Caleb Staton of Upland Brewing Company Q&A!

Written by Brandon Jones for

I’m happy to be back with another great Q&A for the month. This week I got the chance to spend some time with Caleb Staton of Upland Brewing Company in Indiana. Last weekend they won Gold at GABF for their “Sour Reserve Geuze”, which I’m jealous of those who got to taste it! So on to the interview!


ETF- What was your sour beer epiphany moment?
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Brooks on Beer: The 10 Most Common Beer Defects

Written by Jay R. Brooks for

When beer goes bad. Image courtesy
This time of year, I spend a week in Denver, attending the country’s biggest beer festival: the Great American Beer Festival, or GABF. For a number of years, I’ve also been privileged to be one of the judges who help determine which beers will win gold, silver and bronze medals in 84 categories. This year was a record year, with more than 4,420 beers from 673 breweries in 48 of the 50 states, plus Washington, D.C., and Guam.

For three days, 184 of my fellow judges and I hunker down in the basement of the hotel where the judging takes place. Our ultimate goal is to find the best of American brewing. One of the ways we accomplish this is to eliminate beers that we think are not as good as others, that have flaws we don’t find in others.

These may not even be the 10 most common defects because, as far as I know, no one has ever ranked beer defects by how often they occur. The 10 I chose are the flaws you’re likely to encounter if you drink your fair share of beer. For each one, I’ve given its common descriptor, the scientific name brewers use and its likely cause or causes.

It’s possible that you have tasted one of these defects in a beer you’ve enjoyed and didn’t realize it wasn’t supposed to be there. For some defects, it’s considered a flaw only if it’s too pronounced. At low levels, it may be perfectly acceptable — even desirable. Or it may be that you noticed one of these off-flavors but didn’t know its cause. Some causes are quite complicated, so I’ve tried to simplify them as best I could. Hopefully, this will give you a better sense of some of the more unusual flavors you sometimes find in a beer but wished you didn’t.

The defects

  • Band-Aid (chlorophenol): You just know something is out of whack when your beer smells of adhesive bandages. This aroma also may remind you of disinfectant or diaper aromas. It’s the artificial quality that really stands out in this defect, which usually is caused by a problem with sanitizers or yeast.
  • Butter or butterscotch (diacetyl): Think of that artificial butter aroma and flavor from movie-theater popcorn, and you’ve got the diacetyl character in some beers. At low levels, this can be an enjoyable flavor component. But just like popcorn that’s swimming in butter, too much can make for an unpleasant experience. Beers with too much diacetyl often are called “butter bombs,” and the cause is often a problem with the yeast and amino acids. Continue reading “Brooks on Beer: The 10 Most Common Beer Defects”

Scientists Map The Barley Genome To Produce A Better Beer

Image Credit:

Written by “April Flowers.” From

Imagine a hot summer day, sitting in the cheap seats at your favorite baseball park. You have your hot dog, your giant foam finger, and a beer. Does life get any better than this? Can scientists build a better beer?

An international consortium of scientists believes so, and they have been mapping the genome of barley to help produce new and better varieties, vital for the beer and whiskey industries. Their results have been published in the journal, Nature.
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On Tap: Five things to take away from the 2012 GABF

Written by Chris Morris for

What happens at the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) says a lot about what’s to come for the beer industry. Who won what, what styles emerged as favorites – they all give craft beer fans a glimpse of their future refrigerator shelves.
So what happened at this years GABF? What does it all mean moving forward? Sadly, I can’t see into the future, but here are some of my takes from this year’s event.

1. Unfortunately, New Jersey had a poor showing. Only four local breweries made the trip out to Denver this year. Harvest Moon brought its Citra Double IPA and Sinterklaas Belgian Winter Ale; Iron Hill showcased Pinelands Pils and The Cannibal; J.J. Bittings featured Bad Boy Octoberfest, Dunkel Weiss, Knockout Bock, OnyXXX Stout, and Victoria’s Golden Ale; and Flying Fish showed off Abbey Dubbel, Exit 16, Exit 4, HopFish IPA, and won bronze in the Specialty Beer category with Exit 8.

I don’t think this accurately represents New Jersey craft beer, though. Some of New Jersey’s best are small, and can’t yet afford to make the long and expensive trip out to Denver. Had Carton, Kane, New Jersey Beer Co., Boaks, Cricket Hill, River Horse, and the others made it out, I think Jersey would have come home with a few more medals. That being said, it’s definitely an uphill battle if we want to compete with California, Colorado, Oregon, and the other states that dominate the craft beer industry.
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From the Bottle Collection: Royal Oak Pale Ale

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.

Written by Ken Carman

I haven’t seen this in the stores for about 5 years, but to be honest: I don’t go looking for it. That’s not necessarily a neg comment, more “not my style.” I remember it as a typical English pale of the lighter variety, essential Brit version of a lager like Bud only with an ale yeast. Preferable, but not my style. Copper with a hint of orange. I remember a light palate to the mouthfeel with a faint hint of malt. Low carb: to be expected. Hops low. Not much of a nose: faint malt and hop sense with fruity background, too long ago to liken it to anything. Clarity was good, rocky head, if I remember right.

Looking over comments at Beer Advocates I’m wondering if, like the beer they describe, my memory might be a tad hazy. OR, maybe I had an old bottle where some of the nuttiness/caramel character faded? I really didn’t notice hops, I do remember that, which I’m guessing is a good sign it may have been an old bottle. I did note that those who had had it on tap in England had a far better experience.

If you are expecting a typical lighter pale ale that you might get in England: have at it. Not me. I’m too deep into aggressive to buy it again, unless I’m trying to impress a Brit visitor, or not offend anyone.

Brewed by O’Hanlon’s Brewing Co. Ltd./Great Barton Farm, Clyst St. Lawrence, in England. Near Exeter and Honiton.

Brewer Profile: Fred Karm

This is a PGA archive edition, featuring some of the best from The Professor.

Profile by Ken Carman

In the 90s I was touring northeast Ohio and decided to pop into the Thirsty Dog on the northwest side of Akron, back when The Dogs were a small Ohio brewpub chain. Often, after performing as an entertainer, I would stop and write something about what happened during the show. Honestly? It was an excuse to try local cuisine and good beer.

I sat at the bar and asked what they had that was hoppy. I sighed to myself when I heard the answer, “Only an ‘ESB?'” A moment later the tender came back and I sipped a little, wrote a little and… “wait, there’s another hop in here…” wrote a little, and… “Damn, another hop!”

That ESB literally unfolded one hop at a time as it warmed. I immediately asked if the brewer was in. It takes talent, a knowledge of brew science and hops to do that. While I have had some incredibly great hopped up beers over the years, no other brewer’s beer has come close to that amazing experience since.

Fred Karm: short, black hair, beer/brew hyper in an absolutely pleasing way for those of us fascinated with the craft, looks a bit different than the picture from Hoppin Frog’s web site. In fact, if you’ve ever seen Warehouse 13 on SyFy, Stargate SG-1, Unforgiven or Rush Hour 2, he looks a lot these days like the picture of a young Saul Rubinek you see to your right. The height is about right too. I found it a bit spooky.

Last year I wrote a Brew Biz column on Ohio brewer Tim Rastetter and the new Thirsty Dog; my second interview with Tim over the years, and asked Tim what ever happened to Fred. He told me he was at Hoppin Frog. I should have known: I’m a giant fan of extreme beers and have given out samples of B.O.R.I.S., their Russian Imperial, at my two yearly summer beer tastings in Beaver River Station, NY, and at Big Bob’s Barley Wine Bash on Pensacola Beach every September.

Of course I did. How could I resist sharing a beer with a fascinating name, label and such a grand savor: all before I knew it was a GABF Gold Medal winner in 2008?

I promised Fred I would come back and do a Brew Biz on Hoppin Frog in June. Right now they’re expanding and pictures simply wouldn’t do it justice. It may be August, depending upon my schedule. I will stop by though.

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