Victory Brewing seeks stories from customers

Victory Brewing in Downingtown, Pa., wants stories from loyal customers to help celebrate Victory’s 10th year of brewing.

“This contest, with each of its categories, details exactly how far Victory has gone in influencing the lives of our customers over the past ten years. With distance from the brewery, we’ll be able to find out how far around the world Victory beers have been enjoyed, while with the most memorable Victory experience, we’re sure to find people have enjoyed our beer in ways we’ve never imagined,” said co-founder Bill Covaleski.

Winning entries will receive one of two $200 Victory Gear shopping sprees.

Enter via e-mail (, or through traditional mail (mail to: Victory Brewing Company, 420 Acorn Lane, Downingtown, PA 19335, Attn: Jacob Burns). Entrants should include: their essay, name, mailing address, day-time phone number, and e-mail address. Winners will be announced “Victory 10-Years New Party” Feb. 17-18.


Weekly Therapy: Americans in Belgium

Look out, Belgium. You’re about to be a chapter in Sam Calagione’s next book.

Calagione, founder of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, will be joined in March by four more of America’s most innovative brewers for a whirlwind tour of Belgium.

The goal of the trip is to introduce Belgian brewing luminaries to some of the “extreme beers” being made in the United States while allowing the American brewers to pay respect to Belgium’s brewing heritage. Lorenzo “Kuaska” Dabove, an Italian beer writer and well known Belgian beer enthusiast, will act as a guide for the tour and has built a busy itinerary.

Calagione and CilurzoWhat the fivesome of Calagione, Tomme Arthur of Port Brewing, Vinnie Cilurzo (on the left of Calagione) of Russian River Brewing, Adam Avery of Avery Brewing and Rob Todd of Allagash Brewing means by introduce is actually serving samples of their beers. Each will offer two beers at a variety events.

Wish you were a “fly on the wall” for this trip March 3-8? Calagione plans to write about it in Extreme Brewing, a book due out in the fall. Photojournalist Kevin Fleming, whom Reader’s Digest has called “America’s best observer,” will make the trip to document it for the book.

“We look forward to sharing our beers with them,” Calagione said. “We’re not saying our stuff is better than yours or anything like that. We want to recognize they are the mecca.”

All five brewers make beers that take inspiration from Belgium.

The idea for the trip came as Calagione was writing Extreme Brewing. This book will be much different than Brewing up a Business, his 2005 project that targets entrepreneurs more than beer lovers. That book has been very well received and is in its second printing.

When Rockport Publishers approached him about Extreme Brewing, Calagione said: “I struggled thinking of that (“extreme”) as the best terminology. The name has certain connotations – young, alternative, punky.

“That’s why I spend a lot of time at the beginning of the book explaining what I mean by extreme,” he said. “Extreme beers are brewed with more amounts of the traditional ingredients or non-traditional ingredients.”

Rockport wants to target an audience of homebrewers, and those ready to jump in. “It is definitely geared toward the novice,” Calagione said. He’ll offer plenty of recipes, including some that will produce very strong and very hoppy beers like his while using mostly malt extract as a base.

“I don’t want to overwhelm people with technical stuff,” he said. “Otherwise the beginner is going to think, ‘Wait a second. I’d have to be a rocket scientist to make a 10% beer.”

Arthur, Cilurzo, Avery and Tod will contribute recipes to the book.

“In writing this book I wanted to make sure I conveyed the idea that extreme brewing didn’t start with Dogfish Head or even the American craft brewing renaissance, but that it has been a part of the Belgian brewing tradition for centuries,” Calagione said.

“What I’m trying to do in this book is tell people that this philosophy has existed in the United States for 25 years and in Belgium a long time before that,” he said.

The diversity of the beers the American brewers are sending reflects the breadth of inspirations Belgians have offered. They are:

Dogfish Head: Festina Lente and Fort.
Port Brewing: Cuvee de Tomme and SPF 45 Saison.
Russian River Brewing: Damnation and Supplication.
Avery Brewing: The Beast and Salvation.
Allagash Brewing; Allagash Wit and Allagash Interlude.

Perhaps as well as being a fly on the wall you’d like to be a fly on the wall with a glass (or Belgian-style goblet).


Wrong! Sometimes smaller is better

Headline:Beer Is Proof of Stereotypical Sex Roles.

The point: “So finally, beer teaches us about competition: The microbrewers appeared on the scene to tell the ignorati (myself included, back then) that there were infinite possibilities.”

Maybe not quite right: “The big American breweries can do anything smaller brewers can do, and better. They don’t do what the smaller brewers do partly because they don’t want to. To produce niche flavors is costly, and you’ll notice that large brewers typically charge around three to five dollars per six-pack, while the micros start at $7.”

The large breweries can’t do everything smaller ones can better. Part of it is a numbers thing: There are scores of small brewers across the country thinking up something different every day. Many of the ideas will be terrible, but some will be terrific.

It isn’t necessarily great business but it is great art. And if you like flavorful beer you benefit.


Three generations in the brewery

Three generations of the Owens family have worked at the Anheuser-Busch plant in Los Angeles.

A lot has changed. For starters, the first had a 15-minute beer break every two hours, the second free beer after a shift, the third gets two cases a month – but must wait until he gets home to drink the beer.

“Today, everything’s automated and high-speed,” said Dennis Owens, the second generation employee. “Those kind of beer privileges would make it impossible for anyone to run the equipment safely.”

[From The LA Daily News.]


Czech brewery wins round in Bud battle

Czech brewery Budejovicky Budvar claimed victory in Finland over beer giant Anheuser-Busch in the latest round of their ongoing global trademark dispute.

Finland’s brewing association, however, said the ruling had no practical significance because foreign beers make up less than 1% of total consumption.

While sales in Finland may be small, that high court upheld a previous court decision that Budvar can use the Budejovicky Budvar trademark in the country is important for the Czech brewery. Anheuser-Busch has “Bud” and “Budweiser” trademark protection in 21 of 25 European Union nations – and as the American and Czech breweries continue to fight trademark battles (about 40 are open right now) Budejovicky needs all the precedents it can point to.


Sam Adams drinkers pick Brown Ale

The beer drinkers have spoken and Samuel Adams will brew a brown ale.

Samuel Adams Brown Ale joins the Samuel Adams Brewmaster’s Collection this month, and in February will be available in six-packs.

And all because consumers voted for it over Samuel Adams Bohemian Pilsner. Brown Ale received 6,649 votes in the Beer Lover’s Choice program and Bohemian Pilsner 5,109. Sam Adams offered drinkers samples at more than 400 tasting events during September and October, then they cast their votes.

Sam Adams Brown is brewed with a blend of two-row malts, as well as caramel, Munich and roasted Carafa malts. Brewers finished the beer with Spalt Spalter and English Goldings hops.