Beer Birthday: Erin Fay Glass

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Today is also the 43rd birthday of Erin Fay Glass, Membership Coordinator and Brewery Detective at the Brewers Association. Erin is one of my favorite people in the BA, and the whole beer community for that matter. Join me in wishing her a very happy birthday.

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Two November 18ths ago, Maya Ryleigh was born to Erin and Gary Glass.

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Erin with husband Gary Glass, AHA director.

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Gary Glass, Erin and Bradley Lantham, from the BA, at Anchor for an AHA Rally.

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Gary, Maya and Erin. (Photo purloined from Facebook.)

Your Father’s Beer

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Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning famously said a couple of weeks ago after his victory over the Chargers that all he could think of was how soon he could “get a Bud Light in [his] mouth.” It seemed like a slap in the face to pick Budweiser while being the QB in the land of Rocky Mountain spring water-made Coors. Not to mention that Colorado is one of the best beer states in America, so it’s no surprise that a number of smaller craft breweries also called him out for his choice of frosty beverage. But in subsequent interviews, Manning’s stuck to his guns, succinctly explaining the reason for his beer preference.

“My father taught me a number of things, one of which being that Bud Light is the preferred beer of the Manning household”

My only question is this. Peyton Manning is 37 years old. He’s also married with two children, and presumably no longer lives at home but has his own household. At what age did you stop doing everything your father told you? It may be true, but it seems like a bit of a cop out. I thought it was more common to eschew your father’s beer and make your own choices.

I remember a particularly enlightening conversation I eavesdropped on at GABF a number of years ago. I was walking the hall, in a hurry on my way to somewhere, when a group of at least half-a-dozen young men, presumably in their early twenties, blocked my path and forced me to slow up behind them. From just behind their slow-walking row, I could hear what they were saying as we ambled past the Sierra Nevada Brewing booth. One of the them elbowed his friend, and pointing his head toward Sierra Nevada’s booth, remarked. “Sierra Nevada; my Dad really likes that beer.” He put the emphasis on “Dad” when he said it, indicating that it wasn’t necessarily a good thing. I remembered that a while later when I was having dinner and some drinks with Ken and Brian Grossman, and mentioned what I’d overheard. They said they were fully aware of that as a growing problem, having been around long enough that they were becoming the new generation’s Dad’s beer. It’s part of the reason they began doing so many more collaborations, specialty releases and even beer camp. It’s an interesting facet of the craft beer industry as it grows and matures. How do you maintain your image while also remaining fresh to newer, younger customers? Because nobody wants to drink the same beer as their father. I know I didn’t, and don’t.

I know none of this matters and everyone is free to drink whatever the hell they want. Still, I find it fascinating to watch how certain statements play out in the media. Had Manning picked a Coors product, he would have pleased the hometown fans. Had he picked a craft beer, especially a local one, he would have made the hometown fans, and many good beer lovers, overjoyed. Instead he picked Bud Light, coincidentally the “official beer of the NFL,” so most likely the group he pleased the most was the league.

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Last fall, Manning apparently bought twenty-one Papa John’s Pizza franchises, all in Colorado. I wonder what beers they serve?

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Beer Birthday: Charlie Papazian

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Today is the 65th birthday of Charlie Papazian, one of the most influential persons in modern brewing. Charlie founded the AHA, the AOB and the IBS back in 1978 (which today is the Brewers Association) and organized the first Great American Beer Festival. His book, the Complete Joy of Homebrewing was one of the seminal works on the subject, and is now in its fourth edition. Join me in wishing Charlie a very happy birthday.

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My favorite press photo of Charlie.

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Just before taking the stage during GABF 2007, from left, Glenn Payne (of Meantime Brewing), Charlie, Mark Dorber (formerly of the White Horse on Parson’s Green but now at the Anchor Pub), Garrett Oliver, and Steve Hindy (both from Brooklyn Brewing), Dave Alexander (from the Brickskeller), and Tom Dalldorf (from the Celebrator Beer News).

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Some NBWA luminaries at the 2008 NBWA welcome reception. From left, Jamie Jurado (with Gambrinus), Lucy Saunders (the Beer Cook), Charlie Papazian (President of the Brewers Association), Kim Jordan (from New Belgium Brewing) and Tom Dalldorf (from the Celebrator Beer News).

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On stage at the Beer Wars Live premiere with Ben Stein and Greg Koch.

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Charlie with Pete Slosberg at last year’s Craft Brewers Conference in San francisco.

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Of the literally hundreds of GABF and World Beer Cup award-accepting photos I have with Charlie in them, this is one of my favorites.

Beer Birthday: Nancy Johnson

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Today is Nancy Johnson’s birthday. Nancy is the Events Director for the Brewers Association, which includes being the director of the Great American Beer Festival, among others. She’s been doing that thankless job for a lot of years now and always manages to keep a smile on her face. Join me in wishing Nancy a very happy birthday.

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George Wendt, Nancy, and Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper at the 2009 GABF Awards Ceremony.

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Nancy with Chris Black, the owner of Falling Rock, at GABF in 2006.

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With Tom McCormick, from the CSBA, at the Roadhouse in Boston, Mass.

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Tom Nickel (owner of O’Brien’s in San Diego), Nancy and the late Danny Williams, at Slow Food Nation 2008 in San Francisco.

Beer Birthday: Bob Pease

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Today is the 52nd birthday of Bob Pease. Bob is the Chief Operating Officer of the Brewers Association and has been integral to their growth. He’s been with the BA since 1993 and was made V.P. in 1999. A few years ago he was promoted to COO. Join me in wishing Bob a very happy birthday.

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On the floor at GABF in 2007, with Ray Daniels, Mark Dorber, publican extraordinaire, and John Mallet, from Bell’s Brewery.

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With Nancy Johnson at CBC in New Orleans.

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Bob with Rick Lyke at a Pints For Prostates event.

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The BA staff at CBC earlier this year in Chicago. That’s Bob second to the right of the tuxedo (which is Charlie Papazian) and next to Julia Herz.

Beer Birthday: Chris Swersey

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Today is the 49th birthday of Chris Swersey, who’s on the staff of the Brewers Association as the Competition Manager for both the Great American Beer Festival and the World Beer Cup. He coordinates all the judges, volunteers and the thousands of beers needed for each festival. It’s a big job and Chris seems to do it effortlessly. Join me in wishing Chris a very happy birthday.

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Chris reading the list of World Beer Cup winners in 2008.

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Nancy Johnson, Justin Crossley & Chris right before the GABF Awards Ceremony in 2009.

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Eric and Lauren Salazar, both from New Belgium Brewing, sandwiched by Jim Crooks, from Firestone Walker, and Chris Swersey, Competition Manager for GABF judging.

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Me, Chris and another BA staff member freshly arriving at CBC in Austin in 2007.

Beer Birthday: Paul Gatza

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Today is also Paul Gatza’s 49th birthday. Paul is the Director of the Brewers Association in Boulder, Colorado. He’s held numerous executive positions with the BA and its previous incarnation, the Association of Brewers. An avid homebrewer, Paul is great face for the BA and a terrific person. Join me in wishing Paul a very happy birthday.

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Toasting in New Orleans for CBC.

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Working the AHA booth at GABF.

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At the podium during the opening of CBC in 2008.

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Paul giving his annual state of the industry talk at CBC in 2012.

Fairy Tale Labels From the Brothers Grimm

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Like most kids, I read (or had read to me) a lot of fables and fairy tales growing up. But a class I took in college on them reinvigorated my love of the genre, and I’ve continued to be a fan of fables ever since. Today, I have about two long shelves dedicated to collections of fairy tales from around the world, including the complete Brothers Grimm and an annotated volume of their more well-known tales. So I was excited to see the labels for the Grimm Brothers Brewhouse of Loveland, Colorado. The brewery opened in mid-2010 but somehow escaped my notice until recently. I don’t know if any of the brewery owners are brothers, or even named Grimm, but I’m guessing not, because their names are not readily available at the website or their Facebook page. But they’re certainly using the mythology of the Grimm stories to great effect in their beer names and especially the artwork, created by Ten Fold Collective, a local graphic design firm.

I just love the graphics for their labels. All of their packaging just looks amazing. I know that good packaging won’t mask a subpar beer for long, but it will enhance a good beer’s reputation and will help any beer stand out on increasingly crowded retail shelves. If their beer is only half as good as the packaging, it should be terrific. But it’s best to find out. Loveland is only about an hour north of Denver, on the way to Fort Collins. I definitely have to make a point to get out there during GABF week next year.

Here’s what the bottles look like, followed by close-ups of the labels themselves:
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Snow Drop Honey Wheat Ale

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Fearless Youth Dunkel Lager

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Little Red Cap Alt Style Ale

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Master Thief German Porter

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The Griffin Hefeweizen Ale

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The Farmer’s Daughter Oktoberfest Lager

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And these labels are part of their “Fabled Series.”

The Count Imperial Stout

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Big Bad Wolf Sticke Alt Ale

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Sooty Brother Gratzer Ale

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Weihnachts Bier Weizenbock Ale

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Mirror Mirror Imperial Kottbusser Ale

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Hare’s Bride Hefeweizen Ale

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And this is a special release they did for Valentine’s Day earlier this year.

Bleeding Heart Cherry Chocolate Porter

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New Belgium Announces Asheville As Site For 2nd Brewery

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Wow, it’s been a good year for beer in Asheville, North Carolina. Not too long ago, Sierra Nevada Brewing announced they would build a second brewery in the county seat of Buncombe County. Now a second large craft brewery — New Belgium Brewing — today announced that they, too, have chosen Asheville as the city where they will build an East Coast brewery to brew and distribute their beers.

According to the press release:

The 400,000-barrel brewery and packaging facility will provide New Belgium with additional capacity allowing the Colorado-based brewer to expand into new areas of distribution. Upon completion in 2015, the facility will initially create 50 new jobs in the Asheville area with more than 100 positions expected at full buildout.

“After several years of searching, we are incredibly excited to have landed in Asheville,” said Kim Jordan, CEO and co-founder of New Belgium. “From the deep sense of community to the rich natural environment and the opportunity to revitalize a brownfield site near a vibrant downtown, Asheville has everything we’ve been looking for in a location for our second brewery.”

The 17.5-acre site located in the heart of the River Arts District will accommodate the 150,000 sq. ft. facility. The brewery will feature a 200-barrel brewing system, a tasting facility, and a process wastewater treatment center on-site. Tours will be available to the public. Total cost projections are over $100 million.

“Today’s announcement by New Belgium will enhance the craft brewery cluster that is growing in North Carolina,” said Gov. Bev Perdue. “The jobs and investment the company is committing will be a major boon for the region and for the state.”

Construction is expected to begin in early 2013 with beer rolling off the line in early 2015.

Let the brewing wars begin ….