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What Is the Solera Brewing Method?

Imagine barrels of beer, stacked as far as the eye can see, row upon row of wooden casks tenderly nurturing their contents as they age over years. It’s a lovely image, isn’t it? Now imagine that–every once in a while–your friendly neighborhood brewer cracks open the eldest barrels of their generation, drains portions of their liquid bounties, and then tops them off with beer from the adolescents of the bunch. The drained beer is bottled. The elder barrels get a shot of youthful vigor in the arm. The adolescent barrels get a top off from the older barrels. The brewer’s thirsty patrons top off their glasses. The circle of barrel-aging beer life continues. Everybody’s happy.

Via www.hopculture.com

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It’s that time of year again! No, not Halloween, “Learn to Homebrew Day!”

Press release from AHA:

November 3rd is the 20th Annual ‘Learn to Homebrew Day’

Beginner, Hobbyist and Professional Brewers from All Over the World to Participate

Boulder, Colo • October 23, 2018—On November 3, the American Homebrewers Association®(AHA)—which this year is celebrating its 40th anniversary—hosts the 20th annual Learn to Homebrew Day, an opportunity for homebrewers to draft their non-brewer friends and family to learn how to make beer at home. Hundreds of lively, educational events are held at homes, breweries, shops and clubs worldwide. Over 300 local celebrations and more than 4,000 participants are expected for this year’s celebration both in the U.S. and abroad.
“This year, we celebrate 40 years of the AHA, and 20 years of Learn to Homebrew Day. In 1999, Learn to Homebrew Day was established to promote the most rewarding and delicious activity of all time—homebrewing. And there’s never been a better time to give it a try,” said Gary Glass, director, American Homebrewers Association. “Each year, it’s gratifying to see so many beginners, hobbyists and professionals coming together. What’s also gratifying? Tasting your very own brew.”
(more…)

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Link: Brut IPA: The Best New Thing in Beer or Passing Fad?

via October:

“Clean, bright and modern.” That’s how Samantha Lee, co-founder of the Hopewell Brewing Company in Chicago, describes her brewery’s ethos, from the balance of its beers to the airy, inviting taproom. It’s also an apt description of Brut IPA, the latest phenomenon in American craft brewing’s seemingly never-ending love affair with the India Pale Ale.

Barely a year ago, Brut IPA began as a process innovation in a San Francisco brewpub. Kim Sturdavant of Social Kitchen and Brewery took a brewer’s enzyme called amyloglucosidase—an amylase enzyme typically used either for producing light beer or for lightening the body of big, viscous stouts—and added it to the recipe of a typical 7% ABV IPA. The process produced something new in itself: An IPA with zero residual sugar, restrained bitterness, lively carbonation and unparalleled drinkability. He called it the Champagne IPA, then later: Brut IPA.

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Hoppy Read: “The Complex Case of Thiols”

Editor Emeritus Stan Hieronymus has an article over at Beer&Brewing Magazine on Thiols – one of the compounds in hops that are responsible for those crazy hot tropical flavors.

Thiols, also known as mercaptans, are sulfur-containing organic compounds with a sulfur atom bound to a hydrogen atom. Thiols make up less than 1% of the essential oils in a hops cone but might hold a key to the fashionable in-demand tropical flavors.

Read at Beer&Brewing Magazine

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Charlie – and you know who we mean – is retiring

The godfather of American homebrewing has an exit strategy. The Brewers Association announced that Charlie Papazian will step down Jan. 23, 2019, on this 70th birthday.

Papazian and Charlie Matzen, both school teachers at the time, founded the American Homebrewers Association in Boulder, Colo., in 1978. Papazian started the Great American Beer Festival four years later. And the following year, the Association of Brewers was organized to include the AHA and the Institute for Brewing and Fermentation Studies to assist the growing number of new breweries. In 2005, the Association of Brewers and the Brewers’ Association of America merged to form the Brewers Association. Papazian served as its president until handing over the title to Bob Pease in 2016.

“We are all here today because of Charlie Papazian,” Pease said in a press release. “His influence on the homebrewing and craft brewing community is immeasurable. Who could have predicted that a simple wooden spoon, ingenuity and passion would spawn a community of more than one million homebrewers and 6,000 small and independent U.S. craft breweries.”

Many the brewers who joined what has become known as the craft beer movement learned to make beer in homebrew classes Papazian taught in Colorado in the 1970s. Still more learned from reading The Complete Joy of Homebrewing, following is advice to “Relax. Don’t worry. Have a homebrew.”

In the BA press release, Papazian says, “I had a playful vision that there would be a homebrewer in every neighborhood and a brewery in every town. But what I did not imagine, couldn’t imagine, never considered, was the impact that craft brewing would have on our culture, economy and American life.”

He will spend his final year at the BA completing many projects, including a craft brewing history archive project. The archive will house 40 years of craft beer history in the form of more than 100,000 publications, photographs, audiotapes, films, videos, and documents — including 140 video interviews of the pioneers of American craft brewing — and will be accessible to researchers via the BA. He will also deliver the keynote address at the AHA’s 40th annual National Homebrew Conference, Hombrew Con, in Portland, Ore., in June.

The BA inveites brewers and homebrewers are invited to share their well wishes and Charlie Papazian stories on the AHA and BA Facebook pages.

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The billion dollar impact of homebrewing

Research by the American Homebrewers Association suggests that the total impact of homebrewing on the American economy was $1.225 billion in 2015, and that homebrewing created 11,672 jobs.

An AHA survey found that 815 shops sold home beverage-making supplies to the nation’s estimated 1.2 million homebrewers in 2015, with collective revenues estimated at $764 million. However, Brewers Association economist Bart Watson explained that measures only part of the contribution to the economy.

“To estimate the total impact of that spending, we need to think about all the other ripples those dollars create,” he wrote at the AHA website. “Equipment suppliers buy raw materials to make the equipment. Homebrewing shops employ people, and those employees spend money. This is called the ‘multiplier effect.’ Retail multipliers are typically lower than those in manufacturing industries, but they can still add 20% to the total impact.

“To estimate the total impact, I put these spending numbers into economic impact modeling software called IMPLAN. For simplicity, I assigned the $764 million to a retail category that includes hobby shops. In addition, I put $50 million in building material and garden supply stores (I’m sure some of you have bought homebrew supplies at Home Depot) and another $50 million in food and beverage stores. The final $136 million I evenly divided between hotels, travel, restaurants, and entertainment (to estimate travel and other expenses).”

The AHA is a division of the Brewers Association.

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LongShot contest adds ‘East vs. West’ theme

Boston Beer Co. has added to new twist to its Samuel Adams LongShot contest from homebrewers. For the first time it will feature an “East vs. West” battle. Judges will choose one winning beer from east of the Mississipi River and one from the west. Each will be brewed by Samuel Adams and sold in the 2016 LongShot six-pack along with a beer from the winner of the Samuel Adams employee contest.

The submission window for the contest is May 1-16 and details are available at the company website. Winners will be announce at the 2015 Great American Beer Festival in Denver.

While Samuel Adams is accepting entries for the 2015 contest, the Samuel Adams LongShot American Homebrew Contest variety six-pack with winning brews from the 2014 winners will be available nationwide in select retail stores this spring. This year’s winners include Forestville, Calif., resident Greg Rasmussen; Smithtown, N.Y., resident Matthew Knott; and Brooklyn, N.Y., resident and Samuel Adams employee John Marra. The variety pack will include two bottles each of Greg’s “Raspy’s Robust Porter,” Matthew’s “Smokehouse Rauchbier” and John’s “Dark Night in Brooklyn” Dunkelweiss.

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Homebrewers Association gives Obama lifetime membership

The American Homebrewers Association has given special lifetime gift memberships to President Obama and outgoing White House chef Sam Kass.

The president made history when he purchased a homebrewing kit and — along with Kass — headed the effort to brew White House Honey Ale, the first beer known to have been brewed in the White House.

“Homebrewing is a model example of a bipartisan, pro-community and pro-business activity that all kinds of people can be passionate about and enjoy. President Obama and chef Kass are among the nation’s 1.2 million homebrewers, which include both Republicans and Democrats,” AHA director Gary Glass said for a press release announcing the gifts. “What better way to honor their enthusiasm for the hobby than to give them a lifetime membership to our community, which consists of many leaders, patriots and successful craft beer entrepreneurs.”

President Obama and Kass were mailed the letters below from Glass on behalf of the organization.

To President Obama:

Dear Mr. President:

As one of the nation’s 1.2 million homebrewers, we would be honored to provide you a complimentary lifetime membership to the American Homebrewers Association (AHA), an organization dedicated to promoting the country’s ever-growing community of homebrewers.

Since its founding in 1978, the AHA has worked to educate Americans about the country’s longstanding tradition of homebrewing. Your participation in homebrewing has elevated national awareness for the hobby and has inspired the country’s homebrewers, many of whom have become successful craft beer entrepreneurs.

We thought this membership, which we have also given to chef Sam Kass as he completes his tenure at the White House, would be a fitting and timely holiday gift. Homebrewing is an activity that everybody—regardless of their background or politics—can bond over and enjoy. As part of your holiday celebrations this year, we hope you will brew a batch of the White House Honey Ale or Honey Porter, the brews that have drawn such great national attention to our favorite hobby.

We look forward to you becoming a member of the American Homebrewers Association.

Happy holidays, and cheers to homebrewing.

Yours truly,
Gary Glass
Director
American Homebrewers Association

To chef Kass:

Dear Chef Kass:

As you complete your tenure at the White House, we wanted to send a thank-you gift for all the contributions you have made to the country, and, in particular, to the advancement of our favorite hobby: homebrewing.

We would be honored to provide you a complimentary lifetime membership to the American Homebrewers Association (AHA), an organization dedicated to promoting the country’s ever-growing community of homebrewers.

Since its founding in 1978, the AHA has worked to educate Americans about the country’s longstanding tradition of homebrewing. Your enthusiasm for the craft, and your initiative in experimenting with and sharing the White House’s delicious homebrew recipes have been wonderful—and we are deeply grateful.

We thought this membership, which we have also given to President Obama, would be a fitting gift for the holidays. As part of your holiday celebrations this year, we hope you will brew a batch of the White House Honey Ale or Honey Porter, the brews that have drawn such great national attention to our favorite hobby.

We look forward to you becoming a member of the American Homebrewers Association. We hope this membership will allow you to continue to engage in the hobby as you embark on your next endeavor.

Cheers, and happy holidays.

Yours truly,
Gary Glass
Director
American Homebrewers Association

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Law will let California host 2015 homebrewers conference

California governor Jerry Brown has signed a bill that will will allow the 37th National Homebrewers Conference to be held next June in San Diego as scheduled.

Last year, an amendment added to Assembly Bill 1425 (AB1425) was passed and effectively banned homebrewing organizations — including the AHA and the California Homebrewers Association (CHA) — from hosting events centered around their favorite hobby. As a result, the 24th annual 2014 CHA Southern California Homebrewers Festival was canceled.

The new law, which goes into effect Jan. 1, puts the Southern California Homebrewers Festival and the NHC back on the calendar.

“California has been central to the growth of homebrewing — as a hobby, a business and a community,” said American Homebrewers Association director Gary Glass. The AHA organizes the National Homebrewers Conference. “The passage of AB2609 provides homebrewers the opportunity to continue innovating, learning and sharing their craft through events organized by homebrewers for homebrewers. We’re thrilled to be able to bring the 2015 National Homebrewers Conference to San Diego.”

The AHA and CHA mounted a campaign for the passage of AB2609, with more than 150 individual homebrewers from across California submitting letters to the state government in support of the measure. The bill unanimously passed both the Assembly and Senate.

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Top homebrewers honored at national conference

Arizona homebrewer Jeremy Voeltz won the coveted Ninkasi Award and Robert Hilferding of Zephyrhills, Fla. was crowned Homebrewer of the Year when the results of the National Homebrew Competition were announced as the conclusion of the National Homebrewers Conference in Grand Rapids, Mich.

More than 2,700 homebrewers attended the conference in “Beer City USA,” listening to presentations from 75 speakers, sharing beers, and compiling wish lists at a trade show that featured a dazzle array of brewing equipment.

More than 200 judges evaluated beers, meads and ciders in Grand Rapids. They advanced from 12 first round judging sites, where 8,172 beers were entered, more than in any other beer competition in the world.

Hilferding won best of show with an entry in the Scottish and Irish ale category. The Meadmaker of the Year award was presented to Matthew Weide of Minneapolis, Minn. for his melomel, and Edward Walkowski from N. Abington Twp., Pa. won Cidermaker of the Year.

New in 2014, the Radegast Club of the Year award was presented to the AHA-registered club that made the most exceptional and positive impact on its local community. The Carolina BrewMasters of Charlotte, N.C. earned that honor by developing close connections with their local community through tremendously successful charitable donations, which amounted to $77,500 in 2013. A total of 25 homebrew clubs were nominated for the Radegast award.

The complete results can be found here (choose 2014 and Final Round).