There was an interesting article recently on Craft Beer Business detailing how changes to the FDA regulations regarding spent grain might effect breweries. Under a proposed new “definition, craft breweries would be labeled animal feed manufacturers and be regulated as such by the FDA.” Given that most breweries have to find something to do with their spent grain, whether selling it or donating it, if the proposed rules take effect, it will undoubtedly alter the way breweries dispose of their grain. Check out the article, FDA rule regulates spent grain sold as animal feed, to see the rule changes.
I won’t even try to be unbiased on this one. Melissa Myers is a dear friend of mine. She’s one of my favorite people in the beer world, and I’m thrilled that she’s finally striking out on her own. Melissa’s also a talented brewer who’s made beer at Magnolia, Pyramid, Drake’s and many other breweries from Philadelphia to Denver to the Bay Area. Melissa knows her beer. She’s about ready to open her own bottle shop and tasting room in Oakland called The Good Hop, which is located at 2421 Telegraph Avenue. The Good Hop Bottle Shop & Tasting Room will be carrying around 600 different bottled and canned craft beers along with 16 rotating California craft beers on tap.
But now that she’s in the final stages, she needs a little help, and has launched an Indigogo campaign to raise the remaining funds to open The Good Hop with a bang. Melissa describes what she’s trying to accomplish with The Good Hop as “your favorite watering hole meets the most well-stocked convenience store you’ll ever set foot in!” Here’s what she needs.
I love beer, y’all! But I need your help to finish construction. All those alcohol permits and red-tape stuff cost a ton of cash, and now we need funding for the fun stuff — the bartop itself, cool lighting, comfy tables and chairs, and most importantly, your beer mugs and the coolers that will hold all that beer. We estimate we need $20,000 for all the finishing touches and flourishes that will make it a chill bar where you can relax with your friends after work, before the big game, or on a lazy weekend.
I am thrilled that I’m *this* close to realizing my dream! I’ve gotten this far through the generosity of friends, family, and the community around me. Now I’m asking for help from my bigger community — YOU. You can help me complete my dream and open the doors to a great bar that you’ll want to spend time in. Please contribute in whatever way you can, even if it’s only five dollars, so that I can help the world get in touch with its inner beer geek. It’s a surefire way to bring some good karma into your life. And if you can’t contribute monetarily, but you like what I’m doing, please help me by getting the word out and sending this link to your peeps. We understand times are hard and money is tight. We’d love some financial assistance, but if how you can help is by spreading the word, we’ll take that gift too!
I can personally vouch for Melissa, she’ll create one hell of a beer destination. I’ve reserved my own bar stool at The Good Hop, and now I’m asking you to help out, too. Check out the video below and listen to what she has to say. If you agree with me that The Good Hop deserves your support, please join me in pitching in — or would that be mashing in? — to make it happen. You can help a little or a lot. There are a variety of levels you can weigh in with, from the very modest to the ostentatiously grand Ultimate Beer Lover.
Today’s beer video is a tour of the Blue Point Brewing Co. in Patchogue, New York by The Brewery Show. Given the announcement today that ABI is buying the brewery, I thought readers might be interested in seeing the brewery and learning more about it. It’s from season 2 of The Brewery Show and runs about twelve minutes.
Anheuser-Busch announced today that they would be acquiring Long Island craft brewery Blue Point Brewing for an unspecified amount. The deal is expected to close in the next quarter, and like its other recent acquisitions, the brewery will remain at its original location in Patchogue, New York.
From the press release
Anheuser-Busch today announced it has agreed to purchase Blue Point Brewing Co., one of the nation’s top craft brewers with more than 40 beers and sales concentrated along the East Coast, in a move that will bring additional resources to Blue Point’s operations, allowing it to meet growing consumer demand for its award‑winning brands. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Blue Point, known for its creativity, was founded by Mark Burford and Peter Cotter 15 years ago in Patchogue, N.Y., where the brewery will continue to operate. Anheuser-Busch also plans to invest in the brewery to grow its operational capabilities and enhance the consumer experience over the next few years.
“We are deeply grateful to our family of loyal employees and customers. Our success was made possible by the hard work of good people and good beer in Patchogue,” said Peter Cotter, who will continue to be instrumental in the success of the brands along with co-founder Mark Burford. “Together, our talented brewing team and Anheuser-Busch will have the resources to create new and exciting beers and share our portfolio with even more beer lovers,” said Mark Burford.
In 2013, Blue Point sold approximately 60,000 barrels, with 50 percent of the volume from its flagship brand, Toasted Lager. It also sells Hoptical Illusion, Blueberry Ale and seasonal brands among others.
“As we welcome Blue Point into the Anheuser-Busch family of brands, we look forward to working with Mark and Peter to accelerate the growth of the Blue Point portfolio and expand to new markets, while preserving the heritage and innovation of the brands,” said Luiz Edmond, CEO of Anheuser-Busch. “With Anheuser-Busch’s strong beer credentials, we share a commitment to offering high-quality beers that excite consumers. Blue Point brands have a strong following and even more potential.”
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch also some additional information on the deal and its background.
And in case you’re unfamiliar with Blue Point, here’s an overview, also from the press release.
Blue Point Brewing Company is Long Island’s oldest and most award-winning brewery. Founded in 1998 by Mark Burford and Pete Cotter, Blue Point Brewery is headquartered in Patchogue, New York, and is currently the 34th largest craft brewery in the U.S. Blue Point Brewing Company is independently owned and operated and its beers are available in 15 states of distribution including New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and Michigan. Blue Point’s portfolio of more than 40 craft beers includes Hoptical Illusion, ESB, RastafaRye Ale, Sour Cherry Imperial Stout, Toxic Sludge, White IPA, No Apologies Double IPA, and its flagship Toasted Lager, which won the World Beer Cup in 2006.
Anchor Brewing will soon be releasing their newest beer, and it should surprise no one seeing the trends in hoppy beers that the new release is Anchor IPA.
While Anchor Liberty is brewed with just Cascade hops, the new Anchor IPA is brewed with six different hops, including Apollo, Bravo and Cascade for bittering, and the five used in dry-hopping are Apollo, Cascade, an experimental hop still know as 431, Nelson Sauvin and Citra. I’ve been invited to an event at the brewery tomorrow night and I suspect we’ll get a chance to try the new 6.5% a.b.v. beer then. For now, they’ve released a video explaining some aspects of the new beer and it’s historical tie-in. Apparently during the gold rush, the phrase “seeing the elephant” was a “hopeful but risky pursuit of happiness,” something every prospector would have been familiar with. So it’s certainly an interesting way to work elephants into the beer’s lore, but I’ll let Anchor take up the story here.
I have now received the press release:
“When we started thinking about Anchor IPA, we wanted to create a beer we would be proud to serve in our Taproom,” said Mark Carpenter, Brewmaster at Anchor Brewing. “Right now a lot of IPAs are so hop forward that your palate can only enjoy one because of the high bitterness. Our IPA will have a strong hop flavor so you know you’re drinking an IPA. But, the combination of malts we’re using are strong enough to hold up to the bitterness, allowing you to enjoy more than one. The unique selections of both traditional and modern hops we are using provide the backbone and flavor, plus an experimental hop adds to its pleasant fruity & floral aroma, the first thing you notice as you sip the beer.”
The California Gold Rush lured thousands west to “see the elephant,” a 19th-century metaphor for the hopeful but risky pursuit of happiness, adventure, and fortune. As early as 1849, India Pale Ale—prepared by British brewers for export to India by adding dry hops to barrels of hoppy ale—was also heading west, from England around the Horn to San Francisco. Thirsty ’49ers savored imported IPAs, but it wasn’t until 1975 that Anchor, America’s original craft brewery, pioneered the revival of dry-hopped handmade ales with the introduction of Anchor’s Liberty Ale®, the first modern American IPA brewed after Prohibition. Now, that tradition fast-forwards to an adventurous new brew: Anchor IPA™. Made with 2-row barley malt and fresh whole-cone hops, its bright amber color, distinctively complex aroma, spiky bitterness, malty depth, and clean finish unite to create a uniquely flavorful, memorable, and timeless IPA.
The elephant you see on Anchor IPA™ was hand-drawn by Anchor label artist, James Stitt. The expression to “see the elephant” originates from a tale that predates the California Gold Rush.
There once lived a farmer who had heard of elephants but had never seen one. He longed for the day when he might catch a glimpse of this rare, exotic creature. When the circus came to town, he loaded his wagon with fresh produce and headed to the market. On the way, just as he’d hoped, he came across the circus parade, nobly led by an enormous elephant. The farmer was ecstatic, but his horses were terrified. They reared and bucked, overturning his wagon and scattering its precious contents in the road. “I don’t give a hoot,” exclaimed the farmer. “I have seen the elephant!”
The elephant became the universal symbol of the Gold Rush, as evidenced by the journals, letters, and sketchbooks of the forty-niners. Whether or not they struck it rich in the diggings, those plucky pioneers would forever treasure their California adventure as the defining moment of their lives.
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.”
Here’s the beer for this year:
- Rye Rye Rocco Rye Brown Ale: 8.1% abv
- Let It Rauch German-influenced Smoked Beer: 8.1% abv
- Promised Land Imperial IPA: 11.2% abv
- Smokestack Lightning Imperial Stout: 9.7% abv
- Quadlibet For Tenderfeet Belgian Abbey-style Quadrupel: 8% abv
- Old Thunderpussy Barleywine: 10.6% abv
- Framboise Forte d’Or Belgian-style Raspberry Golden Ale: 10.2% abv
- Dub Step Imperial I.P.A.: 10.2% abv
- Beast of Burden American-Belgo Imperial IPA: 9.9% abv
- Red Titan Giant Red Ale: 12.8%
- Bike Lane Hopper Imperial Black IPA: 9.6% abv
- Hendrick’s Imperial Stout: 9.3% abv
And here’s the back cover, too, with more details about each beer:
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.
Over in Gobbler’s Knob, in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, Phil the Groundhog — a.k.a. Brewhog — raised up his head this morning and looked around, and this year saw his shadow everywhere he looked. You know what that means. It’s six more weeks of drinking winter beers this year. Or something about a late spring, I can’t keep it straight. You can see a video of Punxsutawney Phil here. And there’s more information about Groundhog Day at the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club.
After much speculation, I got a press release this morning from MillerCoors clarifying what we all thought to be the case regarding their newest creation, Miller Fortune. Here’s what they had to say:
Earlier this week, Bloomberg News Service wrote a story (“MillerCoors Seeks Spirits Fans With Bourbon-Like Lager”) about a new beer from MillerCoors called Miller Fortune, that we are launching the week of February 10.
Since that story ran, there have been several follow-up stories that inaccurately portray Miller Fortune as being a bourbon-flavored beer. That is simply not true and we’d like to set the record straight for anyone interested in writing a story in the future.
WHAT IS MILLER FORTUNE?
Miller Fortune is an exciting new beer with a 6.9% ABV. It features a rich golden color, brewed with caramel malt and cascade hops to achieve layers of flavor and a distinctly smooth finish. Our beer was brewed to deliver the complexity and depth that appeals to spirit drinkers. Spirit inspired…yes. Spirit infused…no. As many of you know, the beer industry as a whole has lost seven share points to spirits (five) and wine (two) in the last 10 years. Miller Fortune was created to fight against these losses and take back legal-drinking age spirits drinkers/occasions. So, you can say it has been inspired by the success of spirits competition and it is a darker beer that may look more bourbon-like in a glass.
WHAT MILLER FORTUNE IS NOT?
Miller Fortune is not bourbon-like or a bourbon-flavored beer.
I almost feel sorry for MillerCoors. That they would have to send out this release says a lot about the state of mainstream journalism, because that’s who got the story so wrong. What I think this reveals is that the mainstream and business press is not capable of covering the beer industry any longer. For so many years, they talked about numbers, about market share, about marketing; almost everything to do with the business, except for the beer itself, its flavor. But now that beer with flavor is kind of a big deal, they no longer know what to do. The business press booted it all over the place on this one, though Time magazine’s assigning it to a health reporter was even worse.
If I may be so bold as to suggest, the mainstream press needs to hire people who know something about beer to cover it effectively and accurately. Not business writers, not wine writers, not health writers: beer writers. I know of at least 130 members of the North American Guild of Beer Writers who would be pleased to accept a paid assignment from Bloomberg, Business Insider, Time or any number of news outlets who for years have been, for the most part, not covering beer very well, assigning beer stories to reporters who did not, and apparently still do not, really understand it. With over 2,700 American breweries, and even more internationally, there’s plenty to keep us busy. Just call one of us next time. We know the difference between a bourbon beer and one inspired by it.
Okay, this is my third post today about Miller Fortune, the new “bourbon-like lager” from MillerCoors meant to address their loss of market share to distilled spirits. I’ll reserve judgment on the beer itself until my sample arrives and also until after it’s had a chance in the marketplace. Besides, it’s already been well-covered by Beverage Daily, Bloomberg, Business Insider and Time Magazine.
But there’s certainly some oddities in the way they’re presenting it, whether by the mainstream press or by MillerCoors. As usual, it seems like they’re focusing a lot on the packaging — ooh, it’s black — and other marketing and not as much on the beer itself. One account describes the packaging as “jet-black, angular bottles meant to ‘evoke a guy in a tapered, athletic-cut suit.’” Uh-huh, that’s just what I was thinking of when I looked at it. The beer is 6.9% a.b.v., closer to an IPA than the usual light lager, though humorously Business Insider claims Coors Light is 5.9% instead of its actual 4.2%.
Then there’s trying to get bars and restaurants to serve it in a whiskey glass. Apparently, “[t]he rocks glass is intended to set Miller Fortune apart the same way the orange slice has made Blue Moon one of the company’s fastest-growing brews and its answer to the craft-beer juggernaut.” The idea is, of course, to make it seem more spirits-like, but it just seems gimmicky to me. It’s one thing to design a special glass to enhance the flavors but quite another to just pick a glass meant for something else in the hopes that people will make the association between the two.
I don’t quite get the bourbon association, either. It wasn’t aged in a bourbon barrel, like many beers being brewed these days by smaller breweries, yet it’s referred to as a “bourbon-like lager.” The Bloomberg article says it has a “complex flavor hinting at bourbon” while Business Insider calls it a “bourbon-flavored beer.” The beer labels says it’s a “Spirited Golden Lager” while RateBeer categorizes it as an Amber/Vienna Lager while Beer Advocate has it listed as an American Amber/Red Lager. But apart from MillerCoors trying to draw an association to bourbon and spirits drinkers, and claiming bourbon makers as their inspiration, I don’t know where any bourbon flavors would be coming from.
Bloomberg brings up that they used some Cascade hops, saying it’s “a golden lager brewed in part with Cascade hops to give it a citrusy bite and caramel malt to impart an amber hue” and that “the flavor is moderately bitter with hints of sweetness, resting somewhere between a craft beer and a light lager.” So nothing about bourbon or being bourbon-flavored or bourbon-like, as far as I can tell. And the few people who’ve reviewed it on Beer Advocate and RateBeer likewise make no mention of any bourbon character. But perhaps the most hilarious statement was made by Time magazine, who states that “Miller Fortune is brewed with Cascade hops to give it its bourbon-like flavor.” That must be why Anchor Liberty and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale have all that spirited bourbon character. I can’t wait to see how this one plays out.
Today’s beer video has the potential to be a game changer. Imagine if beer could be delivered straight to your door! Well, now it can. Lakemaid Beer, which as far as I can tell is contract-brewed at Stevens Point Brewing and is distributed in seven states in the midwest. But now they’ve added delivery by drone to their distribution channels. According to Field & Stream, “the North country brewer is testing beer delivery to ice anglers via drones. Okay, so maybe this is just a publicity stunt by a beer company that knows smart marketing, but I don’t think it’s that farfetched to think drones will be delivering all sorts of things in the near future. If not beer, maybe at least we’ll be able to get a hot pepperoni pizza delivered to our ice shacks soon.” From Lakemaid’s press release:
“Inspired by Amazon’s founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, which has been testing the drone delivery of its products, Lakemaid Beer has been testing a new drone delivery system on some of the top ice fishing lakes in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
“Amazon faces a lot of obstacles,” said Lakemaid Beer Company’s president, Jack Supple. “Dense urban locations present a host of problems to drone delivery. But our tests are on vast, wide-open frozen lakes free of trees and power lines. Our drone can fly as the crow flies, straight to our target, based on GPS coordinates provided by an ice angler. Fish houses are very uniform in height, so we can fly lower than FAA limits, too.”
“It’s the perfect proving ground for drone delivery,” said Supple, “Our initial tests on several mid-size lakes have been very successful. We’re looking forward to testing the range of our drones on larger lakes.”
Who knows, maybe this will really — forgive the pub — take off.