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!

Swan Song For Anchor Bock

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Anchor Brewing announced today that his year’s season release of Anchor Bock will be the last. From the press release:

Anchor Brewing Company announces the release and final selling season of Anchor Bock® Beer, a seasonal interpretation of the strong German beers that mark the beginning of spring.

Each year, breweries in Germany celebrate the coming of spring with a strong, flavorful beer. Anchor Bock Beer, a dark satiny brew with rich hints of chocolate, caramel and roasted barley, is Anchor’s interpretation of this long-standing tradition.

Bock beers are believed to have originated in the town of Einbeck, Germany and traditionally feature a goat on the labels. The Germanic term “bock” translates to “billy goat”, but has over time come to mean a beer darker and stronger than a brewery’s “regular” brew. One with, you might say, the kick of a goat.

Anchor Brewing Company will be retiring Anchor Bock Beer in 2014 making room for several new seasonals yet to be announced.

“Anchor Bock has been a beloved seasonal not only by craft beer fans, but by the folks here at Anchor,” said Mark Carpenter, Brewmaster at Anchor Brewing Company. “In an effort to expand and innovate, as we have done for decades, Anchor will be retiring Bock after the 2014 season to allow room for several all-new brews, which we will be sharing with the world very soon.”

Anchor Bock Beer is available nationally from January through March in draught, 12 oz. six-packs, and 22 oz. bottles.

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Check out their short video about Anchor Bock Beer, made last year, featuring Hazel the goat.

Spin A Beery Yarn With The Next Session

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For our 82nd Session, our host is Stephanos from Beers I’ve Known. He’s originally from Somerset but now lives in Northern Ireland. For his topic, he’s chosen Beery Yarns, asking for your best story involving beer.

The nights are drawing in, there may even be snow, what better way to enjoy a beer than in front of a log fire. Turn that TV off and talk to your drinking compatriots. Maybe you’re just at home with some friends or maybe in a decent local boozer chatting to complete strangers. This month I’m going to give you plenty of scope for originality by setting a wide-open theme. I want to hear your beery tall tales, yarns, recollections (in a Grandpa Simpson style) or otherwise, delivered in the manner that you befits sitting around a log fire, favourite beer in hand. Only proviso is that it has to involve beer in some way, whether that be a particular beer jogging your memory of a previous event or beer taking a bigger role in the recollected tale. Its up to you.

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So next Friday, December 6 — D-Day — spin your own beery yarn or tall-boy tale. Put on your old man hat and start storytelling.

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Sierra Nevada’s Berkeley Torpedo Room Opens Today

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The new Torpedo Room that Sierra Nevada Brewing created is officially open to the public today, beginning at 11:00 a.m.

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Located at 2031 4th Street in Berkeley, just behind the Grocery Outlet almost underneath the University Avenue off-ramp.

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The interior was created using mostly recycled materials, and there’s even two hop torpedoes behind the bar.

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Hop torpedoes, of course, are what the Torpedo Room was named for. I love the beaker display and the painting hanging on the wall above it.

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The Torpedo Room will feature 16 rotating taps, including some rare ones that used to be available only in the tap room at Chico.

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They won’t serve pints, only tasting flights, although they sell a full complement of Sierra Nevada packaged beer.

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The hours for the Torpedo Room Tuesday through Thursday, from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., and on Friday and Saturday, 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.. They’ll be closed on Sundays and Mondays. It’s a cool, comfortable, intimate space. Check it out when you’re in Berkeley.

Cerveceria MateVeza to Open Restaurant & Small Brewery in Oakland

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MateVeza announced today that they’ll be opening a new restaurant and brewery in Oakland next June, assuming approvals from the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control and the City of Oakland come in a timely fashion. This will be the second Cerveceria MateVeza location, after their 18th Street location in San Francisco. The Oakland location “will feature Argentinian cuisine” and will also house a small brewery. It will be located at 1701 Telegraph Avenue in Oakland, which is approximately one block from the Fox Theatre, and about a block and a half from Broadway. You can see it’s position on the map below.

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And here you can see the location on the far left, with the Fox Theatre on the right, down the street about a block. Some nuts and bolts released by the brewery: the new location will be “approximately 2,300 square feet,” and they’ll be “brewing on a 1 BBL (31-gallon system), ” with “15 beers on tap with the majority brewed in house. MateVeza bottles and growlers of the beers brewed in house will be available for purchase to go.” They will also “feature El Porteño empanadas and other local” food. Apparently, the building is currently occupied by Fred Brown, who owns and runs Rocsil’s Shoes at 1701 Telegraph Avenue. When he retires, MateVeza will take over the lease. “MateVeza founder and brewer Jim Woods plans to brew ‘Fred Brown Ale’ as the inaugural batch of beer at their new location.”

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Next Session Tackles Women In Beer

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For our 81st Session, our host is Nichole Richard — better known to the beer world as “Nitch” — who writes online at Tasting Nitch. She’s originally from the West Coast and lived in Hawaii, as well, has lived in 15 countries on three different continents, and is currently an expat living in France, and trying her best to “create a craft beer movement among cheap wine drinkers.” Her topic for this session asks bloggers to weigh in on the gender issue — Women in Craft Beer Culture. Are they “scary beer feminists?” Or “a healthy growing demographic?”

Feel free to write about what you want as long as it is beer and woman related!

I would love to see some of our historian beer bloggers give a bit of in depth back ground information on history of women in beer culture. Praise Ninkasi and what not, but were there male brewers before the fall of Rome?

Who did most the brewing in early colonized North America?

How is it that most current African brewers are still housewives while modern brewing is male dominated?

Do a feature on a woman in the beer industry!

Have you inspired your significant other to become beer culture involved? Call it, high five your beer loving wife day.

Are there any men out there who think that women in beer is a bad thing? For religious reasons, women aren’t allowed to tour many Trappist breweries and there are still French chefs who believe that a women on her menstrual cycle cannot make whip cream. (Truth.)

Woman’s palate’s are changing the direction of beer! Are women to blame for the recent increase in fruit beers? …

Are there any women out there who are crusading a flag of femininity while milling malt. Tell us your story!

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So two days from now, on Friday, November 1, shake off that post-Halloween hangover and no matter which gender you are, weigh in on the female half of humanity and their role in craft beer culture.

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SABMiller Testing Beer Brewed For Women

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Depending on your perspective, there’s good and bad news for women who love beer. Yesterday, Marketwatch casually mentioned that “SAB Miller, the world’s second largest brewer, is testing a new line of lighter and sweeter beers. Executives are also planning new ad campaigns geared towards women.” Other CBS affiliates, such as WREG Memphis, picked up the story but added little, apart from saying the new line will be “brewed especially for the ladies.” That’s all the information there is, so far, not even the SABMiller website has any additional information or a press release, at least not yet.

But if you’re one of those of the female persuasion that can be reduced to the stereotype of only liking sweet flavors, and don’t mind being pandered to, this just may be the beer for you. But if you’re a real person, like pretty much every beer lover I know who also happens to be a woman, this is probably just going to piss you off. I honestly don’t understand why the big beer companies keep trying this. Has it ever worked, anywhere in the world? People who understand and can appreciate the complex flavors of a good beer, will like it, irrespective of their reproductive organs. So just make good beer, educate your customers about it, and beer lovers — male and female — will drink it. Why is that so hard?

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First American Trappist Brewery

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While it’s been a rumor for a number of years — I first learned about it at least four years back, but like a monk was sworn to silence — finally it’s out in the public. America is getting its first officially sanctioned Trappist brewery. St. Joseph’s Abbey of Spencer, Massachusetts will be adding brewing to its daily routine, and selling under the name Spencer Brewing Co.

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The abbey was established in upstate New York in 1950, and is part of the Catholic Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance (O.C.S.O.), better known as “Trappists.” Many reports have indicated there’s 180 of them worldwide, but I count 175 at the list on the order’s official website.

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The abbey already sells preserves, and has done so for a long time, since around 1954. They also sell “liturgical vestments, and run a farm” to fund the abbey. Apparently the Scourmont Abbey, which makes Chimay, is helping the monks of St. Joseph’s in some capacity, whether through education, logistical support or just consultation I’m not sure. I also know that Dann Paquette from Pretty Things had been helping out, at least in the early stages, as he’d befriended a couple of the monks there as they gathered information and were considering the project of opening a brewery. Records indicate the building for brewing will be 50,000 square feet and their goal to brew 10,000 bbl per year. The first beer will be a Pater, a type of beer made by several Belgian breweries. Here’s how the back label describes the beer:

“Inspired by traditional refectory ales brewed by monks for the monks’ table, Spencer is a full-bodied, golden-hued Trappist ale with fruity accents, a dry finish and light hop bitterness.”

The brewery website is still empty, with just a Go Daddy holding page, and there’s no word on when the beer might be available. With the now Belgian-owned Anheuser-Busch InBev, Sierra Nevada working with Ovila, Moortgat buying Boulevard Brewing, and now this, there’s going to be a lot more Belgian-inspired, and Belgian-made, beer in the U.S. in coming years. But it’s hard not to be excited about this development.

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And the hexagonal Trappist logo is on the back label.

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Last Day To Register For The CCBA Northern California Meeting

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In case you’ve missed all of the reminders and e-mail blasts, today is the last day to register for the California Craft Beer Association‘s Northern California General Meeting, which will take place October 29 at the University of California Davis Conference Center, located at 550 Alumni Lane, Davis, CA 95616. You can register online via Eventbrite, and check out the schedule of the day’s itinerary.

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Anchor Brewing Announces Zymaster #5: Harvest One American Pale Ale

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Anchor Brewing announced today the 5th beer in their Zymaster series. This latest offering — Harvest One American Pale Ale — is a beer made with a new, experimental hop variety. I had a chance to try it during GABF last week, and the nose has amazing peach aromas, with soft, fruit flavors.
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Here’s the full story, from the press release:

It’s hard to imagine that the Cascade hop, today one of craft brewing’s most popular hop varieties, was ever new. Yet this distinctively aromatic hop, developed in Oregon by the USDA’s breeding program, was first released in the early 1970s. In 1975, Anchor Brewing featured Cascade hops with the debut of Liberty Ale®, America’s first craft-brewed, dry-hopped ale. Anchor Brewing has been using it in Liberty Ale® ever since.

Over the years, Anchor Brewing experimented with many different hops—both old and new—from around the world. For Zymaster Series No. 5: Harvest One American Pale Ale, Anchor Brewing decided to feature an experimental new hop variety. This yet unnamed, pre-commercial, aroma hop provides a uniquely Anchor twist to Zymaster 5.

Zymaster Series No. 5 (7.2% ABV) is made with a special blend of pale, caramel, and Munich malts, which contribute a distinctively complex maltiness and deep golden color. Nugget hops give it a tangy bitterness. But the hallmark of Zymaster 5: Harvest One American Pale Ale is the intriguingly novel aroma of an experimental new hop, which was used liberally in both the brewhouse and the cellar. A late addition to the boil plus dry hopping provides Harvest One with an incredibly lively hop aroma reminiscent of tree-ripened peaches, with just a hint of fresh melon. The result is a uniquely exciting new beer unlike anything brewed or tasted before.

“We have a fantastic and long-lasting relationship with the hop growers we work with,” said Mark Carpenter, Brewmaster at Anchor Brewing. “When we had the opportunity to sample and test a small set of experimental hops that were being grown, we were excited at the opportunity to work with something new and different. Out of about a dozen or so samples, there was one that really stood out to us. Right away, we knew this was a new hop variety we wanted to brew on a large scale. We were after something unique and aromatic, and this hop was one we hadn’t seen or smelled before and decided it would fit well in our Zymaster Series. Similar to how Anchor introduced the world to the Cascade hop in 1975 with Liberty Ale, we are proud and excited to share our take on this new, experimental hop in this beer.”

It’s being released today in California, though not all markets within the state, on draft and in 22 oz. bottles, and will be rolled out nationally in the next few months.

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