Party Like It’s 1799: Traditional Cider Makes A Comeback

Chuck Shelton in the cold room at Albemarle CiderWorks in Virginia, which makes sparkling alcoholic cider with some of the same apple varieties used by Thomas Jefferson.

Feeling extra American this week? Wanna keep that post-turkey glow going? Well, how about a very American beverage: cider?

We’re not talking about the hot mulled stuff that steams up your kitchen, or the sweet pub draft in a pint glass. This cider is more like sparkling wine.

“This is a phenomenally funky, sour, even mildly smoky cider that has to be tasted to be believed,” says Greg Engert, one of the owners of a bar in Washington called ChurchKey. He’s pouring cider from a tall champagne-style bottle that retails for around $15.

ChurchKey is a bar known for beer, but on this night, lots of people are drinking cider.

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Nigerian Police Destroy 240,000 Bottles of Beer in Public Display of Strict Islamic Law

Now we KNOW fundamentalist Islam can be evil -PGA

Police enforcing strict Islamic law in Nigeria publicly destroyed more than 240,000 bottles of beer in an attempt to crack down on alcohol consumption and other “immoral” behavior in the area, an official said Thursday.

The Hisbah patrol shouted “Allahu Ahkbar” — God is great — during a lively ceremony attended by government officials in the city of Kano on Wednesday, a spokesperson for the group told NBC News by telephone.

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Sonic Foamer Blasts Bubbles into Your Beer for Flavor

Sonic Foamer

Generally, Americans are trained to pour their beers down the side of a glass, minimizing the foam. The makers of the Sonic Foamer, a bubble-inducing beer gadget, are on a mission to change all that. The device claims to improve the flavor of beer by boosting the aroma through the power of ultrasonic frequencies.

The first thing I had to do before testing the $39.99 Sonic Foamer was get rid of my preconceived notions about avoiding a big head on a beer. I had to mentally embrace the foam. I then took the device over to the most expert beer taster I know: my home-brewing scientist brother.

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Beer Profile: Reunion Ale

Profiled by Ken Carman for the Professor

A Schmaltz Brewing and Terrapin collaboration.

Beer-Profile1-258x300This starts out very dry, with cocoa nibs providing the dryness.

Appearance is a light tan, dense foamy head, pillow-like with a small rock bubble or two. Clarity tough to tell with chill haze and deep ruby brown highlights.

The aroma is cocoa nibs, vanilla and roast provided by coffee and darker malts: probably brown or amber. Not that roasted. Mouthfeel is coffee, a drying sense with pretty much no sweet. There’s a faint hint of cinnamon. Medium body, on the light side of, though all that’s in here plays a foolie at first, making sure you think there’s more.

This is not a casual quaff. Not a lawnmower beer in the sense of an easy quaff. The dryness, and the spices, make it a casual sipper. The abv is 8%, but you’d never know. It’s the complexity of the quaff that makes it a sipper, and the dryness. Not a parched throat item, in fact it’s just right. Could use more cinnamon to taste. Almost a peppery sense: black, just slight, mostly in the mouthfeel. I think that may be cinnamon combining with cocoa nibs. NOT phenols, IMO.

The coffee and the cocoa nibs and the brown-like malt all balance out well,with the only slight exception I’d expected more cinnamon to taste. The pepper-ish sense simply in the mouthfeel adds to the pleasure and, as an unintentional phenolic pepper might, does not take over the taste, ruin the complexity.

88 on Beer Advocate. 92 on Rate Beer, 61 for style, but how do you rate style when there’s so much here that makes it Specialty?

Drinkability is excellent.

A very enjoyable quaff. I’d rate it a 4.



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.”

Now You Can Sip Beer From The Hindeburg

VERY expensive green bottle alert! -PGA
beer-news10You can now savor the taste of history — if you’re willing to find out how well beer keeps after a raging inferno and nearly a century in storage.

A beer rescued by a fireman from the smoldering ruins of the Hindenburg, the zeppelin that famously burst into flames while attempting to dock in New Jersey in 1937, will go on auction in the UK this week starting at $9,710 dollars, The Drinks Business reports.

The beer is described in the auction catalog as “Fire damaged Lowenbrau lager rescued from the remains of the Hindenburg. A standard size green bottle 23cm fitted with a crown top. The bottle is unopened but the label is scorched and damaged from the fire and the top foil is long gone.”

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Florida Brewers Push to End Ban on Beer Growlers

Silly laws like this? You can bet 99% of the time some big brewers has greased the palms of pols to pass it. And since finding a gallon jug with Grolsch top is almost impossible, breweries in FL are forced to do twist top, cider jug-like, growlers: that DON’T hold carbonation well. Hence people must drink them FASTER. This makes sense???-PGAFloridaBeerGrowlers.JPG

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – There are three growlers perched above the tap handles at Intuition Ale Works. One of the beer jugs holds 32 ounces, another 64, and the largest 128. Two of them can be sold lawfully in Florida; the third has a handwritten sign saying “Legalize it” as it sits on display at the brewery. And it’s probably not the one you’d guess.

Customers can have as many of the largest containers, with a full gallon, or the smallest jugs, with a quart, filled as they please. It’s the half-gallon growler — a 64-ounce container that’s popular from coast to coast — that’s illegal, thanks to Florida’s history of odd bottle laws.

“It’s such a stupid law,” said Ben Davis, owner of Intuition Ale Works. “You can come in here and buy a gallon, you can buy a quart, you can buy two quarts, but I can’t sell you a half-gallon. And it’s the industry standard. You go to Colorado, you go to a brewery there and say ‘Hey, I want a growler of X beer,’ they don’t ask you, ‘Hey! Do you want it in a quart or do you want it in a gallon?'”

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Redwood – Wild Beer Company (4.8%)

Another belter in The Broady, but not everyone`s cup of tea, I`m sure.

Over the past months, I have found increasing reasons to rave about The Broadfield and the regular appearances of this Somerset brewery`s wares are an real ale asset. The Broady is welcoming even if you are accompanied by kid or canine, want coffee or craft ale and they even have a selection of daily newspapers if you want catch up with the world as you kill an hour, or two. A real jack-of-all-trades.

Redwood had a hand-written note on it to say that it was a very limited edition with there only being 5 (?) barrels in existence and so it cost £2.50 for a kegged half pint. The knowledgeable bar-keep also insisted that I had a (sizeable) sample as he was aware that it had a very strong taste, one which he himself disliked. I downed the taster and was in for a penny (or 250 of them in this case).

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Hey, Honey

IM44 Feature mead

Michael Fairbrother was never sweet on his career. As an engineer and later vice president and chief operating officer of software companies, the New Hampshire native’s day job was a drag. His heart lay in homebrewing, though he was hardly monogamous with barley. Since his introduction to cyser—a mead made with apple cider and honey—at a homebrew-club meeting in 1995, Fairbrother has been infatuated with making mead, one of mankind’s oldest alcoholic beverages. Mix honey with water, wait for its natural yeasts to convert sugars into alcohol and you have mead. Its discovery was likely serendipity. In the New Hampshirite’s hands, serendipity became honed artistry.

Over the subsequent decade, he began blending meads with blueberries, black currants and Vietnamese cinnamon, creating balanced, complex honey wines. Accolades stacked up and, in 2007, Fairbrother received the first of three straight New England Mead Maker of the Year titles. Could he make mead a career? In 2009, Fairbrother bumped into Surly Brewing founder Omar Ansari at a conference in Boston. Fairbrother mentioned that he wanted to open a meadery, likely part-time. “[Omar] said, ‘How can you do something you love part-time?’ ” Fairbrother recalls. “He changed my life with a single sentence.”

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Brew Biz: Werts and All

The Against the Grain Brewery in heaven: up high, above the bar
The Against the Grain Brewery in heaven: up high, above the bar. You could almost hear the brew angels singing.

Against the Grain
401 East Main St. Louisville, KY
Lousville, KY


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.


Beer menu 1
Beer menu 1

  I have wanted to try Against the Grain for quite a while, when I first read that the owner and brewer wanted to start a brewery that pushes styles into new territory.
 For some reason I thought they were on the south side of Louisville, maybe off of Newburg Road. Wrong! Against seems right at home in downtown Louisville, part of a rather “bat-ty” ball park called Louisville Slugger Field. Being from the home of Adirondack bats: where the wood used to pass through the gate my grandparents watched over, I was immediately offended.
 Yeah, I’m kidding, but why skip a chance to give a plug for my old hometown, right?
  I knew I had been here before. Something looked familiar. This was Browning’s Brewery’s old location… sort of. Been a while and something has changed, but don’t remember quite what, other than the obvious: a different brewery.
  Be aware that, as of right now, the GPS lady will try to take you down a street that’s under construction, but you can pull through the parking lot on the street just south of Main, and it does feed onto Main. It’s a little convoluted, but should get you there. Make sure you feed the meter. A guy pulled up after I came and the tow truck was there almost immediately. The not so obvious entrance is on the east side. Continue reading “Brew Biz: Werts and All”