Another limited beer release, another shit-show. Seems like this is becoming a weekly occurence in the Craft Beer world. This week’s installment of “How Not to Run a Beer Release” comes to us from the sunny state of Florida, hosted by Cigar City. The yearly release/celebration of Cigar City’s Hunahpu was this past weekend, and by all accounts, it was a complete disaster. Continue reading
Welcome to the Beer Craft Beer Club Review! Each month, I will review the four beers featured in the beer club, and rank them on a scale of 5 Gorillas, with 5/5 Gorillas being the Silverback of the beer world, and 1 being a scrawny baby gorilla.
Epic Brewing Old Sage Brett: This golden ale is brewed with rosemary, sage and thyme, and then aged in wine barrels that formerly held Brainless on Peaches, with some Brettanomyces thrown in there for good measure. The beer pours out like a classic Belgian golden ale: hazy, golden-yellow in color, with a giant, bone white head. The nose is dominated by sage, with the other spices dancing in the background. There’s a vague fruitiness, and some vanilla tones from the barrel. Sage leads the way in the mouth as well, mingling with some thyme flavors. A tart, citric twinge builds, with some grassy, hay-like flavors. A delicate, tropical fruit flavor pops up, and the finish showcases some earthy, funky, Brett tones.
Beers that are brewed with sage tend to be overwhelming for me, but the spice level in this one is definitely doable. The base beer is a solid golden ale, and the flavors work well. A very nice beer.
3.5/5 Gorillas Continue reading
It really shouldn’t come as any surprise that this week’s featured beer is the most popular beer on the face of the planet (at least over these last two weeks). The release of Pliny the Younger is a bittersweet thing, as the beer is no doubt one of the best Triple IPAs out there, but actually being able to sample the beer can be an experience in frustration. The lines this year were insane; I drove by the pub pretty much every day, and no matter what time I drove by, there was a consistent wait of at least 2 hours. The days of being able to sneak into the pub on a weekday afternoon seem to be long gone, so keep that in mind for the future.
Anyway, onto what really matters, the beer. Continue reading
Firestone Walker is releasing their first bottled offering from their wild ale production facility, Barrelworks. The beer, dubbed The Feral One, will be released on March 8th, and will be available exclusively at Barrelworks (it will also be available at the Firestone Walker brewery the next day).
From the press release:
“The Feral One celebrates this wild, unruly and rustic journey that has carried us through our first official year of operation,” said Barrelworks Director Jeffers Richardson. “For the first time, you can take a bottle home from Barrelworks to stick in your cellar or savor with friends.”
The Feral One is a blend of Sour Opal, SLOAmbic, Agrestic and Lil’ Mikkel, all aged for an extended period in American and French oak barrels. Only 500 cases of 375ml bottles were produced.
A release party will take place at the Barrelworks facility (located in Buellton) on the 8th from noon-2. A minimum purchase of three bottles of The Feral One gets you in the door. Sounds like a good time to pay them a visit for the first time. Continue reading
21st Amendment Brewery is expanding beyond San Francisco, as they announced plans for a “production brewery, tasting room, restaurant and event space” in San Leandro, CA, home to Drakes Brewing. Initial capacity at the facility will be 100,000 barrels, with room to grow to 250,000 barrels.
“Since we began packaging our beer six years ago with our Minnesota partner brewery, we have never been able to keep up with demand,” says co-founder Nico Freccia in the press release. “Building our own local brewery will allow us to continue to focus on improving quality and consistency, and to expand into new markets where our beer is in demand.”
I’m interested in what they have in mind for the grounds, as they promise “an interactive space that will enhance each guest’s experience as they adventure around the production brewery,” and hope to make this “nothing short of the number one destination spot for craft beer aficionados and beer lovers near and far.”
The press release also states that this will not mean the end of their partnership with Third Street Brewhouse in Cold Spring, Minnesota, where all 21A beers are canned. However, a San Francisco Business Times article states that “the company will move its offices and all outsourced canning operations to a 95,000 square foot facility,” so who knows what their full plans are.
It’s a good time to be in the Craft Beer business these days, as it seems every single brewery is going through an expansion phase.
Bear Republic has been a presence in Cloverdale, CA, for quite sometime now, what with their production facility being located there. Now, in an effort to not only expand production, but also to pull in more visitors, the brewery is in the beginning stages of building a brand new facility in Cloverdale.
“We’re trying to create a spot where people say ‘what do you want to do this weekend? Let’s go up and take a tour of that brewery,’” Richard Norgrove, Sr. (president and owner of Bear Republic) told the Press Democrat as they announced they had purchased 1.5 acres of property next to their already existing production facility.
Norgrove hopes that the facility, which is about 3-5 years away from becoming a reality, will be a destination brewery for beer lovers. “We want to educate people on brewing and the process, the history of it,” while at the same time allowing them to increase their annual production of 72,000 barrels to the 250,000-300,000 barrel range. The facility is still in the early planning stages, but expect there to be some sort of deli/restaurant in addition to a tap room.
This is clearly a good thing for Cloverdale (though the PD article does touch on the issue of water usage, but I’m going to ignore that scary thought for the moment), as Bear Republic should help the city generate some more income from tourists. It will also certainly help expand the beer scene in Cloverdale. Besides Ruth McGowan’s, there really isn’t that much reason for beer lovers to make the trip to Cloverdale. Hopefully, this will not only benefit Bear Republic, but will also encourage the presence and growth of more small breweries in the town.
Quotes and numbers from the Press Democrat
Opening a brewery can be a rewarding and fun task to undertake. It can also be an unbelievable nightmare that you just wish would end. The nice thing is that if you’re planning on opening your own brewery, there are thousands of people you can use for advice and guidance.
The beer blog Microbrewr recently asked the question “What I wished I’d known before starting a brewery.” 61 brewers/brewery owners responded, and the answers give great insight into what it takes to open a brewery. The condensed version is basically “It will cost you way more money than you think, take much longer than you anticipate, and making the beer is by far the easiest part of the venture.”
So if you’re thinking of making that leap to brewery owner, heed the advice of people who have already been through the process. The responses can be read here.
Bear Republic has released another beer in their seasonal rotation, and they’re continuing to bring the hops. Apex Special IPA is an 8.95% (Imperial?) IPA, with over 100 IBUs contributed by Cascade, Columbus, Centennial, Chinook, Simcoe, Mosaic and Citra hops. Apex is a beer that Bear Republic has brewed for quite some time (it won a Silver Medal at the 2006 GABF), and it’s a pretty popular beer, so it was a wise move to put this in bottles Continue reading
In case you didn’t already know, Russian River is releasing Pliny the Younger today. According to their Facebook page, the line started forming last night at 11:49 PM. Come on people. Younger is an amazing beer, and certainly one of the best in the world, but it’s going to be around for 2 weeks. Why in the hell are you lining up the night before for this beer? Stop being such goddamn nerds (but keep reading my blog. LYMI). Please don’t think I’m bitter; I just don’t get this. I’m a giant beer nerd, but I really don’t understand standing in line 8 hours for a beer.
Anyway, as much as I’m looking forward to drinking Younger, I’m almost more excited about the keg of 2010 Sanctification that they put on for the event. That should be damn good.
Also, here’s a short documentary about Younger, and Russian River in general. Check it out, but please do not refer to the brewery as “The River.” Literally no one calls them that. Don’t be that person.
Oh, and this needs to be narrated by Werner Herzog. Someone make that happen.
Via the Beer Country blog, the Sonoma County Economic Developement Board has caught on that beer is kind of a big thing around here. So big, that their economic study found that the local beer industry generates $123 million for the county. That, my friends, is certainly not chicken scratch.
Inspired by the importance of Craft Beer to our economy, they went ahead and created this nifty interactive map of all the breweries currently operating in Sonoma County (as a bonus, they’ve also included cideries and distillers; wouldn’t want to leave our friends out of all the fun!).
From Beer County:
By the EDB’s count, there are 21 breweries and brewpubs in operation, or about to open, in Sonoma County. That would mean that this county alone has more breweries than the entire state of Alabama, which, according to BeerAdvocate.com, is blessed with just 20. My own count suggests the picture is even better for Sonoma County beer, with 24 breweries and brewpubs open or about to open (out of a total of 53 I can identify in Sonoma, Napa, Marin, Lake, Mendocino, and Humboldt counties). Whatever the total, it is clear that Sonoma County is awash in great beer.
Clearly, it’s a pretty good time to be a beer lover in Sonoma County.