Brewfest on Tap

Even though you may not live in the New England area, this article also has the interesting story of of a brewer who brewed a Pilgrim beer and his venture into professional brewing.-PGA

Written by Beth I. Gandelman for

AMESBURY— A competition for best home brew and the soft launch of Riverwalk Brewing will highlight today’s annual Amesbrewery Days Invitational Craft Brewfest.

Participants will have the opportunity to sample the craft beer creations of more than 20 artisan brewers and vote from two finalists for their favorite IPA beer during the event, which goes from 5 to 8 p.m. in the Amesbury Town Hall parking lot on Friend Street.

Sponsored by Heat Event Management of Amesbury, the festival is geared toward the smaller, lesser-known brewers who put quality above quantity and have passion, a unique message and a stake in the art of beer-making.

Among them will be Amesbury’s Steve Sanderson, winner of the History Channel’s “History on Tap” brewer competition last year.
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American Craft Beer: the Hippest of Hops

American craft beer from the Brit perspective- The Prof

Posted by Tony Naylor at

From tasteless mass-produced beers a decade ago, innovative, flavoursome American ales from a thriving craft brewing scene can now be found in the UK. Is this a welcome invasion?

If you have ever drunk Budweiser, Michelob or Miller Lite, the phrase, craft brewed American beer, may sound like an oxymoron. A joke, even. But, for several years now, it is US microbreweries which have been setting the pace internationally, exciting beer geeks and inspiring several radical new British breweries.

If, however, that Stateside creativity was previously an open secret, mainly of interest to a small beer-drinking cognoscenti, all that is about to change. Thanks to the advocacy of new wave specialist beer bars like Manchester’s Port Street Beer House, Bradford’s Sparrow, Leeds’ North bar, London’s Rake, the Draft House venues, the Euston Tap, and Brewdog’s small chain of Scottish bars, US craft beer is suddenly gathering a significant momentum in the UK. Previously obscure beers from Flying Dog, AleSmith, Stone, Odell and other small US breweries are gaining exposure here, among discerning drinkers, like never before.

Californian craft brewer Tim Goeppinger takes a sample of beer. Photograph: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
At the same time, several of the better-known American craft beers are beginning to form a bridgehead in Britain’s supermarkets, with both Brooklyn lager and Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale (the beer that Brewdog used to try and mimic in their first garage-based home-brewing experiments) now widely available. Goose Island’s beers will appear in 250 Tesco stores from mid-August, reinforcing the sense that, like it or not, the Americans are coming.

Which, if you are looking for excitement in your glass, is reason to celebrate. In sharp contrast to their often conservative UK counterparts, America’s 1,600 microbreweries specialise in big, bold, punchy flavours. Their beers are typically dosed with huge quantities of hops – both hops high in alpha acids, early in the brewing process, for bitterness; then dry, uncooked hops later on for fruitier flavours – in order to cram taste into their beers. As Steve Taylor co-owner of London bar, Mason & Taylor explains:

“Over the last 30 years or so, American agricultural universities and hop farms developed a multitude of new hop strains, like Amarillo, Cascade and Citra, most of which have bold aggressive bitterness and huge, fresh, largely tropical flavours. Those hops inspired a pale ale revolution which elevated US beers beyond the unremarkable brown session beers which had previously, and to a certain extent still, dominate English cask beer production.”

First and foremost, British beer drinkers are responding positively to the exuberant flavours characteristic of US craft beers. That those beers are slickly packaged, however – not just in terms of memorable or modish branding, but in the way the labels tend to clearly explain how said beer was made and how it might taste – is an important factor, too.
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