It Was a Good Year in Craft Beer

This is about Minnesota, but the nation too-PGA

In Minnesota, 14 brewers opened operations in 2013, making it a very good year in the brewing universe. By all accounts it’s been another banner year for Minnesota beer. The state’s collective brew IQ continued to rise, and seemingly every new bar or restaurant eagerly touted its local tap selection.

The big-league festivals put on by the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild and the Beer Dabbler each sold out, collectively drawing 16,840 beer fans. The phrase “craft beer boom” was used by the local media approximately 2,487 times (well, probably) in the never-ending stories about new breweries, surging demand or Minnesota’s brew-conomy (roughly 8,000 jobs strong and counting, says the Brewers Association).

So how about one more beer article to close out 2013?

Want to read more? Please click…


Starrlight Mead: Couple Makes a Honey of a Wine


Sorry, there’s just not enough mead to go around.”

The writer of these words could very well be describing the mead (also known as honey wine) brewed by Ben and Becky Starr, owners and brew masters at Starrlight Mead in Pittsboro.

Come to think of it, the heart of North Carolina is probably not the first place that comes to mind when you think of mead. Your memory probably hearkens back to the days of old, reminiscent of Renaissance Fairs, Vikings and old English castles.

The Starrs opened Starrlight Mead in 2010, taking a gamble that folks would embrace their homemade wines as much as they and their friends have.

Want to read more? Please click…


Cheers! 5 Intoxicating Facts About Beer

Courtesy kinkycurlycoilyme.combeer
America, and American workers, had an official alcoholic beverage, it would probably be beer. According to the Brewers Association, the overall U.S. beer market was worth $96 billion in 2011, when some 200 million barrels of beer were sold (1 barrel equals 31 gallons of beer). In the same year, 1,989 breweries in the United States were fermenting everything from light lagers to chocolaty stouts.

Want to read more? Please click…


A New Suspect in Bee Deaths: the US government

Image courtesy Reuters

For those readers who make mead and mead related quaffs-PGA

As scientists race to pinpoint the cause of the global collapse of honey bee populations that pollinate a third of the world’s crops, environmental groups have indentified one culprit: US authorities who continue to approve pesticides implicated in the apian apocalypse.


Case in point: The US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) conditional approval in May of sulfoxaflor, a type of agricultural pesticide known as a neonicotinoid. The European Union has banned neonicotinoids for two years in response to scientific studies linking their use to the sudden death of entire beehives, a phenomenon known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Over the past six years, CCD has wiped out an estimated 10 million beehives worth $2 billion. Bee colonies in the US are so decimated that it takes 60% of the nation’s bee population to pollinate a single crop, California almonds. And that’s not just a local problem; California supplies 80% of the world’s almonds.

Want to read more?Please click…


For The Love of The Barrel

Written by Brandon Jones for

As brewers and especially sour/wild brewers we love to age/ferment in different kinds of wood vessels. There is something beautiful and romantic about walking by large oak foudres or seeing rows of stacked barrels each living and breathing new life into a beer. Each different but striving for the same thing: to make incredible beer. All this is wonderful and utopian…until it isn’t.

One of my barrels leaking golden sour this past summer

(To the left: One of my barrels decided to leak after 4 months this past summer)

One of my favorite things about what I do at Yazoo is sourcing and picking out new (well new to us) barrels with some sort of neat character. Looking for the next interesting or hard to find barrel can feel like an ISO/FT post on one of the many beer trading forums. With many breweries having some sort of barrel aging program it can be a challenge to find exciting barrels in the quantity you need. Some of our barrels hail from places like Portugal and Jamacia…which have to be shipped into the USA then trucked to us. So imagine (and I know some of you know this first hand) that sinking feeling when you are walking by your beautiful row of neatly stacked barrels and step into a puddle of beer…or you leak test this incredible barrel and its not just weeping water; its flowing out!
Continue reading “For The Love of The Barrel”

Music in the Dark

Written by Dee Gross for

It was definitely a dark and stormy night.  Talk of tornado and high winds were in the forecast.  Even these perils could not stop the most motivated mad scientist.  Festoon in our most holiday ware, we drove down a long country road to visit our friends at Briarscratch Brewery.  This is an up and coming brewery in Sumner County in a tiny hamlet known as Cottontown.  We had to drive down the end of a tiny road and nearly ran into a fence, but we made it a fashionably one hour late. Continue reading “Music in the Dark”

Boulevard Smokestack Series Coffee Ale, Kansas City, KS


Profiled by Ken Carman for Professor Goodales

Beer-Profile1-258x300 I’m going to be honest here: I’ve had a few Boulevards that absolutely don’t impress me. This does. There’s just the slightest sour, kind of like Guiness when they back pedal by adding beer that’s been soured a tad. The coffee is just right: not dominant, just a hint background… almost upfront. No hops sensed except the slightest bitter in the finish.

Roasted barley in the background, firm pale malt upfront a tad nicely balanced with and some deeper roasted malts, which provides a complexity that’s wonderful to behold: like chewing on a brownie with sweetened coffee added.

No clarity, a deep brown, probably in the high 20s SRM. Slight off white head, creamy. Head slight that fades fast: tan.

Mouthfeel: slight carbonation to almost flat, yet plenty in the bottle. Coffee on the roof of the mouth. The pale malts and the roasted barley provide a nice balance with the coffee.

Taste and overall impression: a very balanced quaff with coffee just right and the roasted barley, pale malt background a-calling. Almost uncarbonated but, to be honest, this sat on the table a while. The interplay between roasted barley, pale malt, coffee and higher abv: 9.3, but hardly noticeable, is about perfect. A sweetish malt sense dominates too.

Beer Advocate has it at a 90, Rate Beer has it at 97 with 99 for style.

I give it a very firm 4. Close to 5.


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.”