• Colorado Welcomes First Gluten-Free Brewery

    Colorado Welcomes First Gluten-Free Brewery

    Craft Beer

    Holidaily Brewing Co. is changing the way that craft beer consumers think of gluten-free beer one pint at a time.

    The new 100 percent dedicated gluten-free brewery opened Thursday, February 4, in Golden, Colo. Holidaily is the first gluten-free brewery in Colorado, and one of only five in the United States.

    Holidaily is the passion project of owner Karen Hertz. After surviving melanoma and thyroid cancer in her early 30s, Hertz was determined to focus on living life to the fullest. Part of her cancer treatment plan included a gluten-free diet, and she quickly became discouraged with the gluten-free beer options on the market. She knew that there had to be a way to make great-tasting, gluten-free beer, and this became her focus.

    Three years ago, Hertz began taste-testing numerous gluten-free beers, researching ingredients and writing up a business plan. Through her research, Hertz decided that a mix of malted millet and buckwheat were the best options for creating a tasty gluten-free beer. Because cracked millet and buckwheat are much finer than barley, Hertz had to develop a custom brewing system for her beer, including a smaller screen in the mash/lauter tun.

    Although she had worked in distribution for Coors Brewing Co., she had no prior brewing experience. She reached out to Teri Fahrendorf, founder of the Pink Boots Society, for advice. Fahrendorf helped Hertz gather a list of potential brewers for her business, and from this list Hertz settled on Wayne Burns, a multi-award-winning brewer. Burns began brewing test batches in Hertz's home kitchen in the fall of 2015, before moving to the 10-barrel system now housed in Holidaily.

    Brewer Wayne Burns, a transplant from Michigan, has extensive brewing experience, having worked at Kuhnhenn Brewing, Bell's Brewery, Jagged Mountain Craft Brewery, and Wynkoop Brewing, among others. He's also won several awards for his beer throughout his years in the industry, and his experience clearly shows in the quality of Holidaily's beer.

    “My goal was to make a great beer—not just ‘good for gluten-free' beer,” says Burns.

    Currently Holidaily has three beers on tap—Favorite Blonde Ale, Riva Stout, and Fat Randy's IPA. Burns is working on further beers, including a witbier that is currently fermenting.

    Right now, Holidaily's taproom is open Thursday through Saturday, from 4p.m. to 8p.m. They offer growlers-to-go, and are also working on distribution of their flagship, Favorite Blonde.

    There are several breweries across the country that offer gluten-reduced or gluten-“friendly” beer, but these beers still contain some level of gluten. Other breweries that offer gluten-free beer may brew it on the same system that they use for their regular beer, thus negating the claim of “gluten-free.” With this in mind, Hertz states, “I want people to understand why we're different. We are 100 percent dedicated gluten-free. Our system is customized to make gluten-free beer, and there's no chance of cross-contamination.”

    One of the issues with supplying their kegs to restaurants and bars, Hertz reported, would be that establishments would have to have dedicated lines just for her beer. Customers with severe gluten issues can rest easy when visiting Holidaily, knowing how important it is to Hertz that everything remain 100 percent gluten-free.

    I had the fortune to spend time at Holidaily during their grand opening weekend. The taproom was consistently packed, and the workers could hardly keep up with the demand for growlers. Hertz introduced a customer to Burns, the brewer, saying, “Wayne, this here is a happy man. Because of us, he says he no longer has an excuse to not drink beer.” Similar sentiments were echoed by numerous other customers, and “You would never know this was a gluten-free beer!” was a common refrain.

    With the number of American craft breweries at an all-time high, it sometimes can seem that there's nothing new to be contributed to the industry, but Holidaily Brewing Co. proves otherwise. Not only have Hertz and Burns created fantastic craft beer, but they've also given gluten-intolerant and celiac locals the ability to join the craft beer scene.

    Even if you don't have problems with gluten, Holidaily Brewing Co. is a new brewery worth checking out. Owner Karen Hertz, brewer Wayne Burns, and their team of family and friends exude friendliness, warmth and knowledge, which adds an extra level to the tasting room experience. If you find yourself in the Golden area, about half an hour west of Denver, be sure to stop in and have a pint.

    Heather Galanty is the current Craft Beer Program Intern at the Brewers Association. A recent transplant to Colorado from Detroit, she is enjoying exploring the local craft beer scene and learning as much as she can while at the Brewers Association. Her other interests include travel, reading, crocheting and outdoor adventuring—add craft beer to the mix, and she's happy.

    The post Colorado Welcomes First Gluten-Free Brewery appeared first on CraftBeer.com.

  • The Krewe of Craft Beer

    The Krewe of Craft Beer

    Craft Beer

    Louisiana craft brewers celebrate Mardi Gras with seasonal releases

    It's been noted that South Louisiana's locals suffer through Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's just to get to Mardi Gras season. Also known as Carnival, this is the month-long preparation for the fasts of Lent in heavily-Catholic South Louisiana. On the Monday before and on Fat Tuesday itself, all state offices, local businesses and parade route roads are closed. Even kids and students get a few days out of school to participate in the festivities!

    Mardi Gras is taken very seriously—the celebrations are more important to the culturally proud Creole and Cajun population than any of our nation's holidays.

    The Mardi Gras celebration commences on Epiphany (12 days after Christmas) and ends on the day before Ash Wednesday. “Mardi Gras” is French for Fat Tuesday, referring to the practice of celebrants' last night of eating and imbibing way too much rich food, king cake and strong drink before the ritual fast of the Lenten season, which begins the next day.

    Mardi Gras arrived in North America as a French Catholic tradition in 1699. The Le Moyne brothers, sent by King Louis XIV to preserve France's claim on the territory of Louisiane, entered the mouth of the Mississippi River on the evening of March 2, 1699, or Lundi Gras.

    The next day, the party proceeded upstream, where they slaughtered a native buffalo and celebrated Mardi Gras. In honor of the holiday, the brothers named the spot Point du Mardi Gras and called the nearby tributary Bayou Mardi Gras.

    In New Orleans and the surrounding areas, Mardi Gras has since been celebrated with opulent floats from krewes in lively and historic parades, flamboyantly-costumed performers throwing beads, doubloons and coconuts, accompanied by festive music from famous brass marching bands. The revelries last for over a month and not even this year's mid-carnival Superbowl in the Big Easy put a dent in the celebrations.

    There is a widely held impression of gigantic go-cups of inexpensive beer or even larger cups of potent, rum-fueled cocktails as the long-established liquid refreshment of choice for both locals and tourists. In reality a new tradition has been taking root since 1990—great seasonally-crafted beers to help lubricate the region's pre-Lenten celebrations.

    Abita Brewing Co. | Mardi Gras Bock

    Abita Brewing Co. has been brewing their Mardi Gras Bock since 1990. Abita's President David Blossman says, “The Mardi Gras Bock is a great way to lead the parade of our seasonal brews every January. We wanted to brew something that was well suited to Carnival season and all the celebrations that go with it. Mardi Gras Bock's rich, malt flavor and full body make it a great choice, and the higher alcohol content helps you feel a little warmer for the cool festive nights.”

    Abita Mardi Gras bock is similar to a German-style Maibock and is brewed with Pale, Pilsener and Caramel malts and German Perle hops. Abita celebrates the beer's release every year with special release parties and pub crawls.

    NOLA Brewing | Flambeau Red AleNOLA Brewing | Flambeau Red Ale

    New Orleans-based NOLA Brewing's Mardi Gras seasonal is Flambeau Red Ale, a super hoppy red ale made in honor of the Flambeau who have lit the way for parades in New Orleans since the earliest Mardi Gras celebrations. Lighting up the sky with blazing torches, the Flambeau serve as beacons for parade-goers to better enjoy the spectacle of nighttime festivities.

    NOLA Brewing's President Kirk Coco says that, “Flambeau Red always premiers the day of Krewe de Vieux, the first Mardi Gras parade of the season in New Orleans, which is also the only parade that winds its way through the French Quarter.” Flambeau Red is available on tap throughout South Louisiana and is 5.7 percent ABV and upwards of 60 IBUs. Kirk says that the beaucoup IBUs in their Mardi Gras beer give the season a “hop” to start on.

    Bayou Teche Brewing | Courir de Mardi GrasBayou Teche Brewing | Courir de Mardi Gras

    In the more rural areas of Southwest Louisiana known as Acadiana by its French-speaking Cajun inhabitants, Mardi Gras is celebrated quite differently. With origins in rural and medieval France, Bayou Teche Brewing's Louis Michot said that, “Several rural Cajun communities still celebrate the traditional Courir de Mardi Gras.”

    Although there are variations, Michot explains that, “Each Courir has a Le Capitaine who leads masked and costumed revelers on horseback to beg and gather ingredients for the large communal gumbo that lies at the end of their journey.” A prized ingredient is a live chicken, which is often thrown into the air for the celebrants to chase through muddy fields.

    Brewmaster Gar Hatcher said that, “Bayou Teche Brewing's Courir de Mardi Gras is our artisanal version of the elegant French ale known as Biere de Mars. Courir de Mardi Gras is crafted with Pilsener, Munich and a large dose of Wheat malt.”

    No two places in South Louisiana celebrate Mardi Gras the same. From decadent parades of ornately costumed performers to chicken-chasing trail rides through the countryside, each region has a unique way of marking the Tuesday that falls before Ash Wednesday. Despite the differences, everyone seems to agree that the celebrations are better when paired with a seasonally-brewed Mardi Gras beer from one of South Louisiana's craft breweries.

    Karlos KnottKarlos Knott, brewmaster of Bayou Teche, developed an appreciation for the finely brewed beers of Europe while serving as an Army Cavalry Scout in Germany in the 1990s. He was transferred to the Pacific Northwest just as that region's microbrewery scene was starting to explode, and he began brewing beer at home. After his discharge, he came back to Acadiana, and began crafting beers for special family occasions and honing his brewing skills. Karlos enjoys playing his Cajun accordion, cooking for and spending time with his family, and cruising rural Acadiana highways on his Harley Springer looking for the elusive perfect link of boudin.

    The post The Krewe of Craft Beer appeared first on CraftBeer.com.

  • Stone Brewing Releases “2016 Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Dry-Hopped with Pekko Hops”

    Stone Brewing Releases “2016 Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Dry-Hopped with Pekko Hops”

    Craft Beer

    Stone Brewing Releases “2016 Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Dry-Hopped with Pekko Hops”
    A coveted barley wine re-emerges with a new American hop

    ESCONDIDO, CA (Feb. 8, 2016) – It's that time of year when beer enthusiasts clamor for one of Stone Brewing's highly anticipated annual releases. Since debuting in 1998, Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine has attracted fans who are passionate about the robust ale. Devotees and hopheads are in for a treat when they experience 2016 Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Dry-Hopped with Pekko Hops. Beginning this week, this year's über-hopped-up iteration will start arriving in 22-ounce bottles and on draft to restaurants, bars and retailers in select markets where Stone beer is sold.

    Brewmaster Mitch Steele and the brewing team wanted to showcase the attributes of Pekko hops, so copious amounts—keeping up with our love of hops, of course—were used to dry-hop this year's edition of the recipe. Originally created by Stone President and co-founder Steve Wagner 18 years ago, the recipe changes only slightly from year to year, always featuring a brawny malt backbone that makes it suitable for aging.

    “In the last year, we've been running the relatively new Pekko hop varietal through our hop evaluation program and we loved the intense stone fruit and tropical fruit attributes it provided to our classic barley wine style ale,” said Steele. “Over the years, our fans have learned they can look forward to Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine often highlighting different varietals. Think of it as variations on a theme.”

    The beer pours a deep amber color and carries strong citrus and tropical fruit aromas. Because of the hefty malt bill, its flavor is rich and malty, displaying hints of vanilla, caramel and brown sugar upfront. Nugget, Cascade, Chinook and Delta hops were added during the brewing process to balance out the prevalent barley character and contribute pineapple and peach notes in the finish.

    To fully appreciate the generous addition of Pekko hops, 2016 Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine should be enjoyed fresh, as soon as fans please. Thanks to its strong malt backbone and elevated alcohol content, with time and proper cellaring temperatures (55°F or lower), the intense hop character will mellow out, allowing the beer to become smoother and more matured.

    Quick Facts
    Name: 2016 Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Dry-Hopped with Pekko Hops
    URL: StoneBrewing.com/OG
    Stats: 11% ABV, 75 IBUs
    Availability: Limited 22-ounce bottles and draft, beginning February 8
    Hop Varieties: Cascade, Chinook, Delta, Nugget and Pekko
    National Distribution: AK, AL, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MT, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OR, PA, SC, TN, TX, VA, VT, WA and Puerto Rico
    International Distribution: Australia; Alberta and British Columbia, Canada; Germany; Hong Kong; Japan; Korea; Singapore; Sweden; Thailand; and United Kingdom
    Find Beer: find.stonebrewing.com

    Tasting Notes, provided by Stone Brewmaster Mitch Steele
    Appearance: Pours a deep, rich amber with a tan head.
    Aroma: Intense fruit, a cool blend of peach, pineapple and mango flavors, followed by hints of vanilla and a really nicely balanced caramel malt character.
    Taste: Fruit flavors dominate the taste, with most of the tropical fruit coming from the dry hop, but a lot of the pineapple is derived from our proprietary yeast strain. It's fruity, hoppy, malty and BIG. It finishes with a very strong hop presence.
    Palate: Full bodied, moderately balanced sweetness, slight alcohol warmth with a bitter finish.
    Overall: Pekko is a variety from the American Dwarf Hop Association that we ran through our hop evaluation program and really liked its attributes. Our brewing team enjoys the fruity flavors it provides in beers such as IPAs and now in this version of our annual barley wine. It has intense stone fruit and tropical fruit character, adding a great touch to our classic Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine recipe.

    Suggested Pairings, provided by Stone Craft Beer Ambassador “Dr.” Bill Sysak
    Appetizers: Grilled prawns, Maytag Blue-stuffed figs, pulled pork sliders, mushroom tartlets
    Soups: Hot and sour tofu soup, chicken and andouille gumbo, sweet potato & carrot soup
    Caribbean fish stew
    Entrées: Jerk chicken with coconut rice, kalua pork, Thai red curry, cassoulet, duck breast
    Cheeses: Maytag Blue, Keen's Cheddar, Ewephoria, Shropshire Blue
    Desserts: Salted caramel ice cream, peach cobbler, apple strudel, oatmeal raisin cookies
    Cigars: Drew Estate Herrera Estelí, Casa Magna Colorado Robusto

    The post Stone Brewing Releases “2016 Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Dry-Hopped with Pekko Hops” appeared first on CraftBeer.com.

  • Celebrate Chinese New Year with Craft Beer

    Celebrate Chinese New Year with Craft Beer

    Craft Beer

    Happy New Year!–Chinese New Year that is. The year of the Red Fire Monkey started February 4 and the Chinese New Year will be celebrated Monday, Feb. 8. If you're a hardcore craft beer enthusiast, like me, you owe it to yourself to celebrate the day with a craft beer or two, particularly with a traditional Chinese New Year meal.

    Despite a perception that craft beer's appeal is uniquely Western, a recent New York Times article suggests that craft beer is in high demand in China, the second largest economy in the world. The idea of drinking locally produced craft beer in China or seeking out world-class beers from American small and independent craft brewers is becoming extremely popular.

    With more and more people in the Far East developing a taste for full-flavored craft beer, and a growing middle class with the purchasing power to trade up to craft beer, I think it's safe to guess that a few American craft beers will get cracked in China as locals welcome in the year of the Red Fire Monkey.

    American Craft Beer in China

    In the most recent surveys from the Brewers Association (publishers of CraftBeer.com) Export Development Program, the Asian Pacific region of the world showed 38 percent growth for U.S. craft beer exports, second only to Brazil at a whopping 64 percent. While this growth is exciting, it's on a very small scale. Mark Snyder, Export Development Program Manager, points out that “While interest for craft beer from American small and independent craft brewers is growing, getting beer to China remains a costly barrier.”

    Cost and logistics are huge barriers for American brewers who want to export their beer, not to mention making sure that their beer arrives in China in good quality, which places emphasis on finding a way to get craft beer on the other side of the world fast, cold and not exorbitantly costly.

    While craft beer fans in China may have a difficult time getting their hands on Heady or Pliny, we're lucky to be able to celebrate the Chinese New Year with a beer likely brewed within a few miles of home.

    Some American breweries are recognizing the opportunity that craft beer represents in our own Asian communities, like Danny Wang who opened CAUTION: Brewing Co. in 2011. Wang saw the potential of Colorado craft beer being introduced to the Chinese food community. He brews his flagship, Lao Wang Lager, with inspiration from his family's noodle house.

    Danny was gracious enough to fill me in on some of the customary dishes that any self-respecting Chinese New Year reveler will need to have on the menu on February 8.

    Wang's Beer & Food Pairings to Celebrate Chinese New Year

    Soba Noodles

    “Noodles are a staple on the Chinese New Year, says Wang. “Long noodles symbolize a long life, so if you're buying them dry, don't break them to fit into a tiny pot—you're gonna need a bigger pot.”

    Lao Wang Lager is brewed with a blend of Asian spices that are used at Danny's family restaurant Lao Wang Noodle House in Denver. This lager is golden straw in color, and its light malt flavor and gentle hop additions perfectly balance subtle Asian spices.

    As a noodle dish gets richer, Brewers Association Executive Chef Adam Duyle suggests going darker: “A dry stout can work with certain noodle dishes that have a mushroom base or are thick udon-style with heavy broth.”

    Other Pairings:


    Dumplings and Craft BeerTraditionally, the elder meal preparer of the family will put a coin into one of the dumplings.”Whoever chomps on it (and hopefully doesn't swallow or chip a tooth) will get additional money in a red envelope and have prosperity for the coming year,” says Wang.

    Pair these “lucky” dumplings with a blond ale, like CAUTION's Wild Blonde Ale, brewed with organic Minnesota lake grown wild rice.

    Other Pairings:


    Fish on CNY is “cooked whole, with ginger and green onions in a broth,” says Wang. “The pronunciation for fish is yú, which literally translates to remainder or surplus. In this case, the surplus means a leftover amount of money.”

    According to tour operator China Highlights, how the fish is served and eaten is extremely important. “The fish shouldn't be moved. The two people who face the head and tail of fish should drink together.”

    Card Your Mom Saison, a saison spiced with cardamom, will offer some nice interplay with the spices on this lucky fish.

    Other Pairings:

    During the week of the Chinese New Year, CAUTION will be releasing a red ale with chilies called Snake Hug. If you're looking for luck this coming year, give CAUTION's Hippity Hops Chrysanthemum IPA a try. Chrysanthemums are considered to be lucky in Chinese culture, and this IPA features whole flower chrysanthemums and Chinese rock brown sugar.

    Those born in the year of the monkey are said to be clever. You'd be smart to take advantage of the Chinese New Year as a great opportunity to enjoy some great craft beers.

    The post Celebrate Chinese New Year with Craft Beer appeared first on CraftBeer.com.

  • Deschutes’ Tips for Aging Reserve Series Beer

    Deschutes’ Tips for Aging Reserve Series Beer

    Craft Beer

    So you just bought a highly anticipated reserve series beer, and you're determined to let it age to its full potential. But, you have so many questions—where's the best place to store it? What temperature is best for aging beer? How long do I need to pretend that this beer doesn't exist?!

    Luckily, Deschutes, a brewery with tons of experience aging beers to perfection, has the answers to your questions. They took to their blog to share some of their tips in “Storage Wars: How to Age Your Reserve Series Beer.” Here are a few of our favorite suggestions:

    How should it be stored?

    Unlike wine, beer should be stored upright during the aging process so the yeast will settle at the bottom, allowing it to more easily mix back into the beer when you're ready to drink it.

    Where should it be stored?

    Somewhere dark, cool and dry. Although Deschutes and most other breweries use brown glass bottles for their reserve series to minimize light penetration, you still will want to store it in a dark place. A basement is your best option, but a dark closet or pantry will also work. You may also want to place the beer in a box first before storing it.

    For beers with higher ABVs, temperatures under 65°F are best, although 50-55°F degrees is ideal. Unless you have a temperature-controlled cellar, it's almost impossible to maintain a constant 55°F. It's not recommended that you keep your beers in the refrigerator, as the colder temperatures can slow or even stop the aging process.

    How long do I need to store it for?

    Deschutes suggests storing your beer for at least one year, although one to three years is ideal. Some beers may display a “Best After” date, so be sure to check for that.

    For some of their own reserve beers, such as The Abyss and The Dissident, Deschutes admits that they're great right away, but if you have the patience to wait, “flavors will smooth and blend over time giving the beer a more complex taste and aroma that you may not experience when the beer is fresh.”

    How should I serve it when I'm—FINALLY—ready to drink it?

    If you were able to keep your beer at 50°F, you can serve it without further ado. If you'd like it a bit cooler, refrigerate it for a few hours. You'll then want to pour it into a snifter glass, holding your hand at the base of the glass to help warm the beer as you sip. Remember, you've waited for this moment for a long time, so don't rush it. Be sure to smell the beer several times while you enjoy it, as you'll notice aromas and flavors that weren't present when the beer was fresh, or even when you first poured it.

    There isn't a perfect set of rules for aging beer. The length of time needed for the aging process is directly affected by storage temperature, so you may want to experiment with where you're storing your beer and for how long. Furthermore, your taste preference may be different from someone else's, so play around with the cellaring process to find out what you like. It may be a good idea to buy two or three bottles of the same beer—try one immediately so you have a comparison for the aged versions. Or, age the same beers for different lengths of time, exploring what the beer has to offer after different periods of aging.

    For more information on cellaring craft beer, see Andy Sparhawk's article, “Cellaring Craft Beer: To Age or Not to Age?

    Photo © Deschutes Brewery

    Heather Galanty is the current Craft Beer Program Intern at the Brewers Association. A recent transplant to Colorado from Detroit, she is enjoying exploring the local craft beer scene and learning as much as she can while at the Brewers Association. Her other interests include travel, reading, crocheting and outdoor adventuring—add craft beer to the mix, and she's happy.

    The post Deschutes' Tips for Aging Reserve Series Beer appeared first on CraftBeer.com.

  • Stone Brewing Introduces “Stone Americano Stout”

    Stone Brewing Introduces “Stone Americano Stout”

    Craft Beer

    Stone Brewing Introduces “Stone Americano Stout”
    An American stout brewed with some serious espresso beans

    ESCONDIDO, CA (February 3, 2016) – This week Stone Brewing is releasing a bold and rich stout brewed with an abundant dose of whole espresso-roast coffee beans from San Diego-based roaster Ryan Bros. Coffee. A limited seasonal release, Stone Americano Stout is a modern-day throwback making its debut this week in 12-ounce six-packs at retailers and on draft to restaurants and bars where Stone beer is sold.

    Coffee roasting has risen to become a true art form, and recently, craft brewers have embraced the depth, complexity and nuances created by this previously unconventional brewing ingredient. A nod to fan-favorite 2013 Stone ESPRESSO Imperial Russian Stout, Stone Americano Stout revisits a style our fans loved with the same Ryan Bros. coffee that left us buzzing for more almost three years ago.

    “We decided to brew a beer with carefully selected ingredients, from the malt and hops to the locally roasted espresso beans,” explains Stone Brewmaster Mitch Steele. “In some ways, this recipe is a tribute to classic American stouts that were made by craft brewers in late 80s to early 90s. Because of our obsession with hops, we felt it was necessary to include a traditional Stone twist and up the hop factor to include four hop varietals: Amarillo, Cascade, Chinook and Columbus.”

    Thanks to the malt bill, roasted and deep cocoa flavors are present to perfectly balance with strong notes of coffee. For each 120-barrel batch, 250 pounds of beans were added to the mash kettle and post-fermentation, creating prevalent coffee character with a lingering bitterness. This beer is made complete with a hop bill composed of classic American varieties, which invigorate the coffee taste with a fruity and citrusy hop presence.

    Fans will be able to find Stone Americano Stout in limited quantities through May. Enjoy fresh or store at proper cellaring temperatures (55°F or lower). Over time, all flavors will meld together allowing for more toasted grain character to shine through. Regardless of when you choose to experience the intense coffee qualities, rest assured…not a single decaf bean was used in the process.

    Stone Americano Stout
    URL: stonebrewing.com/americanostout
    Stats: 8.7% ABV, 65 IBUs
    Availability: Seasonal 12-ounce bottles in six-packs and draft, beginning February 1
    Hop Varieties: Amarillo, Cascade, Chinook and Columbus
    National Distribution: AK, AL, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MT, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OR, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA, VT, WA and Puerto Rico
    International Distribution: Australia; Alberta and British Columbia, Canada; Germany; Hong Kong; Japan; Korea; Mexico; Singapore; Sweden; Thailand; and United Kingdom
    Find Beer: find.stonebrewing.com

    Tasting Notes, provided by Stone Brewmaster Mitch Steele
    Appearance: Deep brownish-black color with a thick brown head.
    Aroma: Primarily coffee, mixed with some cocoa and roasted flavors from the dark malts and trace citrusy hops.
    Taste: The coffee dominates again, and there are some great roasted malt and barley flavors coming through. The beer is fruity, thanks to the yeast throwing off some really nice fruit esters during fermentation.
    Palate: Dry and moderately bitter with classic, light-astringency characteristic of stouts.
    Overall: In 2013, as part of our “Odd Beers for Odd Years” program, we brewed our 2013 Stone ESPRESSO Imperial Russian Stout. We loved this beer so much that we wanted another way to brew something similar to it. This beer is first in a series of higher ABV seasonals that we will be brewing in 2016. We used Stone ESPRESSO IRS as an inspiration but took it in a slightly different direction. Ultimately, I was inspired by craft brewed stouts of the late 1980s and early ‘90s. To me, that meant using 100 percent American hops and American specialty malts. This a stout similar to one I would have brewed when I was first starting out as a brewer, so it was fun to take sort of a “throwback” approach. Espresso of course adds a wonderful complement to the coffee and cocoa flavors that are coming from the malts.

    Suggested Pairings, provided by Stone Craft Beer Ambassador “Dr.” Bill Sysak
    Appetizers: Guacamole, bacon toast, Sriracha-glazed Buffalo wings, Stilton-stuffed crimini mushrooms
    Soups: Chili con carne, beef and barley, butternut squash, potato and leek chowder
    Entrees: Orange chicken, potato pierogi, carne asada, Thai coconut curry, mushroom ragout, venison
    Cheeses: Aged Gouda, Caveman Blue, Rogue Smokey Blue, smoked cheddar
    Desserts: Vanilla ice cream, peanut butter cookies, chocolate Bavarian cream cake, tiramisu
    Cigars: Padron 1964 Maduro, Java Robusto, Camacho Triple Maduro

    The post Stone Brewing Introduces “Stone Americano Stout” appeared first on CraftBeer.com.

  • Nickelpoint Brewing Co. signs NC distribution deal with Mutual Distributing

    Nickelpoint Brewing Co. signs NC distribution deal with Mutual Distributing

    Craft Beer

    (Raleigh, NC) – Mutual Distributing Company announced today that it has added Nickelpoint Brewing Co. to its beer portfolio. Nickelpoint is based in Raleigh, North Carolina.

    “We are very excited about the addition of Nickelpoint to our portfolio,” said Michael Hayek, Statewide Beer Division Manager of Mutual Distributing. “Nickelpoint is quickly becoming known for their dedication to consistently brewing the highest quality products with a special focus on traditional styles, and we look forward to growing their brand together in North Carolina.”

    “Nickelpoint is excited to be joining the Mutual Craft Beer family. We look forward to working with a team that has clearly dedicated themselves to being great partners for growing North Carolina breweries,” said Bruce Corregan, Co-Founder, CEO and Head Brewer of Nickelpoint.

    Nickelpoint Brewing Co. is the original craft brewery in the vibrant Five Points neighborhood of Raleigh, North Carolina. They focus on preserving European beer styles of a bygone era with a special emphasis on quality control in the brewing process.

    “We have been very impressed by their dedication to consistency and quality and look forward to helping them grow in the state of North Carolina,” said Scott Cash, VP of Sales for Mutual. “We are very confident that they will make a great addition to our lineup of quality craft breweries.

    Nickelpoint offers flagship styles as well as a variety of seasonal beers throughout the year. Nickelpoint plans to release their IPA and Vienna Lager in cans at their brewery on February 5th. Mutual will begin distributing their products the following week. Initial distribution will be focused on the greater Triangle area of North Carolina.

    “We are enthusiastic about this new partnership! We feel that aligning ourselves with Mutual Distributing as we release our beer in cans for the first time is the perfect opportunity to satisfy our customers requests for greater access to our products,” said Shaluka Perera, Co-Founder and VP of Sales and Distribution of Nickelpoint.

    Mutual Distributing Company is a wholesale beer and wine distributor servicing the entire state of North Carolina. With over 650 employees and seven full-service branch offices throughout the state, Mutual is committed to providing quality products and exceptional customer service.

    The post Nickelpoint Brewing Co. signs NC distribution deal with Mutual Distributing appeared first on CraftBeer.com.

  • Stone Brewing Releases “Stone Pataskala Red X IPA”

    Stone Brewing Releases “Stone Pataskala Red X IPA”

    Craft Beer

    Stone Brewing Releases “Stone Pataskala Red X IPA”
    New release features Red X malt and a massive dose of hops

    ESCONDIDO, CA (Feb. 1, 2016) — Stone Brewing is introducing Stone Pataskala Red X IPA, a red IPA brewed with newly available Red X malt from Germany-based BESTMALZ and featuring a backstory as vibrant as its hop bill. Starting this week, the limited seasonal release will debut in 12-ounce six-packs to retailers and on draft at restaurants and bars where Stone beer is sold.

    Stone Brewmaster Mitch Steele discovered Red X malt through homebrew circles and was intrigued to experiment with this uniquely malted barley. Rarely used in hoppy beers, the special German malt variety is typically reserved for German amber lagers, Irish red ales and other mildly hopped beers and is known for creating a deep crimson hue. Given Stone's well-documented obsession with hops, an abundant hop bill was (without hesitation) considered the perfect combination for a trial.

    “After sampling a prototype that was brewed last year for Pataskala, Ohio, I really enjoyed how well the hop flavors and aromas shined through when combined with Red X malt,” said Steele. “Liberty Station Brewing Manager Kris Ketcham really nailed the brew, so after a successful regional release in and around its namesake town, we couldn't resist making this recipe widely available for our fans nationwide.”

    Stone Pataskala Red X IPA may strike a familiar note to loyal Stone fans, as it was first brewed as a small-batch beer to support a special cause. In early 2015, Stone CEO & co-founder Greg Koch received a letter from a determined high school student in Pataskala that explained the dire situation of her high school's extracurricular and educational programs, which were facing the ax because a funding levy had repeatedly failed to get enough votes. There was one last chance with a vote coming that May. Could he help? Koch, who grew up in Pataskala, was touched by the plea and promised to brew a special beer with proceeds to further benefit school arts and music programs should the measure pass. The hope was that it might help the community to support the cause. Fortunately, this time the people of Pataskala rallied in support as well and the levy passed! Stone's CEO made good on his promise and personally celebrated with locals in September 2015 upon the delivery of the beer to Pataskala and surrounding areas. More than $10,000 was raised for the Watkins Memorial High School Band Boosters and Ally's Warriors of Stone Foundation.

    Mosaic, Amarillo and Cascade hops provide this red IPA with an upfront fruity and piney aroma, transcending into stone fruit flavor and pleasingly lingering bitterness. Brewed with late hop additions and generously dry-hopped, the 7.3 percent alcohol-by-volume beer is incredibly citrus-forward, yet balanced by cereal notes and biscuit undertones from the malt. When all the ingredients are combined, this IPA showcases the signature qualities of hop-forward Stone beers.

    To fully experience the generous dose of hops and its unique malt bill, Stone Pataskala Red X IPA should be enjoyed within the 90-day “enjoy by” date printed on the bottle neck. Fans will be able to find this seasonal release in limited quantities through May.

    Name: Stone Pataskala Red X IPA
    URL: stonebrewing.com/pataskalaIPA
    Stats: 7.3% ABV, 75 IBUs
    Availability: Seasonal 12-ounce bottles in six-packs and draft, beginning February 1
    Hop Varieties: Amarillo, Cascade, Mosaic
    National Distribution: AK, AL, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MT, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OR, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA, VT, WA and Puerto Rico
    International Distribution: Australia; Alberta and British Columbia, Canada; Baja California, Mexico; Germany; Hong Kong; Japan; Korea; Singapore; Sweden; Thailand; United Kingdom
    Find Beer: find.stonebrewing.com

    Tasting Notes, provided by Stone Brewmaster Mitch Steele
    Appearance: A beautiful beer! It pours deep amber with ruby red highlights and a tan head.
    Aroma: A blend of dank, herbal and citrus hop aromas dominate, followed by a nice low-level toasted malt character.
    Taste: The hops come across very citrusy, followed by a bit of dankness and stone fruit, then the malt flavors provide a nice balance and layers of complexity.
    Palate: Dry and moderately bitter.
    Overall: I learned about Red X malt through a homebrewer friend, who happened to share one of his brews with me and also mentioned a local brewery in my hometown that was using it to brew a red ale. Intrigued by the balanced flavor and the deep red color after tasting his beers, I sent Liberty Station Brewing Manager Kris Ketcham a recipe for a red IPA. He brewed a great beer, and after tasting it, we decided it was the perfect candidate to replace Stone Delicious IPA in our seasonal lineup (Stone Delicious IPA is now available year-round). Red X is an interesting malt. It looks like pale malt, but produces brilliant red color in beer and balanced flavor, not cloying or too sweet. The flavor is mild, not intense like other red malts, but unique and adds a great component to a hoppy beer.

    Suggested Pairings, provided by Stone Craft Beer Ambassador “Dr.” Bill Sysak
    Appetizers: Chips and salsa, chicken wings, grilled cheese crostini, pigs in blankets
    Soups and Salads: Pho, tomato bisque, antipasti salad, caesar salad
    Entrees: BLT, hamburgers, pad thai, Kansas City barbecue, margherita pizza, miso ramen
    Cheeses: Lamb Chopper, Port Salut, Idiazabal, Roth Grand Cru
    Desserts: Apple pie, raisin oatmeal cookies, churros, spice cake
    Cigars: Joya de Nicaragua, Macanudo, Illusione Epernay Le Taureanu

    The post Stone Brewing Releases “Stone Pataskala Red X IPA” appeared first on CraftBeer.com.

  • NY Institutes First State Draft Beer Quality Program

    NY Institutes First State Draft Beer Quality Program

    Craft Beer

    How many times have you experienced the following scenario: you order one of your favorite craft beers at a bar or restaurant, only to receive a flat, poor-tasting, hardly recognizable version of the beverage you ordered? Experienced beer drinkers may recognize this as a result of improperly maintained draft lines or dirty glassware, but what about someone who's new to craft beer? A bad experience could easily turn someone against that particular beer, beer style or brewery.

    Enter New York State Brewers Association's (NYSBA) Draft Beer Quality Certification Program, the first of its kind in the U.S. The purpose of the program, which launched on January 21, 2016, is to ensure that retailers are serving the best quality draft beer to the consumer. A retailer must pass a rigorous inspection by the NYSBA before they can be considered a Certified Draft Establishment. They will then receive a quality seal for their door so that customers know that they will be receiving fresh beer poured from a clean draft system. The NYSBA then promotes these businesses on their website as certified establishments.

    Another component of this program is the certification of draft line cleaners. The NYSBA's certification adheres to the standards set in the Brewers Association Draught Beer Quality Manual; for example, draft lines should be cleaned and maintained at least once every two weeks, and an acid cleaning should be performed every three months. Individuals can become certified line cleaners after successfully completing a written exam and performance evaluation, and the certification remains valid for two years. Retailers can find a list of certified line cleaners for hire on the NYSBA website.

    Why Draft Beer Quality Matters

    Within days of installing a clean draft system, yeast and bacteria enter the system and begin feeding on the beer, thus attaching themselves to the draft lines. Minerals can leach out of the beer and leave deposits on draft lines and fixtures. Bacteria and mold can also contaminate the draft system, affecting the flavor of the beer and potentially making the consumer ill. An uneducated beer drinker could then blame the beer, not realizing the dirty draft system is at fault.

    Possible clues to a draft system in need of a cleaning include odd “floaties” in a beer, cloudiness in what should be a clear beer or other unusual flavors. Depending on the type of bacteria present it's not uncommon for a contaminated beer to have a tart, sour or even butterscotch flavor.

    Brewers spend a lot of time creating and perfecting their recipes. They know how each beer should taste and how they want it to be presented to the consumer.

    Paul Leone, executive director of the New York State Brewers Association, states that they “got behind this program because we feel that it's really important that the beer that's in the glass for the consumer is the beer that was meant to be in that glass when it left the brewery. Beer goes through so much from the time the brewer brews it to the time it reaches the consumer's glass, and dirty tap lines can disrupt the whole process.”

    In agreement with Leone, John Carr, founder of Adirondack Brewery believes that it's a “great leadership position the New York State Brewers Association has taken by recognizing that this is an extremely important link in real, true, quality beer. If you miss this one link, which is the last step, anything else that happens prior to this really doesn't matter, because if it's a bad line, a dirty line, it's going to ruin the beer.”

    After the beer leaves the brewery for distribution, the quality presented to the consumer is unfortunately out of the brewer's hands, and so properly maintaining the draft systems at various establishments is crucial to the brewery's reputation.

    However, improperly cleaned draft systems reflect poorly on the restaurant or bar serving the beer as well. As the popularity of craft beer increases, so does the number of educated craft beer drinkers. Carr notes that beer consumers are becoming very knowledgeable, and “they're really beginning to recognize the difference between very good, fresh, local beer and maybe a beer that's old or out of code, and not as good.” Craft beer connoisseurs clearly want the best quality for their money, and “to ruin it with the last few feet of a piece of plastic pipe is really frustrating, and I think the consumers are starting to recognize that,” concludes Carr.

    Everyone is a winner as a result of this initiative by the New York State Brewers Association. The consumer wins because they know they're receiving the highest quality craft beer possible. The brewery wins because their beer is being presented to the customer as it was intended. And, the Certified Draft Establishment wins because high-quality beer poured from a clean draft system creates happy, repeat customers.

    As craft beer lovers, let's hope that New York's initiative motivates other states to create similar programs to ensure that establishments serving craft beer are properly maintaining their draft systems. Craft beer deserves to be enjoyed as the brewer intended.

    Heather Galanty is the current Craft Beer Program Intern at the Brewers Association. A recent transplant to Colorado from Detroit, she is enjoying exploring the local craft beer scene and learning as much as she can while at the Brewers Association. Her other interests include travel, reading, crocheting and outdoor adventuring—add craft beer to the mix, and she's happy.

    The post NY Institutes First State Draft Beer Quality Program appeared first on CraftBeer.com.

  • Hops Used to Save Honey Bees

    Hops Used to Save Honey Bees

    Craft Beer

    We all know that hops are a major component of craft beer, but it turns out they have another important function—saving the world's honey bee population! Researchers have discovered that the beta acids of Humulus lupulus can be used to repel plant pests, including the varroa mite, which is a main contributor to the colony collapse disorder (CCD) that has been destroying the bee population in recent years.

    After extensive experimentation and testing of various methods, the proper level of HBAs (hop beta acids) was determined that would effectively destroy the mites while keeping the bee colony safe. Scientists extract the HBA from the cones of hop plants, apply it to cardboard or plastic strips, and then insert the strips into colony hives. Bees walk on these strips, picking up the HBAs, and then transfer it through bee-to-bee contact. The mites on these bees are then successfully killed and fall off. While the HBA method does not completely decimate the varroa mite population, it at least keeps the mite levels below dangerous levels.

    Next time you enjoy your favorite American IPA, raise your glass to the bees—and the scientists who turned to hops to rescue the bee population.

    Heather Galanty is the current Craft Beer Program Intern at the Brewers Association. A recent transplant to Colorado from Detroit, she is enjoying exploring the local craft beer scene and learning as much as she can while at the Brewers Association. Her other interests include travel, reading, crocheting and outdoor adventuring—add craft beer to the mix, and she's happy.

    The post Hops Used to Save Honey Bees appeared first on CraftBeer.com.


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