Vancouver Craft Beer Week Brews Frothy Fun

Written by Tony Montague for

Iain Hill’s champion beers will be on the menu at the Yaletown Gold Medal Brewmaster’s Dinner. Photo by Tracey Kusiewicz

Don’t be surprised if you’ve never heard of a Cascadian Dark Ale. The style—a strong, well-hopped, and robust Brown Ale—is a new one, created in the Pacific Northwest. A group of B.C. brewmasters got together to produce a unique local recipe for the official bevy of the second annual Vancouver Craft Beer Week.

The celebration of artisanal, high-quality beer takes place in dozens of pubs, bars, restaurants, and other venues around town from May 6 to 14, with events from a wacky pub crawl to a tasting festival that incorporates the B.C. Beer Awards. Iain Hill, who helms the pipes and kettles at Yaletown Brewing Company, won three top prizes last year’s VCBW. All three of his champion beers are on the menu at the Yaletown Gold Medal Brewmaster’s Dinner on May 12—a highlight of the nine-day event and one of several food-and-beer pairing events.
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Brew Biz: Werts and All

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.

Written by Ken Carman

The Topic: Homebrew Club Dynamcs

I can’t write about the dynamics in every homebrew club: I haven’t been a member or “every” homebrew club. I can only write about the clubs I am a member of, homebrew and not, and those I have visited or judged for. There’s a problem with this, as a writer: it involves people’s public behavior that they may not be all that fond of finding published for all to read, even just on the web.

So I am going to be very careful here: no names. My apologies to those whom I have praised. I promise: I will be doing a column on the value of certain members I am about to mention. I will use names.

No apologies to those who are about to receive less than praise. In fact you probably deserved to be pissed off more than this little column could ever achieve. If I had my way some of you should be up on billboards across the country, picture and all: “Never let this person into any club you are a member of, or even state you live in. They are not decent human beings.”

But let’s start this column off with somewhat of a positive spin…
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Get Ready, Arrogant Bastards! Stone Week Starts Tomorrow

Written by Robin Wheeler for

Few craft brewers have arrived in St. Louis with as much anticipation and fanfare as Escondido, California’s Stone Brewing. But they arrive here this week, bringing all the Arrogant Bastard Ale and Stone Ruination IPA we’ve been longing for.

The beer hits store shelves and bar taps on Tuesday, but Thursday’s actually the big day for Stone Brewing events around town. The company’s collaborating with a host of St. Louis’ best beverage locales for events with Stone Brewing Co-Founder and CEO Greg Koch, including a tasting at the Clayton location of the Wine and Cheese Place from 4 to 5 p.m.

Store manager Paul Hayden’s been pushing for Stone Brewing to come here for a long time. In fact, in a blog entry two years ago, Hayden gave St. Louis beer lovers instructions on how to get Stone Brewing to town.

“The customer reaction has been ecstatic,” he says. “I cannot tell you how excited people are, and how excited we are to get the beers. We got tired of people coming into the store and asking if we carry Arrogant Bastard [Ale] or [Stone] Ruination [IPA]. Many people don’t understand beer laws and wonder why we just don’t order [it] and put it on our shelves. They don’t know about the red tape, and that Stone Brewing has to want to come to your state.”

Greg Koch’s coming to town, and he’s bringing beer!
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Pilsner Urquell Unveils Master Home Brewer Competition

Posted by Jason Alström at Beer Advocate

CHICAGO, IL (April 7, 2011) – In 1842, Josef Groll brewed the world’s first golden beer and revolutionized an entire industry. Pilsner Urquell, translated as “original source,” remains a revered beer, both for its importance in beer history, as well as its intricate brewing process, including use of soft water, Saaz hops, pale malts and triple decoction.

Pilsner Urquell is inviting home brewers throughout the U.S. to take their shot at brewing a Czech-style pilsner, aiming for the standard Groll first brewed nearly 170 years ago. Three winners have the chance to earn trips for two to Plzen, Czech Republic this fall to tour the historic brewery, as well as attend the International Master Bartender Competition in Prague.

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The Beer Highway in Northern California, Part III

Note: Lost Coast pictures courtesy Beer and first logo courtesy Jennifer Moline and See article posted after this.

Written by Tom Becham for Professor Goodales

The last leg of the trip my wife and I took to NorCal brings us to Humboldt County.  Now, many beer afficionados who read this may be critical that we did not stop at some of the places along our route.  After all, well within our reach were brewers like Marin, Lagunitas, Russian River, Mendocino, North Coast and even Mad River. Those are all fine brewers to be sure, but this trip was about family so we had to forego all those stops.

When we finally reached our destination of Eureka, we made good our family obligations.  We even managed to squeeze in a quick lunch and beer sampling at Lost Coast Brewing.
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Lost Coast Brewery Branding by Duane Flatmo

See post above this for more information on Lost Coast beer.

Written by Jennifer Moline for

We have already covered some cool examples of beer label branding here at FeedGrids and are now offering an interesting follow-up: a great sampling of creative and unique beer label branding by Lost Coast Brewery – a pure source of graphic design inspiration.

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East Nashville Beer Festival

Reported by Ken Carman for Professor Goodales

You would never know by looking at the empty tents, but shortly after the picture to your left was taken this became the location of Nashville’s newest, quite amazing, very popular beer festival in Nashville, Tennessee. And not just “the location,” but a very packed location. Festival goers varied with a very wide range of ages from 21 to the elderly. We even had mothers and daughters, sons and fathers, together basking in a wonderful spring day and the bubbly beauty of good beer.
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Drinking Bad Beer for “Fun”

Reported by Ken Carman for Professor Goodales

A few weeks ago fellow Music City brewers gathered under this holy symbol for what many would consider an unholy activity.

Centuries ago some might have considered demons had entered our beer, or witches cursed it. Now we know defects are caused by wayward yeast, improper fermentation temperatures and other variables. Thank God, especially when it comes to yeast problems, we have been able to put those myths out to “Pasteur.”

Pause for a brief musical humor break sung to my recently spoiled homebrew: “Louie, Lou-i, oh, wort, wild yeasties put a spell on you!”

Of course, since learning to identify beer defects is a holy of sorts for beer judges and homebrewers, we need a high priest. Enter Father Stephanica Johnson, holder of the holy grail: a Certified BJCP Judge-ship, plus president of our brew club many times over. As Steve knows I’m Certified too. Many in the club know as well. Quite “certified.” Ahm…

OK, Steve isn’t really a priest, and he certainly wasn’t “high,” except maybe only on helping us all learn more about DMS and diacetyl. So we all sat and studied defects, listened to descriptions of defects as a light, yet polluted, beer was passed out.



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Next Bar Craze: Craft Spirits?

Written by Craig LaBan for The Philadelphia Inquirer

PORTLAND, Ore. – Philadelphia has already staked its

Robert Cassell, left, of Philadelphia Distilling, and James Yoakum of Cooper River Distillery are at the local vanguard of what may be a new wave of craft spirits, following similar vogues in coffee and beer.

claim as a player in the national craft beer movement, with dozens of local brewers producing top-notch beer.


Could the newest wave in artisan drink rolling our way from the West Coast – the craft spirit movement – be the next obsession to slake Philly’s thirst with potent shots of white corn “Shine” and “Petty’s Island Rum”?

It just might, if Rob Cassell of Philadelphia Distilling and James Yoakum of Cooper River Distillers realize their dreams.

They are among the few so far in our region to enter this relatively young industry, but they’re hardly alone on the national stage. That was as clear as strong moonshine this week in Portland, where an annual conference organized by the American Distilling Institute (ADI) drew more than 500 people. They gathered to network and educate themselves on everything from Portland’s thriving local spirit scene to the fine points of apple brandy, and to attend lectures like “The Magic of Enzymes.”

“We’re at the beginning of a national renaissance in artisan spirits,” said ADI founder Bill Owens, who has watched the number of small craft distillers grow nationwide over the last eight years from 68 to 264 in 38 states, with 25 percent growth each year. Such companies produce fewer than 65,000 proof gallons a year, and, despite the uptick in distillers, they still account for less than 1 percent of the multibillion-dollar liquor industry.

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Profile: Guinness Extra vs. Guinness Foreign

Profiled by Ken Carman

I believe I may have Foreign Extra in Montreal a long time ago. But so long ago: hard to be certain. Wiki does not have it currently being sold in Canada, but hey… twas way back in the American beer dark ages: the early 70s.

Both decent head, the Foreign seems to have a little more depending upon the pour. So… probably about the same. The Extra is obsidian with a few vague garnet highlights. Foreign is just obsidian.

Aroma on the Extra is a little soured, as expected due to Guinness addition of a bit of soured beer. Deep grain sense that could be mistaken at first for a lot of Black Patent roast, but more very roasted barley sense.

The Foreign has almost a slight phenolic sense, and little to no soured: just malt and roasted barley… more than the Extra.

Mouthfeel: the Extra… foamy carbonation tingle and deep roast. Foreign: alcohol higher, smoky… peated malt perhaps? Can you “peat” roasted barley? I would think so. Less foamy carb.

Taste: the Extra seems lighter and, again, a bit soured. The Foreign is impressively malty and roasted barley-ish. So much more complex. As it warms you do get more “soured” sense, but the malt.roasted barley mix dominates. Both have about the dame level hopping, which obviously means more hops in the Foreign, otherwise that would seem less hoppy due to body/abv jump.

Overall, as much as I like Extra, Foreign is just so much more to enjoy: Guinness on steroids. I recommend both, but prefer the Foreign: only cause as I have said so many times, “I have taste buds that need beating.”