Edinburgh’s classic pubs are legion, and most have a lyrical quality about them — hardly surprising given that Edinburgh was once an eminently literary city, home to the likes of Sir Walter Scott, Robert Louis Stevenson, and the bard of the barleycorn himself, Robert Burns. Burns is widely known for his Auld Lang Syne. He’s also known to a narrower circle of beer enthusiasts as the composer of a variation of a popular ballad about the suffering, death, and resurrection of the famous cereal crop that provides the lifeblood for ale and whisky.*

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Sierra Nevada discontinues ‘Summerfest’ lager in favor of new ‘Summer Break Hazy IPA’

Good news and bad news, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. is releasing a new lower alcohol seasonal with Summer Break Hazy IPA, but the classic beer ‘Summerfest’ lager has been discontinued. Hitting store shelves in mid-April, the national roll-out of the new session hazy IPA is targeted to deliver hoppy mango and passionfruit flavors, over a smooth malt note and very low 4.6% ABV. It will debut in draft, and 12oz cans in six-packs, 12-packs, and 24-packs.

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Ballast Point Officially Closes Chicago Brewpub After Three Years

San Diego-based Ballast Point Brewing tried to make a statement three years ago when it opened its brewpub in the West Loop. The venue — with a rooftop deck offering scenic views of the skyline — was meant as a declaration that Ballast Point was ready to court Chicago beer drinkers on their competitive home turf, to give the California company more credence as a national brand. Now, three years later, the brewery — under new ownership— has announced that brewpub’s closure.

The shutter of the officially named Ballast Point Tasting Room and Kitchen.

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Written by Franz Hofer for A Tempest in a Tankard

Grab your favourite beer steins, folks! We’re heading to the source for a pilsener.

To many a beer drinker, the city of Plzeň (Pilsen) is virtually synonymous with its storied brewery and famous beer style. But beer in this western Bohemian town wasn’t always the kind of liquid sustenance that inspired pilgrimages.

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Mead Profile: The Queens, Royal Meadery, Delmar, NY

Profiled by Ken Carman

 To me, even more than beer, mead is about balance. This is not bad, compared with some, but the alcohol creates a bitter that is unacceptable. Understand: drinkable, I enjoyed, but not a mead that is a delight to the tongue. Perhaps the bitter is tannins, but don’t think so.
 I think the buckwheat honey was supposed to balance it out. It didn’t.
 Medium mouthfeel, not carbonated. Moderate sweet to the nose. High; not distinguishable as far as type, honey sense to the nose, or taste.. Flavor sweet (medium) honey, firm but not over bearing acidity,

 So moderately sweet, body seems medium due to buckwheat. But the alcohol just seems to pierce through it all. The acidity is fine: great in the balance. Once again it’s the alcohol that ruins the balance. The buckwheat honey is fine, just more body, more sweet (just a hint at best) and a yeast like KIV that provides complexity. This should balance out alcohol.
 Otheriwse an excellent quaff. The acidity, the tannins, everything is balanced well.

Score 3.5 on a scale of 1-5.

Brewing NEIPA – Tips from the Pros

The current darling of the craft beer (and homebrew) world, New England IPA (NEIPA) requires copious amounts of late hop additions, but there is a lot more to making a world class example. The right brewing water, unmalted grains, the exclusion of oxygen, and other finer points are what makes some examples stand out. Don’t take it from us — these three brewers are churning out some of the finest examples available.

Neil Fisher, Co-Founder & Head Brewer of WeldWerks in Greeley, Colorado

For most of our New England-style IPAs our water profile targets are around 175–200 ppm chloride, 75–100 ppm sulfate, and less than 150 ppm calcium. Depending on your base ion profile, strictly using calcium chloride and calcium sulfate to achieve those targets can result in too high a concentration of calcium, which may affect yeast behavior, specifically flocculation, so consider magnesium sulfate as an alternative for your sulfate additions.

We use a fair amount of flaked wheat and flaked oats in a lot of our IPAs, mainly for their contributions to the mouthfeel and body of the beer. But we’ve found that more than 15% of flaked wheat or flaked oats can lend a bit more sharp “starchiness” to the beer, and if the grist exceeds more than 20% high-protein grains, it can be difficult to maintain colloidal stability.

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It’s Happening Again »: Mega-Brewery Pre-invades Another Sports Arena

I’m an inaugural season ticket holder of our new team. It’s exciting and has started with the greatest momentum of any sports franchise – let alone hockey franchise – in the past twenty years and maybe ever. So, I’m asking – as someone with skin in the game – and SUGGESTING that the Kraken do BETTER than all those teams and facilities that don’t have their support base or their cultural setting.

FACT: Washington is one of the four largest beer producing states in the US. California is #1 and 2, 3, and 4 rotate between Oregon, Colorado, and WA state. We have one of the most robust beer economies in the nation, based almost solely upon many hundreds of small breweries. We don’t have a mega-brewery here, churning out pallid domestic lagers in vast quantities brewed in 20,000 gallon tanks. We are a state which, for the first twenty years of our brewing community, didn’t even package 98% of all our native beers because we drank them all. We were VERY late to bottling and canning beer and even when we did, it wasn’t distributed to much more than this corner of America.

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State should instead follow federal tiered approach

As part of his recently announced revenue enhancement proposals to offset the repeal of the state’s personal income tax, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice proposed a beer tax hike of 431% designed to produce $26 million in increased revenues. This move could be a devastating blow to the state’s nascent small brewing industry. If beer tax increases are inevitable, Brilliant Stream strongly advocates that the state follow the tiered-rate, federal beer excise tax model instead of the flat across-the-board increase proposed by the governor.

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German Beer Vignettes: A Kölsch at Früh in Cologne

Written by Franz Hofer for A Tempest in a Tankard

Kölsch is part of the very fabric of Cologne, an element of the city’s cultural heritage as important as Carnival. Kölsch is a relatively young style, and it wasn’t until after WWII that Kölsch cemented its status as the premier beer in the city. Things developed quickly from there. By 1986, Cologne’s brewers had come together to sign the Kölsch Convention, an agreement that turned Kölsch into a protected appellation.

Like any major city, Cologne is worth several days in its own right, but you’re also in luck if you’re just passing through. Not only is the Dom (cathedral) located just outside of the train station, so, too, are a handful of taverns serving up Kölsch. If you have an hour or so, stop off for a peek into the Dom followed by a Kölsch or three within half a kilometer of the train station.

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