Good news for brew-folks in Ohio/west PA/north Indiana-PGA
HopCat, a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based craft brewer with nine locations and three more in development, may open a downtown Cleveland location as part of nuCLEus, the proposed mixed-use skyscraper near Quicken Loans Arena.
The bar and restaurant known for having as many as 130 beer taps in its locations has leased 8,500 square feet at nuCLEus, the 48-floor office, hotel, retail and parking complex, according to a lease memorandum recorded Aug. 10 in Cuyahoga County land records.
The lease was signed by HopCat founder and owner Mark Sellers, as a member of Hopcat-Cleveland LLC, and Robert Stark, the founder of Stark Enterprises of Cleveland, as a member of Huron-Gateway LLC. Stark has obtained preliminary city planning approvals to develop the site between Prospect Avenue and Huron Road near East Fourth Street in a joint venture with J-Dek Investments, a Solon-based real estate firm.
On Saturday, August 20, 2016, a friend and I attended Stone Brewing’s 20th Anniversary Celebration & Invitational Beer Festival. While Stone doesn’t exactly make the kind of beer I generally like, their skill, as well as impact in the craft beer community, cannot go unacknowledged. Also, Stone completely takes over the campus of California State University, San Marcos for its festivals, and invites many big names in the beer game, as well as upcoming talent. Their festivals are fun, informative, filled with fantastic beer to match anyone’s tastes, and the crowds are managed almost as well as Disney’s. When you add the fact that Stone promised some additional attractions for their 20th Anniversary, well, I had to attend. Continue reading “Tom Becham and the Stone 20th Anniversary Celebration”
The first is from one of my all-time favorite brewers, The Bruery. Quadrupel Tonnellerie is a Belgian-style quadruple, with blackberries added. It weighs in at a surprising 10.2% ABV. This beer pours a dark maroon-russet, with a small, fizzy, short-lived head. The nose is strong berries, with a back note of dark, caramel malt. The taste is rather surprising, as the maltiness of the beer – which is considerable – is entirely overwhelmed after a very brief appearance. After that appearance, this beer is predominantly berries on the palate, with a touch of sourness. The finish is entirely blackberries. If you like dark fruit beers, you’ll love this one. It conceals its strength masterfully.
The next beer is from Midnight Sun Brewing in Anchorage, Alaska. Arctic Devil Barley Wine. This beer was part of a care package brought to me by family in Alaska, over a year ago. All the other beers have been consumed, of course, but I had saved this one, as it sports a truly massive 13.4% ABV. I figured a bit of bottle age on this powerhouse would smooth out the flavors a bit. Especially since this one is aged in bourbon barrels.
I may not have needed to take that precaution.
Midnight Sun describes Arctic Devil as an English-style Barley Wine, which means it is much more malt-oriented and less hoppy than Barley Wines most Americans might expect. This one pours with a small tan, cloudy head, which dissipates rather quickly.
The aroma of Arctic Devil obviously is strong on bourbon, but also very full of caramel, bready malts. The malt sugars actually manage to overpower the bourbon after a few seconds, then become very bold.
Upon tasting, the star of Arctic Devil is the extremely skillful use of strong malt presence. Indeed, the only English-style Barley wine I have tasted which is better than this one is the genuine article, Thomas Hardy’s Ale. It’s malt, malt, malt, in forms of caramel, molasses, black bread, and hints of dark stone fruits and even raw graininess. Hints of vanilla and a bourbon burn just lick lightly at the edges of the tongue. The alcohol is a very slight burn, and this beer drinks like one of perhaps half the ABV. Truly, Arctic Devil shows that Midnight Sun are masters in the use of malt. While hop get all the glory in today’s world of craft beer, I find that use of malt is more a measure of a brewer’s expertise.
In all, I recommend both Quadrupel Tonnellerie and Arctic Devil. Both are excellent in their particular niches.
Tom Becham has been writing for PGA for many years. In fact he’s been writing so long he wears the hat to cover baldness, or the antenna that grow out of elderly Martian’s heads: we’re not sure which, but we’re glad he writes for us.
A Charleston man is under arrest this morning after police determined he was operating a craft brewery without a beard. Adam Hawkins was swarmed by the SWAT team and placed into custody, where he’ll be deprived of a razor, forced to wear hipster clothing, and ride a beach cruiser bicycle until he’s ready to operate his brewery under the proper codes.
Adam’s craft brewery opened its doors only seven days ago before word of his criminal behavior began to spread. In addition to violating the Charleston brew master code by being showered and shaven every day to greet customers, his brewery was also built without a trust fund. Other local brewers immediately notified authorities and a sting was planned once sufficient evidence of the violations was gathered.
This edition is about two of the odder competitions I’ve ever judged at. One was “odd” due to what we were judging, one where. Let’s start with “what.”
Like Plattsburgh, Can Can is in its first year. Millie and I drove to a rather spacious house, in a community slightly outside downtown Franklin, Tennessee, that reminded me of the sumptious preplanned communities like Seaside between Destin and Panama City, Florida, or Chautauqua in southwestern New York.
Nice place, Nathan. Almost as nice as chateau Carman. Continue reading “A Beer Judge’s Diary: Plattsburgh and Can Can”