Brew Biz: Werts and All

The Topic: The Pour Fool was Right (In InBev’s name I curse.)

 Ken Carman is a BJCP judge; homebrewer since 1979, club member at Escambia Bay, Salt City, Clarksville Carboys and Music City Homebrewers, who has been writing on beer-related topics and interviewing professional brewers all over the east coast, for over 15 years.

Written by Ken Carman

 Early morning in my Eagle Bay cabin, another beautiful Adirondack day, now cursed by my mental state. Really? InBev feels the need to have its claws sunk into a site that rates beer; for some odd reason called RateBeer?
 In the last Fool column on this topic I felt Fool might be being a tad, well, foolish. InBev, unlike A/B, is a conglomerate of many distinct breweries and, unlike the Busch family, they might not feel so inclined as to ruin all those distinct brands just to bring back the mega beer crime families gory days of barely more than one style of cheap adjunct beer.
 Not the slightest bit “foolish” this time.
 InBev shouldn’t have any control over websites that rate beer. This is not a new topic to me, and a firm principle. When the brewer for a brewpub in Nashville wanted to become head of communications for Music City Brewers: a homebrew club, I objected in strong terms to the president. I made an enemy of the brewer, I’m sure, but I don’t care. It’s the principle: the head brewer at one brewery in town shouldn’t be given any control over whom we communicate with, or not. There were, and are, many other breweries in town. If people wanted to say something in print that did not reflect well on his brews they should be able to say that without worrying that the Communications person might stifle them. If the club wants to have meeting at another brewery instead of his there shouldn’t even be the slightest possibility that communications regarding this would be limited in any way; or the perception it had been limited. And I was writing a column for the newsletter, and one local magazine, that, in part, critiqued breweries and what was on tap, or bottle, or can. Continue reading “Brew Biz: Werts and All”

Brew Biz: Werts and All

Considering the InBev buyout and all the noise created, doesn’t this label seem a tad mega brew ironic? Courtesy Carolina Brew Review.

The Topic: How Much Wicked in Wicked Weed?

 Ken Carman is a BJCP judge; homebrewer since 1979, club member at Escambia Bay, Salt City, Clarksville Carboys and Music City Homebrewers, who has been writing on beer-related topics and interviewing professional brewers all over the east coast, for over 15 years.

Written by Ken Carman

 Millie and I stopped by Wicked

NOT an InBev, or Wicked Weed, product… yet?
Weed maybe 5 years ago. Enjoyable, a little nuts, crazy busy. I even brought some to Beaver River Station, NY for my annual beer tasting, and some for relatives at a reunion in Rehoboth, Delaware.
 A lot of the craft community is also going nuts, but not in a good way, about Weed being bought by InBev. You would think they had traded their soul to Satan, and I don’t disregard the possibility that in the future that may prove to be the case. But maybe not as of right now.
 I’m here to provide a little perspective, some of it more positive than naysayers would ever consider, some worse than those who shrug this off would admit too.
 There’s already been an internet war of sorts where brewers/employees published a rant about how things would just get better and InBev would not interfere and only help them. This was countered by a former employee saying he quit because things had already headed into cost cutting/care less about the staff-land. (Possibly in preparation for mega purchasing them?) To be clear he said he was still proud to have worked there, it wasn’t sour grapes, but just that he need things they were cutting; like health benefits. He also felt the employee friendly atmosphere was disappearing due, in part, to bean counter counting. Continue reading “Brew Biz: Werts and All”

A Beer Judge’s Diary: Jackalope’s Let’s Get WEIRD

Jackalope Brewing’s Let’s Get WEIRD, 2017

By Ken Carman

Our Judges
         Bailey Spaulding
         Steve Wright
          Katherine Schermerhorn
         Millie Carman
         Grant Ferris
         Stephanie Moore
         Phillip Biggerstaff
         Noah Denney
         Miranda Chandler
         Amanda Crisp
         Ken Carman (and Judge Coordinator)

Just a few of our judges Continue reading “A Beer Judge’s Diary: Jackalope’s Let’s Get WEIRD”

A Beer Judge’s Diary: 2015 Guidelines v. 2008

Music City Brewers club president Justin, and I, have been having fun arguing as of late. The latest topic was the 2015 v. 2008 BJCP Guidelines.

  Let’s start with an apology…

By Ken Carman
By Ken Carman
   As a beer judge I had never done a complete A/B comparison between 2015 and 2008, even though A/B comparisons aren’t exactly a concept I’m unfamiliar with. As quality control in the record industry I knew this was a standard practice: take two records of the same album and compare lead ins, cuts, bands. Is that odd sound non-fill or a plating problem? The same is true, with different parameters, in beer world, like when comparing a 1997 Sierra Nevada Bigfoot to a 1998. How well have they aged?
   However, as a beer judge I’ve only done a little comparing: 2015 v. 2008 Guidelines. Most of that was between competitions, where one would use 15, the other 08.
 There’s no need when assessing entries during competition.
 There’s no need when studying to learn the craft of judging.
 There’s no need when attempting to raise your score on a BJCP test: toss 2008 away. 2015 is the standard now.
   After our discussion I went home and started comparing. Continue reading “A Beer Judge’s Diary: 2015 Guidelines v. 2008”

Beer Profile: Roc’s Lagerithm Lager

Profiled by Maria Devan

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Happy Easter!

I was reading our threads bright and early this New Beer Sunday! Cheers to BA =)

In the old guidelines amber was used for the oktoberfest and the Vienna lager. I think I am not the only one who is comparing the new and old guidelines. The idea is that darker malt changes things.

@marquis from the thread –…s-a-hoppy-amber-red-…/

“That’s what comes of having too many styles by far and as a consequence trying to divide the beer spectrum into neat compartments which are wholly contrived.A modest variation in the speciality malts and the hopping rate doesn’t create a new style. Why not have just a handful of loose categories and judge them in strength bands?”

Let’s make it at least a Two Beer Sunday. Happy New Caramel Changes Everything Sunday

The new guidelines allow for some caramel where the old do not. That is a “significant” style change. The new guidelines say that “significant” caramel is inappropriate so that implies that some is ok. The old guidelines say no caramel no roasted scents or flavors. Basically I think the idea is that the color of the beer is where things can change.

The pour is hazy not clear. Off white head that is perfect and uniform . Lasts well. It is neither soapy nor creamy. Never fades completely to a thin layer on top. Slightly toasty. The brewer says ” unique hop.” It is . It is cool and melon like. Delectable and even a bit fruity but not so prominent that I would say it over shadows the malt. No freshness date, 5.9%.

First taste is caramel. Enough so that it is the first thing you taste. Enough hoppy mouthfeel to know they are there. Warms a bit. Earthy, breaddy and complexity from the malt. Carbonation is perfect. Soft generous bubbles. Not to sweet in the finish & the hops offer a generous bitterness. Not quite to style but enjoyable. Balanced but a bit bigger if you know what I mean. I am talking about how the caramel affects the mouthfeel and the finish. I wonder what the hop is? IMO they should put it in an IPA or a saison too. It’s enticing but not too exotic. It smells like new grass and a succulent coolness.

The caramel makes the mouthfeel heavier. Caramel can be so light as to smell yellow and bright or pale in color. This caramel smells a bit toastier and nutty. It also can be a bit sweet and get sweeter the more prominent it is. It keeps the mouthfeel from finishing dry but the hop bitter dries it enough so that it drinks well. I have even seen Vienna lagers that finished sweeter than this and were much paler like El Sully. Negra Modelo is no longer the model in the new style guidelines because it is too dark. The brewers notes for this beer were spot on and frankly I would have six more of these. 14 on the srm and finishes just sweet. I find the moniker amber to be a catch all word but I think this beer just crosses a line. It does fit the new style guidelines but not the old.


(Style questions)



Welcome to the PGA beer rating system: one beer “Don’t bother.” Two: Eh, if someone gives it to you, drink. Three: very good, go ahead and seek it out, but be aware there is at least one problem. Four: seek it out. Five: pretty much “perfecto.”


____________________Beer HERE


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Brew Biz: Werts and All

The Topic: Planes, Trains, Automobiles… and BEER?

 Ken Carman is a BJCP judge; homebrewer since 1979, club member at Escambia Bay, Salt City, Clarksville Carboys and Music City Homebrewers, who has been writing on beer-related topics and interviewing professional brewers all over the east coast, for over 15 years.

Written by Ken Carman

  Having been in Nashville since 1978 both Millie and I wondered about Linus Hall locating his brewery: Yazoo Brewing, in the Marathon building. Now we can’t imagine a more historically appropriate location for innovative new businesses in Nashville…
  I have been a fan of what they call orphan automobiles since I bought my first car when I was about 14: a 61 Studebaker Lark. Last year we acquired a 63 Studebaker Champ: one of the last trucks they made. I’ve also been a fan of what became craft beer since the early 70s. We started homebrewing when Jimmy Carter made it legal in 1979.
  So when I found out the old Marathon Motor Works complex had a Corsair/Black Abbey collaboration event and Music City Brewers was having their Thirsty Thursday event there that night too, of course we had to go. My mind, always seeing connections between seemingly unrelated subjects, was intrigued.
  Corsair’s and Black Abbey’s master brewers there: Karen Lassiter and Carl Meier. There were 7 very creative, innovative, one off brews on tap from both breweries. A grand night.
  You may ask…
  Oh, and…
  “What ties it all this together?” Continue reading “Brew Biz: Werts and All”

A Beer Judge’s Diary: Good People

By Ken Carman
By Ken Carman
 Any competition is an adventure: the unpredictable happens, the entries provide even more of an adventure and interaction between judges is almost always, well, interesting…
 Millie, my wife, and I are somewhat unfamiliar with Birmingham, Alabama. I promoted this city a few times with my own shows I do for kids but never got any bookings. To be honest I didn’t do much promotion because I was staying at Coast to Coast resorts in my gas guzzling tour bus. To make the touring affordable there needed to be one close enough to make morning commutes rational and affordable. There weren’t any.
 So most of my contact with Birmingham was incidental: driving through to serve clients in the Gulf Coast, or going to Big Bob’s Barleywine Bash in Pensacola Beach. But when we were contacted by Lauren McCurdy about Good People Brewing’s Heart of Dixie Open we decided to go and judge.
 This was also Millie’s first competition judging as a Certified judge. She did well, but she always does.
 We didn’t have to be there until 12:30 to start judging at 1, so we left Nashville at about 6am.
 Remember what I said about “unpredictable?” The GPS sent us out to a project in west Birmingham. So we called the hotel: Highland, and they gave us more info. Apparently there are many 14th Streets in Birmingham.
 We arrived at about 11:15 and parking was, well, confusing. Money into the meter and then we went inside. But, first in, many judges checked in before us. We waited well over an hour and they acted surprised we were told we could check in early even though this was confirmed later by those who ran the competition. But let’s leave it at that and not get into the gruesome details, OK? You know, the bandana wrapped around my head, the squirt gun, the possum and raccoon we released who had a merry time chasing each other up and down the elevator shafts. Besides, none of that happened. We just wait: none too patiently I must admit, until wrinkles were ironed out by the bulldozer I hired.
  OK, I’m joking again. Let’s just say that after this snafu passed the stay at Highland was OK, the staff was kind, and other than the guy knocking on all the doors but ours at almost 3am, it went off without a hitch. And that’s NOT a joke. Seriously Dude?
 On to the main attraction! Continue reading “A Beer Judge’s Diary: Good People”

Brew Biz: Werts and All (Boca)

A Brew Biz Alert: 3 Breweries, Boca Raton, Florida

 Ken Carman is a BJCP judge; homebrewer since 1979, club member at Escambia Bay, Salt City, Clarksville Carboys and Music City Homebrewers, who has been writing on beer-related topics and interviewing professional brewers all over the east coast, for over 15 years.

Written by Ken Carman

 If you’re going to Miami area; specifically Boca, here are three breweries you might consider…
 This was an unexpected trip due to a death in Millie’s family, so no time to interview brewers, or do much in depth study. Plus, we were being brought around by my brother-in-law Dan Jenny and he had better things to do than haul around two beer judges.

Barrel of Monks Brewing
“A modern stop for house made Belgian beer” (Their slogan, not mine.)
1141 S Rogers Cir #5
Cherry Chocolate Quad, Father Christmas, Wild Ale*******

The Funky Buddha Lounge and Brewery
2621 N Federal Hwy
Cherry Pie Wheat, Tropical Thunder Berliner, Smoked Stout, Red Dawn, Citra Az Down, Physical Graffiti

Glades Plaza, 2222 Glades Rd, Boca Raton, FL
Black Duke, Tropical Madness (raspberry), Brewzzi Reserve (barrel aged Russian Imperial?)

 We were lucky. One of the original plans was for Millie to fly down, into Fort Lauderdale. She might have come in right about the time of the shooting at the airport that day. But her husband, yup; “me,” wanted to show my support, even though they weren’t that close. It was more “for the family” in the larger sense, and I wanted to be with her for that. Continue reading “Brew Biz: Werts and All (Boca)”

Brew Biz: Werts and All

The former location of BrewWorxs, just south of Cinci.

The Topic: The Death of Brewpubs

By Ken Carman

2836459 Years ago I wrote a column with the topic, “What Kills a Brewpub?” The example used was a brewpub in Covington, Kentucky where the brewer, who became a friend years later, had been the brewmaster. Let’s just say the conclusion was not the usual. During a time when brewpubs (90s) were the new “hot” item to open, I usually found brewpubs kacked because; trying to capitalize on the new trend, they came in and built a giant facility with more bells as whistles than one can imagine… then location, location got the best of them.
 The example I use a lot was Main Street Brewing in Worcester, MA, where they came into downtown, put in at least a 3 level brewery with a huge brew operation behind a giant horseshoe bar, second floor a concert hall for older rock groups needing a full stage like Chicago, the Association, 3rd floor a lot of regulation pools tables. There may have been a fourth level, but I don’t remember what was up there. Problem is they went into downtown Worcester, pretty much one of the deeper economic pits in mid-Mass at the time.
 Instead, in Tim’s case, the guilty party was “management, management.” OK, “horrid, horrid, horrid management.”
 A lot has changed since those days. Continue reading “Brew Biz: Werts and All”