Beer launcher a hit online

Pardon us if somebody has already e-mailed this story. We’ve seen it a dozen times.

When John Cornwell graduated from Duke University last year, he landed a job as software engineer in Atlanta but soon found himself longing for his college lifestyle. So the engineering graduate built himself a reminder of life on campus: a refrigerator that can toss a can of beer to his couch with the click of a remote control.

This link includes a video.

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Need an Irish pub? Try Zagat

Irish pub guideLooking for just the right pub in which to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?

The new “Irish Spring Body Wash Zagat Guide to America’s Top Irsh Pubs” will serve you well if you’re partying in any of a dozen American cities. Irish Spring will distribute the guide at special events in the days leading up to St. Patrick’s Day. lists where the “Green Team” will be handing out books.

The information is also available online. PDA owners may beam the content onto their device with the Zagat-to-Go.

Most of the information in the book was pulled from other Zagat guides, with additional ratings done in certain markets (such as Boston).

As with all Zagat guides ratings are provided for food/appeal (based on if it is a restaurant or spot for nightlife), decor, service and price.


Five beer urban legends

Maureen Ogle’s Ambitious Brew sparked ongoing discussion among beer drinkers in part because its history of American brewing begins in the 1840s, with the rise of industrial lager.

That doesn’t mean the American brewing industry didn’t exist before then, beer historian Bob Skilnik points out in his new book, Beer & Food: An American History.

“Although it would take years after the Revolutionary War for the diverse elements of an indigenous brewing industry to come together, the Eastern Seaboard was teeming with an active ale brewing industry, decades before the introduction of lager beer. Early nineteenth century Philadelphia and New York in particular were thriving brewing centers,” he writes in a press release.

He’s put together a list of Five Urban Legends of American Beer History that the book tackles.

Another one he tackles: The Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock because they ran out of beer. Yes, a myth.


150 years of Steven Point beers

To celebrate 150 years of business the Stevens Point Brewery – long ago Chicago Daily News columnist Mike Royko declared Point Special the best beer in American – released five historic labels created from actual labels in the brewery’s archive. Represented are labels from the 1800s, 1920s, 1950s, 1960s and the 1980s, as well as the current Point Special Lager label.

“Many companies do a retro label. What we did is use many labels,” said Joe Martino, Stevens Point Brewery operating partner was quoted in the Steven Point Journal. “We put them out at the same time instead of one at a time.”


California dreamin’

A couple of stories from California:

– With the the Pyramid Brewery and Alehouse marking its 10th anniversary in Berkeley, The Daily Californian visits and adds some perspective.

The Berkeley Historical Society last year held an exhibit titled “Fermenting Berkeley” studying the city’s history with alcohol, with UC Berkeley students, local alcohol-makers and a strong pro-Prohibition movement at odds throughout.

– Did you know that since 1982, Sierra Nevada has sponsored some kind of cycling team; first, club teams that mainly participated in recreational events, and for the last eight years, a professional team?

The Chico Enterprise Record has the details.


Sorry, Jimmy Buffett doesn’t brew

JImmy Buffett LandsharkSorry if this ruins your Monday morning but there is no Margaritaville Brewing Co. in Jacksonville, Fla.

LandShark Lager, which has replaced Corona as Jimmy Buffett’s beer sponsor, is brewed by Anheuser-Busch. It’s not clear if this came as a surprise to the Palm Beach Post but it did merit a story.

At first glance, LandShark looks like a microbrew that’s produced by Buffett himself. After all, the name alludes to the Buffett song Fins, the product is displayed prominently on Buffett’s Web site and the bottle says the lager is made by Margaritaville Brewing Co. of Jacksonville. But LandShark is brewed by Anheuser-Busch Cos. of St. Louis, although the nation’s largest brewer seeks a stealth role.

LandShark is available in Margaritaville restaurants and will be sold at Buffett concerts. For now, the beer is being distributed to stores and restaurants only in Florida.


A-B announces stake in Old Dominion

The official announcement that Coasting Brewing has bought Old Dominion Brewing and Anheuser-Busch owns a stake of the brewery and will take charge of distribution:

“Coastal Brewing Co., a new joint venture between Maryland-based Fordham Brewing Co. and minority partner Anheuser-Busch, Inc., announced today it will purchase Old Dominion Brewing Co., a Virginia-based craft brewer and brewpub operator with primary distribution in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States.

“As part of the deal, Coastal Brewing Co. will assume ownership, sales and marketing responsibilities for both the Old Dominion and Fordham brands, including Dominion Ale, Dominion Lager, Oak Barrel Stout, Fordham Copperhead, Fordham Lager, Oyster Stout and others. Coastal Brewing Co. also assumes ownership of the Old Dominion brewery and Old Dominion Brewpub, both located in Ashburn, Va.”

Read the rest of the press release.

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Alaskan IPA and other new beers

Alaskan IPAAlaskan Brewing celebrates its 21st birthday by releasing Alaskan IPA, a beer that takes inspiraton from the surfing culture in Yakutat, Alaska. Outside magazine named Yakutat “one of the five best surf towns in America.” The label shows a surfer with 18,000-foot high Mount Saint Elias in the background.

Jack Endicott of Icy Waves Surf Shop in Yakutat said surfing in the remote coastal communit us unlike surfing anwhere else in the world. He told a story of watching two of his sons surfing in 25-degree temperatures, with snow falling so hard to lost sight of them. “I’ll never forget standing on the beach and watching the steam rise from their heads after they removed their hoods,” he said.

The new IPA has 2.5 pounds of hops per barrels. The beer begins with fruity and citrus aromas, blending with pine character and some candy-like sweetness. Biscuit melds with more hop (almost woody) flavor in a medium body, sliding into a bracing dry finish.

Otter Creek/Wolaver’s organic wit bier will return this summer. Brewmaster Steve Parkes and Morgan Wolaver get the raw wheat used in the beer from a local organic farmer, Ben Gleason. “Sourcing the wheat from a farm less than 20 minutes away is an obvious advantage to everyone,” Wolaver said. “It’s great for Ben and great for us.”

Wolaver said he has been trying to find more local organic farmers to grow grain for the brewery.

Otter Creek and Wolaver’s organic ales both are shipping in sleek, long-neck bottles with new labels. The Otter Creek labels use the same detailed drawings of local Vermont scenes from the brewery’s hometown of Middlebury and the surrounding area. “These illustrations really capture the Vermont flavor, and we’ve had lots of compliments on them over the years,” Wolaver said. “We wanted to keep the classic feeling of the drawings, but also to revamp the look of the label and make them easier to read.”

– United States Beverage touts the beers from Barons Brewing as the first Australian craft beers available in the United States. These include Black Wattle Wattle Seed Ale, Barons Pale Ale, Barons Superior Lager, and Barons Extra Special Bitter.

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Surviving the Philly Craft Beer Festival

Don Russell (Joe Sixpack) has tips, lot of tips, for those headed to the Philadelphia Craft Beer Festival on Saturday.

I’m worried that some of you are a bit out of shape.

Now, I know that many of you have been flexing those elbows at the excellent festivals surrounding the city, in Kennett Square, Adamstown, even Harrisburg. And Philly continues to host many smaller fests, including the annual Penn Museum tasting with Michael Jackson and Sippin’ by the River at Penn’s Landing.

But the Philly Craft Beer Festival is the big time in the big city, folks.

Most important tip: “Yes, you’ll get a buzz on (so read on about transportation). But instead of drinking everything you see, have a plan and you’ll have more fun.”

Second most important tip: “Drink water. It’ll slow your pace and clear your palate.” It may also keep you from getting dehyradated (your hangover will thank you in the morning).


Great Divide opens Tap Room

Great Divide Taproom

Previously the only brewery in Denver without a tap room, Great Divide Brewing will change that Monday. The brewery’s Tap Room, at 2201 Arapahoe St., will be open 2-7 p.m. Monday-Friday and noon-5 p.m. on Saturday.

Brewery tours will begin in the tap room at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. weekdays and hourly on Saturday.

Co-founder Brian Dunn said the opening of the Tap Room has come about in response to increased demand for his company’s beers, and a growing number of visitors to the brewery.

“The number of people stopping in for tours has grown steadily every year,” said Dunn. “With the Tap Room we’re giving Great Divide fans a great place to taste our beers, see the brewery and hang out.”

“In the past we’ve been guilty of under promoting our brewery, and we’ve had our hands full just making our beer and keeping up. But our success has provided us with the time and funds to boost our promotional efforts and open the Tap Room.”


Micro Matic leaves New Orleans a gift

Micro Matics USA, which manufactures and distributes draft beer dispensing equipment, last month donated a walk-in refrigerator to the Brantely Baptist Center in New Orleans at the conclusion of the Cheers Beverage Conference in the Hurricane-ravaged city.

“It made perfect sense for us to donate the walk-in refrigerator, which we had shipped to New Orleans (for the conference), to a local organization that has done so much for victims of Hurricane Katrina and could benefit from its use,” said Peter Muzzonigro, president of the California company.

The Brantley Center is a 250-bed shelter that provides a variety of services for homeless people and others in need. Since it first opened its doors in 1927 during the Great Depression, the urban ministry has provided food, overnight lodging, hot showers, laundry facilities, employment assistance, counseling for drug and alcohol dependence, mail services, and worship opportunities to the people who pass through its doors. In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.