Lost in a haze: North American craft beer searches for mojo

Craft beer in North America has stalled. That much is plain to see.

From the era of annual double-digit growth, which has lasted for an inordinately long period from craft’s naissance in the early 1980s until the late 2010s, the past few years have seen more-or-less stagnant sales, with the US seeing a 1% drop in production in 2023.

Craft beer’s overall annual market share inched up 0.2% last year but the less-than-buoyant figures have left most industry participants and many observers wondering what the future could hold and how (or even if) it might be possible to restore the sector to growth.

At the core of this quandary is the fact that, for most of craft beer’s existence, brewers, industry watchers, and even many drinkers have struggled to define precisely what makes craft beer ‘craft.’ Size was a good marker, until some breweries grew sufficiently large that it wasn’t, and using ingredients as a yardstick was always going to be a non-starter in an industry segment that from the outset has self-defined as iconoclastic.

Want to read more? Please click… HERE!!!

Brewery Ommegang: Cooperstown’s Destination for Beer Lovers

(Thanks to Deb Evans for the link.)

New York is home to many great breweries, but there might be none that are more revered than Brewery Ommegang near Cooperstown.

Brewery Ommegang was established in 1997, which also makes it one of the state’s oldest breweries. Located on a 140-acre hop farm, they claim to have been the first farm brewery in the US in more than 100 years.

Unlike many of the breweries in Cooperstown, NY that focus on beers like IPAs, lagers, and stouts, Brewery Ommegang has always focused on Belgian-style beers. This focus has led them to create some of the country’s best beers in these styles. They do, however, also brew other types of beer for those that prefer something different.

Want to read more? Please click… HERE!!!

We Asked 15 Brewers: What’s the Most Overrated Beer Style? (2024)

Overrated can be a loaded word, and it’s often hurled at whatever style the latest tastemakers have deemed to be on its way out. Among them are some of the more hype-y styles shaking up the industry since the craft beer boom. Some people scoff at these popular beers, while others line up to snag the first tastes of them. Some brewers just see them as filling up tank space that could have gone to something more exciting and innovative.

The beer industry had a difficult year in 2023, and perhaps some of its stalwarts are beginning to feel a bit stale. Is beer simply facing massive growing pains? And if the industry is entering a new stage, does it need to leave behind some styles to make room for the new? Here, we asked 15 brewers which beer styles they feel are the most overrated. From hazy IPAs to pastry stouts to smoothies lactosed within an inch of their lives, here are the ones the pros believe have been given more credit than they’re due.

Want to read more? Please click… HERE!!!

Last Call: Submit Your Brews and Ciders for Global Recognition at The International Brewing & Cider Award

Elevate your brews and ciders to global acclaim at The International Brewing & Cider Awards – the ‘Oscars’ of the industry. Submit your entries by January 31, 2024, for a chance to gain worldwide recognition, enhance brand visibility and showcase your products.

Time is running out to seize the chance to catapult your beer and cider to worldwide acclaim at The International Brewing & Cider Awards – often hailed as the ‘Oscars’ of the brewing and cider industry. The registration window for this prestigious event closes on January 31, 2024.

The Awards offer an unparalleled opportunity for brewers and cidermakers to have their creations evaluated by a panel of globally renowned, actively practicing professionals in the field. Committed to acknowledging and rewarding excellence within the brewing and cider world, these experts bring a wealth of experience to the judging process.

Want to read more? Please click… HERE!!!

Hazy IPAs Aren’t Over, They’ve Just Found Equilibrium

In the four-plus decades of craft brewing, arguably no other style has more profoundly changed what and how we drink than the opaque, fruit-smoothie sweet IPAs New Englanders started brewing in the mid-2010s. Thanks to a flood of juicy new hop varieties bred for their tropicality, brewers used hazy IPAs to make us reassess bitterness. The colorful, geometric pint-sized cans sold over the counter of taprooms prompted us to rethink the beer bottle. And the weekly stream of new releases at our local brewery caused us to reconsider familiar old flagships.

But nearly a decade on, something has changed. Hazies haven’t gone away, but they don’t seem to cause the same giddy delirium they once did. In some quarters, they’ve even caused a counter-trend back to lip-smacking bitter IPAs or clear, sparkling lagers.

Want to read more? Please click… HERE!!!

What is Unfiltered Beer?

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.

Want to read more? Please click… HERE!!!

Tricky Tortoise to Open in Former Willoughby Brewing Company Spot

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.

Want to read more? Please click… HERE!!!

A Tempest in a Tankard Belgian Beer Café Vignettes: Pelikaan, Antwerp

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.

Want to read more? Please click… HERE!!!

Will Anchor Brewing Workers Really Be Able to Buy the Historic San Francisco Company?

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.

Want to read more? Please click… HERE!!!


Written by Franz Hofer for A Tempest in a Tankard

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.

Want to read more? Please click… HERE!!!