Craft beer from the Land of the Rising Sun

Written by Dean Irvine for

Shigeharu Asagiri loves beer so much he has even brewed it by the light of the moon.

He’s not a bathtub hootcher with vampiric tendencies, but the boss of Japanese microbrewery Coedo and a man committed to putting his craft beer on the map, no matter what it takes.

His nighttime brewing activity came just after the earthquake that rocked Japan’s Tohoku region last March led to frequent blackouts at his brewery just outside Tokyo.

From those difficult days and dark nights, Coedo has continued to make some award-winning beers that are helping to put the spotlight on interesting microbrews from Japan.

Earthquakes and blackouts aside, it hasn’t been easy for Coedo, founded in 1997 by Asagiri’s father-in-law. It wasn’t until prohibitive laws against small commercial breweries were repealed in 1994 that a microbrew scene in Japan could emerge.
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Connoisseurs Stand in Line to Grab Limited Quantities of Rare Craft Brews

Written by Josh Noel for the Chicago Tribune. Image courtesy

Rick Schuler was there first Friday, idling in his blue Volkswagen Jetta outside Binny’s in south Lincoln Park, 40 minutes before the doors would open.

Then came the guy in flip-flops. And the doctor still in scrubs just off her shift at Swedish Covenant Hospital. And the father of three who left his kids with a baby-sitter to go to “daddy’s liquor store.”

For more than an hour, beer connoisseurs came, knowing that the window to buy a $12.99 bottle of limited edition Goose Island stout brewed with coffee beans and aged in bourbon barrels, would quickly close. Or, more accurately, slam — as Schuler had learned a day before, the beer’s first release day, when he arrived at a different Binny’s 20 minutes too late.

“That’s why I couldn’t take any chances today,” he said.
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Sam Calagione vs. The Beer Geeks: Dogfish Top Dog Speaks MY Mind

Written by Steve Body for

Steve Body aka The Pour Fool

Sam Calagione, owner of Dogfish Head Brewing in Delaware and éminence grise of the American Craft Beer community, was recently moved by what he read in the forums of to write the following. It has since gone viral and is – justifiably – being used as a virtual manifesto by those of us who reject the increasing tendency of craft beer’s hard-core fanboys/geekazoids to cop attitudes and begin, in effect, to Eat Their Own when a brewery dares to become successful.

I found Sam’s essay to be a piece of diplomacy on the order of one of Hank Kissinger’s forays into Palestine. I would have been nowhere near as nice about it and I applaud his decency, common sense, and restraint. For a graphic example of how NOT to respond to stuff like Sam found in BA, read what I have to say after Sam’s eloquence…(this has been lightly edited for space)
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Beer Profile

Written by Ye Olde Scribe for

Avast Maties! Sprecher the Black Bavarian pirate here. Tis cold these nights as we look for booty on the high seas. But da women think we stink too much so we gets no booty at all? So, to satisfy our thirst, and down our lustful desires, we often down a bottle or ten of Sprecher Black Bavarian, named after da Captain himself, otherwise known as Ye Olde Scribe with extra sea barnacles. No extra charge.

It glimmers in the glass like dark ruubies and has a nice roasty nose right in the glass. Just fish it out with your nostrils, landlubbers! Tis almost a stout to the taste. Did they put some roasted barley in this delight? A medium body, far nicer than the on ship wench who graces the front of the boat. Ya’y ya may get wood looking at her but since she’s made of wood, good luck.

Has just the right amountr of bubbly to it. A great malty mouthfeel yet medium to medium low body! The brewer tis a Captain of Brewing, he is, if not an admiral! Almost as if a double concoction was used, what ever da hell dat means!



Something’s Brewing – and it Ain’t No Storm

Picture: Adam Mathews, co-owner of Backyard Home Brewers and Education Center in Humble, offers a wide range of products needed to brew home-made beer.


Adam Mathews and Jon Denman aren’t giving up their day jobs just yet. They’re not interested in high-pressure sales tactics, they say, or making fortunes. They just want to share their passion: making beer.

A few days ago, with the incorporation of Backyard Home Brewers and Education Center, Humble became home to a home-brewing supply shop, with all its untapped potential.

At Backyard Home Brewers and Education Center in Humble, a couch is waiting in the corner for anyone who wants to plop down for a chat or a taste of brew. The dress code is casual. Strangers are greeted like old buddies – or maybe Mathews and Denman just never met a stranger. The scent of hops, barley and malt lingers like an olfactory premonition. Buckets of more than 30 different kinds of grains are stacked to the ceiling. Flasks and packets and tubes of yeast are neatly organized in a cooler in the back of the store. Kegs loom on the top shelves.

“Jon and I’ve been home-brewing for quite a while,” said Mathews, a Medicare consultant employed by a major insurance company who lives in Kingwood. “Last summer we went camping and we brought some homebrew out there with us, and we decided to open a homebrew store. We plotted out all kinds of ideas.”

The two friends say they depleted their savings to follow their dream of providing area home-brewing enthusiasts with quality products, a place to share the successes of their endeavors, bringing newcomers into the fold, and delivering support through education.
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Hogtown Brewers Enter the Toronto Craft Beer Fray

Canadian brewers following a trend set here in America-PGA

Written by Ben Johnsonfor Photos by Traven Benner

session beer. Thankfully for those people, the guys at href=”” target=”_blank”>Hogtown Brewers agreed, and decided to do something about it.

Founded by six guys who play rugby together, Hogtown Brewers was born out of a desire to create a local beer that had a decent amount of flavour but wasn’t so complex or heavy that you couldn’t drink a half a dozen or so in an evening (see above re: six dudes, rugby).

The idea, according to Pete Shippen, one of the brewery’s founders, was to develop a beer that was “just drinkable enough not to alienate.” With the help of experienced brewmaster Jay Cooke, that seems to be precisely what they’ve done.

Hogtown is probably Toronto’s only Kölsch-style beer, a lagered beer that is essentially Germany’s answer to the British Pale Ale. It’s a beer with a rich brewing tradition in Cologne, and the style choice is a reflection of brewmaster Cooke’s training at brew schools in Germany.

The beer is a pale straw color with a noticeable but not overbearing hops presence and a middle-of-the-road alcohol content of 5%. I can certainly confirm its easy drinkablilty, and if the throngs of after-work drinkers at the Duke of Devon, where the beer is currently being poured, are any indication, others agree.

Hogtown officially launched this past weekend, slightly ahead of schedule. The owners of the Duke of Devon told Shippen that they’d start pouring Hogtown on Wednesday, just as soon as the current supply of Alexander Keith’s Red was expected to run dry. Anxious to get their beer out there, however, Shippen and the rest of the Hogtown Brewers enlisted some friends and saw to it that the bar’s supply of Keith’s Red ran out ahead of schedule and Hogtown has been tapped at the Duke since Friday.

There are plans to take Hogtown to other bars, but in the meantime Shippen and his partners are happy staying a little bit exclusive. “We’ve had a lot of interest,” he notes, “but we want to be able to expand the right way.” The plan seems to be a level-headed approach not to get too far ahead of themselves and to grow the business in a way that ensures they can still service whomever opts to pour their beer.

Shippen brings just some of what seems like considerable business-savvy to a group of brewers/rugby players that comprise a few financial industry types, as well as a current student and a gum salesman. For now, they seem content to take it one step at a time, but during a conversation that included reference to the Duke of Devon as a “focus group” and a chat about their contract brewing (at Cool Brewery) as a “less capital intensive” approach, it seemed clear that the guys from Hogtown Brewers have their sights set on eventual distributing to a wider market. Given the rate at which people seem to be downing pints of their tasty Kölsch-style beer, Toronto’s beer drinkers will likely be ready for them when they do.

Who’s the Country’s Biggest Brewer?

Written by Kim Peterson for

A new beer maker has surged ahead to become the largest in America — and it probably isn’t the one you think.

Anheuser-Busch, the maker of the No. 1 beer Bud Light? Nope. That’s a subsidiary ofAnheuser-Busch InBev (BUD +1.88%), which is based in Belgium.

How about MillerCoors, which makes No. 2 beer Coors Light? Nope. MillerCoors is a joint venture of London’s SABMiller (SBMRY -0.88%) and Molson Coors (TAP -0.73%), which operates out of Montreal and Denver.

The biggest U.S. brewer is now D.G. Yuengling and Son, based in Pottsville, Pa., the Allentown Morning Call reports. Yuengling saw shipments soar 16.9% last year to 2.5 million barrels. As a result, it barely squeaked into first place, surpassing Sam Adams maker Boston Beer (SAM -1.00%), which rose 8% to 2.4 million barrels.
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