Crowd to Craft Beer via Facebook

Written by Donna Goodison for

Samuel Adams is giving its social network a say in the brewing process by crowd-sourcing a beer.

Using the “Crowd Craft Project” app, Facebook fans can determine the color, clarity, body and character of the malt, hops and yeast for the collaborative ale, which will make its debut during the South by Southwest Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas.

“We’re reaching out to our Facebook fans to engage them at the beginning of the beer-marking process, asking them for their ideas on what their perfect beer would be,” Sam Adams brewer Bert Boyce said. “We’ll put that input together and we’ll brew a beer for them.”
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Escapes: The Old Brewery’s Gone, but There’s Still Lots Brewing in Mount Joy, Pa.

Picture courtesy and

Written by James F. Lee for

Alois Bube was urging us on. “Drink plenty of beer!” he cried. “I put plenty of myself into every keg!”

Not needing any more prompting, I went up to the bar and ordered a Bube bock draft — rich, slightly sweet and with a hint of a coffee taste. As I sipped the dark brew, I wondered just what parts of Alois Bube I was drinking

This wasn’t the real Alois Bube, of course. He died in 1908. Our Alois Bube was an actor portraying the brew master in the murder mystery we were about to watch: “The Central Hotel Grand Opening.”

The Central Hotel bar is decorated like a fin de siecle Parisian brothel, with dark wallpaper, low lights, a ceiling painted green and portraits of scantily clad ladies in various poses gracing the walls. Great atmosphere. Perfect for a murder.

My wife and I were making a weekend of it at Bube’s Brewery in tiny Mount Joy, Pa., between Harrisburg and Lancaster. This lovely area of rolling farmland has long been dominated by residents of German descent; back in 1876, Bube, an immigrant from Bavaria, opened a brewery in a two-story stone structure on North Market Street to serve them his popular lager. As his fortunes rose, he outgrew the old brewery and added a bottling works next door. In 1879, he built the three-story, Victorian-style Central Hotel, notable for its intricate brickwork. It backed onto the other side of the original brewery building, completing the block-long row that still stands today. Bube’s empire lasted until 1920, the year Prohibition was introduced, and the brewery closed for good.
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The Joys of Bottling (REALLY!)

Written by Will Trice for the AHA

Which is better, bottling or kegging? It’s one of the great homebrew debates, right up there with extract vs. all-grain and batch sparging vs. fly sparging. Both bottling and kegging have their advantages and disadvantages, and both can be onerous at times. Peeling labels off of used bottles is one of the worst tasks in homebrewing. But in the frustration department, finding a CO2 leak in your system when the beer is already in the keg is right up there.

I find that most homebrewers are strongly in one camp or the other. But I straddle the line, happily kegging or bottling each batch as my mood and circumstances guide me. And to be honest, I actually enjoy the bottling process more than kegging because I have found the five paths to bottling nirvana. But this wasn’t always the case.

Seventeen years ago, after just my third time homebrewing, I went out and bought a humongous, 1960s era, avocado green refrigerator and a very used CO2 bottle. Add to that a few used soda kegs, some fittings, hoses, and a picnic tap, and I was out of the bottling business for good. I hated bottling—the sanitizing, the filling, the capping. The chore of bottling was way more effort than I was willing to put into even this, the most satisfying of hobbies.

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Beer Profile

Profiled by Ken Carman for Professor Goodales

Nice long lasting head, brown, caramelized nose but not much else, lots of body to the mouthfeel with darker malt sense: perhaps a tad to heavy for a Scottish, this is very interesting. Kind of an odd Scottish Heavy with parts of the profile on steroids, and at least one a little bit off.

Did they put chocolate malt in this? Maybe Marris Otter too? The Marris is already, but I’d drop this amount of chocolate in the mouthfeel and taste.

The carbonation in the body is light, which is OK for the style. Not as sweet as say Old Peculier, but a tad sweet malt-wise. Hops: none, but none expected. Way in the back of the taste if at all. But that’s the style.

This is a beer you should try for yourself.

French Broad Wee Heavy-er. Ashville, NC., 7%
That surprises me I would even give that recommendation. The last French Broad (no perv jokes, please) I tried was pretty bad. Rye Hopper: so astringent I had to toss the rest of the bottle. Both BJCP judges felt the same: one Certified, one an Apprentice. Maybe I got a bad bottle? It does happen, I know. But there’s too much beer out there to try, and to profile for The Professor I won’t waste my money. Rye Hopper was so bad I probably wouldn’t try it again. The kind of “bad” that gives craft a crappy reputation. Yet the astringency really seemed like the rye and the hops, through one hell of a long boil, had combined to bite back: hard.

This had none of the astringency, and even had a hint of peated malt: not unexpected in the style.

But I think I’ll try another French Broad. Hopefully she won’t slap me with astringency again. Damn, there I go doing what I promised not to do!

Beer Buzz: Craft beer predictions for 2012

Professional brewers and beer business people in Arizona predict the future of Craft beer: both in Arizona and for the nation. Picture courtesy Pat Shannahan/The Arizona Republic. Ron Kloth, owner of Papago Brewing Company, passed an extensive test on beer knowledge, from brewing to serving, including how to pair different beers with certain foods to become a cicerone. -The Professor

Written by Andy Ingram for

New Year’s resolutions never seem to stick. And looking back over the past year, picking winners and losers doesn’t appeal to me, either.

Predictions, however, seem right up my alley.

Better yet, I decided to ask a beer educator, a bar owner and a brewer what they see in their crystal balls as it pertains to craft brewing for 2012. Here’s what they said.

Steves Parkes, owner and lead instructor of the American Craft Brewers Guild

Parkes’ guild, located in Vermont, is a leading brewing school. If you’re serious about brewing, I’d get serious about schooling, and ACBG is one of the best. (Full disclosure: Parkes was my instructor, and he has very high standards.)

He predicts there will be a return to session beers “if brewers get it right.”

The return, Parkes suggests, will be in conjunction with “less wood, less sour and less fruit beers.” In other words, a return to the traditional.

Layrd Mahler, owner of Sonoran Brewing Co.
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Beer Profile: Stoudt’s Old Abominable Barley Wine

Profiled by Ken Carman for Professor Goodales

I love Barley Wine. I paid almost $20 for this champagne bottle of Abomniable… explaining why I’m kind of pissed. This had all the markings of a great Barley Wine packaging-wise, but it was Barley Wine light: mouthfeel, taste, aroma-wise. Looks good: solid gold, a bit foggy probably due to chill, plenty of head with a mostly pillow to it. So far so good, though the pour seemed a little light gravity-wise. But then I hit the aroma. Hops: some, not much else. Usually there’s some sweet complexity to the nose that damn near drags me into the bottle. The hops were citrus-y. I usually resist fruit comparisons because it does true fruit beers a disfavor, but this was that Centennial-like citrus some compare to grapefruit. I do a grapefruit ale. trust me: not the same. Where the hell is the alcohol? Where’s the body? This was more a nice, somewhat sweet, IPA over all. Do not spend 20 on this. It’s not worth it if you’re looking for Barley Wine.

I looked over several reviews and found the color seems to vary. Perhaps the malt profile varies from batch to batch, though I seemed consistent with other reviews otherwise. Note: I might have given a better review if the price wasn’t a bit out of line for the product. Regardless of the bottle size I expect one hell of a Barley Wine for 20. I’m one of the supplier’s for Big Bob’s Barley Wine bash in Pensacola and you can get better, more punchy, Barley Wines for less than 20, and in large bottles too. Might qualify as an American-hopped English of the style, though the body should be more substantial in that case.

Fruit and Spice Beers

Image courtesy

Written by Tom Becham for

Let’s face it.  Amongst beer geeks, beers containing fruit and/or spices tend to have a poor reputation.  Fruit beers are routinely called “girlfriend beer” (that’s actually the most POLITE term I can find for them), while spiced beers are usually written off as gimmicks and/or seasonal aberrations.

But the truth is that both fruits and spices have a long history of being used as brewing ingredients.  The German Reinheitsgebot (the document from 1516 Germany which prohibited the use of any ingredients in beer other than malt, hops, water and yeast) aside, many very ancient brewing traditions have had no restrictions on ingredients.
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Samuel Adams Brewers Unveil A New Spring Seasonal Beer

Brewed with Noble Hops From the Alps, Samuel Adams® Alpine Spring Hits Shelves this Month

BOSTON, Jan. 13, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — The brewers at Samuel Adams have crafted a brand new seasonal beer, Samuel Adams Alpine Spring. This beer has the balanced maltiness and hoppiness of a helles, the strength and smoothness of a bock, and the unfiltered haze of a kellerbier. Although it’s categorized as an unfiltered wheat lager, this one-of-a-kind beer transcends any one style, and the crisp, citrus flavor notes make it a perfect offering for spring.

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Woman Named Beer Barred from New Zealand Brewing Competition Because She’s Female

Author NOT credited. From

QUEENSTOWN, New Zealand – Despite being named Beer, and making her own brew, a New Zealand woman has been prohibited from entering a home-brew beer contest because she’s not a man.

Rachel Beer, who makes a brew named “Beer’s Beer,” was shocked to be told a home-brew competition at an A&P show — an event which combines agricultural and entertainment events — on Saturday was a male-only competition, the New Zealand Herald reported.

Beer was told by the chief steward of the event, held at Lake Hayes in the central South Island near Queenstown, that she could enter her tipple, but it wouldn’t be judged.
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