centric commitment and approach. For more information, please visit www.newrealmbrewing.com.
With a light, bready sweetness and crisp finish, MadTree’s Lift nails the refreshing character you want in a Kölsch. There’s soft lemon not out of keeping with the style, but also an orange peel note that suggests American hops are also used. A visit to the brewery’s website reveals that the beer is indeed hopped not just with the more traditional Hallertau Mittelfruh, but also Cascade and Pacifica. They are used sparingly, however, providing enough citrus to keep things interesting without overhopping an otherwise delicate beer. Lift is ideal for these last days of summer.
SINGIN’ RIVER SHOALS OKTOBERFEST Singin’ River Brewing Co.
Florence, Alabama 6% | German-Style Marzen
When I had Singin’ River’s Citracabra earlier this summer, I was surprised at how restrained the brewery’s kettle sour was–especially considering that beer’s label. No one-trick pony, it turns out Singin’ River is as adept at brewing a Marzen as it is a dry-hopped sour. Shoals Oktoberfest pours amber, with rich Munich malt on the nose. The lightest caramel complements the beer’s toasted maltiness, and a spicy, noble hop profile helps to balance the beer. The result is a beer that’s true to style, exceptionally drinkable and a great choice with or without food.
PFRIEM SUPER SAISON pFriem Family Brewers
Hood River, Oregon 9.5% | Farmhouse Ale
Often one of the more satisfying aspects of a saison is that big, pillowy head, and pFriem’s Super Saison doesn’t disappoint in that department. This highly carbonated farmhouse ale pours an impressive head that sticks around, giving off sourdough and light lemon on the nose. In addition to the Belgian yeast and a bit of clove, the beer has a gentle floral quality and tart fruit notes (specifically kiwi, with a little pear as well). It’s a Super Saison, indeed–it takes everything you want in that classic farmhouse profile, and then amplifies it. DRAKE’S BRIGHTSIDE EXTRA BRUT IPA Drake’s Brewing Co.
San Leandro, California
7% | Brut IPA After brewing several test batches of Brut IPA, Drake’s Brewing Co. is rolling out kegs and six-packs of its take on the emerging style throughout California. Like many brewers, Drake’s uses amylase enzymes to ferment additional sugars, leaving the beer with an extra dry finish. Brightside is hopped with Centennial, Simcoe, Hallertau Blanc and Hallertau Mandarina, and it’s those latter two that contribute white grape and lemon notes that are well suited to the style’s characteristic dryness. One of the most fun things about Brut IPAs is the way the overall hop profile of the beer changes when the beer is stripped of virtually all sweetness. Doing so doesn’t amplify the tropical, juicy notes, as has been the M.O. over the last few years, but instead changes the nature of the beer entirely.
The latest in SweetWater’s Catch and Release series of seasonal beers, this one is double-dry-hopped with a single hop variety–in this case, of course, it’s Mosaic. One of the most popular hops of the last few years, here it contributes zesty orange and sweet pineapple, though there is surprisingly a little dankness on the nose. There is a touch of wheatiness behind the hop character, and the beer has a refreshing quality thanks to a clean, quick finish that leaves you wanting more.
ECLIPTIC / MODERN TIMES PINEAPPLE HAZY IPA Ecliptic Brewing Co. & Modern Times Beer
Portland, Oregon 8.5% | Double IPA w/ Pineapple
For its latest “Cosmic Collaboration,” Ecliptic Brewing Co. joined forces with Modern Times Beer, which recently opened a tasting room in Portland. The resulting Pineapple Hazy IPA is also the brewery’s first foray into 500-mL bottles, as “beer drinkers prefer bottles that are a true pint and easier to finish in one pour,” according to Alaric Lawrence, packaging manager at Ecliptic Brewing Co.
The new hazy IPA is brewed not just with fresh pineapple, but also with the Denali hop, which gives off a pineapple flavor of its own. Citra and Mosaic are also used, contributing bright, vibrant notes of nectarine and lemon zest. With a creamy body and an abundance of fruity notes from both the pineapple and the hops, this collaboration is one to seek out.
BADGER STATE WI BIEN Badger State Brewing Co.
Green Bay, Wisconsin 4.7% | Mexican-Style Lager w/ Limes
Badger State Brewing Co.’s Wi Bien is the second lime-infused Mexican-style lager to make our Six to Seek (the first being Hangar 24’s Aventura). Both beers, as so many others in the market right now, show that brewing this broad style isn’t so much about hewing to tradition, but rather using ingredients that put you in mind of the style. “Perhaps as often as anything else,” writes Ken Weaver, “it’s about capturing that vibe of drinking a Mexican lager.”
Lime is an easy way to do that, so it’s no surprise that many are brewing with an ingredient that others are content to garnish any number of Mexican beers. In the case of Wi Bien, which is brewed with both lime zest and lime juice, that tart lime is the most noticeable aroma coming out of the glass. Behind that lime is a sweet pilsner breadiness that helps balance the tartness; and even the limes, too, seem to add their own sweetness. If you’re the kind to occasionally slip a wedge of lime down the neck of a bottle, you’ll find that this does indeed capture that vibe.
While some bemoan “seasonal creep” and others wait until at least September to enjoy an Oktoberfest, I’m happy to enjoy the style no matter the weather. It doesn’t hurt that the last couple of days here in North Carolina have been much cooler than usual, a sign that fall is indeed right around the corner.
In my home state, that means thousands will soon journey to Asheville, a mecca for fans of beer and fall foliage alike. Hi-Wire’s Zirkusfest is one of the city’s best Oktoberfest beers, having won a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival in 2016. With notes of rich Munich malt, a touch of caramel sweetness, a firm noble hop character and a dry finish, this limited release could indeed be enjoyed year-round–but there’s no doubt that it’s best enjoyed during (or on the cusp of) autumn.
A new “milkshake IPA,” Cloud Catcher has graduated from Odell’s pilot system to all 18 states in the brewery’s distribution. It’s brewed with lactose and double-dry-hopped with Azacca, Cashmere, Citra and Galaxy, which all lead to big notes of pineapple, apricot, tangerine and grapefruit, on the nose and on the palate. It’s no doubt juicy, but there’s a just-right bitterness and a little West Coast character as well. As the brewery notes in its press release for this beer, it can be difficult to scale up hazy IPAs such as this for full distribution–but the brewery has managed to do it.
HOP BUTCHER / ASLIN STEALING SIGNS Hop Butcher For The World & Aslin Beer Co.
Darien, Illinois 7.5% | Hazy Double IPA
This collaboration from Hop Butcher For The World & Aslin Beer Co. is hopped with Galaxy, Simcoe and the seldom-seen Moutere. It’s that last one, bred from Southern Cross and a New Zealand hop, that seems to give this double IPA an interesting bit of spiciness. Not pepper spiciness, of course, but something more like a sprig of rosemary. It comes across as a little jarring at first, but only because that note isn’t often found in hazy IPAs. It takes just a couple of sips for it to click, with that spiciness complemented by the more expected notes of tangy grapefruit, orange zest and a trace of dankness. With a creamy mouthfeel and a distinctive take on a style everyone’s brewing these days, this one’s worth seeking out.
The brut and rosé trends show no signs of slowing down, with this latest example coming from Chicago’s Forbidden Root. This one is brewed with Niagara grapes and, like others, gets its pinkish hue from hibiscus. Were you to sip this blind, you genuinely might think you were drinking wine. Not only is it remarkably winelike in aroma and flavor–with notes of lemon, white grape and a dry finish–but it’s about as strong as a wine at 10% ABV. There’s a glimmer of hop character and bitterness, but not so much to bring you back to beer world. And yet, of course, we know it to be an ale- and a cleverly disguised one at that.
FOUNDERS CURMUDGEON’S BETTER HALF Founders Brewing Co.
Grand Rapids, Michigan 12.7% | Maple-Syrup-Bourbon-Barrel-Aged Old Ale w/ Molasses
The fifth beer in Founders’ Barrel-Aged Series, Curmudgeon’s Better Half is back and released in the brewery’s taprooms today (it should also hit shelves later this month). The brewery made many fans happy when it brought CBS out of retirement, and now they’ve done the same with Curmudgeon’s Better Half, which was last released in 2012.
Like that earlier release, this year’s version is the brewery’s old ale aged in barrels that held bourbon before going on to age maple syrup. The bourbon is most distinguishable on the nose alone, but the first sip reveals a depth of flavor: not only the bourbon and maple syrup, but sweet caramel, rich malt, fig and vanilla. It’s boozy bread pudding in a glass.
Earlier I wrote of how I could enjoy an Oktoberfest all year long, and I can certainly do the same with Curmudgeon’s Better Half. But if you pick up a four-pack or an extra 750-mL bottle, do yourself a favor and stash one away for winter. You won’t regret it.
Rome’s Trastevere neighborhood, which dates from medieval times, is a web of ancient cobbled streets teeming with trattorias, pizzerias and bars. A lively street scene and animated nightlife draw both locals and tourists to the west bank of the Tiber River for an evening of entertainment. In the heart of Trastevere, you’ll find Ma Che Siete Venuti A Fà, the city’s most famous beer bar and the first to feature independent breweries exclusively.
Despite its understated exterior, the pub isn’t hard to locate. Make your way to the street named Via Benedetta. When you encounter a cluster of people drinking beer and socializing in front of a graffiti-strewn building with a decaying facade, you’ve arrived.
The entry is flanked by a collection of stickers from breweries around the world and is topped by a simple sign displaying the name Ma Che Siete Venuti A Fà. The name translates loosely to “What did you come here for?” and is a soccer chant sung by the fanatic fans of Rome’s Lazio soccer team to taunt their opponents, especially during lopsided matches. In addition to being a first-rate beer bar, the pub is also a local’s soccer bar, and has been throughout its 16-year existence. Macchè, as it’s called locally, can take credit for introducing many a Lazio fan, and numerous other residents of Rome, to the joys of great beer.
(Photo by Dan Rabin)
There’s nothing fancy about the place. You enter into a tiny taproom with counter seating on one side and a small bar on the other. Together, the room seats 10 patrons. Behind the bar sits a row of a dozen copper-colored beer towers, each sporting a hand-written card with information about the beer being dispensed. A modest selection of bottled beers is on display in a refrigerated case mounted on the wall. During my visits, most of the bottles featured wild ales from Belgium and the United States. The ever-changing draft list is posted on a chalkboard on the opposite wall.
Beyond the bar area is a second compact space with table seating that might accommodate 30 people, assuming they’re not averse to close encounters of the beer kind. Televisions in each room broadcast soccer matches without sound while rock music plays in the background. The diminutive size of the two rooms is conducive to befriending fellow beer-lovers from around the world. The locals seem to prefer drinking on the street in front of the pub, which is quite acceptable in Rome.
There’s a downstairs room with a different vibe. Upholstered chairs and cubby-like spaces evoke a more lounge-like feel, suitable for quiet conversation. While the room was seldom used during my visits, it’s here that Lazio fans gather on game days to cheer on their beloved team, according to Macchè’s founder, Manuele Colonna, a Lazio supporter and passionate beer fan who opened the pub in 2001.
Colonna is a well-known figure within Italy’s tight-knit community of independent beer-makers. In addition to showcasing many small Italian breweries at Macchè, Colonna travels throughout Europe in search of beers to serve at the pub. When I ask Colonna how he selects beers, he barely mentions styles. Rather, he stresses the importance of a brewery’s philosophy and of a brewer’s heart and soul. “I like to recognize the brewer’s personality in the beer that I drink,” he explains.
The draft menu lists 15 beers and a cider. Italian breweries are well-represented. Beers from small German and Belgian breweries appear frequently. Styles cover a broad spectrum of German, Belgian, British and American ales and lagers. It’s likely that most patrons, even seasoned beer travelers, will be unfamiliar with many of the featured breweries. One exception is the well-known Cantillon Brewery, whose beers are often available on draft. Colonna has a close relationship with the owners of the revered Belgian Lambic producer.
Servers at Macchè are friendly to a fault and knowledgeable about the beers they serve.
“We like to tell our customers a story behind the beer they are drinking,” Colonna tells me over a glass of kellerbier procured from an obscure Franconian brewery. “That’s really important for us.”