Mythical poster at The LTS Good for What Ales You Beer Journal. Loves good beer. Hates same old, same old. Muses that Bud and Miller might as well be brewed in urinals. Drinks lagers too, if they are complex and interesting.
Nothing gets beer geeks and connoisseurs riled up these days like a strikingly hazy New England IPA. There’s something about the opaque, orange-yellow liquid that sends craft beer enthusiasts into a tizzy. Many a skeptic has been won over with a whiff of that insanely fruity aromatic punch. Hazy IPAs are not the only beers that qualify as unfiltered, as the venerable Kellerbier style, as well as various Witbiers, Berliner Weisses and other sour offerings are also unfiltered. So what exactly is an unfiltered beer and why are these styles among the most popular in the world right now?
Filtration can be performed through various methods depending on beer style. For example, beer can be filtered by passing through a caked or powdered substance in order to filter out any brewing particulates that occur. One common filter is finings, which can sometimes include swim bladders of fish as a filtering agent.
If a beer is lautered – a process in which the mash is separated into the clear liquid wort and the residual grain – the grain bed serves as its own filtering agent. In a lager beer, gravity filters the beer with many particulates falling to the base of a bright tank. Cold filtering is another option: lower temperatures during filtration cause proteins to lump together, making them easier to remove.
Willoughby Brewing Company, launched in 1998 by T.J. Reagan, helped spur the revitalization of downtown Willoughby while simultaneously making some damn fine craft beer. The award-winning brewpub, set in a 120-year-old railcar repair depot, enjoyed a remarkable run under a handful of owners until January 2020, when the landlord locked out the last owners for nonpayment of rent.
Since then, the hulking property has sat fallow. But as luck would have it, entrepreneur Bobby Ehasz was looking for his next craft beer project. Ehasz, a career military guy, is a partner in Pompatus Brewing, a nano brewery in Bainbridge. While scouting locations for possible expansion, he was pointed in the direction of downtown Willoughby. While the former brewpub was not a good fit for Pompatus, it was too good of an opportunity to pass up, he says.
“In `96, `98 when they were building this place out, they had some real vision,” he explains. “Whoever did that was brilliant; they really did a beautiful job getting this place built.”
Already work has begun to convert the former Willoughby Brewing into Tricky Tortoise (4057 Erie St.). It’s a hefty undertaking considering the building’s current state of affairs, but Ehasz is already knee-deep into the venture.
Antwerp offers some of the best beer cafes in the country for beer travelers willing to venture beyond the well-worn path between Brussels and Bruges. Cosmopolitan yet compact, Antwerp is the kind of place where you don’t have to walk far to find an excuse to take a break from all that sightseeing.
A fine place to do just that is Pelikaan, a corner café on the eastern edge of the Grote Markt and in the shadow of the magnificent Our Lady. You can’t miss it as you make your way from the train station: A neon sign stretched across a black cornice above patterned stained glass windows spells out the name of the café.
On July 27, the last day of bottling beer at Anchor Brewing’s historic Potrero Hill plant, shop steward and packaging lead Patrick Mochal cried as he and his co-workers signed their names on the final bottle headed into the final case of steam beer. They’d worked the plant to the bone, until the packaging floor ran out of glass, even overturning old boxes to scrounge bits of material to feed into the machine at the end. Once supplies finally ran out, everyone got together and celebrated the finale, toasting to all that went before — and all they hoped for ahead. Mochal says phones were out, archiving the terminus. “These were our last moments together,” Mochal says. “It’s the end — for now.”
Anchor Brewing had announced its closure just over two weeks prior, on July 12. The pioneering company, founded in 1896, invented the California common beer — widely known as steam beer — and has weathered a string of close calls with closure during the past century. The company was dragging financially in 1965 when dryer scion Fritz Maytag bought the business; a similar scenario played out when Maytag sold it in 2010 to beverage company.
Baden-Württemberg is a panoply of delightful beer experiences. Just across the Danube from Bavaria, Ulm is one of Germany’s more underrated beer destinations. The university town of Tübingen, where Goethe once studied, makes for an ideal beer stop en route to the Black Forest. Freiburg is home to a hilltop beer garden surrounded by vineyards. And, of course, there’s Stuttgart, home of an autumn beer festival every bit as enjoyable as Oktoberfest.
Over the years I’ve introduced you to numerous beer gardens across Bavaria. Since many of you don’t confine your travels to Bavaria, and since Baden-Württemberg brews beers every bit as good, I thought you might want to hear about some of the shaded beer groves in this region. Here are a few worth putting on your beer travel itinerary.
Close to France and Switzerland, Freiburg is one of those towns that combines the best of beer and wine. With its soaring filigree cathedral steeple and medieval gates standing sentry at different entry points around the city, it’s a beautiful city worth a trip for more than just the beer.
Joe Chris is a young talented music composer and entrepreneur – a pairing Chris hopes will open doors. Speaking of pairing, Chris, whose real name is Joe Hahnenfeld, is using his entrepreneurial chops to develop a unique alignment – curated musical experiences with food and beer tastings.
What Chris is selling is not just background music designed to enhance a culinary event; rather the arranged music is a custom-designed soundtrack composed to be part of the sensory and immersive pleasure of sipping a specific craft beer. Over the course of these events, known as Sonic Tastings, participants sample four flights of beer and nibble on finger foods while listening to guided compositions for each beer.
Two Ladders Brewing Company in West Nyack will be holding Sonic Tastings monthly; the next event will be held on August 12, and a portion of the proceeds for the ticketed event will go to People to People, the food pantry in West Nyack. Chris has been test-driving the pairings concept at other breweries over the past year, including Industrial Arts Brewing Company in Garnerville, Stony Point Brewing Company in West Haverstraw, and Slate Point Meadery in Poughkeepsie.
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What if a good friend wrote you a letter…and in this letter, your friend said that he or she needed your help; would possibly suffer without it? What if that friend was facing a profound injustice. Would you stand up with them and say, “This Far and No Farther!” What if it were even simpler than that? What if they just had their roof damaged in a big windstorm and you wanted to help. Would you grab that hammer, climb the ladder, lend them a tarp, bring a dinner plate so they’d know you’re there for them?
It was the first year craft beer had not grown market share.
Ignoring 2020, a year when almost every industry suffered anomalous results, craft beer had grown every year for as long as anyone can remember. But when Bart Watson, chief economist of the Brewers Association, took to the stage to present his state of the industry address at the 2023 Craft Brewers Conference, he reported that the streak was over. The Brewers Association, the trade group representing small and independent brewers, had determined that the craft beer achieved 0% growth in 2022.
“We’d certainly seen slower growth even prior to Covid,” says Watson. Craft beer had been growing by double-digit percentages year-over-year for decades, but this had slowed to single-digits since 2016 (in 2020, the industry actually shrank by 10% as the pandemic…
Update: At 4:44am ET on 7/12/2023, roughly 12 hours after this story was published, Anchor Brewing Company issued a press release announcing it will cease operations and liquidate its business. VinePair will be updating reporting throughout the day.
Today at 9 a.m. local time, employees of Anchor Brewing Co. will gather at the historic San Francisco firm’s plant on Potrero Hill for an all-hands meeting with leaders from its parent company, Sapporo USA. There, they’ll be told that the storied company will cease operation and be liquidated, ending 127 years of production.
A representative for Anchor Brewing Co., Sam Singer, issued a press release early on the morning of July 12 announcing the closure. VinePair first reported yesterday on the imminent possibility that Sapporo USA would shutter the iconic brewery, which it acquired in 2017. Now, America’s first craft brewery and the maker of the Bay Area-born Steam Beer will be sold for parts.
It’s an unceremonious demise for the famous brewery. Anchor and Sapporo USA declined multiple requests for comment in the run-up to this watershed decision. In the release, Singer attributes the decision to a mix of familiar factors: “the impacts of the pandemic, inflation, especially in San Francisco, and a highly competitive market left the company with no option but to make this sad decision to cease operations.”
Current and former workers cite another factor: Sapporo USA’s ownership itself. Over the past few years, they tell VinePair, the Japanese conglomerate’s United States’ subsidiary has been deferring necessary plant maintenance, picking fights with its union, and investing in costly automation equipment in hopes of retrofitting the urban manufacturing landmark into a facility that could handle its lager-based ambitions. A controversial 2021 rebrand caused anguish among workers and drinkers alike who viewed the vivid packaging and slick logo as an affront to Anchor’s singular, artisanal aesthetic.Continue reading “Sapporo USA Will Shut Down Anchor Brewing Co.”