High-Demand, Low-Supply Woes Come to a Head for Some Colorado Craft Brewers

Written by Steve Raabe for The Denver Post

Too many beer drinkers, not enough beer.

Picture courtesy Mike D., posted at yelp.com

That’s the problem — or perhaps the dubious benefit — confronting several of Colorado’s most popular craft brewers.

They’ve had to suspend shipments to some out-of-state markets because demand from consumers has outstripped supplies.

Denver-based Great Divide Brewing Co. recently notified distributors that it is pulling out of five states and the nation’s capital on top of a consolidation late last year in all or parts of seven other states.

Oskar Blues Brewery and Left Hand Brewing, both based in Longmont, also have exited out-of-state markets over the past year.

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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

A Brief History of Home Brew Stores in Nashville, TN

This is going to be more than a bit sketchy. Most of these folks I never even knew their last names. But home brew stores have grow along with the hobby. They are more than a mirror or a reflecting pool. Sometimes they have led the charge. And sometimes, even these days, they have held back progress.

The first store, owned by Wine Art out of Ohio I believe, was Little Ole Winemaker in the Green Hills area. I was a new resident of the Nashville area and working as a security guard to make ends meet. This was 1978. That’s right: 78. I was making my rounds when, in the store front, I saw a sign, “Make Your Own Beer!”

I walked in and asked the shopkeep, “This is legal?”

“Oh, yeah, they just made it legal.”

Her name was Joan and I will never forget her. You will soon understand why. She was thin, about 5’5′, kind of sandy brown/gray, curly, short hair… but not “butch” short, as we would have referred to it back then. Hey, it was still the 70s.
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Brewer Profile: Fred Karm

Profile by Ken Carman

In the 90s I was touring northeast Ohio and decided to pop into the Thirsty Dog on the northwest side of Akron, back when The Dogs were a small Ohio brewpub chain. Often, after performing as an entertainer, I would stop and write something about what happened during the show. Honestly? It was an excuse to try local cuisine and good beer.

I sat at the bar and asked what they had that was hoppy. I sighed to myself when I heard the answer, “Only an ‘ESB?'” A moment later the tender came back and I sipped a little, wrote a little and… “wait, there’s another hop in here…” wrote a little, and… “Damn, another hop!”

That ESB literally unfolded one hop at a time as it warmed. I immediately asked if the brewer was in. It takes talent, a knowledge of brew science and hops to do that. While I have had some incredibly great hopped up beers over the years, no other brewer’s beer has come close to that amazing experience since.

Fred Karm: short, black hair, beer/brew hyper in an absolutely pleasing way for those of us fascinated with the craft, looks a bit different than the picture from Hoppin Frog’s web site. In fact, if you’ve ever seen Warehouse 13 on SyFy, Stargate SG-1, Unforgiven or Rush Hour 2, he looks a lot these days like the picture of a young Saul Rubinek you see to your right. The height is about right too. I found it a bit spooky.

Last year I wrote a Brew Biz column on Ohio brewer Tim Rastetter and the new Thirsty Dog; my second interview with Tim over the years, and asked Tim what ever happened to Fred. He told me he was at Hoppin Frog. I should have known: I’m a giant fan of extreme beers and have given out samples of B.O.R.I.S., their Russian Imperial, at my two yearly summer beer tastings in Beaver River Station, NY, and at Big Bob’s Barley Wine Bash on Pensacola Beach every September.

Of course I did. How could I resist sharing a beer with a fascinating name, label and such a grand savor: all before I knew it was a GABF Gold Medal winner in 2008?

I promised Fred I would come back and do a Brew Biz on Hoppin Frog in June. Right now they’re expanding and pictures simply wouldn’t do it justice. It may be August, depending upon my schedule. I will stop by though.

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Popularity of Craft Beers Soars

Some analysts are predicting that craft beer’s share of the beer market could jump from 5 percent in 2010 to 20 percent by 2020.

CHICAGO – Craft beer continues to grow in popularity, with double-digit growth across the board, the Chicago Tribune reports. Even the big brewers are taking notice, as with the recent transaction of Anheuser-Busch buying Goose Island craft brewery for $38.8 million.

In Chicago, craft beer is just coming into its own, with Half Acre, Two Brothers and Three Floyds struggling to keep up with demand. “We just can’t make enough beer,” said Gabriel Magliaro of Half Acre Beer Co. “Our goal every week is just to try not to run out of beer.”
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Beer Profile: Ovila

Profiled by Ken Carman

This is a cooperative brew: Sierra Nevada and the Abbey of New Clairvaux. A trendy thing to do in craft beer world these days; two brewers merging talents for one or more brewskis we then get to admire or yawn at. Sometimes good, occasionally grand and too often, “So what? Didn’t make it better. May have made it worse.” But Oliva is far more than that: stone from an old monastery in Spain that have carefully been removed and brought over to California, a project started by Howard Hughes. Now monks are continuing the work, but with a, perhaps, more traditional goal: rebuilding it on the grounds of their own monastery.

The beer? Has a rocky head and the bottle wanted to spill all over the damn place as opened but faded to almost nothing as if traveling at light speed in the glass. Head smooths out to pillow as bottle empties and beer warms. A foggy redish brown in the glass.

From first smell you get that abbey yeast smell that dominates beer competitions so much, last time I judged Belgian it started to help me feel ill. But, to be honest, I do enjoy it and I have brewed and sampled many beers with this yeast: it has a tendency to dominate everything. This does not. Kudos. Sweet malt balances the aroma out. No hops sensed, except maybe an extremely background use of aged hops? Stryrian? So slight hard to tell. The aroma does not match the taste: yeast dominates more. Mild brown malt under foundation with Belgian Abbey yeast dominating slightly. A bit fruity from both malt and yeast. No, I won’t tell you what fruits, that’s a disservice to beer with fruit and never the same. Besides: the fruit is very background, in my opinion. Mouthfeel is surprisingly light, for the style. A very delicate quaffe’ for a Dubbel. Fits very well into the lighter side of the style, though if you only consider abv, abv puts it on the high side. You’d never know. Kudos again.

This should please most seeking to experience true Belgian, but not be overwhelmed.

Ovila Abbey Ales: Sierra Nevada

A Mix of Two Articles from Sierra Nevada and Beernews.org …No Author Mentioned

For nearly 1000 years, monks have been brewing ales behind monastery walls. Their closely guarded traditions and techniques produced styles of beer unlike anything else in the world. These unique Abbey ales are known for their uncompromising quality and compelling flavor. In 2011, Sierra Nevada and Cistercian Abbey of New Clairvaux are working to bring this centuries-old tradition to America with Ovila.

This series of three Belgian -style Abbey ales is made in accordance with the centuries-old tradition of the monks. Each beer will be only be available for a limited time and will rotate through the seasons. The first beer in the series is a Belgian-style Dubbel. The second beer in the series, scheduled for release in July, will be a Saison, the traditional Belgian-style farmhouse ale made in honor of the Monk’s dedication to labor in the fields surrounding their abbey. The third will be released in time for the holidays. It will be a Quadrupel rich with dark fruit flavors and the unique wine-like characters of these strong Abbey ales. Cistercian monks lived, prayed, and worked there for nearly 800 years.

Proceeds from this project will benefit the monks of the Abbey of New Clairvaux in their efforts to rebuild an architectural marvel—a 12th century, early-gothic Cistercian chapter house—on their grounds in Vina, California a few miles north of Sierra Nevada’s home in Chico. The medieval chapterhouse—Santa Maria de Ovila—was begun in 1190, near the village of Trillo, Spain.

In 1931, California newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst purchased the abbey and shipped it to Northern California. Hearst’s plans were never realized, and the stones fell into disrepair. In 1994, the Cistercian monks of the Abbey of New Clairvaux, gained possession of the ruins, and began the painstaking stone-by-stone reconstruction of the historic abbey.
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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: Beer Names They Should Really Rethink (Stouts)

Warning: by the very nature of the topic, this edition of Brew Biz is a little ribald.

This started as an innocent quest. Now it may be a perpetual one. This edition will be about Stouts. I’m sure I’ll do more: it’s a fun, and a funny, topic. You wouldn’t believe all the names that one might want to consider, or reconsider.

It all started when I was looking at a bottle in The Bottle Collection: I had just bought more Old Engine Oil. While I have seen Old Engine Oil classified in many ways, to my palate it’s more of an Old Ale, or even a Scottish Ale wouldn’t be that far off. (80?)

Well that name has always given me pause. Who would like to drink old engine oil? But given an either/or choice by Murray the Enforcer I might cringe and drink that before I’d drink Black Water Stout from Foothills Brewing & Beverage Co. Of course you have the controversial Blackwater group, but that organization that has simply rebranded itself would be more a partisan issue as to the appropriateness of the name. But while “Black Water” may seem otherwise innocent to you, having toured as an entertainer: living in various “resorts” with motorhomes and my own “tour bus” in them, “black water” has a very specific meaning. It’s what hopefully doesn’t leak out until you get to the dump station that came straight from the toilet.

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