A Beer Judge’s Diary: HAZtoberfest


Written by Ken Carman

bjd-265x300 I have never, ever, canned out on a homebrew competition, and I am glad to have made this one. The original set up was simple: I had drop off points in Erie and Buffalo for The Old Forge BIG Beer and I would use that as an excuse to do what I really love to do: judge. Immediately it started to fall apart: no entries in Erie and, at the same time, I found out my friend Dave, near Rochester, couldn’t let me crash on his couch.
 Thankfully my friend, ex-captain of the Starship Quandary in the Wort galaxy and fellow judge, Tim Belczak, plus his, oh, so patient wife Cheryl, allowed me to crash there two nights. They even introduced me to their two in house gremlins: Dax and Drew… who look a lot better, and nothing like, the picture to your right from Gremlins 2. But they were as entertaining, as energetic: in far better, and nicer, ways. We didn’t even have to get those gremlins wet, or wait until after midnight, for them to be entertaining.
 If you haven’t seen the movies, never mind. But if you haven’t seen the sequel do gremlins-2track it down. Nothing like a herd (Herd? Bunch? A… MURDER???) of gremlins doing a Busby Berkeley routine while singing New York, New York in Grand Central Station.
 Drew and Dax were the life of the party. Smart kids. Soon mom and dad will go, “Huh? What?” I’m betting Dax, or Drew, will be a Grand Master before you, or me, Tim. (Safe bet with me!) Continue reading “A Beer Judge’s Diary: HAZtoberfest”

Is That Really Craft Beer? 22 Surprising Corporate Brewers

Breweries That Aren't Really Craft Brewers

It matter who owns your beer, says Carol Stoudt, founder of Stoudt’s Brewing, “The passion is lost when the people running a brewery don’t have ownership, and then quality suffers.” A bigger concern, one echoed by brewers like Stoudt and Dogfish Head’s Sam Calagione is that the larger companies also have the power to manipulate markets. The chief example, one cited by Calagione, is that corporate brewers will sell their craft-like ale well below the cost of true craft beer to push them off a bar tap line.

RELATED: The Best 100 Beers in the World

The Brewers Association trade group defines a craft brewer as small (less than six million barrels), traditional, and independent — with less than 25 percent ownership by a non-craft brewer. The quarter ownership figure was set to ensure a larger brewer doesn’t have significant influence, says Paul Gatza, president of the Brewers Association. While most craft brewers are wholly acquired, several do cross the line of partial ownership. Widmer, Kona, and Redhook all share a 32-percent stake by Anheuser-Busch InBev. The three brands are actually one brewing company, the ironically named Craft Brew Alliance. And Lagunitas made headlines when it sold Heineken 50 percent control in the company. This phenomenon also isn’t limited to the U.S., with SABMiller purchasing Meantime Brewing to enter the U.K. craft beer scene. Not to be outdone, AB InBev recently picked up Cervejaria Colorado, a pioneer in Brazil’s craft beer culture.

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An Open Letter From Denny Conn: Be a Homebrewer!

In the relatively short amount of time I’ve been doing this Brülosophy thing, I’ve had some really interesting experiences that have included meeting and developing relationships with a few awesome people, many of whom were inspirations to me long before I started writing about my silly homebrewing adventures. One of these folks is Denny Conn, a dude I was first introduced to over 5 years ago when I stumbled on his Cheap ‘n’ Easy Batch Sparge Brewing article, a how-to that served as the final push for me to jump into all grain brewing. In the following years, I developed a rather strong appreciation for Denny’s brewing philosophy of making the best beer possible while having the most fun possible while doing the least work possible. Imagine my surprise when he and his writing partner, Drew Beechum, asked me if I’d like to review their new (at the time) book, Experimental Homebrewing. Since then, Denny and I have communicated fairly frequently about homebrew experimentation, among other things.


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One Buffalo Our Beer by Southern Tier

Style Commentary by Maria Devan

OK so I was minding my own business getting ready for new beer sunday. I decided to try One Buffalo and base my wry obervations on the idea that this is a gimmick beer because it’s affiliated with a professional sports team. ( wait until you read what I wrote then you will say – I know why she’s going off here) then just this weekend, the style changed. Literally. The style they announced and the style it is now are different this happened yesterday?

Here is my proof that they were calling this an American pale ale not that long ago. I admit I did not really understand what specialty grain is especially since they appear to have changed the style up based on that and so ok here goes.
Continue reading “One Buffalo Our Beer by Southern Tier”

6 Tips to Help You Get the Most out the Great American Beer Fest

Written by Franz Hofer for A Tempest in a Tankard

The trees are starting to don their autumn colours and the kegs have already been tapped for this year’s Oktoberfest in Munich. Today in Vienna the curtain rises on a less well-known festival, but one entirely in keeping with the spirit of the harvest season: the Wiener Wiesn Fest in the broad and leafy expanses…

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HEREGABF 2014 (TastingGlass-GABF FB) 2

A Beer-y Good Story: Root Beer?

Written by Ken Carman

Beer-y   I was in Beaver River, one of three, mostly very small, homes we own, visiting Donna Brown, fellow Beaver River-ite and semi-faithful attendee to my annual Beaver River Beer Tasting. We were waiting on visitors to our town from Twitchell Lake to reach us via the long trail between Stillwater and Twitchell. I used to live on Twitchell.
 Before they arrived Donna said, “Have you tried, ‘NOT Your Father’s Root Beer?” Continue reading “A Beer-y Good Story: Root Beer?”

Prelude to a Drink: Vienna

Written by Franz Hofer for A Tempest in a Tankard

IMG_3991New job, new city. The two combined have left me precious little time to write. I know, I know. Tough life living in Vienna. Until the remnants of summer stop beckoning me to every nook and cranny of this fine town, my time at the keyboard will be sporadic at best. Do check back regularly, though. Eventually I’ll settle into a rhythm, even if I’ll never tire of taking the tram to random areas of the city.


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Prelude to a Drink: Vienna

How do I get better at smelling, tasting, and describing beer?


How do I get better at smelling, tasting, and describing beer? I hear this question over and over. Often, it isn’t even a question, it’s a statement like: “I’m not good at tasting and describing beer (or wine), so I can’t do the BJCP or Cicerone tests.” Never say that again and correct anyone else who does, it’s just not true! Read on to see why.

I did an AMA (“Ask Me Anything”) on Reddit awhile back to promote my Beer Scholar Study Guides, answer questions about the Cicerone Certification Program, and to generally talk beer with some like-minded people (here’s the whole AMA on Reddit: I wrote a study guide for the Cicerone exams. AMA.). One of the very first questions I got and the one which the most people seemed interested in was about learning to get better at flavor and aroma analysis:

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