Samuel Adams releases barrel room series

Samuel Adams Barrel Room SeriesThe Boston Beer Co. is rolling out a new series of beers, the Samuel Adams Barrel Room Collection, that will be available in a limited number of markets but also at its Boston brewery — the first time the brewery has sold beer at its door.

The Barrel Room Collection includes New World Tripel (10% abv), American Kriek (Balaton cherries, 7%) and Stony Brook Red (9%), all aged in Eastern European oak barrels, originally used to age brandy in Italy and imparting subtle sweet, toasty notes.

“For years, we’ve been playing with barrels at the brewery, aging small batches of beer in our Barrel Room. Before now, these beers have only been available at beer festivals or to a few lucky visitors to our Boston Brewery,” founder Jim Koch said for a press release.

The beers will be available in Denver, Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire for a suggested retail price of $9.99 per 750ml bottle.


The accidental brewery

Making beer at home is one thing. Selling it is another.

The British government has told a Hampshire man he must now pay duty, keep better records and undergo a background check for a license to sell his beer.

The Metro reports it began when Robert Shields, who brews 100 pints (or 12.5 gallons) a month, decided to start charging friends just six months after he started brewing.

But before selling the home-made Moorlands and Runnymede bitters, he was told to convert his shed into a bonded warehouse and apply for two licences.

Her Majesty’s Revenue and Custom’s guidelines added that he must pay 20p duty a bottle, measure how much alcohol is in his beer and record how much malt he buys.

(He) also had to get a personal licence to sell alcohol and undergo a criminal records check by the police.

“It’s totally over the top for someone who just wants to sell beer to friends,” he said.

However a spokesman for the a Campaign for Real Ale, a consumer advocate group, said: “It’s right that if you are selling it to people then you have to make sure it is of a demonstrable quality.”


Samuel Adams, Weihenstephan plan collaboration

Boston Beer Co., brewer of Samuel Adams beers, and Germany’s historic Weihenstephan Brewery have announced they will partner to create a collaboration beer. Such collaborations between breweries of all sizes, and often breweries located in different countries, continue to become more popular but this arguably is the biggest yet.

Weinehstephan, founded by Benedictine monks in 1040, lays claim to being the oldest brewery in the world. Boston Beer, founded in 1984, is America’s largest craft brewery.

“The Weihenstephan Brewery is a mecca for brewers and people around the world who are passionate about beer and brewing. No brewer can stand at the site of this brewery without feeling a sense of reverence for what has been done here,” Boston Beer founder Jim Koch said for a press release. “It is a great honor to work together on this mission to explore the limits of the Reinheitsgebot and to brew a beer that represents the platinum standard in the art of brewing.”

Dr. Josef Schrädler, managing director at Weihenstephan, expressed similar thoughts. “This journey we’ve embarked on with Samuel Adams is unprecedented in the beer world,” he said. “We are making history with Jim and his team of brewers; turning our traditional brewing techniques on their head will result in an innovative beer that is ground breaking, delicious and unique.”

The brewers from Samuel Adams and Weihenstephan have been working on the project for two years, “perfecting an innovative beer style that explores new brewing techniques within the boundaries of beer law.”

Their yet-to-be-named beer will be released in both the United States and Germany next spring in cork-finished bottles. Effervescent and Champagne-like beer it will weigh in at more than 10 percent alcohol by volume.


Flying Fish Exit 1, Red Wagon IPA

Red Wagon IPANews from the breweries:

– Fire Island Beer Co., based in Ocean Beach, N.Y., has launched a second brand, Fire Island Red Wagon IPA. “Fire Island Beer Company is going in a hoppier direction with Red Wagon IPA compared to our Lighthouse Ale,” co-founder Tom Fernandez said for a press release. “Wagons are central to life on Fire Island, and the perfect symbol of what makes this place so different,” added co-founder Jeff Glassman. “There are no cars, so people pull their stuff around in wagons instead. It’s a great reminder to keep things simple in life . . . you can only carry so much, so focus on what’s important. That is the idea that inspired Red Wagon IPA.”

Fire Island Beer Co. has its beers brewed at Olde Saratoga Brewing Co. in New York.

Flying Fish Brewing will release Exit 1 Bayshore Oyster Stout, the third in their popular Exit Series of Big Bottle Beers. Exit 1 is a classic oyster stout, a once-ubiquitous style brewed with local oysters, in this case from the Delaware Bay, for richness and intensity of flavor.

“New Jersey’s southwest bayshore has been supplying oysters to Americans since colonial times. Until the 1950s, hundreds of millions of oysters were harvested annually,” said Flying Fish head brewer Casey Hughes. “Now, thanks to efforts by many organizations, the oyster is coming back. We worked with local oystermen in Port Norris, NJ to get the freshest specimens for this brew.”

Exit 1 is brewed with 100 Delaware Bay oysters per batch. The beer bears the name of Exit 1 because it is the final turnpike exit before drivers enter the state of Delaware. Future Exit Series Big Bottles will be named for other exits, chosen based on videos, photos and testimonials submitted to Flying Fish by fans. “One of the very best things about the Exit Series is the interactive element of it,” said Flying Fish founder Gene Muller.

Flying Fish was recently named “Local Hero: Beverage Artisan of 2009” by Edible Jersey magazine. In addition, the brewery took home two medals at this year’s GABF, including a gold medal for Exit 4.


Boulevard-Orval collaboration and other news

News from the breweries:

Boulevard Brewing has announced Jean-Marie Rock, brewmaster at the Belgian Trappist brewery Orval will team up with Boulevard brewmaster Steven Pauwels to create a small production, limited release beer. The joint effort, a first for the Midwestern brewery, will take place during Rock’s late October visit to Boulevard’s Kansas City facility.

The brewers, both native Belgians, will produce an imperial pilsner similar to a lager brewed by Rock at the start of his career. It will, according to Pauwels, be a tribute to pilsner beers; full flavored and refreshing, brewed with 100% Pilsner malt and 100% Saaz hops, using time-honored techniques.

“The beer will be made in a very traditional way,” said Rock. “The methods by which it will be brewed, fermented, and lagered are no longer employed, though they made this beer fantastic. It is time to get a beer like this back in a glass.”

Stone Brewing has expanded distribution into 33 states, adding Connecticut last month and Louisiana this month. Louisiana will be celebrating the arrival of Stone oct. 20 with “72 Hours of Arrogance.” “Stone is the opposite of the beers that we have down here,” said Dan Stein, of Stein’s Market and Deli. “We’re talking about big, strong, hoppy, bold beers.”

Stone Brewing installed two new 400-barrel fermenting vessels in their Escondido, California, in September to boost annual capacity by 7,000 to 8,000 barrels per year.

Widmer Brothers Brewing has made Cherry Oak Doppelbock, the first release in the brewery’s new Brothers’ Reserve limited-edition series. The Brothers’ Reserve line gives founders and brothers Kurt and Rob Widmer a chance to play with new styles and premium ingredients. The 22-ounce bottles retail for around $7.95.

Cherry Oak Doppelbock, 9% abv with 40 bitterness units, is cold-fermented with dark sweet and red tart cherries, then conditioned on new, heavily toasted American oak. Each release bears the name of the brother who inspired its creation. In the case of Cherry Oak Doppelbock that’d be Kurt, who hand-signed 50 bottles for consumers to discover as a way to commemorate the series’ launch.


Craft pioneer Greg Noonan dies

Greg NoonanAmerican craft brewing pioneer Greg Noonan, 58, died Sunday in his home after a brief battle with cancer.

Noonan opened Vermont’s first brewpub in 1988 and two others after that but his influence was national. His 1986 book Brewing Lager Beer: The Most Comprehensive Book for Home- and Microbreweries
became something of a guidebook for those opening small breweries in the 1980s and ’90s. He Later wrote Scotch Ale in 1990 and Seven Barrel Brewery Brewers’ Handbook: A Pragmatic Guide to Home Brewing in 1996, then updated Brewing Lager Beer in 2003.

Like many who would soon be commercial brewers Noonan started out making beer as a hobby at home. He was working as a manufacturing manager for paper and wood products companies in Massachusetts when news of microbreweries opening on the West Coast inspired him to go pro.

“I specifically sited my brewery in Burlington because it’s where I wanted to live. I admired the politics in Vermont,” he said. He spent three years lobbying the Vermont legislature to legalize brewpubs.

“That first year, it was a real sell,” he said 10 years after opening in the pub. “There was no built-in awareness of what a brewpub was. (Consumers) would look at you and think ‘You are a brewery, you must make Budweiser.’ There was no style awareness.”

His local impact was obvious. For instance, John Kimmich, who later started the award winning The Alchemist brewpub in nearby Waterbury, sought out Noonan to learn the trade. Kimmich waited tables and eventually became head brewer at Vermont Pub & Brewery.

“Greg is a major reason that The Alchemist is a success,” Kimmich says. “He’s been a wonderful mentor. He’s got the blending of the chemistry knowledge with the esoteric side of things.”

Like many other brewers, commercial and amateur, Kimmich said he still has a dog-eared copy of Brewing Lager Beer in his brewery. His book was the start of Brewers Publications, the publishing wing of the Brewers Association.

That book was quite a legacy to leave behind but Noonan left much more.


Wisconsin brewers face beer tax boost

Support Your Local BreweryThis call to help the breweries of Wisconsin comes from Support Your Local Brewery:

Hello Beer Enthusiasts,

Tomorrow, Tuesday October 13th, at 10 a.m. there is a committee hearing scheduled at the State Capitol regarding Assembly Bill 287, that would raise the tax on all beer produced in Wisconsin.

The position of the Wisconsin Brewers Guild is to stiffly oppose this bill from becoming law. The bill would raise the tax on breweries under 50,000 barrels of production from $1.00 to $10.00 per barrels. The proponents for this bill have argued that this is a small amount and that the tax has not been raised since 1969.

What they have not chosen to report is that Wisconsin ranks in the top 5 in our country with a total tax impact of over 40% of the cost of beer going to one tax or another. They also report that the average (so they call us) beer consumer would not mind having the price of beer go up and that this is easily supported by residents of Wisconsin. I guess you are not average citizens as I have yet to meet a beer enthusiast that is favorable of seeing their beer go up in price.

Although this would be a “production” tax, the reality is that, because all beer must be sold through a 3 tier system, the cost would be successively marked up by the distributor and the retailer. The impact of this tax will likely result in an increase of .50 cents a glass or $2.00 per case on every brand of beer.

Additionally, the State has collected nearly 400 million dollars over the last 40 years and has yet to allocate monies to the initiatives that would be funded with this additional revenue (law enforcement grants and alcohol abuse prevention and treatment programs). Why not, I would like to know. Now they are pursuing taxing all of us to support new spending of unproven programs, during the worst recession of our life time. This is a bad idea.

We need to stop this now. If you wish to take action on this, please reference the links below and do the following:

Contact your Representative and express your point of view – they will appreciate it.

Tell your friends that are not on this list.

Attend the hearing tomorrow at 10:00 AM (see below). Plan to arrive early and register your point of view.


Carl Nolen
Capital Brewery
Wisconsin Brewers Guild

To find your Representative Visit:


Boston Lager sales benefit ‘American Dream’

This month for every case of Samuel Adams Boston Lager sold in Massachusetts and Rhode Island 50 cents will go towards Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream, a philanthropic program created last year by The Boston Beer Company to provide financial support and services to low and moderate income entrepreneurs in the food and beverage industry.

When Boston Beer founder Jim Koch sent a letter to distributors in Massachusetts and Rhode Island in September about plans for the brewery to contribute 25 cents from each case sold to the program he didn’t expect was that all six distributors in Massachusetts and Rhode Island would offer to match his donation. But they did, increasing the contribution to 50 cents per case of Boston Lager sold in both states.

In June 2008, The Boston Beer Company partnered with ACCION USA, the country’s leading not-for-profit micro-lending organization, to launch Brewing the American Dream. The program has provided loans to 31 food & beverage entrepreneurs in New England, saving or creating more than 240 jobs.

Earlier this year, The Boston Beer Company brewed a special beer, Samuel Adams Boston Brick Red, available on draft and only at bars and restaurants in the Boston area. For each keg of Boston Brick Red enjoyed throughout the city, the brewer made a donation of $4.

“The effort with Boston Brick Red has gone very well; we’ve raised nearly $10,000 for the program, and it’s been a great way for beer drinkers to join with us to support these individuals looking to realize their business dream,” Koch said. “So, we started looking for ways to expand that effort. We’re hopeful that the donation made through sales of Samuel Adams Boston Lager in October will lead to funding many more loans.”


Nectar Ales’ Black Xantus

Nectar Ales (which is owned by Firestone Walker), has released their first special release. It’s an imperial stout called Black Xantus. The beer is very limited. Only 500 cases of 22 oz. bottles were produced. Playing on the hummingbird theme of their other labels, the name, Black Xantus, comes from a rare species of hummingbird native to Mexico.

According to the press release:

Black Xantus, a bourbon barrel aged Imperial Stout infused with coffee. Black Xantus will definitely be an “odd bird” with chocolate, espresso, bourbon aromas and flavors and over 10% alcohol by volume, a slight departure from the session beers that Nectar has been known for. Local Paso Robles area coffee roaster, Jobella, was sourced to provide the organic, fair-trade coffee infused into this special brew.

“Holy hummingbirds, this beer is amazing,” said Brewmaster Matt “Batman” Brynildson. “We are so excited to be able to brew a beer of this caliber and with so much character,” he added.

Black Xantus will be available beginning October 1 in 22 ounce bottles in select markets where Nectar Ales are currently sold. Only 500 cases of this unique brew will be produced. Bottles are expected to retail for around $15 each.