Golden Road’s Area Codes

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Ah, the numerical beers. First there was Goose Island’s 312. After being acquired by ABI, they proceeded to file trademark applications for many other metropolitan area codes, leaving many to speculate that they’d start doing locally themed area code beers. When the overlooked the San Luis Obispo / Paso Robles area code, Firestone Walker snapped up, almost as a joke, and started producing 805. It may have started out as a humorous idea, but it’s become one of their best-selling beers in their home market. Golden Road, who’s down the road in Los Angeles, named one of their beers 329, not for an area code, but for the average number of days that L.A. gets sunshine each year.

So they threw down about the area code beers in a musical parody entitled (Beers with) Area Codes, a spoof of Ludacris’ Area Codes (feat. Nate Dogg). The video features co-founder Meg Gill, and some of her brewery team, as they call out Matt Brynildson by name, and humorously dis his 805. Golden Road’s brewer Jesse Houck (who used to brew at Drake’s and 21st Amendment) can also seen briefly in a cameo. At the end, they give a shout out to other area codes, which at first sound made up, but they do mention my 707, so maybe not. All in all, a pretty funny music video.

Homebrewers Pick The Best Beers In America 2014

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For the 12th straight year, the readers of Zymurgy magazine were asked to send in a list of their 20 favorite commercially available beers. With a record number of votes in the poll’s twelfth year, over 1,600 different breweries were represented in the voting. The results were not exactly shocking, and most of the beers and breweries that got the most votes were what you’d expect, I think, but it’s an interesting list all the same. The results are, as usual, printed in the latest issue, July 2014.
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Top Rated Beers
KEY: T indicates tie / (#) indicates rank last year / No # indicates same rank as last year

Four of the top ten are California beers (there were seven last year), with 24 making the list. This is the sixth year in a row AHA members chose Pliny the Elder as the top beer. This also the fifth consecutive year that Bell’s Two Hearted Ale came in second.

1. Russian River Pliny the Elder
2. Bell’s Two Hearted Ale
3. Ballast Point Sculpin IPA (5)
4. Bell’s Hopslam
5. The Alchemist Heady Topper (16)
6. Lagunitas Sucks (9)
7. Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA (3)
8. Stone Enjoy By IPA (12)
9. Founders Breakfast Stout (6)
10. Goose Island Bourbon County Stout (25)
11. Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout (17)
12. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (15)
13. Firestone Walker Wookey Jack (20)
14. Three Floyds Zombie Dust (21)
T15. Lagunitas Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ (23)
T15. Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale (9)
17. Firestone Walker Double Jack
T18. Firestone Walker Union Jack (23)
T18. Arrogant Bastard Ale (7)
20. Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA (12)
21. Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye IPA (8)
22. Russian River Blind Pig I.P.A. (42)
T23. Deschutes Black Butte Porter (27)
T23. North Coast Old Rasputin (12)
25. Boulevard Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale (32)
26. Stone Ruination IPA (9)
27. Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA (not on last year’s list)
28. Russian River Pliny the Younger (39)
29. Left Hand Milk Stout (39)
30. Russian River Supplication (32)
31. Green Flash West Coast IPA (27)
32. Surly Furious (26)
33. New Belgium La Folie (32)
T34. Founders All Day IPA (not on last year’s list)
T34. Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA (30)
36. Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale (19)
37. Stone IPA
38. Lagunitas IPA (36)
T39. Russian River Consecration (31)
T39. Troegs Nugget Nectar (27)
41. Deschutes the Abyss (48)
42. Cigar City Jai Alai IPA (not on last year’s list)
43. Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA (21)
44. Oskar Blues Ten Fidy (not on last year’s list)
45. Surly Abrasive IPA (not on last year’s list)
46. New Belgium Ranger IPA (not on last year’s list)
T47. Ommegang Three Philosophers (48)
T47. Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter (39)
T49. Founders Backwoods Bastard (not on last year’s list)
T49. Odell IPA (38)

Brewery Rankings

Brewery rankings are based on total votes received by each brewery’s beers. This year’s top brewery is Russian River Brewing Co., in Santa Rosa, Calif. Russian River placed five beers in the top 50, including both its Plinys. Bell’s Brewery finished second, while last year’s winner, Stone Brewing Co., came in third this year. Seven California breweries made the list, with six from Colorado, and two from Michigan. Again, (#) indicates their rank last year.

1. Russian River Brewing Co., Santa Rosa, Calif. (2)
2. Bell’s Brewery, Kalamazoo, Mich. (5)
3. Stone Brewing Co., Escondido, Calif. (1)
4. Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Milton, Del.
5. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Chico, Calif. (3)
6. Founders Brewing Co., Grand Rapids, Mich. (6)
7. Firestone Walker Brewing Co., Paso Robles, Calif. (6)
8. Lagunitas Brewing Co., Petaluma, Calif.
9. Deschutes Brewery, Bend, Ore. (10)
10. New Belgium Brewing Co., Fort Collins, Colo. (9)
11. Three Floyds Brewing Co., Munster, Ind. (12)
12. Goose Island Beer Co., Chicago, Ill. (18)
13. Ballast Point Brewing Co., San Diego, Calif. (not on last year’s list)
14. Odell Brewing Co., Fort Collins, Colo. (11)
15. The Boston Beer Co., Boston, Mass. (16)
16. Boulevard Brewing Co., Kansas City, Mo. (17)
17. Oskar Blues Brewery, Longmont, Colo. (14)
18. New Glarus Brewing Co., New Glarus, Wis. (19)
19. Victory Brewing Co., Downington, Pa. (24)
20. Avery Brewing Co., Boulder, Colo. (13)
21. Surly Brewing Co., Minneapolis, Minn. (not on last year’s list)
22. Great Divide Brewing Co., Denver, Colo. (20)
23. Great Lakes Brewing Co., Cleveland, Ohio
24. The Bruery, Placentia, Calif. (not on last year’s list)
25. Left Hand Brewing Co., Longmont, Colo. (not on last year’s list)

Best Portfolio

They also determined which breweries got the most votes for different beers that they produce, and called that list “best portfolio.” The number following their name is how many of their beers got at least one vote. [#] indicates their rank last year.

1. New Belgium Brewing (60 beers) [7]
2. The Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams) (53 beers) [1]
3. Sierra Nevada Brewing Company (49 beers) [5]
4. Dogfish Head Craft Brewery (48 beers) [2]
5. Stone Brewing Co. (46 beers) [8]
T6. Bell’s Brewery (41 beers) [6]
T6. Short’s Brewing Co. (41 beers) [not on last year’s list]
8. Deschutes Brewery (40 beers) [10]
9. The Bruery (38 beers) [11]
T10. Avery Brewing Company (37 beers) [3]
T10. Boulevard Brewing Company (37 beers) [9]
T10. Goose Island Beer Company (26 beers) [8]

Top Imports

With a lot of ties, a few imports also received votes as readers’ favorite beers. As in years past, there was a decidedly all-American bent to the voting. Of the top 50 beers in the poll, none were produced by a foreign brewery, although Unibroue’s La Fin du Monde claimed the number one spot among imports. Again, [#] indicates their rank last year.

T1. Unibroue La Fin du Monde (Canada) [4]
T1. Guinness Draught (Ireland) [3]
3. St. Bernardus Abt 12 (Belgium) [6]
4. Westvletern XII (Belgium) [not on last year’s list]
T5. Rodenbach Grand Cru (Belgium) [4]
T5. Duvel (Belgium) [10]

Beer 101 Poster

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This would make a great Father’s Day gift, if only I had found it sooner. This beautiful-looking poster was created by Russell van Kraayenburg for Chasing Delicious. It’s in their Kitchen 101 section, which is a series of educational culinary infographic posters. The Beer 101 poster is available in several sizes, including 8.5 x 11, 12 x 18 and 24 x 36. It’s not perfect. I didn’t look at every single beer on it, but they did call IPAs “Indian Pale Ale.” Given that for each of the 72 beers, they show color, carbonation, head characteristics, suggested glass, food pairing, alcohol range, hoppiness, maltiness, fruity esters and adjuncts, it’s an ambitious job. There’s bound to be things we can quibble with, but overall it seems to be a nice job, and it certainly packs a lot of information into its attractive design.

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Next Session Dives Into Beer’s Role In History

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For our 89th Session, our host is Bill Kostkas, who is the Pittsburgh Beer Snob. For his topic, he’s chosen Beer in History, and he’s suggesting several paths you can take to participate in the July Session:

I love history. There’s just something about it. It’s fun. It’s interesting. It even gives me goosebumps. So, I only saw it to be fitting that I choose the topic of Beer in History.

Even better is the fact that the summer time is the main period of the calendar year that I absolutely delve into history. We just passed the 70th anniversary of the Invasion of Normandy (Many of you know it as D-Day or Operation Overlord). The latter portions of June mark the beginning of the Gettysburg campaign which culminates on July 3. The following date is obviously the Fourth of July here in the states.

At many points in history you can look back and find alcohol intertwined. A lot of times that form of alcohol is beer. Beer is something that connects us with the past, our forefathers as well as some of our ancestors. I want this topic to be a really open-ended one. So, it should be fairly easy to come up with something and participate.

Do you want to write about an important beer event with great historical significance? Famous figures that were brewers? Have you visited an establishment that has some awesome historic value? Maybe a historically-themed brewpub? I wouldn’t be surprised to even see a few posts on Prohibition. It doesn’t really matter when it comes to history!

One of my favorite quotes will be my guide for this month’s Session. “History flows forward in rivers of beer.”

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So dive back in your time machine and go back in brewing history to whatever era or event you like. On Friday, July 4, let us know what a long, strange trip it had been, by posting your own link by commenting on his announcement. And tell us: how did you get back to the present, anyway?

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Beer Outmaneuvering Wine

beer-vs-wine
Here’s some interesting news from the wine world, h/t to Jenn Litz from Craft Business Daily. Charles Gill, who runs Wine Metrics, which creates “on-premise wine distribution information in the U.S. market.” According to Litz, Gill has been saying lately that he believes that craft beer is taking market share from wine, which is curious, because “trade show rhetoric has often been the exact opposite.”

On Gill’s blog, Wine List USA, he claims that Craft Beer is Outmaneuvering Wine, and lists ten ways in which he believes that’s happening. Here’s his raw list.

  1. Value
  2. Innovation
  3. Promotion
  4. Community
  5. Venues
  6. Cross-Fertilization
  7. New Traditions
  8. Customer Loyalty
  9. Food Compatibility
  10. Gatekeepers

For a better understanding of that list, read his explanations for each one at the source, 10 Ways Craft Beer is Outmaneuvering Wine. I don’t tend to think about wine and beer as an us versus them proposition, but obviously the pie that is all alcohol consumption is divided into wedges of how much is spent on each type. There’s no getting around it. If more people buy beer, something else isn’t doing as well. It’s theoretically possible that the pie is just growing and people are buying more beer, but are not buying less wine, spirits, cider or what have you, but that’s not exactly realistic. If anything, the pie’s been shrinking, sad to say, as people are drinking less overall than they used to.

As to Gill’s list, I definitely agree with Value, Innovation and some of the Community aspects he mentions. And I also think Food Compatibility and most of what he says about New Traditions ring true, but I’m less convinced by the others. Do you agree? Or Disagree? If, so why, and to which ones?

beer-wine

Time For An Utepils

norway
The trivia website Dose recently had a list they posted of 21 Words That Don’t Exist In English, But Should. Essentially they’re words in other languages for which there’s no English equivalent, which Dose argues should be added to our dictionaries. Given our history of liberal “borrowing” of foreign words, I can’t see why not. The one word that caught my attention was Utepils (pronounced “oot-er-pillss”), a noun meaning “to sit outside on a sunny day enjoying a beer.”

According to the book “The untranslatables’,” by C. J. Moore, “you have to live through the long dark months of a Norwegian winter to appreciate the annual Norwegian rite of utepils. Literally it means ‘the first drink of the year taken out of doors.’ Easter is barely past, with its tradition of hyttepåske — your Easter visit to your remote cabin — and the days are at last getting longer. Although it’s still practically freezing, everyone is queueing up to invite you to a first utepils get-together ar their favourite bar.

Apparently that’s not exactly correct, and a native Norwegian writing a blog entitled An Enthusiast’s Lexicon, describes utepils more fully:

Actually, utepils simply means any beer enjoyed outside, at any time of the year, but it is true that the first one of the season is a much anticipated ritual. You know spring is on its way when norwegians brave the chilling temperatures and gather around their pints, sometimes even wrapped in blankets. The practice continues throughout the year though – nothing says summer like utepils.

The word itself is made up of two words, ute (‘outside’) and pils, which is simply short for Pilsner, the type of lager beer most commonly consumed in Norway. Interestingly, pils is also used as a slang verb (‘å pilse’), meaning simply ‘to drink beer’. So when you are getting together for an utepils you are pilsing.

Anyway, as our weather in Northern California has been decidedly warm the last few days, I think it’s time I sat out on our back deck, basking in the sunshine with a beer in hand, and enjoyed me a good old-fashioned Utepils. Who’s with me?

Utepils

Beer Birthday: Sam Calagione

dogfish-head-green
Today is Sam Calagione’s 45th birthday. Sam is the owner and marketing genius behind Delaware’s successful Dogfish Head Brewing. Sam’s also a great guy, and a (former?) rap singer of sorts, with his duo (along with his former head brewer) the Pain Relievaz. See the bottom of this post for a couple videos of him singing after hours at Pike Brewery during the Craft Brewers Conference when it was held in Seattle. Join me in wishing Sam a very happy birthday.

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Sam gives the thumbs up behind his booth at the Great American Beer Festival a few years ago.

Hosts Ken Grossman & Sam Calagione
With Ken Grossman at a Life & Limb collaboration beer dinner.

Kite & Key co-owner Jim Kirk and me with Sam Calagione, Bill Covaleski & Greg Koch
Kite & Key co-owner Jim Kirk and me with Sam, Bill Covaleski & Greg Koch.

Sam Calagione @ Rare Beer Tasting
Sam at the Rare Beer Tasting at Wynkoop during GABF 2009.

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Rapping at Pike Place in Seattle in 2006.

This first video is “I Got Busy with an A-B Salesgirl,” the Pain Relievaz’ first hit single.

The second video is “West Coast Poseurs,” a smackdown to the hoppy West Coast beer and brewers.

Bamforth Beer Cartoons

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Having lived on this side of the pond my whole life, I’d never encountered Bamforth’s comic postcards until very recently. The Bamforth company is still in business, but apparently was founded in 1904 as a photography and film studio to make picture postcards, and by the end of the First World War was producing 20 million postcards each year. In 1910, they started creating the comic art postcards. Over the next 90 years, approximately 50,000 comic designs were published, with most of them by just four staff artists — Douglas Tempest, Arnold Taylor, Philip Taylor and Brian Fitzpatrick — along with a few additional freelance artists, like the well-known Donald McGill. According to their history, “by 1960 Bamforth Postcards had become the world’s largest publisher of comic postcards.”

Bamforth’s Postcards were the market leader throughout the twentieth century. Their artists poking fun at every aspect of human activity. They commented on politics, fashion and the changes in social activity and perhaps most famously they invaded the toilet and the bedroom. Sex, in various guises and disguises, was the main subject from the start of the genre.

While sex and being “cheeky” may have been their main focus, beer also figured prominently in quite a few of their postcards.

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Quite a few were part of their seaside series, meant to be sent home from vacations.

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And still others were just odd.

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I’m sure there were many more involving beer, and there were also quite a few depicting pub life. Just poking around eBay and the web, I found a few beer-themed postcards, which you can see in the slideshow below. Enjoy.

Superhero Beer

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Look, up in the sky … it’s a bird … it’s a plane … it’s a beer? Here’s a fun design project by Orlando, Florida graphic designer Marcelo Rizzetto. He’s taken the superheroes from the Justice League of America (JLA), and designed a beer for each of them. He’s calling the series Super Hero Beers, and so far he’s done seven of the members (eight counting the twins), with more promised.

JLA-beers

While Rizzetto is a professional graphic designer, this project was undertaken just for the fun of it. In trying to imagine which beer might represent each superhero, he’s made a few missteps with the names of the beers, but overall it is a lot of fun to see.

I can’t imagine Warner Brothers (who owns DC Comics, which in turn owns the characters) would ever license any alcoholic product for the JLA, because they’ve been very fussy about it, even recalling the cover of Action Comics #869 in 2008 because it showed Superman possibly sharing a beer with his stepfather. But in 2012, inside of Actions Comics #15 (Vol. 2) Superman is shown drinking a toast with a bottle of wine, so perhaps they’ve relaxed a little about that.

Batman: The Dark Beer (Dark Ale Beer)
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Superman: Super Strong Beer (Strong Pale Lager)
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Aquaman: Aqua Beer (Belgian Blond Ale)
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Wonder Woman: The Wonder Beer (Premium American Lager)
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Green Lantern: St. Patrick Green Beer (Pale Ale)
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The Flash: The Flash Beer (Irish Red Ale)
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The Wonder Twins, Zan and Jayna: Twins Framboise (Lambic Framboise)
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Next Session Mixes Things Up, Beer Mostly

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For our 88th Session, our hosts are Jessica Boak and Ray Bailey, from Boak & Bailey, who I’m happy to say stepped up to fill in the void that was the June Session. For their topic, they’ve chosen Traditional Beer Mixes, and have suggested several options for participating in the June Session:

In his 1976 book Beer and Skittles early beer writer Richard Boston lists several:

  • Lightplater – bitter and light ale.
  • Mother-in-law — old and bitter.
  • Granny — old and mild.
  • Boilermaker — brown and mild.
  • Blacksmith –stout and barley wine.
  • Half-and-half – bitter and stout, or bitter and mild.

We’d like you to drink one or more from that list and write about it on Friday 6 June… and that’s it.

beer-and-skittles

We’re deliberately aiming for something broad and accessible, but there is one rule — no ‘beer cocktails’! It’s been done, for starters. So, mix two beers, not four; and steer clear of syrups, spirits, flavourings and crushed ice.

If you need further inspiration…

  1. Try ordering them in a pub — do bar staff still know the ropes?
  2. Use your own sources to find a traditional mix not on Boston’s list, e.g. Ram’n’Spesh in Young’s London pubs.
  3. Make the same mix with several different beers — are there rules for the optimal Granny?
  4. Experiment — Blacksmith IPA with black IPA, anyone?

So start mixing things up. On Friday, June 6, D-Day will also be Mix-Day. Let them know when your post is up either by commenting on their announcement page, emailing them at boakandbailey@gmail.com, or tweeting your post.

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