Episode 99 – Buttoning Up Good Beer

What do you get when you take a dedicated homebrewer, an old mill building and a couple of crazy dogs? One very interesting brewery designed straight up with Drew’s tastebuds in mind – IPAs and Saisons and odd things. Drew sits down with Morgan Snyder, owner/brewery/dogdad of Cranston RI’s Buttonwoods Brewery.

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Gearhead: Running A Warm Bottling Line

For those breweries that package, an automated bottling (or canning) line is obviously a necessary piece of equipment. And it is actually mesmerizing to watch as bottles (or cans) are fed into the machine, lined up, rinsed, filled, topped, sprayed, and sent off to be packaged with others.

You’ve probably noticed when you’ve been on brewery tours that the employees manning the line wear gloves. This is in part for safety reasons, but it’s also because it’s cold. Standard filling lines run the beer right from the bright beer tanks and into the bottles or cans, and when the beer comes out of the bright tank, it’s anywhere from just above freezing to the 40s Fahrenheit.

That makes sense for the majority of beers—especially for lagers, which thrive under colder temperatures, and even for most ales when it comes to serving temperatures. But for the breweries that practice bottle- or can-conditioning, where yeast is added to a bottle or can to ferment the residual sugars in the beer and thus create a more layered and effervescent beer-drinking experience, cold filling has it disadvantages. Typically, the ale yeasts these brewers use need warmer temperatures to get down to doing their job. So if yeast is added to a package with cold beer, it needs to wait until the beer warms to begin the important fermentation work.

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How World War I Changed Pub Culture, and Beer Itself

The First World War ended 100 years ago. It was a cataclysmic event in more ways than one—not just on battlefields in Flanders. Back in the UK, drinkers suffered, too. And their woes lasted long after the Armistice. The war transformed pubs and even beer itself. Not in a good way.

In August 1914, London pubs were open from 5 a.m. until 12:30 a.m., a total of 19.5 hours. It was commonplace for workers to nip in for a quick pint on the way to the factory. That ended when the Defence of the Realm Act (D.O.R.A.) became law in August of that year.

The government worried that munitions workers would spend their days in the pub rather than making artillery shells. Lloyd George, then Chancellor and later in the war Prime Minister, expressed concerns in a speech in Bangor in February 1915:

“Most of our workmen are putting every ounce of strength into this urgent work for their country, loyally and patriotically. But that is not true of all. There are some, I am sorry to say, who shirk their duty in this great emergency. I hear of workmen in armament Works who refuse to work a full week’s work for the nation’s need. . . What is the reason? Sometimes it is one thing, sometimes it is another, but let us be perfectly candid. It is mostly the lure of the drink.”

“The Control of the Drink Trade” by Longmans, Green & Co., London, 1919, page 47.

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Heineken USA Agrees to Pay $1.25 Million Fine to Settle New York Trade Practice Violations

The New York State Liquor Authority (SLA) on Wednesday finalized a $1.25 million settlement agreement with Heineken USA Incorporated (HUSA) for 42 alleged violations of the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) law.

The New York fine comes three months after HUSA agreed to pay the largest offer in compromise ever — $2.5 million — to the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) for alleged trade practice violations related to its proprietary “BrewLock” draft systems.

The TTB investigation uncovered alleged violations of the Federal Alcohol Administration (FAA) Act, specifically subsection 205 “unfair competition and unlawful practices,” in Florida and later Washington state and New York City between August 1, 2015, and March 26, 2019.


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How Seriously Should You Take Beer?

Way too seriously, sometimes, as it turns out.

One of those times involves the Aslin Beer Company owners this week. In an article for Brightest Young ThingsPhil 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.”

Andrew Kelley, Aslin co-founder

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Your Move, German Pilsner

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.


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Beer Tales from Bavaria

Written by Franz Hofer for A Tempest in a Tankard

Franz Hofer
People 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.

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Episode 96 – Dancing The Con Con

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?

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It’s easier than ever to get good beer delivered right to your door in Pennsylvania. Here are our favorite ways.

It’s easier than ever to get good beer delivered right to your door in Pennsylvania. Here are our favorite ways.

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.*

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The Hidden Secrets of the NEIPA

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.

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