Book review: Barrel-Aged Stout and Selling Out

For those of you who were drinking craft beer in March of 2011, you probably recall a news article announcing that a Chicago brewery named Goose Island had agreed to sell a portion of itself to mega-brewery Anheuser-Busch.  To say that this announcement created “a stir” would be a serious understatement of the emotional reaction elicited from the craft beer drinking public.  Because I too had a reaction to the sale, the book “Barrel-Aged Stout and Selling Out – Goose Island, Anheuser-Busch, and How Craft Beer Became Big Business,” by Josh Noel, published 2018 by Chicago Review Press, was an outstanding read for me.  

Barrel-Aged Stout and Selling Out – a great read for fans of Goose Island and the beer industry in the 2000s.

In “Barrel-Aged Stout and Selling Out,” Josh Noel, a beer journalist who writes about beer and travel for the Chicago Tribune, artfully weaves together the story of John Hall, the founder of Goose Island, who saw an opportunity in a growing industry in 1988 and took it; his son Greg Hall who blossomed into a visionary brewer and THE voice of Chicago beer; and how In-Bev / Anheuser-Busch worked tirelessly to compete with and then acquire the craft beer upstart.

This book is a fantastic read for anyone who is curious about why – and how – a craft brewer who embraces the concept of “drink local” would decide to sell out and risk losing its local following.  If you witnessed the Twitter,  Facebook and Youtube explosion of reactions to the sale in 2011, “Barrel-Aged Stout and Selling Out” provides a revealing, behind the scenes expose on the decisions made – by the Halls as well as Anheuser-Busch executives – before and after the sale.  In fact, Noel’s story does not end in 2012, but continues through 2017, documenting Goose Island’s imperial march to expand distribution across the United States. 

I strongly recommend “Barrel-Aged Stout and Selling Out” – it was truly a “page turner” for me; the only time I put it down was to go to the fridge for another brew!  Available on Amazon in paperback ($14.99) and Kindle ($10.99).

Cheers!

The Brewholder

Copyright 2019 – all rights reserved

Book Review – Artisanal Small-Batch Brewing: Easy Homemade Wines, Beers, Meads and Ciders by Amber Shehan

 

Artisanal Small-Batch Brewing by Amber Shehan. Photo by Matt Brasch.

As a home brewer of beer for several years now, I have had my share of success, failure and mediocre 5 gallon batches.  And what happens when you are not happy with your creation?  You are stuck between drain pouring and feeling obligated to drink 5 gallons of a beverage you’re not really happy with.

Amber Shehan’s “Artisanal Small-Batch Brewing: Easy Homemade Wines, Beers, Meads and Ciders” was released on June 4, 2019 and provides several beer recipes scaled for 1 gallon batches.  Admittedly, I first scanned the index of the chapter entitled, “Grains and Gruits and Hops, Oh My!” The simple yet intriguing recipes in this chapter – including “Lemon-Pepper IPA” and “Blueberry Porter” – immediately caught my interest and had me thinking, “If I used a 1 gallon carboy, I’d be more excited for brewing experimentation!”

After reviewing the rest of the index, I jumped into the book at page 1.  While generally a recipe book, Amber’s passion for her craft seeps through the words and had me excited to try her mead, wine and cider recipes.   Compared to beer brewing, the other beverages are less labor and time intense, but allow for just as much creativity as beer.  

Several of the recipes shared by Amber made this homebrewer sit up in my chair and think, “I’m going to try this tomorrow!”  “Vanilla Bean and Chamomile Mead,” “Scarborough Fair Wine”, and “Dry-hopped Cider” are now on my short list of experiments in 2019.   In addition to recipes, the book also includes chapters on basic brewing techniques and non-alcohol recipes for spent grains, simple sugars, and vinegars. The superb photography of each beverage provides an encouraging invitation to the eye – “Come on, try to make this and you can drink it too!” 

I would highly recommend this book to both new brewers as well as experienced homebrewers who are looking for recipe inspiration.  Available on Amazon on Kindle (around $10) and paperback formats (around $20), this will be a great addition to your brewing library. 

Cheers!

The Brewholder

Copyright 2019 – all rights reserved

Tannery Run Brew Works Holds Soft Opening In Ambler, PA

Tannery Run Brew Works held their soft opening this weekend in Ambler, PA.  Named for the waterway that runs under the town, Tannery Run Brew Works has been long awaited by Ambler locals, being highly visible and serving samples of their brews during recent local events.

Tannery Run is located in the old Twisters studio on Butler Avenue in the heart of Ambler.   The redesigned space is filled with warmth, from the antique style lighting to the wood highlights throughout.   A mural depicting a water mill on one of the walls evokes memories of simpler times and the beginnings of Ambler Borough.  In anticipation of warmer weather, a garage door has been installed in the front wall, but for now it enhances the welcome feel of the space by bringing in more natural light to the room.

On the evening I visited, Tannery Run served six varieties of their beer – “Wild Horses” German Pilsner, “Premier” Pale Ale, “Blue Dragon” Belgian IPA, “Sympathy For The Devil” Belgian Tripel, “Leeloo Dallas” multigrain Pale Ale, and “Radio Diva” multigrain Belgian Ale.  Taken as a whole, the beers were enjoyable and lent themselves well to hearty discussions with friends over the course of an evening.  There were no experimental beer styles or strong flavors on the menu, which is understandable for a soft opening, but I would liked to have seen at least one adventurous brew.

Also on the menu for the evening were a variety of cocktails and wines, however, I  only drank their beer so I will defer any opinions to liquor and wine bloggers!

Tannery Run has a full kitchen and will offer items that complement their brews.   I tried two flatbreads – one had pork belly, onions, sesame, and pineapple with an Asian style sauce, and the other had goat cheese, figs, and balsamic onions.  Both had the right amount of flavor to enhance the beer – and make me want more!

All in all, Tannery Run Brew Works’s soft opening left me optimistic that there is space in Ambler for more than one brewery.   With some fine tuning on their food menu and brews, there is no doubt that Tannery Run will be able to carve out a comfortable place for itself in Ambler’s vibrant restaurant scene.  I look forward to returning soon to see the finished product!

Tannery Run Brew Works is located 131 East Butler Avenue, Ambler, PA. Their Grand Opening will be held on Friday, March 15, 2019, beginning at 12 noon.

Cheers!

The Brewholder

Copyright 2019 – all rights reserved

Vote for me and We’ll Build A Wall

It’s time for the Region’s Best Happenings List again! Vote for me – The Brewholder – in the Social Media Catergory here. If you vote for me I promise to build a wall of beer cans and crowlers around Maple Glen! I might even declare a state of beer emergency!

Anyway – vote for me! Thanks for your support!

Cheers!

The Brewholder

Copyright 2019 – all rights reserved

Brewers of PA Hires New Deputy Director, Adam Harris

Today the Brewers of Pennsylvania (BOP), Pennsylvania’s official brewers guild, announced that it has hired former Chair of Pennsylvania’s House Liquor Control Committee, Adam Harris, as its Deputy Director. The press release is attached below:

HARRISBURG, PA (2.6.19) – The Brewers of Pennsylvania(BOP), the state’s official brewers guild, has hired Adam Harris, former Chair of Pennsylvania’s House Liquor Control Committee, as the organization’s new Deputy Director. The newly created position will further bolster the BOP’s advocacyefforts and its quest for a more fair playing field within Pennsylvania’s antiquated three-tier system (manufacturer, wholesaler, retailer). 
 
In conjunction with Dan LaBert, BOP’s Executive Director, the BOP’s Legislative Committee, and Board of Directors, Harris will assist in outreach efforts to BOP members, potential members, elected officials, and other beer-interest entities to strengthen and expand Pennsylvania’s thriving craft beer industry. According to the Brewers Association, Pennsylvania craft beer ranks second nationwide in economic impact ($5,788,000) and first in barrels of craft beer produced per year (3,724,010).
 
“I’m thrilled to be joining such an amazing organization,” said Harris. “Brewers across Pennsylvania have an incredible story to tell. They are creating jobs, revitalizing communities, and making some of the best beer in the nation.  I’m excited to help tackle some of our state’s legislative issues, and join the effort to make Pennsylvania the go-to destination for craft beer enthusiasts from around the country.”
 
Working with LaBert and Maverick Strategies, Harris will identify member breweries to visit to discuss the importance of the BOP’s advocacy efforts, member benefits, and the many beer issues facing Pennsylvania craft brewers. Harris will also attend BOP events, including the BOP’s signature gathering of craft beer elite, Meeting of the Malts, the BOP Annual Meeting, Caucus Meetings, PA Flavor, and the BOP Symposium & Tailgate in State College. Harris will also represent the BOP atBrewers Association events such as Federal Lobby Day and the nationwide Craft Brewers Conference.
 
“During his time in the House of Representatives, particularly as Chair of PA’s House Liquor Control Committee, Adam supported Pennsylvania craft beer,” said LaBert. “As an organization, he’s familiar with the BOP’s key advocacy issues, and he’s gotten to know many of our 170-plus members. This isextremely beneficial as he meets and ‘talks shop’ with BOP members from Erie and Pittsburgh to Philadelphia and Wilkes-Barre, and everywhere in between. Adam brings credibility, experience, insight, and craft beer passion to the BOP table. We’re extremely pleased that he’s part of the BOP team.”
 
Serving Pa. District 82 (Franklin, Juniata, and Mifflin Counties), Harris spent 16 years as a member of House of Representatives and four years as a legislative staffer bringing his total Capitol experience to over 20 years.  As Chair of the House Liquor Control committee, Harris helped usher in many much-needed pro-consumer/pro-beer reforms to the state’s antiquated liquor laws. Act 166 of 2016 allowed beer distributors to sell six packs (and down to the single unit and growlers, as well) and allowed PA brewers to promote their products by allowing PA wineries and distillers to also sell Pennsylvania beers at their locations.




Cheers!

The Brewholder

Copyright 2019 – all rights reserved

Brewery Ommegang Unveils New Look for 2019

Photo courtesy Brewery Ommegang.

This week, Cooperstown, NY-based Brewery Ommegang announced that it is embracing a new look this year. As seen in the photo above, Ommegang has rebranded its packaging. According to a press release from Ommegang on January 24, 2019:

Longtime fans of the brewery will find much to like in the new look, including some updated illustrations from years past and more prominent use of the harlequin design. The brewery logo has also been refreshed, and a re-imagined tap handle is making its way to market.

The release also explained that regular customers will still be able to recognize their existing beer – “Ommegang’s year-round beers now enjoy rich, vibrant colors and a clean, uncluttered appearance. The brand’s well-known harlequin pattern serves as a backdrop for a series of bold silhouettes…”. Meanwhile, “packaging for limited release beers employs more subtle colors and foregoes illustrations, allowing the name alone to describe what waits within. Similarly, labels for the Blenderie Ommegang series, available only at the brewery, are simple, elegant, and restrained – reminiscent of a fine wine.”

The new labels and packaging are being shipped now, so don’t be surprised when you see them on shelves and beer taps!

Cheers!

The Brewholder

Copyright 2019 – all rights reserved

Plastic IPA Cups from Fermented Reality – Product Review

Test results = Brewholder approved!

Over the past 10 years, the craft beer industry has absolutely embraced canning their beer – which is great for craft beer enthusiasts who like to take their beer on the go.  But listen – some people just like drinking their beer in a glass.  Well, Fermented Reality has offered a solution to this problem – B Cups plastic beer cups.

4 plastic IPA “glasses” are included in each package.

I was able to test a 4 pack of IPA cups.  They stand 6″ tall and are transparent, not cloudy, which allowed me to see the beautiful haziness of a Deschutes Fresh Haze IPA.  The shape of the cup follows the concept of constraining the CO2 in the middle of the glass to allow the aromas to concentrate in the bulb at the top of the cup.  The indent also makes for a convenient and comfortable grip.  I have not yet washed them, but the packaging indicates that they are dishwasher safe.

Dishwasher safe, shatterproof, and transparent – everything you need for a perfect poolside IPA!

Living dangerously with a glass of Troegs Perpetual IPA poolside!

Anyone who has seen my Instagram posts in the summer knows that I have been living dangerously by using glassware on the pool deck; these B Cups will definitely be appearing in my posts this summer because they are shatterproof!

IMG_3052 – Shatterproof test video

B cups were the creation of the guys at Fermented Reality, who are the minds behind the Fermented Reality Biergarten in Tampa, FL and the Fermented Reality podcast.  B Cups are available in 4 different formats:  IPA, Stout, Lager and Funk.  Order directly from the website here. A pack of 4 IPA cups sells for $19.99, plus tax & shipping.

If you love looking at your beer when you drink it and like to take your beer places that glass shouldn’t go, B Cups are for you.  In the end, this product is The Brewholder Approved!

Cheers!

The Brewholder

Copyright 2019 – all rights reserved

Do You Even Know What a Wawa Is?

2SP & Wawa…a perfect PA pint. Photo courtesy 2SP

Say “Eastern Pennsylvania” and most people will immediately think of the Liberty Bell, “wooder ice” and cheesteaks (and maybe the late 1990s shock group The Bloodhound Gang).  But locals know that nothing says Eastern Pennsylvania better than Wawa – our local convenience chain for coffee, gas and Shorti hoagies.  

It was only a matter of time before Wawa’s popular coffee made it into craft beer.  Delaware County based-2SP Brewing and Wawa came together and created “Winter Reserve Coffee Stout.”

https://www.2spbrewing.com/beers/2sp-wawa-winter-reserve-coffee-stout/

According to 2SP’s website, the brewery worked “with Wawa’s own coffee wizard, Michael McLaughlin, we brewed a oatmeal stout and steeped it with Wawa’s Reserve Winter Blend Coffee, an exclusive handpicked roast that has flavors of sweet clove, dark chocolate, and graham crackers.”

This is a limited release, so if you see it – and you love Wawa coffee or 2SP stouts – grab it!

Cheers!

The Brewholder

Copyright 2018 – all rights reserved

 

Salutes to Veterans in the Philly Area

Cheers to our Veterans!

To honor our servicemen and women on Veterans Day, this weekend specials for veterans can be found throughout the Philly area.  Here is a list of some of those specials – if you know a veteran, pass it along (with your heartfelt thanks as well!)

All 17 locations of PJ Whelihan’s will give away free 10-piece orders of their famous wings on Monday, 11/12 to active members and vets with ID.

The Pour House in Exton, North Wales and Westmont will also give away an order of their house wings on Monday, 11/12.

Treno Pizza Bar will be giving away one of their signature Italian desserts to any vet or active military member with valid ID on Monday, 11/12.

South Jersey’s highly rated steak and seafood house, The ChopHouse, will give away a decadent to dessert on Monday, 11/12 to anyone with valid military ID.

Landmark Americana University City is giving vets 20% off their bill all day on Sunday, 11/11 – including the usual Sunday specials: happy hour-priced appetizers; $3 Hamms 16 oz. drafts; $5 Landmark Lemonades; $4 Sangrias; $3 SoCo and lime shots and $6 glasses of Canyon Oak wine.

Free appetizers (up to $10.99) are on the menu for vets and active military at Landmark Americana City Line, with proof of service on Sunday, 11/11.

Landmark Americana West Chester is offering 25% off all food and drink for active and retired military on Sunday, 11/11.

At all 15 Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurantlocations, veterans and active duty military personnel with a military ID (or dressed in uniform) will receive their choice of any burger or sandwich and non-alcoholic beverage from the core menu for free on Sunday 11/11 and Monday 11/12.

At Urban Village Brewing Company in Northern Liberties, vets and active military will receive a free pizza with valid ID on Sunday, 11/11 and Monday 11/12. The brewery is known for its wood-fired pies.

THANK YOU TO OUR VETERANS!

Cheers!

The Brewholder

Copyright 2018 – all rights reserved

Autumn Beer is Here!

Although the calendar says it’s been autumn for a few weeks, the weather hasn’t agreed.  But finally we have a perfect autumn day here in Pennsylvania – temps in the mid 60s, crystal clear blue skies and a warm sun!   Now it is time to celebrate with autumn beer!

In my opinion, there are three main categories of fall beer – Harvest Ales, Pumpkin Beer, and Oktoberfest beer.  While I often admit that I would drink pumpkin beer all year round if I could (and I do when I find it – cheers to you Pocono Brewing and St. Petersburg Brewing Co), there is something that is just “right” about drinking pumpkin beer when the pumpkins are ripe and used in decorations everywhere.  For some of my favorite pumpkin brews, try the original Dogfish Head Punkin Ale, Troegs Master of Pumpkins, Iron Hill Pumpkin Ale and Lancaster Baked Pumpkin Ale.

Dogfish Head Punkin Ale

Harvest Ales are most definitely a fall beer because they are made immediately after hops are harvested in late August/early September and are meant to be consumed “fresh”!  Be on the lookout for these brews early – because they go fast!

Fresh Chinook hops – drink it now!

And then there is Oktoberfest beer – Prost!  This year, Germany’s official Oktoberfest was held from September 22 through October 6, and I had my fair share of Oktoberfest offerings from both German and U.S. brewers.  A little recognized fact about Oktoberfest beer is that there are two different styles – the traditional beer consumed at Oktoberfest was a Marzen style – a maltier, sweeter beer that packed a little punch.  

But in the 1990s, the official Oktoberfest beer was changed to “Festbier,” a yellow, lower ABV beverage -probably to encourage more consumption (and less drunken incidents) by the tourists in the tents! As a result of the change, you can find the two different versions of Oktoberfest beer in most US brewpubs and bars these days.  A few of my favorites – Hofbrau Oktoberfest (Festbier); Victory Festbier (Marzen); Stoudts Oktoberfest (Marzen).

Prost und Genutlicheit!

So whatever your choice, enjoy these seasonal brews now!  Before you know it, the comfort of autumnal brews will be gone and the dark spiciness of holiday beer will appear on the taps!  

Cheers!

The Brewholder

Copyright 2018 – all rights reserved