The second stop on my hoppy tour through the dairy land was Madison’s first and only nanobrewery: One Barrel Brewing Company. With literally one barrel running at full capacity churning out 10 barrels a week, the supply doesn’t quite meet the demand for this new and exciting operation. One or two lucky bars in Madison boast having this stuff on tap, and the rest is consumed on the spot at One Barrel, just as fast as they can brew it. The sense of community is strong in this little start-up, as is the sense of adventure. Madison’s only nanobreweryPeter Gentry logged several years of homebrewing experience before he opened his doors to the public last July. With the help of his family and the strong craft beer community in Madison, he’s turned a tiny space into a fully functioning brewery. The bar was made by his dad, the curtains by his mom, and kegs are washed at one larger brewery while supplies are borrowed from another. A few lively investors even paid $5,000 for their own engraved bar stools (which comes with a lifetime of free beer, of course).
Anchor to Pier 48 (San Francisco, CA) – The Anchor Brewing Company has big plans in the works that include opening a new waterfront brewery that will increase their capacity by 400%. The SF Gate is reporting that Anchor “will occupy what is now Pier 48 with production and distribution facilities, a restaurant, museum, and other public attractions. The 212,000-square-foot space is an addition to Anchor Brewing’s existing plant on Potrero Hill, and will quadruple the company’s output from 180,000 barrels to 680,000 barrels.”
MYTH #1: Beer is best served as cold as possible
FACT: Flavor emerges with a bit of warmth
We’ve been duped by the Big Beer’s ad campaigns. Consider the ice-frosted mugs, ubiquitous use of the phrase “ice cold,” or—perhaps most obnoxious—Coors Light’s “cold-activated” bottles and cans. (When the beer is cold enough, the mountains on the label “activate” by morphing from white to blue.) Fellas, this is ruining otherwise good beer.
“You lose aromatics when you serve beer too cold,” says Dave Engbers, co-owner of Founders Brewing Co., adding that beer is best consumed between 46 and 50°F.
“Typically beer is dispensed from the draft line between 38 and 42 degrees,” he says. “So just cup the glass for a couple minutes with your hands and you’ll warm it to the right temperature.”
Then you’ll actually taste beer—not the taste-bud numbing effect of near-frozen liquid.
MYTH #2: Bottled beer is better than canned beer
FACT: Nothing maintains freshness as well as a can
There are two primary concerns with storing beer in bottles: oxygen and light. “Bottles aren’t perfect,” says Charles Bamforth, Ph.D., author and professor of malting and brewing sciences at The University of California-Davis. “With time, oxygen coming in under the cap will make your beer taste like cardboard, and light coming in through the glass will turn it skunky.”
The worst bottles are those with clear glass (like Corona’s) and twist-off caps (like nearly every mass-market American lager). “Sealed aluminum is just better at keeping out oxygen and light,” he says.
Don’t like the feel of the can? Fine—just pour the brew into a glass. That’s the best way to consume good beer anyway.
For previous editions of “A Beer Judge’s Diary” on this site please search under “Brew Biz: Werts and All.”
Written by Ken Carman
Ken Carman is a Certified BJCP beer judge who has been brewing beer since 1979, judging beer since 1998. Ken has judged beer from Texas, to Florida to Albany, NY. A Diary of a Beer Judge is all about personal reflections regarding various homebrew competitions.
286 entries, 117 brewers, 37 judges, 19 sponsors, 9 stewards: slightly over 100 judged that Saturday.
This competition has been at Boscos Squared every time we have judged at it. According to their site this is the 25th annual. We have judged in Memphis at least 3 times, once even staying at our friends’ house, Jody and Phil Kane. That’s Phil to the right and below doing his He-Man impression, or at least practicing to achieve his next, best, hernia. His wife, Jodie, does not bear any responsibility for his frequent odd behavior, so instead of a hernia I suppose you could call it a… “hisnia?”
However, having an old man collie (14!), who’s going from brilliant to a little befuddled, on our front porch from 4am until past sundown we felt it best not to stay the night. Continue reading “A Beer Judge’s Diary: Bluff City Homebrew Extravaganza”
FAIRHOPE, Alabama — On Nichols Avenue, it turns out that two’s company. That’s how many opening celebrations the new Fairhope Brewing Company has held since the first week of January and now, the brewery is operating at full tilt.
Like so many independent businesses, growth happens in real time and in front of as many customers as they can muster. And in terms of service, organization and capability, the contrast between FBC’s soft opening on Jan. 8 and its grand opening on Saturday, Feb. 16 was staggering.
There’s big money in an established brand. That goes double for any established beer brand with a history, low price point, and no small amount of subtle marketing. The right combinations can result in a scheme to mint liquid gold.
There’s an untapped goldmine of long lost lagers. Brands with breweries that were shut down but whose intellectual property and capital got bought up or mothballed until some enterprising company looking to cash in on nostalgia or a vintage, perhaps even a craft appeal, or all of them, decides to revive the brand or expand it. (e.g., The recent national push by MillerCoors to bring Henry Weinhard’s to the country.)
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
How I got a hold of this one I really don’t know. According to Beer Me: opened in 1993, closed, 1996, but I know my bottle’s not that old. Old stock being sold off? I do remember it being excellent. Yet this is confusing: the painted on bottle claims “since 1894.” Well, Vancouver did have a Star Brewing, and the name was passed around a bit. And descriptions of the beer I’ve a seen on ratebeer.com really sounds like the brew I had. But I really hate to say much about it, except it’s amazing the black cherry held on that long. I have found even before hop, fruit can fade, and I know this was opened and tipped sometime in the mid-2000s: probably at my first beer tasting around 2006. That’s incredible it was that good if it was 10 years old! Here is what else I’ve discovered…