Beer Birthday: The Beer Can

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Today is “Beer Can Appreciation Day,” because on this day 80 years ago — January 24, 1935 — the humble beer can was sold for the very first time. So join me in wishing the beer can a happy birthday.

Below is an article I wrote about beer cans nine years ago telling the story of their history.

The beer can debuted in 1935, when an otherwise obscure brewery from New Jersey — Gottfried Krueger Brewing Co. — test-marketed them in Virginia, as far from their home market as possible. Breweries may have been initially reluctant, but the public loved cans — they were an overnight sensation. By the end of that first year, Schlitz (then one of America’s biggest brewers) had their beer in cans and every other brewery quickly followed suit.

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The beer can was invented by American Can, who patented “Vinylite,” a plastic lining for cans marketed under the brand name “Keglined.” Over the years, the technology continued to improve, from tin to all-aluminum, from cone tops to flat tops, from clumsy openers to pull tops, yet one seemingly intractable problem remained: metal turbity. That’s the technical term for metal leeching into the beer, and consumers increasingly complained about the tainted metallic flavor in canned beer.

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But then craft beer became popular, and with it better beer evangelists preached that canned beer could never be good. And that remained conventional wisdom for decades, made virtually dogma. During that same time, however, research by the can companies solved the metal turbidity problem. Using an organic polymer — really a water-based epoxy acrylic — that was sprayed inside each can during manufacturing, it could now honestly be said that the beer never touched the metal.

Unfortunately, the only beer in cans was not the type that most beer geeks would willingly quaff. The other great hurdle to getting craft beer in a can was the cost. You could buy a cheap, used bottling line but canning lines were quite massive and very expensive. And the people who made cans were used to selling them to big breweries, and so the minimum run for a can was something on the order of a full railroad car, too many and too expensive for even the biggest microbreweries.

But then the bottom fell out of microbrewing, and by the late-1990s equipment suppliers were also feeling the pinch. Hoping to survive the economic downturn, Canada’s Cask Brewing Systems created an affordable solution. They designed a small manual canning line that was cheaper than the average bottling line and persuaded Ball Corporation (a leading can manufacturer) to significantly reduce their minimum orders. All they had to do was convince someone to try canning their beer.

And so Cask started appearing at trade shows and repeatedly sending literature to breweries. When Dale Katechis, of Oskar Blues, in Lyons, Colorado, first read the pitch, he “just laughed and laughed,” thinking there’s “no way this can be done.” But the more he looked into it, the less he laughed. A few months later — in 2002 — Dale’s Pale Ale was released, the first craft beer to be hand-canned. By 2005, Oskar Blues was the biggest brewpub in the U.S. and Dale’s was declared by the New York Times to be the best pale ale in America.

The Oskar Blues team became evangelists for canned beer with the slogan “the canned-beer apocalypse.” Other small breweries noticed Dale’s success and he was only too happy to show them the light. Today, there are nearly forty [in 2006] craft brewers hand-canning their beer.

There are almost as many kinds of beer in cans as there are styles these days, too, from extreme, strong offerings like Surly’s Furious (a 100-IBU Imperial IPA) and Old Chubb (a Scotch Ale) to more unusual beers like Maui Brewing’s CoCoNut Porter and 21st Amendment’s Hell or High Watermelon to lighter lagers like Sly Fox’s Pikeland Pils and Steamwoks Steam Engine Lager. And now that New Belgium Brewing, one of the largest American craft brewers, is canning their popular Fat Tire Amber Ale, expect to see many more beers in cans in the future.

The biggest challenge is unmaking the dogmatic perception of beer in cans as an evil. It’s a persistent prejudice, but is slowly beginning to change as the advantages to canned beer become more widely known. They keep out all UV light, avoiding the skunky taste of clear and green glass. Cans have lower oxygen levels, meaning longer shelf life. They won’t break; they chill faster and can be taken more places, especially where glass is prohibited. And they’re more environmentally friendly, using less packaging plus more of the can is recyclable, with more used in manufacturing recycled cans. Cans are also lighter, resulting in lower transportation costs and fewer fossil fuels needed.

But in the end, the only thing that matters is how the beer tastes. Side-by-side can vs. draft taste tests reveal that it is virtually impossible to tell the difference. That, coupled with the real advantages of the packaging, means that craft beer in cans is where the future of craft beer is heading.

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Shaun O’Sullivan, co-owner of 21st Amendment, showing off one of his early can designs. 21A was the third brewery in California to can their beer.

When I originally wrote that article, around two dozen small breweries were canning their beer, and when I first posted this in 2011 that number had quadrupled, with over 100 small brewers canning their beer. In 2015, the Canned Beer Database lists 480 breweries offering their beer in cans. It’s great to see good beer in cans become more and more common, and we should continue to see more canned beer from craft brewers in the future. Why not pick up some today and see for yourself how good it now is from a can, especially as we celebrate “Beer Can Appreciation Day.”

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Alaska Barleywine Festival 2015 Winners

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Here are the winners from this weekend’s Great Alaska Beer & Barley Wine Festival in Anchorage, Alaska.

  1. St. Elias Brewing’s Moose Juice, Soldotna, Alaska
  2. Midnight Sun Brewing’s Termination Dust Belgian-Style Barley Wine, Anchorage, Alaska
  3. Lagunitas Brewing’s Olde Gnarlywine Barley Wine, Petaluma, California

And the Best Winter Beer:

Congratulations to all the winners. Thanks again to Tom Dalldorf from the Celebrator Beer News, for sending me the winners.

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Winter Brews Festival In Concord January 24

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On Saturday, January 24, from Noon to 4 PM, the Brewing Network‘s 6th annual Winter Brews Festival will take place at Todos Santos Plaza in Concord. The beer festival will feature over 50 breweries and proceeds will benefit the Coral Reef Alliance. Sandwiched in between the weekends of the final NFL Playoffs and the Super Bowl — so you won’t miss a game — the annual event will showcase dozens of award-winning craft breweries, including local favorites, 21st Amendment, Drake’s, Heretic, and Lagunitas, as well as some great new breweries like Calicraft and The Rare Barrel.
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Live music from Ralph Woodson and Purple Haze will set the mood for an afternoon of great beer and a worthy cause. Sponsors of the event include The Hop Grenade Taproom & Bottle Shop, the 21st Amendment, Drake’s Brewing Company, Hop Tech Homebrew and White Labs, and proceeds will benefit the local environmental non-profit, the Coral Reef Alliance.

Tickets are now on sale and are $40 pre-sale or $50 at the gate and include unlimited pours and a commemorative glass. Designated Drivers pay only $5, however this is a 21 and over only event. The event, which will, for the first time, take over the entire Todos Santos Plaza, is conveniently located just two blocks away from the Concord BART station, making it easy to get to and from the festival safely. For more information on the event, and to purchase tickets, please visit: www.BNbrewfest.com.

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Hoppy Christmas

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From my IP address to yours. Have a very Malty Christmas and a Hoppy Holiday. Peace On Earth, Good Beer to Men (and Women).

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“Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.”

             — Calvin Coolidge

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‘Twas Christmas broach’d the mightiest ale; ’twas Christmas told the merriest tale; a Christmas gambol oft could cheer the poor man’s heart through half the year.

             — Sir Walter Scott

 
The original image, which I doctored, was the cover of a 1950 issue of Guinness Time, “a quarterly publication by the Guinness company [that] was distributed to all Guinness staff.” I found it at Bygone Bodiam, a very cool website covering old time Bodiam, a hop growing area in England. There are also a number of great nostalgic photographs of the local hops industry back in the day.

Did You Hear That? Only 2 Months Until SF Beer Week

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Remember hearing the music of the ice cream truck, and running outside to meet it so you didn’t miss out on getting a popsicle, or whatever your favorite frozen treat was? Well, it’s about two months until the kickoff of SF Beer Week, and they’ve created a hilarious teaser video, reimagining the ice cream truck, or in this case beer truck, as the clarion call for beer week. Enjoy.

CCBA Celebrates 25 Years

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This year the California Craft Brewers Association (CCBA) celebrates its 25th anniversary, and they just concluded a two-day conference in Santa Rosa. I missed the first day (traveling home from Belgium) but gave a talk yesterday morning on the history of craft beer in California. But the highlight of day two was a panel discussion with three craft beer pioneers, John Martin (Triple Rock), Ken Grossman (Sierra Nevada) and Fritz Maytag (Anchor), moderated by Vinnie Cilurzo (Russian River).

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The trio spoke for around an hour, then the audience asked a few questions. I captured the main part of the talk (not the Q&A) in two parts (due to limitations of my camera) which you can watch below. There’s a short gap in between the two videos, only a few seconds. It’s a fun and fascinating talk. Enjoy.

And here’s Pt. 2.

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After the talk, John Martin, CCBA executive director Tom McCormick, Vinnie Cilurzo, Fritz Maytag and Ken Grossman.

All Hopped Up For The Cure 2014

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Last night, Russian River Brewing kicked off their annual month-long All Hopped Up For the Cure charity event, raising money for the local Sutter Medical Services in Santa Rosa and specifically their Breast Care Center. They do it every October, in conjunction with Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a cause owners Vinnie and Natalie Cilurzo feel quite deeply about. It’s a big one for me, too. I lost my mother to breast cancer when I was only 21, when she was just 42. More than two dozen Summit doctors and breast cancer survivors were on hand to show their support. While this year’s efforts just began, there’s plenty of time to stop by the brewpub and help this very important cause in a variety of ways. As they do each year, there are three big items that are being auctioned, and raffle tickets are available until the drawing takes place, on October 30th, 2014 during their annual Halloween Bash. You need not be present to win, but you do have to answer your phone when Natalie calls from the stage. Here’s what you can win:

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Raffle tickets can be bought at the pub and placed in lucite boxes at the front of the brewpub. You can also purchase raffle tickets without visiting the pub by contacting Aura Helwick at info@russianriverbrewing.com.

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The big prize is a brand new White Vespa Primavera 150cc with “All Hopped Up for the Cure” decals. The winner is responsible for claiming their prize in person at Revolution Moto in Santa Rosa! Must be 18 to win. Must answer the phone if/when I call at around 10pm on Oct. 30 to be eligible to win! Raffle tickets are $10 each or 3 for $25.

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There’s also a Pink Electra Amersterdam Joyride bicycle, graciously donated by The Bike Peddler in Santa Rosa! Raffle tickets are $5 each or 5 for $20.

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And lastly for the big raffle items, a very cool Custom Built Guitar, a pink accoustic guitar hand-made by Timmy Lovold and friends! Raffle tickets are $10 each or 3 for $25.

Brewmaster Vinnie Cilurzo also created a special beer for the events, Framboise For A Cure, which will be available on draft and in 375ml bottles available, but only at the brewpub. FFAC is a sour barrel-aged blonde ale with 31 pounds per barrel of fresh raspberries, giving it a beautiful reddish/pink hue. Each year, it’s only around until it runs out, though they’re setting aside a set number of bottles to sell each day so it’s not gone too soon, and 100% of proceeds from sales of this beer will be donated to Sutter. I had some last night, and it’s really tasty, with big fruit flavors, not too sour but just enough jammy, puckering goodness to keep sipping.

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And finally, Russian River creates a new graphic each year for the event, and this year’s logo is really cool, as far as I’m concerned.

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The logo is available on Men’s T-Shirts, a Men’s Workshirt and a Ladies T-Shirts. All three are available online or at the pub, with 100% of proceeds donated to Summit, as well.

Give generously this year to help make breast cancer a thing of the past, or at least increase the odds that more children don’t lose their mothers, husbands their wives or friends their friends to breast cancer.

GABF Winners 2014

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Yesterday, the winners of the 33rd Great American Beer Festival were announced. A record 5,507 beers were judged in 90 categories by 222 judges, of which I was again privileged to be one. Some more factoids on the results and the festival:

  • Category with the most entries: American-style IPA: 279 entries
  • Average number of competition beers entered in each category: 61.2
  • 1,309 breweries in the competition from all 50 states, plus Washington, D.C.
  • 52 first-time breweries won medals
  • 4 breweries tied for most gold medals won; 10 Barrel Brewing Co., Barley Brown’s Brew Pub, Devils Backbone Brewing Co.–Outpost, and Left Hand Brewing Co.
  • 710 breweries in the festival hall
  • Over 3,500 beers served at the festival
  • 49,000 attendees

Medals Won by State:

  1. California = 46
  2. Colorado = 39
  3. Oregon = 22
  4. Texas = 16
  5. Pennsylvania = 12
  6. TIE: Illinois, Washington = 9
  7. New Mexico = 8
  8. TIE: Virginia, Wisconsin = 7
  9. TIE: Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, North Carolina = 6
  10. TIE: Maryland, Ohio, Utah = 5

Print

The 2014 Great American Beer Festival Winners

Category 1: American-Style Wheat Beer, 31 Entries
Gold: Red Dawn, Carson’s Brewery, Evansville, IN
Silver: Yellow Armadillo, Thirsty Planet Brewing, Austin, TX
Bronze: Amber Waves, 10 Barrel Brewing Co., Bend, OR

Category 2: American-Style Wheat Beer With Yeast, 44 Entries
Gold: Whitetail Wheat, Montana Brewing Co., Billings, MT
Silver: Hefeweizen, Widmer Brothers Brewing Co., Portland, OR
Bronze: Wheatfish Wheat Lager, Great Northern Brewing Co., Whitefish, MT

Category 3: American-Style Fruit Beer, 56 Entries
Gold: Raspberry Stout, Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, Richmond, VA
Silver: Sleepyhead Passion Fruit, Coda Brewing Co., Aurora, CO
Bronze: Apricot, Dry Dock Brewing Co. – North Dock, Aurora, CO

Category 4: Fruit Wheat Beer, 65 Entries
Gold: Apricot Ale, Pyramid Breweries, Seattle, WA
Silver: Peachy Peach, Pagosa Brewing & Grill, Pagosa Springs, CO
Bronze: Wasatch Apricot Hefeweizen, Wasatch Brewery, Park City, UT

Category 5: Belgian-Style Fruit Beer, 41 Entries
Gold: Raspberry Provincial, Funkwerks, Fort Collins, CO
Silver: Saison en Regalia, Roadhouse Brewing Co., Jackson, WY
Bronze: Poire du Pélican, Pelican Pub & Brewery, Pacific City, OR

Category 6: Pumpkin Beer, 52 Entries
Gold: Wolaver’s Pumpkin Ale, Otter Creek Brewing Co., Middlebury, VT
Silver: Spiced Harvest, Old Dominion Brewing Co., Dover, DE
Bronze: Whole Hog Pumpkin Ale, Stevens Point Brewery, Stevens Point, WI

Category 7: Field Beer, 46 Entries
Gold: Cucumber Crush, 10 Barrel Brewing Co., Bend, OR
Silver: 3 Pepper Ale, Rock Bottom Breweries, Broomfield, CO
Bronze: Elektrick Cukumbahh, Trinity Brewing Co., Colorado Springs, CO

Category 8: Herb and Spice Beer, 150 Entries
Gold: Basil Beer, Blind Tiger Brewery & Restaurant, Topeka, KS
Silver: Aloha Piña, 5 Stones Artisan Brewery, Cibolo, TX
Bronze: Dawn Patrol Breakfast Stout, Coastal Empire Beer Co., Savannah, GA

Category 9: Chocolate Beer, 44 Entries
Gold: Chocolatized, Pisgah Brewing Co., Black Mountain, NC
Silver: Death By Coconut, Oskar Blues Brewery, Longmont, CO
Bronze: Sweet Baby Jesus!, DuClaw Brewing Co., Rosedale, MD

Category 10: Coffee Beer, 116 Entries
Gold: Mocha Machine, Beachwood BBQ & Brewing, Long Beach, CA
Silver: Batshit Crazy, MobCraft Beer, Madison, WI
Bronze: Ascension, Community Beer Co., Dallas, TX

Category 11: Specialty Beer, 47 Entries
Gold: Campfire Stout, High Water Brewing, Chico, CA
Silver: Maple Tripple Ale, Lawson’s Finest Liquids, Warren, VT
Bronze: Nutcase Peanut Butter Porter, Listermann/Triple Digit Brewing Co., Cincinnati, OH

Category 12: Rye Beer, 83 Entries
Gold: Rye Pale Ale, The Civil Life Brewing Co., St. Louis, MO
Silver: Rye of the Tiger, Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant – Media, Media, PA
Bronze: Rockchuck Rye, Lander Brewing Co., Lander, WY

Category 13: Specialty Honey Beer, 56 Entries
Gold: Mampara, Wicked Weed Brewing Funkatorium, Asheville, NC
Silver: Mexican Honey, Indeed Brewing Co., Minneapolis, MN
Bronze: Blue Moon Honey Grand Cru, Blue Moon Brewing Co., Denver, CO

Category 14: Session Beer, 94 Entries
Gold: Oatmeal Stout, Benchmark Brewing Co., San Diego, CA
Silver: Guillaume, Pizza Port Ocean Beach, Ocean Beach, CA
Bronze: Mosaic Session Ale, Karl Strauss Brewing Co. – La Jolla, La Jolla, CA

Category 15: Other Strong Beer, 43 Entries
Gold: Double White, Marble Brewery, Albuquerque, NM
Silver: Shadow of the Moon Imperial Stout, Flossmoor Station Brewing Co., Flossmoor, IL
Bronze: Aphotic Imperial Porter, High Water Brewing, Chico, CA

Category 16: Experimental Beer, 79 Entries
Gold: Key Lime Pie, Short’s Brewing Co., Elk Rapids, MI
Silver: Redrock Paardebloem, Redrock Brewing Co., Salt Lake City, UT
Bronze: Black Project #1, Former Future Brewing Co., Denver, CO

Category 17: Fresh or Wet Hop Ale, 34 Entries
Gold: Fresh Hop Pallet Jack IPA, Barley Brown’s Brew Pub, Baker City, OR
Silver: Fresh Hop Superpower IPA, Comrade Brewing Co., Denver, CO
Bronze: Acequia IPA, Bosque Brewing Co., Albuquerque, NM

Category 18: Indigenous/Regional Beer, 31 Entries
Gold: Salmonberry Sour, Bend Brewing Co., Bend, OR
Silver: Choc Lobster, Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats, Rehoboth Beach, DE
Bronze: Sage Fight IPA, Deschutes Brewery, Bend, OR

Category 19: Historical Beer, 14 Entries
Gold: Thurston, New Helvetia Brewing Co., Sacramento, CA
Silver: White Eagle Smoked Wheat, RAM Restaurant & Brewery – Schaumburg, Schaumburg, IL
Bronze: Poor Richard’s Tavern Spruce, Yards Brewing Co., Philadelphia, PA

Category 20: Gluten-Free Beer, 20 Entries
Gold: Dark Ale, Ground Breaker Brewing, Portland, OR
Silver: Glutart, Bonfire Brewing, Eagle, CO
Bronze: Liberation Gluten Free, Shine Brewing Co., Boulder, CO

Category 21: American-Belgo-Style Ale, 69 Entries
Gold: White IPA, Badger Hill Brewing, St. Louis Park, MN
Silver: Belgian IPA, Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant – Rockville, Rockville, MD
Bronze: Le Freak, Green Flash Brewing Co., San Diego, CA

Category 22: American-Style Sour Ale, 56 Entries
Gold: Cosmic Dust, The Rare Barrel, Berkeley, CA
Silver: Myrtle, The Commons Brewery, Portland, OR
Bronze: Los Innovadores Kriek, Santa Fe Brewing Co., Santa Fe, NM

Category 23: American-Style Brett Beer, 44 Entries
Gold: Beltane, Propolis Brewing, Port Townsend, WA
Silver: Peche ‘n Brett, Logsdon Organic Farm Brewery, Hood River, OR
Bronze: Curiosity No. 2, Creature Comforts Brewing Co., Athens, GA

Category 24: Wood- and Barrel-Aged Beer, 64 Entries
Gold: Bourbon Barrel Drafty Kilt, Monday Night Brewing, Atlanta, GA
Silver: Private Stock #472, Bastone Brewery, Royal Oak, MI
Bronze: Reintarnation, Ei8ht Ball Brewing, Newport, KY

Category 25: Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Beer, 107 Entries
Gold: Lonesome Dove, Sun King Brewery, Indianapolis, IN
Silver: Barrel Aged 666: Sympathy for the Devil, Sun King Brewery, Indianapolis, IN
Bronze: Buffalo Bock, Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery, Minneapolis, MN

Category 26: Wood- and Barrel-Aged Sour Beer, 65 Entries
Gold: Sour Beer #2, Two Brothers Brewing Co., Warrenville, IL
Silver: Recolte Du Bois – Apricot, Tahoe Mountain Brewing Co. – Truckee, Truckee, CA
Bronze: Yazoo Embrace the Funk “Cherry Deux Rouges”, Yazoo Brewing Co., Nashville, TN

Category 27: Aged Beer, 22 Entries
Gold: 2012 Great Scot!, Peticolas Brewing Co., Dallas, TX
Silver: Saint Bob’s Imperial Stout ‘07, Canteen Brewhouse, Albuquerque, NM
Bronze: Brother Dewey’s Date Night, College Street Brewhouse & Pub, Lake Havasu City, AZ

Category 28: Kellerbier or Zwickelbier, 48 Entries
Gold: Gold Beach Lager, Arch Rock Brewing Co., Gold Beach, OR
Silver: Surfliner Lager, Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. – Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA
Bronze: 18th Rebellion, Horse Thief Hollow, Chicago, IL

Category 29: Smoke Beer, 55 Entries
Gold: Rauchbier, Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant – Annapolis, Annapolis, MD
Silver: Smokejumper Smoked Imperial Porter, Left Hand Brewing Co., Longmont, CO
Bronze: Alaskan Smoked Porter 2013, Alaskan Brewing Co., Juneau, AK

Category 30: American-Style or International-Style Pilsener, 29 Entries
Gold: Pre-Flight Pilsner, Airways Brewing Co., Kent, WA
Silver: Howdy Beer, The Post Brewing Co., Lafayette, CO
Bronze: Remain In Light, Cambridge Brewing Co., Cambridge, MA

Category 31: German-Style Pilsener, 75 Entries
Gold: Pivo, Firestone Walker Brewing Co., Paso Robles, CA
Silver: STS Pils, Russian River Brewing Co., Santa Rosa, CA
Bronze: Tiny Bomb, Wiseacre Brewing Co., Memphis, TN

Category 32: Bohemian-Style Pilsener, 46 Entries
Gold: Class VI Golden Lager, Chama River Brewing Co., Albuquerque, NM
Silver: Patio Pounding Pilz, LowDown Brewery + Kitchen, Denver, CO
Bronze: Double Aught, Bear Republic Brewing Co., Healdsburg, CA

Category 33: Munich-Style Helles, 50 Entries
Gold: Golden Export, Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant, Broomfield, CO
Silver: Saint Arnold Summer Pils, Saint Arnold Brewing Co., Houston, TX
Bronze: Stammtisch Lager, Titletown Brewing Co., Green Bay, WI

Category 34: Dortmunder or German-Style Oktoberfest, 26 Entries
Gold: The Weasel, CB & Potts Restaurant & Brewery – Highlands Ranch, Highlands Ranch, CO
Silver: Rolling Thunder Dortmunder, Snake River Brewing, Jackson, WY
Bronze: Move Back, The Sandlot, Denver, CO

Category 35: American-Style Lager or Light Lager, 32 Entries
Gold: Miller Lite, Miller Brewing Co., Milwaukee, WI
Silver: Coors Light, Coors Brewing Co., Golden, CO
Bronze: Coors Banquet, Coors Brewing Co., Golden, CO

Category 36: American-Style Cream Ale, 43 Entries
Gold: Primo, Pabst Brewing Co., Los Angeles, CA
Silver: Old Style, Pabst Brewing Co., Los Angeles, CA
Bronze: Colorado Cream Ale, Station 26 Brewing Co., Denver, CO

Category 37: Vienna-Style Lager, 48 Entries
Gold: Danish Red Lager, Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. – Buellton, Buellton, CA
Silver: Gumps, Platt Park Brewing Co., Denver, CO
Bronze: VTwin, Motorworks Brewing, Bradenton, FL

Category 38: German-Style Märzen, 59 Entries
Gold: Capital Oktoberfest, Capital Brewery Co., Middleton, WI
Silver: Duck-Rabbit Marzen, The Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery, Farmville, NC
Bronze: Octoberfest, Abita Brewing Co., Abita Springs, LA

Category 39: American-Style Amber Lager, 52 Entries
Gold: Colorado Native Amber Lager, AC Golden, Golden, CO
Silver: Colorado Native Golden Lager, AC Golden, Golden, CO
Bronze: Rocket Bike Lager, Moab Brewery, Moab, UT

Category 40: European-Style Dunkel, 23 Entries
Gold: Chuckanut Dunkel, Chuckanut Brewery, Bellingham, WA
Silver: Buoy Dunkel, Buoy Beer Co., Astoria, OR
Bronze: Dunkles, Gordon Biersch Brewing Co., San Jose, CA

Category 41: American-Style Dark Lager, 19 Entries
Gold: Lagerithm, Bottle Logic Brewing, Anaheim, CA
Silver: Old Virginia Dark, Devils Backbone Brewing Co. – Outpost, Lexington, VA
Bronze: Shiner Bock, Spoetzl Brewery, Shiner, TX

Category 42: German-Style Schwarzbier, 37 Entries
Gold: Schwartz Bier, Devils Backbone Brewing Co. – Outpost, Lexington, VA
Silver: Lobo Negro, Pedernales Brewing Co., Fredericksburg, TX
Bronze: Duck-Rabbit Schwarzbier, The Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery, Farmville, NC

Category 43: Bock, 27 Entries
Gold: Troegenator, Tröegs Brewing Co., Hershey, PA
Silver: Turbo Cougar, Devils Backbone Brewing Co. – Outpost, Lexington, VA
Bronze: Winterbock, Triumph Brewing Co. of New Hope, New Hope, PA

Category 44: German-Style Doppelbock or Eisbock, 20 Entries
Gold: Samuel Adams Double Bock, Boston Beer Co., Boston, MA
Silver: The Kaiser, Avery Brewing Co., Boulder, CO
Bronze: The Regulator, Rahr & Sons Brewing Co., Fort Worth, TX

Category 45: Baltic-Style Porter, 42 Entries
Gold: Perkuno’s Hammer, Earth – Bread + Brewery, Philadelphia, PA
Silver: Black Eagle Baltic Porter, Black Tooth Brewing Co., Sheridan, WY
Bronze: Puddy Porter, Faction Brewing Co., Alameda, CA

Category 46: Golden or Blonde Ale, 90 Entries
Gold: No Medal Award
Silver: 5 Rabbit Golden Ale, 5 Rabbit Cerveceria, Bedford Park, IL
Bronze: Gold, Heavy Seas Beer, Baltimore, MD

Category 47: German-Style Kölsch, 84 Entries
Gold: Laimas Kolsch, FATE Brewing Co., Boulder, CO
Silver: I’d Like to Buy the World a Kolsch, Old Town Brewing Co., Portland, OR
Bronze: Canoe Paddler, Leinenkugel Brewing Co., Chippewa Falls, WI

Category 48: English-Style Summer Ale, 37 Entries
Gold: True Blonde Ale, Ska Brewing Co., Durango, CO
Silver: Ale 208, Grand Teton Brewing, Victor, ID
Bronze: Surfer’s Summer Ale, Pelican Brewing Co., Tillamook, OR

Category 49: Classic English-Style Pale Ale, 33 Entries
Gold: HopFish, Flying Fish Brewing Co., Somerdale, NJ
Silver: Caldera Ashland Amber, Caldera Brewing Co., Ashland, OR
Bronze: Extra Pale Ale, Summit Brewing Co., Saint Paul, MN

Category 50: English-Style India Pale Ale, 33 Entries
Gold: Tumbleweed IPA, Lewis & Clark Brewing Co., Helena, MT
Silver: Gatecrasher IPA, Temperance Beer Co., Evanston, IL
Bronze: Burton IPA, Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant – Media, Media, PA

Category 51: International-Style Pale Ale, 88 Entries
Gold: Hand Truck Pale Ale, Barley Brown’s Beer, Baker City, OR
Silver: Summer Ale, Fremont Brewing Co., Seattle, WA
Bronze: The Pupil, Societe Brewing Co., San Diego, CA

Category 52: American-Style Pale Ale, 145 Entries
Gold: Grunion, Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits – Scripps Ranch, San Diego, CA
Silver: NYPA, Peekskill Brewery, Peekskill, NY
Bronze: Reef Donkey APA, Tampa Bay Brewing Co., Tampa, FL

Category 53: American-Style Strong Pale Ale, 134 Entries
Gold: Scepter Head, Draught Works, Missoula, MT
Silver: Fire Eagle, Austin Beerworks, Austin, TX
Bronze: Breakside Wanderlust IPA, Breakside Brewery, Milwaukie, OR

Category 54: American-Style India Pale Ale, 279 Entries
Gold: Breakside IPA, Breakside Brewery, Milwaukie, OR
Silver: Heyoka, Half Acre Beer Co., Chicago, IL
Bronze: Bodhi, Columbus Brewing Co., Columbus, OH

Category 55: Imperial India Pale Ale, 135 Entries
Gold: Creeper, Columbus Brewing Co., Columbus, OH
Silver: Hop 15, Port Brewing Co., San Marcos, CA
Bronze: Pliny the Elder, Russian River Brewing Co., Santa Rosa, CA

Category 56: American-Style Amber/Red Ale, 140 Entries
Gold: Dougie Style Amber Ale, Canteen Brewhouse, Albuquerque, NM
Silver: Amber Waves Ale, Capitol City Brewing Co., Arlington, VA
Bronze: Rocco Red Ale, Bootlegger’s Brewery, Fullerton, CA

Category 57: Imperial Red Ale, 62 Entries
Gold: Imperial Red, Marble Brewery, Albuquerque, NM
Silver: Hop Donkey Imperial Red Ale, Auburn Alehouse, Auburn, CA
Bronze: Shark Attack, Port Brewing Co., San Marcos, CA

Category 58: English-Style Mild Ale, 40 Entries
Gold: Workman’s Compensation, Lion Bridge Brewing Co., Cedar Rapids, IA
Silver: Mamoot Mild Ale, Logboat Brewing Co., Columbia, MO
Bronze: S.S. Minnow Mild Ale, Dry Dock Brewing Co. – South Dock, Aurora, CO

Category 59: Ordinary or Special Bitter, 38 Entries
Gold: London Homesick Ale, Oasis, Texas Brewing Co., Austin, TX
Silver: Cutthroat, Uinta Brewing Co., Salt Lake City, UT
Bronze: Wisco Disco, Stillmank Brewing Co., Green Bay, WI

Category 60: Extra Special Bitter, 71 Entries
Gold: Public Ale, Community Beer Co., Dallas, TX
Silver: RedFish, Flying Fish Brewing Co., Somerdale, NJ
Bronze: 14° ESB, Bent Paddle Brewing Co., Duluth, MN

Category 61: Scottish-Style Ale, 51 Entries
Gold: Scottish Pride, McHale’s Brewhouse, Chattanooga, TN
Silver: Back Country Scottish Ale, Lewis & Clark Brewing Co., Helena, MT
Bronze: McGreagor Scottish Ale, Kootenai River Brewing Co., Bonners Ferry, ID

Category 62: Irish-Style Red Ale, 60 Entries
Gold: ‘Rado’s Red Ale, Crow Hop Brewing Co., Loveland, CO
Silver: Piper Down, Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits – Scripps Ranch, San Diego, CA
Bronze: “Hydraulion” Red, Three Notch’d Brewing Co., Charlottesville, VA

Category 63: English-Style Brown Ale, 67 Entries
Gold: Sir William’s English Brown Ale, Grapevine Craft Brewery, Grapevine, TX
Silver: No Medal Awarded
Bronze: Bonanza Brown Ale, Tenaya Creek Brewery, Las Vegas, NV

Category 64: American-Style Brown Ale, 81 Entries
Gold: Face Down Brown, Telluride Brewing Co., Telluride, CO
Silver: Braggarts Brown Ale, Diebolt Brewing Co., Denver, CO
Bronze: Upslope Brown Ale, Upslope Brewing Co., Boulder, CO

Category 65: American-Style Black Ale, 72 Entries
Gold: Black IPA, Cannonball Creek Brewing Co., Golden, CO
Silver: Black Hops Tactical IPA, Überbrew, Billings, MT
Bronze: Turmoil, Barley Brown’s Brew Pub, Baker City, OR

Category 66: German-Style Sour Ale, 80 Entries
Gold: Reserve Wheat Ale, Telegraph Brewing Co., Santa Barbara, CA
Silver: Old Pro Gose, Union Craft Brewing, Baltimore, MD
Bronze: Berliner Weiss, Fegley’s Brew Works, Allentown, PA

Category 67: German-Style Altbier, 33 Entries
Gold: Red Alt, White Bluffs Brewing, Richland, WA
Silver: Dusseldorf Altbier, Redwood Curtain Brewing Co., Arcata, CA
Bronze: Alt Bier, Devils Backbone Brewing Co. – Basecamp, Roseland, VA

Category 68: South German-Style Hefeweizen, 89 Entries
Gold: Little Egypt Hefeweizen, Carbondale Craft Beer, Carbondale, IL
Silver: Hefeweizen, Black Market Brewing Co., Temecula, CA
Bronze: Washout Wheat, Holy City Brewing, Charleston, SC

Category 69: German-Style Wheat Ale, 29 Entries
Gold: AlpenGlow, Fat Head’s Brewery & Saloon, North Olmsted, OH
Silver: Weizenbock, 13 Virtues Brewing Co., Portland, OR
Bronze: Saint Arnold Weedwacker, Saint Arnold Brewing Co., Houston, TX

Category 70: Belgian-Style Blonde Ale or Pale Ale, 44 Entries
Gold: Jean-Claude Van Blond, Wit’s End Brewing Co., Denver, CO
Silver: Babe’s Belgian Vanilla Blonde Ale, Babe’s Bar-B-Que & Brewhouse, Rancho Mirage, CA
Bronze: Rainmaker Ale, Stormcloud Brewing Co., Frankfort, MI

Category 71: Belgian-Style Witbier, 65 Entries
Gold: White Ale, Saint Archer Brewing Co., San Diego, CA
Silver: Ommegang Witte, Brewery Ommegang, Cooperstown, NY
Bronze: ZON Belgian-Style Witbier, Boulevard Brewing Co., Kansas City, MO

Category 72: French- and Belgian-Style Saison, 115 Entries
Gold: Daily Wages, Brasserie Saint James, Reno, NV
Silver: Un Atout, Beachwood BBQ & Brewing, Long Beach, CA
Bronze: Saison-Brett, Boulevard Brewing Co., Kansas City, MO

Category 73: Belgian- and French-Style Ale, 27 Entries
Gold: Grisette, Sly Fox Brewing Co., Pottstown, PA
Silver: The Citizen, DC Brau Brewing Co., Washington, DC
Bronze: Barren Hill Biere De Extra, Barren Hill Tavern and Brewery, Lafayette Hill, PA

Category 74: Belgian-Style Lambic or Sour Ale, 60 Entries
Gold: Benedictum, Real Ale Brewing Co., Blanco, TX
Silver: Coolship Resurgam, Allagash Brewing Co., Portland, ME
Bronze: Jon Flanders, Tustin Brewing Co., Tustin, CA

Category 75: Belgian-Style Abbey Ale, 62 Entries
Gold: Samuel Adams Tetravis, Boston Beer Co., Boston, MA
Silver: Sanitarium, Bier Brewery, Indianapolis, IN
Bronze: Dubbel Entendre, Sound Brewery, Poulsbo, WA

Category 76: Belgian-Style Tripel, 58 Entries
Gold: Golden Monkey, Victory Brewing Co., Downingtown, PA
Silver: Bedotter, Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant – Newark, Newark, DE
Bronze: La Flama Dorada, Pizza Port Ocean Beach, Ocean Beach, CA

Category 77: Belgian-Style Strong Specialty Ale, 64 Entries
Gold: Squatters Hell’s Keep, Utah Brewers Cooperative, Salt Lake City, UT
Silver: Thor’s Hammer, Bastone Brewery, Royal Oak, MI
Bronze: Golden Sabbath, Big Island Brewhaus, Kamuela, HI

Category 78: Other Belgian-Style Ale, 26 Entries
Gold: Witty Moron, Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Liberty Station, San Diego, CA
Silver: La Querelle, Mystery Brewing Co., Hillsborough, NC
Bronze: Darth Delirium, Broken Tooth Brewing, Anchorage, AK

Category 79: Brown Porter, 61 Entries
Gold: Double Nut Brown, Mammoth Brewing Co., Mammoth Lakes, CA
Silver: Black Jack Porter, Left Hand Brewing Co., Longmont, CO
Bronze: Power House Porter, Sockeye Brewing, Boise, ID

Category 80: Robust Porter, 83 Entries
Gold: Pop’s Porter, Wynwood Brewing Co., Miami, FL
Silver: Porter, Founders Brewing Co., Grand Rapids, MI
Bronze: Peck’s Porter, Tapistry Brewing Co., Bridgman, MI

Category 81: Classic Irish-Style Dry Stout, 26 Entries
Gold: Irish Table, Fonta Flora Brewery, Morganton, NC
Silver: Shaft House Stout, Dostal Alley Brewpub & Casino, Central City, CO
Bronze: Asphalt Jungle, Bagby Beer Co., Oceanside, CA

Category 82: Foreign-Style Stout, 32 Entries
Gold: Void of Light, Gun Hill Brewing Co., Bronx, NY
Silver: Wooster New Stout, JAFB Wooster Brewery, Wooster, OH
Bronze: San Quentin’s Breakout Stout, Marin Brewing Co., Larkspur, CA

Category 83: American-Style Stout, 48 Entries
Gold: Defender, Haymarket Pub & Brewery, Chicago, IL
Silver: Disorder, Barley Brown’s Brew Pub, Baker City, OR
Bronze: P2P, 10 Barrel Brewing Co., Bend, OR

Category 84: Sweet Stout or Cream Stout, 64 Entries
Gold: West O CocO Stout, West O Beer, West Okoboji, IA
Silver: Milk Stout, Left Hand Brewing Co., Longmont, CO
Bronze: Outlaw Milk Stout, Great Basin Brewing Co. – Reno, Reno, NV

Category 85: Oatmeal Stout, 55 Entries
Gold: Gold Medal Oatmeal Stout, Blue Corn Café and Brewery, Santa Fe, NM
Silver: Darkside of the Pint, Four Seasons Brewing Co., Latrobe, PA
Bronze: Backside Stout, Steamworks Brewing Co., Durango, CO

Category 86: Imperial Stout, 78 Entries
Gold: Quakertown, Armadillo Ale Works, Denton, TX
Silver: Double Negative, Grimm Artisanal Ales, Brooklyn, NY
Bronze: Narwhal Imperial Stout, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Chico, CA

Category 87: Scotch Ale, 47 Entries
Gold: Wee Heavy, Steel Toe Brewing, St. Louis Park, MN
Silver: Loch, BRU Handbuilt Ales & Eats, Boulder, CO
Bronze: Marauder, Schooner’s Grille & Brewery, Antioch, CA

Category 88: Old Ale or Strong Ale, 32 Entries
Gold: Arctic Alchemy, Fegley’s Brew Works, Allentown, PA
Silver: Old Scrooge, Silver City Brewery, Bremerton, WA
Bronze: Good Faith, Discretion Brewing, Soquel, CA

Category 89: Barley Wine-Style Ale, 51 Entries
Gold: AleSmith Old Numbskull, AleSmith Brewing Co., San Diego, CA
Silver: Mastiff Barleywine, Campbell Brewing Co., Campbell, CA
Bronze: Galaxian, Bootlegger’s Brewery, Fullerton, CA

Category 90: Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Stout, 109 Entries
Gold: A Night to End All Dawns, Kane Brewing Co., Ocean, NJ
Silver: Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Star, Fremont Brewing Co., Seattle, WA
Bronze: Jaguar Shark, Pinthouse Pizza Craft Brewpub, Austin, TX

2014 Great American Beer Festival Pro-Am Competition, 89 Entries
Gold: Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Scottish 80 Shilling Ale, Bear Republic Brewing Co., Healdsburg, CA
Brewmaster: Team Bear Republic/Richard Norgrove, AHA Member: Michael Kelly

Silver: Spencer Pale Ale, Kokopelli Beer Co., Westminster, CO
Brewmaster: Kokopelli Brew Crew, AHA Member: Daniel Christensen

Bronze: I Wanna Rauch!, Springfield Brewing Co., Springfield, MO
Brewmaster: Ashton Lewis & Bruce Johnson, AHA Member: Keith Wallis

The 2014 Great American Beer Festival Brewery & Brewer of the Year Awards

Very Small Brewing Company of the Year
Draught Works, Missoula, MT
Brewer: Draught Works Brew Team

Small Brewing Company of the Year
Marble Brewery, Albuquerque, NM
Brewer: Team Marble

Mid-Size Brewing Company of the Year
Devils Backbone Brewing Co. – Outpost, Lexington, VA
Brewer: DB Brewery Team

Large Brewing Company of the Year
AC Golden, Golden, CO
Brewer: AC Golden Brewing Team

Small Brewpub of the Year
Bastone Brewery, Royal Oak, MI
Brewer: Rockne Van Meter

Mid-Size Brewpub of the Year
Brasserie Saint James, Reno, NV
Brewer: Josh Watterson & Matt Watterson

Large Brewpub of the Year
Beachwood BBQ & Brewing, Long Beach, CA
Brewer: Julian Shrago & Ian McCall

Zwanze Day 2014

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Yesterday was Zwanze Day, an annual holiday deliciously made up by Jean Van Roy of Brasserie Cantillon. Cantillon made the first Zwanze beer in 2008, which that year was a rhubarb beer. In subsequent years they’ve made beers with elderflowers, pineau d’aunis (a red wine grape) and a sour witbier, made with the traditional coriander and orange peel. This year’s beer, Cuvée Florian, is essentially Iris Grand Cru blended with cherries, a new version of a beer Van Roy made for his son to celebrate his 18th birthday.

Each year, the beer is tapped at the very same time at locations around the world, regardless of times zone. This year the Zwanze Day beer was available at 56 beer bars or breweries in sixteen countries. One of those was Russian River Brewing, one of my local breweries, so I spent the afternoon there with owners Vinnie and Natalie Cilurzo, along with Rich and Tammy Norgrove (owners of Bear Republic Brewing) and a few of their friends.

But before we get to the beer, here’s a little history of Zwanze Day. Belgium has essentially two separate regions, with the northern half known as Flanders. The language spoken there is a dialect of Dutch, known by the same name as the people of Flanders: Flemish. The word “zwanze” is unique to Flemish, has its origins in Yiddish, and essentially means a self-deprecating type of humor that’s typified by sharp-edged, playful jokes, usually good-natured. It’s said that this type of humor has become “a characteristic, defining trait” of the Flemish themselves, and for some a way of life. A “zwanze” is a joke, a “zwanzer” a joker. It was with that same playful spirit that Cantillon approached the concept of making a Zwanze beer. The goal was to create a fun beer; something a little unusual, using non-traditional ingredients.

And here’s Jean Van Roy writing his explanation of this year’s Zwanze beer:

Some of you have already had the opportunity to taste Iris Grand Cru aged 3 years in a 400-litre cask. This product was sold without having been blended with a younger beer and so there was no possibility of secondary fermentation. As a result, Iris Grand Cru is a non-sparkling beer and it is meant to be drunk like cereal wine. Without cold hopping, its fragrances tend more towards the characteristic acidity of a spontaneous fermentation product associated with a slight caramel taste.

In other news, my eldest son, Florian, turned 18 on 3 May. To duly celebrate his transition to adulthood, and as the worthy son of a lambic brewer, Flo received a rather original birthday gift: an entire cask filled with “Cuvée Florian”.

Admittedly, finding the name was easy, but it was another matter to come up with the actual beer we were going to produce on this occasion. When I first tasted the Iris Grand Cru, I immediately thought that adding a touch of fruitiness to the caramel accent could be very complementary. And since my son’s favourite beer is kriek, I based myself on a mix of these two products to create his birthday present.

As my goal was not to create some kind of kriek clone, I reduced the amount of fruit by 40% in this blend with the Iris Grand Cru. After all, the core idea was to contribute fruitiness and mellowness to the base beer, not recreate a beer that tasted like sour cherries. Although cold-hopping with the same quantities used for “traditional” Iris would probably have masked the blend’s very subtle fragrances, I still wanted to add a touch of bitterness to this birthday present and decided to opt for a small dose of superb and very delicate Bramling Cross hops. The linger on the palate is very complex while the fruity fragrances of the hops play a subtle role without throwing off balance the beer’s range of flavours and bouquet.

For this Zwanze 2014 I had originally planned on using the spontaneous fermentation stout brewed at the beginning of 2013, but despite the fact that this beer is already very good I have the feeling that another year of maturing in a cask will give it more delicateness and character. In light of this we needed another beer to replace our “wild” stout so as to be able to organise our Zwanze Day, and as you will undoubtedly have understood by now, the success of “Cuvée Florian” meant that it did not take very long for us to make a decision.

I did ask the kid if he was OK with me making a new version of his birthday present, and since this was not a problem for him, it was only logical to call this Zwanze 2014 “Cuvée Florian”!

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Natalie Cilurzo announcing that the Zwanze Day beer was tapped and explaining how each person would get their pour in an orderly fashion, in an effort to avoid the day devolving into chaos. Happily, everything ran smoothly.

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The first pour of Cuvée Florian for Zwanze Day 2014.

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In order to insure that everyone got a pour of the Cuvée Florian in the order that they arrived, Russian River handed out numbered tickets. Numbers 1 and 2 arrived at the brewpub last night, and closed the place, then waited at the door overnight to be first in line when they opened on Zwanze Day. This is customers #1 and #2, Steven Weinschenk and his friend Tony Carvutto, for the Zwanze Day beer, Cuvée Florian.

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My pour. After the keg emptied, about an hour after it was tapped, kegs of Cantillon Gueuze and then Rosé de Gambrinus were tapped, too. It’s always a great experience enjoying freshly tapped Cantillon. But they were also pouring aged Beatification, Russian River’s abbey double, which was tasting awesome. But I’m also really enjoying a couple of their new beers, Dribble Belt, a “hoppy session ale, and the STS Pils.

And finally, here’s a short video of the first pours of this year’s Zwanze Day beer, Cuvée Florian at Russian River. A special thanks to Vinnie and Natalie Cilurzo for their hospitality. Another fun Zwanze Day.

Moonlighting At Moonlight: The Hop Harvest 2014

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For a number of years, the winding down of summer brings one of my favorite traditions: hop harvest. Brian Hunt, from nearby Moonlight Brewing — the best brewer you’ve probably never heard of unless you’re from the Bay Area — has a quarter-acre of hops planted on his brewery property, known as “The Abbey de St. Humulus,” which he uses each year to make his Fresh Hop Ale, Homegrown. As we do every year we’re able, the whole family, mother-in-law included, made our way to hop harvest, which Brian does 19th century-style. Which means that entire families get together for the day, and spend hours cutting down the bines, and hand-picking the hops and filling up buckets, which will be dumped into the beer without being kilned the same day, all the while eating, drinking and socializing. In a few weeks, Homegrown will be on draft at select bars around the Bay Area, along with plenty of other fresh hop beers as beerjolais nouveau season gets underway. Below is a little photo essay of our day picking hops.

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A row of hops, ready to be picked.

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My son Porter helping me with the first stages of harvesting, cutting the bines along the bottom.

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The next step will be cutting them at the top, so we can pull them down to pick the hop cones off of the bines.

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Brin Hunt working the long knife, bring down a bine for harvesting.

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A shady spot is made under multiple pop-up canopies with a tarp floor, where the hop bines are laid out for picking, then everybody sits around and carefully pulls off the hop flowers, discarding the leaves, stems, bines and other material so only the hops that flavor the beer are separated into buckets.

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Only the flowers go into the beer.

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My wife Sarah demonstrating how when one bucket is filled, you move on to the next empty one.

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While hops are not simply loaded into your beer glass, like bitter ice cubes, with some hoppy beers, it certainly seems that way.

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There’s nothing quite like being in a hop field at harvest time, the sights and smells are amazing, with the intense aromas of hops hanging thick in the air.

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My daughter Alice digging in an almost-full bucket of freshly picked hops, nearly ready to be added to the beer.

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A very fun day picking hops in the warm California sunshine. While it was great fun, we’re all exhausted and a little sore, with scratches all over our bodies. Thank goodness, tomorrow is Labor Day, and we can relax without doing much labor, apart from enjoying a few beers.

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In a few weeks time, keep an eye out for Moonlight Brewing’s Homegrown Fresh Hop Ale, along with many other fresh hop, or wet hop, beers. They’re only around for a very short time, and once they;re gone, that’s it until next year. These are beers with intense hop aromas and flavors, and the fresher they are, better they taste.