Holiday Smack-Up: Crux “Tough Love”: The Dark Side of the Holidays

Written by Steve Body

I’m going to tell you about what is certainly one of my two or three favorite bottles of beer I’ve tasted in my insanely long career as a wine and beer buyer and the literal thousand or so beers I sample, every year. (not “drink”, “sample”; a sip or two and mostly spit. Nobody can drink that much beer and not have a liver the size of a Kia Sportage) All you folks who are headed out to the grocery store or booze shop to pick up your usual knee-jerk Chardonnay (God Save Us) or six pack o’ precocious Pilsner – even a craft one – or that one-size-fits-all Pinot Noir, just listen the hell up for a moment, okay? I’ma do you a solid, here.

I grant you we are really only one, one and a half generations away from being an entire nation of Bud-swillin’ dunderheads, so no one needs to feel too terrible about opting for their comfort zone in holiday imbibing. BUT we CAN, mercifully be past all that, if we choose. And that is what this post is all about…


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Cheers to 30 years: How Broad Ripple Brew Pub spurred Indiana’s craft beer industry

Thirty years ago, Indiana’s first craft brewery, with an adjoining pub, opened Nov. 14 just west of the then new Monon Trail. The Broad Ripple Brew Pub (BRBP) was where we came to learn what fresh, local, craft beer was all about right here.

We weren’t unaware of the American craft beer revolution that Jack McAuliffe sparked in 1976 with New Albion Ale, known as the first American craft beer, brewed in Sonoma California. That is, at least in part, because BRBP founders John and Nancy Hill had been showcasing American craft beer at the Wellington/ the Corner Wine Bar at the corner of 63rd and Guilford since 1982.

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Canadian cannabis company agrees to buy U.S. craft-beer maker Sweetwater, known for its ‘420’-branded brews

Aphria Inc. is jumping into the U.S. with the purchase of a craft-beer company that has been a part of some stoners’ lifestyle for decades.

The Canadian cannabis company announced that it plans to acquire Atlanta’s Sweetwater Brewing Co. for at least $300 million, marrying a long-serving craft brewer known for its “420”-labled beer with the pot industry. While Sweetwater does not make drinks with a cannabis buzz yet, the companies seemed to suggest that could be in the offing as the two sides seek to leverage Sweetwater’s contacts in the U.S. and Aphria’s APHA, +4.23% cannabis ties to find potential benefits to the coupling.

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Hop Confusion with Mike Brennan

If you can’t tell by the number of hop conversations going on – things are wild and changing in the hop world. We’re sitting down with Mike Brennan of BSG to get his take on what’s changing and what you need to know! (And we suspect we’ll be talking even more with him!

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Guinness recalls alcohol-free beer just two weeks after launch

Guinness is recalling cans of its non-alcoholic stout because of contamination fears, just two weeks after they were launched.

The brewer described the recall as “precautionary”, but said “microbiological contamination” might mean some products were unsafe.

The company urged anyone with cans of Guinness 0.0 not to drink them.

It said it was working with supermarkets and other shops to remove all of the products from the shelves.

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Legacy and Liability — To Chart Its Way Forward, Ommegang Has to Reconsider Its Belgian Past

What does it mean for a brewery if its most recent successes are seen as exceptions to, rather than extensions of, its identity? Twenty-three-year-old Brewery Ommegang is considering this question in real time.

Faced with declining popularity for its core, Belgian-inspired styles, the Cooperstown, New York-based brewery has made two non-Belgian styles its priorities: Neon Rainbows, a New England IPA, and Idyll Days, a Pilsner, which will relaunch nationally next year.

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Shelton Brothers Will Cease Operations


After 24 years, Shelton Brothers, America’s most influential importer of Belgian and European beers, will soon cease operations.

The Belchertown, Massachusetts-based importer of renowned brands that include Cantillon, Drie Fonteinen, Fantôme, De La Senne, and others says it has been forced into liquidation by its bank.

The company was founded in 1996 by brothers Dan, Joel, and Will Shelton and has served as an importer of more than 150 of the world’s best breweries, as well as a distribution partner for American breweries, cideries, and meaderies including Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales, Anchorage Brewing Company, and Saint Somewhere. The company’s annual beer event, The Festival, is considered one of the most prestigious global beer events and is attended by some of the most revered brewers in the world.

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Bruges is one of my favourite cities in Europe. Ethereal cobblestone lanes, canals, medieval Flemish architecture, magnificent squares, a towering belfry, secluded parks, and even a few windmills make for an enchanting ambience you won’t find in many other cities. And there’s no shortage of churches and museums for those who like a shot of culture as a prelude to their beer. Speaking of which, Bruges’ narrow alleys conceal many a hidden oasis where you can relax from the hard work of sightseeing and eating all that Belgian chocolate.

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Conquer Chill Haze

All good chefs know that the appearance and presentation of food is just as important as the flavor. If a steak is an unappetizing shade of gray, it will seldom be appreciated, even if it’s delicious. It’s the same with beer; a great deal of the perception and appreciation of beer comes from the way it looks. Everyone likes to see a sparkling, clear European pilsner, Oktoberfest, or pale ale, and even dark styles such as stout and porter look a lot better when they are clear black instead of muddy brown.

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