Next Session: Pros & Cons Of Beer Online

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For our 123rd Session, our host will be Josh Weikert, who writes Beer Simple. For his topic, he’s chosen CyberBrew — Is the Internet Helping or Hurting Craft Beer? Thankfully, he elaborates on his thinking:

This month, we’re taking on the internet and craft beer: is it a help, a hinderance, an annoyance, or all of the above? How is beer drinking/brewing different in the internet age, and how is the internet changing the way brewers and craft beer drinkers do business?

Topics might include:

  • Marketing beer in the internet age
  • The astounding influence of beer bloggers to make or break breweries (just kidding, but seriously, what’s the effect of all of this quasi-journalistic beer commentary on the drinking and brewing public?)
  • How are beer reviews (expert and mass-market) affecting what gets brewed and drank?
  • Are beer apps for tracking and rating overly-“gamifying” beer (or does that make drinkers more adventurous)?
  • Just how fast do aleholes on message boards and elsewhere turn off prospective craft beer enthusiasts?

And, of course, I’m sure that you’re all more creative than me and there’s a lot I’m missing.

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To participate in the May Session, on or before Friday, May 5, 2017 — which is this Friday, just a few days away — write a post about your views about beer online, what Josh refers to as CyberBrew. “Leave a comment with a link to your post in the comment section” of the original post, “preferably by May 5th (the first Friday of the month, also known as ‘next Friday’). Even if you’re running a little late, leave your comment and I’ll catch it. The roundup will publish in mid-late May (I’d say that the 15th is a likely target), and we’ll see what everyone came up with.” Easy as 1-2-3.

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Bistro IPA Festival Winners 2017

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Today was the 20th annual IPA Festival at the Bistro. The weather mostly cooperated and it ended up only a little wet in Hayward, with sun peeking out mid-afternoon. It was near perfect beer-drinking weather once we emerged from judging in the basement all morning. This year’s big winner was Revision IPA, from Revision Brewing, which was chosen best in show, out of 53 IPA offerings. It was an especially big win for Jeremy, as it’s one of the first batches from his new Revision Brewing, which even managed to beat his own IPA that he created at his previous brewery, Knee Deep. Revised, indeed. The full list of winners is below.

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Jeremy Warren and me at today’s Bistro IPA Festival.

Your Views On Imported Beer

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For our 122th Session, our host will be Christopher Barnes, who writes I Think About Beer. For his topic, he’s chosen to elicit everyone’s Views on Imported Beer, which he explains more fully:

I love imported beer, specifically Belgian and German beer. They’re what I drink. My cellar is made up of Belgian beers, my fridge is full of them, and there a few stashed around in a closet or two as well. Imported beer is my life. I drink them. I write about them. I travel to experience them. In fact, my career involves working with Imported Beer. I manage several prominent import portfolios for a Oregon craft focused wholesaler. And while I have a vested interest in the success of Imported Beer, it doesn’t lessen my passion for the traditional beers of Europe. As craft beer sales have surged across America, sales of imported beers have suffered. I’m going to ask a couple of questions.

For American and Canadians: What place do imported beers (traditional European) have in a craft beer market?

For Non North Americans: How are American beers (imported into YOUR country) viewed? What is their place in your market?

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So what’s your take on imports, or as some people say disparagingly, foreign beer? How do they fit into the craft movement, or the beer landscape in its entirety? Are they useful, out-dated, a necessary evil, a valid category, what? I need to know, dammit. SO please let us know your “Vues sur la bière importée,” or your “Ansichten über importiertes Bier,” or even your “Bekeken op geïmporteerd bier.” Personally I’d like to know your “Opinie na temat piwa importowanego” and your “Synspunkter om importeret øl.” But don’t forget your 輸入ビールの眺め or your Просмотры на импортированном пиве.

To participate in the April Session, on or before Friday, April 7, 2017 — which is this Friday, just a few days away — write a post about your views on imported beer. “Leave a comment with a link to your post in the comment section” of the original announcement, and “have fun and please do participate.”

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Sign Up Today For The Brookston Hitting Derby

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I confess I completely forgot about the baseball season starting tomorrow. I’d set up the annual Brookston Hitting Derby, but promptly forgot about it again. We used to call it a Home Run Derby because to keep things simpler, we only counted those, but more recently I monkeyed with the scoring (because I generally can’t keep well enough alone) so while it’s still simpler than being in a full-blown fantasy baseball league, there are now more ways to get points. Still, we do it just for fun, and there are twenty spaces available if you want to play along, although we only need four to draft (two more now). But hurry up, the league will draft late tonight since the season starts tomorrow, so sign up today if you want to join.

In order to join the league, follow this link, and I think that’s all you have to do, other then follow the on-screen instructions. If that’s not right, or you’re having trouble, leave a comment below and a way to reach you. Otherwise, see you on the diamond.

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Peter Hoey Returns To His Urban Roots With New Brewery

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I got a heads up from my friend Peter Hoey a few days ago that he’s leaving Brewer’s Supply Group and embarking on a new venture in Sacramento. I’ve known Peter since he was brewing at Bison Brewing, and he’s been brewing and consulting around the Bay Area for many years, including at Sierra Nevada and Sacramento Brewing. He announced today that coming this fall, he’ll be brewing again at his own place in downtown Sacramento, which will be called Urban Roots Brewing. Their Facebook page went live this morning, too. Peter’s partnering with Rob Archie, who also owns the Pangaea Bier Cafe. I’ve met Rob at several beer events over the years, and I think he’ll be a great partner in this, and will appreciate how talented a brewer Peter is. The lease is already signed and they’re fairly well along in the process. Fall seems reasonable, actually, even though most such predictions, in my experience, tend to be twice as long as originally thought. But Peter has opened breweries before, and knows what he’s up against, so I think we’ll be able to sample his new beer before the end of the year, which is terrific news.

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Here’s the press release that came out today:

Urban Roots Brewery & Smokehouse announces plans to open a 15,600 sq. ft. facility incorporating a 15-barrel craft beer production brewery, tasting bar and a 300-seat smokehouse restaurant, including a 2,400 sq. ft. outdoor patio in the Downtown Sacramento/Southside Park area at 1322 V Street.

A joint venture between Sacramento area natives and co-owners, Brewmaster Peter Hoey and Rob Archie, owner of regional favorite Pangaea Bier Café, Urban Roots Brewery & Smokehouse plans to open fall 2017 and estimates to employ approximately 50 people.

Peter Hoey has worked toward this moment for over two decades. He has practiced his craft alongside the legends at Sierra Nevada, led the charge at Sacramento Brewing Company, and currently consults with the top beer brands in the country for BSG CraftBrewing, an industry supplier of brewing ingredients. Recent production collaborations include the highly sought after Hoeybeer with Santé Adairius Rustic Ales.

After a decade of collaborating together in the industry, partnering with Rob Archie on Urban Roots will fulfill Hoey’s life-long dream of producing some of the finest beers in the world, pairing them with simple, clean and delicious food, and showcasing Sacramento’s regional farm-to-fork ingredients.

A pioneer of national and international craft beer promotion in Sacramento, Rob Archie’s concept, Pangaea Bier Café, has earned the respect of top brewers in the country and a fiercely devoted clientele—not to mention being the culinary critics’ darling with back-to-back Sacramento Burger Battle judges’ choice wins, being named a Top Beer Destination every year since its opening in 2008, and receiving numerous accolades from both print and broadcast media.

Bringing their combined national and international beer travel experience and expertise home, Urban Roots will produce a myriad of beer varieties, with a focus on farmhouse style ales, oak aged beers and collaborative releases. The smokehouse will continue the culinary excellence practiced at Pangaea Bier Café focusing on regional ingredients and smoked meats. The Urban Roots name is intended to represent its location in the city’s center and its proud roots in both the Sacramento urban and farming communities.

Hoey and Archie believe that the V Street location is a key ingredient in creating their vision for Urban Roots—and their vision for Sacramento. Investing in the Downtown Sacramento/Southside Park neighborhood, and in Sacramento in general, is a reflection of both partners’ beliefs and passion for their community. Both Hoey and Archie have individual and shared histories of uniting Curtis Park and Oak Park through a successful neighborhood business, hosting sold-out beer dinners to support local philanthropy, as well as taking and sharing the Sacramento region’s talents and tastes with a global audience.

1322 V Street is exactly where Hoey and Archie want to build Urban Roots Brewery & Smokehouse, an immersive craft-beer brewery experience that doesn’t currently exist in the Capital City. In doing so, they will offer a one-of-a-kind destination for Sacramentans to come together and create a bevy of food and beer tastes for the world to enjoy.

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Rob Archie and Peter Hoey, owners of the new Urban Roots Brewery.

Linden Street Brewery Becomes Oakland United Beerworks

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When Adam Lamoreaux opened the Linden Street Brewery in 2009, it was the first production brewery in the city since 1959. But it proved to be quite popular, and successful, but closed late last summer due to management changes to the company. Lamoreaux has moved on to a new venture, and the brewery has been rebranded starting today as Oakland United Beerworks.

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Current owner John Karnay, a longtime Oakland resident and businessman and award-winning brewmaster Shane Aldrich revealed today their new website, core brews and plans for the future.

“Oakland United Beerworks is born and bred in Oakland,” said Karnay. “From the beginning, our mission has been to bring Oaklanders — old and new — together with great brews. Oakland has evolved and grown, and so have we.”

Brewmaster Shane Aldrich originally joined Linden Street in 2016. He learned the brewing craft from Tony Lawrence of Boneyard Beer and Tim Gossack of Bell’s Brewing. He’s brewed at some of the Bay Area’s most popular and enduring brands, including Lagunitas, Moylan’s, Half Moon Bay Brewing, and Marin Brewing Company, where he won a prestigious World Beer Cup award.

“Oakland’s diversity, artistry and authenticity inspires me and our recipes,” says Aldrich. “We love this town – and we’re excited about growing an Oakland community of beer drinkers and beer makers.”

Aldrich brews Oakland United’s beer in small batches, and is currently offering four core beers, and will also offer seasonal ales in the coming months. The inaugural line-up of core beers includes:

  • Black Lager: A flavorful and surprisingly light tribute to the classic German Schwarzbier with notes of coffee and toast.
  • Pilsner: The best floor-malted German Bohemian Pilsner malt creates a crisp, well-balanced lager that pairs with everything from pizza to pate.
  • Common Lager: The original Bay Area Beer, California Common Lagers were invented following the Gold Rush by homesick Germans looking to replicate the lagers of Germany and the East Coast. This robust, amber beer adapts well to its surroundings – perfect for any time and place.
  • IPA: The signature Oakland version of the West Coast IPA mixes five different hops into a flavorful, year-round beer that gives off hints of citrus and tropical fruit. A great beer to pair with a savory menu.

Oakland United Beerworks is currently brewing on Alameda while it builds a brewery and tasting room on 2nd Street, near Jack London Square, with plans to open the doors by late summer. A new tap room will play host to the Oakland Beer Drinkers Association, launched by the brewery to introduce beer lovers to Oakland’s best breweries. Aldrich will collaborate with fellow Oakland and East Bay brewmasters to create and test new brews.

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Brewmaster Shane Aldrich

Mitch Steele’s New Atlanta Brewery Has A Name: New Realm Brewing

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As you probably knew, former Stone Brewing’s head brewer, and one-time AB brewer, Mitch Steele, is opening a new brewery, which will be located in Atlanta. The official business name from the beginning has been the purposely generic American Beerworks LLC, a placeholder while they worked on the actual name the business will operate under. Today they made it official. The new brewery will be called “New Realm Brewing.”

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Here’s more information from the press release that was issued this morning:

Combining a collective passion for craft beer, partners Mitch Steele, Carey Falcone and Bob Powers will bring a “New Realm” to Atlanta’s brewing community later this year. The trio announced their new venture in the Atlanta Beltline area in the fall of last year and has spent many hours coming up with the appropriate name to suit it.

“We could not be more thrilled to announce our name, New Realm,” said Carey Falcone Co-Founder and CEO. “It has taken us quite a bit of time (over many beers, of course) to create our vision and land on the right name for our future brewery and restaurant. New Realm speaks to our desire to create a new realm in brewing and dining experiences, and to support an outstanding and dynamic local craft beer community.”

At the core of New Realm Brewing is Co-Founder, Brewmaster and COO, Mitch Steele formerly Brewmaster for 10 years at Stone Brewing. Steele, referred by many as an authority on brewing IPA’s, has decades of experience developing and brewing innovative and delicious beers. Steele authored a book in 2012 titled, “IPA: Brewing Techniques, Recipes and the Evolution of India Pale Ale.” Currently Steele is busy developing recipes and has shared that craft fans can “count on IPAs being poured at New Realm as well as barrel-aged beers and traditional lagers”.

New Realm Brewing will break ground soon in preparation to open the 20,000 square foot space located at 820 Ralph McGill Avenue in the growing Beltline area. “Plans are underway to bring Atlanta and its visitors a distinctive venue to enjoy craft beer and great artisanal foods in an inviting, unique and fun atmosphere,” said Bob Powers Co-Founder and CCO. “In addition to our production brewery, we will have a restaurant, as well as both a rooftop bar and an outdoor beer garden at New Realm and we look forward to unveiling design plans in the near future.”

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New Realm Owners Mitch Steele, Carey Falcone and Bob Powers in front of the Atlanta skyline.

Bock To Basics

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For our 121st Session, our host will be Jon Abernathy, who writes The Brew Site. For his topic, he’s chosen Bock!, which again sounds simple enough, but I’ll just let Jon explain what he means:

The month of March heralds the start of spring, and March 20 is even National Bock Beer Day. So Bockbiers seemed like a natural fit for the month!

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Don’t feel constrained to simply write a review of a Bock beer, though I’m certainly interested to read any reviews that come it. Some other ideas to consider:

  • Dig into into the history of the style—their ties to Einbeck, the differences in the development of Bocks and Doppelbocks, and so on.
  • Do any of your local breweries brew a Bock-styled beer? Seek it out and write about it.
  • Alternatively, interview your local brewer who brewed that beer; get their take on the style and why/how they brewed it the way they did.
  • Have you ever attended Bockfest in Cincinnati, Ohio? It just so happens to take place the first weekend of March—write a review for The Session!
  • There are already the styles of traditional Bock, Doppelbock, Maibock, Eisbock, Weizenbock (and Helles Bock and Dunkles Bock in the BJCP) guidelines. Just for fun, invent a new style of Bock and describe it.
  • Have you homebrewed a Bock or similar style? Tell us about it, and anything you learned brewing this lager style at home.
  • Bock puns!

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In mid-2015, I was Thinking About Beer Color, so it could be fun to restrict that to just one family of color, the browns. There certainly are a lot of beers that fit into that range. What’s your take on the narrow band on the beer color rainbow.

To participate in the March Session, on or before Friday, March 3, 2017, post your thoughts on Bock beer. Either comment on the original announcement or via Twitter or Facebook. Jon’s Twitter handle is @brewsite.

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What Can Brown Do For You?

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For our 120th Session, our host will be Joe Tindall, who writes The Fatal Glass of Beer. For his topic, he’s chosen Brown Beer, which sounds simple enough, but I’ll just let Joe explain what he means:

The colour brown has certain connotations, some of which I won’t dwell on. But used in reference to beer, it can signify a kind of depressing old fashioned-ness – to refer to a traditional bitter as ‘brown’ seems to suggest it belongs to a bygone corduroy-trousered era. As breweries who pride themselves on their modernity focus on beers that are either decidedly pale or unmistakably black, the unglamorous brown middle ground is consistently neglected.

So for Session 120, let’s buck the trend and contemplate brown beer. This might be brown ale, or the aforementioned English bitter; it could be a malty Belgian brune, a dubbel or a tart oud bruin; even a German dunkel might qualify.

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In mid-2015, I was Thinking About Beer Color, so it could be fun to restrict that to just one family of color, the browns. There certainly are a lot of beers that fit into that range. What’s your take on the narrow band on the beer color rainbow. To participate in February’s Session, on or before Friday, February 3, 2017, post your thoughts on what brown has done for you. Just comment on the original announcement or via Twitter. Joe’s Twitter handle is @FatalGlass.

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Liberty IPA

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When Anchor’s Liberty Ale was first released in 1975, few people knew what to make of it, and in the intervening years, I’ve heard debates on both sides about whether or not it’s a pale ale an IPA or something else altogether. Certainly it was the first beer to be brewed with Cascade hops. But Anchor seems to have an answer at last to that eternal question with the announcement today that they’re releasing a new beer, Liberty IPA, based on the original Liberty Ale. The press release is below, but all you need to know is in this sentence. “Liberty IPA is Anchor’s reimagining of the craft beer classic Liberty Ale, envisioned through the lens of today’s IPAs.”

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Today, Anchor Brewing Company announces the release of Liberty IPA™, a bold and modern twist on an original craft classic, Liberty Ale.

Like its predecessor, Liberty IPA (6.3% ABV) is made with two-row pale malt and Cascade hops. It is the combination of Cascade with new hop varieties—Nelson Sauvin and El Dorado—that creates the mouthwateringly complex and robust aromas of pine and citrus in this crisp, American-style IPA.

“Liberty IPA is a revolutionary brew—reimagined,” said Anchor Brewmaster Scott Ungermann. “The beer is a bright straw golden color and boasts aromas of dank and resinous pine up front, with bold citrus and grapefruit notes on the back end. You can really taste the assertive bitterness, with hints of a light biscuit malt base and a smooth, dry finish. Liberty IPA is a celebration of the Cascade hopped IPA’s that Anchor first popularized back in 1975 and remain at the forefront of American craft beer trends.”

Liberty IPA is Anchor’s reimagining of the craft beer classic Liberty Ale, envisioned through the lens of today’s IPAs. Liberty Ale was first brewed in 1975 to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Paul Revere’s midnight ride, and was the first American IPA brewed after prohibition. This revolutionary forerunner of the modern IPA introduced America to the Cascade hop and the nearly lost art of dry-hopping, a steeping process to infuse beer with bold hop aromas.

Taking cues from the original Liberty Ale packaging, the newly designed Liberty IPA label features the bald eagle, a symbol of strength and freedom.

Liberty IPA is available starting January 2017 nationwide for a limited time in 6-pack bottles and on draught at select bars, restaurants, and stores as well as at the Anchor Brewing Taproom in San Francisco.

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