One of those times involves the Aslin Beer Company owners this week. In an article for Brightest Young Things, Phil Runco dropped the details on the new Alexandria spot, which is now open, and he got plenty of choice quotes that rankled many fans of other Virginia breweries. The one that stood out the most was this one:
“People know us as an IPA and stout brewery, and I know it’s probably a bold statement but I think we could make the best beer of every style on the East Coast,” he says. “It doesn’t scare me to say that. Once we are able to focus on our lagers, we’re going to produce top 3 lagers in the country. That’s what excites me the most: Being able to focus not just on IPAs and stouts and kettle sours but all of the other styles and sub-styles, and executing them at the high standard that people associate with Aslin.”
It’s not uncommon for a beer style to emerge, and spread, from an identifiable “bottle zero.” Every modern witbier, including Allagash White and Blue Moon, traces back to Pierre Celis’s recipe for Hoegaarden; Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale encouraged an entire generation of copycat hoppy brews; and the Trappist ale Orval has inspired countless homage beers, like Goose Island’s Matilda and Green Flash’s Rayon Vert.
Beers that wield such influence are historically cutting edge or avant-garde in nature. But that’s not the case with Tipopils, an esoteric oddball of a lager first brewed by Birrificio Italiano in 1996. It wasn’t until nearly 15 years after its release that it helped spawn a growing spate of so-called “Italian-style pilsner” tribute beers.
Franz HoferPeople and personalities. It’s the reason I love beer travel so much. I’ve met people from all walks of life in North America and Europe since starting this blog, be it folks who have left comfortable careers to follow the siren call of the brewhouse, or people who visit these breweries and taprooms in search of new drinking experiences and the conviviality that comes with them. I’ve made fast acquaintances and lifelong friends over pints in places as diverse as Montreal, Tokyo, and the rural Flemish countryside surrounding Brussels.
But nowhere is this sense of conviviality more pronounced than in the taverns and beer gardens of Germany and Austria, particularly Bavaria. This has everything to do with the communal nature of seating in beer halls, pubs, and beer gardens, where every seat at every table save the Stammtisch (regulars’ table) is up for grabs. Rarely will you find two-seat or four-seat tables more common to restaurants and cafes. Rather, longer tables that typically seat anywhere from six to twelve are the order of the day. If there’s an unoccupied seat at a table, even an eight-seater that’s been reserved by a party of six, simply ask if the seat is free, then sit down, order your beer, and enjoy your solitude or engage in conversation according to your wont. And if you’re alone at a table enjoying your solitude, note that it’s the height of rudeness to answer that the seats around you aren’t free for the taking.
Join us for a live podcast from Homebrew Con 2019 in Providence, Rhode Island. We talk to AHA Director Gary Glass, hop expert Stan Hieronymus, Alex Rumbolz about what’s new from Yakima Chief Hops, lots of other conference attendees, and even get in an experiment! Did we get the blind triangle tasting right? Did anybody?
It’s never been easier to be a lazy craft beer lover in Pennsylvania.*
While the state may be known for its archaic alcohol regulations, those laws are changing almost constantly, and now there are actually quite a few legal ways to get beer delivered right to your door. The hardest part is choosing what you want to try first — and maybe the wait, depending on how badly you need a drink.
It’s never been easier to be a lazy craft beer lover in Pennsylvania.*
“But hey, it’s not supposed to be dark but it IS American!?”
I can’t tell you where this happened, or the circumstances, or why more likely than not there HAD TO BE an out of style issue during this judging session. But none of that matters, really. What matters is what would be best, the right, score? I don’t care for exactness: we’re talking that scoring guide on the lower left side of the traditional judging form… Outstanding, Very Good, Good, Fair and Problematic. Since you are unable to assess this beer in person an exact score is obviously out of the question, though I will tell you the score I gave it.
I have no interest in challenging those who judged this beer with me, or who ran the event. I was impressed with all of them: very professional. This, really, is a matter of perspective in the final analysis. Continue reading “A Beer Judge’s Diary: 29?”
The New England IPA (NEIPA) or Hazy IPA is a unique beer style that continues to climb in popularity. More and more breweries are starting to emulate the phenomenon known as the “haze craze,” giving way to opaque, cloudy glasses with intense tropical fruit notes. In its GABF competition debut, the Hazy IPA style category featured the most entries out of any other style to date with 391 entries. Toppling its predecessor of the American Indian Pale Ale (IPA) with 311 entries that held the podium since 2002.
The Hazy IPA offers massive hop flavor, but with a smooth mouthfeel and bitterness; opening the door to both hop heads and people who don’t usually connect with bitter beers. One reason to help explain is looking at how hops are introduced. Hop additions are primarily added in the whirlpool and fermenter. Yes, you read that correctly. We said fermenter with little to no hops added to the kettle. Hop additions on the cold side takes advantage of the biotransformation that takes place when yeast converts oxygenated hop oils into fruity tasting esters, acetates, and other compounds.
This spring, my fiance and I took a trip to Asheville, North Carolina, a beer destination we’ve visited numerous times in the past. Asheville is a beautiful little hub for beer, filled with breweries both large and small, all striving to find a niche for themselves in both the local craft beer community and the greater national beer scene. It’s an excellent place to take stock of national trends, and see how they’re playing out in the microcosm of one intensely beer-focused city. It’s also an excellent place to hike and eat doughnuts, but that’s beside the point.
Sitting on the riverside patio of a large regional brewery in the area (okay, it was New Belgium), on a very lovely day, in the middle of a very lovely vacation, my fiance took a sip of her hazy IPA, and her face scrunched into a disapproving pucker. Bear in mind, this is a woman who loves craft beer, and whose favorite style throughout her life has often been India pale ale. Nor is she opposed to hazy, NE-IPA, either. She wasn’t reacting with dissatisfaction because of an inherent opinion she had about the style—she ordered that hazy IPA fully expecting to enjoy it, as we have many others. But what she said next perfectly crystalized one of the biggest issues in modern craft beer.