Beer Profile: Sweetwater Road Trip

Profiled by Ken Carman

This is one of the most interesting lighter beers I’m had that is not dominated by spices, or darker malts, or hops. Sweetwater’s blurb claims it was a Pilsner that “blew a tire” and wound up being finished up with an ale yeast. The nose is lager yeast, but there;s something else there, just a slight diacetyl sense you might get with some ales. Not enough to be bothersome.

Pours with a nice head. Straw. Chill haze: I suspect it needs clarification except…

Mouthfeel is the first indication of something amazing that has been brewed with a simple application of two yeasts: carbonation/carbonic buzz supporting a nice firm bitter that clings to the roof of the mouth. Very satisfying. Malt low but more than adequate for all that’s going on here.

The flavor is refreshing, fruity, malt focus yet with a nice bitter background. Reminds me a bit of an alcoholic Clausthaler… an NA. This is no NA, but could qualify as lawnmower. It’s also a bit wine like, in a sense. Fruity and clean lager combine to provide almost a bubbly wine sense without the alc punch or even actual fruit” slight champagne but more a lightly carbonated Rhine wine with a slight acidic punch one might get from grapes, or lager yeast.


U.S. Open: Charlotte

Reported by Ken Carman for Professor Goodales

Many thanks to Tom Henderson for most of these photos

Millie and I hadn’t been in Charlotte since 1986. Millie’s brother, and his wife, moved to Charlotte quite a few years back and, more important, they’re both beer lovers. Chris would have been in high school back when we visited in 86. Thought it about time we took the plunge and climbed the mountains between North Carolina and Tennessee for a visit.

“Hey, Millie, there’s a homebrew competition in Charlotte! Let’s go visit! Everyone loves it when the relatives visit, right?”


So Chris, Colleen and their sons Ryan, Sean had visitors last weekend, as “Uncle Buck” Ken and Auntie Millie pulled into Charlotte late Friday afternoon. Early the next morning we headed off to the competition. The kind folks at Carolina BrewMasters, which included Bill Lynch: organizer and Richard Lane: head judge… amongst many… agreed to let our two competition virgins judge and steward. Actually it was by my request that we keep Chris and Colleen under our wings and one judge with us, one steward.

I think they found the experience interesting, educational and… fun!

First came the instructions for the judges and the stewards…

Then we walked through the brewery to the judging tables. Past where we registered…

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Craft Beers Steal Share from Giants

Great news from Canada who has always been a bit ahead of us, except maybe as of late… PGA

Refined palates, Canucks playoff run helping local beer industry heat up otherwise cool spring

Written by Andrew A. Duffy for

Ellen Publicover stacks beer at Vancouver Island Brewery. Photograph by: Adrian Lam, Times Colonis Read more:
It’s nearly mid May, yet the skies are dull and threaten rain, there’s tougher rules in place against drinking and driving and the harmonized sales tax has eaten into the hospitality budgets of most households.

These are tough hurdles to navigate for anyone selling beer. So there’s plenty of reason to question just why Victoria craft beer brewers and brewpubs are smiling.

At this time of year beerdrinking season should have kicked off, patios should be filled with lagerswilling sun worshippers and back yards should be beer-and-burger territory.

That isn’t really happening. However, a playoff run from the Vancouver Canucks seems to be making up for some of the bad weather and driving beer sales, while the more-cultured palate of the Victoria beer drinker seems to be the biggest reason for the sunny dispositions of these brewers.

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National Homebrew Day

Reported by Ken Carman for Professor Goodales

Boscos parking lot: in back. Tents? You can see the wind blowing. The brewers and their tents are leaning to the left with the wind. You almost expect sand to start filling the portrait. Has Lawrence of Brew-rabia delivered himself, via camel to Nashville and ordered his slaves to brew up a quaff so tasty even a sand pirate would love it? Is he brewing up a Belgian that, instead of that horse blanket taste, as certain styles have, wet camel hump? Would that be from a one lump or two camel?

No, the “lean” is from my occasionally quirky camera, and this is National Homebrew, and these are my fellow club members: Music City Brewers.

Every year we gather and wait for the Holy Grail: Wort, from Boscos, local brewpub. Above you see those seeking the Grail. I’ve been told the shorter gentleman would go off a Cliff for Boscos wort.

Yeah, his name is Cliff. It was a joke. What are you going to do about it?

In the picture above you see the holy delivery of… Wait. JOHNATHAN!!! What the HELL are you DOING up there, AND in public? In a brewery filled with people?

Oh, giving everyone wort. Never mind. Nice hose job, BTW.

This is Phil Snyder’s tent. Phil is so dedicated he has been brewing with his own hops for quite a while. He grows them in his large backyard, up on the plateau… just north of Nashville. His happy army of albino groundhogs keep them well watered and fertilized.

Nah, he does all the work himself.

Below you see club member Tom Vista, better known as “Hop God,” or “Hop Tyrant;” depending on whether he feels like getting out the whips and chains for the hop-less masses who think beer really doesn’t need hops… or not. And Karen Lassiter, Bosco’s brewer, also fellow club member, watching over the whole affair.

Her husband Jack was there that day too, he left later on his bike; such a small, puny, thing; more a minibike. I think he calls it “Jasmine.” Last name: “Harley.”

Hey, Jack, get a real bike! I hear there are a few Honda dealers in town.

Homebrewers bring Boscos beer out into the lot and add grain bags, hops: all added to the boil. Notice the picture is a bit odd. What makes folks want to do this? For fun? Maybe they’re a little… warped?

Nah, that’s just my camera.

Like the occasional odd shot from my quirky camera, I’m sure more than a few of us would have willingly admitted to being at least a little bit warped on this special day… but in a pleasing, brewing up a whole lot of fun, way.

Puzzling Changes Proposed to TN Beer Laws

Written by Doug Brumley for

Posted by Ken Carman for PGA readers

GRANDFATHERED IN: Authorized to brew high-alcohol beer since 2010, Yazoo Brewing Co. is automatically included in a controversial "pilot program" currently proposed by the Tennessee Senate that would cap the state's high-alcohol breweries at three.
A bill designed to limit to three the number of Tennessee breweries manufacturing high-alcohol beer is currently making its way through state Senate committees. Originally drafted to ease the residential requirements for obtaining a retail liquor store license in Tennessee, the bill’s initial language and intent were amended before the proposed legislation picked up a second, oddly worded amendment in the Senate; that latter addition establishes a “pilot program” that licenses only one brewery to produce high-alcohol beer—defined as 5 percent to 20 percent alcohol by weight—in each of Tennessee’s three “Grand Divisions” (East, Middle and West Tennessee).

This Amendment No. 2, added in the Senate after the bill passed by a wide margin in the state House, caught many in the regional craft beer community by surprise and has created quite a stir among Tennessee brewers, distributors and beer enthusiasts. Reactions range from confusion to suspicion as word spreads that a large, out-of-state brewery is lobbying the state legislature for incentives to locate a new facility in East Tennessee.
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From the Bottle Collection: Firehouse

Without intent, I have collected well over 1,000 beer bottles since the early 70s. When something finally had to be done about the cheap paneling in this old modular, I had a choice. Tear down the walls while, oh, so carefully, replacing the often rotted 1X3s. Or: cover them with…

…The Bottle Collection.

There are several Firehouse Breweries. I tried tracking this down with little luck. The main one is in San Diego it seems, but their bottles look nothing like this. OK, it is from the 90s but I swear it was from northeast Ohio, but if it is it’s since gone out of business.


Obviously the beer was not memorable. But the painted glass is nice. The picture sucked. I took it 3 times, the one I tried to download was the least “sucky.” I swear sometimes this camera hates what I point it at. In fact I have tried to load it 6 times and my computer hated it! So finally I found a reference site that tells you where different brands are brewed.

Yes, I gave up. I have better things to do than loading something that will never load. Forgive me.

Picture courtesy

I am looking for the bottle and will add more info if I do find it.

OK, back again. I almost blamed it on a defunct brewery in Iowa, but actually it was a brewery in Miami. Probably picked it up about 10 years ago as we swung south and went to visit the Keys from my more northern haunts. We did stay in Miami and stopped by several breweries/brewpubs. Web sites seem to indicate it was a micro, and I use “was” only because their website has been disabled. Another link:, brings you to some site for an engineering concern. The site that link came from says about their bottles…

“…this brewery offers more than the best looking bottle in town.”


But from what I remember not the best beer. In craft beer world presentation is not everything, though if you look at AB’sa and Miller/Coor’s efforts in the past to do craft someone should really tell their marketing wizards that.

Czech Town Offers History, Castle, Beer and Bears

Tourists can enjoy celebrations of a 400th anniversary.

Written by Shirley O’Bryan Smith for AP


Photo by: Associated Press. Cesky Krumlov Castle towers majestically above the town of Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic. The castle's dry moat houses a family of bears.

CESKY KRUMLOV, Czech Republic — Centuries of history have earned this Czech town a designation as a UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s a Bohemian beauty, tucked into a horseshoe bend on the Vltava River, with interesting architecture, an enormous castle and a nearby national park. 

But here’s something Cesky Krumlov has that you don’t find in most historic cities: live bears in the dry moat surrounding the castle.

And visiting the town of Cesky Krumlov this year offers an extra benefit: It’s the year of the Rosenbergs, who reigned over southern Bohemia for around 400 years. The family’s last male heir died in 1611, and special exhibitions and events are planned all year to honor the family, including tours of Rosenberg sites, museum exhibits and extended festivals.


The castle is one of those Rosenberg sites. A huge two-story arched bridge connects parts of it with Baroque gardens, a terrace and a rococo cascade fountain.

But there is no water in the moat surrounding the place to keep away advancing enemy hordes. Instead, there are the bears. Legend has it that

Cesky Krumlov: Helpful websites for travelers include and For information on the castle, visit Park and lake information: and Websites in Czech have English language tabs.

Getting there: Buses run regularly from Prague (110 miles or 180 kilometers) and from Vienna, Salzburg, Linz and Hallstatt in Austria. Train service via Czech Railways will deposit you north of the main square. From there you can take a taxi or walk about 15 to 20 minutes to the city. By air: Fly from Ruzyne-Prague Airport or the Linz-Horsching Airport in Austria, then take a bus or shuttle.

Currency: The Czech Republic is not in the euro zone. It still uses the Czech crown, or koruna. Although many places will take euros, the rate isn’t always favorable. Any change you receive will be in crowns.

Accommodations: Lodging includes a variety of hotels, guest houses, pensions (smaller less expensive hotels), apartments, bed and breakfasts, even camps and camping sites. Locations range from the historic part of town to outside of town, near the water or in the countryside. They run from less than $50 to more than $300 (less than 35 euros to more than 200 euros, or in korunas, less than 830 korunas to more than 5,000 korunas).

Food: Wide variety of restaurants offer local specialties such as pork dishes, potato dumplings, fried cheese, sausages, cabbage, goulash, schnitzel and delicious soups, breads and desserts, as well as pizza, chicken, steaks and vegetarian dishes. In addition there are coffee houses, pubs, pastry shops and street vendors. Prices are very reasonable.

they were given to the Rosenberg family because of their relationship with the Italian Orsini family. Since “orsa” means she-bear in Italian, the Rosenbergs adopted the animals as shield-bearers on their coat of arms. Today the moat bears are a much-loved part of the community. The animals get their own birthday parties and a big Christmas Eve bear festival where children bring presents and food for them.

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Move to Los Angeles Could Tap Pabst’s Character

Some consider it “swill,” some “hip.”-The Professor

Pabst Blue Ribbon began its comeback 10 years ago and is now a favorite among hip urbanites. (Abel Uribe, Chicago Tribune / May 13, 2011)

Written by Julie Wernau for The Chicago Tribune

Pabst Blue Ribbon: the breakfast of Chicago hipsters. Old Style: beer of the Chicago Cubs. Schlitz: “The beer that made Milwaukee famous.”

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The Great Canned vs Bottled Beer Debate 2.0: Craft Brewing Weighs In

This post is part of a blogging series by economics students at the Presidio Graduate School’s MBA program. You can follow along here.

Written by Millie Milliken for

In the early part of the 20th Century, beer drinkers had only two choices when it came to quenching their thirst for a delicious frothy beverage: draught beer or bottles. It wasn’t until the 1930s that canned beer arrived on the scene. Initially, tin cans could not withstand the carbonated pressure and burst. Eventually, technological developments and the introduction of a vinyl liner proved successful in containing the pressure. Then in 1935, Kruger’s Brewery of New Jersey introduced the first canned beer–Kruger’s Finest Beer–to the market, revolutionizing the beer industry. The canned versus bottled beer debate has raged ever since, and now the emerging mircrobrew trend is putting a new spin on the topic.

The traditional debate has centered on factors including taste, convenience, and cost. Beer is a sensitive beverage and exposure to both light and oxygen results in off-flavors. The caps on bottles are not completely airtight, creating a chemical reaction between oxygen and the hops, whereas cans are impervious to both light and oxygen, protecting the flavor, reducing chances of creating a “skunky” amora, and extending the shelf life. Although proponents of bottles have remained steadfast in the claim that cans produce a metallic taste, there has been little empirical evidence to support the claim. Additionally, the lightweight and portability of cans often prove to be more convenient than bottles for both consumers and producers. In regards to shipping efficiency, the longneck design on bottles wastes packaging space, while cans are able to be efficiently packaged and weigh less, which allows more to be shipped at less cost.
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Real Beer Man: Good Beers I’ve Had Lately

Written by Jim Lundstrom for (Wisconsin)

Mud Slinger, a tasty nut brown from Redhook. Soft and malty and just on the edge of darkness. Excellent session beer.

Speaking of soft and malty, I picked up a four pack of an Austrian dunkel that had been discounted, Hirter Morchl, a dark lager made by the Hirt Brewery, which has been making beer since 1270.

I’d never heard of the brewery before, but I’ve also never had an Austrian beer that hasn’t charmed me with a quality unlike any other beer in the world. The bottle proudly proclaimed the use of Alpine spring water. Something about the Austrian aquifer produces lovely, soft beers.

Judges at the 2008 World Beer Championships were so impressed with Hirter Morchl that they made it head of the class all by itself with a Platinum Award. Here’s how those judges described it: “Dark reddish copper color with a frothy tan head. Aromas of chocolate pudding, delicate baking spices and roasted nuts follow through on a soft, satiny entry to a drying medium body with accents of toffee, roasted root vegetable, and cream. Finishes mildly with a cocoa-dusted nut and grain fade. Fantastic.”

Obviously those judges have far more refined snouts and palates than I do. Chocolate pudding? Really? I guess I don’t know how chocolate pudding smells. Nor did I taste roasted rutabagas in this delicious brew.

Like I said, I found my four-pack in a closeout sale, and it’s long gone now. But I will certainly keep my eyes peeled for more from this brewery. I would love to try their pils.

As a general rule of thumb, you can’t go wrong with an Austrian beer, or, at least, I have never met an Austrian beer that I didn’t like.

Little Slammers. I’m a sucker for shorties, but they’re hard to come by, especially in flavors I like. While I prefer my shorties to be of the lager variety, these Little Slammers from Wasatch Beers, Salt Lake City, Utah, a golden ale, will do. Such a dainty bottle. Kinda cute.

The brewery also does a classic lager in seven-ounce “slammers,” but I’ve yet to see them. If anyone knows where they can be had — short of going to Utah — please let me know ( info@scenenewspaper.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ). The lager season is here!

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