Sunday, March 28, 2010

UPDATE

I updated the posting about unique ingredients in beer due to an article about the Twisted Pine Tree Brewing Company. The article I speak of can be found here.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Kissing cousins


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Images taken from alcohol-stuff.co.uk & buycheapwineglasses.com


Seemingly on a daily basis, Charlie Papazian writes an article for his examiner.com page. On 3-25-2010, Mr. Papazian's article was on an Italian microbrewery called Loverbeer. Loverbeer was founded by a homebrewer named Valter Loverier who was a Senior Embedded Software Specialist before founding Loverbeer. With each beer Mr. Loverier creates he attempts to combine an old Italian passion and an emerging new one: he tries to combine traditional wine-making techniques and beer brewing. With his creation called BeerBera Mr. Loverier utilizes “indirect” fermentation because it is activated by Barbera grape must (which is the beer's main ingredient). More can be read about LoverBeer at a beer blog called Beer Chronicles which bills itself as being an interpretation of the craft beer world seen by an Italian beer lover.

Suffice it to say I was impressed to read about this for a few reasons:

1) Proof that creativity in beer is not limited to loading up beers with hops or unique ingredients. Don't get me wrong, beers with huge amounts of hops are great, but it is very black and white (many hops or not that many hops). This blog has touched on unique ingredients before.

2) I was concerned that the dominating trend would continue to be migrating from one beer style to another would continue (does it seem that sour beers are overtaking imperial/double ipas as the style of the moment?), and that creativity had become second to the number of IBUs in a beer or getting the abv percentage real high or low.

I am looking forward to reading more about Italy's growing craft beer scene, and hope that the craft beer itch will take hold throughout Europe. Speaking of which, I wonder if the Stone Brewing Company has taken any additional steps towards opening a brewery in Europe (first discussed by Stone here.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Thoughts on 'too many breweries'



Image taken from JUS 394 CyberPolitics


On March 10th, the blog of World Class Beverages submitted a posting entitled 'Less is more? Are there too many breweries?'.
From the blog posting:

Right now, the Brewer’s Association will tell you that there are almost 600 breweries in the United States that bottle, can, keg or otherwise distribute beer. That number doesn’t count the many hundreds of brewpubs that brew beer for sale in their restaurants. In most markets, there are only 2 or 3 beer distributors that will carry and sell craft beer, which leaves a theoretical total of 200 to 300 brewers per distributor in any particular area, not including the wide array of import brands that are currently available.

For those that have not heard of World Class Beverages before, they are an association of beer distributors located throughout the United States that has dedicated themselves to the promotion of craft and specialty beers.

While i have not read any responses from professional brewers, breweries, or brewpubs there has been a lot of feedback from beer fans all over.

A selection of some of the responses:
The majority opinion appears to be that the problem is not too many breweries, but the three tier system is what is to blame (save the topfermented.com opinion which is the best retort I have come across). After reading it over, both the original blog post & some of the responses it elicited, I am inclined to side with topfermented.com in that
  1. The number of beer distributors is much less than the number of wine distributors
  2. The idea of 'beer education' is still a relatively new idea (the Cicerone program has only been around since early 2008)
  3. The 'local beer scene' is not that developed in much of the country

I think it is safe to say that we all like choices, and the more we foster the local beer and wine scenes in our communities the more choices for all. A fostered beer/wine scene would cause an increase in demand, and thus more distributors would be needed (so as to not have quality issues and to keep up with demand), competition would increase for the available shelf space, and prices would go down as a result.

I am curious how the discussion of this 'issue' will grow with input from people in the professional side of the beer industry, as well as more input from non-professional brewers. What are your thoughts? Are there too many breweries?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Pine needles, peppers, eye of newt, etc..





This evening Sunshine and I tried a 2009 Allagash Fluxus. This beer stands out, for reasons other than it is a limited release from Allagash, for being brewed with sweet potatoes and black pepper. It got me thinking about other beers that have unique ingredients such as Rogue's Chipotle Ale & Juniper Ale, Sprecher's Mbege(bananas) & Shakparo (sorghum and millet), and The Bruery's Autumn Maple (which is brewed with 17 lbs of yams per barrel).

I am curious about what the attendance would be for a beer festival that featured beers that were made with unique ingredients such as the ones mentioned above. It would be for professional brewers and homebrewers alike. There would be a pre-festival judging to filter out the stuff that may be brewed with unique stuff, but possesses a taste that is not palatable. It would be great if the beers that passed the pre-fest judging found a new way to use everyday foods/things that we may take for granted. Say, acorns in a bock beer. It would be mighty nifty to have a bock beer (or a brown ale) that had the nuttiness of acorns.

I figure the beer fest could be called Beers from Beyond the Brink. Yeah, that name caters to the 'extreme' end of the beer spectrum but it does get your attention (especially if the banners for it had fire, skulls, or a cornucopia from which some demon emerged).

Anyway, it's just a thought but i think it would be a lot of fun and would be a fantastic opportunity to see how creative your neighbors could get.

UPDATE (3-28-2010): Found this article via thefullpint.com. It's focus is on the Twisted Pine Brewing Company and their plan release a beer that uses ghost chilies. The article also mentions two other beers from the Twisted Pine Brewing Company called “Poison Fish” (a beer laced with ginger, wasabi, horseradish and mustard) and Billy’s Chilies (a beer that uses anaheim, fresno, serrano, jalapeno and habanero peppers). I am curious if any of these beers are any good. Has anyone in Boulder tried any of these offerings from the Twisted Pine Brewing Company (or anything from them)?