Couple Has Crafted a Unique Beer Business Model

Kate Baker and Suzanne Schalow founded Craft Beer Cellar in Belmont in 2010, and today, at any given time, its 1,500 square feet of retail space are filled with more than 1,000 beers from 350 breweries. Beers are organized by region, from Worcester to the West Coast, with an emphasis on local brews. Employees have jobs like Head Beer Geek, Ambassador of Fine Ales and Lagers, and Hoptologist and wear hooded sweat shirts emblazoned with the words “Beer Geek.”

“People take two steps in the door and they don’t know how to proceed,” says Brian Shaw, who opened a Craft Beer Cellar in Newton Centre recently, joining franchises in Winchester, Westford, and Braintree. “People say, ‘Oh my God, I didn’t know there was this much beer.’ ”

Is there ever. And now Baker and Schalow are betting their model can work elsewhere as they expand to New Hampshire and Vermont, as well as Florida, St. Louis, and maybe Seattle. Their goal is to make people think about whether to buy a Pretty Things Jack D’Or or a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale as carefully as they would wrestle between a cabernet or a merlot.

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Diacetyl – “Who put butter in my beer?”


Diacetyl (dye-assa-TEEL, or dye-ASS-itle) is probably one of the most well-known flavors related to brewing. It’s buttery aroma is easily recognized at levels above threshold but, as much as is known and recognized about this compound, I’m constantly amazed and disappointed by how much “butter-beer” is still being produced. This post will briefly explore the various ways that diacetyl arises in beer.


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Microbreweries and Beer Giants Tangle Over Tax Cut

One must ask: what exactly, in comparison, do mega brewers need this cut for?-PGA


image courtesy 


WASHINGTON — Beer politics are getting frothy on Capitol Hill.

American microbreweries are asking Uncle Sam to cut their federal excise tax so they can grab more market share from Coors, Budweiser, Corona, Miller and other brands that have become household names.

The big beer makers, meanwhile, support proposals that would cut excise taxes for all brewers, regardless of size.

Both sides, which were once united, are polite enough to praise the products made by the other camp but disagree on how to reduce one type of tax that affects the price of beer.


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Beer Profile: Southern Tier’s 2Xmas

Profiled by Ken Carman fro Professor Goodales

Beer-Profile1-258x300 This is skewed too far towards ginger. And it’s not the best side of ginger. It’s not “bad.” It’s just unbalanced.

The body is medium the ginger is way the hell upfront, allspice and cinnamon are way in the background. Brown with hazy highlights. Mouthfeel is a firm medium body with ginger as the main focus. The malt is mostly pale with some darker malts, mostly slighter roast but they too are way behind the ginger which dangles from the roof of the mouth and refuses to let go. The warmer it gets, the more annoying the ginger becomes.

Mouthfeel, again ginger with about a moderate body and low, but OK, soft, carbonation. A tad slick.

Aroma is ginger, more ginger and, ah, ginger. Again there is a malt background but it’s elusive, hides behind the ginger.

ind_bp_2xmas Tad off white head, pillow. Slight chill haze. Brown at probably 24 srm with no highlights due to haze. A very dense looking quaff due to the haze. The head nags as if it’s wants to hang around, briefly, then fades to the edges of the glass.

There’s a great brown ale based begging to be let out behind a ginger gate here.

93 with a 97 for style on Rate Beer, 84 on Beer Advocate. I can’t go higher than 3.


Welcome to the PGA beer rating system: one beer “Don’t bother.” Two: Eh, if someone gives it to you, drink. Three: very good, go ahead and seek it out, but be aware there is at least one problem. Four: seek it out. Five: pretty much “perfecto.”

Florida Man Ticketed for Trying to Trade Gator for Beer



MIAMI — Florida wildlife officials say a man tried to trade a live alligator for beer at a Miami convenience store.

State Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman Jorge Pino says the man received a citation for illegally capturing and trying to sell the gator.

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Beer Profile: Ale with Anaheim and Marash Chiles


A Lips of Faith and Cigar City collaboration

Beer-Profile1-258x300Sweet chile nose: skin of chile-like that helps pale malt waft up to the nose. Very pleasing. Like being in a field of slightly sugar coated chiles, but not earthy. Slight chill haze, pillow head… massive. Yellow, srm about 2. Almost chocolatey on the palate.

The chilies are up front but very much supported by firm low side of medium pale malt background. The balance between the two is almost perfect.

Mouthfeel is full, yet moderate on the top of the palate Just a hint of pepper, probably driven by the chilies. Not sure this could be better. You NEED to try this. I give it a 4, only because it’s not quite as pleasing at warmer temps, but oh so desirable, and oh so close to a 5.

As it warms the chilies assert themselves even more: a great experience. This is a sipping beer as it warms, however, it gets more peppery… though the sweetness is still in the background. Not a quick quaff.

This is like a nice IPA only with chilies.


Welcome to the PGA beer rating system: one beer “Don’t bother.” Two: Eh, if someone gives it to you, drink. Three: very good, go ahead and seek it out, but be aware there is at least one problem. Four: seek it out. Five: pretty much “perfecto.”

A Beer Judge’s Diary: Fugetaboutit 2013

This year's location for Fugetaboutit
This year’s location for Fugetaboutit


Jared Whalen and Chris McGreevy. First place for 19C: American Barleywine. Name: Big F’n Beer. From Northern Kentucky Homebrewers Guild.
Graham Barron: second place for 16C: Saison. Name: Rye-Son. From Covert Hops Society.
Robert Miller: third place. 12C: Baltic Porter. Name: Baltic Winter. From Brewmasters of Alpharetta.

For the rest of the winners, please click HERE.


beerjudge-258x300 (1) 347 total entries, 216 judged on Saturday, December 7th, 22 judges on Saturday, 7 stewards.

  Fugetaboutit: 2013, this isn’t the first time for us to this delightful beer judging-based rodeo. It’s kind of like a yearly tour of Chattanooga. This year it was at the Knights of Columbus, and I must say for all the locations this one seems to provide the best atmosphere: no restaurant noise, no workmen below building a yet to be open pub and no pending kid’s party rushing us through judging.
  The plan was to leave Nashville at 4 because of the time change: the competition started at 9. However, an aging collie decided to wake me up at 1 by pacing the room and by the time we were through I had cat napped maybe half an hour at best. Continue reading “A Beer Judge’s Diary: Fugetaboutit 2013”

The Craft Beer Market Has Exploded, And Now Brewers Are Worried About A Collapse



On a recent Monday morning, the stretch of Route 100 that runs through sleepy Waterbury, Vt., was bumper-to-bumper. The line of Camrys, Sierras, and Outbacks, some from as far away as Illinois, inched forward in the crisp air, their drivers united in a singular goal.

In the immortal words of Homer Simpson: b-e-e-e-r.

Jen Kimmich sighed at the chaos. She knew what they’d come for. They’d been arriving every Monday for the past two-and-a-half years, more every week, to the point where they now crowded the parking lots of the nearby Phinne nail salon and the Merchants Bank, both on the wrong side Rt. 100, forcing their owners to dash across the state highway to reach their journey’s end, a cramped retail shop in a modest beige building that housed the Alchemist brewery.

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Brew Biz: Werts and All

The Topic: Aroma Points in Judging

Ken Carman is a BJCP judge; homebrewer since 1979, club member at Escambia Bay and Music City Homebrewers, who has been interviewing professional brewers all over the east coast for over 10 years.

 Isn’t 12 points for aroma in judging beer a bit too much?
  The scene: pre-judging at Rebel Brewing for The Music City Brew Off. I have noticed this many times before: the beer I am judging has almost no aroma, but on first sip the mouthfeel, the flavor… wow! Or, yack! Or “in style.” Or: not. Almost always between all the aforementioned.
  I understand that aroma has a lot to do with the experience of drinking beer, affects everything when it comes to beer, even flavor profile. Absolutely. But it doesn’t have to. And I must ask: if aroma is pretty much absent but everything else is spot on, should aroma really be worth 12 points? Really? Continue reading “Brew Biz: Werts and All”