Squeegee Your Third Eye PA

Aficionados of Steamworks Brewing Co.’s “high minded” brew, Third Eye Pale Ale (PA), now can “seek enlightenment” in a can — a 12-oz. aluminum can. The Third Eye PA is now being offered for off-premise sales in six pack cans, in addition to the 12-oz. bottle six packs.

The Third Eye PA, with its “spiritual” logo featuring a Third Eye PA patron in meditation, has emerged as one of Steamworks’ most popular beers, both throughout Colorado and with the brewery’s additional distribution networks. It is the second Steamworks beer to be packaged in a can, and will stand alongside its internationally-renowned brother, Steam Engine Lager.

Steamworks Third Eye PA

“Jupiter was correctly positioned in 2006, so we started bottling the Third Eye. And now the stars have re-aligned, so it was time to make the can commitment,” said Brian McEachron, Steamworks director of marketing and sales. “Seriously, for a brewery to begin canning any of its varieties, it is a big step purely because it requires a major investment of time in label approval, and in production and purchase of packaging materials.”

A complicated design, the Third Eye artwork required Steamworks to employ a new process for the cans’ production – called Iris – which allows for more colors to be transferred on to the can. Advance press checks were required before the run of more than 300,000 cans was launched. Initially the Third Eye in cans will be available throughout Colorado, Texas and Virginia.

Third Eye PA is reminiscent of the English ales that date back to the early 1800s and, in Steamworks’ extensive beer repertoire, is one of the most heavily hopped beers. The larger grain bill does, however, produce a residual sweetness, and the Third Eye PA features an appealing light, copper color.

“We’re pleased with the response to the Third Eye PA,” added McEachron. “Along with all craft brewers, Steamworks has endeavored to educate the consumer and garner enhanced appreciation of these more flavorful craft beers. Those who enjoy the Third Eye have definitely acquired a sophisticated beer palette. It’s the beer of enlightened patrons in Southwest Colorado.”

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2008 Craft Beer Sales Figures Announced

The Brewers Association, which tabulates industry growth data for U.S. breweries, announced that today’s small independent craft brewers are gaining alcohol market share due to a shift toward full flavor beer and increased support for local breweries. From 2007 to 2008, estimated sales by craft brewers were up 5.8 percent by volume and 10.5 percent in dollars. Overall share of the beer category from craft brewers was 4.0 percent of production and 6.3 percent of retail sales. More than 1 million new barrels of beer were sold in 2008, and close to half of those barrels were beer from craft brewers.

“2008 was a historic year for beer with the large brewers consolidating and imports losing share, while the top ten selling beer brands dropped in sales. At the same time, small independent craft brewers continued to gain share and attention,” said Paul Gatza, Director of the Brewers Association.


With total U.S. beer being more than a $100 billion industry, the Brewers Association estimates the actual dollar sales from craft brewers in 2008 were $6.34 billion, up from $5.74 billion in 2007. Taxable barrels of the total beer category was 1,210,018 more in 2008 with craft brewers producing 473,364 of those barrels. Total craft brewer barrels for 2008 was 8,596,971, up from 8,123,607 barrels in 2007.

Beer’s popularity as America’s favorite fermented beverage continued in 2008 with Gallup stating “beer is back to a double-digit lead over wine.” Taking into account the challenges in today’s economy, BevincoNielsen released a survey showing beer was faring better than spirits, with wine lagging. The Brewers Association emphasized trading across from wine and spirits to beer continues, with some of today’s wine drinkers discovering the affordable enjoyment and rewards of craft beer.


Wynkoop regular 2009 Beer Drinker of the Year

Cody Christman,, 2009 Beerdrinker of the YearCody Christman of Golden, Colorado, a longtime Wynkoop Brewing Co. customer, has won Wynkoop’s 2009 Beerdrinker of the Year title on Saturday.

Christman has been drinking at Wynkoop since 1991.

He won the title before a boisterous standing-room-only crowd of local supporters. Wynkoop founder and Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper and his son Teddy were among the locals on hand for the event.

Wynkoop began the competition in 1997 and annually invites three finalists to Denver for the finals.

To begin each contestant much submit a beer resume. In Christman’s he wrote:

Philosophy – To me beer is not a drink, it is a lifestyle.

Everything I do, and every decision I make revolves around beer. I am a tireless advocate of beer culture and the brewing industry. Beer is my passion. Beer is the most diverse and complex drink known to man. Beer’s history and roots are humble, making this fact seldom discussed, but it is true.


Samuel Adams launches Imperial series

Samuel Adams Imperial StoutNo matter how you want to define “extreme beers” all three members of Samuel Adams Imperial series must qualify. “The brewers are again answering drinkers’ thirst for bigger, more intense craft brews,” according to a company press release.

In the introduction of the “Eyewitness Companions Beer” the late Michael Jackson wrote “Tomorrow’s classics will evolve from the currently embryonic American brews categorised by their admirers as Extreme Beers. These are the most intense-tasting beers ever produced anywhere in the world.”

To understand “intense” look for a bottle of the pre-Imperial Samuel Adams Double Bock in your beer cellar and try it opposite the Imperial version. Taste the difference?

Daniel Bradford and company seemed to during a tasting at the All About Beer magazine offices. He writes about the experience in his blog: “Back to the Double Bock after a few minutes and it tastes much richer and fuller, with more candy, less alcohol burn, more texture, more toasted nuts, a greater sense of fireplace and armchair.”

The new Double Bock packs a 9.5% abv punch, comparied to 8.8% in the previous version. The Imperial White, brewed with ten spices, checks in at 10.3% abv, while the chocolate-rich Imperial Stout is a hefty 9.2% abv

“Today, the Big Beer segment in craft brewing offers drinkers a more intense drinking experience. The Samuel Adams Imperial Series, brewed with an aggressive amount of ingredients in each beer, is set to push beer’s boundaries even further,” said Jim Koch, founder of the Boston Beer Co., which brews the Samuel Adams beers.

All three beers will be available year round, with a suggested price of $9.99 for a four-pack.


Bay Area Beer Writer Bill Brand Passes Away

San Francisco Bay Area beer writer Bill Brand passed away last night, surrounded by friends and family, according to Bottoms Up, the blog he wrote for the Oakland Tribune. The Tribune also has an obituary with a guest book for people to sign. According to a family friend, “a memorial service is planned and details will be announced later today.” This is a dark day for the beer community.

Bill Brand

William “Bill” Brand

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Deschutes Portland Brewhouse Goes Organic

Deschutes Brewery’s Portland Pub goes organic. Oregon’s award-winning Deschutes Brewery recently received Oregon Tilth certification for the brewhouse at the Portland Brewery and Public House and plans to begin brewing organic beers on-site, including Green Lakes Organic Ale.

“We are deeply committed to sustainability and when building the Portland Pub, we drew on the experience we gained during the Oregon Tilth certification of our Bend brewhouse,” says Deschutes Brewery founder Gary Fish. “We built our Portland Pub with the goal of going organic and our menu continues to feature local and sustainable products whenever possible.”

Nearly nine months after its grand opening in the Pearl District, Deschutes Brewery is Oregon Tilth certified and now the only organic brewpub in Portland’s trendsetting neighborhood. Brewer Cam O’Connor is itching to brew a batch of Deschutes’ popular Green Lakes Organic Ale, which uses Salmon-Safe certified Sterling hops, and experiment with recipes of his own on the pub’s 12 barrel batch system.

Deschutes Portland Brewhouse

In addition to its recent organic certification, the Portland Deschutes Brewery and Public House has built on its dedication to being environmentally friendly by collecting and giving the spent hops and grains from the brewing process to a local cattle farmer to be used as cattle feed and compost; the beef raised on these spent grains are then purchased by the brewery and used in the pub kitchen. Other environmentally friendly features include an energy capturing system in the brewery that reclaims heat, which is used to pre-warm the wort on its way to the kettle. Energy Star rated kitchen equipment and HVAC systems reduce the pub’s overall energy consumption. The Portland pub has also operated on 100% PGE renewable energy since the day it opened.

The Portland pub was recently recognized at the Oregon Chapter of the AIA/IIDA 2008 Annual Design Awards, where the project and Emmons Architects received a merit award in the restaurant category. The AIA/IIDA awards highlight outstanding design and architecture projects from across the city.


KLCC Brew Fest 2009

Last weekend, little old Eugene, Oregon enjoyed a bit of a mid-winter thaw with a cozy gathering of the beer community at the Lane County Fairgrounds for the annual KLCC Brew Fest. KLCC, our local public radio station, took over the festival in 2001, and it has since grown into one of their largest annual fund raising efforts with attendance approaching 5000 and almost 60 breweries pouring over 100 beers.

KLCC Festival

Strains of bluegrass music, my favorite kind of drinking music, drifted out the double doors, taunting me, as I waited my turn in line. I did a double take as I was handed my commemorative sample glass and two drink tickets. Two tickets? Oh no, this will never do, I immediately purchased another dozen tickets. That’s a good starting point. The best thing about having a radio station put on a beer festival is the quality of music they provide. The music I was enjoying, the Ashleigh Flynn Band, and the next day’s band, The Essentials, are great and their music adds a lot to the festival experience.

Personal tradition dictates I try the collaboration ales before venturing out to find new beers to add to my list. This year’s collaboration recipe was Sasquatch Strong Ale. Beer enthusiasts from the Northwest are familiar with the brewer Glen Falconer whose nickname was Sasquatch. Glen’s reign as brewmaster at Eugene’s Wild Duck Brewery produced a popular list of creative beers that were elevated to legendary status with his tragic death in 2002 followed a few years later by the demise of the Wild Duck Brewery.

Since Glen’s passing, a foundation was created in his name to help aspiring brewers with a scholarship fund that designates two worthy candidates each year and provides them an opportunity for a brewing science education from the Siebel Institute of Technology. One of Glen’s most popular creations was Sasquatch Strong Ale. This year each of Eugene’s breweries created their own version of Sasquatch.

KLCC Festival

The Players:

  • Eugene City Brewery
  • Steelhead
  • Oakshire
  • McMenamins High Street
  • Ninkasi

The Beers:

Tracktown Sasquatch: (Eugene City Brewery, Rogue) Good chestnut color, a sweet brown sugar nose. Excellent hops to malt balance. I could drink this on a regular basis. Not as powerful and in-your-face as the original.
Oakshire Sasquatch: Good color and head. A bit more hops in the nose and the mouth compared to the Tracktown, but still very drinkable.

Ninkasi Imperial Sasquatch: Of course Jamie HAD to make an Imperial. Beautiful dark appearance topped by a wonderful soapy tan head. As with many of Ninkasi’s beers, it was a hop heads delight and a bit of a face-tweaker for me, very bitter. Probably the closest to what I remember my first taste of Sasquatch Strong Ale at Wild duck was like.

Steelhead Sasquatch: I haven’t had a chance to try many of Brewer Ted Fagan’s beers so this was his chance to impress me, nice job Ted. Dark amber pour with excellent head retention. Good balance with plenty of floral hop notes. Nice clean finish. Guess I need to make a trip over the Steelhead and try more of Ted’s work.

High Street Sasquatch: Something bad happened here…nuff said.

Results: Ninkasi Sasquatch was most like the original Wild Duck Sasquatch Strong Ale, but I could drink more of the other three. Back to the brewery High Street.

All right, now that I’d gotten that out of the way it was time to work the list and see what’s new and wonderful in the world of the KLCC beer list. Most of the beers were standards I’d had many times (the curse of being around beer all the time) but I did find some new brews to try and a couple new favorites for my repeat sheet. I’m not going to try and give you tasting notes on every beer. That’s hard for me and boring for you. Taste is so subjective anyway. Here are a few notes on some interesting new brews and brewers I found at the fest.

KLCC Festival

Cumbrian Moor (Brewers Union Local 180): This was the only station pulling cask conditioned ale using beer engines and the new style plastic kegs. This was my first taste of Brewers Union Local 180. They opened in August 2008 45 miles outside of Eugene in the little mountain community of Oakridge. I heard they’d had some trouble setting up and had to fabricate something on the spot to support the beer engines because the tables were too flimsy to mount to. I also heard Ted Sobel, the brewer, was in the cast of a local theater production in Oakridge the festival nights. So, word has it, he had to make the hour drive back to Oakridge each night, go onstage and die (that was his part), then rush back to Eugene for the festival. That’s a Shakespearian level of dedication. All of Ted’s English-style ales are cask conditioned and the Cumbrian Moor was a dark brown, barely translucent pour, the beer was soft in the mouth and at the perfect temperature, I believe it was barrel-aged in a whiskey barrel but the notes seemed closer to sherry with a clean, dry finish. Very drinkable, I think I’ll have to run up the hill and sample some more of what Ted’s got brewing.

KLCC Festival

Le Pelican Brun (Pelican Brewery): Pelican brews seldom let me down and this beer was my favorite of the festival. Lots going on in this Belgian style ale. It pours deep reddish brown. A nice yeasty nose lets your tongue know something different is coming. A rich, slightly sour, combination of coffee and caramel malts with notes of burnt brown sugar and coriander fill your mouth and it ends with a lingering finish. Very nice!

KLCC Festival

Overcast Espresso Stout (Oakshire Brewing): The pour is black and generates a nice brown head. The aroma is malt, molasses, caramel, and coffee with just a hint of hops. The taste is freshly ground coffee, malt, and maybe licorice. Kind of a dry finish, but excellent.

Brown Eyes Brown (Silver Moon Brewery):
I met Tyler Reichert, head brewer/owner of Silver Moon Brewing way back when he was all dreams and a little homebrew shop in Bend, Oregon. His attendance at the festival was due to a bit of last minute serendipity so he was pouring from an assortment of his new bottled brews he was delivering to the local Market of Choice. Brown Eyes Brown is an American Brown Ale. Since brown ales are my favorite I had to give it a try. The pour was deep chestnut in color. The taste was sweet molasses, malty and a little tart with a big hop finish. Interesting…Not your regular brown ale…I’ll have to try it again…soon.

I didn’t sample everything by a long shot at KLCC. There were many other stellar beers, like Block 15’s Aboriginale, and Wakonda’s Black Elk Stout, etc, etc, etc, but I’m only allotted so much space for my ramblings. At 9pm the festival hall was getting a bit crowded and loud so we decided it was a good time to finish up. I rewarded my photographer, Bonne, with a glass of Young’s Double Chocolate Stout (delicious) followed by a sample of Rogue Chocolate Stout (excellent as usual). Then we cleansed our palettes with a couple pours of 21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon Wheat (ahhhh, a perfect finish). I love my job. Next weekend, the Confluence Beer Festival on the Oregon Coast. See you there.

KLCC Festival

To find the winners of the KLCC Festival’s Peoples Choice awards and Homebrew competition winners go to this link.

More pictures from the KLCC event can be found here at the KLCC Beer Festival 2009 Flickr Gallery.


Karl Strauss’ New Packaging Unveiled

You can’t always judge a beer by its package, but Karl Strauss is betting that if you like what’s on the outside, you’ll love what’s on the inside. Karl Strauss Brewing Company is celebrating their 20th Anniversary with the debut of completely redesigned packaging to showcase their locally brewed and bottled beer. With the completion of their new brewery expansion and bottling line, the company felt the time was right to release new packaging that better reflected the pioneering spirit of San Diego’s first craft beer company.

Red Trolley

The new packaging takes the familiar images San Diego has come to know—the Red Trolley, the woodie car—and gives them new life with a sketched art look and subdued colors, on natural looking packaging. Karl Strauss went with the natural background, rather than the glossy/slick look, to stand apart from the big guys and stay authentic to who they are as a local San Diego brewery. They used recycled materials wherever they could, including six pack carriers that are made from 100% recycled paper. Even the design is more environmentally friendly using much less ink than traditional beer packaging. They had bold ideas of what they wanted their packaging to be and are very happy with how it all turned out.

Woodie Gold

The new designs were done all in house and feature more information about the beer. Delivered with a sense of humor, Karl Strauss demonstrates they know their beer, but aren’t afraid to have a little fun—after all, it’s beer!

Karl Strauss IPA

Another major change to the company’s packaging includes a new pry-off cap. The oxygen-absorbing, pry-off bottle caps help keep the beer fresher longer, and that means better tasting beer. And with all that goes into making a great beer, Karl Strauss believes in doing everything they can to keep it tasting that way.


All bottles coming off the company’s new bottling line at the main brewery in Pacific Beach will feature the new packaging. Six packs of Karl Strauss Amber Lager, Red Trolley Ale, Woodie Gold, and their latest release—Tower 10 IPA—are expected to hit shelves in supermarkets and liquor stores across Southern California in the first quarter of 2009.


Bipartisan Tax Relief Legislation For Brewers Introduced

The Beer Institute and the Brewers Association today applauded members of the United States House of Representatives for the introduction of H.R. 836 the Brewers Excise and Economic Relief (BEER) Act, which effectively returns the federal beer excise tax back to its pre-1991 level of $9 per barrel.

“There is strong, industry-wide support for this legislation, and we thank Congress for its bipartisan effort to institute tax fairness for one of the most productive sectors of the American economy,” said Tom Long, President and Chief Commercial Officer of MillerCoors, and Chairman of the Beer Institute. “We commend Reps. Earl Pomeroy (D-ND) and Tom Latham (R-IA) for their leadership on this important issue, and we urge Congress to help provide relief to low- and middle-income families and businesses in America’s brewing community by passing this legislation as quickly as possible.”

Today, there are over 2,053 brewing companies in the United States operated by national brewers, regional brewers, regional craft brewers, microbrewers, and brewpubs. These job-creating businesses are in every state in the nation. In fact, a majority of Americans live within 10 miles of a brewery. In addition to reducing the tax burden on large brewers and beer importers the legislation introduced today provides specific relief to small brewers by reducing their tax burden from $7.00 to $3.50 per barrel.

“This type of tax relief can act as a stimulus to America’s small breweries,” said Rich Doyle, cofounder of Harpoon Brewery and Chairman of the Brewers Association. “While our industry has been able to remain successful in the recent past, we’ve faced raw material cost increases that have reduced our margins and severely challenged our bottom line. This measure would go a long way toward sustaining our businesses and our employees, benefiting local communities in all 50 states.”

The 1991 doubling of the federal excise tax remains the only so-called “luxury tax” still in place. All of the taxes on luxury products such as yachts and jewelry that were increased that same year have since been repealed due to the devastating consequences they had on jobs, the economy and the industries impacted. Today, more than 40 percent of the retail price of beer is comprised of various taxes, and beer taxes at all levels of government add up to more than $36 billion annually.

“At a time when the economy is struggling and manufacturing jobs are being lost, America’s brewers, beer importers and suppliers stand out as a rare positive story of local businesses committed to good-paying jobs and contributing billions of dollars in economic activity,” said Jeff Becker, President of the Beer Institute. “This relief will preserve American jobs and help breweries -large and small- remain competitive now and in the future.”

Directly and indirectly, the beer industry contributes approximately $190 billion annually to the U.S. economy and provides more than 1.7 million jobs with wages and benefits of nearly $55 billion.

“Many small breweries are family-run operations situated in small towns and communities across the country,” added Charlie Papazian, President of the Brewers Association. “These are exactly the types of small businesses that provide important local jobs and need tax relief in this struggling economy.”

Approximately 50 percent of all beer purchased in the United States is by consumers with household income of $50,000 per year or less. That means the relative impact of beer excise taxes on households in the lowest income brackets is 6.5 times greater than those with the highest incomes.

Companion legislation is expected to be introduced in the United States Senate in the coming weeks.


Bay Area Beer Writer Bill Brand Hit By Train

A reporter friend (thanks Brent) just sent me this terrible news. Bill Brand, longtime Bay Area beer writer and reporter with the Oakland Tribune, was critically injured last night when he was struck by a Muni train near Pac Bell Park south of 21st Amendment in San Francisco where he had just left to catch a ride to BART. The following information was posted on his Bottoms Up column in the Oakland Tribune. The only information we have at this point is that he is currently in a coma at San Francisco General Hospital.

Bill Brand

Bill Brand was in critical condition at San Francisco General Hospital after he was hit about 9:10 p.m. Sunday, family members said.

He was was walking near Second and King streets when an N-Judah train struck him, according to the San Francisco Municipal Railway.

In his career with the Tribune, Brand covered a host of topics for the newspaper, including crime and science. After leaving the paper in July, he continued to write a regular beer column titled “What’s on Tap” and contribute to the Bottoms Up blog.

At Bottoms Up, they’re asking to hear from “blogging buddies, commenters and community members in the comments section so they “can pass your best wishes as soon as we’re able to share them.” Let’s do our part to inundate him well wishes.

Bill is a terrific person and an asset to the Bay Area’s beer community, a tireless champion. I’ve been with him at events three out of the last four days, so I can hardly believe this news. With everyone here in the Bay Area for SF Beer Week, let’s all stop for a moment tonight, say at 7:00 p.m. and drink a toast to Bill and especially for a speedy recovery.

UPDATE: Bill is reported this morning to be in stable condition, which is good news.


Anchor To Release New Barrel-Aged Beer

Anchor Brewing is set to release a very special, limited edition, beer they’ve been working on for a long, long time. Dubbed “Our Barrel Ale,” (an homage to their Christmas beer, “Our Special Ale“), it’s a blend of at least three of their beers. While just a guess, the three are possibly Liberty, Porter and Old Foghorn. All we can say for sure is it’s not Anchor Steam. The individual beers were aged in Anchor’s own used Old Potrero rye whisky barrels for at least six months, then blended together to create OBA. Only 100 cases of magnums will be available for sale when it’s released in mid-February. And you can only buy them at the brewery. The price will be $30.

Anchor's Our Barrel Ale

We had an opportunity to try OBA last night at Anchor Brewery, at an event to launch SF Beer Week, a ten-day series of over 150 beer events in the San Francisco Bay Area. I’d say they nailed it out of the gate. The flavor imparted from the barrel aging is present, but is never overpowering, and the blend — whatever it turns out to be — works. It’s malty, sweet with an underlying hop character that is all integrated together so that nothing really dominates. This gives it a very smooth mouthfeel and nice complex flavor profile, exactly what a blended beer should be — something greater than the sum of its part. This is going to go fast, so get yourself a bottle or two before it’s all gone.


Colorado breweries call for help in distribution battle

Please note: The date for the hearing has been changed to Feb. 25.

Support Your Local BreweryThe Colorado Brewers Guild has asked brewing enthusiasts to rally to their support in opposing a law that would restrict their distribution. The press release from Support Your Local Brewery:

“House Bill 1192 (the grocery store bill, a measure that will limit access to market for small Colorado craft brewers) has been scheduled for its first hearing in the House Business Affairs and Labor Committee. Your presence is requested at the State Capitol in Denver on Wednesday, February 25th at 1:30 in the Old Supreme Court Chambers (this room is located inside the State Capitol building in Denver, Colorado).

“We need to have as many homebrewers and beer enthusiasts as possible come down, testify or simply be present in the committee hearing room. We will also be holding a press event before the committee meeting. Additionally, if you are able to attend or not, please contact the members of the committee to express your opposition (see contact information below).

“Click on to learn more about why this bill is bad for Colorado craft beer! Please show your oppostion to HB 1192.

“Again, please attend this rally to preserve the beer culture of Colorado. Thank you.

“Cheers to Colorado Beers,
John Carlson
Executive Director
Colorado Brewers Guild”

Contact information for the House Business Affairs and Labor Committee:

Rice, Joe
Capitol Phone: 303-866-2953

Casso, Edward
Capitol Phone: 303-866-2964

Balmer, David G
Capitol Phone: 303-866-2935

Bradford, Laura
Capitol Phone: 303-866-2583

Gagliardi, Sara
Capitol Phone: 303-866-2962

Liston, Larry G
Capitol Phone: 303-866-2965

Priola, Kevin
Capitol Phone: 303-866-2912

Ryden, Su
Capitol Phone: 303-866-2942

Scanlan, Christine
Capitol Phone: 303-866-2952

Soper, John F
Capitol Phone: 303-866-2931

Stephens, Amy
Capitol Phone: 303-866-2924


Wynkoop Beerdrinker finalists chosen

Wynkoop Brewing in Denver has announced the finalists for 2009 Beerdrinker of the Year. Included are two former finalists and an Wynkoop regular. They are, from the press release:

J Mark Angelus, a Nehalem, Oregon semi-retired prosecutor, avid beer drinker and 2008 Beerdrinker of the Year finalist. In 2008 Angelus sampled 1,029 beers, visited 93 breweries (in four States and three nations) and sampled 244 Oregon beers at eleven beer festivals in his home state.

His philosophy about beer: “While I never take myself seriously, I take my beer seriously. I have found no greater beer experience than to drink great beer at the place where it is rooted with the people who are an integral part of that beer’s culture.”

Cody Christman, a Denver software engineer, beer educator and avid homebrewer and beer lover. In 2008 Christman began teaching a Beer 101 course to friends and family in his home bar. The basement bar features a 15-foot bar, seven taps and three refrigerators. He has tasted beer in 19 countries and visited over 200 breweries.

His philosophy about beer: “Everything I do, and every decision I make revolves around beer. I am a tireless advocate of beer culture and the brewing industry. Beer is my passion. It is the most diverse and complex drink known to man.”

Phil Farrell, a Cummings, Georgia commercial pilot, homebrewer, beer judge and 2007 finalist. He has tasted beer in every country in Europe, 1000 of the world’s pubs and 400 brewpubs. His basement beer pub features six taps, two refrigerators, and a 15-gallon brewing system.

His philosophy about beer: “Beer is first and foremost a social drink. It is the most flexible and universally affordable fine beverage there is. Every social gathering and every food item is enhanced with beer. Beer is the greatest gift ever given to the human race and meant to be shared with others.”

The finalists will be grilled on Feb. 21 by a panel of previous Beerdrinker of the Year winners and national beer experts. The winners receives free beer for life at the Wynkoop Brewing, $250 worth of beer at their local brewpub or beer bar, and clothing proclaiming them the 2009 Beerdrinker of the Year.