• Big Beers Festival Tickets On Sale Wednesday

    Big Beers Festival Tickets On Sale Wednesday

    Craft Beer

    VAIL, CO – Tickets for the iconic Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines Festival go on sale Wednesday, September 2, at 10am MST. The 2016 festival weekend is scheduled for January 7 – 9, 2016, and will once again be held at the Vail Cascade Resort in Vail, CO. The ticketing link and information about the Sixteenth Anniversary weekend schedule are available at www.bigbeersfestival.com.

    The Featured Brewmasters, dinner hosts, and seminar presenters for 2016 came together earlier this year than they have in some years past. “Sometimes it's difficult to organize the different elements of the weekend in time for September ticket sales, “said Laura Lodge, festival coordinator. “This year everyone was able to commit early enough to have a complete schedule ready for attendees to review before Wednesday.”

    This includes the 2016 Featured Brewmasters, who will be Geoff Larson, President and Co-Founder of Alaskan Brewing & Bottling Company in Juneau, Alaska, and Omar Ansari, Founder and President of Surly Brewing Company in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Larson will be kicking off Alaskan Brewing's 30th Anniversary at the Big Beers Festival, a worthy celebration indeed.

    Big Beers Festival 2016 will once again open on Thursday evening with the Calibration Dinner, hosted by Avery Brewing Co. of Boulder, CO and Dogfish Head Craft Brewery of Milton DE. A much loved tradition held in Atwater on Gore Creek, dinner attendees always enjoy an amazing five course double-beer pairing dinner accompanied by the running commentary from the principals of both breweries. This year, Adam Avery and his team will be sharing the stage with Tim Hawn, Brewmaster for Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. As it is Hawn's first visit to Big Beers, he will likely be initiated with much fun by his colleagues.

    New this year, Terra Bistro will be hosting the Big Beers ‘Small Plates & Craft Beer Pairing‘ event on Friday afternoon at 4:30pm in Vail Village. Like the pairing dinners, the Small Plates Pairings will be double beer pairings created by Exec. Chef Shawn Miller and his team with beers from Perennial Artisan Ales of St. Louis, MO and Nebraska Brewing Co. of Papillion, NE. Both Cory King, Head Brewer for Perennial Artisan Ales, and Paul & Kim Kavulak, Owners of Nebraska Brewing Co. will be speaking throughout the event.

    The Vail Valley Charitable Fund has partnered with the Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines Festival for sixteen years, and is the beneficiary of the net proceeds from the event. (www.vvcf.org ) Volunteer and sponsorship opportunities are both available for the Big Beers Festival. For more information visit www.bigbeersfestival.com or contact Laura Lodge at bigbeersfestival@hotmail.com.

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    Media inquiries: Reservations for press trips to the event are now being accepted. Applications may be submitted to Laura Lodge at bigbeersfestival@hotmail.com and should include publication, assignment and verification from an editor. Other applications may be accepted on an individual submission basis.

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    The Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines Festival is a three day event featuring educational seminars, two Brewmasters dinners, a Commercial Tasting, a homebrew competition and other tastings and pairings. Designed to welcome the beer connoisseur, the innovative homebrewer, or the craft beer novice, participants will find events appropriate for all levels of interest.

    The festival regularly draws breweries from around the world offering literally hundreds of beers to sample. The Sensory Workshop Seminar track is popular among those newer to the beer scene, and the Technical Track draws both professional brewers and homebrewers. For an interesting alternative, both the Cigar Pairing Experience and The Yoga of Brewing are complimentary options (no ticket required) as well as the Cicerone Workshop, a certification program similar to the Sommelier designation in the world of wine.

    Additionally, the Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines Festival actively supports the efforts of the Vail Valley Charitable Fund, a local organization that helps individuals who live and work in the Vail Valley that have critical financial need due to medical catastrophes, accidents or long-term illnesses. For more information about the VVCF, visit www.vvcf.org. Contact Big Beers, Barleywines Festival at www.bigbeersfestival.com and follow the event on Facebook.

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  • Ardagh Group Helps O’Fallon Brewery Upgrade its Glass Packaging with New Bottle Design

    Ardagh Group Helps O’Fallon Brewery Upgrade its Glass Packaging with New Bottle Design

    Craft Beer

    Ardagh Group, Glass – North America, a division of Ardagh Group and a leading producer of glass containers for the food and beverage industries in the United States, today announced its new proprietary beer bottle design for O'Fallon Brewery.

    Designed for O'Fallon's “Everyday Beers” and “Seasonal Beers,” the Traditional-style bottle manufactured by Ardagh Group has O'Fallon's signature “O'” and “We Love Beer” slogan embossed in the neck of the bottle. Inspired by form and design, the iconic bottle offers unique brand differentiation in a world of classic long-neck bottles.

    “Craft brewers are increasingly focusing on innovations in package design, and the new bottle from O'Fallon Brewery is the perfect example of this advancement,” said John Orr, Vice President of Craft Beer Sales for Ardagh Group's North American Glass division. “Ardagh Group appreciates O'Fallon's commitment to sustainable packaging, while utilizing a bottle design to influence craft beer drinkers and build on the foundation of a great beer brand.”

    The new embossed O' is not only featured on the primary bottle package, but throughout O'Fallon Brewery's brands, including the new O'Bar, a restaurant and tap room for beer enthusiasts.

    Many craft brewers want an original, sustainable package that speaks to the quality of the product. A true innovator in the craft beer industry, O'Fallon takes pride in the quality of its product, evident in the intricacy of its packaging.

    “When possible, O'Fallon does its best to source ingredients and packaging material locally, and Ardagh Group was the perfect choice,” said Jim Gorczyca, President & CEO of O'Fallon Brewery. “Consumers want to know that when they choose hand-crafted, locally produced beer that their purchase supports the local economy.”

    Celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, O'Fallon Brewery is the second-largest and second-oldest craft brewery in the St. Louis area. Located in Maryland Heights, Mo., the O'Fallon bottle is manufactured at Ardagh Group's Pevely, Mo., facility, located approximately 50 miles from O'Fallon Brewery.

    The post Ardagh Group Helps O'Fallon Brewery Upgrade its Glass Packaging with New Bottle Design appeared first on CraftBeer.com.

  • The Washington Beer Commission proudly announces South Sound Craft Beer Festival!

    The Washington Beer Commission proudly announces South Sound Craft Beer Festival!

    Craft Beer

    The Washington Beer Commission will host its 2nd annual South Sound Craft Beer Festival on Saturday, August 29, at the Tacoma Dome Exhibition Hall. The Commission currently produces six tasting festivals around the state as a means for funding the marketing, promotion, and public relations efforts of the Washington Beer Commission and its more than 275 member breweries.

    The South Sound Craft Beer Festival will turn the Tacoma Dome Exhibition Hall into a haven of hops, featuring some of the best India Pale Ales (IPA's) to be found anywhere, along with some great late summer seasonal creations. In all, there will be at least 90 delicious craft beers served up by the 31 Washington breweries on hand (see list below). There will also be live music and a great selection of food items to pair with the delicious craft beer.

    The event will take place on Saturday, August 29, with a noon – 6pm tasting session. Admission is $20 in advance and $25 at the door and includes a commemorative tasting cup along with six, 5oz. sample tastes. Additional tastes will be available for purchase at $2.00 each (or three for $5). Complete ticket and event information will is available at washingtonbeer.com. This is a 21 and over event.

    Here is a list of participating Washington breweries:

    7 Seas Brewing

    Backwoods Brewing

    Bale Breaker Brewing

    Counterbalance Brewing Co

    Elysian Brewing

    Fish Brewing

    Fremont Brewing

    Georgetown Brewing

    Ghostfish Brewing

    Harmon Brewery

    Island Hoppin' Brewery

    Kulshan Brewery

    Lucky Envelope Brewing

    Lumberjack Brewing

    M.T. Head Brewing

    McMenamins – Columbia

    Narrows Brewing

    Odd Otter Brewing

    Pacific Brewing and Malting

    Paradise Creek Brewery

    Pike Brewing

    Puyallup River Brewing

    Rainy Daze Brewing

    Ram Brewing – Tacoma

    Silver City Brewery

    Three Magnets Brewing

    Top Rung Brewing

    Twelve Bar Brews

    Two Beers Brewing

    Wet Coast Brewery

    Wingman Brewers

    Fast Facts:

    DATE:

    August 29, 2015

    HOURS:
    Noon – 6pm

    LOCATION:
    Tacoma Dome Exhibition Hall

    2727 E D St, Tacoma, WA 98418

    ADMISSION:

    $20 advance tickets or $25 at the door. Admission includes a commemorative tasting cup and six 5oz sample tastes.

    Must be 21 years old or older and have a valid ID to be admitted.

    Designated driver admission is $5 and available at the door only.

    Parking is FREE! The Washington Beer Commission encourages designated drivers and that everyone enjoys themselves responsibly. Please do not drink and drive.

    The post The Washington Beer Commission proudly announces South Sound Craft Beer Festival! appeared first on CraftBeer.com.

  • Only You Can Prevent Seasonal Creep

    Only You Can Prevent Seasonal Creep

    Craft Beer

    Forget Christmas in July, these days it's Thanksgiving in August, as craft beer fall seasonals seem to start hitting store shelves earlier and earlier every year. Plenty of beer enthusiasts protest—and there are few ideas on how to stop it—but seasonal creep just keeps on creepin' on.

    What is Seasonal Creep?

    Seasonal creep refers to the increased lead time that retailers set their merchandise for the impending season. If you've ever groaned at the sight of Christmas decorations in October, you know what I'm referring to. Seasonal merchandise traditionally has a finite amount of time to sell. Most people won't be purchasing holiday merchandise after December unless it's heavily discounted. Retailers look to stimulate seasonal buying behavior earlier to try to avoid heavy discounts later, thus, ugly sweaters hit the floors earlier and earlier.

    But craft brewers don't buy into this, right? Well, I'm sure no one wants to be brewing pumpkin beers in July, but, “There's a collective action problem for retailers, wholesalers and brewers, explains Brewers Association Chief Economist, Dr. Bart Watson.

    “If everyone waits until September 1, great–everybody splits the benefits. But, if one retailer ‘defects' and sells them sooner (and this cascades down to wholesalers and brewers), they may reap additional advantages that the other retailers don't get. So each individual has an incentive to move a week earlier.”

    It's keeping up with the Jonses retail-style, and if you're a brewer that has created a super popular beer and invested in the production of a beer that has a finite window of time that consumers demand it, aren't you somewhat locked into the game? I have zero arguments against any brewery making the decisions they need to make to keep the lights on and make sure their employees are taken care of.

    The Impact of Pumpkin Beer

    So we continue to see pumpkin beers hitting the shelves earlier each year, but are they actually that important in the grand scheme of things for small and independent craft brewers? The short answer is yes! Watson elaborated on the pumpkin beer phenomenon last fall in “The Pumpkin Beers are Coming.”

    “Looking at annual data, seasonal beers peak in interest and sales every October, and the only suspect worth considering for this peak is the pumpkin beer. The graph below compares Google searches for all four seasonals (‘winter beer' + ‘spring beer' + ‘summer beer' + ‘fall beer') vs searches for ‘pumpkin beer' alone. Come October, pumpkin beer is the undisputed heavyweight champion of the seasonal world.”

    pumpkin beer vs seasonals

    We Can't Go Back…

    We like to think of beer as seasonal by nature. Styles like saison, marzen, maibock and lambic all have historical origins connected to seasonal availability and environmental changes, but are they impacted by those changes in today's world? Brewers are no longer reliant on time and location, thanks to refrigeration, worldwide ingredient sourcing and a catalog of yeast to brew these styles year-round. So why does it matter if a pumpkin beer gets released in July. Beer has been losing its connection to seasonality for much longer than the term seasonal creep has been around, and as we've seen, seasonals are big business for brewers.

    But we also know that seasonality of beer is important to us as consumers—we don't want to lose that. For many, a pumpkin beer just doesn't taste right in August. Seasonal creep messes with our senses, and it feels like we're being forced to align with an unnatural cue from retailers (not Mother Nature), which is not something I care to support. So how can we avoid the insanity when faced with seasonal beers out of season?

    …can we?

    The obvious answer for me is to look to classic and sage-like Simpsons episodes for clarity. In this case, Tree House of Horror VI, when giant advertisements come to life and start destroying the city. Lisa solicits the help of Paul Anka to sing a jingle to the townspeople to “Just Don't Look.” The irony is that they're using one form of advertising to help destroy another type of advertising.

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SlKao_Pox5A?rel=0&showinfo=0]

    It's silly I know, but ignoring seasonal creep is probably the most effective thing you can do if it really bothers you. Fact is, you have control over what you purchase. There is no use complaining about out of season beers if you're buying them, and if you're buying them, why are you complaining? It means the “collective action” of others changed your buying habits.

    Seasonal creep will keep on creepin' if it's proven effective, and some people might not mind an Oktoberfest in August. Heck, the real Oktoberfest isn't even in October, it's in September—maybe it's the original seasonal creeper!

    Don't let a store tell you when it's time for you to make a purchase, you decide. And, if you choose to resist seasonal creep, then come September or October (or whenever you want), that pumpkin beer is going to be worth the wait.

    Can't stand seasonal creep? Here's what a few small and independent craft brewers had to say:

    Mystery BrewingMystery Brewing Co. | Hillsborough, NC

    “We're seasonal-only. We don't have a flagship and we don't want one. We believe that what people like to drink changes depending on the time of year, the type of foods that are available in the local markets, the weather, and even their moods. Because of that, we're striving to provide a seasonal selection that's always fresh and reflects what we think drinkers will be looking for at each time of the year.” Founder, CEO and Head Brewer, Erik Lars Myers has his own thoughts on seasonal creep.

    Upstate Brewing Co. | Elmira, NY

    “Our fall seasonal is a wet-hop pale ale we brew using fresh wet hops from two local hop farms. They are looking at harvest the first week of September, so our beer would be available toward the end of September.”

    Mispillion River Brewing | Milford, DE

    “We have to wait on the local sweet potato from the guy next door. This Sweet potato ale [Miss Betty] is infused with vanilla beans, brown sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon and clove.”

    Upslope Brewing Co. | Boulder, CO

    “This is what happens when a local brewer and a local farmer drink a pint together,” says Founder Matt Cutter. “Mike Munson from Munson Farms came to me in 2009 and asked if we were interested in brewing a pumpkin beer with his organic baby bear pumpkins grown in Boulder County. Malt and hops come from the field. Adding pumpkins to this brew makes this truly a local farm-to-brewhouse collaboration.” The beer described was the 2011 GABF Gold Medal Winner in the Field & Pumpkin Beer category. Learn more about the making of Upslope Pumpkin Ale in this video.

    Take Our Poll

    The post Only You Can Prevent Seasonal Creep appeared first on CraftBeer.com.

  • Ninkasi Brewing Company Opens New York Distribution

    Ninkasi Brewing Company Opens New York Distribution

    Craft Beer

    EUGENE, Ore.—Ninkasi Brewing Company, an independent craft brewer based in Eugene, Ore., proudly announces distribution to New York state. In partnership with craft beer wholesaler, Sheehan Family Companies, the craft brewery will begin full-time distribution to New York starting late September.

    Founded in 2006 by Jamie Floyd and Nikos Ridge, Ninkasi first entered the craft beer market with its popular Total Domination India Pale Ale. Since then, the brewery's portfolio of beers has grown to include a diverse offering of styles suitable for any palate. Its year-round Flagship Series includes Total Domination India Pale Ale, Tricerahops Double India Pale Ale, Dawn of the Red India Red Ale, Lux Helles Lager, Oatis Oatmeal Stout, and its counterpart, Vanilla Oatis Oatmeal Stout.

    Last May Ninkasi started sending one-off shipments to New York City for special events. With a full-time distribution partner in place, Ninkasi beers will be available year-round throughout the state facilitated by Sheehan Family Companies' four New York distributors – Craft Beer Guild of New York, Union Beer Distributors, T.J. Sheehan Distributing, and Tri-Valley Beverage.

    “As an NYU alum and legitimate fan of New York, I am excited to bring our beers to the growing number of passionate craft beer drinkers on the East Coast,” explains Nikos Ridge, Ninkasi co-founder and CEO. “I look forward to working with The Sheehan Family Companies to build relationships with craft retailers across the state.”

    “Ninkasi and their team embody everything The Sheehan Companies look for in a brewer partner – commitment to quality and craftsmanship, vision, innovation, and the true spirit of partnership,” says Robert Hodson, corporate brand manager for Sheehan Family Companies. “We're looking forward to a great future with tremendous opportunity for both Ninkasi and The Sheehan Family Companies in New York.”

    For more information about Ninkasi, visit: www.ninkasibrewing.com.

    About Ninkasi Brewing Company
    Founded in 2006 by Jamie Floyd and Nikos Ridge, Ninkasi Brewing Company continues to grow from its first batch of Total Domination IPA, to two brewhouses, a 55-barrel and a 90-barrel brewhouse, located in Eugene, Ore. Ninkasi's Flagship beers—Total Domination IPA, Tricerahops Double IPA, Dawn of the Red IRA, Lux Helles Lager, Oatis Oatmeal Stout, and Vanilla Oatis Oatmeal Stout—are sold throughout Alaska; Alberta; Arizona; California; Colorado; Idaho; Nevada; Oregon; Utah; Washington; and Vancouver, British Columbia. The brewery remains privately-owned and is committed to community support and giving. Ninkasi's Beer Is Love program offers in-kind donations and support for organizations throughout its footprint.

    For more information, call 541.344.2739 or visit www.NinkasiBrewing.com.

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  • Sierra Nevada Creates Game to Celebrate Oktoberfest Release

    Sierra Nevada Creates Game to Celebrate Oktoberfest Release

    Craft Beer

    The excitement surrounding the release of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.'s annual Oktoberfest lager can be felt across the country. The brewery has even redesigned their entire site to commemorate the release, including a traditional Oktoberfest pattern and German navigation options.

    Looking around the site, you'll learn a variety of information about the history of Oktoberfest and learn why this beer—which is a collaboration with Brauhaus Riegele of Augsburg—is so important to Sierra Nevada. After you click around a bit, you might notice a visitor has popped in the middle of the navigation bar, meet Kenny.

    Kenny is the hero in a game Sierra Nevada had created in honor of the beer. Basically, the Oktoberfest celebration is in trouble—there isn't nearly enough of Sierra Nevada's Oktoberfest lager—and it's up to you and Kenny to save the day collecting ingredients to brew more. You guide Kenny to jump around like a little brewing Mario and collect malt, hops, water and yeast.

    Sierra Nevada's Oktoberfest game is a prime example of how our ever-expanding digital culture is invading every industry, including craft beer. There are a million ways to catch someone's attention, and Sierra Nevada definitely has the attention of craft beer enthusiasts. This game might be a new experiment for them to attract another kind of customer beyond who they normally reach.

    The game is not advertised anywhere on the site. The user has to be actively looking around the site (and hopefully learning about the beer) for Kenny to appear in the bar at the top of the page. Sierra Nevada has a very well established fan base of craft beer drinkers, and they're looking at ways to increase their appeal and differentiate themselves from other breweries both for their current fans and hopefully some new ones.

    Learn more about this year's Oktoberfest collaboration:

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2hiccZk-fY?feature=oembed&w=500&h=281]


    Dan Powell is the current Craft Beer Program intern and a bartender at Upslope Brewing Co., 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. For more, follow him on Twitter and Instagram @danpow6

    The post Sierra Nevada Creates Game to Celebrate Oktoberfest Release appeared first on CraftBeer.com.

  • Craft Beer Fall Seasonals 2015

    Craft Beer Fall Seasonals 2015

    Craft Beer

    Now we know what you're thinking, fall seasonals—it's not even September yet! But like it or not, American craft brewers have been hard at work brainstorming and creating these special beers all summer, and they are starting to hit shelves as we speak.

    Fall seasonals are the most popular of the seasonal styles—most in thanks to the polarizing pumpkin beer. Read more about our love-hate relationship with pumpkin beers in “Pumpkin Beers: Why People Love—and Love to Hate—Them.”

    In addition to pumpkin beers, you'll notice many breweries choose to create a German-influenced style for fall–often as a nod to Munich's Oktoberfest. Toasty Vienna and Munich malts are seen often in this list, as well as complex Noble hop character common to classic European lagers.

    “Thanks to its rich harvest, fall is truly one of the most magical times of the year for beer,” said Julia Herz, publisher of CraftBeer.com and Brewers Association craft beer program director. “Small and independent brewers delight in spicing up the offerings with all the flavorful contributions autumn has to offer. And, without a doubt, these beers are certain to arouse the senses.”

    To celebrate these special seasonal beers, we asked Brewers Association member breweries to share their latest releases. Here's what they had to say:

    Northeast


    Heavy Seas Beer Long Trail Brewing Co. Mispillion River Brewing Rising Tide Brewing Victory Brewing Co.

    Central


    Ale Asylum Brewery Vivant Door County Brewing Co. Exile Brewing Co. Indeed Brewing Co. Millstream Brewing Co. Revolution Sand Creek Brewing Co. Rhinegeist Two Brothers Brewing Co. Zipline Brewing Co. Big Bay Brewing Co.

    Pacific


    Alpine Brewing Co. Anaheim Brewery Bear Republic Brewing Co. Boundary Bay Brewing Co. Fremont Brewing Co. Sudwerk Brewing Co. Wildcard Brewing Co. Hopworks Urban Brewery Ninkasi Brewing Co.

    Mountain West


    Fiction Beer Co. Odell Brewing Co. Payette Brewing Co. Dry Dock Brewing Co. Santa Fe Brewing Co. SanTan Brewing Co Sockeye Brewing Uinta Brewing Upslope Brewing Co.

    South


    Cahaba Brewing Co. Devils Backbone Brewing Co. Hi Wire Brewing Natty Greene's Brewing Co Red Brick Brewing Co. Southern Prohibition Brewery Tennessee Brew Works Terrapin Beer Co.

    The post Craft Beer Fall Seasonals 2015 appeared first on CraftBeer.com.

  • 2015 Beaverton Craft Beer Festival

    Craft Beer
    A new beer festival will take place in Portland's neighbor to the west in the brewery barren city of Beaverton. The city until recently had its first craft brewery with Brannon's Pub and Brewery but unfortunately this brewery failed to meet expectations and recently closed its doors. But to make up for this lack of […]
  • Craft Beer & America’s Favorite BBQ

    Craft Beer & America’s Favorite BBQ

    Craft Beer

    As Americans, we cannot deny our never-ending love of BBQ. The way the flavors meld into the myriad of meats, styles of cuts and variety of cooking options is enough to make anyone's stomach start rumbling.

    Like BBQ, craft beer is not bottle-necked by any one type, brand or locale. No matter where you go across the U.S., you'll be able to find unique and delicious craft beer. These two artisanal splendors go hand-in-hand, and eating great BBQ while enjoying a fine craft beer is always a favorable experience.

    But you may come to find that some beers pair better with certain styles of BBQ over others. Which naturally raises the question: Is there a perfect beer style to pair with BBQ?

    Allow me to preface my suggestions by saying that pairing is a subjective experience. What one fancies, another despises; what some embrace, others refuse. I can't pretend to establish firm rules, but I can promise to lead a mouth-watering expedition into the savory, malty and char-broiled world of pairing regional BBQ styles with craft beer.

    Memphis

    Memphis is big on pork, whether it's a hearty rack of sumptuous ribs or a pile of pulled or shredded meat. Memphis-style BBQ is often cooked in a large pit, and usually incorporates the use of a dry rub that includes garlic, paprika and other spices.

    However, there are “Memphis-style” sauces which are thin, tangy, sweet and tomato-based. For pairing with those, I prefer a heartier, more malt-laden beer to clear my palate of sugary sweetness or acidic vinegar, which ensures that each bite is a wonderful explosion of flavors.

    To help save room for cornbread and slaw alongside my beer and ‘Q, I often enjoy an English-style porter or a light American stout. Porters infused with vanilla or similar flavors can match very nicely with sweet sauces. Smoked porters may match up terrifically with traditional smoked BBQ, but occasionally the smoke in the beer may interfere with the smoke of the meat.

    Some of my favorite beers to pair with Memphis-style BBQ:

    Carolina

    North Carolina BBQ is often divided between “Lexington-style” and “Eastern-style,” though both typically concur that the meat should be brushed with a spice-and-vinegar mixture while cooking and served with a ketchup-based sauce. The difference lies in utilization. Advocates of Eastern BBQ use the entire pig, while the Lexington camp tends to use just the pork shoulder or ribs.

    South Carolina BBQ is fairly similar—except that, in mid-state, the sauce is usually mustard-based and includes brown sugar and vinegar.

    Since most Carolina-region sauces are rooted in a vinegar essence, I reach for a rye beer to cut through the acidity and ensure my ability to fully enjoy the flavors of both the sauce and the beer. Oftentimes rye beers can be hoppy, so I keep the IBUs low with an aim towards malt or rye characteristics. However, when the sauce includes brown sugar, an amber or brown ale suits nicely.

    Rye Beers to pair with Carolina-style BBQ:

    Kansas City

    Kansas City is a meat-packing hub, and deems no meat off-limits when it comes to BBQ. All meats are cooked super-slow and super-low, generally over hickory wood. The sauce is most commonly a thick, sweet concoction that has been said to “stick to ribs of both animal and man.”

    Made with tomatoes and usually infused with molasses or brown sugar, Kansas City BBQ sauce is layered with sugary and sometimes spicy flavors. In this case, I suggest the roasted malt character of a German-style dunkel. A dunkel offers a mild balance between malt sweetness (which complements the molasses of the sauce) and hop character (which can slightly emphasize the spiciness).

    Dunkels to pair with Kansas-style BBQ:

    bbq and craft beerAlabama

    ‘Bama seems to offer a delightful blend of styles reminiscent of, and influenced by, both Texas and Carolina. One of the state's signatures, however, is white sauce, a mayonnaise-and-vinegar mixture that can be found onBBQ all over Alabama.

    Between the mayo, vinegar, black pepper and additional seasonings, white sauce is quite an unusual taste to tackle, simply because it is so different from the norm—which is not a bad thing! I like to approach this off-the-wall sauce with a bit of an unusual pairing. Whether it's soaked into pulled pork or slathered over crispy smoked chicken, I meet this mayo-and-vinegar beast with a little Belgian muscle.

    A crisp Belgian-style witbier pairs well with white sauce, as I find the peppery and slight vinegar characteristics are subdued nicely by my Belgian selections. And if your favorite Alabama BBQ joint doesn't have many options for Belgian beer (for shame!), you can always fall back on a simple brown ale.

    Witbiers to pair with Alabama-style BBQ:

    Texas

    Due to the fact that the state is so large and the variety so abundant, Texas boasts no less than four distinct regional styles of BBQ within its borders. In an attempt to pick a catch-all style, I went with Central Texas.

    Central Texas BBQ has been said to be highly influenced by Czech and German immigrants. Meat is king here, while sauce and sides are treated as secondary elements—and rightfully so! The region has a huge number of meat markets that serve heaping portions of brisket and ribs that are lovingly and painstakingly smoked over wood chips like hickory, pecan or mesquite. Texas mop-sauces are generally heavy on spices such as chili and ancho powder.

    The careful blend of seasonings entrances me with flavors, while the spiciness compels me to reach for a refreshing beer. For this reason, I trend light and effervescent. Blonde ale, Saison, Tripel and amber ale are my styles of choice for Central Texas BBQ. As always, feel free to toe the line between light and dark beers to find your sweet spot. Besides, it wouldn't be Texas ‘Q without a Shiner Bock in the mix!

    Various beers to pair with Texas-style BBQ:


    Allan WolfeAllan Wolfe is a craft beer brewer, reviewer and whisky connoisseur and is the Online Content Manager for Chilled Magazine. You'll generally find him smoking a cigar while enjoying his favorite pint or dram. He's always open to answering questions, talking beer or teaching anyone who is willing to listen about distilling!

    The post Craft Beer & America's Favorite BBQ appeared first on CraftBeer.com.

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