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AHA membership surprasses 30,000

American Homebrewers Association membership

The American Homebrewers Association (AHA) reached a milestone this month with more than 30,000 members. Current estimates indicate that approximately one million Americans are making their own beer and wine at home.

The official organization for hobbyists was established in 1978, shortly after President Jimmy Carter signed the bill that legalized homebrewing. Prior to that, the hobby was illegal thanks to a vestige of prohibition-era law. Buoyed by their newfound freedom, Charlie Papazian and Charlie Matzen founded the AHA that December with the first publication of Zymurgy magazine.

Now, over three decades later, Papazian-currently president of the BA-looks back on the AHA’s inception with pride. “I don’t think we realized how dramatically the American Homebrewers Association would affect the beer world,” he said.

AHA membership actually decreased during the 1990s, but has more than tripled since 2000. Looking ahead, AHA director Gary Glass says, “We do everything we can to provide compelling benefits to our members and hopefully that keeps them excited to brew beer and support our organization. Beyond that, I think that homebrewing fulfills a need in an era when we can lose our connection to what we eat and drink.”

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French likely homebrewing 2,500 years ago

Archaeologists have discovered proof that residents of southeastern France were making beer at home during the Iron Age.

Laurent Bouby from the Centre de Bio-Archeologie et d’Ecology in Montepellier, France, and colleagues unearthed the evidence of brewing in Mediterranean France as far back as the fifth century. Studying material collected at the Roquepertuse excavation site in Provence they found poorly preserved barley grains, suggesting germination, as well as equipment and other remains of deliberate malting in the home. Taken together, these findings suggest that, as well as regular wine making, the French had an early passion for beer brewing. The work has just been published online in Springer’s journal Human Ecology.

Previously, researchers had only found evidence of wine production in the region. Bouby and team analysed three samples of sediment from excavations carried out in the 1990s. One sample was taken from the floor of a dwelling, close to a hearth and oven. The other two samples came from the contents of a ceramic vessel and from a pit. There were carbonized plant remains in all three samples, dominated by barley.

The barley grains identified were poorly preserved and predominantly sprouted (90 percent of the sample), suggesting that they were carbonized at the end of the malting process and before the grinding of dry malt. The neighboring oven is likely to have been used to stop the germination process at the desired level for beer making, by drying and roasting the grain.

Based on the equipment found at the Roquepertuse dwelling, the authors suggest that the habitants soaked the grain in vessels, spread it out and turned it during germination on the flat paved floor area, dried the grain in the oven to stop germination, and used domestic grindstones to grind the malted grain. Then hearths and containers were likely used for fermentation and storage.

The authors conclude: “The Roquepertuse example suggests that beer was really produced within the context of domestic activities. Compared to other archaeobotanical and archaeological evidence, it contributes to portraying a society which combined an intricate use of various alcoholic beverages including beer, which was probably of long-standing local tradition, and wine, which was, at least in part, promoted by colonial contacts with Mediterranean agents.”

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Pilsner Urquell holds contest for homebrewers

Pilsner Urquell is sponsoring a contest for U.S. homebrewers to “take their shot at brewing a Czech-style pilsner,” with a chance to win a trip to Plzen in the Czech Republic.

The contest will be limited to the first 50 homebrewers who reserve a spot to compete in each of three cities in August.

From the press release: “Pilsner Urquell is inviting home brewers throughout the U.S. to take their shot at brewing a Czech-style pilsner, aiming for the standard Groll first brewed nearly 170 years ago. Three winners have the chance to earn trips for two to Plzen, Czech Republic this fall to tour the historic brewery, as well as attend the International Master Bartender Competition in Prague.”

The basics:

* The Pilsner Urquell Master Home Brewer competitions will take place in New York, Washington, D.C. and Chicago this August, inviting home brewers from across the country to take on this challenging beer style.

* Each competition will feature a panel of experienced judges, including Vaclav Berka, the Pilsner Urquell Brew Master in Plzen. Contestants will need to bring along three 10 to 14-ounce bottles of their home brew. The judges will sample each beer and select winners based on the following criteria:

—–70%-Accuracy to style (Czech-style pilsner)
—–15%-Cleanliness (absence of off flavors)
—–15%-Artistic impression

“Home brewing is becoming more and more popular, and these brewers keep getting more talented, so we’re excited to offer this challenging opportunity,” said Berka, who is only the sixth Pilsner Urquell brewmaster since 1842. “The competitors will need to brew carefully, but the potential prize, including their wonderful batch of beer, should be a strong incentive.”

The competition in New York will be held Aug. 8, the one in Washington on Aug. 10 and the final in Chicago on Aug. 12.

Pilsner Urquell is limiting the competition in each city to the first 50 home brewers who reserve a spot by emailing their name, phone number and competition city to PilsnerUrquelUSA@gmail.com. Pilsner Urquell will follow up directly with contestants to share the exact time and location of the competitions. More information and official rules are available at Facebook.com/PilsnerUrquellUSA .

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Samuel Adams 2011 LongShot beers released

Beers from the 2011 Samuel Adams LongShot American Homebrew Contest – Category 23 have are now available in six packs that includes two of each beer.

Georgia resident Richard Roper’s Friar Hop Ale and Illinois resident Rodney Kibzey’s Blackened Hops beer were named the 2010 winners during the Great American Beer Festival last September. In addition, Samuel Adams also honors Employee Homebrew winner Caitlin DeClercq for her Honey B’s Lavender Wheat beer.

In the 2011 American Homebrew Contest, Samuel Adams is accepting entries across all 23 categories. The deadline to enter is May 20.

“I started homebrewing the first batch of Samuel Adams Boston Lager in my kitchen 27 years ago, and ever since then I’ve been passionate about creating unique and interesting brews that challenge the perception of what beer can be,” Samuel Adams founder Jim Koch said for a press release. “We asked homebrewers to really push beer’s boundaries and brew their own one-of-a-kind recipes.”

Information about entering is available at the Samuel Adams website.

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Homebrewers Association giving away GABF trip

The American Homebrewers Association is giving away a trip to the Great American Beer Festival. Register at HomebrewersAssociation.org before Nov. 30 to enter in the sweepstakes.

The contest winner receives airfare for two, three nights of hotel accommodations and two all-session passes to Great American Beer Festival 2011 in Denver, Sept. 29-Oct. 1. The rules.

P.S. Those registered before the contest was announced are automatically entered in the sweepstakes.

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Brewing scholarship deadline Nov. 11

The American Brewers Guild is now accepting applications for the Glen Hay Falconer Foundation slot in the Intensive Brewing Science & Engineering course that runs from Jan. (2011) through July 1, with the final week of onsite instruction in Sacramento, Calif. The full application must be received no later than Nov. 11,

The scholarship is open to professional brewers and homebrewers from the states of Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Hawaii and California’s northern geographic region (San Francisco/Monterey Bay areas and north). The full-tuition scholarship also includes a $500 stipend to help offset travel and lodging expenses for the residential week. Full details and scholarship applications are available at www.abgbrew.com.

The course is designed for brewers and homebrewers who lack formal training in brewing science and covers all the fundamentals of beer production and quality assurance.

The scholarship is co-sponsored by ABG and the Glen Hay Falconer Foundation, a non-profit organization created to commemorate and celebrate the life, interests, and good works of a well-loved and leading Northwest brewer who died and untimely death in 2002.

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Samuel Adams picks LongShot winners

Homebrewers from Georgia and Illinois were the big winners in Samuel Adams annual LongShot American Homebrew Contest – which this year focused only for beers that would be entered in Category 23 of a sanctioned homebrew competition.

2011 LongShot Winners

Georgia resident Richard Roper (right) with Friar Hop Ale and Rodney Kibzey (left) of Illinois with Blackened Hops beer. Earlier this year Kibzey won Meadmaker of the Year in the National Homebrew Competition.

The Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) reserves Category 23 for specialty beers, noting “This is explicitly a catch-all category for any beer that does not fit into an existing style category. No beer is ever “out of style” in this category, unless it fits elsewhere.”

Two bottles of each of those beers will be featured in the 2011 LongShot Category 23 Variety 6-Pack from Samuel Adams. The other two bottles will be Honey Beer’s Lavendar Wheat beer from Caitlin DeClerq, which won the company Employee Homebrew competition.

“This year we asked homebrewers to push the boundaries and brew their own one-of-a-kind beers,” Boston Beer founder Jim Koch said when the winners were announced Saturday. “I was very impressed by the quality and creativity of the homebrew entries submitted to this year’s (competition.)”

For more than 10 years, Samuel Adams employees have competed in their own annual homebrew competition. Once all the employee homebrews are submitted (more than 300 this year), Koch and the other brewers at Samuel Adams spend a day tasting the employees’ entries, and they choose three finalists. Those three employee homebrewers attend the Great American Beer Festival and ask attendees to vote for their favorite. This year, GABF attendees chose Caitlin DeClerq’s beer.

More from the press release:

Roper’s Friar Hop Ale is described as a hybrid of two styles, uniting the big hoppy taste of an IPA with the spicy, fruity flavor of a Belgian. The toasty caramel sweetness from the malt and Belgian candi sugar mimics a Belgian ale, while the big citrus hop notes of an IPA balance the style. A spicy yeast fermentation and hints of orange and coriander round out the brew.

Kibzey’s Blackened Hops is a perfect combination of deep roasted malt character and citrusy hop bitterness. Harnessing eight years of homebrewing knowledge, Rodney found that combining debittered dark malts and citrusy hops yielded a surprising and unique flavor for this brew. Its black color hints at roasted malt and coffee flavors, but it is the big hop character really steals the show. Packed with citrusy and piney American hops, this beer has a big flavor and clean bitterness. This is Rodney’s second LongShot American Homebrew Contest win; he won in 2007 with a Weizenbock and his beer was included in the 2008 LongShot Variety Pack.

DeClerq has worked as a member of the Samuel Adams sales team since 2006. She created her Honey Bee’s Lavender Wheat with dried lavender petals, giving it a fragrant but soft aroma. A citrus tartness and slight sweetness from the honey and vanilla balance out the finish in this California resident’s brew, perfect to sip while kicking back and relaxing.

The 2011 Samuel Adams LongShot American Homebrew Contest – Category 23 Variety 6-Pack will be available nationwide in select retail stores beginning March 2011 for a suggested retail price of $9.99.

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Louisiana homebrewers work for legalization

Support Your Local BreweryNow that Oklahoma has legalized homebrewing the attention turns to Louisiana. The American Homebrewers Association is working with a group of homebrewers in Louisiana to legalize the serving of home brew in licensed establishments for homebrew events.

Here’s the call to action:

House Bill 1484, which is an improved substitute for a previously filed homebrew bill, if passed would create a free three-day permit, allowing the possession, serving and consumption of homemade beer, mead and other fermented beverages at businesses licensed for on premises consumption of alcohol. This will allow homebrew clubs to legally have club meetings, competitions and other organized events at bars, restaurants and other licensed establishments.

HB1484 was passed favorably from the House Judiciary Committee on May 13th and will be debated on the House floor soon. We request that you contact your Representative’s office today to ensure that HB1484 is passed by the House and is sent to the Senate for consideration.

Call Your Representative Today!
Click here to find contact information for your Representative.

During business hours, calls to the Representative’s receptionist are the most productive means of communication. The calls will be quick and easy. Your message should at least relate these points, phrased in your own words:

* Please pass HB1484 through the House when it comes up for debate.

* Louisiana homebrewers are solely seeking to gain legalization of serving homebrewed beer in licensed establishments for homebrew club meetings, competitions and events, which will help us share and improve our craft, so please help us in this effort.

It is up to Louisiana’s beer and brewing community to help the homebrew bill move through the legislative process. Please commit to making these communications, and forward this message on to anyone you think would be interested in supporting this cause. Without paid lobbyists, showing strong popular support is the only mechanism that will move this bill forward.

Thank you for your support of Louisiana’s homebrewers!

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Oklahoma governor signs homebrewing bill

Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry has signed into law legislation that makes homebrewing beer legal in the state.

House Bill 2348 officially legalized the home production of beer for personal use in Oklahoma. Home production of wine and cider for personal use was already legal in Oklahoma. The passage of HB 2348 leaves Alabama and Mississippi as the only remaining states where the homebrewing hobby is not yet legal. The U.S. government made homebrewing legal on a federal level in 1979.

Gary Shellman, a member of the American Homebrewers Association and editor for Oklahoma City’s homebrew club, the High Plains Draughters, initiated the legalization process and worked to ensure the bill’s passage. Shellman spent months lining up a sponsor for a homebrew bill.

“Our theme from the very beginning was to get support from all sectors of the brewing community to bring parity for homebrewed beer with that already long enjoyed by home wine and cider makers,” Shellman said. “We are proud to say that we finally got the job done, but none of this would have been possible without the diligent efforts of Rep. Colby Schwartz.”

The AHA is currently working with homebrewers in Alabama and Mississippi on efforts to legalize homebrewing in those states.

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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.”

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Dream double for homebrewer Ben Miller

Longshot winners

Homebrewer Ben Miller (center) thought he was having a pretty good day Saturday when he found out his beer was one of three big winners in Samuel Adams LongShot homebrew contests. But it was about to get better.

Little more than two hours after the New Mexico homebrewer closed his eyes and sighed when he heard Samuel Adams founder Jim Koch announce his barley wine would be one of three beers sold next year in the LongShot variety pack he heard his name again. He and Jeff Erway of Chama River Brewing in Albuquerque captured the gold medal in the Great American Beer Festival Pro-Am competition for Herbal Joe’s Columbarillo IPA.

This is the fourth year for the Pro-Am competition, and Erway had a beer reach the final table of the first one in 2006. Then he was the “am” portion of the team, brewing his entry at Blue Corn Cafe & Brewery in Santa Fe along with Daniel Jaramillo.

The LongShot package will include Miller’s barley wine, an old ale from Michael Robinson of New Hampshire and a saison spiced with pepper created by Jeremy White, who won the Samuel Adams employee competition.

Miller and Robinson first won regional competitions — entered by 1,300 homebrewers nationally — to advance to the finals, which were judged blind by panel that includes Koch. He gets only one vote.

Remembering the barley wine he said, “There is a lot of fermentation complexity that consumed the alcohol.”

The winners will travel to Boston later this year to help brew the beers that will be released next spring in the 2010 LongShot package.

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Washington homebrewers can use our help

Support Your Local BrewerySupport Your Local Brewery has issued an E-Action Alert for Washington, to help legalize homebrewing.

There’s the news:

The American Homebrewers Association has been working with the Washington Homebrewers Association (WAHA) to modify Washington’s regulations (RCW 66.28.140), which currently prohibit transportation or sharing of homemade beer and wine outside of the house of production, with exceptions only for competitions or exhibitions at which only “judges” can sample the products. The largest volume that may be transported is 1 gallon. Thus serving homebrew at homebrew club meetings or even at the house of a friend or family member is currently prohibited.

Senate Bill 5060 would allow for serving homemade beer and wine in amounts up to 20 gallons for meetings, events, etc., is currently scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Labor, Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee on Tuesday, January 20th at 1:30 pm in Olympia (date is subject to change due to the Presidential Inauguration).

What is needed now is for people to contact the members of the Senate Labor, Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee to ask for them to support Washington’s brewing and winemaking communities by supporting Senate Bill 5060. Personal contacts with state legislators will go a long way in ensuring the success of this bill.

Senate Labor, Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee Members:

Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles: (360) 786-7670
kohl-welles.jeanne@leg.wa.gov

Senator Karen Keiser: (360) 786-7664
keiser.karen@leg.wa.gov

Senator Janea Holmquist: (360) 786-7624
holmquist.janea@leg.wa.gov

Senator Rosa Franklin: (360) 786-7656
franklin.rosa@leg.wa.gov

Senator Jim Honeyford: (360) 786-7684
honeyford.jim@leg.wa.gov

Senator Curtis King: (360) 786-7626
king.curtis@leg.wa.gov

Senator Adam Kline: (360) 786-7688
kline.adam@leg.wa.gov

All of the information you need, updates and background material for this effort can be found at www.wahomebrewers.org/legal.

Thanks so much for your support of Washington’s homebrewers!

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Alabama homebrewers can use our help

Support Your Local BrewerySupport Your Local Brewery has issued an E-Action Alert for Alabama, to help legalize homebrewing.

There’s the news:

Dear Alabama Beer Enthusiasts:

Your phone calls and emails have helped gain a hearing for Alabama’s Senate Bill 355 (SB355), which would legalize homebrewing in the state of Alabama. The bill will be considered by the Senate Tourism and Marketing Committee at a public hearing this Thursday, April 3.

The text of SB355 can be found here:
www.legislature.state.al.us/searchableinstruments/2008rs/bills/sb355.htm

What is needed NOW is additional support from Alabama residents prior to Thursday’s hearing, to ask the Senate Tourism and Marketing Committee members to do two things:

(1) Pass SB355 out of committee favorably.

(2) Persuade other Senators not on the Tourism and Marketing Committee to call for a vote on the Senate floor and pass the bill there.

Contact information for Senate Tourism and Marketing Committee members can be found below. Please call the first phone number listed for each Senator, which is the number for their Senate office. This should take about 10 minutes total. A receptionist will answer. Just make the two points described above.

Also, please email the Senators on the committee. A list of all of the email addresses that you can cut and paste into an email can be found below the Tourism and Marketing Committee contact info.

Additionally, if you have time, you can call the second phone number listed, which is a business phone for the Senators.

If SB355 clears the Senate Tourism and Marketing Committee and is scheduled for a vote by the full Senate, we will follow up with additional information to help obtain passage of the bill in the Senate and hopefully move it on to the Alabama House.

Thank you for your support for Alabama homebrewers and SB 355. Please forward this message on to any other Alabama residents that you feel would be interested in supporting this bill.

Senate Tourism and Marketing Committee Members

BOBBY SINGLETON (D), Chairman
(334) 242-7935
bsingle164@yahoo.com

EDWARD B. “E. B.” McCLAIN (D), Vice-Chairman
(334) 242-7867
(205) 781-0786
ebmc@bellsouth.net

LOWELL RAY BARRON (D)
(334) 242-7858
(256) 623-2298

CHARLES BISHOP (R)
(334) 242-7894
(205) 221-4950

W. H. “PAT” LINDSEY (D)
(334) 242-7843
(205) 459-2478

DEL MARSH (R)
(334) 242-7877
(256) 237-8647

MYRON C. PENN (D)
(334) 242-7868
(334) 775-9778
myronpenn28@hotmail.com

QUINTON T. ROSS, Jr. (D)
(334) 242-7880
qtross2002@hotmail.com

RODGER SMITHERMAN (D) [Mr. Smitherman is the sponsor of SB355]
(334) 242-7870
(205) 322-0012
rodger.smitherman@alsenate.gov

WENDELL MITCHELL (D)
(334) 242-7883
(334) 244-1877
wmitchell@faulkner.edu

ZEB LITTLE (D), Senate Majority Leader
(334) 242-7855
(256) 775-7707
zeb@zeblittlelawfirm.com

“JABO” WAGGONER (R)
(334) 242-7892
(205) 978-7405
jabo.waggoner@alsenate.gov

Senate Tourism and Marketing Committee Email Addresses

bsingle164@yahoo.com; jabo.waggoner@alsenate.gov; zeb@zeblittlelawfirm.com; ebmc@bellsouth.net; myronpenn28@hotmail.com; qtross2002@hotmail.com; rodger.smitherman@alsenate.gov; wmitchell@faulkner.edu

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Homebrew contest winners enjoy Samuel Adams’ spotlight

Samuel Adams longshot“It’s a bit overwhelming. The weirdest thing was when [Samuel Adams] sent me pictures of my beer on the bottling line. I saw thousands of bottles with my face on it.”
         – Rodney Kibzey

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Rodney Kibzey’s friends call him a “beer rock star.” Because Kibzey was a winner in the 2007 Samuel Adams American Homebrew Contest a Weizenbock brewed to his recipe currently is on shelves across the country.

Each Longshot six-pack contains three bottles of Weizenbock and three of Grape Pale Ale from Samuel Adams employee Lili Hess.

Kibzey’s beer was one of two winners of a national homebrew contest. The other was an Imperial IPA and production of that one was delayed because of the hop shortage.

Grape Pale Ale is the 2007 champion of Samuel Adams’ annual employee homebrew contest. Attendees at the 2007 great American Beer Festival tasted the three employee finalists’ homebrew and voted Grape Pale Ale their favorite.