Deschutes, Sierra Nevada win two International Awards each

Deschutes Brewery and Sierra Nevada both won two overall champions awards at the International Brewing Awards 2013. The overall winners were honored in London’s Guildhall, the best of medalists previously announced immediately after the judging in February.

The bi-annual competition attracted more than 1,000 entries from 45 countries. Forty judges, all professional brewers, assessed the beers over the course of three days. The medal winners in each category were announced at the National Brewery Center in Burton upon Trent, where the judging was held.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale won Champion Keg Ale and Narwhal Imperial Stout won Champion Strong Ale. Deschutes Mirror Pond was Champion Smallpack Ale and Obsidian Stout the Champion Dark Beer. Samuel Adams Black & Brew captured Champion Specialty. Samuel Adams beers won nine medals overall.

Ruth Evans, director of competition organisers Brewing Technology Services, said, “We are delighted with the response to The International Brewing Awards 2013. The competition attracted more entries than in 2011, from 50 countries and from a broad spectrum of producers from regional micro-brewers to multi-national companies. This diversity is important to our Awards and is key to their appeal to the international brewing community.

Champion Smallpack Lager
Bryggmästarens Premium Gold
AB Abro Bryggeri, Sweden

Champion Smallpack Ale
Mirror Pond Pale Ale
Deschutes Brewery, USA

Champion Keg Ale
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, USA

Champion Keg Lager
Hells Lager
Camden Town Brewery, UK

Champion Non and Low Alcohol Beer
Northern Light
Daniel Thwaites, UK

Champion Dark Beer
Obsidian Stout
Deschutes Brewery, USA

Champion Strong Beer
Narwhal Imperial Stout
Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, USA

Champion Speciality Beer
Samuel Adams Black & Brew
The Boston Beer Company, USA

Champion Cask Ale
Green Devil IPA
Oakham Ales, UK

Champion Cider
Thatchers Vintage Cider
Thatchers Cider Ltd, UK


Tasting beer may release pleasurable chemical in brain

The simple taste of beer, not influenced by alcohol itself, apparently triggers the release of the hormone dopamine, which controls the reward and pleasure centers of the brain.

The study at the Indiana University School of Medicine looked for evidence of increased levels of dopamine, a brain neurotransmitter long associated with a alcohol and other drugs of abuse. Researchers used used positron emission tomography (PET) to test 49 men with two scans, one in which they tasted beer, and the second in which they tasted Gatorade. The results were published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology.

The scans showed significantly more dopamine activity following the taste of beer than the sports drink. Moreover, the effect was significantly greater among participants with a family history of alcoholism. “We believe this is the first experiment in humans to show that the taste of an alcoholic drink alone, without any intoxicating effect from the alcohol, can elicit this dopamine activity in the brain’s reward centers,” said David A Kareken, professor of neurology at the IU School of Medicine and the deputy director of the Indiana Alcohol Research Center.

Research for several decades has linked dopamine to the consumption of various drugs of abuse, although researchers have differing interpretations of the neurotransmitter’s role.

The study participants received a very small amount of their preferred beer over a 15-minute time period, enabling them to taste the beer without resulting in any detectable blood alcohol level or intoxicating effect.

“In addition to the PET scan results, participants reported an increased beer craving after tasting beer, without similar responses after tasting the sports drink – even though many thought the Gatorade actually tasted better,” said Brandon G Oberlin, first author of the paper.


St. Louis newcomer already plans 2nd brewery

Only two years old, Urban Chestnut Brewing Company in St. Louis has announced plans to open a second and significantly larger production brewery in the city.

The new facility will immediately increase UCB’s annual brewing capacity to about 15,000 barrels. The project, expected to cost about $10 million, will add approximately 10 full-time and 30 part-time jobs within the next two years. Projected to open in early 2014, UCBC is partnering with Green Street St. Louis (Green Street), an real estate firm recognized for the sustainable redevelopment of underutilized St. Louis-area commercial properties into LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified buildings.

UCB co-founders Florian Kuplent and David Wolfe worked with Green Street for over a year to identify a suitable property. They chose the former Renard Paper Company at 4465 Manchester Ave., which will become a 70,000 square foot production brewery, packaging facility, warehouse and indoor/outdoor retail tasting room. Beyond embracing the principles of environmental stewardship and social responsibility by seeking LEED certification, UCBC & Green Street also plan to modify the façade of the current city-block long warehouse to visibly and physically integrate it into the already vibrant “The Grove” neighborhood.

“People might ask why open a second facility and also locate it in St. Louis? Well, first and foremost 95% of the beer we sold last year was in St. Louis, and like Schlafly and many of the other small, local brewers, we’re dedicated to the evolution of St. Louis as a craft beer destination,” Wolfe said for a press release.

Kuplent, who oversees the brewing said, explained that the original facility would soon be at capacity. “We never imagined we’d grow this fast,” he said for the press release. “Essentially it means we’re going to run out of the space to add further capacity at our current location sometime this year . . . and we mostly have St. Louis beer drinkers and our retail partners to thank for that!”

Operationally, Urban Chestnut plans to brew, package and sell beer at both locations:

– The current 20-barrel brew house, tasting room and biergarten, located at 3229 Washington Ave. in Midtown St. Louis, will remain open and will be utilized to primarily test, brew, and package smaller batch beers.

– Initially the new brewery will have an annual capacity of approximately 15,000 barrels using a 60-barrel brewhouse, with the space to expand to 100,000 barrels.


Oklahoma brewers ask for support on sampling law

The Oklahoma Craft Brewers Guild is asking state residents to contract their state senator and ask him or her to support Oklahoma House Bill 1341, which would allow licensed brewers to serve free samples (limited to 12 ounces per day) to brewery visitors.

The Senate is scheduled to vote on the bill on Tuesday or Wednesday.

The Guild is provides its reasons for promoting H.B. 1341:

– The bill will help Oklahoma brewers educate consumers about their beer and breweries and thus grow demand for their beer in the marketplace.

– H.B. 1341 is pro-tourism legislation that will encourage more visitors, both in-state and out of state, to Oklahoma breweries.

– This bill seeks to offer the same educational opportunities to beer drinkers as wine drinkers. Oklahoma wineries are already permitted to offer samples on their licensed premises.

– It helps in continuing to build a vibrant craft beer culture and grow the economic contributions of jobs and related services in Oklahoma.

The bill has already been approved by the House.

How to locate a senator.