On the new beer front . . .

  • Full Sail Brewing’s Hop Pursuit — 6% abv and 55 IBU — features “less aggressive, old school craft brewing hops” Cascade, Willamette and Mt. Hood grown in Oregon. A press release from the Hood River, Oregon, brewery states, “These give the beer a nice and fresh citrus
    herbal character without a lot of intensity; instead it has a softly flavorful character with touches of orange and lemon.”
  • 21st Anniversary Ale from Karl Strauss Brewing in San Diego is a Belgian strong ale (10.2% abv) brewed with the juice from old vine Zinfandel grapes. “Last year we were busy with a brewery expansion and getting our new bottling line up and running. Now that we’ve got all the hard stuff behind us, we’re ready to have some fun!” said Paul Segura, Karl Strauss brewmaster. “We wanted to brew something you really don’t see—a blend of wine and beer.”
  • Batemans in England has begun shipping Mr. George’s Ruby Porter to the U.S. market. Mr. George’s is identical to the beer sold in England known as Batemans Dark Lord, but re-named for the U.S. market due to a trademark conflict. SBS Imports of Seattle imports the 5% abv. “Our Father (known at the brewery as Mr. George) was keenly interested in having our brand return to the USA after a lengthy absence. We’re pleased to name the beer in his honor to celebrate our second year back in America,” marketing director Jaclyn Bateman said.
  • Michelob Ginger Wheat replaces Honey Wheat in the 2010 Michelob Brewing Co. Spring/Summer Sampler Pack. The brewery describes the beer, 5.2% abv, as a “twist on the classic unfiltered Belgian wheat ale, brewed with wheat malt, citrus peels and spices, complemented by a spicy ginger aroma and taste.” it joins Shock Top Belgian White, Hop Hound Amber Wheat and Michelob Dunkel Weisse in the sampler pack.
  • GUBNA Imperial IPA is the lnewest beer in cans from Oskar Blues Brewery in Longmont, Colo. The recipe includes German dark Munich malt and rye malt plus citrusy Summit hops exclusively. The beer is 10% abv, with International Bitterness Units (IBU) calculated at 100. The suggested retail price for four-packs is $14.99 and the beer is available in the 26 states where Oskar Blues beers are sold.
  • archives

    Nick Matt new BA board of directors chair

    The Brewers Association, which represents America’s small and independent brewers, has seated its new board of directors and officers.

    The officers are Nick Matt of Matt Brewing Company as Chair; Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery as Vice Chair; and Mark Edelson of Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant as Secretary/Treasurer.

    New members of the board are Chris P. Frey as an American Homebrewers Association designate; Chuck Skypeck, Boscos Brewing Company, as a brewpub designate; and Rob Tod, Allagash Brewing Company, as an at-large designate.

    “I am delighted to work with leaders from across the craft brewing industry, along with the staff of the Brewers Association, to advance the Association’s strategic goals and help small and independent American brewers continue growing their market share,” Nick Matt, said for a press release. “It is exciting to see how the Brewers Association has developed over the past several years and it is an honor to play a leadership role in helping this organization continue to make progress in representing the interests of small brewers and the community of brewing enthusiasts.”


    Anderson Valley Brewing sold

    Ken Allen, one of the pioneers in the craft beer movement, has announced Anderson Valley Brewing will be sold to HMB Holdings. The transaction is expected to be complete in April.

    From the press release:

    Under the leadership of respected industry pioneer Ken Allen, Anderson Valley Brewery has been creating award winning craft beers in Boonville, CA since 1987.

    HMB Holdings LLC is owned and managed by Trey White, a fifteen year veteran of the alcoholic beverage industry. Through his role as executive vice-president at United States Beverage, Mr. White worked with a variety of fast growing successful American craft beers including Goose Island, Rogue, Ipswich and SLO as well as selected imports including Grolsch from Holland. HMB will retain the current brewing and production facilities at Anderson Valley Brewery while expanding the sales and marketing capabilities.

    “Ken Allen is a true leader within the American craft beer industry,” says Mr. White “The beers created by Anderson Valley are amongst the premier craft beers available in the world. Ken’s high-quality craftsmanship combined with his respect for the environment is a legacy we will respect and uphold. HMB is thrilled with the opportunity to grow consumer awareness and expand the distribution of the Anderson Valley family of world class award winning craft beers.”

    Ken Allen says: “I have enjoyed immensely growing the Anderson Valley Brewery from a start-up operating a modest brew pub in Boonville into a world class regional craft brewery. The people and friends I have made in the industry will last a lifetime. I want to thank the many customers and brewery fans who have become key parts of the Anderson Valley Brewery family.

    “I have looked long and hard for the right person to whom to entrust our legacy and I could not have found a better partner in Trey White. His passion and knowledge of the craft beer industry, coupled with his respect for the brands we have developed, will make him the ideal person to take the Anderson Valley Brewery to the next level within the growing craft beer industry.”

    Located in the bucolic Anderson Valley region, the environmentally friendly, solar powered brewery produces Boont Amber Ale and Hop Ottin’ IPA in addition to many other highly respected craft beers. Ken Allen was awarded the craft industry’s prestigious Small Brewer Association Recognition award last year for his decades of service to the craft beer industry.

    The brewery has long been known for hosting one of California’s best beer festivals.


    Consumers can join fight to lower beer taxes

    Support Your Local BreweryThe Brewers Association has called on beer drinkers across the country to join the effort to lower the beer excise tax for America’s small brewers.

    For small brewers making less than 6 million barrels annually, H.R. 4278 would cut the small brewer tax rate in half, to $3.50 per barrel on the first 60,000 barrels brewed annually. It would reduce the tax rate from $18 per barrel to $16 per barrel on production between 60,000 barrels and 2 million barrels.

    Almost all of the 1,500-plus breweries in the United States — most of them in fact brewpubs — make fewer than 60,000 barrels annually. Only a little more than two dozen brew more, including Boston Beer (Samuel Adams beers) and Sierra Nevada at the high end and breweries such as Abita Brewing and Great Lakes Brewing at the lower end.

    The Brewers Association points out:

    – A tax reduction will help grow small business breweries and provide drinkers will greater access to a wider variety of beers.

    – Harvard University’s John Friedman’s study, Economic Impact of Small Brewers Excise Tax Reduction shows that H.R. 4278 would also help stimulate job creation quickly and at a low cost. The bill would generate more than 2,700 new jobs over the first year to 18 months, followed by an average of 375 new jobs per year over the following four years.

    The Brewers Association has assembled a resource page at its website that industry members and beer drinkers can use to join the lobbying effort to reduce the tax.


    Cap lifted for Iowa breweries

    Iowa Gov. Chet Culver has signed a bill that allow Iowa breweries to make and sell beers up to 12% alcohol by volume. Out of state breweries were already selling these stronger beers in Iowa, but in-state breweries were restricted to a 5% abv. A movement for Iowa Beer Equality arose to remove the competitive disadvantage Iowa breweries faced. The passing of SF 2088 now allows Iowa brewers to sell many more styles of beer.

    To celebrate Olde Main Brewing in Ames will let customers pick the first strong beer the brewpub offers. “We’ve been getting a lot of questions on what will be the first high proof beer we brew,” Olde Main’s Jill Haverkamp said, “so we are planning to let the people decide by doing a poll.” Customers can vote at the brewery’s website.

    The Sioux City Journal surveyed other breweries via email to see what they had planned. The responses:

    Rock Bottom Brewery, Des Moines – New Era Barleywine, Belgo India Pale Ale, an imperial stout and an imperial red ale.

    Granite City Food and Brewery, locations in Des Moines, Cedar Rapids and Davenport – “We have an IPA that we distribute to all our 26 restaurants, but since we have three in Iowa, we have always brewed it to the Iowa limit,” brewmaster Cory O’Neel said. “We will tweak the recipe to where it always should have been.”

    Old Man River Brewing Co., McGregor – A doppelbock. “I’m looking forward to giving it a go,” brewer Jacob Simmons said.

    Worth Brewing Co., Northwood – “A strong Belgian ale is a definite,” said brewer Peter Ausenhus. “I am also very excited about brewing a proper English old ale and some authentic German bocks.”

    Raccoon River Brewing Co., Des Moines – “I currently make a double hopped version of our Bandit IPA called Bandito Loco, that I’m looking forward into making a true double IPA” said brewer David Coy.


    Craft beers sales grow 7.2 percent

    The Brewers Association today announced that craft beers sales grew 7.2% in 2009 as the same time that overall beer sales tumbled. The dollar value of craft beer grew even more dramatically, 10.3%. Overall, craft brewers sold 613,992 additional barrels in 2009, an increase equal to about 8.5 million cases.

    Overall, U.S. beer sales were down approximately 5 million barrels (31 gallons each) in 2009.

    “Beer lovers continue to find great value and enjoyment in fuller flavored craft beers,” Brewers Association director Paul Gatza said for a press release. “Americans have an increasing appreciation of craft beers, and the growing number of brewers behind them. They’re eager to try the latest seasonal release and to sample a variety of beers from different breweries.”

    Craft brewers, as defined by the BA, accounted for 4.3% of volume and 6.9% of retail dollars for the total U.S. beer category. The BA estimates actual dollar sales figure from craft brewers in 2009 was $7 billion, up from $6.3 billion in 2008.

    The total number of U.S. craft brewers grew from 1,485 to 1,542 in 2009, and they produced 9,115,635 barrels, up from 8,501,713 barrels in 2008. Overall U.S. beer sales fell from approximately 210.4 million barrels to 205.8 million barrels.


    Oregon congressman to deliver CBC keynote

    Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon) will deliver the keynote speech at the Craft Brewers Conference (CBC) in Chicago. The conference itself runs April 8-10, with judging for the World Beer Cup bi-annual competition in the days before. More than 1,600 of the world’s leading brewers, brewery owners and brewing supply professionals are expected to attend.

    Congressman DeFazio, himself a homebrewer, co-founded and co-chairs the House Small Brewers Caucus in Washington, D.C. Bringing together more than 60 U.S. Representatives, the Caucus strives to educate Congress about the unique issues and challenges faced by America’s small brewery businesses.

    “Congressman DeFazio is a true advocate for small brewers, and we’re extremely fortunate to have him join us in Chicago,” Charlie Papazian, president of the Brewers Association, said for a press release. “He has a real passion for the breweries, the brewers and the beer, and he truly understands the unique issues of our industry. Introducing him to the 1,600-plus brewers attending CBC will be a real pleasure.”

    “American small brewers are true craftsmen, producing some of the finest beers in the world. As a home brewer myself, I have a deep appreciation for the quality of their work,” Defazio said for the release. “But, perhaps more important than their fine beers, is their place in local communities. These small business men and women create jobs and economic activity, and are an integral part of local community culture. I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak to this growing group of innovative business leaders.”

    More about the Craft Brewers Conference here.

    More about the World Beer Cup here.


    Brewing scholarship honors memory of Greg Noonan

    The American Brewers Guild has created a scholarship to honor the memory of brewing pioneer Greg Noonan, who died last October of cancer.

    The Greg Noonan New England Brewer’s Scholarship will be awarded for the Intensive Brewing Science and Engineering class beginning June 7. The scholarship is open to residents of New England, including the states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. Applicants must meet the guild’s for admission into the program.

    Noonan opened Vermont’s first brewpub in 1988 and two others after that but his influence was far wider. His 1986 book “Brewing Lager Beer: The Most Comprehensive Book for Home- and Microbreweries”
    became 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.

    Here’s the information about how to apply.


    Florida brewers lobby for growler sales

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

    Florida Beer Lovers,

    The Florida Brewers Guild needs your help.

    Senate Bill 2062 has been filed in the Florida Legislature and seeks to amend the Florida Statutes so as to allow ‘brewpubs’ to sell beer brewed for off-premises consumption, and to remove container size restrictions for malt beverages so as to allow for the sale of ‘growlers’.

    Click or copy and paste the following link to view Senate Bill 2062:

    We have a potential sponsor in the House, Representative Mike Horner, but he is being pressured to remove the provision that would allow brewpubs to sell for off-premises consumption.

    We ask that you use the following link to email Representative Horner and ask that he sponsor a House bill with the same provisions as Senate Bill 2062.

    Please act NOW – Tuesday March 2nd is the last day for Representatives to file bills.

    Representative Horner can also be reached by phone at:

    407-943-3077 or 850-488-8992

    Sample Message:

    I, _________, support legislation to allow brewpubs to be able to sell their beer for off-premises consumption. If passed, this legislation would:

    1) Give consumers a choice in when and where they drink their favorite beer (i.e. at home)

    2) Increase sales to support new jobs and increase excise and sales taxes for the state

    3) Support tourism–thousands of beer enthusiasts travel to find & collect unique beer

    4) Make Florida more attractive to prospective brewery projects and investment

    Please support local Florida breweries and Florida beer enthusiasts by supporting a House companion bill to Senate Bill 2062.

    Thank you,

    The Florida Brewers Guild


    Beer – er, water – cooler fodder

  • Bill Howell — a Sterling, Alaska college administrator, retired Navy officer, homebrewer, and beer educator — was crowned the 2010 Wynkoop Beerdrinker of the Year on Saturday. One of three national finalists in Denver competing for the 2010 title, Howell withstood 2 hours of difficult beer-related questions from a panel of national beer experts to win the 14th annual title. He wins free beer for life at Wynkoop, a $250 bar tab at his favorite brewpub (Elias Brewing Company in Soldotna, Alaska) and other prizes for winning the title.
  • Saint Arnold Brewing made its first batch of beer Saturday at its new downtown brewery. The brewery opened to the public months ago while work continued on its brewhouse. The new brewery has an initial capacity of 40,000 barrels. “I tell people who think we are getting big that it takes Anheuser-Busch two hours to make as much beer as we produce in an entire year,” co-founder Brock Wagner said. “The sign of our growth is that it used to take A-B just one hour.”
  • After 25 years as president of Sprecher Brewing, which he founded, Randal Sprecher is giving up the job of president. Jeff Hamilton, who’s been vice president and general manager since 2005, is the new president. Sprecher, 63, said in an interview that he’s delegating more work to Hamilton. Sprecher, who lives part time in California, said he devoting more time to developing the West Coast market. He also said he has no plans to retire soon. “I’ve got a ways to go yet, although I’m getting up there,” he said.
  • Left Hand Brewing in Colorado has a released an India Pale Ale it calls 400 Pound Monkey IPA. “Just when you thought that the world needs another IPA like it needs another virus, we’ve started to brew a year-round IPA. But this one ain’t like them others,” explained Joe Schiraldi, vice president of brewing operations. “It’s an English-style IPA that separates itself from the ubiquitous bunch. Any monkey can throw 400 pounds of hops in a kettle.” The beer is 6.8% abv. Bittering units? From the press release: “Well, it depends on perception versus reality, but a polite monkey never tells.”
  • Exit 16 Wild Rice Double IPA will be the next entry in Flying Fish Brewing’s “Exit Series.” Exit 16 bottles will be available by mid-March and will also on be on draft in limited quantities throughout the region. “Exit 16 is a fun, flavorful tribute to one of the Meadowlands’ indigenous food sources: wild rice,” said Flying Fish founder Gene Muller. Exit 16 Wild Rice Double IPA is named for the exit that leads travelers across the salt-marsh of the Meadowlands to the Sportsplex and Lincoln Tunnel. The beer is brewed with wild, organic brown and white rice, and five varieties of hops. It is later dry-hopped with Chinook and Citra hops.
  • Firestone Walker Brewing Co. has expanded distribution into southern Oregon, including Eugene, Bend, Burns, Coos Bay, Roseburg, Klamath Falls, Medford, and Newport. “We’ve had great success already in the Portland market and look forward to bringing our beer to new areas in the rest of Beer Nirvana,” said David Walker, Firestone Walker’s co-founder.