Genesee builds keg Christmas tree

Genesee keg Christmas treeGenessee Brewing in Rochester, N.Y., has used 300 kegs to build its own version of a Christmas tree outside it brewhouse, trimmed with with 600 feet of LED green rope lights, and topped it with a rotating Genesee sign. The tree is 23 feet tall.

“It’s been great fun,” Michael Gaesser, Genesee’s director of packaging innovation, said at a press briefing. “As soon as you turn it on, people start taking pictures. Everyone thinks it’s cool and the whole company rallied around it.”

The tree was erected on a 16 x 16 wooden base and between the 10 layers of kegs is a plywood platform. The kegs are tied together with a cable system. When disassembled, the parts will go into storage for next year.

And the kegs? “The kegs will go back into the production flow and go right back out with beer in them,” Gaesser said.

An official public lighting ceremony is set for Thursday.

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Malt: A Practical Guide

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BeerBugThis one is for homebrewers. The BeerBug is a cloud connected digital hydrometer — measuring the density and temperature of your fermenting beer, cider, or wine and reporting that to the cloud to be read from your computer or smartphone, anywhere in the world.

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Some other key details:

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Experimental Homebrewing

The cover of this book includes the words “mad science” and the fellow on the front has that certain look. No surprise that the 30-plus recipes in this book include beers made with mushrooms and watermelon (different beers, but in the spirit of the book you can do whatever you want).

However, authors Drew Beechum and Denny Conn — both “can I have my picture taken with you?” superstars in the homebrewing community — also are interested in experiments that include ways to make beer better. They ask questions like: Do you get different hop aromas from hops steeped at different temperatures? Can you change your flavor and aroma characteristics by pitching different amounts of yeast?

“Experimental Homebrewing: Mad Science in the Pursuit of Great Beer” comes with a list of coded experiments, so you can feel like a scientist yourself.