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Beer sentence of the day

a) This story about Narragansett’s “moment in the sun” may or may not end up in next Monday’s beer links, and b) Try as I may I couldn’t condense the quote to 140 characters and do it justice, so here it is in full.

But these days, there’s little that’s authentically Maryland about Natty Boh, a beer brewed in North Carolina under contract to a multinational corporation based in Los Angeles with a Texas post office box as its address.

Got a better one?


Stop me before I link again, a busy week in beer reading


Elysian, Anheuser-Busch, and the Fight for the Soul of Seattle’s Beer.
A profile of Dick Cantwell. “He was the sole nay vote in Elysian Brewing’s sale to Anheuser-Busch. Now the brewer’s legacy is at the center of the battle for the soul of Seattle beer.” Drop it in Pocket, take the time to enjoy it. [Via SeattleMet]

‘What Beer Costs’ — Why we need more flexibility in the market.
It looks to me as if there is a fair amount of flexibility in the market as is, but I don’t see the point of people complaining about the price of any particular beer. As Stephen Beaumont pointed out one of the times this debate popped up years ago there are people out there willing to pay these high-end prices. That’s the bottom line. [Via Good Beer Hunting]

How Brewers Are Churning Out Inexpensive Tangy Sours.
Beware the kettle sour beer.
We begin the sour portion of these links with two views of kettle souring. People get really worked up about this. [Via Denver Post and OBP]

Why Brew Gose Instead of Mild?
During the GABF awards ceremony a week again Saturday Jonathan Cutler from Piece Brewery in Chicago leaned back after he saw that there were 111 entries in the German-style sour ale category and said, “There were about a dozen when I judged them a few years ago.” In fact, there were only 13 entries in 2009. This reflects more interest in brewing Berliner Weiss as well as Gose. [Via Boak & Bailey]

Power Of Sour: How Tart Is Reclaiming Turf From Sweet.
How wild is your beer?
Two more parts to the story of “wild and sour.” Food and what does it mean to call a beer wild? (The second story links back to the NPR one, bringing us full circle – pretty impressive, right?) [Via NPR and All About Beer]

Dear Guinness: Here’s How Not to Debut Your Crappy New Guinness Nitro IPA.
Brilliant. [Via fooboz, h/T Stephen Beaumont]

The story behind first Alabama beer to win a Great American Beer Festival medal in 5 years.
Somewhere Fred Eckhardt is smiling. [Via]

2 Beers 2 Pops – Kids are drinking in Germany.
“Finally, I awakened to this surreal experience going on next to me. The oldest youngster had a beer in front of her bigger than mine, or so it seemed. She looked like she was 14, 15? I have no idea but she was clearly not 21. Kids can drink beer as early as 16 in Germany – and this is the basis for my story.” [Via SommBeer, h/t Joe Stange]

Whalez Bro: A big problem for beer geek culture.
“You will never learn more about beer if you treat it as an item to be collected, rather than a beverage to be enjoyed.” [Via The Portland Phoenix]

Great American Beer Festival versus BeerGraphs.
I’ll cut right to the question in the conclusion: “As much as these are well-respected judges with well-trained taste buds, they come with a much smaller sample than the statistics on our leaderboards. They move faster and can tell you something in a smaller sample, but once you get thousands of people to weigh in on a beer… would you still take the opinion of a small group of judges over thousands of ratings?” But I really like this in the comments: “This is like comparing a baseball players WAR to his fantasy value.” Definitely written from deep in the rabbit hole looking up. [Via BeerGraphs]

Beer as an agent of change.
“It takes bricks and people to build a neighborhood, but don’t forget to bring along the beer.” [Via Joe Sixpack]

And a new game that can be played in the US as well as the UK …


‘This is my GABF’

Nick Arzner, Block 15It was March of 2011 and Nick Arzner interrupted a story he was telling about the logistics of installing a coolship in the basement of a place built in Corvallis, Oregon, in 1926. He pulled aside a large piece of plywood that separated two rooms from the others in the labyrinth beneath the dining area of Block 15 Restaurant & Brewery, which he and his wife opened in 2008.

“We’re two years into it, and we’re infants,” he had said heading down the narrow stairs. He brought the coolship down in parts, assembling it in the second of two wild rooms behind the makeshift door. The rooms already contained more than 50 barrels, filled with mixed fermentations.

Arzner explained he’d done the math and decided rather than participating in the Great American Beer Festival — a rite of passage for many new breweries — each year he would invest the money it would cost in his brewery. Walking into the room with his coolship, he said, “This is my GABF.”

This year he entered beers for the first time. Turbulent Consequence, Peche won gold in the Belgian-Style Lambic or Sour Ale category.

Arzner wasn’t there. He wrote in an email he’d like to some day, but “our small team was too busy to get away.” Block 15 opened a second 20-barrel brewery and tap room during the summer, expanding its non-wild barrel program and distribution of its hop-forward beers.

He wrote that the gold medal beer comes out of his Turbulent Consequence program, which is based on traditional lambic production methods. The grist is unmalted wheat and pilsner malts “that undergo our best efforts of a turbid mash.” Aged hops are added during a long boil, and then the wort is transferred into the coolship for 24 hours. It is racked into oak barrels, where it undergoes spontaneous fermentation. Peche is blended once a year. “I choose barrels in the late summer to add white peaches that I pick with my wife and daughter,” he wrote. “I then mature the barrels another six of so months until the correct aroma, flavors, and acidity are developed.”

He chose well.

“We are inviting what’s around us to be in our beer,” Arzner said back in 2011. “I think we want to get to the point where people say, ‘Yeah, that comes from the Block 15 barrel program. There’s something in there I know.'”


Because somebody’s pouring a beer made with pineapple weed

Trees, turning leaves“All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.”

– Friedrich Nietzsche

I choose the Beers Made By Walking Festival. There may be 12 or 18 or some silly number of events happening in Denver the day before the Great American Beer Festival, and I guarantee you the What The Funk? Invitational will be more crowded. Probably others as well. But when I saw BMBW had moved to Wednesday evening, I redid my travel plans to get to Denver on Wednesday.

The two hours I had to spend at last year’s festival were my favorite two hours of the long weekend. This year I can hang around for the whole event, beginning at 4:30 and lasting until 8 p.m.

Eric Steen started BMBW in 2011 and since then he and others have led brewers and other interested parties on hikes in many different regions. The premise is simple. They ask brewers to go on nature hikes and brew a beer inspired by the trails. Often the result is what Steen calls a “placed-based beer.” Often the beers include ingredients found along the trail. Sometimes not, but what was clear last year is there’s a connection between the brewers and the beers, one that can be contagious.

The result makes for some great eavesdropping, a chance to collect stories without asking questions. Just listening.

The festival starts 4:30 p.m. at the outside space of Our Mutual Friend Brewing Co., about a mile and a half north of the Colorado Convention Center.

Beers Made By Walking Beer List

Bonfire Brewing – Sagebrush Juniper Saison – An ode to the high desert with inspiration from Bellyache Ridge in Eagle, CO.

Boulder Beer – Honey Hips Brown Ale – Honey brown ale brewed with pine nuts, toasted sunflower seeds, wildflower honey, and rose hips added. Inspired by an urban hike through Boulder with Gone Feral.

Breckenridge Brewery – Gooseberry Gose – Inspired by a stroll down Main Street Breckenridge, the tartness from the gooseberries adds complexity to this salty and already sour beer style.

Crazy Mountain Brewing – Naughty Pine – Inspired by a hike at West Lake Creek Road in Edwards, this pale ale includes 25 pounds of pine needles in place of finishing hops and was aged in Breckenridge Bourbon barrels.

Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project – TBA

Dry Dock Brewing – Hampden Corner Lavender Saison – A crisp saison with lavender harvested right by the brewery.

Elevation Beer Co – Wild Raspberry and Mint Porter – A porter brewed with both wild raspberries and wild mint harvested near Boss Lake.

FATE Brewing – WILD Flower Honey Wheat – The same great honey-wheat beer we brought to BMBW two years ago, inspired by a hike in Boulder’s Chautauqua Park. It has been aged with Brettanomyces in oak for two years.

Fiction Beer Co. – Brett Saison with Rose Hips – A dry, crisp, and refreshing saison brewed with 5 pounds of rose hips at the end of the boil and Brettanomyces.

Fieldhouse Brewing – Squawbush Saison – Made with berries from the indigenous squawbush, they provide a strawberry lemonade-like flavor and sourness to the already tart saison.

Fonta Flora Brewery – TBA

Fonta Flora (In Collaboration with Jester King) – TBA

Former Future Brewing – Sour Red Rye – Inspired by a stroll in the hills of North Carolina, this base beer was aged on blackberries, raspberries, and honey.

Horse & Dragon Brewing – Perambulation Ale II – An American Amber Ale brewed with dandelion root and leaf as well as yarrow flower.

Great Divide Brewing – Rosabelle – Inspired by a walk in Matthews/Winters Park near Red Rocks with the Museum of Nature and Science, this beer is a sour blend aged on plums.

New Belgium Brewing (In Collaboration with Bird Song, Free Range, Heist, and NoDa) – Yours & Mine – A Belgian Golden brewed with beet sugar (a beet sugar plant once occupied NBB’s grounds), lavender from NBB’s property, Colorado sunflowers, and Scuppernong grapes (the state fruit of North Carolina)

Odd 13 Brewing – Gooseberry Saison – Inspired by a walk in Cañon City on a hot July day, gooseberries were added to a sour Saison aged in Chardonnay barrels and then dry-hopped.

Odell Brewing – TBA

Our Mutual Friend Brewing – A wine-barrel fermented Belgian Pale Ale with Colorado wildflower honey and all Colorado wort.

Perennial Artisan Ales (In Collaboration with Scratch) – Carya Ovata – Wee Heavy brewed with toasted hickory bark, collected and toasted at Scratch’s hometown of Ava in a brick oven and brewed at Perennial. Carya Ovata is the Latin name for the Shagbark Hickory.

Riff Raff Brewing – Spruce Juice – Colonial style ale brewed with the new growth from Spruce trees, inspired by trails in the surrounding San Juan Mountains.

Riff Raff Brewing – Juniper Sage – A light bodied, refreshing ale brewed with locally harvested juniper and sage, inspired by a trip along the New Mexico border near Navajo Lake.

Scratch Brewing – Pink Granite Glade Stein Beer – A Stein Beer brewed with pink granite rocks which were heated in white oak embers, added to boil the wort once white hot and then bittered with shortleaf pine, cedar, coreopsis blossoms, wild quinine, and a small addition of hops. Inspired by a hike at the Castor River Shut-ins in the Saint Francois Mountains

Spangalang Brewery – Cucumber Gose inspired by a Denver Urban Garden and The Real Dill.

Stone Brewing – Coffee Milk Stout with Chocolate Mint Inspired by chocolate mint growing locally on Stone Farms.

Strange Craft Beer- TBA

Trinity Brewing – Menacing Chokecherry – Crafted in the spirit of wild harvest. Featuring a feral Brettanomyces strain, aged on rhubarb and wild Colorado chokecherries.

Trinity Brewing – Menacing Huckleberry – A beer only made possible when these berries are ready for harvest, this beer is also aged on rhubarb with a wild brettanomyces yeast strain.

TRVE Brewing – TBA

Wicked Weed Brewing – Terra Locale: Brettaberry – A tart farmhouse ale inspired by freshly baked berry pie. Featuring a half-pound per gallon of strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries, the acidity of the berries with the rustic funk of our house culture are rounded by the flaky crust finish of Haw Creek Honey, Riverbend Pilsner and wheat malts. From our summer memories to yours, cheers.

Wicked Weed Brewing – Terra Locale: Horti-Glory – A tart, farmhouse ale brewed with Riverbend Malt and fermented with our house culture of Bettanomyces. The addition of seasonal elderflowers, hyssop, and honeysuckle transform the rustic house culture into a lovely floral brett saison.

Wild Woods Brewery (In Collaboration with Very Nice Brewing Company) – Pale Ale with Pineapple Weed and Rose Hips. Inspired by the friendship and proximity of these two breweries, this beer opens up with big floral and citrus notes.

Wit’s End Brewing – Irish Red with Heather and Peated Malt. Inspired by an international walk on the Cliffs of Moher, this Irish Red includes a healthy addition of the perennial shrub and special malt.


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