American Craft Beer Fest

It’s been a while! In case you have forgotten my name is andy and this is a blog about beer and sausage.

Liz and I have just gotten back from the American Craft Beer Fest in Boston. We tried lots of great beers. This was our first beer festival to go to and I was not disappointed.

We woke up nice and early yesterday morning, grabbed some coffee, and hit the road. We were a little upset that the festival had to fall on this day because it was also NECI’s graduation for the classes above us and Alton Brown was the guest speaker. A few friends of ours got to have their pictures taken with him, lucky.

Anyway, I got stuck with driving while Liz slept so I got to see some pretty sights going through southern New Hampshire in I-89. This was both of ours first time in Boston and it was pretty cool. We didn’t get to check out any of the historical sites but we took some nice strolls through the city.

We arrived at the Seaport World Trade Center about 15 minutes before the event and found a nice long line. We got in fairly quickly, were handed our 2 ounce tasting cups and immediately saw hundreds of different beers for the taking. 45 different beers with an average of 7.4% alcohol and 3 1/2 hours later our first beer fest was over and we were more than satisfied. For a complete list of the breweries and beers that were at the event click here. Below is a list of everything we tried.

Anchor Brewing Co. – San Fransisco, CA

Anchor Porter – Porter 5.6%

Anchor Steam – California Common 4.9%

Atwater Block Brewery – Detroit, MI

Detroit Pale Ale – Altbier 6.2%

Teufel Bock – Weizenbock 10.9%

Brewery Ommegang – Cooperstown, NY

Hennepin – Saison 7.7%

Ommegang BPA – Belgian Pale Ale 6.2%

Cisco Brewers Inc. – Nantucket, MA

Pechish Woods – American Wild Ale 4.9%

Summer of Lager – Munich Helles 6.5%

Heavy Seas Beer – Baltimore, MD

Holy Sheet – Belgian Strong Dark Ale 9%

Marzen – 5.78%

DL Geary Brewing Co. – Portlan, ME

Hampshire Special Ale – English Strong Ale 7%

Summer Ale – Kolsch 6%

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery – Milton, DE

Robert Johnson’s Hellhound on My Ale – Imperial IPA 10%

World Wide Stout – Imperial Stout 18%

Lagunitas Brewing Co. – Petaluma, CA

Hop Stoopid – Imperial IPA 8%

WTF (the bartender said that this was a “surprise” beer and left it at that. brown, hoppy, and delicious)

Lawson’s Finest Liquids  – Warren, VT

Acer Quercus – Rye Beer 9%

Double Sunshine – Imperial IPA 8%(my favorite!)

Left Hand Brewing Co. – Longmont, CO

400 Pound Monkey – English IPA 6.7%

Left Hand Milk Stout – 5.2%

Matt Brewing Co. – Utica, NY

Sarnac Adirondack Lager – German Pilsener 5.5%

Sarnac Black Forest – Schwarzbier 5.5%

Narragansett Brewing Co. – Providence, RI

Narragansett Bock – Helles Bock 6.5%

Narragansett Lager – American Lager 5.1%

Odell Brewing Co. – Fort Collins, CO

Myrcenary Double IPA – Imperial IPA 9.3%

Odell 90 Shilling Ale – Scottish Ale 5.5%

Rogue Ales – Newport, OR

Chatoe Rogue First Growth OREgasmic Ale – American Pale Ale 6%

Dad’s Little Helper – Black IPA 5.2%

Shipyard Brewing Co. – Portland, ME

Double Old Thumper Ale – ESB 11.2%

Shipyard xxxx IPA – Imperial IPA 9.25

Shmaltz Brewing Co. – San Fransisco, CA

Human Blockhead – Doppelbock 10%

He’Brew Bittersweet Lenny’s R.I.P.A. – Imperial Rye IPA 10%

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. – Chico, CA

Kellerweis Hefeweiven – 4.8%

A California Common that was not on the list

Southern Tier Brewing Co. – Lakewood, NY

Mokah – Imperial Stout 11%

Raspberry Wheat Ale – 4.5%

Stone Brewing Co. – Escondido, CA

Highway 78 Scotch Ale – Wee Heavy 8.8%

Stone Imperial Russian Stout – Russian Imperial Stout 10.5%

Three Heads Brewing – Rochester, NY

Blimey English-Style Pale Ale – ESB 6%

Java Sutra Coffee Porter – American Porter 6.5%

Tullycross Tavern and Micro Brewery – Manchester, CT

Silk City Stout – Irish Dry Stout 4.2%

TCT  Pale Ale – English Pale Ale 5%

Uinta Brewing Co. – Salt Lake City, UT

Cockeyed Cooper – American Barleywine 11.1%

Tilted Smile – Imperial Pilsner 9%

Weyerbacher Brewing Co. – Easton, PA

Fourteen Ale – Wheatwine 11.8%

Thirteen – Imperial Stout 13.6%

Randal the Enamel Animal at the Dogfish Head booth full of coffee beans with the World Wide Stout running through it.

Me and the Alstrom Brothers

Getting a Stone brew

That lady ruined my shot

Patiently waiting for some Left Hand

Allagash booth

Cisco

In the can ay?

Advertisements

3 Comments

Filed under beer, Festival

Antique shops and Beer of the Day: Theobroma

Me and Liz made our way to the antique shop in Montpelier today. A few months ago I made a post mentioning some steins they had and that I would post pictures soon, well, better late than never.

This stein is decorated with an inscription that read “Endet einst mein Lebenslauf”. According to one of Liz’s friends who speaks German, the person who wrote this is pretty much saying this is the best beer he has ever drank.

This is basically just a picture of a German fella having a good ol time.

This seems to depict a group of folks sitting by a table while one of their mates strums away on some sort of stringed instrument.

“Beer is healthy”

Theobroma

Dogfish Head Brewery

Milton, DE

Chile Beer

9%

This brew came from Hunger Mountain Co-op here in Montpelier. It was an impulse buy. I had heard that it tasted like spicy chocolate so I decided to try it.

Appearance – Two finger white foamy head, amber/ burnt orange color.

Aroma – malt, chocolate, caramel, honey

Taste – Cocoa, sweet, smokey. A little confusinf to explain. It is not a kind of sweet that makes you think “Ah, this is a sweet beer.” it makes you think ” Ah, this is a savory beer with hints of chocolate.” The chillies in this brew add a spice in the back of your throat. Very nice taste.

Mouthfeel – Medium bodied. Sort of bitter, nice stinging sensation not from the alcohol.

Drinkability – Great for certain occasions, not for everyday use.


2 Comments

Filed under Antique Store, beer, Beer Reviews, Uncategorized

Montbeerlier

Tomorrow, April 30, 2011 from 3pm to 10pm Montpelier will be host to it’s second annual Montbeerlier Beer Festival. Unfortunately I will have to be in class. To make matters worse, the group of windows in the restaurant will overlook the parking lot that the event will take place, so while everyone is out there drinking amazing beers and eating awesome in house made sausages hot off the grill, I will be peering out the window like a little kid grounded watching all of his friends play.

Anyway, Three Penny Taproom will be putting this even on in the Onion River Sports parking lot on Langdon St in downtown Montpelier. They will have 23 casks, in house made sausage, and plenty of nice kegs. Here is a list of some the casks to be enjoyed.

Lawson’s Finest Liquids – Double Sunshine
Lawson’s Finest Liquids – Pirata’s Darkness 2

Zero Gravity – Red-Handed (dry-hopped with Simcoe)

Trapp brewery’s newest creation two ways
A firkin of Maibock
dry-hopped pin of Maibock

Victory – Headwaters Pale Ale
Victory – Uncle Teddy’s Bitter

Schlenkerla – Fastenbier (wooden 30L)

Farnum Hill – Dorryard Cider

Shed – Three Penny IPA (dry hopped)

Stone – Levitation (dry hopped)

Sierra Nevada – Brown
Sierra Nevada – Stout
Sierra Nevada – Torpedo

Leave a comment

Filed under beer, Festival

Alabama’s Free The Hops Boycott Anheuser-Busch and Distributors

The middle of last week the Alabama grassroots movement known as Free The Hops announced a boycott on all Anheuser-Busch products and all products distributed by AB’s distributors. Before all you craft beer lovers start hootin and hollerin, let me give you a little background.

The current law in Alabama states that a brewery that wants to serve its beer on site has to be in a historic building with a restaurant that seats no fewer than 80 guests and must reside in a county that had a brewery before to 1918. Once a they meet this criteria, it can only sell its brew on site but cannot sell wholesale or for customers to carry off premises.

The Brewery Modernization Act (SB192) will change beer in Alabama forever.

It will legalize 22oz beer bottles, allow for outdated brewing laws to be lifted, and increase a profitable and friendly competitive beer industry statewide. But most importantly it will give the consumer more choice in the beer that they drink.

FTH claims that the AB distributors were blocking the Legislature’s passing SB192. Weeks of negotiations took place with lobbyists for Birmingham Budweiser and Turner Beverage of Huntsville to get the bill into a committee in the House of Representatives. Free the Hops grew suspicious that these negotiations were nothing more than a tactic to stall the bill and that the distributors had no intention of changing the existing brewpub laws.

There have been proposals from either side of the fence for a compromise. Free The Hops Vice President Dan Roberts had this to say on the organizations website:

“The first compromise was to revoke the Alabama Brewpub Act altogether and instead allow a brewery to obtain a Restaurant Retail Liquor License. A Restaurant Retail Liquor license requires a restaurant, so we said no. Then it was changed to allow them to obtain one of a variety of licenses that would allow them to be a brewpub or a tap room. The tap rooms would be allowed to sell beer for off-premise. We thought this was great! Then they changed it to on-premise only. We still thought that was pretty good. Then they changed their mind again. Their proposal earlier this week would have allowed for a “tap room” to have a 2 1/2 hour “tasting” in 2 oz. samples. It kept many of the restrictions on brewpubs in place. I got whiplash. I still don’t understand how we went from the perfectly acceptable compromise to that.”

Roberts then went on to say..

“Their latest Proposed language, given to us this week, was nothing short of an abomination.”

In response to this outrage FTH unanimously voted to ban all Anheuser-Busch products and those distributed by their distributors from their upcoming Rocket City Brewfest in Huntsville this may and Magic City Brewfest in Birmingham in June. Along with this ban they have lead a boycott against the company and it’s distributors in Alabama.

According to Stuart Carter, spokesman for Free the Hops,

“What we’re saying with this boycott is we as consumers don’t want to be channeling profits to wholesalers who are using those profits to prevent other consumers from getting the beer we want to drink.”

As great as this may sound to craft beer lovers, there are devastating casualties in this boycott. Carter also had this to say about the boycott,

“This is hurting friends, either friends we know or friends who brew the beer we love to drink.. …The problem is they’re the innocents in this who are caught in the crossfire.”

Here is a list of the breweries that are going to be affected by the boycott:

  • Anheuser-Busch
  • AB InBev
  • Great Divide Brewing Co.
  • Boulder Beer
  • Global Beer Network
  • Widmer Brothers
  • Durango Brewing Co.
  • Red Hook
  • Moylan’s Brewery
  • Landshark
  • Joose
  • Avery Brewing
  • Red Brick
  • Fordham Brewing Company
  • Old Dominion Brewing Company
  • Tommyknocker Brewery
  • fourLoko
  • Grolsch
  • Tiger
  • Back Forty Beer Co
  • Gordon Biersch Brewing Company
  • Southern Tier Brewing Company

Back Forty, an Alabama brewery, have supported Free The Hops from the beginning are being hit hard with this boycott because they are distributed by AB and sell their beers only in Alabama, therefore are pretty much going to be put out of business if this boycott is as successful as FTH intends for it to be. Some comments on the FTH blog posts have expressed their disappointment in many ways.

ant111 had this to say

“I don’t understand,how is a new brew-house like Back forty going to survive when they only sell their beer in Alabama and you are telling people to boycott and not buy their beer? Have they not supported your cause ?…..This is not a game, you are going to really destroy some people at Back forty who have done nothing but try and help you and your cause! Just couldn’t live with that myself… I’m not sure “how free the hops are” with that being the MO.”

Linus Hall (Yazoo Brewing)

“I think extending the boycott to non-AB products is going to do more damage to your cause to create a great beer culture in Alabama than it will help. These craft brands at AB houses do not have much control over what side their distributors take on this issue. Once they have signed with a distributor, they can’t easily get out of the contract. It’s better to support local craft breweries, even if they get to the shelves through an AB house. Your point will be made by boycotting AB products, and there isn’t any need to hurt local craft breweries like Back Forty just because they go through an AB house. Just my opinion, respectfully submitted.”

Others are taking on a different viewpoint and are pleased with the boycott.

yelawolf says,

“yeah it’s a shame that brands like back40 and others will get body slammed in this boycott but that’s why you never sell out in the first place. i think the big boys (buttwipers) started flashing $$$ and they hopped on board, pardon the pun, without considering the consequences of it down the road. i say stick it to the buttwipers and more power to the small breweries here in ALA. i get so tired of them manipulating and using their power and influence to keep small businesses down in this state. may this be a lesson to all of us that we should be very skeptical when the big boys take notice and come around flashing money inviting you to sell out. bunch of bullies with crappy products anyway.”

Nicholas Franklin

“It hurts to think this will do more damage to the smaller craft brewers using AB distribution than AB themselves, but it’s a necessary step to wake some of them up I suppose.”


Earlier I asked Butch Bailey, founder and president of Raise Your Pints, (the Mississippi grassroots movement aiming to change the outdated beer laws in MS) what were his opinions on the situation in Alabama and how it may affect their cause in Mississippi. This is what he had to say,

“Raise Your Pints supports Free The Hops and their mission. It is regrettable that Free The Hops had to take this drastic action in response to certain entities actively working to stifle craft beer in Alabama.

We’re not worried about the corporate mega-breweries or specific wholesalers because we are about promoting craft beer and they’re big enough to take care of themselves. It’s the craft brands like Back Forty that just happen to be caught in the crossfire that are the concern of everyone in the craft beer community.

Raise Your Pints is going to do what we can to prevent this sort of thing from having to happen in MS. We have goals that we will not back down from, but it is my belief that we can accomplish what we want without having to go to these measures. While we are prepared to do what is necessary to bring better beer to Mississippi, we will continue to work to build relationships with everyone involved as long as we can.”

Leave a comment

Filed under beer, Politics

Other News and Beer of the Day: Centennial IPA

So Liz and I just secured our tickets for the American Craft Beer Fest, a nice birthday present from the folks. It is on June fourth in Boston. over 100 breweries and over 400 beers, it should be really awesome. For a look at the line-up click here.

Mississippi is not known for being ahead of the race in anything, including beer. With a 5% alcohol by weight limit to any beer sold in the state Mississippi beer lovers are forced to cross borders to get their hands on delicious world class beers. Mississippi is denied more beer than any other state in the country. There is a group of individuals who are trying to fix this nasty little problem. Raise Your Pints is a grassroots organization that is trying to fix the outdated beer laws and make home brewing in Mississippi legal.

Centennial IPA

Founders Brewing Company

Grand Rapids, MI

India Pale Ale

7.2%

This was my first beer to try from founders. Not bad at all I really enjoyed it. I feel that it really sticks to the style well. I grabbed this one from Carborro Beverage Co. in Carborro NC.

Appearance – Burnt copper with a 1 1/2 finger tan head. Good lacing.

Aroma – Citrus, floral, malty.

Taste – Spicy. A good piney taste in the foreground. Good malts but absolutely hoppy. Great spice.

Mouth Feel – Dry from the hops. Good smooth medium body texture. Gets bubbly when swished in the mouth.

Drinkability – Good IPA. Dry and hoppy but doesn’t leave you parched when you drink it. Good to drink often.

Leave a comment

Filed under Beer Reviews

Beer of the Day: Bell’s 25th Anniversary Ale

25th Anniversary Ale

Bell’s Brewery Inc.

Kalamazoo, MI

Amber Ale

8.5%

I got this beer shortly after Liz was awesome enough to introduce me to the Bell’s line-up. I don’t have much to say about this one so I will tell you what Bell’s say.

Celebrating 25 years of brewing, this strong amber ale carries on our tradition of flavorful, balanced beers. Brewed with 100% Michigan-grown barley, 25th Anniversary Ale starts with caramel & light toffee flavors. These are paired with generous kettle & dry-hop additions, yielding a crisp, assertive bitterness and hop flavors ranging from citrus, floral, and piney notes.

Appearance – Amber, dark red, one-finger beige head, good lacing.

Aroma, Citrus, Pine, Floral, slightly malty.

Taste – Tastes as it smells. A bit more malt in the mouth than in the nose. nice crisp bite up front with a good bitter finish in the end all the while keeping a good consistent malt presence.

Mouth Feel – Good carbonation and very smooth texture that lightly and pleasantly coats the mouth.

Drinkability – Great brew. Too bad this isn’t a year long brew and only a specialty release.

Leave a comment

Filed under Beer Reviews

Beer of the Day: Old Guardian

Old Guardian

Stone Brewing Company

San Diego, CA

American Barley Wine

11.2%

This is Stone’s Old Guardian. I first had this brew on tap at Three Penny. I can’t really remember what it was like then as it was over a year ago but I do remember that I liked it. This particular bottle that I will be reviewing was drank by Liz and I when we went to her family’s cabin up north Michigan. According to their website Stone states that this beer is “Delicious”. Hmm, thanks Stone. In part of their Odd Years release Stone has introduced us to Old Guardian Belgo, which is nothing more than Old Guardian fermented with a strain of Belgian yeast. I have a bottle of the Belgo put away that I can’t wait to taste.

Appearance – Amber/Red, big foamy cream head that goes away after a little bit. Beautiful lacing.

Aroma – Piney hops, caramel malts, slight chocolate, the aroma gets stronger as it warms.

Taste – Very hoppy, spicy, caramel, chocolate. Just as the aromas, the taste gets stronger as it warms.

Mouthfeel – Medium, stings. A nice bite from the hops. Creamy and coats palate.

Drinkability – Third time to have this beer in a year and I don’t think it should be drank too many times in that length. This is a VERY powerful beer. I would love to get another bottle and put it away and see how the hops calm down and give the malts a chance to shine. Great beer

2 Comments

Filed under Beer Reviews