• Fourth of July: Your Craft Beer & Grilling Guide

    Fourth of July: Your Craft Beer & Grilling Guide

    Craft Beer

    Whether you prefer cooking in the backyard, at a tailgate party, at a rustic campsite, at the beach or by the pool, chances are you'll be grabbing a beer and firing up the grill at some point this summer. Here are six grilled go-tos and my favorite craft beer style to pair them with, plus suggested beers from America's small and independent brewers:

    Hot Dogs with Hefeweizens

    Hot dogs are truly a summer staple. These encased meat goodies are usually seasoned with salt, garlic and paprika. Since hot dogs have German roots (frankfurter anyone?), we'll pay homage with a German-style hefeweizen. These beers are light enough to not overpower a simple dog, but flavorful enough to stand up to whatever toppings you throw at them. The subtle sweetness from these beers can tone down the saltiness of a hot dog.

    Commercial Examples

    Ribs with Amber Ales

    Since ribs can be a symphony of flavors, a balanced American amber ale is just the beer to cover your bases. The slight sweetness and caramel characteristics compliment the naturally sweet pork and any brown sugar or molasses from a rub or barbecue sauce. Subtle hop bitterness helps cut through the fat of the ribs and emphasize spiciness.

    Commercial Examples

    Steak with Wine Barrel-Aged Beers

    Wine barrel-aged beers have a boldness that pairs nicely with a meaty steak. These beers can stand up to a steak without taking away from it. The fruit flavors and slight sour characteristics commonly present in these beers can play up flavors from any marinade as well.

    Corn on the Cob with LagersCorn on the Cob with Lagers

    Although you can do a lot with corn on the cob, nothing beats the classic combo of corn, a bit of butter and salt. A slightly sweet, earthy lager complements the sweetness of the corn, which is amplified by the grill. And since lagers are light-bodied and crisp, they're not going to wreck your palate for the simple flavors of the corn.

    Cheeseburgers with Pale Alescheeseburger

    With Americans eating 50 billion burgers per year, the odds are good you'll be grilling at least one this summer. An American pale ale's bitterness contrasts nicely against any char on the burger. Since they're not overly hoppy, pale ales can work with a variety of cheeses and toppers. A mild citrus flavor cuts through any fattiness of a beef or wild game burger, but won't overpower a turkey or veggie burger.

    Commercial Examples

    Shish Kabob with Brown Ales

    Shish kebab usually consists of steak, chicken or shrimp with veggies or fruits, often including pearl onions, tomatoes, button mushrooms, bell peppers and pineapple. An American brown ale can handle whatever creative kebab you throw at it. The nutty flavors of these beers are nice for beef, but are not too overpowering for poultry or seafood. The toasty maltiness of a brown ale pairs nicely with many sweeter marinades. Any natural sweetness from your vegetables will be amplified by the slight sweetness of these beers.

    Commercial Examples

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  • Mensa Members Put Great Minds Together For Ultimate Buzztime Showdown Trivia Challenge

    Industry Updates

    Every year before their annual convention, card-carrying Mensa members convene for an informal battle of the brains

    Carlsbad, CA, June 30, 2015 – Some of the world's top minds can't get enough of Buzztime! On June 30th, a group of Mensa members will convene to play Showdown, the ultimate trivia challenge from restaurant and bar entertainment leader NTN Buzztime, Inc. (NYSE MKT:NTN). The Mensa Buzztime Showdown challenge is an informal tradition that happens every year on the night before the Mensa annual convention.

    This year's Mensa convention takes place in Louisville, KY, where members of Mensa's elite international high IQ society come together to exchange ideas, investigate each other's opinions, and of course, unwind with fun, intellectual games. During this unofficial meeting, 15-20 Mensans will play Showdown at Overtime Sports Bar & Grill on central Avenue in Louisville. They will compete, share answers, and strive to make it the top Buzztime site in the network for the evening (without shortchanging the regulars).

    Showdown is a 60-minute, ultimate trivia challenge that unfolds over the course of six rounds. On June 30th, the category choices will be: Painters, First Ladies, Canadian Cities, Religious Figures, French Kings, and Ethnic Cuisines. The Mensa members and other Buzztime players will duke it out in an epic battle of the brains.

    “This is something we've been doing for years now,” said Gregg Wiggins, a Mensan living near Cape Canaveral, Fla. who has over nine million Players Plus points from playing Buzztime. “It starts the week with a fun social outing before the official start of the Mensa Annual Gathering the next day, because it's a chance to play face to face with Mensan friends from around the U.S. and to experience Buzztime at a new venue for most if not all of us.”

    Showdown begins with a Warm-Up of 10 questions to answer in 10 seconds, followed by a Countdown where each question allows 15 seconds, and then the Category Quizzes. Before each question, players get to choose between two different categories and a majority vote at each location determines which question will be played. Next comes the Lightning round, which involves seven questions in a row, and then the Pyramid round, where players strive to accumulate a string of correct answers. Then it all comes down to the final question where players can wager up to half their total points.

    Over 60 million Buzztime games are played each year across with country on over 35,000 tablets. In addition to Showdown, Buzztime also offers arcade and card games, and predictive sports. Its stimulating games are loved by customers, as well as by restaurants and bars which can provide high-quality entertainment to their customers that encourages them to stay longer, have more fun, and in the case of Showdown, put their minds to the test.

    “We are thrilled that the Mensa group loves playing Buzztime games,” said Clint Worley, Buzztime Executive Producer—Games. “We try to make the games as entertaining as possible for everybody, and it makes us happy to know that some of the smartest minds in the world gather together to relax, unwind, and play Buzztime.”

    About Buzztime

    NTN Buzztime, Inc. (NYSE MKT: NTN) is a leading bar and restaurant social entertainment and integrated marketing platform. Trusted by bars and restaurants in North America since 1985, Buzztime integrates trivia, card and sports games with in- and out-of-venue messaging and communication tools. With over 7 million player registrations on the Buzztime platform and over 60 million games played each year, Buzztime players spread the word and invite friends and family to their favorite Buzztime locations to enjoy evenings of fun and competition. With Buzztime entertainment and marketing solutions, bars and restaurants can turn casual visitors into regulars, and give patrons a reason to stay longer. For the most up-to-date information on NTN Buzztime, please visit http://www.buzztime.com or follow us on Facebook or Twitter @buzztime.

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  • Dance Music & Craft Beer Festival

    Dance Music & Craft Beer Festival

    Craft Beer

    July 11th – 1PM till 11PM @ Frederick Fairgrounds

    Big Fun is an Dance Music & Craft Beer Festival held at the Frederick Maryland Fairgrounds. The event grounds have two areas of music with DJ's playing both indoor and outdoor. Warehouse include the high end sound system, intelligent lighting system, big screen projectors, haze machines. 30 x 60 Tent. There will be food, beverage, and of course craft beer kegs on tap. In the event of rain both of the music areas are completely covered. Parking lots at the event are all within the Fairgrounds. Sure to be a great time!

    For Tickets/More Info Go To bigfun2015.com


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  • Nebraska Brewing Company Announces Distribution to Chicago

    Nebraska Brewing Company Announces Distribution to Chicago

    Craft Beer

    (Papillion, NE) – Nebraska Brewing Company announces expanded distribution into the State of Illinois specifically in the territory of Chicago. Distribution rights have been granted to Chicago Beverage Systems effective immediately.

    The oldest member of the Reyes Holdings family of businesses, Chicago Beverage Systems began with the acquisition of Campbell Distributing in Chicago, Illinois in November 1979. Today, Chicago Beverage Systems is the leading beer distributor in one of the world's largest beer markets.

    Sales of Nebraska Brewing Company brands in Chicago commenced during mid-­‐June 2015 with owners Paul & Kim Kavulak and their sales team in-­‐market.

    The introduction of Nebraska Brewing Company brands into Chicago represents further expansion into mature, healthy, and vibrant Craft Beer markets within the United States. The rollout into Chicago will begin with the standard core brands in draught and cans and a limited selection of Reserve Series beers. The Reserve Series line is comprised of beers aged in Chardonnay, Whiskey, Brandy, and Rum barrels. Each beer in the Reserve Series rate 96 to 99 points according to RateBeer, while the core IPA rates a solid 96. Most recently, Cardinal Pale Ale was awarded Gold at the coveted European Beer Star Awards and is currently the #1 ranked Pale Ale in Europe based upon this year's competition.

    Paul Kavulak, President of Nebraska Brewing Company stated: “In retrospect, Chicago was one of the first markets we had hoped to enter with our draught beers coming out of our brewpub.” Adding, “The early naiveté associated with a fledgling brewery made the desire to entire markets much larger than our capacity an unrealistic goal. I'm glad things worked out the way they did and that we're now entering Chicago with a newer, larger brewery and the capacity and brands to satisfy a knowledgeable Craft Beer drinker.”

    Joe Morrison, Craft Brand Manager at Chicago Beverage Systems said “Chicago Beverage Systems is proud and excited to bring Nebraska Brewing Company to the Chicago market. They are a great addition to the already flourishing beer scene. Nebraska Brewing Company is a perfect fit for Chicago providing a unique and creative barrel program in addition to core beers that are true to style and quality.”

    Kim Kavulak, Vice President of Nebraska Brewing Company added: “Chicago represents a diverse, well educated craft beer market. Our early desire to enter this market has now met with the timing of our expansion and we are excited to bring our portfolio of award winning beers to a city with such great taste.”

    Nebraska Brewing Company was formed in November of 2007 and has established itself as a Midwest Innovator of quality Craft Beers and artisanal Barrel‐Aged Products. Building on a reputation for quality, flavor, and creativity, Nebraska Brewing Company strives to be a stand out in an ever growing field. Nebraska Brewing Company is proud to be locally owned and locally operated.

    Small, independent, and pushing the envelope.

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  • America’s Beeriest Beach Towns 2015

    America’s Beeriest Beach Towns 2015

    Craft Beer

    Beaches and brews are two of the great staples of summer vacation.

    Last year we published the feature “5 of America's Beeriest Beach Towns” and received an overwhelming response from our readers. The story no doubt struck a chord with all those among us who love the smell of the ocean, the sound of the surf and the taste of a fresh beer.

    With the dramatic rise in popularity of flavorful, hand-crafted ales and lagers produced by our country's small and independent craft brewers, even remote coastal towns now offer plenty of breweries, brewpubs and bottle shops.

    And so, for the summer of 2015, we present five more places to seek out for a beery, beachside getaway:

    Bar Harbor, Maine

    Photo ©: Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce

    Everyone should experience the New England coast in summer at some point in their lives—the colonial history and architecture, the seafood, the scenery. And perhaps no place on the eastern seaboard surpasses the beauty of Bar Harbor.

    Perched on Mount Desert Island, at the gateway to Acadia National Park, the historic resort town is brimming with charm and gorgeous natural landscapes. Acadia's Sand Beach, which stands out from Maine's otherwise craggy coastline, is a big draw—despite the water's consistent 55-degree temperature.

    “It's gorgeous, with the mountains on both sides and the beach right in the middle,” says Alf Anderson, an events and development associate with the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce. “It's a little cold, but it's gorgeous.”

    Oh, and the beer. Beer has always been a part of colonial life, and Maine certainly has been ahead of the curve on the American craft scene, going back to the first craft boom of the 1990s.

    Today in Bar Harbor, Atlantic Brewing Co. leads the way. Anderson says the brewery's tasting room is the place to be on a Saturday afternoon, though as the largest of Bar Harbor's breweries, Atlantic's beers are “sort of everywhere in town.” That includes the wildly popular Bar Harbor Blueberry Ale, a Maine classic.

    “I'm not a fruit-beer guy,” Anderson concedes, “and I had one the other day for the first time, because I had been holding out, thinking it was probably too sweet. But it's actually a really nice ale with a little bit of a blueberry backbone to it. It was a really nice, drinkable beer.”

    Built on the grounds of a 19th-century Maine farmstead, Atlantic's 10-acre property includes the brewery's production facility, tasting room and Mainely Meat BBQ eatery. Tours are offered three times daily during the summer season.

    Bar Harbor, Maine

    Thirsty Whale and McKay's Public House are among the many go-to bars in Bar Harbor, each with a solid local craft selection. Also check out Seafood Ketch, a waterfront restaurant across the island in Bass Harbor, is also worth a stop—not just for the local brews, but also the inspiring sunsets.

    Not into the summer crowds? Visit Bar Harbor in the fall for sublime weather and enjoy the 20th annual Brewfest on Oct. 10 and 11 as part of Acadia's Oktoberfest.

    No matter when you visit, though, Bar Harbor's recipe remains the same: “Gorgeous views, delicious lobster and cold, local beer,” said Anderson.

    Cannon Beach/Seaside, Oregon


    Seaside, Oregon

    Last year we featured Pacific City, Ore., as one of our beeriest beach towns, largely because of the stunning setting of one of Oregon's most acclaimed breweries, Pelican Pub & Brewery.

    This time we travel just a bit further up the magnificent Pacific coast on Highway 101, where neighbor towns Cannon Beach and Seaside also play host to some pretty awesome spots to drink craft beer on the beach. While inland cities such as Bend, Hood River and Portland undoubtedly steal the beer spotlight in Oregon, it's not hard to sniff out some excellent craft beer by the sea.

    Jeff Kilday has owned the Wine and Beer Haus in Seaside for 16 years. In that time, it's grown from a 100-bottle shop to a selection of more than 500 beers—and still it doesn't seem like enough.

    “As Portland groups come out here for vacation, there's more and more need for beer. I think we've seen more people come to the coast that want good beers and need more choice,” says Kilday, who also has four rotating Pacific Northwest taps and says he sells boatloads of Worthy Brewing's Worthy Imperial IPA from Bend.

    Seaside is a bustling family resort in the summer. Best known for its promenade, which stretches for a mile and a half down the sandy beach, it's the only town on the Oregon coast with a carousel, arcade and fun zone.

    Besides the Wine and Beer Haus, check out Seaside Brewing Co., housed in the town's 100-year-old former City Jail Building. And hope that the sought-after Black Dynamite is flowing on draft—it's an 11-percent, 80-IBU stout made with whole vanilla beans, house-roasted organic cacao nibs and a series of specialty malts and oats, then aged in Oregon-distilled bourbon barrels.

    Less than a block from the beach is another cool beer spot, U Street Pub & Eatery, which has 15 taps including sours and a nitro version of North Coast's Old Rasputin Imperial Stout from Fort Bragg, Calif.

    The more upscale Cannon Beach is a great place to stroll through art galleries or take a hike at beautiful Ecola State Park in between beers. The town also boasts its own brewery, Bill's Tavern and Brewhouse, featuring the tasty Duck Dive Pale Ale and some interesting specialty brews such as Blackberry Beauty.


    Cannon Beach, Oregon | Haystack Rock

    Need some plumbing or garden supplies while on vacation? Then head to the Cannon Beach Hardware and Public House, which Kilday says has “its own little unique personality.” It would have to, as a restaurant, bar and hardware store all rolled into one.

    By next spring, Cannon Beach will also be home to Pelican Pub & Brewery's third location. Like the original brewery in Pacific City, the venue will have views of an offshore Haystack Rock that rises more than 200 feet from the water.

    Honolulu, Hawaii


    As if anyone needed more incentive to take in the turquoise waters, pristine beaches and volcanic mountains of the “Aloha State,” Hawaii's beer culture is on fire as well.

    This is especially true in the capital of Honolulu on Oahu's south shore, where the iconic Waikiki crescent beach is surrounded as much by craft beer as by swaying palm trees. Frothy surf abounds, for sure, and so do glasses of pilsner, saison and pale ale.

    “It's a really exploding beer scene there,” says Tim Golden, a Hawaii resident who launched the website BeerInHawaii.com. “I mean, it's catching up with the rest of the country, but it's there.”

    No less than four breweries have opened in Honolulu in the past year alone. Waikiki Brewing Co., located within a quarter-mile of the beach, is housed in one of Cheeseburger Restaurant's unused banquet rooms. The beers range from the lighter blonde ales and hefeweizens one would expect in the tropics, to an IPA and even a black strap molasses porter—indicative of the wide range of styles now found on the island.

    The man behind Honolulu's sudden craft movement is Troy Terorotua, a chef who moved to Hawaii from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in 1997. Terorotua became the beer buyer for Whole Foods Kahala, where he began to bring some quality U.S. craft and international brews into the state, and in May 2012 he opened Hawaii's first true craft-beer bar: Real, a Gastropub.

    Terorotua launched Brew'd Craft Pub exactly two years later, and Golden says the two craft-centric bars form the “cornerstones” of Honolulu's beer scene. The lineup at Brew'd includes such mainland stalwarts as Ballast Point, Crooked Stave, Hill Farmstead and Jolly Pumpkin.


    Meanwhile, the beaches on Hawaii's other stunning islands are brimming with beer as well, and Golden says the various beer scenes of the archipelago feed off each other's energy.

    If you're on your way to Kona this fall for the Ironman Triathlon World Championships, don't miss Big Island Brewhaus. The brewery scored big in Denver last year with a Great American Beer Festival (GABF) bronze medal for Golden Sabbath, an 8-percent Belgian-style golden strong ale, and a bronze for both Overboard IPA and Golden Sabbath at the World Beer Cup.

    “They've got Mexican food there, and the Overboard IPA is very, very good,” says Ironman veteran Stefan Judex of Port Jefferson, N.Y. “So is the Red Giant Ale.”

    San Luis Obispo, CaliforniaSan Luis Obispo, California

    Is it any wonder a city dubbed “the happiest place in America” also happens to be soaked in craft beer?

    Perhaps it's no coincidence that SLO earned that moniker—from none other than Oprah—right around the start of the central California coast's brewing boom. There was a time when tourists taking in the dramatic coastal scenery of Highway 1 had to veer 30 minutes inland to visit the renowned Firestone Walker Brewing Co. Now, however, “beercationers” can enjoy barrells of other breweries throughout SLO County.

    “Our region is extremely diverse,” says Kylee Jepsen of Visit San Luis Obispo County, “as are the locations of our craft breweries.”

    It all still begins with Firestone Walker Brewing Co. in Paso Robles. Though smack dab in the middle of wine country, the three-time GABF Mid-size Brewery of the Year has become a destination of its own. But it's not alone anymore—two miles south, check out Barrelhouse Brewing Co., whose half-acre beer garden features a flowing waterfall, picnic tables and a bandstand on the back of a vintage flatbed truck. Barrelhouse is planning a major expansion, and is also is set to open a new 2,000-square-foot, speakeasy-style taproom in the heart of San Luis Obispo's historic downtown.

    San Luis Obispo, California

    Photo © San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce

    Speaking of SLO itself, beer is springing up everywhere. Seek out the IPA from Tap It Brewing, a 2012 GABF gold medal-winner, and check out Creekside Brewing Co. and Central Coast Brewing, just 10 minutes from the beach.

    Tiny Bang the Drum Brewery, which bills itself as the smallest brewery on the Central Coast, produces craft beer and mead on a 15-gallon system—and also, naturally, offers drums for patrons to bang on. Visitors to the funky tasting room can also enjoy a variety of music performers, food trucks, charity fundraisers and craft fairs.

    Want a couple pints closer to the sand and surf? The Libertine Pub in Morro Bay specializes in house-brewed, barrel-aged wild ales—including a tart saison brewed with local seawater, hops grown on-site and volcanic rock from the iconic Morro Rock. Shell Beach Brewhouse, with 30 draft beers and nine flat-screen TVs, is also within walking distance of the beach.

    For takeout, California Fresh Market in Pismo Beach carries a large selection of local craft brews. Santa Barbara-based Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. is slated to open another brewery and 6,500-square-foot taproom just a few miles away in Arroyo Grande this summer. In nearby Grover Beach, the beer garden at ManRock Brewing features a giant Jenga set, outdoor heaters and a wood-fired brick pizza oven.

    Need more guidance? The recently formed Central Coast Brewers Consortium now puts out a brewery map, and Hop On Beer Tours will take you to all these places via a pub-style limo bus.

    For festival-goers, the Seven Sisters Craft Beer & Music Fest will take place July 1-12 at El Chorro Regional Park and Campground on Highway 1 between Morro Bay and SLO, while the Sunset SAVOR the Central Coast food and wine fest, Sept. 26-27 at the historic Santa Margarita Ranch, devotes a courtyard to local brews.

    Wilmington, North Carolina

    Wilmington, North Carolina

    North Carolina is one of the fastest-growing craft beer states in the country, and while Charlotte, Raleigh and Asheville in particular continue to grab all the headlines, no city in the past year has been more responsible for the Tar Heel State's rapid ascension than Wilmington.

    Flytrap Brewing, which takes its name from the carnivorous plant that grows in the wild within a 70-mile radius of Wilmington, is among the five new breweries that have opened in Wilmington since 2014. Flytrap's hearty lineup features sours and saisons, while the adventurous Wilmington Brewing Co. offers a wide spectrum of beers from the Amarillo Saison to Coffee Porter and Breakfast Stout.

    These newcomers have joined Wilmington mainstay Front Street Brewery, which is celebrating 20 years in 2015. Front Street, whose Kelsie Cole was one of North Carolina's first female head brewers, still anchors the city's beer landscape with three daily tours and full-service restaurant.

    There are also many other beer choices within the city limits and on nearby island beaches. Less than seven miles away in Wrightsville Beach, Lighthouse Beer & Wine features more than 400 bottled beers and drafts such as Olde Hickory's Death by Hops and Wicked Weed's Wicked City, which can be enjoyed in an outdoor beer garden. The shop also hosts the annual Lighthouse Beer & Wine Festival in late October.

    If you're stocking up in town for a trip to the beach, Bombers Bev Co. bottle shop has now joined Wilmington Brewing Co. as options for crowlers—those handy 32-ounce take-home cans.

    Wilmington, North Carolina

    Bombers, one of numerous bottle shops in the greater Wilmington area, is also where the new Port City Brew Bus begins its tours. Brew Bus co-owner Jeremy Tomlinson is stoked about Wilmington's sudden craft beer renaissance. He says a seventh Wilmington-area brewery is expected to open soon, followed by a few more by the end of the year.

    “It's such a new scene,” Tomlinson says, which means that there hasn't been much time to spread Wilmington's new reputation as a craft beer vacation spot. But with summer as the city's tourist “prime-time”, he's confident that word will get around. “We hope that, if not this year then by next year, we will be—for lack of a better term—Asheville on the coast.”

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  • Farm Breweries: When Local Means Your Own Backyard

    Farm Breweries: When Local Means Your Own Backyard

    Craft Beer

    Freshness is always an important aspect in deciding which groceries or menu items to select, and more recently consumers are focusing on not just fresh ingredients, but local as well.

    In order to adapt to this new consumer taste and use it as a tool to create truly unique beer, breweries are creating new strategies to get a firmer grasp on the production of their ingredients, either by partnering with local farmers or by bringing production in-house. By directly controlling the production of ingredients like hops and grains, farm breweries can produce beer offerings that cannot be had anywhere else.

    Proximity to Ingredients

    Bringing production of raw materials in-house can be a difficult and costly endeavor for a brewery. For the most part, barley and hops, the primary ingredients in most craft beers, are grown in specific regions of the country suited best for the crops. Farmers in these areas can supply the demands of brewers and even deliver fresh ingredients, but not many breweries can consider them local ingredients. Barley and hops don't thrive in all climates and it makes the most sense financially to grow the crops with the highest yield, so many farmers are reluctant to invest without a guarantee.

    Dream Pumpkins from Rogue Farms for their Pumpkin Patch Ale and Pumpkin Savior

    In order to bring about change in the industry and provide support for their communities, many breweries are finding alternative ways to source their main ingredients.

    Breweries like Rogue Ales and Stone Brewing Co., are purchasing or leasing farmland to produce their own hops and barley. This way they can support their communities by guaranteeing farmer's their business or creating jobs on farms of their own.

    But it's not only large regional breweries with nationwide distribution that are taking charge of the production of their ingredients, many small brewing operations are also finding ways source locally. Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery in Goochland, Va., and Milkhouse Brewery at Stillpoint Farm in Mount Airy, Md., are perfect examples of farm to glass brewing establishments.

    Farm operations like these allow breweries to produce beers with unique ingredients that no other brewery has access to. For example, Rogue's “Rogue Farms” series of beers are produced exclusively with ingredients grown on their own farm, including the 7 Hop IPA, which contains every hop that they grow and their proprietary Dare and Risk grains.

    Collectively Sourcing Raw Materials

    Hopshire Farm and Brewery in Freeville, NY, has been a hop farm for years providing their hops to area breweries, but in 2013 they took advantage of a new New York legislative bill and became the fifth licensed farm brewery in the state.

    “We even have brewer's barley and different hop varieties growing. We're not the only ones involved, hence the community effort. Our region of Pennsylvania is very lucky to have countless natural farmers growing wonderful variety of different fruits, veggies, and even hops. We've also been witness to a new local craft malt house open in the south eastern PA area. Together, the revolution continues to dig in deeper.” – Saucony Creek Brewing Co.

    Saucony Creek Brewing Co. in Kutztown, Pa., is part of a union of local farmers who work together to supply each other with the ingredients that they each need to produce their craft beers. They cannot always produce every single ingredient necessary, but want to set an example for the industry and show what can be reached through a deep level of collaboration.

    There is a growing movement among craft brewers, big and small, to produce their beer from beginning to end—starting in the dirt. Brewers want to have more and more control over the process so that the line of beers that they offer are completely unique. Sustainability also plays a role in motivating companies to limit their impact, and cutting down on transportation of ingredients into the brewery is a significant way for breweries to reduce their footprint.

    For a craft brewery, it all boils down to supporting the communities that support your business and offering the most unique and highest quality beers possible.

    Dan PowellDan Powell is the current Craft Beer Program intern, as well as a homebrewer, hop enthusiast and transplant to Colorado from Maryland. He loves talking and writing about beer, dogs, cars, gear and tech and getting outside.

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  • Brewmasters Craft Beer Festival returns on Labor Day

    Brewmasters Craft Beer Festival returns on Labor Day

    Craft Beer

    Sponsored Press Release:

    (Houston, TX) – In its 6h year, BrewMasters Craft Beer Festival keeps gaining momentum, just like the craft beer industry itself. The festival, tapped as a fan-favorite by ThrillList, also remains a favorite of the industry where brewers regularly unveil never before tasted brews. Join fellow craft beer lovers and supporters as they gather Labor Day weekend to celebrate and sample more than 400 specialty and hard-to-find brews. This foamtastic celebration takes place at Moody Gardens Friday, September 4 through Sunday September 6, 2015.

    The three-day celebration will showcase two signature events: BrewHaHa Grand Tasting and BrewLicious Brews and Foods Pairing. There are a host of related events like the BrewMasters PubCrawl and Texas Brewery Tasting Tour. Featured activities include: Beach, Brews and Bands live musical performances and fireworks, educational events, a slew of Brew Brains and industry experts, including award-winning BrewMasters and home brewing masters.

    The craft beer industry shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Local brewers predict the upward trajectory will continue for years. Lennie Ambrose of Saint Arnold is excited about this trend and says “We're now really entering a time where kids that grew up watching their parents drink craft beer are getting to be of age and will naturally gravitate to craft beer.” This steady growth shows that craft brewing is part of a profound shift in American beer culture—a shift that will help craft brewers achieve their ambitious goal of 20 percent market share by 2020 noted the Brewers Association.

    New breweries are still on the rise with the recent opening of 11 Below in Northwest Houston. Event founder and organizer, Clifton McDerby, Executive Director of Food & Vine Time Productions, Inc. loves the fact that there is always a new brewery to introduce at BrewMasters. “We get really excited about showcasing what's new in the market. Our vision has always been to produce the largest craft beer festival in the state by providing beer lovers with the widest selection of craft beers available at any Texas festival along with brew education,” remarked McDerby.

    Festivities begin on Friday, September 4 with the BrewMasters Pub Crawl at 8 p.m. Hop on board this festive party bus departing from Moody Gardens with a tour to some of Galveston's trendiest bars. Meet featured Brew Brains at each stop. Tickets are $25 in advance.

    If you are Texas beer fan, and who isn't, make your first stop of the day on Saturday September 5 at the Texas Brewery Tasting Tour. You'll have a rare opportunity to take a tasting tour in a small group and intimate environment to enjoy featured Texas brewed selections. The event runs from 11:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. Tickets are $25 in advance and always sell out.

    Then it's time for the grand tasting. Saturday, September 5 sample some of the best brews in the world made available to beer lovers at the BrewHaHa Grand Tasting held in the Moody Gardens Convention Center. The Grand Tasting will feature over 400 craft and specialty brews as well as a Wine Escape with wine samplings. Admission to BrewHaHa is $35 in advance, $40 at the door, $85 for a VIP ticket, or choose a multi-event Hopper Pass. The BrewHaHa Grand Tasting will run from 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and includes access to multiple beer seminars for all who take pride in their beer and want to expand their knowledge of craft beers.

    Thirsty for more? This year Brewlicious Brews & Foods Pairing moves to Sunday, September 6, to give foodies time to get to the island. This spectacular event, where everyone is a VIP, is for the serious beer and culinary enthusiast. Every featured beer will be paired with food with a focus on high-end, premium, unique beer paired with just the perfect culinary accompaniment. BrewLicious Brews and Foods will run from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tickets are $75.

    What would Labor Day be without a concert on the beach? On Saturday and Sunday from 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. get ready to have some fun in the sun as Moody Gardens rolls out a beach blast. Beach, Brews & Bands features live music in the sand followed by fireworks at Palm Beach. Tickets are $12 at the gate. $6 online as an add-on to any BrewMasters ticket purchase. Or $6 at the gate with a BrewMasters wrist band or ticket receipt. Tickets include all activities at Palm Beach plus the concert and fireworks. Admission to Palm Beach is included in your hotel stay.

    Driving responsibly is always a must so all BrewMasters events also have a designated driver ticket. Designated drivers cannot sample any beer.

    Moody Gardens Hotel is offering a 20% savings on its room rates over Labor Day weekend with a $50 resort credit for a weekend stay. To book your stay, visit www.moodygardenshotel.com or call 888-388-8484. For additional hotel reservation options, visit www.galveston.com.

    BrewMasters Craft Beer Festival is sponsored by:
    Ben E. Keith, evamor water, Galveston Convention & Visitors Bureau, Silver Leaf Resorts, Leafguard Brickhouse Tavern, Yaga's Presents, and Green Mountain Energy and for the Wine Escape Rex Goliath, Flip Flop Wines and Ménage a Trois. Featured Brewery Sponsors include: Firestone Walker, Goose Island, Karbach Brewing, Saint Arnold Brewing, Samuel Adams Boston Beer, Shiner, and Southern Star. In-kind and media sponsors include: Acme Party & Tent, Core Details, Houston Event Photos, SpeedPro Imaging The Woodlands, Houston Press, and Yelp.

    For more information on the BrewMasters Craft Beer Festival, visit www.brewmastersbeerfest.com or call 713-557-5732. Become a fan on Facebook to receive important updates on BrewMasters Craft Beer Festival events and details.


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