Belgian brewery wins ‘brut’ battle

BreweryA small Belgian brewery won an important victory in its battle to maintain the right to describe its beer in champagne-like terms. De Landtsheer Emmanuel has been selling a beer produced with champagne-making methods under the name “Malheur Brut Reserve,” describing it as the world’s first “Brut” beer and the Veuve-Clicquot of the beer world.

French champagne producer Veuve-Clicquot Ponsardin then took action against De Landtsheer Emmanuel for infringement of trademarks and breach of rules on consumer information and comparative advertising.

Even after De Landtsheer Emmanuel stopped making references to Veuve-Clicquot, the champagne maker wanted to halt Emmanuel’s references to “method traditional,” “brut” and “reserve” in its marketing because they were words associated with champagne. But Advocate-General Paolo Mengozzi said because there are many makers of champagne the marketing did not violate the law.

“Such a reference cannot constitute an implicit identification of a competitor or the products offered by a competitor,” the advocate-general said in a statement.

Landtsheer Emmanuel now uses the champagne method in bottling three of its beers, and a second brewery headquartered in the small town of Buggenhout – Brouwerij Bosteels – produces a “brut” beer. This one, called DeuS, has received considerable attention because of its high price.


Beer alert

New beers – first time releases – to be looking for:

– The “Otter Creek World Tour” Brew Series continues with a stop in Finland- and then Scotland. “Helsinki Gold” is a golden ale is brewed with rye and juniper, and was inspired by the traditional Finnish beer “sahti.” Deliciously refreshing, with subtle undertones of juniper, Helsinki Gold will be available through December. The 6th new beer on the tour, “Otter Kilter,” a Scottish-style Wee Heavy, is set to release early January. The brewery is also handpacking special gift packs of favorite “stops on the tour.” The “Otter’s Selection” package includes four 22-ounce bottles.

Iron Hill beersIron Hill Brewery & Restaurant has introduced Iron Hill Reserve. Each handcrafted beer comes in a cork finished, 750 ml bottle and ranges in price from $18.50 to $22.50. Iron Hill Reserve beers are available for sale exclusively at Iron Hill’s six regional locations. “We’re bottled up what our friends have told us are Iron Hill’s best beers,” says Mark Edelson, Director of Brewing Operations. “They are the perfect holiday gift for any beer lover.” For the first bottling, Iron Hill’s head brewers selected their top 10 beers.

– The St. Louis Brewery has released the first two beers in the Schlafly Reserve Series, both packaged in 750 ml silk-screened bottles with a decorative box. The beers are a 10.6% abv Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout and and Oak-Age Barley Wine (10.2%) , which was aged on new Missouri oak.


BIG Beers

The New York Times (free registration) features “big beers” today, focusing first on the beers of Great Divide in Colorado.

Great Divide founder Brian Dunn explains why American brewers have embraced strong beers with particular vigor.

“I feel like the craft brewing industry is responding to a demand for more and bolder flavors,” he said. “I also think that brewers like to sell the beer that they like to drink. And as people who can and do drink beer all day long, it’s obviously more interesting for us to drink big beers that are long on flavor and complexity.”

The story reminds us that San Diego’s 10th Annual Strong Ale Festival begins Friday.


Friends teach friends to homebrew

The numbers are in from the American Homebrewers Association 8th annual Teach a Friend to Homebrew Day. Homebrewers from 29 states as well as the Yukon Territory in Canada, South Africa, Nigeria, and England, participated at 128 sites.

The AHA began the event – always held the first Saturday in November – as an international effort to introduce people to the homebrewing hobby and establish relationships with local homebrew supply shops and homebrew clubs. Basically, those who already know how to brew help those who don’t brew a batch of beer.

This year the AHA counted 786 participants at the 128 sites with an estimated 260 new homebrewers being introduced to the hobby.


No, that’s not bootlegging

A Toledo Municipal Court judge ruled that the Ohio law that prohibits the state’s consumers from legally purchasing alcohol from retailers outside the state to drink in Ohio is unconstitutional because it interferes with federal interstate commerce law.

There are similar laws on the books in other states, so this might mean you can buy beer in another state and not worry about the laws in states you drive through on the way home.

Ohio law states that all alcohol consumed in the state must be purchased from a state-licensed establishment.

Agents with the Ohio Department of Public Safety’s Toledo enforcement office have used the law to crack down recently on underage drinkers who cross into Michigan to buy kegs of beer.

[Via the Toledo Blade.]


Brewery employees donate beer for troops

Employees at Steam Whistle Brewery in Toronto will donate one week’s worth of staff beer rations to soldiers stationed in Afghanistan, and the company has vowed to match those donations.

While alcohol is not readily available in the Muslim country, troops are allowed to have liquor on the base three times during the year, including Christmas. The Toronto brewery gift will include limited edition Steam Whistle pilsner holiday 12-packs wrapped in festive colours and topped with a gift tag.

Toronto Star.]


NY opposes Santa, elves on beer labels

Santa's ButtHere we go again.

Last year Connecticut wanted to ban a label for “Seriously Bad Elf” beer, saying it appealed to children – but then backed off.

Now the New York State Liquor Authority has indicated it will not allow six beers with holiday-themed labels to be sold in the state. An authority representative said that the labels could not be approved for sale because Christmas imagery would “appeal to underage drinkers.”

Shelton Brothers, importers of the beers, have retained attorney George Carpinello to seek a court ruling overturning the decision. Carpinello was the lead attorney for the plaintiff in the case of Bad Frog Brewing Co. v. New York State Liquor Authority, which culminated in 1998 in a decision by the federal Court of Appeals holding, among other things, that the brewery’s First Amendment right to use the label image of its choosing could not be infringed by the SLA on the assumption that the image would appeal to younger people.

Five of the six banned beers are brewed by Peter Scholey of Ridgeway Brewing in the U.K., with label artwork by a Massachusetts artist, Gary Lippincott. The sixth, Rudolph’s Revenge, is brewed at the Cropton Brewery in the U.K.

They are Santa’s Butt Winter Porter, Warm Welcome Nut-Browned Ale, Very Bad Elf Special Reserve Ale, Seriously Bad Elf English Double Ale, Criminally Bad Elf Barley-Wine-Style Ale, Rudolph’s Revenge Winter Ale.

“These labels were always intended to appeal to adults, not kids, and they have in fact been wildly popular with the over-21 crowd that has the money to afford them,” said Daniel Shelton of Shelton Brothers. “They usually run to about five or six bucks a bottle, after all.”


Fuller’s shopping for more pubs

UK brewer Fuller, Smith & Turner (Fuller’s ales) may be hunting for more acquisitions given its initial success since buying George Gales & Co. and its pub properties.

“There’s a great pressure on companies to consolidate at the moment and I suspect it will continue,” Michael Turner said. “We would be happy to expand if the right opportunities arose. For example, if a family business was finding it hard to compete we could offer a similar culture.”

[Via The Independent.]


Czechs roll out the barrel in protest

The Czech Republic plans to send a barrel of beer to Brussels as an “extraordinary ambassador” to show its opposition to a proposed rise in EU beer taxes.

Germany has made it clear that a proposed 31% increase won’t fly, but European Union Tax Commissioner Laszlo Kovacs is pushing a proposal that would raise the tax on beer 4.5% in some countries.

“Beer is part of Czech culture, like wine is part of the culture of the French,” Foreign Minister Alexandr Vondra said in a statement the accompanied news he’d be traveling with the keg.


Germans drinking different flavors, colors

German brewers are mixing different flavors and colors into their beers in an effort to end a 12-yeard slump in beer sales.

With beer consumption down 15% in the last dozen years brewers hope to capture the attention of younger drinkers by using flavors such as lime, which also adds a bright green color to beer. Red-colored beers are made with cherry or grenadine, and yellows with peach or yellow plum.

The are sold in clear glass bottles, putting the color on display.



Beer 101 – For college credit

This story has been reported before, but we still get a kick out of it.

Metropolitan State College of Denver offers students in hospitality and restaurant administration program credit for learning about beer. Their classroom is the SandLot Brewery at Coors Field.

“They can smell the brewery. They can see the brewery. They can taste the brewery,” said SandLot brewery John Legnard.

He added, “We try to take them from being just beer drinkers to beer geeks.”


Beer mixologist alert

Let Stephen Beaumont (World of Beer) do a little blending for you, in this case at On the House:

Another I enjoy is a beverage of my own concoction in which a wide-mouthed Duvel glass is rinsed with Pernod, shaken out, and then given an ounce of good gin before being filled by the famous Belgian golden ale. I call it The Green Devil.

There’s more, and enough to get you thinking about your own concotions.

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And old friend returns in Wisconsin

White Cap beer returns to Two Rivers, Wis.

The Manitowoc Herald Times recaptures a time when smaller independent breweries still dotted the American countryside.

Two Rivers Brewing produced White Cap from 1939 to 1963, when co-owners George and Harold Liebich pulled the plug because of declining sales brought on by competition from larger brewers like Pabst and Schlitz.

“The big breweries produced in volume and could sell for less, they had money for TV ads, so it was kind of the beginning of the end for the little guys like us,” said George Liebich, now retired and living in Costa Mesa, Calif. “There were 44 breweries in Wisconsin when I came in 1952, half that when I left (in 1966).”

Now locals can drink the beer again, and it is even brewed locally in the Courthouse Pub, using a recipe from George Liebich.

About 200 people gathered at the new Element Bistro in Two Rivers on Sunday for the brewery reunion. The Herald Times reports: “The walls were adorned with old photos from the brewery’s production days. White Cap was poured into glasses with the beer’s signature logo, which also was reproduced on coasters. Servers wore White Cap T-shirts. Music from the 1940s and 1950s helped set the mood.”

Never underestimate the power of a locally brewed beer.