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Firestone Walker expands lineup, distribution

Firestone Walker Brewing Co. will soon offer its Proprietor’s Reserve Series outside of the brewery’s West Coast home. The series will be distributed, when available, in 22-ounce bottles as well as a very limited release of kegs.

The Proprietor’s Reserve Series includes Double Jack, a double IPA based off of Firestone’s award winning Union Jack IPA; Walker’s Reserve, a bottle-conditioned robust porter; Parabola, a barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout; and Abacus, a barrel-aged barleywine, as well as their anniversary blend.

“Every brewer relishes testing the outer limits of their creativity and equipment,” FW brewmaster Matt Brynildson said for a press release. “We have been honing these beers for a while, but I wasn’t sure that we would ever produce them at any appreciable level. The brew team is fired up!”

This year’s anniversary beer, “14”, will be released in November, kicking off the Reserve Series. Double Jack and Walker’s Reserve will be released in January and be available year-round, while Parabola and Abacus are one-time limited releases for later in 2011.

Firestone Walker Brewing, based in Paso Robles, Calif., will also be sending its Proprietor’s Reserve Series east, said John Bryan, “Export” Director at Firestone Walker.

“The Reserve Series will be in States where we currently distribute (which includes New York, New Jersey and Virginia) and we are perusing other markets along the East Coast as beer becomes available,” he said.

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The Science of Smell

smell
NPR’s Science Friday had a show last week devoted to The Science of Smell. If you’ve ever taken tasting beer seriously, you know how important smell is to the flavor of beer (and everything else). Host Ira Flatow discussed Olfaction with research scientists Stuart Firestein and Donald Wilson. The show’s only a little under 18 minutes but is pretty interesting.

For example, twenty years ago [the field of olfaction] made the most important discovery in the modern era of olfaction, which “was the identification and cloning of a large family of receptors in our noses that mediate the sense of smell that act like a lock. If you think of it, odor is a key, and when they fit together, the brain is clued in to the fact that this odor is out there somehow. And this identification of this large, large family of genes, a thousand of them in many animals, as many as 450 in us, mediates this smell.

This turns out to be “the largest gene family in the mammalian genome. The mammalian genome, typically, we think consists of about 25,000 genes. So in a mouse, it’s about 5 percent of the genes and even in us, it’s almost 2 percent. About one out of every 50 genes in your genome was devoted to your nose.”

And here’s a later revealing exchange, from the transcript:

Dr. FIRESTEIN: I think we use our nose a lot more than most people believe. The biggest problem with our sense of smell or the feeling that we don’t have a good sense of smell is actually our bipedalism, the fact that we walk on two legs. And we have our noses stuck up here five or six feet in the air, when all the good odors are about eight or 10 inches off the ground. Or for example, as the case with other animals, they’re more willing to put their nose where the odors are, shall we say, delicately.

FLATOW: And well, we’ve always heard that animals like let’s pick out dogs, bloodhounds and things like that, that dogs are able to smell so much more sensitively than us in all different kinds of smells. Is that true?

Dr. FIRESTEIN: Well, it’s a good question. I mean, I often say to people who ask me that question, if they have such a good sense of smell, why do they think they do that greeting thing that they do?

Dr. FIRESTEIN: You think you could do that from 10 feet away, you know?

FLATOW: Well, that’s true. They get right up there and sniff you.

Dr. FIRESTEIN: Boy, they sure do.

FLATOW: So why do they need to be so close if they smell…

Dr. FIRESTEIN: Yes, well so some of this is behavioral, and a part of it, the another way to show that, I think, for humans, is that we actually have very sophisticated palate, for example, for food, much more than many other animals and we know that most of flavor is really olfaction.

And here’s another interesting exchange about the specifics of our sense of smell, insert “beer” in the place of “coffee” and the process of judging beer critically works the same way.

FLATOW: Don Wilson, tell us what happens what is connected to our noses in the sensory? What goes on in the brain when we smell something?

Dr. WILSON: Well, it’s actually really exciting because – so these you mentioned the ABCs of olfaction. I think that’s a good analogy because these hundreds of different receptors that Stuart just mentioned essentially are recognizing different features of a molecule. You don’t have — for most of odors, you don’t have a receptor for that particular odor. You don’t have a coffee receptor or a vanilla or a strawberry receptor. You have receptors that are recognizing small pieces of the molecules that you’re inhaling, and the aroma of coffee, for example, is made up of hundreds of different molecules.

So what the brain then has to do is make sense of this pattern of input that’s coming in: I’ve got receptors A, B and C activated when I smell this odor, and I’ve got receptors B, C, D and E activated when I smell this other odor. And what we’ve found is that what the brain is really doing with the olfactory cortex and the early parts of the olfactory system are doing is letting those features into what we and others would consider something like an odor object, so that you perceive now a coffee aroma from all of these individual features that you’ve inhaled. And, in fact, once you’ve perceived that coffee aroma, you really can’t pick out that, you know, there’s a really good ethyl ester in my Starbucks today or something – you really have an object that you can’t break down into different components. So that’s what the brain is doing.

And we know that part of that building of the object, that synthetic processing of all these features, is heavily dependent on memory. So you learn to put these features together and experience this odor the first time. So it’s really a – in some ways, olfaction seems really simple. They suck a molecule up my nose and it binds to a receptor and so I must know what I’ve just inhaled. But, in fact, it’s a fairly complex process where it’s akin to object perception and other sensory systems.

FLATOW: Does the fact that it elicits such strong memories — you know, so you can a smell from 40 years ago or something. Is it because — are they close together, the centers for smell and memory in the brain?

Dr. WILSON: Well, in humans, it’s — in some ways, the olfactory cortex is really enveloped by — embraced by parts of the brain that are important for emotion and memory. There are direct reciprocal connections between the olfactory system and the amygdala and hippocampus, these parts that are important for emotion and memory. So – and we think that as you’re putting these features together to make this perceptual object, the brain and the cortex is also sort of listening to the context of which I’m smelling it, maybe the emotions that I’m having as I’m smelling it. And those can, in fact, we think can become an integral part of the percept itself. So it not only becomes difficult to say what the molecules were within that coffee aroma, but it also becomes difficult to isolate the emotional responses you’re having with that same odor.

After that they go on about memory and aromas, and then take calls from listeners. You can also hear the entire discussion below or at Science Friday’s website (or download it below or at NPR) and also see the full transcript.


download mp3: mp3 download

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In UK, pubs still the place to talk

A survey commissioned by Courage Beer suggests drinkers in Britain still consider the pub the best place outside of home for conversation.

From the press release:

Fifty percent of those quizzed have made new friends by talking to people in the pub, and the pub (43%) is also the place where you are most likely to strike up a conversation with a stranger, followed by long haul flights (38%) and nightclubs (27%).

Britain as a nation of chatterboxes with the average person having 27 conversations every day, lasting an average of 10 minutes each. That adds up to a massive 4.5 hours a day or nearly 100,000 hours or 68 days – every year.

The Courage Beer Conversations survey of 3,000 British adults for Courage Beer found that Geordies are the UK’s most gregarious with the North East weighing in with an average of 33 conversations per day – closely followed by the Welsh on 32, whilst the Northern Irish are least outgoing with an average of 22 conversations every day.

However, whilst the survey illustrates our convivial nature, the survey also points to a worrying aspect of Britain’s sociability with 43% of our daily conversations deemed pointless.

Those questioned were split on whether modern technology has caused the art of conversation to wane in recent years with 52% believing people don’t talk face to face any more, whilst 48% think technology means we actually talk more, but through a different medium.

Only a third of people count the conversations they have on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook as ‘proper conversations’.

Over 63% of those asked think the younger generation has lost the art of conversation, either as a result of technology making young people lazy (30%) or making them less forthcoming when it comes to others (33%).

Other highlights of the survey include:

  • Humour and honesty were deemed the most important elements of a meaningful conversation to those questioned with a combined split of over 60% followed by ‘Getting a different point of view’ (26%) and ‘Learning new facts’ (12%).
  • Marriage & relationships (74%) head the list of conversation topics that Brits consider meaningful, closely followed by money (60%) and work/ job happiness (55%). Politics comes in fourth at 34%, followed by food & drink (27%) and religion and property prices on 22%.
  • Whilst Britain seems to a companionable nation it appears we don’t appear to be natural socialisers with 64% of Brits finding it hard to make conversations. Weekend plans are the main saviour of these faltering conversations (45%) followed by that trusty backstop, the weather (35%) and the news (30%).
  • Britain’s focus on work is reflected in the fact that we are just as likely to have a meaningful conversation on a daily basis with a friend (56%) as work colleague (57%) although reassuringly both trail behind partner or spouse on 74%.
  • Theodore Zeldin CBE, highly respected lecturer, historian, philosopher and author of ‘Conversation; How talk can change our lives’ and of An Intimate History of Humanity said “Conversation is a meeting of minds. When minds meet, they don’t just exchange facts: they transform them, reshape them, draw different implications from them, engage in new trains of thought. The pub has had a unique role in British society as the incubator of talk of many kinds. Now that technology is encouraging less face to face interaction, the pub has the opportunity to develop new forms of conversation and of social interaction.”

    Quite a bit there to talk about.

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    Burton-on-Trent to host 2011 Brewing Industry Awards

    The recently-opened National Brewery Center in Burton-on-Trent will host the 2011 Brewing Industry International Awards. That will be followed immediately by a new Festival of Beer showcasing many of the participating beers.

    The National Brewery Center, which opened in May this year, was an “obvious candidate” to host the competition, said Ruth Evans, chief executive of Brewing Technology Services, organizers of the Brewing Awards. She said, “We are delighted to be holding the 2011 Awards at this new and very appropriate venue which can accommodate not only the competition but the Festival of Beer. Brewers taking part in the awards now have an opportunity to promote their beer to consumers, which hasn’t been a feature of previous competitions and we’re sure will lead to more entries from brewers and brand owners around the globe.”

    Entries to the competition are now open on the Brewing Awards website. Deadline to enter is Dec. 31.

    The Brewing Awards judging takes place Feb. 9-11, with bronze, silver and gold class winners announced in Burton on the last day. The category winners – selected from the gold winners for each class – will be revealed at a separate awards ceremony April 12 at the BFBi annual lunch at London Guildhall.

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    Stella 9-Point Pour now online game

    Stella Artois’ World Draught Masters competition has begun, and this year allows contestants to enter online.

    The U.S. finals for the competition, now in its 14th year, are set for Sept. 17 in Boston. The winner earns a spot in the 2010 Stella Artois World Draught Masters final in Old Billingsgate, London Oct. 28. Fifteen of the 16 U.S. finalists will come from live regional competitions with one wild-card participant randomly chosen from the top 25 national scorers in the interactive 9-Step Pouring Ritual game found at www.DraughtMasterUSA.com.

    “A perfect pour is fundamental to experiencing the perfect Stella Artois,” said Alexander Lambrecht, global marketing manager for Stella Artois. “The brand’s time-honored 9-Step Pouring Ritual helps ensure all adults around the world are served as they have been in Belgium for more than 600 years. Belgium’s gold-standard lager should only be poured one way, and it is important that all those who enjoy Stella Artois pay as much attention to serving it as we do to making it.”

    Regional competition began this week in Tampa and continues into September.

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    Rare Beer Tasting II – tickets remain

    Rick Lyke, founder of Pints for Prostates, has announced the 26-beer menu for Denver Rare Beer Tasting II on Sept. 17. It includes beers not available commercially or ones consumers often line up overnight in order to buy.

    A few tickets remain available for the tasting from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Wynkoop Brewing in Denver. Only 500 tickets ($80 each) will be sold and may be purchased through eTix.

    Beers scheduled to be poured are: Alaskan Whiskey Barrel-Aged Smoked Porter; Avery Quinquepartite; Bell’s Eccentric Ale 2004; Big Sky Barrel-Aged Ivan the Terrible; Samuel Adams Cosmic Mother Funk; Brooklyn Reinschweinsgebot; The Bruery Melange #3; Cascade Noyeaux Sour Ale; Cigar City White Oak-Aged Jai Alai India Pale Ale; Deschutes Black Butte XXII; Dogfish Head Namaste; Foothills 2009 Sexual Chocolate; Founders Nemesis; Goose Island Bourbon Barrel Coffee Stout; Great Divide Flanders Red; Jolly Pumpkin Biere de Goord; New Belgium Tart Lychee; Pike Tripel Kriek; Rogue 21 Ale; Russian River Temptation; Sierra Nevada Sierra Nevada Brandy Barrel-Aged Belgian Trippel; Stone Collaboration ESB; Three Floyds Dark Lord; Upstream 2006 Gueuze; Weyerbacher Decadence; and Wynkoop Orville.33.

    Admission includes samples of 26 beers, hors d’oeuvres, a commemorative tasting glass, event program and the chance to meet the men and women who created the beers.

    The tasting will benefit Pints for Prostates, grassroots effort to raise awareness among men of the importance of regular prostate health screenings and PSA testing.

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    MillerCoors specialty company swings into action

    MillerCoors has announced that it will call its new company focused on craft and import beers “Tenth and Blake Beer Company.”

    “This is a unique and exciting period in the beer business,” Tom Cardella, the company’s CEO, said for a press release. “With the added focus on our craft and import brands and the talent within our brewing network, Tenth and Blake Beer Company has the opportunity to make an impact and continue to help grow this segment. We’re made up of passionate brewers and merchants of the world’s finest specialty brews, and we look forward to celebrating the joy of beer with beer drinkers throughout the U.S.”

    The press released explained the name was chosen because:

    * The 10th Street Brewery in Milwaukee brews Leinenkugel’s and various specialty beers.

    * Blake Street in Denver is home to the Blue Moon Brewing Company and Sandlot Brewery within Coors Field.

    These facilities “will be primary sources of many of the company’s brews, while serving as incubators of ideas and future beers.”

    The company list its current roster of beers on its Facebook page: Blue Moon, Leinenkugel’s, Pilsner Urquell, Peroni, Killian’s, Henry Weinhard’s, Grolsch, Tyskie, Lech, Cristal, Cusquena, Aguila, Batch 19, Kasteel Cru, AC Golden brands (Herman Joseph’s, Winterfest, Colorado Native) and Sandlot brands (Brewmaster’s Special, Ski Brews, Barmen, Championship Amber Ale, Right Field Red, Slugger Stout, Power Alley ESB).

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    As expected, Magic Hat & Pyramid sold

    Announcing a deal that’s been rumored for a while, North American Breweries has acquired Independent Brewers United — the producers of the Magic hat, Pyramid and MacTarnahan brands. The acquisition is the fourth by NAB since its formation. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

    A quick bit of backround: KPS Capital Partners formed NAB in February 2009 “as a North American platform for investments and growth in the beer and malt beverage industries.” NAB’s first three acquisitions were Labatt USA from a subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch InBev; substantially all of the assets of High Falls Brewing Company, (brewer of the Genesee, Honey Brown and Dundee family of beers); and a perpetual license for the Seagram’s Escapes and Seagram’s Smooth brands from Pernod Ricard USA.

    NAB CEO Rich Lozyniak said the new brands add craft brewing credibility and variety to the beers currently offered by the company. “We are really excited to add Magic Hat, Pyramid and MacTarnahan’s beers to North American Breweries. All three brands have a rich history of craft brewing that helps us gain acceptance in that tight-knit community,” he said for a press release. “By having more beers to offer our customers, wholesalers and retail accounts, we can better compete with the multi-national mega brewers who dominate the U.S. beer industry.”

    Lozyniak added, “The industry has taken a turn away from the mega brewers. We have a collection of regional and heritage brands that position us well among today’s beer drinkers. At a time when the overall beer industry is in decline, we’re growing across brands which essentially created a great opportunity to collaborate with some of the best craft brewers in the business.”

    The new brands mean the addition of three new breweries to NAB, one each in: Portland, Oregon; Berkeley, California; and Burlington, Vermont. Magic Hat is the 10th largest craft brewery in the country, while Pyramid is the fifth largest.

    Together Magic Hat, Pyramid and the Portland Brewing Co. (MacTarnahan’s) employ about 600 people. Currently, North American Breweries has approximately 500.

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    Former A-B Brewer To Open Craft Brewery in St. Louis

    This is excellent news. I just got an e-mail from Florian Kuplent, one of my favorite brewers at A-B (including Mitch Steele, of course). His Bavarian Wheat beer is/was divine. Last week he left A-B and along with fellow ex-A-B employee David Wolfe to open a new craft brewery in St. Louis. The new brewery, Urban Chestnut Brewing, will be located at 3229 Washington Avenue, “in an old 1920’s garage that has been outfitted to accommodate our ‘new world meets old world’ brewery’ in a district of St. Louis known as Midtown Alley.”
    urban-chestnut

    From the press release:

    Urban Chestnut Brewing Company (UCBC), an unconventional-minded yet tradition-oriented brewer of craft beer, is excited to announce its plans to open a micro-brewery in the Midtown Alley district of St. Louis, MO. UCBC plans to brew and distribute its draught and bottled beers to local restaurants, bars, grocery and liquor stores and other retail establishments in the St. Louis area.

    Scheduled to launch in late 2010, UCBC is operated by two former Anheuser-Busch employees: Florian Kuplent, UCBC’s brewmaster, and David Wolfe, UCBC’s marketing and sales principal.

    Co-founders Kuplent and Wolfe believe their passion for craft beer coupled with their unique expertise in creating, brewing and marketing beer will bring a fresh approach to the local craft beer market in St. Louis. The pair also shares a passion for local community development. By using local ingredients in their beer and food offerings whenever possible, and by partnering with local businesses and non-profit organizations, UCBC hopes to contribute to St Louis’ progression as a strong and vibrant local craft beer community and community as a whole.

    • UCBC will look to distinguish itself from other craft breweries through its unique brewing philosophy, Beer Divergencya ‘new world meets old world’ brewing approach wherein UCBC contributes to the ‘revolution’ of craft beer through artisanal creations of modern American beers, and pays ‘reverence’ to the heritage of beer with classically-crafted offerings of timeless, European beer styles.
    • Their philosophy is shaped around co-founder Florian’s lifelong passion for the culture and tradition of brewing and his dedication to the art and science of brewing. A German-born and educated brewmaster, Florian brings two decades of brewing expertise to UCBC. His career in brewing has spanned small and large brewers in the U.S, Germany, Belgium and England and his beers have won awards at the Great American Beer Festival, the North American Beer Awards and SIBA Wheat Beer Challenge. Florian is active in the brewing community serving as a judge at national and international beer festivals, as a contributor to brewing publications and as a member of various brewing clubs. It is his passion for creating new, artisanal beers coupled with his background rooted in the heritage and culture of beer that has helped to form UCBC’s brewing philosophy Beer Divergency. “In launching UCBC, my vision is to delve into both th3 exploration of modern, American craft beer and the traditions of old world brewing, simultaneously. It is the fusion of these two brewing cultures, new and old, that has shaped our brewing philosophy of ‘Beer Divergency’— embracing the revolution of American craft beer, while simultaneously appreciating the heritage of European beer,” Florian shares.
    • UCBC will work to contribute to St. Louis’ evolution in local craft beer by adding to the number of small, local brewers who distribute their beer in bottles. The co-founders believe St. Louis is a burgeoning local craft beer community that unquestionably boasts a significant community of knowledgeable craft beer drinkers and has a proud and active base of small brewers. UCBC sees an opportunity to add to the overall growth of and appreciation for local craft beer, by bottling and selling their beer at establishments all over town. Wolfe, who grew up in St. Louis, comments, “As UCBC prepares to join the community of small, St. Louis area brewers who are already contributing to the culture of local craft beer, we are excited to begin packaging our beer in both bottles and kegs, and we look forward to collaborating with as many local merchants as possible to reach as many beer drinkers as we can.”

    Beyond distributing their beer, UCBC will have a taste room and outdoor biergarten where guests can enjoy UCBC beers and other locally brewed craft beers accompanied by small food pairings. Wolfe remarks, “Our taste room & biergarten won’t quite be the traditional brewpub. I like to tell people, ‘think wine bar for beer’; a casual place to hangout and experience a selection of local craft beers accompanied by small plates of cheeses, meats, and other little eats that pair well with beer.” Kuplent adds, “It is my goal to bring a little bit of Bavaria to UCBC. While our taste room will have a touch of old-world feel, our biergarten is where we’re trying to create an authentic, German beer-drinking experience by importing biergarten tables from Europe and planting shade-giving chestnut trees.”

    The Urban Chestnut name is also derived from its philosophy of “Beer Divergency”; Urban—a nod to the locales of the modern craft beer revolution and Chestnut—a symbol of the heritage and tradition of beer; the chestnut tree has been utilized by Bavarian brewers for centuries to give shade to their biergartens and bierkellers.

    According to the website, they’ll be doing two series of beers:

    Revolution Series: Our contribution to the renaissance of craft beer—brewing artisanal, modern American beers.

    Reverence Series: Our celebration of beer’s heritage—brewing classically-crafted, timeless European beer styles.

    urban-chestnut

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    Sierra Nevada partners with Trappist monks

    Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. has announced a partnership with the Trappist-Cistercian Abbey of New Clairvaux to create a new brand of Belgian-inspired beers called Ovila.

    A press release from the brewery states, “Sierra Nevada and the Trappist-Cistercian Abbey of New Clairvaux are working to bring this centuries-old tradition to America with Ovila — the nation’s only authentic Trappist-style Abbey ale.”

    Each of three beers in a series will be available on a seasonal basis. The first is scheduled for release in March of 2011, a Belgian-style Dubbel. The second beer in the series, planned for July, will be a Saison, the traditional Belgian-style farmhouse ale. The third will be released in time for the holidays. It will be a “Quadrupel,” rich with dark fruit flavors and the unique wine-like characters of dark strong abbey ales.

    Proceeds from this project will benefit the monks of the Abbey of New Clairvaux in their efforts to rebuild an architectural marvel — a 12th century, early-gothic Cistercian chapter house — on their grounds in Vina, California a few miles north of Sierra Nevada’s home in Chico.

    The medieval chapterhouse — Santa Maria de Ovila — was begun in 1190, near the village of Trillo, Spain. Cistercian monks lived, prayed, and worked there for nearly 800 years. In 1931, California newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst purchased the abbey and shipped it to Northern California. Hearst’s plans were never realized, and the stones fell into disrepair. In 1994, the Trappist-Cistercian monks of the Abbey of New Clairvaux, gained possession of the ruins, and began the stone-by-stone reconstruction of the historic abbey.

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    Nottingham’s Castle Rock brews Britain’s best

    Britain’s Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) Tuesday announced that Castle Rock Harvest Pale earned that title of “Best Beer in Britain” at the Great British Beer Festival in London.

    Harvest Pale, 3.8% abv, is described in CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide 2010 as “blonde and refreshing with distinctive citrus hop.”

    The silver went to Timothy Taylor brewery’s Landlord and the bronze to Surrey Hills brewery’s Hammer Mild.

    Overall winners
    Champion Beer of Britain – Castle Rock, Harvest Pale (3.8% ABV, Nottingham, Notts)
    Second – Timothy Taylor, Landlord (4.3% ABV, Keighley, West Yorkshire)
    Third – Surrey Hills, Hammer Mild (3.8% ABV, Guildford, Surrey)

    Mild category
    Gold- Surrey Hills, Hammer Mild (3.8% ABV, Guildford, Surrey)
    Silver- Greene King, XX Mild (3% ABV, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk)
    Joint Bronze- Golcar, Dark Mild (3.4% ABV, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire)
    Joint Bronze- Nottingham, Rock Ale Mild (3.8% ABV, Nottingham, Notts)

    Bitter category
    Gold- RCH, PG Steam (3.9% ABV, Weston-Super-Mare, Somerset)
    Silver- Moor, Revival (3.8% ABV, Pitney, Somerset)
    Joint Bronze- Orkney, Raven (3.8% ABV, Stromness, Orkney)
    Joint Bronze- Purple Moose, Snowdonia Ale (3.6% ABV, Portmadog, Gwynedd)

    Best Bitter category
    Gold- Timothy Taylor, Landlord (4.3% ABV, Keighley, West Yorkshire)
    Silver- St Austell, Tribute (4.2% ABV, St Austell, Cornwall)
    Joint Bronze- Evan Evans, Cwrw (4.2% ABV, Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire)
    Joint Bronze- Great Oakley, Gobble (4.5% ABV, Great Oakley, Northamptonshire)

    Golden Ale category
    Gold- Castle Rock, Harvest Pale (3.8% ABV, Nottingham, Notts)
    Silver- Marble, Manchester Bitter (4.2%, Manchester, Gtr Manchester)
    Bronze- St Austell, Proper Job (4.5% ABV, St Austell, Cornwall)

    Strong Bitter category
    Gold- Thornbridge, Jaipur IPA (5.9% ABV, Bakewell, Derbyshire)
    Silver- Fuller’s, Gales HSB (4.8% ABV, Chiswick, Gtr London)
    Bronze- Beckstones, Rev Rob (4.6% ABV, Millom, Cumbria)

    Speciality Beer category
    Gold- Amber, Chocolate Orange Stout (4% ABV, Ripley, Derbyshire)
    Silver- O’Hanlon’s, Port Stout (4.8% ABV, Whimple, Devon)
    Bronze- Breconshire, Ysbrid y Ddraig (6.5% ABV, Brecon, Powys)

    Winter Beer of Britain winner (announced in January 2010)
    Elland, 1872 Porter (6.5% ABV, Elland, West Yorkshire)

    Bottled Beer of Britain winners
    Gold- St Austell, Admiral’s Ale (5% ABV, St Austell, Cornwall)
    Silver- Pitfield, 1850 London Porter (5% ABV, Epping, Essex)
    Bronze- Great Oakley, Delapre Dark (4.6% ABV, Great Oakley, Northamptonshire)

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    Craft beer sales surge in 2010

    The Brewers Association reports that growth of craft beer sales accelerated in the first half of this year.

    Sales volume increased 9% in the first six months of 2010 compared to a 5% increase in 2009. The income from sales was up 12% in the first six months, better than 9% growth the year before.

    “While craft brewer sales volume climbed 9 percent in the first half of 2010, overall U.S. beer industry volume sales are down 2.7 percent so far,” Paul Gatza, director of the Brewers Association, said for a press release. “There is a movement by beer lovers to the innovative and flavorful beers created by America’s small and independent craft brewers. More people are starting to think of craft-brewed beer first when they buy in restaurants, bars and stores.”

    The BA also counted 100 breweries that have opened in the last year, boosting the national total to 1,625.

    “Entrepreneurs across the land are creating jobs by opening new microbreweries and brewpubs, and we are also seeing many homebrewing hobbyists going pro by starting what have been referred to as nanobreweries,” Gatza said.