REGENSBURG, EASTERN BAVARIA’S BEER HUB

Just ninety minutes from Munich by train, Regensburg is an eminently walkable city where you’re never far from a brewery, beer garden, or Bierkeller. It’s also an ideal base for visiting Kloster Weltenburg and Schneider Weisse in Kelheim, and for exploring the woodlands cradling the Zoigl tradition of the Oberpfalz. Though not a beer pilgrimage site like Munich or Bamberg, Regensburg boasts nearly half a dozen breweries, a Bierkeller, and the famous Wurstlkuchl, a tiny Bratwurst house adjacent to the Stone Bridge. But it’s Regensburg’s riverside beer gardens that really shine. Both the Spitalbrauerei and Alte Linde beer gardens serve up stunning views of the cathedral, the Stone Bridge, and the medieval Altstadt — some of the best beer garden views anywhere in Germany.

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A Beer Judge’s Diary: New South Brew Off

Most pictures courtesy Jackie Lawrence

By Ken Carman
By Ken Carman
 There are a lot of competitions, like AWOG (Amber Waves of Grain) in Buffalo area we’ve always wanted to get back to, but timing and distance have prevented that. We finally did get back to Knickerbocker in the Albany/Saratoga Springs area. When New South Brew Off started Millie got to go, and that’s a good thing because that’s one of the clubs we are members of. But I was always up north helping to run Old Forge BIG Beer and Odd Ale, a competition I started. So I couldn’t judge.
 Of all the things COVID has done the one good thing I can think of is, since I needed to come home to be with Millie, I was able to judge NSBO too. So, after two weeks quarantine were over because I came from Tennessee, mead test on Long Island done, both places drained for the brutal winters, home I sped, boat in tow. And straight into prejudging for New South at Amber and Jerry Wood’s castle in Clarksville, TN.
 Clarksville, Tennessee, of the many great things Clarksville is it’s a military town: Fort Campbell, 101st Airborne.
Bear
 I didn’t bring the boat. So no boating around in Jerry’s backyard. But I’ll bet Jerry Wood’s pup: Bear the Saint Bernard, and the puppy edition Roxy, would have enjoyed the trip. Everyone say, “Hi, Bear!”
 Of course, as judges, we don’t get to see most of the preparation, for obvious reasons. We don’t need to know who entered what. Of course one of us just got home so… not possible. Continue reading “A Beer Judge’s Diary: New South Brew Off”

Ayinger, Munich’s Country Brewery

Ayinger is affectionately known as Munich’s “country brewery,” and it’s easy to see why. When you take the train out from Munich, the cityscape gives way to the industrial margins of the city, and then suddenly you’re on a broad green plain with gently rolling hills to the north and the snowy crenellations of the Alps to the south. A mere half an hour from the city, Aying hits the spot for slowing down to relax in the countryside with a beer or three.

The brewery rises up on the outskirts of this idyllic village where wooden chalets with an Alpine flair cluster around an onion-domed church as white as the driven snow. Aying and its brewery present a study in contrasts. You can tuck into hearty Bavarian fare like Tellerfleisch (boiled brisket with stewed vegetables and horseradish) or Käsespätzle (highly recommended!) in the rustic surroundings of the Ayinger Bräustüberl in the center of the village. But the delicious beers accompanying the traditional food come from a state-of-the-art production facility that seems light years from the carved wooden balconies and flower boxes that dot the town.

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A Beer Judge’s Diary: Taking the Mead Tasting Test, Bay Shore, Long Island, NY


Andrew Luberto: BJCP Grand Master, mead, Advanced Cicerone

By Ken Carman
By Ken Carman
Note: Readers will be wondering, “You took a test on Long Island when you live in Nashville?” So this edition will provide a lot of context. Hence why it reads even more like a diary than previous editions.

 This is the 3rd test I have taken since I became Certified BJCP back in the 2000’s. Usually my main purpose is using tests as a self teaching tool. They inspire me to go out of my way and study more, learn more. I don’t want to be a judge who just passes the test, gets his rank, and never does anything to improve, to challenge myself. For me the pressure of an upcoming test is perfect.
 Though these tests can be like an advanced refresher course, with this test I had as strong an incentive to achieve a mead endorsement.

Mead judging at Austin, NHC. Courtesy Beer and Wine Journal
 I have tried to spread the beer tasting tests apart, time-wise, because I understand more new judges is important.
 Bringing at least one more mead judge to the mid-South competitions matters to me. The mid-South is somewhat of a mead judging desert, in my opinion.
 Since we don’t have the mead judges we need there are few (to no) mead entries. Far less than I hope for. So if I pass, dare I hope, dare I dream, dare I imagine, as a mead judge I might become Johnny Apple Mead? (Did that weak attempt at a joke make you Cy… Sir?)
 I will start by reporting the basics of how my beer journey, that started in the 70s, had me arriving at Bay Shore, Long Island, for a mead tasting test all the way from Nashville, TN. Then… specifics of the test itself; as much as I can offer. Third… observations, especially personal analysis. I WILL be quite critical of myself. Last… the big wave goodbye as I headed north, with some personal notes.
 I started brewing in the 70s. Then in the 2000’s I began brewing braggots: kind of a back door to mead at the time. The style appealed to me because I enjoy complex quaffs. When I told fellow brewers at the time what I was brewing I’d get, “What is THAT?” This was when online wasn’t a thing yet and legacy mead tests were even harder to find than Sinclair brand dinosaur era-based fuel on my main route.
 I had to rely on Thruway Sunoco to get here instead.
 Yes, I have a history of doing idiotic things like driving long distances to take BJCP tests. My second Legacy was in Knoxville. My other two, post Certified, were in Atlanta. This year I almost drove to Pittsburgh area from Nashville for a mead test, but it was canceled.
 I took my online mead test just before COVID really hit. Because of COVID the tasting portion of several regular BJCP tests have been canceled for obvious reasons, and I only have a year to get this done. That has been difficult: tasting tests for mead have been even harder to find. There are close to none in the mid-South.
Knickerbocker 2014. Courtesy Chad’z Beer Reviews
 I started judging beer around 1998, became BJCP in the 2000’s, I find it unfortunate; except one mead only competition in Savannah this year, that I always end up head of the table when there is a mead table. There just doesn’t seem to be enough mead judges; especially in the mid-South. And not just the South. One of the first mead tables that I became the head judge for was at Knickerbocker, back when the competition was in Albany. I wanted to learn so I told the organizer if he had a mead judge coming I would love to judge with them so I could learn more. Never guess who had to cancel?
 Through this column I have become an advocate for more mead judges. Continue reading “A Beer Judge’s Diary: Taking the Mead Tasting Test, Bay Shore, Long Island, NY”

BELGIAN BEER CAFÉ VIGNETTES: DE GARRE, BRUGES

Written by Franz Hofer for A Tempest in a Tankard

Clichés about hidden gems aside, there are hidden gems, and then there are true hidden gems. De Garre is a true hidden gem — literally. The address is simple enough: De Garre 1. But it’s a clue more than anything else. You have to look hard for this place tucked away to the southeast of the Grote Markt in an alley along the Breidelstraat in Bruges. The small passage, wide enough for two people, is a bit like an Edinburgh alley: blink and you’ll miss it.

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Breweries are turning carbon dioxide into liquid gold

San Francisco (CNN Business)Carbon dioxide is a precious commodity in brewing. The gas is what gives beer its fizz.

Although literally tons of it are produced during fermentation, CO2 is not easy or cheap for small brewers to capture, so it’s often vented into the atmosphere. Instead of grabbing that CO2 to carbonate beer, tanks of CO2 are trucked in from across the country to meet brewers’ needs.
Earthly Labs, a startup out of Texas, hopes to change that. The company wants to establish a recycling loop via a fridge-sized machine named CiCi — shorthand for “carbon capture” — that allows small breweries to trap their CO2, use it to carbonate their beers and potentially sell extra gas to others who need it.

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Off the Beaten Path Near Munich

Writteb by Franz Hofer for A Tempest in a Tankard

Munich has it all for the beer drinker. And if that’s not enough, breweries like Ayinger, Kloster Andechs, and Weihenstephan fan out at various points along Munich’s regional train network. But there’s even more beer bliss in store for the intrepid beer traveler willing to journey further afield. This cluster of historic beer towns, aristocratic breweries, and monastery beer gardens is a short trip away in Upper Bavaria. You can combine a few of these as day trips from Munich, or base yourself in Bad Tölz for some relaxing small-town charm in the foothills of the Alps.

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Anheuser-Busch Faces Lawsuit Over Veza Sur Craft Positioning


The Professor hopes for the best here, The big brewers have done this kind of thing for a long time. But he has his doubts. GOOD LUCK!

A proposed class-action lawsuit alleges that Anheuser-Busch InBev is deceiving consumers by positioning its Veza Sur brewery in Miami as a craft brewery.

Consumers Byron Jackson and Mario Mena Jr. filed lawsuit last week against A-B and its subsidiary, Miami Beer Ventures LLC (MBV), in the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Florida Miami Division.

Jackson and Mena, who both live in Miami-Dade County, claim they were misled into purchasing what they believed to be craft beer made by a small brewery with Latin roots in Miami’s Wynwood Arts District.

“In reality, it is simply another one of the dozens of brands made by the largest brewer in the world, Anheuser-Busch,” the complaint reads. “It has no authentic Latin roots, and is not even made in Miami.”

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