Bistro IPA Festival Winners 2014

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For the fourth straight year I missed the Bistro IPA Festival, as I was in Yosemite National Park with my family. Happily, owner Vic Kralj was again kind enough to send me the list of the winners. Citra Extra Pale Ale, from Knee Deep Brewing in Lincoln (and a new brewery and tap room in Auburn), was chosen best in show, out of 75 IPA offerings, at the 17th annual IPA Festival yesterday at the Bistro in Hayward, California. The full list of winners is below.

Beer Birthday: Dave Buhler

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Today is Dave Buhler’s 55th birthday. Ironically, like Dick Cantwell, whose birthday was yesterday, Dave is also a co-owner of Elysian Brewing in Seattle, Washington. Join me in wishing Dave a very happy birthday.

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Fal Allen and Dave Buhler at OBF.

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Dave and Celebrator publisher Tom Dalldorf (at right). Neither Tom or I could identify the fellow in the middle, sorry about that. Can anybody help me out and tell me who that is?

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At the Celebrator’s best of the West Beer Festival in 2009.

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Dave with his business partner and Elyisian co-founder Dick Cantwell at GABF in 2006.

James Beard Semifinalists Announced

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The 2014 semifinalist nominations for the James Beard Awards were announced yesterday, and the good news is there are quite a few beer professionals among the nominees for “Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Professional.” If you’re not familiar with the prestigious food awards, here’s how the James Beard Foundation describe their annual awards. “Covering all aspects of the industry — from chefs and restaurateurs to cookbook authors and food journalists to restaurant designers and architects and more — the Beard Awards are the highest honor for food and beverage professionals working in North America.” Until very recently, the awards were almost exclusively food and wine-centric, but more recently “beverage professionals” has slowly been expanding to include craft beer and spirits, too. It’s been nice to see the prejudice against beer in the food, cooking and restaurant world finally beginning to slide away. Too slowly, perhaps, but still … it’s about time and nice to see.

The list released yesterday is the semifinalists. On March 19, a smaller list of finalists will be announced from among the semifinalists and the award winners will be announced over two days in early May. In the category “Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Professional,” seven of the twenty semifinalists work in the beer world. Hopefully, they’ll all make the cut next month.

  • Sam Calagione, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Milton, DE
  • Don Feinberg and Wendy Littlefield, Vanberg & DeWulf, Cooperstown, NY
  • Mike Floyd, Nick Floyd, and Simon Floyd, Three Floyds Brewing, Munster, IN
  • Garrett Oliver, Brooklyn Brewery, Brooklyn, NY
  • Tom Peters, Monk’s Cafe, Philadelphia
  • Joey Redner, Cigar City Brewing, Tampa, FL
  • Rob Tod, Allagash Brewing Company, Portland, ME

Congratulations to all the semifinalists. It’s a great list, all deserving, though I’m especially pleased to see Tom Peters, who I just traveled to Belgium with last week, along with Don Feinberg and Wendy Littlefield, who I had dinner with in Ghent last week, make the list.

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Bistro Double IPA Winners 2014

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Kinetic‘s After Burner was chosen best in show at the 14th annual Double IPA Festival today at the Bistro in Hayward, California. A total of 46 Double IPAs and 26 Triple IPAs were judged. The full winner’s list is below.

Double IPAs

Triple IPAs

Peoples Choice Awards

Congratulations to all the winners.

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The scene at today’s Double IPA Festival at The Bistro.

Some Girls For Strong Beer Month

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It’s February, and that means it’s time for the 12th annual Strong Beer Month, once again with six new extreme beers each at 21st Amendment and Magnolia throughout the month. Try them all, and you get to keep the commemorative logo glass. Just collect all 12 punches in your Strong Beer Month ticket before the beer’s all gone. You can read all about it at both Magnolia and 21st Amendment websites.

This year’s theme is the 1978 album “Some Girls” by the Rolling Stones. “The players on the album from left to right on the album (green row) are: Ben Spencer (Magnolia Head Brewer), Shaun O’Sullivan (21A owner), Zambo (21 Head Brewer), Dave McLean (Magnolia owner) and Nico Freccia (21A owner). There is also an Easter egg in the album, see if you can find Motor Kiesling, a good friend of both the 21A and Magnolia.”

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Here’s the beer for this year:

Side One: Magnolia:

  1. Rye Rye Rocco Rye Brown Ale: 8.1% abv
  2. Let It Rauch German-influenced Smoked Beer: 8.1% abv
  3. Promised Land Imperial IPA: 11.2% abv
  4. Smokestack Lightning Imperial Stout: 9.7% abv
  5. Quadlibet For Tenderfeet Belgian Abbey-style Quadrupel: 8% abv
  6. Old Thunderpussy Barleywine: 10.6% abv

Side Two: 21st Amendment:

  1. Framboise Forte d’Or Belgian-style Raspberry Golden Ale: 10.2% abv
  2. Dub Step Imperial I.P.A.: 10.2% abv
  3. Beast of Burden American-Belgo Imperial IPA: 9.9% abv
  4. Red Titan Giant Red Ale: 12.8%
  5. Bike Lane Hopper Imperial Black IPA: 9.6% abv
  6. Hendrick’s Imperial Stout: 9.3% abv

And here’s the back cover, too, with more details about each beer:

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This year for the first time, they also created a third poster, this one showing the Strong Beer Month gang pal’ing around with all of their celebrity friends. Must be nice to be a brewer.

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Winter Brews Festival In Concord January 25

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The 5th annual Winter Brews Festival, produced by the Brewing Network, will be held this year on Saturday, January 25 from Noon to 4:00 p.m. It will be held again in Concord, at Todos Santos Plaza, just two blocks from the Concord BART station. This year’s festival looks to be their best ever, with over fifty breweries confirmed to attend, including a few that we don’t often see in the Bay Area, such as Societe Brewing from San Diego, Jester King, from Texas, and our own Faction Brewing showcasing their beer at one of the first fest’s they’ve attended. Come give Rodger Davis a hard time; you know you want to!

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Tickets are currently on sale, and can be purchased online through Eventbrite. Here’s all the details from the press release:

The Brewing Network’s Winter Brews Festival returns to Todos Santos Plaza in Concord on Saturday January 25, 2014 from noon to 4pm to celebrate its fifth year as one of the best craft beer festivals in the Bay Area, and the only winter brews fest!

Nestled between the weekend of the NFL Playoffs and the Super Bowl, this event will showcase dozens of craft beer samples from more than 30 world class breweries; most of which call the Bay Area home. Attendees will enjoy unlimited tastings from breweries such as 21st Amendment, Faction, Firestone Walker, Jester King, Heretic, Ninkasi, Sierra Nevada, Societe, and Stone.

This year, the Winter Brews Fest will be bigger than ever—with more food, more music, and more beer! There will even be non-beer options such as world class mead from Moonlight Meadery out of New Hampshire. Sponsors of the event include the 21st Amendment and White Labs, and proceeds will benefit the local environmental non-profit, the Coral Reef Alliance.

Tickets are now on sale and are $35 pre-sale or $45 at the gate and include unlimited pours and a commemorative glass for the first 1,500 tickets sold. Designated Drivers get in free, however this is a 21 and over only event.

The event is conveniently located just two blocks away from the Concord BART station so mark your calendars for a craft beer infused day for a wonderful cause.

If you haven’t been to this festival before, it’s one of the better Bay Area beer festivals. Here’s some photos from last year’s event to give you a flavor for it.

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Food will also be available for purchase.

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Did I mention there will be music? This year Forrest Day and Lucas Ohio & the Shamblers will be performing.

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See you there!

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.

The Year In Beer On KQED Forum

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Earlier today I was on NPR for an hour-segment of KQED Forum, along with master cicerone Nicole Erny and 21st Amendment brewmaster and co-founder Shaun O’Sullivan. The host was Dave Iverson and although they titled the show The Year in Beer, we really covered a wide range of topics on beer more generally.

We talked for about an hour, and easily could have kept going all day long, especially if we’d had beer to drink. If you missed it live, you can hear the whole thing by pressing the gold triangle above. Enjoy.

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Me, Dave Iverson, Shaun and Nicole at the KQED studios after the show.

Four Score and Seven Beers Ago

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Today, of course, is the 80th anniversary of the repeal of prohibition, a.k.a. Repeal Day. Below is the original resolution from Congress, signed the following day.

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You may recall that earlier this year was also the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address. So I was goofing around this morning and modified Lincoln’s famous speech as a toast to the end of prohibition, which I titled “Four Score and Seven Beers Ago.” A score, to save you from checking Dictionary.com is 20 years, which is how long ago the 21st Amendment was ratified. Enjoy.

Four score and seven beers ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, the end of prohibition, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are entitled to a beer.

Now we are engaged in a great social war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met in a great brewery of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of this kettle, as a final resting place for the malt who here gave its life that that beer might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should toast this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this beer. The brave malt, hops and yeast, who fermented here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add more hops or filter it. The world will little note, nor long remember what beer we drank here, but it can never forget what they brewed here. It is for us the drinkers, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished beer which they who brewed here have thus far made with noble hops. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task of drinking more beer — that from these honored beers we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of hops — that we here highly resolve that these bottles shall not have been emptied in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom to drink beer — and that this beer of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Don’t read too much into it, again I was just goofing around with the words. I suppose it could be used as a toast if you were at a brewery, but otherwise, it’s just a little spoof, nothing more.

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So join me in bridging time and drinking a toast to prohibition’s end, 80 years later, and, of course, stay wet, my friends. Happy Repeal Day.

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