Global Association Of Craft Beer Brewers Founded

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Here’s an exciting development and a sure sign that the world of beer is growing smaller as the reach of better beer extends around the globe. Today in Berlin, the formation of a new international trade organization was announced: The Global Association of Craft Beer Brewers (GACBB).

From the press release:

The Global Association of Craft Beer Brewers was founded last month, becoming the first international organisation for independent craft beer brewers. Sebastian Mergel, co-founder of the Berlin craft beer brewery Berliner Bierfabrik (formerly beer4wedding), was elected the association’s founding president. The association’s goal is to empower smaller independent brewers by connecting them on an international level, and to provide resources via association tools and collaborations with other members. With its international reach, the association also looks to provide its members with access to material goods and services that allow them to expand into new international markets.

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The founding board members represent breweries in five different continents.

  • Sebastian Mergel, Bierfabrik, Berlin, Germany
  • Mark Andries, Browerij De Vlier, Belgium
  • David Cohen, The Dancing Camel, Tel Aviv, Israel
  • John Kyme, Stringer’s Beer, Ulverston, United Kingdom
  • Kristian Strunge, Stronzo, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Jakub Veselý, Pivo Falkon, Zatec, Czech Republic
  • Alex Acker, Jing A, Beijing, China
  • Eric van Heerden, Triggerfish Brewing, Cape Town, South Africa
  • Aleem Ladak, The Big 5 Brewery, Nairobi, Kenya
  • Diego Rodríguez, Barbarian, Lima, Peru
  • Diego Perrotta, Cerveza Zeppelin, Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Nathaniel Schmidt, Agua Mala Cerveceria, Ensenada, Mexico
  • Rodrigo Silveira, Cervejaria Invicta, Ribeirão Preto, Brazil
  • Shane Welch, Sixpoint Brewing, Brooklyn, NY, United States
  • Kevin Watson, Elysian Brewing Co., Seattle, WA, United States
  • Dan Kenary, Harpoon Brewery, Boston, MA, United States
  • Ricky Stilla, Birra & Blues, Valencia, Spain
  • Tiffany Needham, Magpie Brewing Co., Seoul, South Korea
  • Shawn Sherlock, Murray’s Brewing Co., Port Stephen’s, Australia

To be a member of GACBB, breweries must be “local, independent, and creative.” The group’s first event will take place later this summer in Berlin, which they describe as a “celebration of craft beer from around the globe. The GACBB Global Craft Beer Festival, Craft Beer Award, and Craft Beer Conference will all take place this July in Berlin on July 25th through 27th, 2014.” The downside is that’s the same weekend as the Oregon Brewers Festival. On the other hand, it’s been awhile since I’ve been in Berlin.

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For The Next Session, Write About Writing

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For our 86th Session, our host is Heather Vandenengel, the Beer Hobo. For her topic, she’s chosen Beer Journalism, in other words using your words to write about writing … beer writing, that is. She writes. “It’s time for a session of navel-gazing: I’d like to turn a critical eye on how the media cover the beer industry. And, for a broad definition, I’ll define media as newspapers, magazines, websites, blogs, TV, books and radio.” Here’s what she’s looking for:

What role do beer writers play in the culture and growth of craft beer? Are we advocates, critics, or storytellers? What stories are not getting told and what ones would you like to never hear about again? What’s your beer media diet? i.e. what publications/blogs/sites do you read to learn about industry? Are all beer journalists subhumans? Is beer journalism a tepid affair and/or a moribund endeavor? And if so, what can be done about it?

In the spirit of tipping the hat when someone gets it right, please also share a piece of beer writing or media you love–it doesn’t have to be recent, and it could be an article, podcast, video, book or ebook–and explain a bit about what makes it great. I’ll include links to those articles as well in my roundup for easy access reading.

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Here’s her instructions for participating:

  1. Write a blog and post it on or by Friday, April 4.
  2. Leave a comment [t]here with a link to your post.
  3. Check back on Monday, April 7 for a roundup of all the blog posts.

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Some of the earliest writing about beer, c. 3000-3100 BCE.

Anchor Announces New Spring Saison

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Anchor Brewing just released a teaser video announcing a new spring seasonal: Anchor Saison. Here’s what the press release has to say:

Anchor Saison™ Spring Ale (7.2% ABV) is a traditional Belgian-style saison with a California twist. The distinctiveness of roasted Belgian wheat malt is enhanced by the peppery, clove-like flavors of a locally cultured saison-style yeast. And, for this release, Anchor chose three California ingredients — lemongrass, lemon peel, and ginger — whose synergy adds a tangy crispness and herbal spiciness to this sharply refreshing, uniquely Californian saison.

Brewmaster Mark Carpenter suggests pairing the Saison Spring Ale with sushi or Vietnamese cuisine, which perfectly compliments the tangy, citrus notes of the beer.

Released in California this March thru May, Anchor Saison™ Spring Ale will be available in 6-packs and draught at select retailers and at the Anchor Brewing Taproom in San Francisco.

The fourth Zymaster series beer was Fort Ross Farmhouse Ale, so I suspect it was popular enough to launch as their new spring seasonal, perhaps exactly the same or slightly tweaked; perhaps at some point we’ll learn the exact details. The Zymaster farmhouse beer was also 7.2% a.b.v., although the spices seem slightly different. For now, enjoy this old newsreel, a “Special Report” from Anchor Brewing Worldwide News.”

And below is the new label, created to resemble old fruit crate art.

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Firestone Walker To Open L.A. Space

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Firestone Walker Brewing announced plans to open a new location in Venice, California. According to their website, they say that in late 2014 they will “open a Taproom restaurant, pilot brewhouse and craft beer hub on Washington Boulevard in Venice.”

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They’re still working out the details, but it’s looks like the new space will include the following.

  • A small-scale complete pilot brewhouse for brewing R&D beers and special one-off brews.
  • A Taproom restaurant that showcases our approach to beermaking while offering a menu and ambiance unique to the Venice property.
  • A discovery center featuring a retail space and training room for educational experiences such as hop seminars and blending sessions. The goal is to develop a connective channel with craft beer enthusiasts and the local brewing community, from home brewers to professionals.

You can read more about the plans at Firestone Walker.

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21st Amendment To Build Bay Area Brewery

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21st Amendment Brewery & Restaurant opened in 2000, and began canning their beer by hand in 2006. The popularity of their beer in cans far outpaced their ability to keep making it on-site, and production was moved to the Cold Spring Brewery in Minnesota to meet demand. But that will soon be changing, as the San Francisco brewpub has announced that they will be building a new production brewery right here in the Bay Area, with plans for the new facility to open later this year.

The new brewery will be located in the East Bay, in San Leandro, at 2010 Williams Street. In addition to a production brewery, the new space will also include a restaurant and tasting room, as well. The new facility is 95,000 square feet and will accommodate an “initial brewing capacity of 100,000 barrels, scalable to over 250,000, making it among the largest breweries in the Bay Area.” Estimated volume for 2014 is over 70,000 barrels. The building used to house a Kellogg Cereal factory.

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From the press release:

“Since we began packaging our beer six years ago with our Minnesota partner brewery, we have never been able to keep up with demand,” said co-founder Nico Freccia. “Building our own local brewery will allow us to continue to focus on improving quality and consistency, and to expand into new markets where our beer is in demand.”

“We look at this as an opportunity for us to bring the vision and beer home to the Bay Area where it all started when we opened our San Francisco brewpub in 2000,” added co-founder and Brewmaster Shaun O’Sullivan. “This will allow us to continue to deepen our SF Bay Area local roots and to keep having fun making great beer. Both Nico and I are excited about making more interesting beers with our unique packaging that craft beer drinkers have come to know and love. It’s every brewer’s dream to open their own brewery and this is truly a dream come true for us.”

In addition to a state-of-the-art craft brewing facility, the new location, where Pop-Tarts and Frosted Flakes were once produced, will feature a tasting room and retail area as well as the company’s world office headquarters. Phase two will commence in 2015 and will include a full restaurant/pub, beer garden, event and meeting rooms and more. The company expects to create 20 new jobs over the next nine months and a hundred jobs over five years.

“This project will be nothing short of the number one destination spot for craft beer aficionados and beer lovers near and far. With an interactive space that will enhance each guest’s experience as they adventure around the production brewery, the plans are to repurpose the historical cereal factory in a way that celebrates the building’s industrial character and blurs the boundaries between the production space and the hospitality space,” said lead designer David Darling, of San Francisco architects Aidlin Darling Design.

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The new brewhouse will be a 100-barrel, four-vessel GEA/Huppmann, “with an initial capacity of eight brews per day.” The brewery will also include a new “state of the art KHS high speed volumetric can filling line that will be capable of filling up to 500 cans per minute.”

Next Session Asks “Why Do You Drink?”

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For our 85th Session, our host is Douglas Smiley from Baltimore Bistros & Beers. For his topic, he’s chosen Why Do You Drink?, asking you to give the reasons why you drink, that is why beer is good, as far as you’re concerned.

There are plenty of people out there who wish that alcohol consumption ceased to take place and would be happy for prohibition to rear it’s ugly head once again. Others, while not looking to ban alcohol altogether, are quick to judge those of us who drink more than what they would consider a proper amount. As I get older, I’ve lost the urge to defend my life decisions, but there was a time when judgment about the liquids I chose to put in my mouth made me feel self-conscious.

And that’s where my idea for this month’s Session topic came from. It’s easy to find article after article on the internet telling us that alcohol is bad. As beer bloggers it’s safe to say we all disagree. Let’s take the opportunity as a group to tell people why we do drink and how it improves our life for the better. I know the default answer a lot of us fall back on is “it’s nice to sit back with a good beer after a stressful day of work”, and while that’s true, I’m looking for answers that aren’t so obvious to people who aren’t fans of our hobby. Beer is bigger than a liquid “chill pill” or we wouldn’t have gone about setting up a blog and dedicating so much of our time discussing it. So, what is it that compels you to drink and what would your life be missing if beer was no longer an option for you?

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So Why Do You Drink? Do you know? Is there one reason? Or several? You may want to open a beer to help you answer this one. I find that helps. And let us know, on Friday March 7.

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See The Elephant: Anchor IPA

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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.
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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.

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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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ABI To Buy Back Korea’s OB

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In a strange turn of events, Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABI) has agreed to buy back the South Korean Oriental Brewery (OB) for $5.8 billion, about three times the $1.8 billion that they sold it for in 2008. OB is South Korea’s largest brewery with approximately 60% of the market.

From the press release:

KKR and Affinity Equity Partners (“Affinity”) today announced that an agreement has been entered into whereby AB InBev will reacquire Oriental Brewery (“OB”), the leading brewer in South Korea, from KKR and Affinity for 5.8 billion USD.

This agreement returns OB to the AB InBev portfolio, after AB InBev sold the company in July 2009, following the combination of InBev and Anheuser-Busch, in support of the company’s deleveraging target. AB InBev will reacquire OB earlier than July 2014, as it was originally entitled to under the 2009 transaction.

Since KKR and Affinity entered into partnership with OB in 2009, OB has grown to become the largest brewer in South Korea, driven by strong growth of the Cass brand. OB and AB InBev also remained long-term partners through OB’s exclusive license to distribute select AB InBev brands in South Korea such as Budweiser, Corona and Hoegaarden.

Carlos Brito, Chief Executive Officer of AB InBev, said, “We are excited to invest in South Korea and to be working with the Oriental Brewery team again. OB will strengthen our position in the fast-growing Asia Pacific region and will become a significant contributor to our Asia Pacific Zone.

Bloomberg Businessweek also has more on the story.

Next Session Challenges You To Drink Differently

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For our 84th Session, our host is Oliver Gray from Literature & Libation. During the day he works as a technical writer and studies the non-technical type by night at John Hopkins, and in his spare time blogs about both lit and getting lit. For his topic, he’s chosen Alternative Reviews, asking you to drink differently, or at least think about the beer differently, perhaps it’s more correct to say review the beer differently. Anyway, here’s how Oliver put it:

We, as beer bloggers, tend to get caught up in this beer appreciation thing, forever chasing an invisible dragon of taste, doing our best to catalog our experiences on the page or in a database. We get obsessed with the idea of quantifying our experience – either so we can remember specifics ad infinitum or use the data as a point of comparison for other beers – and often forget that beer is just as much art and entertainment as it is critic-worthy foodstuff.

So for my turn hosting The Session, I ask all of you to review a beer. Any beer. Of your choosing even! There’s a catch though, just one eentsy, tiny rule that you have to adhere to: you cannot review the beer.

I know it sounds like the yeast finally got to my brain, but hear me out: I mean that you can’t write about SRM color, or mouthfeel, or head retention. Absolutely no discussion of malt backbones or hop profiles allowed. Lacing and aroma descriptions are right out. Don’t even think about rating the beer out of ten possible points.

But, to balance that, you can literally do anything else you want. I mean it. Go beernuts. Uncap your muse and let the beer guide your creativity.

I want to see something that lets me know what you thought of the beer (good or bad!) without explicitly telling me. Write a short story that incorporates the name, an essay based on an experience you had drinking it, or a silly set of pastoral sonnets expressing your undying love for a certain beer. If you don’t feel like writing, that’s fine; plug into your inner Springsteen and play us a song, or throw your budding Van Gogh against the canvas and paint us a bubbly masterpiece. Go Spielberg, go Seinfeld, go (if you must) Lady Gaga. Show me the beer and how it made you feel, in whatever way strikes you most appropriate.

Was there something you always want to try or write, but were afraid of the reception it might receive? This is your chance. A no judgement zone. I encourage everyone who sees this to join in, even if you don’t normally participate in The Session, or aren’t even a beer blogger. This is an Equal Creation Opportunity. All I ask is that you not be vulgar or offensive, since this blog is officially rated PG-13.

My goal is to push you out of your default mode, to send you off to explore realms outside of the usual and obvious. I want you to create something inspired by beer without having to worry about the minutiae of the beer itself. Don’t obsess over the details of the recipe, just revel in the fact that you live in a place where you have the luxury of indulging in such beautiful decadence.

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So crack open a beer, and take a sip. After you’re done tasting it in the usual way, start thinking about it differently. What else can you say about it? How else can you talk about it? In what other way can you describe it or write about it? Let everybody know what your take on that beer is on Friday, February 7. Post your response on Oliver’s announcement post or tweet him with your antidote to the boring beer review.

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