The Beer Highway in Northern California, Part II

Picture courtesy

Written by Tom Becham for

Image courtesy
On the next leg of our journey to Northern California, my wife and I stopped in San Francisco for a few days. Besides some of the more obviously touristy stuff, we also did some beer tourism.

Our first beer-related stop was at the Magnolia Pub and Brewery. Located in the Haight-Ashbury District of San Francisco, the neighborhood around the Magnolia still retains a bit of the old funky, hippie-ish vibe it was known for in the 60’s and 70’s, but with a more tourist-centric aspect now. The interesting people watching on the streets could fill a volume on its own. Continue reading “The Beer Highway in Northern California, Part II”

The Beer Nut: The Czar of Beers

Written by Norman Miller for and GateHouse News Service

Russian imperial stouts draw big crowds.

Breweries around the country — Portsmouth Brewery in New Hampshire, Three Floyds in Indiana and the Bruery in California, among them — hold special events when interpretations of the style are sold just that one day a year. These events draw hundreds, sometimes thousands, who just want a chance to get a taste and a bottle of these beers.

Russian imperial stouts are big beers — they’re not easy drinking, light beers. They’re robust, flavorful and strong — you’d be hard-pressed to find an imperial stout under 8 percent alcohol by volume, with many well above 10 percent ABV.

What are the origins of the Russian imperial stout style? The following is a conglomeration of several histories of the style found on numerous websites, combined with information I have gleaned from several sources over the years.

Although “Russia” is in the name, Russian imperial stouts were created in England in the 1700s. Porters were popular in those days but somehow the Russian court discovered this beer.

Want to read more? Please click…



U.S. News ‘Raging Bitch’ Beer Barred

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., March 29 (UPI) — Flying Dog Brewery is suing Michigan’s state Liquor Control Commission in federal court over its prohibition of the bottler’s “Raging Bitch” label.

In its complaint filed March 25, the beer maker alleges the agency is censoring its free speech, The Grand Rapids (Mich.) Press reported.

The 20th Anniversary India Pale Ale label urges customers, “Remember, enjoying a Raging Bitch, unleashed, untamed, unbridled — and in heat — is pure GONZO.” Ralph Steadman, an illustrator best-known for collaborations with author Hunter S. Thompson, penned the disputed phrase.

If you want more “Bitch,” Click…


Why Anheuser-Busch Bought Goose Island Beer

Note: wouldn’t the purchaser have been InBev? Isn’t “A/B” mostly “A/B” in name only these days, if at all?- Prof. GA

Written by Steve Dolinsky for

Some fans of craft beers are foaming over the news that industry giant Anheuser-Busch plans to buy 23 year-old Chicago-based, brewing powerhouse Goose Island Beer Co. The $38.8 million deal was announced Monday, but is set to close in June.

On the surface, the two brewers couldn’t be more different:  One is known for mass-marketed and mass appeal brands like Budweiser and Busch; the other is known for microbrews and specialty ales like 312 and Matilda.

So why would Anheuser-Busch gobble up Goose Island?

Two words: craft brews.

“These critically acclaimed beers are the hometown pride of Chicagoans,” said Dave Peacock, president of the St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch in a statement. “We are very committed to expanding in the high-end beer segment, and this deal expands our portfolio of brands with high-quality, regional beers. “As we share ideas and bring our different strengths and experiences together, we can accelerate the growth of these brands.”

Continue reading “Why Anheuser-Busch Bought Goose Island Beer”

Beer Profile: Ommegang Abbey Ale

Profiled by Ken Carman

I have had Ommegang Abbey many times. I’ve met the brewers and shared a mutual goal: brainstorming a trube problem for another brewer in Pensacola. It is a very complex Belgian Brown Ale fermented in open fermentation tanks right here in the states in Milford, NY just south of Cooperstown, NY. Half moon Belgian farmhouse brewery. You drive through the middle of the building to get to the parking lot.

Some list it as a Dubbel. Taste wise, that could be accurate. Brown might work too. But while all Browns aren’t Flanders sour, there is a tendency to think of Belgian Browns as such.

Out of the bottle it foams, and foams and… hard to pour. A bit more of a very dark, hazy, amber, or light brown with a tinge of red. Head fades fast but lingers with just a bit of head at the very end.

Mouthfeel pure foam at first. Caramelization in the malt and that very obvious Abbey yeast that dominates the taste on the roof of the mouth. It clings with an almost brassy feel.

The taste is, again, the yeast and the caramelized and brown malts. The foam adds to the pleasure. The viscosity is moderate, yet the seems to complexity belie that. I’m guessing most think of this as a “heavy” beer, but it’s not. Hops are very background and… aged?

I would recommend this for anyone looking for an interesting, complex, less than sour Belgian Brown, or a Belgian Dubbel. In short: I recommend it. And on the plus side, brewed in America!

College Instructor Offers Entry Into Homebrewing

Written by Tovin Lapan for McClatchy Newspapers and

Four years ago handyman Mark Taylor sent proposals to four community colleges in Northern California for a beer home-brewing course he wished to teach.

The colleges’ reaction was as flat as a glass of beer left out overnight.

While they did not believe Taylor would find that much interest in a home-brewing course, he remained confident. Cabrillo College offered to let him try it out, and the first session filled up with 17 students, one short of capacity.

Continue reading “College Instructor Offers Entry Into Homebrewing”

The Beer Nut: Notch Session Brings “Session” Beers to America

Written by Norman Miller for GateHouse News Service

Big alcohol beers with high alcohol content are fine, but Chris Lohring said he noticed something was missing in the craft beer world: a highly flavorful beer that low in alcohol.

Lohring wanted to do something about that, and last year he started Notch Session, a brewery in Ipswich, Mass., that skips past the big beers that are so popular today for lower-alcohol “session” beers.

“I’ve been called everything from lunatic to crazy (for starting Notch Session),” Lohring said.

Lohring was the founder and brewer of the now-defunct Tremont Brewery, and ran it from 1993 to 2002. After that, he left the brewing industry because, he said, he was burned out.

It was at that time, he said, that he had an “epiphany.”

Want to read more? Click…


Beer Guy: Infused Brews at Asheville Brewing Co.

Written by Tony Kiss for

These days, a variety of flavors are going into Asheville-made beers. Asheville Brewing Co., 77 Coxe Ave., takes that to another level with its Thursday night infused brew series.

Each week, the downtown brewery blends one of its own beers with some unexpected ingredients.

The next infused brew (coming Thursday) is a blend of Escape Artist Ale with three styles of fresh hops. Here’s a rundown on what to expect in coming weeks. Feb. 17: Scout Stout with chocolate and chipotle peppers (for Valentine’s). Feb 24: Stuntman Ale with Tupelo honey. March 3: Rocket Girl with peaches and cinnamon sticks. March 10: Ninja Porter with mint leaves and espresso beans. March 17: Roland’s ESB with sweet potatoes and four-leaf clovers (for St. Patrick’s Day). March 24: Asheville Amber with lemon and limes.

Note: none of these items are the infuser used in Ashville. The one on the left is sold by and the one on the bottom sold by And, yes, they do look a little like odd, metallic, tampons, don’t they?-PGA