Beer Man: This Magic Hat Imperial Pilsner is Truly Regal

Written by By Todd Haefer for The (Appleton, Wis.) Post-Crescent

Magic Hat’s latest entry in its limited-edition Humdinger series lives up to that name.

Many times, breweries simply double the amount of hops in a beer and slap the “Imperial” designation on the label. That is lazy brewing. Sometimes, though, you get a beer like Over the Pils that “imperializes” each characteristic of a style to create a winner.

First off, kudos to Magic Hat for resisting the urge to use a piney, grapefruity American hop variety, like some Imperial pilsners I’ve sampled. If I want that type of beer, there are hundreds of American IPAs to choose from. If I want an Imperial pilsner, I want to taste lots of grassy, citrusy German-style hops.

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From the Bottle Collection: Archive

Here at Professor Goodales we treasure the work our columnists do, so we are starting a new feature. Once in a while, we will walk through the vast digital warehouse, not unlike where they stored the Ark in Indiana Jones, and republish an occasional archived article. This is our second archived edition…

Without intent, I have collected well over 1,000 beer bottles since the early 70s. When something finally had to be done about the cheap paneling in this old modular, I had a choice. Tear down the walls while, oh, so carefully, replacing the often rotted 1X3s. Or: cover them with…

…The Bottle Collection.

Written by Ken Carman

This is going to be an interesting edition: I thought I’d combine a profile with the Bottle Collection, since the first time I had Theakston Old Peculier was quite a while ago.

The last time I had this was at a wedding in Utica, NY in the 80s and I almost threw fruit at the bartender. He kept insisting Old Peculiar was only “properly served” with fruit extract in it and an orange slice on the rim. He told me because dark beers were too bitter and “everyone drank it that way.” Of course by then I had had Guinness Foreign Extra in Montreal and I told him it wasn’t all that “dark,” or “bitter,” and I wouldn’t let him ruin such a grand experience.

He relented.

Maybe it was my threat I didn’t make to give him a very “personal” fruit filled experience. But I felt like saying that. I think he was surprised when after savoring the experience I ordered another, sans fruit, fruit slice and, oh, did I mention? He wanted to salt the rim of the glass too.


Typical beer ignorance that was so dominant in the 80s; a time when “exotic” sometimes meant a Miller Dark in many places. Of course Miller Dark was pretty much the same damn recipe as regular Miller except food coloring and maybe a pinch of some denser, roasty: more interesting, malts.

So I saw Old Peculier at Midtown in Nashville just before Turkey Day and said, “What the hell, let’s see if it’s as good as I remember.”

It was.

Peculier was named after the peculier of Masham. Yes, “Masham,” I’m sure, is an unintentional brewing pun. A “peculier” is a parish outside the jurisdiction of a diocese. Old P is an Old Ale: not classified as actual “Old P” which would be real disgusting, so let’s not dither on that thought, shall we? Yes, classified as “Old Ale” even though the original gravity is just a tad low for the style. You’d never know.

Caramel nose with malt accent: no hops sensed, Old Peculier is brown with great ruby-esk highlights. The mouthfeel is very low on the carbonation side and it tastes malty sweet with a few darker malts peeking out in the taste. No diacetyl. Not real dark, by any means. There’s a very slight peated sense to the malt. Though the carbonation is low in the mouthfeel it fills the mouth with slightly sweet malt. But there are bubbles in the body, in the glass.

White, rocky, head that fades fast.
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Sierra Nevada Founder Talks Craft Beer: Past, Present, Future

Written by Tom Rotunno for

In 1980, Ken Grossman founded the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. and over the years turned it into one of the first and most successful craft breweries ever built.

This week at the Brewers Association’s “Craft Brewers Conference” in San Diego, we caught up with this brewing pioneer to talk about Sierra Nevada and the business of craft beer: past, present and future.

What was your first exposure to brewing?

When I was growing up in Southern California I had a neighbor that was actually a rocket scientist, he was an accomplished home brewer and home wine maker. His son and I were best buddies going through elementary school, junior high, and high school. His dad would be brewing something on his stove every weekend and had rows of carboys fermenting away. I was just intrigued by all of that and think it sort of stuck.

What was it like in the early days of building your brewery?

In those days, in the late 70’s when I was planning the brewery, there was only a couple of small brewers in the U.S. The whole U.S. brewing industry was down to about 40 independent companies and I had a very small goal of brewing about a thousand barrels a year. Maybe 1,500 barrels a year and our business plan reflected a limited ambition at that point. On paper it looked like we could survive and make a living. It was a struggle the first year or so, and then people started loving our beer and we kept growing and haven’t stopped since.

How hard was it to get the ingredients you needed in the beginning?

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Brew Biz: Werts and All

This week’s topic: An interview with Bailey Spaulding

This is an interview I did for The Music City Brew-Score: a publication of The Music City Brewers. Bailey Spaulding is part owner, head brewer for Jackalope in Nashville, TN. I have added notes for the readers here so context of the comments and questions is more apparent to readers who live elsewhere. Before we start the interview; the day after the interview I swung by again and asked Bailey about her being part of the new wave of women brewers in craft-brew world…

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.

Brew Biz is a column written by Ken Carman for Professor Goodales

This is my first in a series of columns on lady brewers, but I wanted to make sure she knew I wasn’t intending to “ghetto-ing” her as if being a woman brewer was weird, different: in any way less an accomplishment. Or that she, and other women brewers, needed to be set to one side. When I returned the next day she thanked me for mentioning that before she told me what’s below. I not only asked Bailey to update her brew-story for us after our last interview, but if felt she was treated differently as a woman brewer…

Bailey: “Among fellow brewers? Not usually… which is great. It’s like perfectly normal; if I get treated different it’s more from an outside perspective. Sometimes they come in here and, well…. But then they have our beer and then it’s OK. Now there’s Pink Boot Society: for any women in the brewing industry; doesn’t matter if they’re brewers or involved in another way. Now they’re starting regional groups, like here in the southeast and we also have Barley’s Angels.”
We’d been here before, me: across the table from Bailey. Bailey of Jackalope, Nashville, Tennessee; one of the new wave of lady brewers and distillers in the country.

  I’ve covered Bailey, Robyn and Steve’s story; where they came from and how the brewery started before.  Asked and published her story: how and why she became a brewer. Their web site tells their story in depth. So what’s left to ask, but…

After all this time, what have you learned?(Jackalope went from a small Brew Magic system to a big, somewhat automated, system since I interviewed Bailey last.)

Bailey: Where to begin? Well, I really couldn’t have imagined it would have taken seven months to set up the new equipment. I couldn’t have imagined I would have brewed 180 times on that Sabco system.  Your survival skills just have to kick in. You do whatever it takes to make it happen.

Anything you would have done differently?       
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Beer Review: Super Brew 10

Reviewed by Tom Becham for

If you believe that Nicolae Ceaucescu and Dracula are the only great evils to emerge from Romania, you’ve obviously never tried Super Brew 15.

Is it really that bad, or am I exaggerating? Well, that’s the thing. It’s tough to separate the reality from hyperbole with this beer.

First, some background. One of my beer quirks is that I like to try beers from as many different countries as I can. Largely, this experience has been one of mediocre pale lagers. Occasionally, I’ll find a gem, like Sri Lanka’s Lion Stout, or Kenya’s Tusker Lager. And just as often, I’ll find some that are vaguely unpleasant. But never before have I encountered a beer as hideous as Super Brew 15.

A couple months ago, my wife and I were in Torrance, California at the Alpine Village market. I spotted this brew on the shelf in back with the beers. I had never had a Romanian beer, so I picked this up, along with some excellent German brews.
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