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GABF: Last call (all the news that didn’t fit)

It’s time to bid a fond farewell to Great American Beer Festival coverage, so a few notes from the tattered pieces of paper I found in the pockets of my jeans after their official post-GABF washing:

No, it won’t be GABF East: Ten years after the Great American Beer Festival on the road didn’t play well in Baltimore (at the time Stephen Beaumont wrote “What If We Gave a Beer Fest and Nobody Came?”) the Brewers Association will give it another try on the East Coast, but not with something that looks like at all like GABF.

Plans for (savor) an american craft beer & food experience were announced just before the awards ceremony Saturday. The event is May 16-17 (2008) at the Mellon Center in Washington, D.C. One brewer said he had heard it will be a “high end, food-oriented event.”

Three BrothersSchlitz retro rumor: Word is Pabst will re-launch Schlitz beer using a throwback recipe. Pabst and Schlitz, of course, were two of the breweries that made Milwaukee famous in the 19th century.

Now Pabst, itself a contract brewer, owns the Schlitz brand. Schlitz was the second largest brewing company in the world in the early 1970s and still second in the U.S. (to Anheuser-Busch) in 1976 when the company made two incredibly stupid decisions. By 1982 it was out of business, although the brand has continued to be brewed at other breweries and sold as a low-price beer. The resurrected recipe is said to be from well before the 1976 missteps.

More wood at New Belgium: Brewmaster Peter Bouckaert of New Belgium Brewing seemed on the verge of giggling at the thought that a) his crew can finally take charge of the new bottling line and b) they have new barrels to play with.

Barrels? Like the four 60-gallon bourbon barrels a brewery near me is picking up? Like the first wine barrels he began infesting with critters back in 1998?

“No, 130 hectos,” he said smiling broadly. Most of us would call the 130-hectoliter vessels tanks, since they’re the same size as six other 130s the brewery added in 2001. They hold about 3,400 gallons each.

Overheard: Volunteer after being asked a question by a festival goer. “It’s fermented with Brett. Does that make it a barley wine?”

Best post I haven’t linked to yet (Because it wasn’t up yet): From Matt Van Wyk of Flossmoor Station.

You don’t want it to end (b/c work awaits you Monday), but I hadn’t seen my two kids since they groggily dropped me at the airport Tues. at 6 AM, waving at me the whole time the train departed for the city. It’s funny that no matter how many medals I win, no matter how many colleagues I meet or made anew, no matter what I did wrong this weekend, Nick and Ella sprinted to me shouting “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy”. I love that gold medal I won this weekend, but I’d surely trade it for that experience coming home Sunday afternoon. (I told you it was a roller coaster of emotions-now go ahead and cry, you big tough guy!)

Alpha King results: Bell’s Two-Hearted Ale, the original Alpha King winner, returned to the victory stand this year by placing second. Pliny the Elder from Russian River was first, and El Camino IPA from Pizza Port San Clemente second. None medaled in the GABF judging.

Beer I enjoyed most: AngelsShareCeriseCasseZwickelbier-

or maybe it was


There were others as well.

12 Responses to GABF: Last call (all the news that didn’t fit)

  1. Jeff October 18, 2007 at 1:29 pm #

    Yay Pliny!

  2. Kyle October 18, 2007 at 1:53 pm #

    What were the “two incredibly stupid decisions” that Schlitz made?

  3. brewer a October 18, 2007 at 4:11 pm #

    Hey Stan, as someone who probably has their name misspelled frequently, I thought I would point out that Matt’s last name is “Van Wyk.”

  4. Stan Hieronymus October 18, 2007 at 7:31 pm #

    Thanks, Andrew. It might look strange to the casual reader because I fixed it.

    Do I get credit for spelling it correctly last week?

    For a lesson in how not to spell Hieronymus look here.

  5. beerinator October 18, 2007 at 8:08 pm #

    Matt is one of the nicest guys I know and if he tells me to cry, then I just might! Don’t look over here, look at that guy over on the other side of the room please. Thanks.

  6. Stan Hieronymus October 18, 2007 at 8:31 pm #

    Kyle – Rather than investing in capacity to boost production Schlitz reduced the brewing cycle, lagering beer in 15 days compared to 40 for Budweiser.

    Second, to get around new labeling laws, they changed foam stabilizers. The new one actually hastened the aging of beers, which made the shortened lagering of beer even more apparent. Including how the beer looked.

  7. Loren October 19, 2007 at 4:44 am #

    Matt’s story is awesome. So cool to see a heartfelt breeder being prouder to be a Daddy than over any fuss thrown his way over his brewing creations.


    What’s that famous Czech brewer proverb again?


  8. SteveH October 19, 2007 at 5:26 am #

    “What were the “two incredibly stupid decisions” that Schlitz made?”

    They also changed their recipe at one time, fell out of favor with their drinkers, tried to change back to the old recipe — but it was too little too late. The same mistake Coke made with “New” Coke, but with more fatal results.

  9. Stan Hieronymus October 19, 2007 at 6:01 am #

    Steve is correct. After messing with the recipe (part of shortening the cycle) they admitted the mistake and even hired an executive from A-B to make it right. Didn’t work and they were out of business in just 5 years.

  10. SteveH October 19, 2007 at 8:32 am #

    Um, really? “GreenChiliPrimaPils”

    A chili beer that actually works?

  11. Stan Hieronymus October 19, 2007 at 9:28 am #

    Other than the fact they call it chili when it is made with green chiles I have always enjoyed Sigdas Green Chili from Cooopersmith’s.

    Not as good the green chile beer that The Wellhead Restaurant & Brewery in Artesia made last year but quite nice. I talked to a judge who was on the table for the final round and he said, “We really didn’t want to give a medal to a chile beer but it was just too good.”

    What is this bias against green chile?

  12. Matt October 20, 2007 at 11:13 am #

    Stan-You can call me whatever you want and spell it however you want. I’ve been called worse (I once was a teacher-remember)

    Loren-Thanks. Although my wife hasn’t seen me cry-yet. So maybe I’m not that emotional??

    I miss GABF already.

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