Garrett Oliver wins James Beard drinks award

May 11th, 2014 | Posted by Real Beer

Garrett Oliver, brewmaster of The Brooklyn Brewery, has won the 2014 James Beard Foundation Award for Excellence in the category of “Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional.”

This is the first time a beer professional has won the award since the James Beard Awards were established in 1990.

“This is my 20th year at Brooklyn Brewery, and I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate a banner year,” Oliver said. “Chefs are the closest peers of the modern craft brewer, so the culinary side of brewing has always been very important to me. I have a lot of friends in this room. This is a great honor, and I think it signals the fact that real beer is back where it belongs – at the table.”

Oliver began brewing professionally at Manhattan Brewing Company in 1989, then went to work at Brooklyn Brewery in 1994.

His first book, “Brewmaster’s Table: Discovering the Pleasures of Real Beer with Real Food,” won the 2004 International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) Book Award and was a finalist for the 2004 James Beard Foundation Book Awards. His most recent book is “The Oxford Companion to Beer.”

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World Beer Cup by the numbers

April 11th, 2014 | Posted by Real Beer

Breweries from five continents won awards in the 2014 World Beer Cup, collecting their commemorative plaques when the winners were announced in Denver. The competition drew 4,754 entries from 1,403 breweries in 58 countries.

“Brewers from around the globe participate in the World Beer Cup to win recognition for their creativity and brewing skills,” said CharliePapazian, president of the Brewers Association, which organizes the bienniel event.

The complete list of winners is available from the Brewers Association. Here are some of the highlights:

Chances of winning
The proportion of winning breweries winning one or more awards was 18 percent, compared to 27 percent in 2012. There was a 75.6 percent increase in breweries competing this year versus 2012, which had 799 breweries that entered beers in the competition. A total of 253 breweries took home awards in 2014, a 16.6 percent increase over 2012.

U.S. breweries accounted for 72 percent of the entries (3,403) and won 73 percent of the medals (205) — meaning 6 percent of entries won medals. German breweries entered 249 beers and won 27 medals (11 percent). El Salvador (4 entries/2 medals) and Tawain (2/1) had the best entry-to-medal percentages.

Judges
A panel of 219 judges from 31 countries participated in this year’s competition, working in teams to conduct blind tasting evaluations of the beers and determine the awards. Drawn from the ranks of professional brewers and brewing industry experts, 76 percent of the judges came from outside the United States.

Category Trends
* The average number of beers entered per category was 50, up from 41 in 2012.
* The category with the most entries was American-Style India Pale Ale, with 223 entries.
* The second most-entered category was American-Style Pale Ale, with 121 entries.
* The third most-entered category was Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Beer, with 111 entries.

Award Highlights
The 281 awards were won by 253 breweries.
* 226 breweries won one award.
* 26 breweries won two awards.
* Coors Brewing was the only brewery to win three awards.

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Achievement Awards honors BA members

April 9th, 2014 | Posted by Real Beer

Teri Fahrendorf

The Brewers Association honored its own during the opening session of the Craft Brewers Conference in Denver, handing out its annual Achievement Awards.

The F.X. Matt Defense of the Small Brewing Industry Award is presented each year to those who have given aid and support to the causes of small, independent brewers and by doing so supported the Brewers Association’s goal of vigorously defending our industry. This year, Jester King Brewery outside of Austin was presented with the award for working to create craft-friendly legislation in their home state.

The Brewers Association Recognition Award was given to Teri Fahrendorf (pictured above). In 1989, Fahrendorf became the second woman brewmaster at a craft brewery in the U.S. She is the founder of the Pink Boots Society, an organization that works to empower women beer professionals to advance their careers in the beer industry through education.

The Russell Schehrer Award for Innovation in Craft Brewing was presented Mitch Steele of Stone Brewing Company. Steele began his brewing career at a very small company, San Andreas Brewing, worked for the world’s largest brewing company, Anheuser-Busch, and since 2006 has been at Stone. He also wrote “IPA: Brewing Techniques, Recipes and the Evolution of India Pale Ale,” published in 2012.

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Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Across America goes on tour

April 9th, 2014 | Posted by Real Beer

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. is inviting every craft brewery in the country to take part in a multi-weekend traveling beer festival this summer, featuring both the 12 beers in its Beer Camp Across America project and local ones on each stop.

“We’re about to open a second brewery in North Carolina, and while that’s exciting for us, it’s an even greater reason to celebrate the future of craft brewers everywhere,” Sierra Nevada founder Ken Grossman said for a press release. “We’ve watched and learned from each other for decades, and together we’ve seen tastes change and craft’s momentum snowball. Beer Camp Across America is our way of reflecting on this—with thousands of brewers, fans and great beers. It should be pretty fun.”

Beer Camp Across America will include seven stops as it travels west, beginning at Sierra Nevada’s California brewery and ending at its new North Carolina facility. The schedule:

* Sat, July 19: Northwest Edition at Sierra Nevada Hop Field in Chico, CA, 12-5 p.m.
* Sun, July 20: Southwest Edition at Embarcadero North in San Diego, CA, 1-6 p.m.
* Fri, July 25: Rocky Mountain Edition at Sculpture Park in Denver, CO, 5-10 p.m.
* Sun, July 27: Midwest Edition at Navy Pier in Chicago, IL, 12-5 p.m.
* Fri, Aug. 1: New England Edition at Thompson Point in Portland, ME, 5-10 p.m.
* Sat, Aug. 2: Mid-Atlantic Edition at Penn Treaty Park in Philadelphia, PA, 12-5 p.m.
* Sun, Aug. 3: Southeast Edition in Mills River, NC, 1-6 p.m.

Each festival will feature up to two beers per brewery, food vendors, and live music by the MarchFourth Marching Band spectacle. Tickets cost $65 for general admission, which includes a tasting glass and unlimited tastings, and are limited to 5,000 per venue. They are on sale at www.SierraNevada.com/BeerCamp.

At a press conference announcing the festival, Sierra Nevada also revealed the full lineup for its Beer Camp Across America 12-pack, a dozen collaboration beers. The brewing partners will join selective legs of the festival tour and the 12-pack will be available in stores nationally. The partners and the beers:

* Allagash Brewing Co, Portland, ME (Myron’s Walk Belgian-Style Pale Ale)
* Asheville Brewers Alliance, Asheville, NC (Tater Ridge Scottish Ale ~ 7% ABV ~ 35 IBU)
* Ballast Point Brewing Co, San Diego, CA (Electric Ray India Pale Lager ~ 8.5% ABV ~ 70 IBU)
* Bell’s Brewery, Kalamazoo, MI (Maillard’s Odyssey Imperial Dark Ale ~ 8.5% ABV ~ 40 IBU)
* Cigar City Brewing, Tampa, FL (Yonder Bock Tropical Maibock ~ 7.7% ABV ~ 45 IBU)
* Firestone Walker Brewing Co, Paso Robles, CA (Torpedo Pilsner ~ 5.2% ABV ~ 45 IBU)
* New Glarus Brewing Co, New Glarus, WI (There and Back English-Style Bitter ~ 5.6% ABV ~ 40 IBU)
* Ninkasi Brewing Co, Eugene, OR (Double Latte Coffee Milk Stout ~ 7.6 ABV ~ 60 IBU)
* Oskar Blues Brewing Co, Longmont, CO & Brevard, NC (CANfusion Rye Bock ~ 7.2% ABV ~ 45 IBU)
* Russian River Brewing Co, Santa Rosa, CA (Yvan the Great Belgian-Style Blonde ~ 6.3% ABV ~ 50 IBU)
* Three Floyds Brewing, Munster, IN (Chico King Pale Ale ~ 6.5% ABV ~ 45 IBU)
* Victory Brewing Co, Downingtown, PA (Alt Route Altbier ~ 6.6% ABV ~ 50 IBU)

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Oregon Brewers Festival adds European breweries to mix

April 4th, 2014 | Posted by Real Beer

The Oregon Brewers Festival has invited 11 breweries from the Netherlands plus one from Germany to add their beers to the already imposing lineup for the 27th annual event July 23-27 at Tom McCall Waterfront Park in downtown Portland.

The European breweries will serve their beers in the festival’s Specialty Tent, an area where an additional four dozen vintage, barrel aged, blends and esoteric one-offs are offered.

Dubbed NL to PDX (#NLtoPDX), the program started when festival director Art Larrance learned that Portland has a Friendship City relationship with the city of Utrecht in the Netherlands. Upon visiting, he discovered a growing craft brewing movement that reminded him of the Northwest craft beer industry in the 1980s. “Featuring international brewers is a natural extension for the OBF,” Larrance said in a press release. “We want to develop a long term cultural exchange and share our passion, knowledge and friendship with these brewers as part of a collective celebration of great craft beer.”

Eighty-six breweries from around the country will serve beer in the main tent.

Admission into the festival grounds is free. Those who want to drink beer must buy a 2014 souvenir 12.8-ounce tasting glass for $7. Beer is purchased with wooden tokens, which cost $1 apiece. Patrons pay four tokens for a full glass of beer, or one token for a taste. There are no advance tickets sold to the festival; all purchases are made on-site.

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First stout-specific glass unveiled

April 2nd, 2014 | Posted by Real Beer

Spiegelau stout glassGlassware maker Spiegelau had collaborated with two breweries known for making excellent stouts to lanuch the first stout-specified beerglass. The Spiegelau x Left Hand Brewing Company x Rogue Ales Stout Glass was developed over a yearlong series of design workshops and tasting panels led by Riedel crystal glassware owner Georg Riedel and Spiegelau vice president Matthew Rutkowski. Eric Wallace of Left Hand Brewing Company, Brett Joyce of Rogue Ales and experts from each brewery tested a selection of stouts ranging from Rogue Ales’ Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout to Left Hand Brewing Company’s Milk Stout.

Speaking about the project for a press release, Rutkowski said, “Witnessing Stout beers explode onto the American craft beer scene was a light bulb moment for me… I realized we could do for stout what we did for IPAs. Left Hand and Rogue are known leaders and innovators in the field of stout brewing, so they were obvious partners, and I was thrilled when they wanted to get on board.”

“John Maier, our brew master, was intimately involved with the tasting and selection process of the stout glass,” Joyce said for the press release. “The final glass that Spiegelau designed and we selected highlights the flavors and nuances of stouts best.”

Wallace added, “At Left Hand, we are committed to constantly improving beer quality and the beer drinker’s experience”

The glass is available for purchase through www.SpiegelauUSA.com and retailers nationwide. Branded versions with brewery logos are available through www.rogue.com and www.lefthandbrewing.com, respectively.

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Magazine honors Full Sail Brewing

March 28th, 2014 | Posted by Real Beer

Beverage World magazine has chosen Full Sail Brewing as “Craft Brewer of the Year.” The publication cites Full Sail for 26 years of “sustainable stewardship, quality, consistency and operational ingenuity.”

“It’s a great honor to receive this recognition from Beverage World,” Irene Firmat, Full Sail’s Founder and CEO, said for a press release. “When we founded Full Sail in 1987 there were only a handful of small breweries in the country and we were fortunate to be one of those early, pioneering brewers. We were inspired by the idea of bringing a fresh perspective to American beer culture by emphasizing complexity, creativity, and sophistication. We believe that one of life’s greatest joys is in celebrating moments big and small with friends, family, good food, and of course, good beer. The craft beer industry has grown and changed tremendously over these 26 years, as there are now over 3,000 breweries nationwide. Within this intensely competitive framework, we are thrilled that Full Sail has been named Craft Brewer of the Year. It is with a sense of pride and deep appreciation that we acknowledge this accolade from Beverage World.”

In the magazine, Firmat said, “Our idea of being sustainable is what our grandparents used to call being cheap.And that’s how we really like to talk about it because sometimes it can feel so esoteric, like ‘you can’t afford to do this, or that.’ But part of it for us is that because we’re an employee-owned company, things have to make financial sense. And all of the things we do from a sustainability point of view are sustainable not just for the environment, but financially as well. That’s where it gets interesting because you can engage a lot of people and not have it be, ‘I’m holier than thou’ or ‘I’m this green purist.’ No, it’s really good for business.”

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