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All About Beer Magazine is America’s leading beer magazine, dedicated to covering the people, places, news, trends and events that define the beer community. For 35 years, it’s been their mission to celebrate the world of beer culture and enrich the lives of beer lovers through education, enjoyment and events like the World Beer Festivals.
One of Wisconsin’s newest breweries is drawing upon some of the state’s oldest traditions.
Operated by the Wisconsin Historical Society, Old World Wisconsin in the town of Eagle allows visitors to explore more than 60 historical structures across hundreds of acres of Midwestern landscape, staffed by volunteers depicting daily 19th century life. To commemorate the ties to historic farm brewing, an exhibit was established in partnership with the Milwaukee Museum of Beer & Brewing and various local breweries, which showcases a typical farm brewery operation.
Next year, Old World Wisconsin will begin raising funds for its forthcoming Sudhaus, which will feature a larger production brewery and beer garden.
“A fully operational brewery and beer garden, planned for since we opened in 1976, will be part of a reconfigured park entrance designed on a village-on-a-green theme,” says Dan Freas, director of Old World Wisconsin.
Until that new Sudhaus is built, the museum offers demonstrations that show how 19th-century farmers would have brewed.
(Photo by Brian Wettlaufer)
Dressed in authentic period clothing today is Gary Luther, a retired principal brewer of the Miller Brewing Co. and current member of the Master Brewers Association of the Americas.
(Photo by Brian Wettlaufer)
Luther begins brewing 15 gallons of cream ale by heating well water to 180 degrees Fahrenheit in an open-air kettle. He uses a hand-cranked grist mill to grind a mixture of Caramel 10 and pale malted barley. As the grains hit the water, the air fills with an earthy, malty aroma, reminiscent of breakfast oatmeal.
Farmers of the 19th century brewed a variety of recipes. Some were brought over from the old countries and handed down through generations, others shared by neighbors, and even a few discovered by experimenting with nontraditional ingredients. Some farmers used corn or rice as adjunct grains with molasses, pine needles or spruce tips as flavoring agents, but many used their own grains and hops and brewed with equipment purchased locally or homemade. From start to finish, brewing in the 1850s was a hands-on affair, and Old World Wisconsin replicates
Luther stirs his mash in a wood lauter tun that uses a false bottom to siphon the wort, which sits covered for an hour while enzymes convert starch into sugar under a watchful eye.
Hot water from the boiling vat is added in calibrated amounts to help in sparging, whereby the sugar-rich wort is recycled, bucket by bucket, back through the mash until a clear liquid is gained. The mashed meal is saved for animal feed.
Next, the wort is transferred to a separate open-air brewing kettle and boiled for 75 minutes. First hopping happens 10 minutes into the boil to add bitterness, and this distinct, pungent aroma foretells the beer’s ultimate flavor. A second hopping is added 10 minutes before the end of the boil. True to history, Luther measures the hops by hand (historic recipes often include “by the handful”).
(Photo by Brian Wettlaufer)
Boiling complete, the wort is transferred into a kuhlschiff (also known as a coolship or cooling pan), by ladling it into a trough and screening the spent hops. Well-to-do farmers owned a copper pan for this purpose, as that metal promotes flash condensation and quickly, and critically, reduces the wort’s temperature. Otherwise, wort sat overnight to cool in covered vats.
As part of its final journey to becoming beer, the wort is now transferred into fermenting tubs and the yeast pitched at 60 degrees F. Farm brewers knew fermentation was successful when they saw the frothy foam known as krausen develop on the wort’s surface. After fermenting for several days, the yeast produced alcohol, generated carbon dioxide and developed a multitude of aromas. At the end of fermentation, priming syrup is added to ready the beer for storage. Typically, yeast was harvested for another brew. Now transferred into small kegs, bunged shut and stored in a cool place, this table beer—unlike lager, which required lengthy cold storage—was ready to drink in just a week or two.
Farm brewing was a continual process in order to keep a steady supply for the family, friends and neighbors. Excess beer was often sold to local taverns. On the farm, beer was consumed at every meal and by all family members—including children. Beer was not only a refreshing beverage, it was also considered a foodstuff and necessary part of the diet. At a time when milk was unpasteurized and water often contaminated, beer was safe to drink due to boiling and fermenting, and, as long as equipment and supplies were kept sanitary and vermin-free, drinking it in moderation caused no ill health effects. As one brewing apprentice notes, “It was the drink that didn’t kill us.”
At Old World Wisconsin, beer is brewed with equipment, materials and recipes found on an 1850s farm, with minor concessions to modern methods. Hops and barley are grown, harvested and processed on-site, and well water is used along with locally propagated yeast strains.
And what will come of Luther’s cream ale? For now, government licensing stipulates that until an actual brewery is constructed, only brewing demonstrations are permitted—serving is verboten. Soon a park renovation will expand this prototype brewery into a full-scale Sudhaus, which will offer not only demonstrations and workshops but also tasting and sales of historically brewed beer.
“We share a passion to provide an experience that will educate and preserve the heritage and history of Wisconsin’s brewing legacy,” says Jerry Janiszewski of The Milwaukee Museum of Beer & Brewing. “A fully operational brewery will create an interactive experience and give an opportunity to have fun while learning about the historic brewing process.”
Brian Wettlaufer is a freelance writer in Franklin, Wisconsin. He can often be found enjoying a beer in his backyard and is always found at www.blwwrites.weebly.com.
For a craft beer fan, there is really nothing more enjoyable than listening to great live music outdoors and enjoying a refreshing and sessionable craft beer. That’s why, in true Starr Hill fashion, the Virginia-based craft brewery is releasing its new Front Row Golden Ale just in time for the coming warmer months.
“Front Row Golden Ale is a great beer for hot days as a crisper, cleaner, and more refreshing alternative to an IPA,” Jack Goodall, Starr Hill’s Marketing Manager, explains. “But, almost more importantly, Front Row is an homage to our roots.”
Starr Hill Brewery, founded in 1999 by Mark Thompson, began at the former location of Blue Ridge Brewing Co., Virginia’s first craft brewing operation. Thompson turned the historic storefront on Charlottesville’s Main Street into a bustling brewery once again. Offering live music and local craft beer from 1999-2005 was the mission. Outgrowing that original space led to a brewery expansion with a taproom in Crozet, Virginia; however, the live music stage was not left behind. The Crozet taproom offers live music every weekend and pulls acts from Virginia, North Carolina, and beyond. It was here that Starr Hill became the first production craft brewery in Virginia, focused on shipping beer around Virginia and beyond.
Ensuring its connection to live music, Starr Hill’s beers can be found in every major music venue in Virginia. This includes Wolf Trap (NoVA/D.C.), The National (RVA), The Jefferson and Sprint Pavilion (Charlottesville), NorVA and Portsmouth Pavilion (Norfolk), and more. Bonnaroo and FloydFest-goers have even had the privilege of drinking Starr Hill beer since the very first concerts in 2002. So, it was only a matter of time before they created a second flagship beer, paired alongside Northern Lights IPA, and gave it a strong music-centric name that also encourages the drinker to treasure life’s incredible moments.
(Photo courtesy Starr Hill Brewery)
“The name Front Row not only comes from the music connection, but a celebration of savoring life’s moments in-person and sharing the experience with others,” says Goodall. “[It] could be a concert, a sports game or just hanging with friends—just being present and doing what you love [is] what matters.”
Coming in at 4.9% ABV, Goodall sees the Front Row Golden Ale as an approachable gateway beer for those who are not huge craft fans, but a quality beer that craft fans can appreciate, since it’s not too hoppy or sweet.
“Similar to a blonde ale or Kölsch, golden ales are currently the fastest growing style in the industry,” Goodall states. “Our Front Row Golden Ale is a single Cascade hop beer with pilsner, caramel, and honey malts with oats. It is very balanced and light, yet still full of flavor.”
“We originally brewed this Golden Ale for the summer music festival season last year, and it just took off,” says Robbie O’Cain, brewmaster at Starr Hill. “Front Row is a classic, approachable beer that we’re really excited to share.”
Rolling out now on draft in all markets Starr Hill currently serves (Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Washington D.C.), Front Row Golden Ale will be the first largely distributed Virginia-brewed Golden Ale, and available in 16-ounce cans and 12-ounce bottles starting in March. The Boombox, an eight-pack of cans, will contain four Front Row Golden Ales and four Northern Lights IPAs. Once released, Front Row Golden Ale will be a year-round offering from Starr Hill.
To kick-off its new flagship beer release and just in time for summer music festival season, Starr Hill plans to sell Front Row Golden Ale in every Virginia music venue. The brewery has also launched a Golden Ticket giveaway. By answering the question “Where’s your #FrontRow?” with a photo, craft beer fans can enter to win $50 Stubhub gift cards or the grand prize, a Front Row Tour Pack, which includes all the road trip essentials, like a GoPro, Hydroflask growler, festival blanket, Starr Hill swag, and a $250 Stubhub gift card, all valued at $1,000. Fourteen $50 Stubhub gift cards will be given away every other week with the grand prize drawing this summer. Contestants can enter at starrhill.com/golden-ticket and by tagging Starr Hill for a chance to win.
Sara Pletcher is the conference operations manager at Zephyr Conferences, the brainchild behind beer, wine, and food conferences for bloggers and industry professionals. Sara drank her first craft beer in 2009 and, therefore, naturally wrote her master’s thesis on the Delaware craft beer industry. She’s excited to finally put her passion to good work.
Jeremy Tofte during a video shoot for International 2×4 Day. (Photo by Orijin Media courtesy of Melvin Brewing)
At this year’s Great American Beer Festival, the crew from Melvin Brewing blared hip-hop from their bus, fired T-shirts from cannons and hung out with the wrestler Hacksaw Jim Duggan.
And these celebrations all came before the brewery won two gold medals (for its Wet Hop Melvin and Hubert MPA) and was named Brewery Group and Brewmaster of the Year.
Taking home hardware from GABF is nothing new for founder Jeremy Tofte, whose brewery started small in a Thai restaurant in Jackson, Wyoming. From those humble origins, Tofte has expanded into a large production brewery in Alpine, Wyoming, and a new brewpub in Bellingham, Washington–with more brewpubs in the works.
What was this year’s Great American Beer Festival like for you guys?
It was really fun because you might have known that in 2015 we got small brewpub of the year. And in that time from then to now, we built a production facility. And so it’s the first time we’ve had more than like five people at GABF at one time. There was a good crew of 20 or so of us, maybe a little bit more. In the festival hall, during the awards ceremony, there were about 12 of us. It just felt so good to know that we could take it from a 3-barrel with the team we’ve assembled up to a 30-barrel and still make amazing beers.
The feeling of us walking down the hallway to receive the gold medal for Hubert–that’s the beer we drink. That’s our beer that everyone drinks at work. And it’s always been kind of underrated because it doesn’t say “IPA” on the label. It just made us so happy to get a gold medal in that. It was nice to repeat in the fresh hop, and it was also nice to feel like we’ve worked so hard with the Hubert. And even though it’s kind of an industry event that maybe people in the outside world don’t totally understand, it felt really good to see our favorite beer get some accolades.
Like you said, you’ve won awards for a variety of locations, going back to beers you brewed at Thai Me Up, to small brewpub of the year in 2015, to brewery group this year. How do you do ensure consistency and medal-winning quality across all of these systems?
First thing we did was realize we were never going to change the recipes unless they were going to get better. So going into it, we knew we had to have a system that was built to have high-gravity beers, and that’s why we contacted Newlands up in British Columbia and worked with them to build a system that would work for the kind of beers that we make. Because we’re not going to dumb down the recipes. That’s why our prices are more of a premium price, but we didn’t change the recipes from the 3-barrel to the 30-barrel. Our CFO was kind of shocked when he saw the cost going into these beers, but it’s so worth it.
We just assembled the team that could take us from a 3-barrel to a 30. We found Dave Chichura [formerly of Oskar Blues], he’s very proficient on a large system. And he started assembling an A team below him. And then right away, the first thing we did after we hired Dave was hire a lab consultant that built our lab for us. We have a full lab now with lab directors in it making sure every single beer comes out the way it’s supposed to. I think that’s the biggest piece that gives us an advantage coming to market. We know before a beer’s even finished fermenting how good it’s going to be and if it meets our standards, and we have no problem sending it out to market.
(Photo by Orijin Media courtesy of Melvin Brewing)
So you’ve designed the system around the types of beers you want to brew, and also brought in a team proficient at brewing those styles as well?
Definitely. As you know brewing on a production system is a whole different ballgame than brewing on a pub system.
Speaking of pub systems, how are things going at the new brewpub?
In Bellingham, which we like to call Melvingham? It’s going great. I think people were ready for something like that. When you walk into the space, and it’s playing hip-hop and all the TVs have kung fu on them, it’s a little bit different. And people don’t always know what to expect, but they’re digging it. The hamsters are loving it, because there are so many great breweries there already, it just gives them another place to have a beer.
Does the Bellingham brewpub have its own identity as far as beer styles?
Yeah, the brewer that we hired spent 30 years in Sweden, and he brewed there professionally and as an amateur. And he also brewed in southern California, so he knows both styles. But we’re going to take a different approach. We already have the West Coast styles maybe not down, but we have them to our liking. And so the new pubs are all about experimenting with different kinds of beer, that may or may not work in that area. Like for this new brewpub, there are a lot of Scandinavians living up in the Bellingham area, so we’re going to use his expertise to make a few Scandinavian beers so we always have Scandinavian beers on tap. And maybe they won’t sell like hot cakes, but that’s OK, because we just want to make them. We just want to do what we want to do.
For those hop-forward styles you’re so well known for, how do you stand out when everybody’s doing IPAs these days?
It used to be so easy because no one knew about whirlpool hops, and it’ll sound funny to some people that have only been brewing a couple years that are making amazing hoppy beers, but that was kind of a secret five years ago. And now the secret’s out, so we just keep on staying consistent and doing what we’ve always done as well as trying to add some new tricks to our repertoire. It’s fun to keep on getting better with the balance, and the more balanced we get, the more people like the beer. If it’s too malty, which we don’t do, or it’s too bitter, which we don’t do, people don’t seem to like it. And I guess that’s the best part of having a pub system, is that we can experiment. If it doesn’t work, we know right away. And if it does work, then we start the process to build it up into the 30-barrel system.
So you guys have been doing late-addition hops for quite a while?
We were doing it in like 2010, when it was kind of looked at like a waste of money. There were a bunch of people doing it, don’t get me wrong. But it wasn’t accepted industry-wide yet. And since we were just on a pub system we didn’t really care about making money. We would just throw in as many hops as we could without it being too grassy or too piney, and we just found that perfect balance.
Obviously one of your most popular beers is your 2×4 Double IPA. How did you guys get the wrestler Hacksaw Jim Duggan involved?
Every time we searched #2×4 on social media, he would come up. We were like, ‘Wait a second, that’s our hashtag.’ So we figured let’s just get a hold of him and see if he wants to team up. He’s so fun. We teamed up with him again this GABF and we’re coming out with a really fun video with him in March to talk about International 2×4 Day.
Any big plans for next year’s 2×4 Day?
Yeah, it’s happening on Super Bowl Sunday. And since no one wants to throw a party that competes with the Seahawks winning, we figured we’ll do International 2×4 Day this year. International would be 4-2 instead of 2-4, so on April 2 we have about eight different countries that we’re going to do 4×2 Day in, including 30-40 bars in America. And they’re usually in a lot of markets that we don’t actually distribute to. That’s fun, letting people taste the beer that maybe they’ve heard of but never had. I’m excited to send beer to Korea, Thailand, Japan, Sweden, Norway, England, Belgium.
The beer bars we have are new to a lot of places outside of America, so it’s going to be great when customers show up at their bar and there’s hip-hop playing and kung fu playing on projectors, and everyone’s dressed up as ninjas and there are all kinds of activities and games that just make beer drinking fun. We’re just kind of all about goobering out a little bit. I think International 2×4 Day will give us a chance to show the rest of the world what we’re all about.
You mentioned a lot of new markets for 2×4 Day, but what’s your distribution like these days?
We’re just sending beer to Seattle, Portland, Boise and Denver, mostly, and then all over Wyoming. And then we decided to start sending a truck every once in a while to San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York. We just sent one to Massachusetts because there are a lot of distributors taking an interest in us. Once we figure out the franchise laws in a state, we make an agreement with them. You try us out for a few months, we’ll try you out for a few months, and we’ll see if we work together. The good old days of getting married and sleeping together on your wedding night are pretty much over.
You’re not moving a ton of volume in some of these markets. Is the goal just to get out in front of beer drinkers in some of the most popular beer markets?
Yeah, test them out and if the customers like us and continue to drink us and there’s enough demand, once we get capacity we know that’s a market we’ll enter. It could be two years away, it could be two months away. But we’ll have more capacity online this winter and be able to possibly start opening new markets, but after GABF Denver’s just soaking up more beer than ever before. That was our biggest market, and now it’s even more so. We have a difficult time getting semis to our brewery, because we’re in the middle of nowhere. We’re having a hard time getting beer out. We’re looking at starting a shipping company, and that will just take beer back and forth to Denver.
It has to feel good to be doing so well in such a competitive beer market.
That’s our whole model, is just to go to the most competitive markets and see where we fit in. Our whole business model is that we have to ship outside of our state. I think we’ve done enough flirting with those markets over the last four years that it’s working out. Even when we had the 3-barrel system, Kirk [McHale, co-founder and brewmaster] would fill one of the 7-barrel fermenters with six barrels. Every month, some lucky territory would get 30 six-barrels. It would usually be Bellingham or Portland or Boulder. It’s still fun, but it used to be really fun in those days when we were so excited a whole pallet would go wherever it went, and we’d read the internet to make sure people liked it. It was good times because we didn’t know what this would all turn into. At the time we just wanted people to taste the beer. That’s still what we want, but now it’s getting around.
It has to be exciting still, but is it at all scary to see how much you’ve grown?
No, I think it was probably what we were meant to do from the beginning. Toward the last year of me bartending and working in the brewery at Thai Me Up, I was snowboarding less and less. I realized that maybe I didn’t want to bartend for another decade. I love bartending, but the late nights add up. We actually got a state grant, and that was the catalyst. I said, ‘I guess I’m not bartending anymore. We got $3 million dollars from the state of Wyoming. It’s time to get real.’
Is that what led to the production brewery?
Yeah, we sent a business plan out to the state and got a lot of support. All we had to do was make 35 jobs happen in five years and it’s interest free. We hired 35 people I think in the first year and a half, so that’s taken care of and it’s interest free. We have 15 years to pay it off, and that is the catalyst that took us from a 3-barrel to a 30-barrel.
Are you guys still looking at building a brewery in Denver?
Yes, we are. We’re in negotiations with a couple different landlords in Denver, another in Olympia, Washington, and then we have a letter of intent in on a space in San Diego. My manager from Thai Me Up, Jamie Morris, I told him in four years we’ll have a big old brewery, and then we’ll start building brewpubs, and you’ll be in charge of all the brewpubs. And sure enough, almost four years to the date, he’s now running Melvin Brewpubs, LLC. He was just down here for San Diego Beer Week and we looked for spaces for a few weeks, and kind of honed in on the ones we really wanted to see. We found one that’s just perfect. We’ll put a 10-barrel system in there. When we find the place in Denver, up there we’ll do sour beers. We have a really good sour brewer ready to jump on that project, and he’ll get creative control. It’s all about bringing in these team members that want to do great things in their lives, but maybe they don’t have a way to do it, or they don’t have the experience or the financing. I’m all about bringing people on that are better than us and giving them the opportunity to perfect their craft without us micro-managing them or telling them what to do every minute. I’m just excited that we have a great team that is taking us to the promised land. It’s going to be such a good feeling to have this 2×4 Day all over the world, and showing people what American craft beer is.
–This interview was conducted and edited by Daniel Hartis, editor of All About Beer Magazine.
Jeremy Tofte At A Glance
Co-Founder/Backseat Brewer Years in Brewing Industry: Seven. I worked at my family’s craft distributor since childhood–Redhook, Pyramid, Grant’s, etc. Started picking up kegs at breweries when I was 16. Fell in love with it. Go-to beer from another brewery: Royale Pilsner in Portland, Oregon Beer that inspired him early in life: Blackhook Couldn’t live without: My radio Favorite place to have a beer: North Shore, Kauai, post surf at a roadside break, during sunset. Wishes he could buy a round for: Wu-Tang Clan Biggest passion besides brewing: Surf/snow Keeping him up at night: Gross margin
Melvin Brewing Jackson and Alpine, Wyoming MelvinBrewing.com Founded: Pub 2010, production facility ‘15 Annual Production: 20,000 barrels in year two Availability: WY, CO, ID, WA, OR, and parts of CA sporadically
The Double IPA Festival is just one of many events during San Francisco Beer Week, taking place Feb. 9-18. (Photo courtesy San Francisco Beer Week)
Feb. 9-18 San Francisco Beer Week
San Francisco, California
Kicking off with an opening gala on February 9 at Pier 35, an event known for creating special cross-brewery collaborations and rare beer pourings, this extended celebration of the Bay Area’s beer community includes happenings at breweries, bars and restaurants all around. Some highlights: A cellar release day with Drake’s Brewing Co., a dim sum beer brunch with Fort Point Beer Co., the Downtown San Jose Beer Walk and the Double IPA Festival at The Bistro.
Feb. 10 Arizona Strong Beer Festival
Set during Arizona Beer Week, this festival comprises more than 400 beers of various styles to provide “respite for the winter weary.” SanTan Brewing Co., Borderlands Brewing Co., Dark Sky Brewing Co. and Four Peaks Brewing Co. are just a few local names that will join nationally recognized brands such as Founders Brewing Co. and Goose Island Beer Co. at this winter festival located in Phoenix’s Steele Indian School Park. Live music and food vendors will also be present.
Feb. 17 World Beer Festival Columbia
Columbia, South Carolina
Tickets are now on sale for World Beer Festival Columbia, which returns to the South Carolina State Fairgrounds for the second year on Saturday, Feb. 17. Local breweries as well as regional and national brands will once again join this popular winter fest in South Carolina’s “famously hot” city.
Nebraska Brewing Co. MOAB (Mother of All Bettys)
12.7% | Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout
Take Nebraska Brewing’s Betty, but use twice as much grain and a double mash to generate sticky, alcoholic sweetness. Then add a healthy dose of Warrior hops and age it for six months in a blend of four different bourbon barrels, and you get the brewery’s MOAB, or “Mother of All Bettys.” This “monster” beer will be available in extremely limited quantities of 500-mL bottles.
Left Hand Brewing Co. Saison au Miel
6.8% | Honey Saison
Left Hand’s rotating saison series, Les Quatre Saisons, features native Colorado ingredients unique to each season. The addition of wildflower honey to this brew gives Saison au Miel a touch of sweetness and rounds out an otherwise crisp and dry farmhouse ale. This release will be available in six-packs of 12-ounce cans and on draft.
Aged in fresh bourbon barrels, the vanilla and coconut notes of this beer are accentuated by the presence of oak, and are further complemented by chocolate and espresso notes. German Chocolate Cake will be available in 22-ounce bottles and on draft.
It’s fourth and goal with 4 seconds on the clock and you need to score here to take home the big trophy. You have spent the entire season perfecting your ability to throw your neighborhood’s best watch party, but this is no regular season game. No. This is the Super Bowl and the pressure is on. Will you serve your world-famous, dry-rub wings with a standard case on ice or pair them with yet another perfectly crafted, draft beer?
Your last growler of that seasonal winter IPA went flat after the first quarter, so you ended up having to send in the second string canned lager anyway. So why bother?
(Photo courtesy GrowlerWerks)
Well, it’s time you learned about football’s No. 1 draft of craft, GrowlerWerks’ uKeg. These self-regulated, self-pressurized mini-kegs fit perfectly on the edge of a tailgate or set amongst the food spread of your nearest “homegate.”
You Tailgate? uKeg. #uTailgate - YouTube
Developed by three beer lovers with an engineering problem, the uKeg is designed and crafted for beer. With vacuum-insulated, stainless-steel walls, an easy-to-use regulator cap, and low-cost, food-grade CO2 cartridges your beer is guaranteed to stay cold, fresh and carbonated. All. Game. Long.
You’ll be pouring fresh through the halftime show, past the gut-wrenching fourth quarter, and make sure to enjoy a pint on draft after you have cleaned up and stuffed your fridge with leftovers.
(Photo courtesy GrowlerWerks)
Whether you finish every last drop or still have some leftover, don’t worry. The uKeg guarantees to keep your beer carbonated for at least two weeks, they fit on every refrigerator shelf, and they are easy to clean.
Lastly, set the uKeg out to dry, sit back, and enjoy. You took home the trophy. You took home a uKeg.
ORANGE COUNTY, Calif.—San Diego-based Ballast Point®, a pioneer in the craft beer industry and one of the nation’s leading craft breweries known for high-quality, award-winning and innovative beers, today announced the opening of a brewery, tasting room and kitchen in the Downtown Disney® District at the Disneyland® Resort. The opening marks the first-ever brewery for Downtown Disney. Opening in late 2018, the 7,000-sq. ft. space will house a three-barrel “research and development” brewery, New American restaurant and outdoor beer garden. This will be Ballast Point’s first location in Orange County and seventh in Southern California.
“As one of Southern California’s premier brewers, for the team at Ballast Point, we couldn’t be more honored to work with such an icon in our great state and become the first brewer at Downtown Disney,” said Marty Birkel, president of Ballast Point Brewing Company. “We hope SoCal locals and visitors alike will enjoy the wonderful atmosphere, seasonal cuisine, and good cheer (and beer) of our signature tap room experience that we plan to bring to Disney.”
“We are thrilled to welcome Ballast Point to Downtown Disney,” said Patrick Finnegan, vice president of Disney California Adventure and Downtown Disney. “Our guests are constantly asking for new and innovative dining experiences, and Ballast Point’s selection of award-winning beers, locally inspired cuisine and friendly atmosphere make them a perfect fit.”
Along with its beers, the restaurant’s menu will also offer a taste of San Diego with some of its most popular dishes from its brew pubs, including Baja-style fish tacos and a house-made pretzel with beer mustard. Similar to Ballast Point’s brewing philosophy, the kitchen will only source the best possible ingredients, including steroid and antibiotic-free proteins, line-caught fish and local produce when available. The kitchen will feature a seasonally inspired menu, with a focus on cuisine that not only pairs well with the vast selection of beers, but incorporates them in the recipes. The location will also offer a children’s menu, along with gluten-free and vegetarian options for guests.
The location will be family-friendly, offering an outdoor patio and large-party, cabana style seating, and visitors 21+ can enjoy many of Ballast Point’s iconic beers including its flagship and award-winning Sculpin® IPA, as well as exclusive, custom, limited-edition beers available only at the Downtown Disney location. Known for its unrelenting commitment to quality, unique flavor profiles and a desire to bring great tasting beer to consumers across the country, Ballast Point has been dedicated to the craft of brewing for more than 20 years.
The new Downtown Disney location further extends Ballast Point’s brand presence in Southern California and will introduce its quality, great-tasting beer to visitors from around the country and the world. Ballast Point currently operates six tasting room locations in California, including Long Beach and Little Italy in San Diego, and a new brewery and tasting room in Daleville, Virginia. Coming soon, the brewer will also open a brewery and kitchen in Chicago – its first in the Midwest.
About Ballast Point
What started in 1996 as a small group of home brewers who simply wanted to make great beer evolved into the team of adventurers known today as Ballast Point. From bringing a hoppy twist to a porter, or adding four types of malt to its amber ale, to creating the breakthrough gold-medal winning Sculpin IPA, the San Diego-based company is known for adding its own touch and asking if there’s a better way. Now an internationally recognized leader in the craft brewing industry with 7 brewery locations in California and Virginia, the company makes over 50 styles of beer and distributes to 49 states and 17 countries internationally. For more information, visit www.ballastpoint.com.
About Constellation Brands
Constellation Brands (NYSE:STZ) (NYSE:STZ.B), a Fortune 500® company, is a leading international producer and marketer of beer, wine and spirits with operations in the U.S., Mexico, New Zealand, Italy and Canada. Constellation is the No. 3 beer company in the U.S. with high-end, iconic imported brands such as Corona Extra, Corona Light, Modelo Especial, Modelo Negra and Pacifico. The company’s beer portfolio also includes Ballast Point, one of the most awarded craft brewers in the U.S. In addition, Constellation is the world leader in premium wine, selling great brands that people love, including Robert Mondavi, Clos du Bois, Kim Crawford, Meiomi, Mark West, Franciscan Estate, Ruffino and The Prisoner. The company’s premium spirits brands include SVEDKA Vodka, Casa Noble Tequila and High West Whiskey.
Based in Victor, N.Y., the company believes that industry leadership involves a commitment to brand building, our trade partners, the environment, our investors and to consumers around the world who choose our products when celebrating big moments or enjoying quiet ones. Founded in 1945, Constellation has grown to become a significant player in the beverage alcohol industry with more than 100 brands in its portfolio, about 40 facilities and approximately 9,000 talented employees. We express our company vision: to elevate life with every glass raised. To learn more, visit www.cbrands.com.
CHARLOTTE, N.C.–All About Beer Magazine and Amoretti presented the Beer Army Beer Wars in association with the North Carolina Homebrewers Alliance and the Beer Army Foundation. This was a commercial beer judging contest that was hosted in the heart of southern beer country from Jan. 13-14, 2018, at NoDa Brewing Co. in Charlotte, North Carolina. This year the competition fielded 709 entries from 43 states, five Canadian provinces, Belgium, England and Ireland.
This event was open to all commercial breweries, featuring ale and lager categories supported by the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP). This was a BJCP-sanctioned event with all judging being done by a double blind panel of BJCP-certified judges and beer industry leaders.
Medals of Gold, Silver and Bronze were awarded to the top three finishers in each beer judging category. Medalists in attendance were announced at the Jolly Skull Beer and Wine Festival, held at the Greenville Convention Center on Jan. 20, 2018.
Stormbreaker Brewing from Portland, Oregon, was named Grand Champion and will be awarded the championship belt. The Top 10 list and overall champion can be found here.
While fans of The Ohio State University practically bleed scarlet and gray, there’s more to Ohio’s capital city than the famed Buckeyes or the state’s iconic peanut butter and chocolate candy bearing the same name. Columbus is overflowing with new breweries. Half of the nearly 40 breweries that call the city home have opened in the past five years, and like any good beer city, there are more on the way.
Having front-row access to this burgeoning beer scene makes a visit to Columbus key right now (not to mention that if you get stamps in the Columbus Ale Trail booklet from all 37 breweries by May 2018, you’ll receive a locally crafted wooden flight tray and five tasting glasses). Plus you can be one of the few in the country to sip these beers, as many of the breweries don’t distribute widely outside the Columbus area yet.
Check in at Hotel LeVeque (50 W. Broad St.), a new boutique hotel in LeVeque Tower, an art deco-style building that dates to 1927. The hotel puts you within easy access of numerous breweries (along with the Scioto Mile, a paved recreational path).
(Photo courtesy Elevator Brewery and Draught Haus)
Start your weekend at Elevator Brewery and Draught Haus (161 N. High St.), located in an 1897 building that’s on the National Registry of Historic Landmarks. Although you can visit its nearby taproom, the restaurant with its mosaic tile floor, stained-glass windows, decorative ceiling and mahogany bar is a must. The brewery features 12 to 14 taps, and four additional taps are reserved for the house-brewed root beer, ginger beer and draft cocktails.
Stop for lunch around the corner at Wolf’s Ridge Brewing (215 N. Fourth St.) where its reputation for food is as strong as its beer. The brewery’s Snow Cone extra pale ale is hopped with whole-cone Mosaic hops). With vintage windows and natural light, the taproom in the back is also worth visiting (it opens at 3 p.m. on Fridays).
Although all 37 breweries are on the Columbus Ale Trail, six have the distinct honor of being on Brewer’s Row, including the two you’ve just visited. Now it’s time for the third, Barley’s Brewing Co. (467 N. High St.), a Columbus establishment for over 20 years. Every Friday, Barley’s taps a firkin of cask-conditioned ale.
Take a break from beer tasting to peruse the Pizzuti Collection (632 N. Park St.). Even if art isn’t your thing, this three-floor collection of modern art will intrigue you, as it features eclectic pieces by established and emerging artists from around the world.
Knock out the fourth brewery on Brewer’s Row at Hoof Hearted Brewery & Kitchen (850 N. Fourth St.) where a pool from an adjacent fitness center sits off the outdoor patio. Brewery guests can visit the pool or spend time in the sleekly designed brewery with its ’80s vibe and whimsical artwork. Order a flight of four “hoofy” drafts, each with its own playing card, and make sure to try the Jacuzzi Shortz Cuz pale ale or Musk of the Minotaur IPA.
(Photo courtesy Rockmill Tavern)
Dinner tonight is at another new gem, Rockmill Tavern (503 S. Front St.). Rockmill operates a brewery in Lancaster, about 30 minutes outside the city, but recently opened this farmhouse-style tavern to highlight its Belgian-inspired beers. For an after-dinner cocktail, head to Curio (495 S. Fourth St.) where you’ll find unique craft cocktails plus a rotating tap, often from an Ohio brewery.
There’s only one place where you’ll find a restaurant with “Peace, Love and Pancake Balls” as its mantra, and that’s Katalina’s (1105 Pennsylvania Ave.), a funky eatery in a 100-year-old former gas station. It’s such a hot spot that the tables–you can dine in or out year-round–fill fast, so arriving early is wise. Katalina’s emphasizes locally sourced, high-quality products like Thunderkiss coffee from a small-batch roaster. And while you can’t go wrong with the Shagbark Black Bean Tacos, you have to try the Original Pancake Balls, filled with Nutella, dulce de leche or pumpkin-apple butter.
Even though your tummy may be full, head next to North Market (59 Spruce St.), a public market where you can stock up on spices, cooking products, coffee and, yes, beer. Stop by The Barrel & Bottle to shop or sip a pint from its three rotating handles.
(Photo courtesy Land-Grant Brewing Co.)
Land-Grant Brewing Company (424 W. Town St.) in the up-and-coming Franklinton neighborhood is your next stop. Making friends is the name of the game here, as 24-foot communal tables let you mingle with other beer lovers. The brewery features 18 taps (tap number 13 is always a sour), and playing cards give you specifics about each creation. Gluten-free folks will appreciate the dedicated gluten-free tap, which was serving Mad Moon Hard Cider at press time.
No beer weekend is complete without pizza, and you’ll find some of the best at Harvest Pizzeria (495 S. Fourth St.) at its flagship location in German Village, a cozy eatery where you can watch pizzas cooking in wood-fired ovens. Harvest has two beers on tap, including its Harvest Pale Ale (brewed by Atlanta’s SweetWater Brewing Co.) and the Harvest Moon Nut Brown (brewed locally by Seventh Son Brewing).
(Photo courtesy BrewDog)
One of the year’s biggest beer stories was undoubtedly the opening of BrewDog’s 100,000-square-foot U.S. headquarters in Canal Winchester, Ohio. It’s about a 25-minute drive there, but it’s a can’t-miss stop, as BrewDog (96 Gender Road) is a destination with a full kitchen and gaming area with shuffleboard and pinball machines. The 170-barrel brewery has 24 taps in the DogTap tasting room, eight in the retail merchandise space and another eight at the patio bar (and, of course, the patio is dog-friendly). BrewDog is opening a hotel, which will also include a souring facility, in late 2018 on its site and a tasting room in Franklinton by the first of 2018. A dog park is also in the works.
Enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail at North High Brewing (1288 N. High St.) in Short North, the fifth brewery on Brewer’s Row. The atmosphere is so inviting you’ll feel like you’ve walked into your neighborhood pub. Grab a seat at the mahogany bar and choose from almost 20 taps, including its award-winning Pale Ale.
Then treat your taste buds to dinner in Victorian Village at Basi Italia (811 Highland St.) where you can dine in the cozy interior or the outdoor terrace. Choose from Mediterranean and Italian dishes, complementing your meal with a wine from Basi’s extensive list or a beer from one of its two taps, one of which is a local brew from Seventh Son Brewing.
Speaking of Seventh Son (1101 N. Fourth St.), that’s where you’re heading next to complete your Brewer’s Row tour. This is a popular late-night spot so don’t be surprised if it’s an elbow-to-elbow crowd. Fortunately, there are two patios, one more of a beer garden, where you can enjoy creations like the Humulus Nimbus, a strong pale ale, or the Scientist, a “constantly shifting” IPA.
Need a nightcap? Hit the Keep at LeVeque Tower (50 W. Broad St.), a chic French brasserie and bar with a surprisingly extensive list of local drafts.
Your day begins at Fox in the Snow Cafe (1031 N. Fourth St.), a popular bakery coffee shop with community-style seating. Get your sweet tooth ready, as the bakery churns out delectable, monstrously sized delicacies like the croissant morning buns and cinnamon rolls. More traditional breakfast palates might enjoy the egg sandwich or housemade granola.
Breweries here waste no time opening early in the day, and one of the first—it opens at 10 a.m. on Sundays—is Platform Beer Co. (408 N. Sixth St.), headquartered in Cleveland. Its Columbus location opened late last year in a former meat processing facility with a roughly 30-seat rail and dozens of community-style tables. Platform features 26 taps, including small-batch ones brewed at the Columbus location, with a wide profile ranging from IPAs to sours and ciders.
Now that it’s lunch time, head to The Guild House (624 N. High St.). This new upscale eatery is so popular that reservations are a necessity. For dessert, walk a few doors down to Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams (714 N. High St.), a Columbus icon known for eclectic flavors like wildberry lavender and hard cider sorbet.
Your last stop is at Four String Brewing Co. (985 W. Sixth Ave.). Four String brews what it calls rock & roll craft beer, thanks to its founder’s roots as a bass guitarist. Beers are poured courtesy of tap handles shaped like guitar necks, ensuring you end your beer weekend on a good note.
Karen Asp, an Indiana-based journalist, travels frequently for beer and counts it as her favorite travel souvenir.
A favorite travel ritual is the arrival of that beautiful rainbow of tiny glasses of beer stacked on the sampler board of a newly visited brewpub. The shimmering gold, malty amber, caramelly red and roasty black shades spark the appetite—and the imagination.
A recent order at a local brewery taproom was met with five nearly identical-looking beers, each wearing the same deep golden hue. I shouldn’t have been shocked. At the brewpub I own, we look at our numbers every week, and it’s not brown and black beers that top the list. Sales are very much dominated by blond to pale-amber beers. Still, that monochrome flight was startling.
Given that the market is so consumed by pale beers, I thought it was time for a vocabulary lesson on delicate malty flavors. While dark beers have nearly unlimited recipe possibilities, brewers of pale beers are more constrained. The palest malts are the least flavorful, so typically you add somewhat darker malts for layers of flavor. With each addition comes color, and pretty quickly the beer is too dark for the style. The beer-drinking public may lack beer vocabulary and be insensitive to flaws, but they focus on the color of a beer with laserlike intensity. Further, it has been well researched that a shift in color changes perceived flavor, even if the change is purely cosmetic. To a brewer, this demonstrates how important it is to keep the color within expectations.
Malt acquires color—and the flavor that comes with it—from kilning that drives off water and unleashes the terrifyingly complex chemistry responsible for the malty flavors we love in beer. Malts are tested for color by making some simple test brews, resulting in a number between 1 and 600 known as “Lovibond,” after the English brewing scientist who devised a beer color scale. You may also see numbers in EBC (European Brewing Convention), about double the values of Lovibond.
As you can imagine, as the malts get darker, you can use less of them and still keep a pale beer pale. Most beers—even the darkest stouts—are generally made from very light malts in the 1.2 to 5 Lovibond range. Darker malts are laid on top of the base to create style-appropriate flavor, adding color as well. For most blond beers, the darkest malts employed are generally no higher than perhaps a 6 or 7, and only in small percentages. The exception is black malt, which is often used to adjust color without adding flavor, as in the case of mass-produced lagers, which would be ghostly pale without it.
To make sense of the flavors we find in malts, we need to dig into the chemistry of kilning. Raw barley is quite flavorless, as you may know if you’ve ever had it in soup. All malts are dried slowly until the moisture is driven off. For the palest types, such as pilsner or lager malt, the process stops there, resulting in colors in the 1.2 to 2 range, and very delicate malty flavors. For darker malts, the heat is then raised, allowing color and flavor to develop through a complex chemical reaction known as Maillard browning. While the details are complicated, the essence is quite simple: Sugars and other carbohydrates combine with nitrogenous material such as amino acids in the presence of heat. The result creates two groups of chemicals: large molecules called melanoidins that have plenty of color, but little or no flavor, and a huge family of small, aroma-active ring-shaped molecules known as heterocyclics, which are responsible for almost all malt aroma, from bread and cracker to caramel through toast all the way to deepest roast. It’s the same reaction that happens when you grill a steak, sauté onions, bake a loaf of bread or pop a slice in the toaster. Each combination of ingredients and variables—such as time, temperature, moisture level and pH—creates a unique set of color and flavor chemicals. These are the levers that maltsters pull to create their color/flavor malts.
Maillard chemistry (and another simpler caramelization important in caramel/crystal malts) is responsible for virtually all malt flavor, even in the palest varieties. The protein level, agricultural origin and growth conditions also affect the flavors, so European, North American, South American and other locales all will produce different flavors, sometimes dramatically so. These varietal variations show up most obviously in the paler malts.
Barley breed also can have a dramatic effect. Over time, poorer-yielding strains have been replaced with modern strains that offer farmers better yield and disease resistance, plus other characteristics essential to their livelihood. Sometimes, however, there is so much focus on these qualities that trade-offs have been made in terms of flavor. Happily, a few of the older varieties—the English Maris Otter being the most famous—are still cultivated and sold at a premium price. North American barley varieties have largely been bred to be highly “neutral” in flavor, a term that might be also interpreted as “flavorless.” With the rise of craft beer, and recently micro-maltsters as well, there is a lot of interest in developing barley varieties such as Full Pint and Synergy that offer more flavor and can compete with the generally more flavorful European varieties, giving brewers some newer choices for their recipes.
So what does all this taste like? For pilsner malts, which are generally the palest, flavors are quite delicate and may range from bready to grassy, with varying degrees of the kind of simple maltiness best exemplified by the center of a malted milk ball. North American versions generally have less of this rich maltiness. Some extra-pale versions, around 1.2 Lovibond, may even display green herbal notes reminiscent of fresh grass, dried hay or even a hint of wintergreen. Some of the palest malts—especially high-protein North American ones—may show some edgy, phenolic astringency due to higher husk content. These characteristics are common in malts grown in extreme climates—whether hot or cold—and generally show up in the beer’s aftertaste.
European pilsner malts typically show a lot more character, producing more aromatically malty beers. North American maltsters produce a type generally known as “lager” malt that is typically just a tad darker (1.4-1.8) than pilsner malt, and is the workhorse of the U.S. brewing industry. It is typically very neutral—a blank slate on which to layer more flavorful ingredients. Such malts are fine as background when other malts are layered on top, but sometimes lack the character necessary to make a fine pils or Kölsch, where there is very little room for anything else but super-pale malts.
Next up the color scale, you can go two directions. First are English-style pale ale malts (2-4), kilned at low moisture levels to develop a sharp, crisp, biscuity character that perfectly suits the bitter and pale ale family. There are two important heirloom varieties produced in Britain: Maris Otter and Golden Promise. Both offer complex, profound flavors in an otherwise simple recipe. The second direction is Vienna malt, of similar color (3-4), but kilned with more moisture, bringing out sweet, caramelly notes that you can instantly recognize in a sip of Vienna or märzen lager. A somewhat hard-to-find English type called mild ale malt (3.5-5.5) is similar, but just a shade darker. Darker still is Munich (6-12.5), with sweet toasty, cookie flavors. Some very pale crystal malts are also available, with 10 Lovibond contributing sweet caramel, cotton candy and honey notes, and 20 Lovibond getting into golden raisin territory.
So there’s plenty to work with for a brewer with a deft touch. Getting the right mix for the base is the first step. Often a mix of several malts will be chosen for their intensity and flavor, and of course in commercial brewing, economics plays an important role as well. Pale ales and IPAs were once dominated by pale ale malt, often accented with some raisiny caramel malts, but these days they are lighter in color as well as on the palate, often made with a mix of lager and pale ale malts, sometimes with a little Vienna or Caramel 10 for a background of caramelly sweetness, if desired.
To a taster, the malty flavors in a very pale beer may sometimes be less than obvious, but if you approach it with patience and let the layers reveal themselves sip by sip, that pilsner shimmering in the sunshine will sing you a very beautiful song.
Randy Mosher is the author of Tasting Beer and is a senior instructor at the Siebel Institute.
MILTON, Del.–Kicking off 2018 with four fantastic fan-favorite beer releases in brand new packaging, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery is excited to reacquaint its fans with a quartet of diverse, flavorful beers to get the New Year started off right. Beginning mid-January be on the lookout for Wood-Aged Bitches Brew, Romantic Chemistry, Lupu-Luau IPA and Namaste White on taps and shelves.
Continually experimenting with barrel-aged beers and celebrating all things musically inspired, Dogfish is bringing back the bold, honey-tinged, imperial stout, Wood-Aged Bitches Brew, with a new, wood-centric spin. The 2018 version is aged and blended in giant oak and Palo Santo wood tanks where it develops vanilla, chocolatey-licorice wood aromas with a sweet, roasty, coffee flavor finish. Brewed as an homage to Miles Davis’ 1970 landmark jazz-rock record, Bitches Brew is a fusion of three threads of imperial stout aged on oak and one thread of Tej, a native African honey beer, aged on Palo Santo. “We’ve been waiting for the right moment to reintroduce Bitches Brew and thought wood-aging it in our massive 10,000 gallon oak and Palo tanks would be the perfect innovative complement to a beer that was inspired by a culturally transformative record born out of a union of rock and roll and jazz – continuing the cycle of innovation through inspiration,” said Sam Calagione, founder and CEO of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. Wood-Aged Bitches Brew clocks in at 9% ABV and is now available year-round in 6-pack/12oz bottles.
Coming at ya for the first time in cans, Dogfish is releasing two culinary ingredient enhanced beers in beautiful, bold packaging – Lupu-Luau IPA and Namaste White. Lupu-Luau is a coconut India Pale Ale brewed with a tropical trifecta of toasted coconut, coconut water and an experimental hop which adds coconut aromas. This beer gets its natural haze from Pils malt, flaked barley and rolled oats. At 7.3% ABV, Lupu-Luau IPA isavailable year-round in 6-pack/12oz cans. Namaste White is a Belgian-style witbier brewed with dried orange flesh and peel, fresh-cut lemongrass, a bit of coriander, peppercorns and a generous dose of good karma. The name means the spirit in me acknowledges the spirit in you – a shout-out to beer enthusiasts who have turned their friends on to Dogfish and other fine indie craft beers over the years. At 4.8% ABV, Namaste is a refreshing, sessionable white ale and is available year-round in 12-pack/12oz cans.
A longtime champion of all things collaborative and artful, Dogfish Head is excited to celebrate its 2018 Off-Centered Art Series with the release of Romantic Chemistry. This beer is a serious India Pale Ale brewed with an intermingling of mango, apricots, ginger and a beautiful essential oil called myrcene. This harmonious combination results in a citrusy explosion making it exponentially spectacular and is the reason for its namesake as it’s an ode to the love shared between its ingredients. The brewery partnered with highly acclaimed artist, Marq Spusta, to create artwork for Romantic Chemistry, bringing its unique story to life through storyful visuals. The imaginative, playful packaging design features ménage à trois, lovefest of sorts between hops, mangos and apricots. Lovingly dry-hopped with three varieties of hops and clocking in at 7.2% ABV, Romantic Chemistry is available in 6-pack/12oz bottles.
For more information about Dogfish Head Craft Brewery and off-centered beers visit www.dogfish.com.
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 22 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 300+ 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 38 states and Washington D.C. and will expand into additional states in 2018. For more information, visit www.dogfish.com, Facebook: @dogfishheadbeer, Twitter: @dogfishbeer, and Instagram: dogfishhead.