Hops & Vines For Hunger PA Campaign Wrapup

The Hops & Vines for Hunger PA campaign that ran through the month of November 2023 is now over, and I can’t say enough about the outpouring of support I saw from the breweries and wineries across Pennsylvania.  This was my first time as a participating content creator for the campaign and I absolutely loved it!

What is Hops and Vines for Hunger? 

The Hops and Vines for Hunger campaign is a month-long statewide fundraiser in November that is developed for breweries and wineries to raise funds and awareness to support hunger relief in Pennsylvania. The campaign is aimed to be twofold by encouraging patrons to support their local wineries and breweries, while also supporting our neighbors facing and experiencing hunger.  Proceeds from the campaign will support Feeding Pennsylvania’s (www.feedingpa.org) food banks to serve Pennsylvanians experiencing food insecurity, with a portion going towards the development of nutrition, education, resources, created by PA Eats (www.paeats.org).  This additional designation towards nutrition education is aimed to highlight part of Feeding Pennsylvania’s mission to provide access to fresh nutritious food to our neighbors, facing hunger, but taking a step further, and promoting the fact that feeding people facing hunger, is about more than simply just providing nutritious food, but also providing resources, so our neighbors facing hunger, feeling empowered and supported so they can prepare nutritious meals for their families.

So how did the Hops & Vines for Hunger campaign translate into financial support?  Most of the participating businesses donated a portion of each pint of a specific beverage purchased in the month of November back to the Hops & Vines for Hunger PA campaign.  My goal as a content creator was to bring attention to those breweries and their brews – and get people out to drink them to support a great cause!

For my part, I spelled the words “Feeding PA” with images of the breweries (and their beers) that were supporting the campaign.  It was a blast!  Especially because I visited a few breweries I had never been to before – like Bald Birds Brewing in Audobon; Second Sin Brewing in Bristol; and Hares Hill in Pottstown – and had a great reason to return to some of my favorites like Forest & Main in Ambler, Hidden River in Douglassville, and Workhorse in King of Prussia!

Anyway, I hope that my Instagram campaign helped get the word out, and helped boost sales!  I’ll be looking forward to participating again next year! And remember – you don’t need a campaign or a beer to ease the suffering of our neighbors. You can support Feeding PA anytime simply by heading to Feedingpa.org and donating online!


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Copyright 2023 – all rights reserved

Time to Harvest our Hops!

It’s hard to believe that it’s already August and it’s time to harvest our homegrown hops!  The Chinook, Cascade, Columbus, and Centennial hops have filled in with large, verdant leaves and the hops cones are glowing neon green.  The Columbus did not grow as strong this year, but a few bines were ready to be harvested in July, and a few more this week.   The Centennial (in its third year), did better than the past two years, but still has not produced enough to brew a 5 gallon batch.  The Chinook is booming this year, and also has a few bines ready, so we picked them on Sunday, dried them on screens over a fan for 48 hours, vaccuum sealed them tonight and stuck them in the freezer until we’re ready to brew!

Our hops harvest count (dry weight) for 2023 is currently:

Columbus – 

7/24/23 – 2.0 oz (dry)

8/21/23 – 3.0 oz (dry)

Chinook – 

8/21/23 – 4.0 oz (dry)

…and much, much more to come!!


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Brewtrip – Pittsburgh!

I’ve loved the Steel City for years and try to visit as often as I can.  2023 has been a great year – three trips to the ‘Burgh already!  And what a vibrant craftbeer scene!  From crispy Kolsch at Dancing Gnome to heavenly beers at Church Brew Works to Spicy Pickle Beer at East End Brewing, there’s a beer for everyone in Pittsburgh.  Check out some of my highlights-

Amen for Church Brew Works!
MMHMMM Raspberry & Peanut Butter – a sour? Yes – and it was amazing!
Prost! Hofbrauhaus is a great warm up for Oktoberfest!

Dancing Gnome’s “Not Always Present” was literally the perfect beer on this beautiful Saturday afternoon with my dudes!
Another Pittsburgh OG, Penn Brewery is still brewing a solid Dunkel!
Now that Victory and Southern Tier are tied to the hip, I can drink Victory Prima Pils at Southern Tier’s brewery before a Pirates game!
Cinderlands Warehouse – enjoyed this “Dad Beer- Tracks Again”!
East End and Primanti Brothers made it Spicy this year!
Let’s go! East End makes some solid beers!
Trace Brewing – loved the vibe!
Aslin Brewing – great spot to hang!


The Brewholder

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Australian Brewery Raises Drinking Age to 35

Well here’s an interesting take from an Australian brewery…

Aussie Brewery, Lord Nelson, raises the drinking age of Three Sheets Pale Ale to 35+  

Lord Nelson Brewery has reserved consumption of Three Sheets Pale Ale to those who can truly appreciate it – people with mature mouths, aged 35+. 

View Film

With the rise of the shoey, fruity sours and beer-cocktails, more and more young people are failing to appreciate the refined flavours of well-crafted beer, forcing Lord Nelson Brewery to implement this protective measure. 

Lord Nelson Managing Director, Blair Hayden says:  “If you weren’t born when our original beer was, it’s not for you. This is not a stance we wanted to take, but unfortunately with every damn musician in Australia being forced to do this whole shoey thing, we didn’t have a choice.”  

“For over 30 years we’ve focused on creating quality beers that are refined and well-balanced. Three Sheets Pale Ale remains our flagship brew and is testament to being true to ourselves and not following trends and “in” styles.’’ 

“While our decision might affect sales, we know that Three Sheets customers are loyal, and until the young ones cut their weird drinking habits out, it’ll be reserved for the over 35s.”  

Hayden credits the beer’s quality, sessionability and drinkability for its enduring success.  

“Continuity and consistency are so important in brewing and for the past 30+ years we’ve stayed in our own lane and focused on creating quality beers that are sessionable and not too high in alcohol. 

Lord Nelson Three Sheets Pale Ale is a perfectly refined and balanced drop; crafted so nothing overwhelms and everything stands out. Subtle floral aromas rest on your tastebuds just long enough before lip smacking citrus notes arise and precede a malty dry finish. It’s 95% American hop varieties, 5% British malts and 100% suitable for comfy pants. It’s not a trendy IPA. It’s not a hipster sour ale. It’s a no fuss, easy drinking, refined beer. Simple.  

*Disclaimer – If you haven’t reached the ripe age of 35, but think that your mouth is mature enough to appreciate this perfectly crafted and balanced brew, you can join the 35+ crew provided you promise to savour, not skol. 

Three Sheets Pale Ale is available on tap at a pub near you, sold at Dan Murphy’s & independent bottle shops. Search for a stockist near you here.

RRP:  $25.49 (6 pack) via Dan Murphy’s
ABV:  4.9%

About Lord Nelson Brewery

Today the Lord Nelson Brewery is Australia’s oldest pub brewery, and Sydney’s oldest continually licensed hotel, opening its doors back in 1841. Famous throughout the World for award-winning natural ales, brewed with only malt, hops, yeast and water and with no added sugars, preservatives or additives – ensuring a 100% natural beer. In 1986, The Lord was taken over by its current custodians, including Managing Director Blair Hayden. In keeping with the ambience of the architecture the new custodians were inspired to create beers in the style of traditional English ale, with no added sugar and full flavour – instead of lager as made by the big Brewers dominating the market. To realise this vision, a microbrewery or ‘craft’ brewery was built in the back area of the bar and cellar in 1986 and the rest is history. 

For more information on the Lord Nelson Brewery see here.

press release from:

For media enquiries, please contact: 

Melinda Durston 


[email protected] 


The Brewholder

copyright 2023, all rights reserved

Book Review: Michigan Beer – A Heady History

When beergeeks think about Michigan beer, they usually can name Bell’s and Founders.  If you know a little more beer history, you may even know about Stroh’s and Goebels.  But Michigan Beer – A Heady History by Patti F. Smith, digs deep into the early years of brewing in Michigan, recounting the efforts of brewers in almost every Michigan town to bring ales and lagers to a thirsty populace.

Smith takes the reader on a historical brewery tour of Michigan, from Detroit to Battle Creek to Grand Rapids to Bay City, and describes in detail the turbulent industry from the mid 1800s to Prohibition.  The influx of German immigration to Michigan during this time made beer a potentially lucrative business in the early days, but between being run out of town by local (and ultimately Federal) “dry” laws, or simply properties burning down, brewing was also a risky business in Michigan. 

Michigan Beer – A Heady History also visits the re-emergence of craft beer in Michigan during the 1980s all the way through to today and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Michigan’s brewing industry.  Michigan Beer – A Heady History, published by American Palate a division of Theb History Press, is a great read for anyone with a connection to Michigan and – of course – beer.  You can purchase it on Amazon in hardback, paperback, and for Kindle.


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Top of the Hops Homebrew Competition at Imprint Brewing

Today we’re competing in the “Top of the Hops” Homebrew Competition at Imprint Brewing Competition.  https://imprintbeer.com/top-of-the-hops.   It’s sponsored by Keystone Homebrew Supply (my supply store of choice) and benefits Knights of Life, a local North Penn charity.

We’ll be serving two versions of one beer today.

First, our “Molly’s Wake”, a 4% ABV classic, easy drinking Irish-style Dry Stout (BJCP 15B) in remembrance of our grumpy cat Molly who lived to the ripe old age of 19.  Good for any occasion – even a cat’s wake!  Sláinte!  

Second, we used some black magic to resurrect Molly for “Molly’s Back!” 4% ABV (BJCP 30B), our classic, easy drinking Irish-style Dry Stout dressed up for Halloween! Cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and vanilla beans were enough to bring Molly back for just one more!  Trick or treat!

Hope to see you out here – make sure you stop by and say HI!

update: while we weren’t one of the top 8 finalists, we received a lot of positive feedback (especially for Molly’s Back), got to hang with a lot of great local homebrewers (Tom Ryan Brewing, Sipnotic Brewing, Hop Tank Brews, and Bills Damn Beer to name a few), and had tons of fun supporting Knights for Life!


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Book Review: Oklahoma Beer – A Handcrafted History

Oklahoma Beer – A Handcrafted History

When craft beer fans talk about beer tourism, Oklahoma doesn’t usually come up in the conversation.  And that’s no insult to Oklahoma – that’s just the result of Prohibition-era laws that were still on Oklahoma’s books until 2016.  Oklahoma had a late start in the craft beer movement and Oklahoma Beer – A Handcrafted History by Brian Welzbacher, published by American Palate, is a fascinating read because of its focus on the modern brewing history of Oklahoma.

The first fifty pages of Oklahoma Beer covers from 1850 all the way to 1992; the remaining 100 pages outline in detail the struggles of homebrewers and craft brewers who attempted to achieve  success within the outdated “3.2 beer” and “No tours/tasting rooms” laws of Oklahoma through 2019.  Within Welzbacher’s book, the reader finds OK brewers’ stories of success, failure, innovation, frustration, and ultimately celebration in 2016.  While Oklahoma Beer is technically a history book, the experiences of these brewers documented here should be viewed as a “how to (or not)” guide for anyone looking to enter the craft beer market anywhere.

I throughly enjoyed Oklahoma Beer because when I first picked it up I had no idea about the history of brewing in Oklahoma, or the lack thereof. My initial disappointment that there was not a 150 year historical record however was quickly replaced with admiration for the modern Oklahoma brewer.  I highly recommend Oklahoma Beer for brewers who hope to open a professional operation some day in any market – and I have now added Oklahoma City to the top 5 of my “must visit” beer cities.

Oklahoma Beer is available on Amazon in paperback for $21.99 and on Kindle.


The Brewholder

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Book Review – North Carolina Triad Beer: A History

The story of brewing in North Carolina’s Triad region is a microcosm of our national brewing story – from community brewing to the rise of prohibition, the rise of big beer, the rise of craft brew, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the current brewing culture.  North Carolina Triad Beer: A History, written by Richard Cox, David Gwen, and Erin Lara, is another fine addition to American Pallet Publishing’s series of U.S. brewing history.

For those who are not familiar with North Carolina’s geography, the Piedmont Triad region is a roughly triangle-shaped area made by connecting the cities of Winston-Salem, Greensboro, and High Point.  North Carolina Triad Beer follows the story of brewing in this region, beginning in the early 1700s with the Moravians and their settlement of Bethabara all the way through to the current day, including the struggles of craft brewers in the COVID-19 era.

As in many states during and after Prohibition, North Carolina and the Triad region struggled to find balance in the laws regulating the manufacture and sale of alcohol.  North Carolina Triad Beer documents the early political efforts between teetotalers and brewers that resulted in a law that prohibited the manufacture or sale of beer that was higher than 6%; and the recent efforts of craft brewers to generate enough support for the brewing industry to change the law in 2008.  

North Carolina Triad Beer is a case study on the use of lobbying and the political system as it relates to the expansion of modern alcohol laws.  Of course, it should also provide the reader with an understanding and appreciation of where craft beer has come – and where it may go – in North Carolina.  Speaking of “going” – North Carolina Triad Beer includes a list of current breweries in the Triad region, so after you read the book and gain a desire for a Red Oak Amber Lager, you’ll have a handy guide to get you there!

North Carolina Triad Beer: A History, was published in 2021 by American Palate, a Division of History Press.  It is available on Amazon in paperback, hardback and Kindle.


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Book Review – Wild Brews

Wild Brews by Jaega Wise nestled within homegrown Columbus hops.

As a homebrewer, I’m always looking for something new and exciting to brew.  But suggest to me that I should try a Brett beer or a sour?  No way!  I’ve heard too many times that those delicious but risky bugs could cause a real problem with my equipment and other beers!  But no longer – Jaega Wise’s book, Wild Brews, provides tips and tricks on homebrewing using wild fermentation techniques that even I would feel comfortable trying!

Wise is the head brewer at East London’s Wild Card Brewery, a qualified chemical engineer, a beer sommelier, a TV presenter, and one of the U.K.’s experts in wild fermentation.  In Wild Brews, Wise provides a summary of the brewing process, a high level review of each of the four ingredients of beer, and discusses the “wild” styles of beer – Farmhouse Ale, Saison, IPA, Gose, Berliner Weisse, Flanders Red, Oud Bruin, Lambic, Old Ale, and Gueuze; all written with a fantastic balance between homebrewer and chemical engineer.  Even if you’ve been homebrewing for a few years, her take on the process is a great refresher.

Brewing with Lactobacillus or Brettanomyces can seem to be a complex and daunting task for the average homebrewer, but Wise’s recipes for each of the wild styles are included in the book and all provide her expert guidance that can help homebrewers overcome their hesitation to give wild brewing a try.  For example, when brewing a Flanders Red, if you don’t feel like the beer has enough acetic acid flavor, Wise suggests, “blend in a small quantity of malt vinegar prior to packaging.” It can be that simple.  But what happens if your beer doesn’t turn out just right? Wild Brews also includes a chapter called “When Things Go Wrong” that helps you troubleshoot off flavors and hopefully fix the beer.

Overall, Wild Brews is a great read for both new and experienced homebrewers who want to give wild brewing a try.  The hardcover book includes beautifully shot photos, including several close-ups of foamy fermentation in action and clean graphic illustrations.  I would recommend adding Wild Brews to any homebrewer’s library.  

Wild Brews is published by Kyle Books (kylebooks.com) and will be available June 28, 2022.


The Brewholder

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About The Brewholder Brews – for the BreweriesinPA Homebrew Invitational

I am Matt Brasch, the brewer behind The Brewholder Brews. I’ve been homebrewing since 2013, and even with my first batch (an Imperial IPA), I was more interested in experimenting with flavors and recipes than trying to make the perfect clone. More “mad” than “scientist,” I have relied on my extensive network of professional and home brewers for tips and tricks along my homebrewing journey. During the pandemic, I expanded my brewing process from 5 gallon to 10 gallon batches and focused in on the American Cream Ale style – enhancing it with fresh fruit (locally harvested blueberries & peaches, limes, jalapeños, cranberries, orange) and of course, coffee!

I grow my own hops (Cascade, Chinook, Columbus) at my home in Upper Dublin Township, PA, and brew a harvest ale with them every September – “from bine to boil” in 24 hours. Recently, my hops crops have yielded enough for me to brew another batch in the Spring with the hops that I vacuum pack and freeze in the Fall.

I am a published beer journalist – if you’ve been around for a while, you may have seen my articles in the Mid-Atlantic Brewing News, PhillyBeerScene Magazine, and Ticket to Entertainment between 2013 – 2017. But now I spend more time reading beer-related books and posting reviews in “The Brewholder’s Library” on my website, thebrewholder.com.

“The Brewholder” concept was created to express my belief that the beauty of beer is subjective. I think that if a beer tastes great but it doesn’t meet a specific style guideline (think of Kveik a few years ago…), it doesn’t mean that it is undrinkable. In fact, it could lead to something new and amazing! That’s what The Brewholder truly stands for – if you like it, then drink it! Truly – whoever is holding a beer is the Brewholder…and beauty is in the eye of the Brewholder.


The Brewholder

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