After eight days and enough carbonated beverages to levitate an ocean liner, DC Beer Week is finally tapped. The annual celebration of Washington’s ever-expanding beer community featured more than 80 events and a number of debuts, including the premiere of Solidarity Saison, a unique collaboration among seven of the area’s brewers.
“We’ve always had great beer in D.C. inside the Beltway,” says Greg Engert, beer director for the Neighborhood Restaurant Group, which includes Birch Barley/ChurchKey. “But now we have a really strong local beer brewing community as well.”
“This is the first year where we’ve had a huge local brewing presence,” Engert adds in the video above. “Solidarity Saison came to be a way to showcase the community of brewing.”
Watch that video to learn more about Solidarity Saison.
Solidarity Saison made its debut during the Beer Cruise on Sunday, Aug. 11, which marked the official opening of DC Beer Week. The cruise was essentially an experiment in the many ways you can make your head swim, whether with beer (more than 75 were served), acrobatic dance-floor moves or the occasional swells that rocked the Odyssey yacht. Each was a thrill in its own way.
For The Post’s Beer columnist Greg Kitsock, DC Beer Week was a chance to taste Union Craft Brewing’s take on a German-style gose, a tart wheat-based ale that has enjoyed a comeback since disappearing behind the Iron Curtain during the height of the Cold War.
But what about you? What were the highlights of your week in 12-ounce pours?
ALBANY, N.Y. — You may now chug with the bride.
Toasting the bride and groom with Champagne is de rigueur. But recently, couples hip (or is that hops?) to craft beers are shaking up the wedding reception scene by insisting on serving the brews they love on their big day, everything from local ales to home brews concocted by the bride and groom.
It’s not unusual for stouts and pilsners to flow at receptions or for rehearsal dinners to feature “beer flight” tastings of different craft brews. The high-end Baltimore caterer Chef’s Expressions offers hors d’oeuvres consisting of a shot glass of beer and a burger slider.
One couple even set up tasting stations with beers from around the world, said Anja Winikka, site editor of TheKnot.com. Another couple who met in the Yukon served beer from Yukon Brewing in an ice-packed canoe.
When Julie Ho and Ben Rinn of New York City wed in April, they chose craft beers representing their Texas roots (Shiner Bock) and their college years at Johns Hopkins University (from local brewer Brewer’s Art).
“A lot of weddings with beer you have your Coors Lights and your Bud Lights out,” said Ho, who hired Chef’s Expressions for the wedding at Johns Hopkins’ stately Peabody Library. “We definitely wanted to have good beers out because we do enjoy drinking good beer. And then we also wanted to make sure we included what we like.”
There’s little danger Champagne will get knocked off its bridal throne, but the craft brew buzz running through the wedding scene is yet another sign that beer – once a workingman’s beverage sold in pop-top cans – has successfully transformed into a respectable artisanal beverage suitable for nuptial toasts.
Americans have warmed up to hoppier, tangier brews, and the volume of craft beer produced nationwide has jumped 83 percent since 2005, according to the Brewers Association, a trade group. Crucially, craft beers also have proven more female friendly. Unlike mainstream beer makers – who spend millions on commercials featuring man-children and their improbably hot girlfriends – the small-batch brews offer artisanal overtones and endless flavors.
But while craft beer has been making inroads for years, wedding industry people have really noticed its presence increasing in the last year or two. Winikka explained that the tradition-bound wedding industry tends to be slow to latch on to trends. She also noted that more couples are paying for their own weddings, and thus are less bound to expectations of what others want.
Plus, beer is really fun.
“What you’re seeing is that instead of the signature cocktail – like the fruity, weird martini thing that a lot of people were doing five, 10 years ago – couples are saying, `That’s not really our style, so were going to do a beer flight at our cocktail hour,’” Winikka said.
Winikka, who is getting married in May, plans to have a beer flight at her own rehearsal dinner. Like Ho and Rinn, she and her fiance chose local beers that reflect their lives. Beers will represent where she grew up in Arizona, went she met her fiance in Kansas and where the couple lives in Brooklyn.
The brides and grooms demanding local brews are no different from the growing number of Americans scouting farmers market for local corn and grass-fed beef. And just as it has become easier to source food locally, it has become easier to find a local brewery. Jerry Edwards of Chef’s Expressions points out that unlike wine, good beer can be made anywhere.
In Chicago, that means couples asking for beverages from hometown brewers like Metropolitan Brewing and Goose Island, said Dan Scheuring, event service manager of Blue Plate catering.
“When talking to the clients they want to bring in that one Chicago `wow factor’ for their out-of-town guests,” Scheuring said.
And some craft brewers are starting to take note of the trend.
In Albany, C.H. Evans Brewing Co. has a beer trailer suitable for pulling up to wedding receptions. Brewer’s Alley in Maryland offers a “Wedding Alt” (an altbier is a German-style brown ale) in bottles that can be customized with the newlyweds’ names.
And last month, the nation’s largest craft brewer, the makers of Samuel Adams beer, offered for one day only a “Brewlywed Ale.” It was sold in wine-sized bottles with a sparkling wine-style cork.
Can’t find the perfect beer to have and to hold on your wedding day? You can always brew your own.
Chris Lehr and his fiancee Robin made five different beers for their wedding in Austin, Texas, last year. This required a marathon 16-hour brewing day and for Lehr to truck in his kegerator (a small refrigerator built to hold a beer keg and fitted with a tap on top) to the reception.
Guests toasted the couple with Champagne while the wedding party toasted with a brown ale from northern California. But otherwise the alcohol choices were all barley-based: pale ale, India pale ale, German-style kolsch and honey hibiscus wit. They also gave away bottles of homemade porter.
“Everyone loved it. We had a few early evening casualties of people peeling off quickly because they over-enjoyed it.” Lehr said. “But all in all, we had no complaints.”
And the couple saved a growler of the porter to drink on their first anniversary.
While last week I wrote about the Davies, early brewery owners whose influence helped shape Corktown in Toronto’s East, it was still some time before brewing in Toronto could rightly be referred to as any sort of industry.
The Davies were big in the brewing business, but in terms of their reach and distribution, both the Don Brewery and the Dominion were still essentially “craft” breweries. It wasn’t until one man, EP Taylor — who some might call the anti-Christ of craft brewing — began to see the money-making potential in brewing that the industry in Canada really took off.
As a young man, Edward Plunkett Taylor, a businessman who is perhaps best known as a breeder of thoroughbred racehorses, was on the board of his family-owned, Ottawa-based Brading Brewing Company when prohibition ended in Ontario. Like Brading, a few other brewers in Ontario had managed to survive prohibition (mostly by selling their beer in Quebec) and as Taylor turned his thoughts to the money that might be made in brewing, Ontario still had no less than 36 competing breweries which produced more than 150 brands of beer.
After moving to Toronto, Taylor hooked up with a number of British investors and convinced them there was potential to make a lot of money by brewing in southern Ontario. As a result, on March 8, 1930, the Brewing Corporation of Ontario was born and, following an example set by National Breweries, who had bought out many smaller companies in Quebec over the decades prior, Taylor and the Brewing Corporation of Ontario began the task of buying up as many Ontario breweries as they could.
In one year alone, Taylor had overseen the acquisition of 10 breweries and 33 different brands and by the end of that year his renamed “Brewing Corporation of Canada” accounted for 26 per cent of all beer sold in Ontario.
The list of craft brewers that Taylor eventually bought out from 1930 to 1950 includes names like:
- The Taylor Bate Brewery in St. Catharines
- The British American Brewing Company in Windsor
- The Canadian Brewing Corporation Ltd. (a sort of conglomerate unto itself)
- Carling Breweries (which had prospered through America’s prohibition by selling to bootleggers but was highly leveraged by 1930)
- O’Keefe Brewing Company Ltd.
- Cosgrove Export Brewery
- Toronro Dominion Brewing
- Bixel, and
For a very early local architectural example of the “rationalization” of the brewing industry that occurred following the end of Ontario’s prohibition, one needn’t look any further than Toronto’s own Canada Malting silos on the waterfront at the base of Bathurst Street (which are now protected heritage sites). These no-nonsense silos — with their emphasis of function over form — are not only a great example of early modernist architecture, but speak directly to the new wave of large-scale thinking that was beginning to take over the brewing industry in 1928 when they were built.
For phase two of his plan, Taylor began unceremoniously shutting down a large number of these breweries, firing their employees, selling off their equipment, and consolidating production of his once-again-renamed Canadian Breweries Ltd.
He drastically changed the brewing industry by focusing on large-scale brewing in fewer, more efficient breweries located in strategically chosen cities, and he limited the number of brands that consumers had access to. Out of the 16 breweries he had purchased, only six were now producing beer, and brewing just 27 brands–down from the over 50 previously produced by the brewers he bought out.
Following the second World War, when people once again had money to spend (and aided by the spread of the refrigerator), Taylor’s monopoly was booming. And the other guys took notice. Labatts and Molson quickly adapted consolidation as a business model, buying up whatever breweries were left, or building new ones as needed.
By 1960, ten companies ran Canada’s 51 breweries, and twenty-five of them were owned by either Molson, Labatt, or EP Taylor’s Canadian Breweries — accounting for 94 per cent of all beer sold in Canada. This period, when the big brewers laid their roots in Canada and established the brewing industry as we know it, is largely when Canadians’ beer tastes were defined.
All three companies responsible for the beer market responded to consumer tastes and, because the post-war consumer wanted milder, easy-to-drink brews, they gave the people what they wanted. Furthermore, given the switch to mass production of beer, less expensive adjuncts like corn and rice were added as a supplement to the brews to cut costs, making most of Canada’s beer milder and sweeter, while the more complex-tasting beers previously brewed by Canada’s smaller brewing companies all but disappeared.
In March of 1950, Labatts introduced its Fiftieth Anniversary Ale (now just “50″) and their Pilsner Lager Beer which, owing to its blue label, soon came to be known simply as “Blue.” Meanwhile, in 1954, Molson also introduced a new lager, the first in the company’s 170-year brewing history: “Crown and Anchor.” The new beer was brewed at the plant on Toronto’s waterfront and, in 1959, was renamed “Canadian.” Taylor’s Canadian Breweries continued to brew their Carling Black Label, which they had been brewing since they purchase Carling in 1926.
The result was that the majority of the beer brewed in Canada became simply safe. There was nothing remarkable about the beer’s taste, but there was nothing that would offend anyone either. And, given that the era marked the beginning of a virtual monopoly for big brewers, not a lot has changed in their highly successful approach to brewing. You can, in fact, see how the consolidation of brewing in Canada which started with EP Taylor in Toronto has affected our beer choices today by simply looking at the taps next time you’re at a bar.
Oliver Dawson, beer aficionado and host of The Beer Lovers Tour, a historical exploration of Toronto’s brewing heritage (with beer!)
Coutts, Ian. Brew North: How Canadians Made Beer and Beer Made Canada. Vancouver: Greystone Books, 2010
Sneath, Allen Winn. Brewed in Canada: The Untold Story of Canada’s 350-Year-Old Brewing Industry. Toronto: Dundurn Press Ltd., 2001
Image credits: All three images in this post were borrowed from the fantastic book, Brew North: How Canadians Made Beer and Beer Made Canada.
I got a chance to speak with co-founder Jon Zerivitz, who said that about three years ago he quit his day job as a graphic designer at T. Rowe Price to pursue his passion of home brewing. Through mutual friends, Zerivitz met Kevin Blodger, the medal-winning head brewer at Gordon Biersch in Chicago, who was interested in coming back home to Baltimore.
The two then co-founded Union Craft Brewing, located in a 7,200-square-foot warehouse in Woodberry. “We really wanted to be a neighborhood brewery and be right here in the city,” Zerivitz said. “There was some red tape working with city zoning and retrofitting an old building, but it was important to us.”
The 20-barrel brewhouse is now ready to debut its first two beers: Duckpin Pale Ale and Balt Altbier. Zerivitz says that he wanted both of his flagship beers to be approachable. The Duckpin is made with a relatively new hop variety grown in Australia and New Zealand, giving off a fruity, citrus profile. The Balt Altbier refers to an old, German style of brewing and is copper-colored with a malty, slightly sweet flavor.
The two new brews will be served on draft and in firkins at a release party at Max’s Taphouse starting at 5 p.m. on Friday. After that, Union Craft will roll them out in Hampden bars on July 3 and in Federal Hill spots on July 5.
As for the future, Zerivitz says look out for a summer seasonal available in August, as well as brewery tours and tastings around that same time.
[Image: courtesy of Union Craft Brewing]
A local charity will benefit from the beer-making skills of Vincent and Suzanne Powers, winners of the second annual H.E.R.O Homebrew contest run by the DuClaw Brewing Company.
The Nottingham residents won the contest with their Chocolate Chipotle Stout, beating 54 other home-brewed offerings. The beer will be made by DuClaw and sold in the chain’s brewpubs and at retail locations. Proceeds will go to a charity that will be chosen at the end of June or the beginning of July.
“We’re open to suggestions,” said Dave Benfield, CEO of the Maryland craft brewing company, founded in 1996. “We’re looking for somebody local.”
Benfield said the idea for the contest was sparked because most of his brewers started out as home-brewers. “We do a good bit of charity work,” he said. “We were toying around with ideas and we liked the idea of doing a homebrew contest.”
H.E.R.O. stands for Honest. Excellent. Robust. Original. The main rules of the contest are that participants must submit three 12-ounce bottles of beer for judging, and the beers can’t be made with sour mashes, since that flavor is hard to remove from the brewing system, Benfield said.
In the first year, the contest attracted about 40 entries, mostly from Maryland, with a few from Pennsylvania, he said. DuClaw made and sold the winning brew, a Peanut Butter Porter, and gave the proceeds to the Cool Kids Campaign, a nonprofit organization for children with cancer and their families.
Sharon Perfetti, executive director of the Cool Kids Campaign, said the $15,113 donated by DuClaw “had a huge impact on us.”
The money was used to move the 7-year-old organization from a small Cockeysville office to a larger Towson facility, and to launch programs there, she said. The center now offers a tutoring program for children who are undergoing cancer treatments and hosts a teen club for cancer survivors and young people undergoing treatment, she said.
The tutoring is valuable, she said, because in many cases, the students miss school for treatments or because they can’t be exposed to the germs in school. The tutoring program, run by volunteers in consultation with the families, assures, “When they’re done with cancer treatments, they’re going to be right where they need to be,” she said. The tutoring is given free of charge.
Benfield said the contest, in addition to helping local charities, introduces new craft beer to the public and provides inspiration to DuClaw brewers. The judging process involves three rounds and a seven-person panel that includes DuClaw’s four brewers, two other employees, and Benfield. In the first round, beers are simply accepted or rejected, he said. The second round involves more discussion and a narrowing-down of possible winners. In the third round, the winner is chosen. “Every year we’re seeing better and better quality,” he said.
The Chocolate Chipotle Stout stood out, he said, for its smooth and complex balance of heat and sweetness. The beer will be released in September or October, he said, and will be sold through taps at the company’s brewpubs in Bel Air, Bowie and Arundel Mills, and in 22-ounce bottles in retail locations that sell DuClaw beer. All money from sales to distributors will be given to the chosen charity, said Benfield.
Vincent Powers said he has been home-brewing for about five years. He and his wife, Suzanne, like brewing so much that they have named their pets for beers, first a black Lab named Guinness then a Rottweiler named Hackerpshor (after Hacker-Pschorr).
He got the idea for the winning stout from Suzanne, who likes to bake. “She said what’s big right now is chocolate and spices,” he recalled. He brewed a single five-gallon batch in December, which was ready for drinking in February. “I didn’t find out about the competition until it was halfway gone,” he said. “I had to stop drinking it so I would have enough to submit.”
Powers said he entered the contest to see “how the beer would stack up against other people’s.” Winning, he said, “was just really cool and exciting.”
Rob Mayer said the regional beer scene – from a tourism perspective – has gone relatively “untapped.”
“York is a good beer area,” said Mayer, public relations coordinator for the York County Convention and Visitors Bureau. “It’s an ale region that a lot of people don’t know about.”
To expose people to the area’s brew culture, the YCCVB recently launched the Susquehanna Ale Trail. The seven-stop, self-guided tour includes breweries, brew pubs and craft-brewing outlets in York, Lancaster and Dauphin counties and is a year-round attraction. The YCCVB is holding two Passport Weekends, Friday through Sunday and April 20 through 22, to kick off the trail.
On the ale trail, participants may travel the cluster of businesses at their leisure – sampling beers, touring breweries, and soaking in knowledge about craft brewing.
Mayer said the trail has been in the works for a couple of years. Organizers reached out to brewing businesses and researched ale trails in other states, such as Portland, Ore., and Arizona.
“The time just seems appropriate for us to launch the trail,” he said. “There’s a big movement in craft brewing.”
Steve Stoppard, owner of Mr. Steve’s Homebrew Wine Supplies in Springettsbury Township, said his business has consistently increased since it opened 19 years ago. He said because of the economy more people are making beer and wine at home.
“It’s here to stay,” he said of home-brewing, adding that people can make the same beers as big-name breweries at half the cost. He said it costs about $80 to get started in home-brewing.
Trail participants who stop at Mr. Steve’s will get brewing tips and handouts about ingredients. They’ll also be able to sample beer and wine.
Mudhook Brewing Co. in York – another destination on the trail – opened in July.
Marketing Coordinator Kate Wheeler said her family created a brew pub because there wasn’t one in York and because her husband, Tim, had become passionate about home-brewing.
Before opening the pub, Tim Wheeler trained at a brew school in Chicago.
“We’ve had a pretty phenomenal reception from people around York County,” she said. “You can definitely tell that there is a growing interest in craft beer.”
When trail-goers stop at Mudhook during Passport Weekends, they’ll get to meet brew master Tim Wheeler, tour the brew house – which includes four fermentation tanks and two brew kettles – and taste samples.
Wheeler said she hopes people have a special, personalized experience at each stop on the trail.
“Each brewery has something unique and really interesting that goes along with it,” she said.
Mayer said the trail was established to draw tourists from the mid-Atlantic region to southcentral
Pennsylvania. He said the YCCVB plans to incorporate more stops into the trail. The bureau also runs the Mason-Dixon Wine Trail, formerly UnCork York, which started seven years ago and now features 14 family-owned wineries in and around York County.
“We want this to be an ale destination,” he said.
A trail of ale
The Susquehanna Ale Trail is open year-round and includes the following businesses:
For details, visit www.susquehannaaletrail.com.
The York County Convention and Visitors Bureau is holding two inaugural events – Passport Weekends – for the Susquehanna Ale Trail on Friday through Sunday and April 20 through 22. Tickets cost $10 and include free samples, tours, educational materials and a free mug after one’s passport has been stamped four times. One passport is valid for both weekends. Participants must be 21 years old or older.
Tickets are sold out on www.susquehannaaletrail.com; however, they may be purchased at any of the participating businesses while supplies last.
Map of ale, wine trails
See where the locations are on both the Susquehanna Ale Trail and the Mason-Dixon Wine Trail.
View Susquehanna Ale Trail Mason-Dixon Wine Trail in a larger map
Lew Bryson is as fine a bar companion as you could ask for, a man who rewards a well-told yarn with a laugh that can be heard in the next room. Standing 6-foot-and-a-lot, the Philadelphia-based beer writer looks like a man who can hold his liquor. The trouble is, sometimes he’d rather not have to.
Bryson, a passionate and longtime supporter of craft brewing, noticed a couple of years ago that some of the most sought-after specialty beers didn’t accompany an evening, they dominated it: Their huge “look at me!” flavor profiles and high alcohol levels put a time limit on a drinker’s sociability.
So Bryson started to talk about, write about and advocate for “session beers”—beers with lower alcohol content, brewed to be enjoyed over a longer period of time. Thus was born The Session Beer Project: “a nonprofit, unorganized, unofficial effort to popularize and support the brewing and enjoyment of session beers.”
Any campaign, even an unorganized one, needs to define its terms. The Project defines a session beer as 1) 4.5 percent alcohol by volume or less; 2) flavorful and interesting; 3) balanced enough for multiple pints; 4) conducive to conversation; and 5) reasonably priced.
Naturally some squabbling broke out in beer chat rooms. Why 4.5 percent? Why not higher, argued some beer geeks who maintained that beers of 5 or 5.5 percent alcohol are perfectly “sessionable”—a term Bryson dismisses online as “pure geek-speak, the snarly rebellion that ‘If I can drink four of them, that’s sessionable!’”
There were other grumblings when the influential competition at the Great American Beer Festival added session beer as a new style category to be judged. Commenters pointed out that it’s not a beer style, but more of a beer function, encompassing beers of many styles and traditions that are low enough in alcohol that several can be consumed safely over many lazy hours.
And why promote a new term that has to be defined, and not just call these beers “low alcohol”? One reason is that the beers that are marketed as low in alcohol are light versions of already innocuous mainstream lagers, beers that are in direct contravention of the project’s Definition 2: “flavorful enough to be interesting.”
What’s more, the term “session beer” isn’t new. It’s probably been around a lot longer than Miller Lite, with origins across the Atlantic. The masters of session beer brewing are undoubtedly the English, who are also the masters of the session itself. English pub culture promotes the kind of relaxed, convivial give-and-take in which low-strength beer plays an essential part.
Some of my English friends have expressed alarm at the high alcohol content of American beers, precisely because more than one or two would cut short an evening in the pub. The style known as bitter, a pub staple, satisfies the palate without overwhelming, and should come in less than 4 percent.
Other countries have their own full-flavored, lower alcohol brews. On a trip to Ireland, I discovered the secret to the long evenings at the local pub: Irish dry stout only looks weighty, when, in fact, it is weaker than Budweiser. I found I could nurse pint after pint of Murphy’s (my favorite) or Guinness all night long.
And in Germany, the wheat beers in particular stand out: a good hefeweizen fills the mouth with notes of clove, banana or bubblegum and a near-creamy texture, but it is mild enough that it’s traditionally drunk at a midmorning work break!
Thirsty yet? The Session Beer Project’s supporters have designated April 7 as Session Beer Day, an occasion to “flaunt your love for big glasses of small beer.” Triangle establishments are stepping up. Tasty Beverage has announced it will feature a couple of session beers on tap, and Bottle Revolution will be pouring Uinta Baba and Roth Conscription IPA (IPA flavor at 3.8 percent!). More will no doubt join their ranks; check sessionbeerproject.blogspot.com for new participants. The site also links to lists of American craft beer of session-strength culled from RateBeer.com—useful, because alcohol content is often hard to find.
At brewpubs, Bull City Burger and Brewery offers a classic bitter, Dr. Bartlett’s Ordinary Bitter; Natty Greene’s in Raleigh is pouring Spring Rye; and Top of the Hill’s Big Bertha is a satisfying, nutty brown ale.
Appropriately, April 7 is the 79th anniversary of when the U.S. took its first legislative step to repeal National Prohibition by legalizing beers less than 4 percent alcohol. Maybe lawmakers knew that what this country really needed in tough times was an amiable beer and a good conversation.
This article appeared in print with the headline “Enjoy a pint or three.”
It’s the time of year when parents are thinking about summer plans for their young kids, but why should the school-aged set have all the fun? There are plenty of adult-oriented camps, trips and tours that combine learning about beer with a memorable experience.
Brewers Association President and Boulder resident Charlie Papazian will host one such retreat this summer on Whitehead Island, a small coastal island near Rockland, Maine. Scheduled for July 27 through Aug. 1, guests stay in private quarters in the renovated keeper’s house at the historic Whitehead Light Station and enjoy an intimate craft-beer seminar lead by Papazian that will includes tastings, discussions, lectures, field trips and family-style meals made with fresh
Papazian, author of “The Complete Joy of Home Brewing,” founded the Association of Brewers, as well as the Great American Beer Festival. He also taught home-brewing classes in Boulder for many years, and is one of craft brewing’s most knowledgeable and ardent advocates.
He promises to share his expertise, as well as select bottles from his beer collection and some homebrewed beers and meads. This will be Papazian’s fourth time hosting the retreat for the nonprofit Whitehead Light Station, and he says that the small group size and relaxed setting are especially conducive to learning about and enjoying beer at a leisurely pace.
“Being right on the mouth of the Penobscot Bay overlooking the sea and lobster
boats when they do their morning and evening runs is comforting,” says Papazian. “The island is big enough to do some exploring and then there are so many other things to see and do. And it seems we work good beer and good times into each day.”
station.org for registration information. The retreat costs $1,500 double room/$1,900 single and is all inclusive.
like to elevate your heart rate while boosting your beer appreciation, an active tour from Zephyr Adventures may be more your speed. The company will conduct two beer-related tours this summer that combine cycling and hiking with great beers.
There’s a Colorado trip Oct. 8-12 that departs from Boulder and visits Fort Collins, Estes Park and Denver. The tour includes accommodations each night, guided hiking and cycling, and a visit to a local brewpub each evening.
Local residents however might be more interested in the Yellowstone tour scheduled for July 20-25. This trip loops through and around Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, with stops in Bozeman, Big Sky, Jackson, and Red Lodge,
Montana. The trip also visits breweries in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming, with educational components throughout.
“In my opinion, beer travel is just becoming a real segment of the tourism industry,” says company founder and Boulder resident Allan Wright. “On the basic end, ‘beer travel’ probably just involves seeking out a brewpub or local brewery when someone is traveling for work or vacation. More serious is when people actually plan their trips to visit areas that have good breweries.”
It’s the best of both worlds. Visit www.zephyradventures
.com for details. The Colorado trip costs $1,700 (plus $600 for a single room) and the Yellowstone trip
costs $1,900 ($700 single).
Water is the main ingredient in beer, so it’s fitting that the Paddles and Pints rafting trip offered by Rogue Wilderness Adventures combines the two in a fun-filled Labor Day weekend, Aug. 31-Sept. 3.
Guests spend four days paddling down Oregon’s Rogue River and three evenings camped out riverside enjoying gourmet meals and a selection of craft beer’s from Eugene, Oregon-based Ninkasi Brewing.
The company also offers a Hop-i-licious Hiking tour that travels down the historic Rogue River hiking trail. Each evening includes beer tastings from a featured brewery (including a few rare international beers), as well as a visit from a featured brewer who will spend time
explaining their craft and talking about the beers.
Call 541-479-9554 or visit wildrogue.com for more information on either trip. Both cost $1,050 per person, plus government fees, and include all camping equipment, food, guides, transportation and beer.
1. CB8 education committee. Take an active role in the education of our children by networking with representatives from area schools, discussing funding appropriations, and debating the key issues in education today. Meeting begins at 7pm at 727 Classon Avenue. FREE.
2. Writing Workshop. Aspiring fiction-writers, poets, and memoirists of all experience levels are all welcome at this creative writing workshop hosted by the Brooklyn Public Library. Room 214, 12:00PM, Central Branch, 10 Grand Army Plaza.
3. Beer Brewing Class. Join the craft-brewing craze sweeping the borough by taking this class at Bitter and Esters on Washington Avenue. You’ll learn all the basics of malts, grains, yeasts, and hops. Brewing materials and starter kits will be for sale. The class costs $55. 700 Washington Ave at 630PM.
4. Salsa! Professional salsa dancing, that is. The Balmir Salsa Dancers are performing at Eve’s Lounge at 930 pm. Doors open at 8 and there is a 2 drink minimum. 769 Washington Avenue.
5. Community Music Showcase. “This Is Not the Radio” is a show for up and coming musicians from the New York area. Branded Saloon, 603 Vanderbilt Ave, 730 pm, free.
Tanczos Beverages in Hanover Township, Northampton County, is among the local beer distributors now peddling beer-making ingredients.
Owner Mark Tanczos calls it a “natural fit,” with the popularity of craft brewers from Samuel Adams to Victory Brewing Co. offering a wide variety of flavors.
“I think it’s a natural extension with the growth of microbrewing and more flavorful beer, people will want to make their own and that has been of interest of distributors across the state,” Tanczos said.
Just days ago, Tanczos installed a home-brewing section in its store on Jacksonville Road. Home-brewing sections have been added at other local distributors like Link Beverages in Coopersburg, and more are planned.
For example, Shangy’s in Emmaus is planning to add a home-brewing section next month, according to manager Nima Hadian.
“We’re already a draw for our large selection and the crowd that we draw are already into the craft,” he said.
Before, home brewers could purchase supplies from specialty stores. Beer distributors getting in on the niche merely illustrates just how popular craft brewing has become in recent years. I guess you don’t have to be one of the Fegley brothers, of Brew Works fame, or a brewmaster at Weyerbacher to make suds anymore.
Moving on to downtown Allentown … a lot retailers are leaving amid development for the much-ballyhooed minor league hockey arena.
Who’s leaving now?
House of Chen has been in downtown Allentown for roughly 35 years, one of the oldest merchants in the district.
The Asian restaurant, largely known for its $4.25 all-you-can-eat buffet and loyal bar crowd, will be closing on July 31, according to assistant manager Jenny Lim. She said the restaurant’s owners have decided to sell the three-story Hamilton Street building, which sits directly across from the hockey arena construction.
This marks merely the latest downtown Allentown merchant to exit. Dozens of merchants, from barber shops to pizzerias and dollar stores were recently forced to uproot for the arena.
House of Chen’s exit comes just months after I reported that fellow longtime merchant Salomon’s Jewelers is moving out of the city in June. Salomon’s owners sold the three-story building at 606 Hamilton St. to real estate developer East Penn Real Estate Inc.
While some moved away from downtown Allentown, Alphagraphics simply shifted two blocks, relocating to The Sovereign Building at 609 W. Hamilton St.
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