Begging for bottles

T.J. Steele handles bottles at the Straub Brewery in St. Marys, Pa. The brewery has so few bottles it’s affecting production.

Picture: Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

Written by Joe Mandak for The Columbus Dispatch

ST. MARYS, Pa. — For years, it was the way breweries did business: Sell bottles, then take back the empties. It just made sense — especially to folks weaned in the lean days of the Great Depression and World War II — that bottles should be scrubbed and refilled, not thrown away.

These days, in a culture where nearly everything is disposable, recycling is a rite and energy costs are high, the decision of whether to toss tradition into the trash heap lies with one brewery about 100 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.
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Beer in the Bible?

Written by Rev. Walter Snyder

This is an excerpt from an on site answer to a reader’s question about beer in the Bible. The complete: less beer related answer, can be found HERE.

Like you, I like to sit down occasionally to figure out what life was like in Bible times. It helps to understand the people and situations we meet on Scripture’s pages. I also like to sit down with a good beer. It helps to relax and refresh a world-weary pilgrim.

Since we Lutherans are often stereotyped as beer-lovers, it seems appropriate to examine Biblical precedent. After all, Martin Luther (probably only partially in jest) commented upon doing what he could, then having a brew and getting out of the Lord’s way during the Reformation: “I opposed indulgences and all the papists, but never with force. I simply taught, preached, and wrote God’s Word; otherwise I did nothing. And while I slept [cf. Mark 4:26–29], or drank Wittenberg beer with my friends Philipp [Melanchthon] and [Nicholas] Amsdorf, the Word so greatly weakened the papacy that no prince or emperor ever inflicted such losses upon it. I did nothing; the Word did everything.”
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Brew Masters on Discovery Channel (with Sam Calagione) Debuts in November

A press release from the Discovery Channel

Experiencing the World One Pint at a Time: Discovery Channel Raises a Glass for Brew Masters

-Premiering Sunday, November 21 at 10 PM E/P on Discovery Channel-

(Silver Spring, MD) – It’s cold, it’s comforting, it’s beer….but for Sam Calagione, founder of one of America’s leading craft brewers Dogfish Head Brewery, beer is a passion, a business and a personal quest for best, most imaginative brews. Premiering Sunday, November 21 at 10 PM E/P on Discovery Channel, BREW MASTERS follows Sam and his partners in suds as they travel the country and the world sourcing exotic ingredients and discovering ancient techniques to produce beers of astounding originality.
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Green beer: Not Just for St. Patty’s Day

For the green-conscious crowd, it can be argued that it’s far more important to drink beers from environment-friendly breweries than to seek out organic beers that may leave you unsatisfied. (Photo: Phil Velasquez/Chicago Tribune)

Written by Evan S. Benn for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch McClatchy-Tribune

Over a plate of eggs from a free-range, hormone-free, vegetarian-fed, organic chicken, I pondered the carbon footprint of my beer consumption.

I recycle bottles and cans, sure; but is that enough to offset all the water, energy and other resources that go into making liquid gold?

So I started looking into organic beers — and I was underwhelmed. Unlike the wine industry, which in recent years has exploded with bio-dynamic and organic wines produced in sustainable ways, there are still only a relative few number of beers out there that have gone green.
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Club Update: Escambia Bay

Pensacola/Emerald Coast area

The brewers listed below are award winning brewers in our club. They will be highlighted on our club’s website (well maybe not the unremarkable one). Dang Buddy, you were looking good till Gary sent his award list (book)! If any of you have won awards and are not listed, let me know so I can get your name and awards on the club’s list (No MONKEY PAW awards – only beer brewing awards).

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Hiram Codd

Written by Lilith Raymour

Homebrewers have an unsung hero. They may be familiar with the founder of Guinness, or that lager yeast was created at Carlsberg by one Christian Hansen. The heroes and innovators are many. But without a way to keep the creamy head from escaping, without a head or at least just a slight tingle that carbonation delivers to the palate, beer just simply wouldn’t be, well, beer. Simply fermented wort, or “wert” as it was once spelled.

Hiram Codd.
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Beer Profile: Ambrosia

The Church and Head Brewer: Brant Dubovick

Profiled by Ken Carman

This is a rather odd, one off ale: probably one of the most interesting I’ve had. From one of the most interesting brewpubs in the country: The Church in Pittsburgh, PA. For more on The Church, click here. I had the growler filled in mid-August but just cracked it open because I forgot about it. The intent: have my audience sample it on Labor Day. Oops: missed it when I hauled the bottles over to the Hotel.

Stored quite well. That’s why all brewpubs should have the option for Grolsch style bottles with a clamp-able ceramic top. Not sure if The Church does. My growler. I collect.

A bit soapy, but the lip balm used as a hopping could have provided that common defect. In this case: no defect at all: added to the experience. Sweet. A bit cloying in an interesting way. Not much head to start at all and what little there was died fast. Cloudy. Light amber. Mouthfeel sweet, medium body, roof of the mouth gets a fullness sense: body-wise. The tongue: sweet with a tad tart. There is another spice they told me about I have since forgotten the name of that adds just a bit of “pepper.” Not complex, but the kind of beer you want to have those who claim “all beers taste the same” to sample.

The nose seemed to sense a bit of a pilsner malt focus and rhubarb-like tart up front. The head faded fast in the glass, but I don’t remember if it did at The Church. Storage can effect such things despite the clamp top: especially after a few opens and then… “Oops! I should review this sucker!”

A bit like a light version of my infamous rhubarb ales I’ve brewed. Warning: may not satisfy judges who know nothing of rhubarb, like some in the South. They may insist it’s a defect. It’s not. Also a bit like Flemish sour ales. A mild Gueuze would be another valid comparison, perhaps.

This is so unique I would recommend keeping it on tap year around. Those who go to brewpubs only because someone drags them there, and prefer wine lets say, might find this interesting. Even a beer geek/beer judge/reviewer found the concept and the taste intriguing.

Lip balm? Am I inoculated now? Hopefully I’ll never have cold sores again.

The Late, Great, Ballantine

Ballantine Brewing/Ballantine XXX

Written by Greg Glaser for

The real story of the greatest of the traditional American ales.

Mention the name Ballantine to beer lovers, especially beer lovers with more than a few flecks of gray in their beards, and more often than not they will begin to rhapsodize rapturously about this famous ale. You’ll hear stories of old bottles mysteriously and wondrously discovered and tasted; tales of long-discarded techniques employed by the original brewers; accounts of the slow, steady decline of the beer’s greatness as it passed from brewery to brewery, the result of corporate takeovers.
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Brew Biz: Werts and All

Ken Carman is a BJCP judge; homebrewer since 1979, club member at Escambia Bay and Music City Homebrewers, who has been interviewing professional brewers all over the east coast for over 10 years.

Written by Ken Carman

Topic for this edition: Extreme Brewing

This is a tough edition for me to write. I don’t think you’ll find a bigger fan of extreme brewing. But sometimes enough is enough. I think the idea for this column slipped into my cortex when the Professor posted Brew Dog’s 55% beer bottled, literally, in dead animals. Hey folks, there’s “extreme,” there’s boring Miller time and then there’s stupid gimmick time, and I don’t just mean Rocky the Squirrel’s gut filled with beer.

Before (Courtesy………….. After?
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Beer Fest Brings Out the Best

From left, Michelle Piegaro of Charlotte and Angela Jankowsky and Marlene Dailey of Cary have worn traditional German dirndl dresses to the beer festival in Durham for four years. Photo by Corey Lowenstein.

Written by Lynn Bonner for

DURHAM — Local brews took their place beside some of the world’s best-known brands at an annual beer festival Saturday, with North Carolina crafters creating recipes they say will satisfy tastes for distinctive brews.
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