The craft beer industry is known to get creative, fearlessly going where other industries are afraid to. Usually, that means new ways of brewing or tasty and unique flavors. It can also mean things get a little weird, whether it’s infusing beer with a cereal flavor, creating a fried chicken-inspired brew, or developing a stout made with goose poop.
Admittedly, the former two sound way more enticing than the latter. That didn’t stop Ant Brew, a Finnish microbrewery, from going there anyway. The company’s Wasted Potential Imperial Stout was inspired by the city of Lahti, where the brewery is based. Ant Brew created its…innovative…new beer in celebration of Lahti being named the European Green Capital 2021 and having a “wasteless circular economy,” per a press release.
I’d passed through Traunstein several times on trains between Vienna and Munich and had always been struck by the beauty of its surroundings. The picturesque region is a place of flower-bedecked meadows, old wooden farmhouses, and cows grazing languidly in emerald fields. Situated amid rolling hills in the heart of southeastern Bavaria’s Chiemgau region, Traunstein is also just a stone’s throw from the wild and majestic Alps towering up to the south. And then there’s the beer scene: a lively market square surrounded by taverns, three breweries, and one of the more pleasant beer gardens in Bavaria.
One day I happened upon some beers from Hofbräuhaus Traunstein at a bottle shop in Vienna. Tasty, those beers were, so much so that I resolved to take a day trip to Traunstein the next time I was in Salzburg.
Just about two years ago, Larry and Cam and the other Merry Cruxters at Bend’s titanic Crux Fermentation Project set out to make a blonde ale – that happiest, friendliest, and most approachable beer of summer – but with a very edgy, Northwesty, slightly confrontational gilding of our region’s signature beer virtue and primary aesthetic: More Hops.
They wanted to inject this lovely, bright, slightly lemony, mellow, Cocker Spaniel of a beer style with some teeth: it should, as most Northwesty ales do, bite back a bit. But, for this style, love bites, nibbles, a friendly nip, with no real pain. It would be quite a balancing act; taking the most crowd pleasin’ of ales and taking it Seriously. Not easy.
I’ve spent countless hours in breweries across the United States and the world, and during that time I’ve discovered there are a few things every brewery should do or have. They may seem minor to some, but the devil is in the details, and these basic features never fail to make my experience significantly more enjoyable.
Remember, this is just my opinion, but if you disagree with me you’re completely wrong.
A well-designed chalkboard is a beautiful thing. Some breweries spend hours on these, and I’d consider a few I’ve seen works of art. Apart from the aesthetic enjoyment, when the right information is made available, it makes ordering beer much more efficient (and I tend to spend more). Here are the most important things to delineate on your chalkboard, apart from the basic beer information, of course: