Beer Birthday: Drew Beechum

Today is the 42nd birthday of Drew Beechum, who’s a past president of the Maltose Falcons homebrewing club and its current webmeister. He’s also the author of The Everything Homebrewing Book: All you need to brew the best beer at home! and writes a regular column for Beer Advocate magazine. Join me in wishing Drew a very happy birthday.

Drew’s Facebook Profile picture.

Drew at 21st Amendment.

Drew in a Jayne hat — from Firefly — with his wife, Aymee. (NOTE: All photos purloined from Facebook.)

Beer Birthday: Gary Glass

Today is the 43rd birthday of Gary Glass, Director of the American Homebrewers Association. Gary’s been with the Brewers Association for many a moon and has become the face of homebrewing in America. Join me in wishing Gary a very happy birthday. And relax, drink a homebrew, if you have one.

Gary at Anchor Brewery with his wife Erin after an AHA rally there in 2008.

Gary talking with Fred Eckhardt at Hopworks Urban Brewery, flanked by Christian Ettinger and Brian Butenschoen, Oregon Brewers Guild Director. Photo by Oregon Brewers Guild.

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

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

Patent No. 20090028999A1: Beer Brewing Kit And Brewing Method To Prepare Wort For The Kit

Today in 2009, US Patent 20090028999 A1 was issued, an invention of Klaus U. Melisch and Stefan Riedelsheimer, for their “Beer Brewing Kit and Brewing Method to Prepare Wort for the Kit.” Here’s the Abstract:

A kit for home brewed beer which comprises a bottle, wort substantially filling the bottle, and a cap which has venting means to permit escape of gas from the bottle when pressure therein exceeds a predetermined value. There is also disclosed a brewing method wherein lactic acid is added to the wort to reduce the pH to level 4.6 and a predetermined amount of yeast is added to the wort to cause a short fermentation while maintaining the alcohol level below 0.5% by volume.


Beer Birthday: Charlie Papazian

Today is the 67th 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.

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).

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).

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

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

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.

The BA recently shared this great photo of Charlie from 1977.

Patent No. 4708938A: Alcoholic Fermentation

Today in 1987, US Patent 4708938 A was issued, an invention of Stephen J. Hickinbotham, for his “Alcoholic Fermentation.” Here’s the Abstract:

Fermentation method and apparatus comprising an outer container with a plastics bag hung from the neck of the container to define a chamber between the bag and the container. Means to pressurize the chamber with a temperature controlled medium to control fermentation of material within the bag. Additional pressurization of the chamber causing the fermented liquid to be expelled from the mouth of the bag.


Patent No. 132574A: Improvement In The Manufacture Of Beer (a.k.a. “California Pop Beer”)

Today in 1872, US Patent 132574 A was issued, an invention of Charles C. Haley, for his “Improvement In The Manufacture Of Beer, which in the application he names his improved beverage “California Pop Beer.” There’s no Abstract, although this is such an interesting one that I’m showing the entire application below, which also includes a recipe of sorts.


I think someone could probably make this beer, assuming homebrewers haven’t already taken up the challenge, even though it appears there is some general instruction, it seems like educated guesses would have to be made to fill in the unknowns.

This invention consists in a compound of the ingredients hereinafter named, used in the manner and in the proportions substantially as described, to form an improved beverage which I have denominated California Pop Beer.

In the manufacture of beer according to my invention, I first prepare the yeast as follows: For one hundred and five gallons of beer, I take of wheat flour three-quarters of a pound and dissolve it in one quart of cold water, and one ounce of hops steeped one hour in two quarts of water, and afterward strained. The dissolved wheat flour and the steeped hops are then mixed together, and the mixture is steeped for half an hour. It is then allowed to cool to the temperature of 88 Fahrenheit, after which three ounces of ground malt and one half an ounce of pure spirits are added, and the mixture allowed to stand for twelve hours.

The essence is next prepared as follows: To five ounces of alcohol I add one-half an ounce of oil of Wintergreen, one-third of an ounce of oil of Sassafras, and one-third of an ounce of oil of spruce, roughly mixed.

The yeast and essence having been thus prepared, the manufacture of the beer is proceeded with as follows: I take one-half a pound of hops, fourteen ounces of chemically prepared cream of tartar, and one-half pound of African ginger-root. These are placed in a suitable tub and steeped with ten gallons of water one hour, after which seventy pounds of granulated sugar are added. The essence prepared as above stated is now added to the mixture in the tub, and the con tents are brought to a heat of about 90; and, at this point, the yeast first prepared is poured in and the mixture allowed to stand for four hours. It is then bottled, and after standing for three days it is ready for use. The beer thus prepared is a superior and harmless beverage.

It also appears that it was sold commercially, and must have been popular enough, since it’s often referred to as “Haley’s Celebrated California Pop Beer.”


Of course, that could be an early form of advertising puffery. Haley himself was apparently from Troy, New York and so it seems likely his brewery, “C. Haley & Co.” was located there as well, although I’m on the road and don’t have my American Breweries II book for reference and nothing’s coming up online in a cursory search. There are, however, several examples of the name appearing on bottles, generally in the northeast, primarily from New York and New Jersey.


It seems curious that something not from California was named “California Pop Beer.” Was there some reputation California would have had at that time period that made naming the beer this way make sense?


Some bottles even include the date that the patent was approved.


And seems clear that multiple breweries made “California Pop Beer,” as here’s one from Brooklyn. It was brewed by G.B. Selmers, located at “104 & 106 So. 8th St. Brooklyn, ED.”


So who wants to step up and brew “California Pop Beer?” Maybe it should be someone actually in California this time?

Beer Birthday: Mike “Tasty” McDole

Today is also the birthday of living legend Mike “Tasty” McDole, homebrewer extraordinaire, and one time co-host of “The Jamil Show,” or “Can You Brew It?” and a regular still on the “Sunday Show” on The Brewing Network. Tasty would never refer to himself that way, and on Twitter he claims to be simply a “homebrewer and a craft beer enthusiast.” But most of us who know him would, as he also admits, “make [him] out to be much more.” And that is correct, I believe, as Tasty is one of the best. He’s a former Longshot winner, has given talks at the National Homebrew Convention and has won countless awards and has collaborated with numerous commercial breweries on beers. Join me in wishing Tasty a very happy birthday.

Justin Crossley & Mike McDole
With Justin Crossley at the Bistro Double IPA Festival in 2010.

With Shaun O’Sullivan at 21st Amendment in 2009.

Vic Krajl, from The Bistro, Award-Winning Homebrewer Mike McDole & Shaun O'Sullivan, from 21st Amendment
Vic Krajl, from The Bistro, Mike & Shaun O’Sullivan, from 21st Amendment at GABF in 2009.

Tasty at last year’s GABF in Denver.

Homebrewers Pick The Best Beers In America 2015

For the 13th straight year, the readers of Zymurgy magazine were asked to send in a list of their 20 favorite commercially available beers. With a record number of votes in the poll’s thirteenth year, over 1,900 different breweries were represented in the voting. The results were not exactly shocking, and most of the beers and breweries that got the most votes were what you’d expect, I think, but it’s an interesting list all the same. The results are, as usual, printed in the latest issue, July 2015.
Top Rated Beers
KEY: T indicates tie / (#) indicates rank last year / [Arrow indicates their movement over the previous year].

Four of the top ten are California beers (the same number as last year), with again 24 making the list. This is the seventh year in a row AHA members chose Pliny the Elder as the top beer. This also the sixth consecutive year that Bell’s Two Hearted Ale came in second.

1. Russian River Pliny the Elder [↔]
2. Bell’s Two Hearted Ale [↔]
3. Ballast Point Sculpin IPA [↔]
4. Stone Enjoy By IPA (8) [↑4]
5. Founders Breakfast Stout (9) [↑4]
6. The Alchemist Heady Topper (5) [↑1]
7. Bell’s Hopslam Ale (4) [↓3]
8. Three Floyds Zombie Dust (14) [↑6]
9. Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA (7) [↓2]
10. Firestone Walker Wookey Jack (13) [↑3]
11. Deschutes Fresh Squeezed IPA (not on last year’s list)
T12. Left Hand Milk Stout Nitro (not on last year’s list, though plain Milk Stout was 29)
T12. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale [↔]
T12. Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA (20) [↑8]
15. Goose Island Bourbon Country Stout (10) [↓5]
16. Russian River Blind Pig I.P.A. (22) [↑6]
T17. Arrogant Bastard Ale (18) [↑1]
T17. Founders KBS (11) [↓6]
T19. Russian River Consecration (39) [↑20]
T19. Russian River Supplication (30) [↑11]
21. Deschutes Black Butte Porter (23) [↑2]
T22. Firestone Walker Parabola (not on last year’s list)
T22. Firestone Walker Union Jack (18) [↓4]
T24. Firestone Walker Double Jack (15) [↓9]
T24. Odell IPA (49) [↑25]
T24. Tröegs Nugget Nectar (39) [↑15]
27. Founders All Day IPA (34) [↑7]
T28. Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA (27) [↓1]
T28. Sierra Nevada Celebration (15) [↓13]
30. Lagunitas IPA (38) [↑8]
31. North Coast Old Rasputin (23) [↓8]
32. Lagunitas Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ (15) [↓17]
T33. Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin (not on last year’s list)
T33. Boulevard Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale (25) [↓8]
35. Surly Furious (32) [↓3]
36. Stone Ruination IPA (26) [↓10]
37. Deschutes The Abyss (41) [↑4]
38. Green Flash West Coast IPA (31) [↓7]
39. Oskar Blues Ten Fidy (44) [↓5]
40. Cigar City Jai Alai (42) [↓2]
T41. Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter (47) [↑6]
T41. New Belgium La Folie (33) [↓8]
43. Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale (36) [↓7]
44. Founders Backwoods Bastard (49) [↑5]
T45. Victory DirtWolf Double IPA (not on last year’s list)
T45. Fat Head’s Head Hunter (not on last year’s list)
T45. Lagunitas Sucks (6) [↓39]
T45. Stone IPA (37) [↓8]
T49. Odell Myrcenary (not on last year’s list)
T49. Russian River Pliny the Younger (28) [↓21]
T49. Ballast Point Victory at Sea (not on last year’s list)

Brewery Rankings

Brewery rankings are based on total votes received by each brewery’s beers. This year’s top brewery is the same as last year, Russian River Brewing Co., in Santa Rosa, Calif. Russian River placed five beers in the top 50, including both its Plinys. Stone Brewing finished second, while Bell’s Brewery came in third, exchanging places from last year.

finished second, while last year’s winner, Stone Brewing Co., came in third this year. Eight California breweries made the list (one more than last year), with five from Colorado, and two each from Michigan and Pennsylvania. Again, (#) indicates their rank last year, while [Arrow indicates their movement over the previous year].

1. Russian River Brewing Co., Santa Rosa, CA [↔]
2. Stone Brewing Co., Escondido, CA (3) [↑1]
3. Bell’s Brewery, Inc., Kalamazoo, MI (2) [↓1]
4. Founders Brewing Co., Grand Rapids, MI (6) [↑2]
5. Firestone Walker Brewing Co., Paso Robles, CA (7) [↑2]
6. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Chico, CA & Mill River, NC (5) [↑1]
7. Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Milton, DE (4) [↓3]
8. Lagunitas Brewing Co., Petaluma, CA & Chicago, IL [↔]
9. Ballast Point Brewing, San Diego, CA (13) [↑4]
10. Deschutes Brewery, Bend, OR (9) [↓1]
11. New Belgium Brewing, Fort Collins, CO (10) [↓1]
12. Avery Brewing Co., Boulder, CO (20) [↑8]
13. Odell Brewing Co., Fort Collins, CO (14) [↑1]
14. Three Floyds Brewing Co., Munster, IN (11) [↓3]
15. Oskar Blues Brewery, Longmont, CO (17) [↑2]
16. Goose Island Beer Co., Chicago, IL (12) [↑4]
17. New Glarius Brewing Co., New Glarus, WI (18) [↑1]
18. Surly Brewing Co., Minneapolis, MN (21) [↑3]
19. Tröegs Brewing Co., Hershey, PA (not on last year’s list)
20. The Bruery, Placentia, CA (not on last year’s list)
21. Green Flash Brewing Co., San Diego, CA (not on last year’s list)
22. The Boston Beer Co., Boston, MA (15) [↓7]
T23. Great Divide Brewing Co., Denver, CO (22) [↓1]
T23. Cigar City Brewing, Tampa, FL (not on last year’s list)
T25. Victory Brewing Co., Downington, PA (19) [↓6]

Best Portfolio

They also determined which breweries got the most votes for different beers that they produce, and called that list “best portfolio.” The number following their name is how many of their beers got at least one vote. (#) indicates their rank last year, while [Arrow indicates their movement over the previous year].

1. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. [60 Beers] (3) [↑2]
2. Stone Brewing Co. [54 Beers] (5) [↑3]
3. Bell’s Brewery, Inc. [52 Beers] (6) [↑3]
4. New Belgium Brewing [47 Beers] (1) [↓3]
5. Avery Brewing Co. [39 Beers] (10) [↑5]
T6. Goose Island Beer Co. [37 Beers] (10) [↑4]
T6. Dogfish Head Craft Brewery [37 Beers] (4) [↓2]
T8. Firestone Walker Brewing Co. [35 Beers] (not on last year’s list)
T8. The Boston Beer Co. (Samuel Adams) [35 Beers] (2) [↓6]
T8. The Bruery [35 Beers] (9) [↓1]

Top Imports

With a few ties, several imports also received votes as readers’ favorite beers. For at least a second year in a row, Unibroue’s La Fin du Monde claimed the number one spot among imports. Again, (#) indicates their rank last year, while [Arrow indicates their movement over the previous year].

1. Unibroue La Fin Du Monde, Canada [↔]
2. St. Bernardus Abt 12, Belgium (3) [↓1]
3. Rodenbach Grand Cru, Belgium (5) [↑2]
4. Guinness Draught, Ireland (1) [↓3]
5. Saison Dupont, Belgium (not on last year’s list)
T6. Orval, Belgium (not on last year’s list)
T6. Chimay Grande Reserve/Blue Label, Belgium (not on last year’s list)
8 Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout, England (not on last year’s list)
T9. Weihenstephan Hefeweissbier, Germany (not on last year’s list)
T9. Cantillon Gueuze, Belgium (not on last year’s list)

Patent No. 6032571A: Automated Home Beer Brewing Machine And Method

Today in 2000, US Patent 6032571 A was issued, an invention of Brad Brous, Curt N. Torgerson, Terry Dubson, and Craig A. Wright, for their “Automated Home Beer Brewing Machine And Method.” Here’s the Abstract:

An automated home beer brewing machine and method makes beer in a single vessel under automatic control. The machine and method allows making of wort for beer without requiring apparatus to be sanitized, without boiling the wort, without the use of a traditional water-filled fermentation lock, and without using a wort chiller or ice-packing of a brewing pot. The inventive single-vessel automated brewing operation allows the user to load ingredients, conduct a grain-steeping if desired, and then automatically carries out the rest of the brewing process in a single vessel, until summoning the user days later to sugar-prime and bottle the beer. Thus, the user is required to provide much less time and labor than conventional home beer brewing, and the invention also frees the home-hobby brewer of much of the current art traditionally attached to home brewing.


US6032571-3 US6032571-4

US6032571-6 US6032571-11


With Next Session, Say “I Made This”

For our 92nd Session, our host is Jeremy Short, who writes Pintwell, along with Chris Jensen. For his topic, he’s chosen I Made This. When Jeremy first offered to host this session, his topic was “Homebrewing and How Homebrewing Impacts Your Relationship with Beer,” which he’s now markedly simplified down to it’s essence, the joy which every homebrewer feels as he or she takes their first sip of their homebrew: I Made This! But even if you’ve never homebrewed, or have not intention of ever doing so, he’s included a way for everybody to participate:

For the homebrewer:

– How did homebrewing change your view of beer? Do you like beers now that you didn’t before? Do you taste beer differently? Does homebrewing turn you into a pretentious asshole?

For the I only homebrewed once crowd:

– What was the experience like? Did you enjoy it? Hate it? Did you think about beer differently afterwards.

For the I have never homebrewed crowd:

– Maybe you had an experience at a brewery you would like to share? Maybe your toured a brewery and learned and experienced the making of beer that impacted the way you think of beer? Or maybe you’ve brewed in a professional setting?

For the I hate homebrewing crowd:

– Why? Why do you hate us so?

So there’s really no excuse for not participating.


So put on your DIY cap and write about your relationship to homebrewing next Friday, October 3. To contribute, leave a comment at the announcement or send Jeremy an email: jeremy (a) pintwell (.) com.