Mike DiCicco brews his beer at home, his setup piled on a wooden stand that sits next to the cherry red Mercedes parked inside his garage.
His love of craft beer ignited with his first sip of Shiner Bock. And after tasting the sudsy fruits of his own labor, there was no going back.
Brewing has consumed DiCicco’s life for more than a decade, and now he looks to go from hobbyist to professional with plans to open Busted Sandal Brewing Co., a small craft brewery.
It’s just one of several brewing operations planned to open in the coming months in San Antonio. Currently, the Alamo City has two brewpubs and one craft brewery.
Texans, like the majority of Americans, still prefer to throw back highly commercialized light, fizzy beers, but craft brewers are confident that tastes are changing.
“Nowadays, there’s nothing off limits when it comes to beer,” said DiCicco, the company’s founder and head brewer. “It’s wide open.”
Already this week, the brewpub Granary ‘Cue Brew opened, offering brown and blonde ales, an India pale ale and a rye farmhouse ale, which uses Belgian yeasts to produce tropical fruit and pepper flavors and aromas.
Toward the end of the year, the craft brewery Branchline Brewing Co. will be in operation. By next year, Busted Sandal and Alamo Beer Co. will join the ranks.
It’s a small step, but breweries such as Alamo Beer, which will build its $8 million brewery east of downtown near the Hays Street Bridge, are reawakening an industry that has a deep history in San Antonio.
“There’s more than 100 years of brewing history in San Antonio. It’s great to see the craft growing,” said Eugene Simor, president of Alamo Beer, who hopes to be brewing his Alamo golden ale at the East Side facility by next summer.
“Texas is very under brewed and San Antonio is as well,” he said.
In Texas last year, the economic impact of craft beer totaled an estimated $608 million — a fraction of the state’s total beer industry, which is estimated at nearly $20 billion, according to a study by the Texas Craft Brewers Guild.
Craft beer made up less than 1 percent of beer consumed in Texas, but craft breweries employ about 1,250 people on a full- or part-time basis. That makes up more than half of all brewery jobs in the state, the study mentions.
“When we were opening, people were skeptical that more than one brewpub in the city could work. We’ve proven it can,” said Scott Metzger, founder and CEO of San Antonio’s Freetail Brewing Co. “People’s palates are changing, and the numbers reflect that. San Antonio is a great market for craft beer. We’re small now, so to double in size doesn’t take much, but it’s a step in the right direction.”
And it’s a fun step, too.
“Brewing craft beer is an experience. You can have a good time without beer but it does help,” Robert Garza, 39, the beer architect and partner at Busted Sandal.
Austin, which has more than a dozen breweries and brewpubs, remains the state’s craft brewing capital, but the industry is making a comeback in San Antonio, a city that has a brewing history that began in the mid-1800 with the influx of German immigrants into the area.
Beer brewing was among the first industries to blossom in San Antonio.
There are some accounts that beer brewing was the first industry established by William A. Menger and Charles Degen, who opened the Western Brewery next to the Alamo in 1855.
The brewery produced about 1,600 barrels annually and became the state’s largest brewery in 1878, the same year it closed. Compare that to the more than 1 million barrels Lone Star Brewing Co. was producing annually by the mid-1960s.
Other late-19th-century and early-20th-century San Antonio breweries include Peter Bros. Brewery along East Commerce Street, Schober Ice and Brewing Co. near Josephine St., and William Esser’s brewery, which was located on North Flores Street, according to texasbreweries.com.
“San Antonio has deep brewing roots, and I’m happy to be a part of that history,” said Jason Ard, owner of Branchline Brewing, a manufacture brewery expected to open by year’s end.
The Alamo City’s dominance as a brewing town withstood the hand of Prohibition but ended when the Lone Star brewery was closed in 1996 and Pearl Brewing Co. was shuttered in 2001.
Those brewery buildings still stand. The Pearl has become a mixed-use development effort that has encouraged investment along the Broadway corridor near downtown.
The Lone Star brewery remains vacant along the Mission Reach portion of the San Antonio River. The company’s original building before it moved farther south on the river, which was built in 1904, now is the San Antonio Museum of Art.
In the 1990s, there was a craft beer resurgence in San Antonio with the opening of establishments such as Blue Star Brewing Co., Frio Brewing Co., Laboratory Brewing Co. and Yellow Rose Brewing Co.
Of those, only Blue Star, which opened in 1996, still is in operation, serving standard beers such as pale and amber ales, roasty stouts and high-alcohol barley wines.
Joey Villarreal, owner of Blue Star Brewing, said that string of breweries mostly failed because the public’s tastes hadn’t matured.
“Today, the acceptance level is a lot higher. It took a while for people to accept what we were doing, that it’s not about pounding beers. It’s about drinking less and drinking better,” he said.
Plus as the trend continues for all things local, demand for more locally brewed beer will continue to grow.
“People want something local,” he said. “The connection with a locally grown product is very powerful. So there’s room for growth.”
Although the predictable trio of Miller, Budweiser and Coors still rule the market, craft brewers are confident that drinkers’ tastes are changing, fueling the confidence to continue a tradition and enter a market where they are the underdog.
DiCicco, an IT professional by day, will team up with some friends and long-time brewing buddies to assemble a nearly 2,000-square-foot brewery with a tasting room in an industrial warehouse at Fredericksburg Road and Loop 410.
The near $100,000 project is expected to get off the ground early next year, said DiCicco, 40.
For now, DiCicco and his team are brewing test batches in his garage, mostly ales such as hop blasted India pale ales, a chocolate peppermint stout and an American wheat beer infused with basil.
“There are a lot of people in San Antonio who don’t know good beer,” Ard said. “But that just means there are more people to educate.”
After Ard, 31, gave up playing music in bands, he searched for another way to fill his free time. He enjoyed craft beer, so home brewing seemed like a good fit, he said. Ard has been home brewing for about three years and it didn’t take long before he got the idea to turn pro.
“My first beers weren’t great, but I drank it,” he said. “What people don’t understand about craft beer is that it isn’t just a social lubricant. There’s a romance to it. It’s an art.”
For the past year, Ard has been working to piece together his 10-barrel brewery, which will be located in an industrial park near International Airport.
The operation cost about $300,000 and the 3,600-square-foot facility will have a 600-square-foot tasting room with 10 beer taps. The breweries initial offerings will be a hoppy amber ale, a wildflower honey blonde and a rye India pale ale.
While Ard is putting the finishing touches on his operation, Mad Pecker Brewing Co. still is early in the process.
The Mad Pecker crew still is in the planning phase of their three-barrel brewery, which they’re looking to open by fall 2014, said Jason Gonzales, a home brewer and co-founder.
Currently, the Mad Pecker team is saving pennies and looking for investors for their $50,000 venture. Exactly what they’ll brew hasn’t been determined, but Gonzales said that will focus on hop-forward India pale ales and small specialty batches.
“We want to start small and keep our home-brewing mentality,” said Gonzales, 34. “… The craft beer scene in Austin has blossomed into something great there. We just need to get people involved, and San Antonio can take off, too.”
ELON – Through the collaboration of an Elon bar and a well-known regional brewery, one lucky home brewer will have his American Pale Ale on tap in Alamance and Guilford counties come January.
On Saturday, The Fat Frogg bar and grill in Elon hosted a home brewer’s event, announcing Patrick Collins, of Greensboro, as winner of the first “Fat Frogg and Natty Greene’s American Pale Ale Brew Off.”
“I’ve been brewing for about four years now,” said Collins. And though he’s won second- and third-place in other contests, Saturday’s contest was the first he won.
Collins said he not only hopes to win when he enters contests, but“it’s a great way to learn to become a better brewer.” He said, “You get a lot of great feedback from judges.”
Anyone was eligible to enter the competition. Peter Ustach, co-owner of Fat Frogg’s, said there were about 25 entries.
“Some applicants entered multiple beers,” Ustach said.
For example, East of Elon Home Brewing Cooperative, submitted a few of its members’ brews for judging. Ian Baltutis, founder of the cooperative, Justin Lee, and Victor Heorst – all of Burlington – submitted “Twin Eagles,” “Fire Brimstone,” and “Acrimonious Amarillo Ale,” respectively.
Baltutis said about two months ago, “We had a marathon brew day,” where the group’s members all worked together to create each of the three contest entries. Afterwards, Baltutis said, “We did some of the fine tuning and the fermentation work.”
Applicants weren’t just from Elon, Burlington or Mebane. Ustach said home brewers from High Point to Hillsborough participated in the competition.
He said most of the participants began submitting their entries last Monday, and Ustach took them all to Natty Greene’s in Greensboro on Thursday for judging.
In addition to Ustach, Natty Greene’s owners, Chris Lester and Kayne Fisher, Director of Brewing Operations Sebastian Nesson Wolfrum, Head Brewer Scott Christoffel, and Brewery Representative Justin Whitaker tasted the beers and narrowed the candidates down to the top three.
“There’s an official style called the BJCP,” Whitaker said, explaining the entries were judged based on the Beer Judge Certification Program’s guidelines for American Pale Ales. “We judged it on One: appearance; Two: taste; Three: aroma, and Four was the overall finish of it,” he said.
Collins looks forward to enjoying his “Halfway Hause” brew at his local Natty Greene’s brewpub early next year. “I go there quite a bit,” he said, adding Natty Greene’s told him they’ll try to make the beer available at his other favorite bars in Greensboro.
“It’s going to be pretty cool to walk into a bar and order my own beer,” Collins said.
“The beer will start getting brewed in January,” said Ustach. Natty Greene’s in Greensboro will brew 30 half-barrels of “Halfway Hause” for sale in brewpubs in Greensboro, Elon and probably Burlington, Whitaker said.
He explained half-barrels are the standard keg size, and Collins will meet with Christoffel in Greensboro when they begin brewing the 1,500 liters of Collins’ concoction.
“We’re going to … quadruple the recipe,” said Whitaker. He added that Collins will get to meet with Natty Greene’s graphic designer to help create a label for his brew’s tap handle, which will accompany the beer to various locations in January.
Though the competition’s winner is from the same city as one of Natty Greene’s locations, Whitaker said the brewing company’s intent was to reach out to several community’s home brewers.
“We kind of like to branch off in different places,” Whitaker said, adding that Natty Greene’s will probably continue to sponsor community brew-offs in the future. For now, though, the brewing company has to keep the competitions limited, since producing the winning brew “takes up one of our regular brewing cycles.”
Whitaker said Natty Greene’s brewpubs in Greensboro and Raleigh will serve “Halfway Hause,” as will Fat Frogg and Pandora’s Pies in Elon. He said Piedmont Ale House in Burlington may also have the beer on draft, and he’ll be looking for more local bars interested in serving the winning brew.
“It’s kind of unusual for a contest to offer brewing (the winning beer) and putting it on tap as a prize,” said Baltutis, adding this was the second contest East of Elon members had entered. He said the group has been meeting every other Sunday for the past three years, and the contest concept is new to them.
However, Baltutis said East of Elon will continue entering contests like Natty Greene’s in hopes the group can get some of its brews – like its heritage recipe for Lithuanian beer – produced and enjoyed locally.
“We’re definitely looking for the next competition,” said Baltutis.
There’s nothing Canadians love more than strange brew.
For a long time, options for beer drinkers were relegated to big national labels — primarily Labatt and Molson.
Now, beer aficionados are turning to smaller, independent breweries in their quest for “hoppiness.” Even U.S. President Barack Obama has been brewing his own beer in the White House.
In fact, some say craft brewers are becoming the white knight in a beer renaissance that has overtaken the industry.
“A lot of mainstream brewers are taking notice,” said Brad Clifford, the head brewer of Get Well, a bar on Dundas St. W. which recently opened its own on-premises nanobrewery.
“Experimentation would be the first and foremost benefit because we have the freedom to brew anything we want in very small batches on a dime and in a couple weeks, have it on tap.”
That creative experimentation, coupled with natural ingredients and care, are drawing crowds to craft beers. Strictly defined, craft brews are made by operators who produce under 400,000 hectolitres of beer a year — the equivalent of 2.8 million cases.
According to the LCBO, sales of suds made by Ontario craft brewers (OCB) grew 45% in 2011-12. OCB annual sales jumped from $2 million in 2004 to $22 million last year.
“The smaller breweries have been doing much better … where the larger breweries are seeing much slower growth,” Bank of Montreal economist Alex Koustas told the Toronto Sun.
“That has a lot again to do with consumer tastes and choices,” which has consequently led larger breweries to buy smaller ones to offer specialty flavours.
It wasn’t too long ago, though, that it seemed like Canadians’ love of beer had waned.
According to a report from Statistics Canada in March, beer sales were being challenged by increasing wine sales. Compared to 2000, the market share for beer in 2011 had sunk from 52% to 45%.
Interestingly, wine has been picking up steam with a market share of 23% in 2010 to 30% in 2011.
Despite those numbers, the Brewers Association of Canada said beer sales are actually up 1.6% from last year and craft breweries are gaining popularity.
“A craft brewer is someone who basically does everything with the best materials they can get, using fresh grains, some Canadian, some European and fresh hops from Washington State and we’re brewing everything in small batches,” explained Ken Woods of Black Oak Brewing Company, a microbrewery based in Etobicoke.
The big mainstream brewers, however, continue to represent the lion’s share of the industry.
“You don’t get to be Canada’s second oldest company by not learning to adapt and our recent moves to expand into new territory has been just that,” said Debra Kavchak-Taylor of Molson Coors.
“The beverage industry as a whole is becoming increasingly competitive. Whereas years ago some people were ‘beer drinkers’ and some people were ‘wine drinkers,’ now we’re seeing people move across categories like never before. It’s caused us to evolve from just focusing on the traditional beer space, which has always been competitive, to thinking about the broader drink-scape.”
Get Well co-owner Jeff Barber said putting a nanobrewery in his bar seemed like a smart business move.
“It’s about educating the consumer, the more that’s out there, the healthier the industry is and it’s very much about good competition,” Barber said. “The more brew-pub and microbreweries out there, the consumer is going to want to know more.”
While Get Well keeps a well-stocked selection of Ontario craft beers as well as mainstream labels out front, their pride and joy pours right from the back of the bar where the nanobrewery is located.
“The Get Well Porter,” a traditional English-style stout, chocolate-rich and infused with coffee, debuted at the bar when the brewery launched in October. They’ve also had a Pinball Wizard American Pale Ale and their Let it Be Bitter English Ale on their homemade list.
The cozy brewing station consists of a 1,208-litre hot liquor tank which is filled with water — fluid destined to become beer. Next, the water is moved to a 1,246-litre mash/lauter tun, where worts are separated from grains and the brewer waits for it to turn into fermentable sugars.
The worts are then sent to a 1,283-litre boil kettle where, after two hours, hops are added. Finally, three fermentors — each measuring 1,240 litres — are employed for the final step of the brewing process. It takes a minimum of two weeks to create the beer.
The bar churns out roughly 180 to 200 litres per batch — or three full-sized kegs — every week.
Another big benefit to brewing small batches is if a beer isn’t a big seller, Clifford said, it’s only three kegs the bar has to offload.
And for brewers trying to break into the beer business without breaking the bank, nano is the way to go.
“If you’re really an obsessive brewer like myself … starting a microbrewery, you’re looking at $500,000 to $1 million to start it up,” he added. “A small operation of this size, you’re looking at thousands instead of hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
Nano and slightly larger microbreweries may be fairly new in the GTA, but they’ve been around since the 1970s in the U.K.
There seems to be more support for craft brewers because people like supporting local businesses and ingredients. There is also a tight “community” feel among craft brewers. If space and time allows, brewers will help out smaller operators by contracting out their tanks to them.
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario said it could be difficult to tell whether nano or microbreweries are on the rise, simply because all breweries apply for the same licences.
Five Toronto businesses have brew-pub endorsement licences. There are 16 in Ontario. There are also 16 craft breweries with manufacturer’s licences.
–With files from Maryam Shah
Micro and nanobreweries in Toronto with a brew pub endorsement licence (brew and for single glass consumption onsite):
- Volo Ristorante Cafe – 587 Yonge St.
- The 3 Brewers – 275 Yonge St.
- Burger Bar – 319 Augusta Ave.
- Babur Restaurant – 273 Queen St. W.
- Get Well – 1181 Dundas St. W.
All breweries with a manufacturer’s licence in Toronto (can manufacturer and sell their product to LCBO, Beer Store, own retail shop):
- Amsterdam Brewing Co. – 21 Bathurst St.
- Bellwood Brewery – 25 Mackenzie Cres.
- Black Oak Brewing Company – 75 Horner Ave., Unit 1
- Cheetah International Brewers Inc. – 75 Milliken Blvd., Unit 12
- Cool Beer Brewing Co. – 164 Evans Ave.
- Duggan’s Brewery – 2 Lombard St.
- Granite Brewery – 245 Eglinton Ave. E.
- Great Lakes Brewing – 30 Queen Elizabeth Blvd.,
- Hogtown Brewers Inc. – 120 Adelaide St. W., Unit 2400
- Heady Brew Company – 620 Supertest Rd., Unit 10
- Indie Alehouse – 2876 Dundas St. W.
- Junction Craft Brewing – 15 Boustead Ave.
- Mill Street Brewery – 55 Mill St., Building 63, Paint ShopMolson Canada – 33 Carlingview Dr.
- Sawdust City Brewing Company – 300 New Toronto St., Unit 21
- Steam Whistle Brewing – 255 Bremner Blvd., The Roundhouse
—Source: Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario
On the bus headed toward Old Town Transit Center last Saturday, I spotted a trio of bros in Hawaiian shirts making leis out of pretzels. The rest of the bus stared at them in disbelief — myself included — yet they seemed unfazed and giddy as they continued to slip the snacks through their twine.
“What are the pretzel leis for?” I finally asked.
“San Diego beer fest,” they replied, in what I like to think was perfect unison.
Turns out, these dudes go to a lot of beer fests together, so they’ve established the traditions of Hawaiian garb and wearable food. (The beer bong had been taken away too many times to bring anymore.) I happened to be on my way to the same place, since I happily accepted a press pass to go try some of San Diego’s finest craft beers at the Brewer’s Guild Festival, the capstone event to the annual San Diego Beer Week, now in its fifth run this year from Nov. 2 to Nov. 11.
There are over 60 breweries in the county, meaning that San Diego has one of the highest concentrations of breweries in America. While many pockets of the country have thriving beer scenes (Oregon and Colorado, for instance), San Diego has made a name for itself as having the most creative and diverse beer scene of the bunch.
Though the scene has grown more and more commercial over the years, with Escondido’s Stone Brewing Company becoming the flagship brewery of southern California, ties to its home brewing roots remain strong. Take Ballast Point Brewing and Spirits, one of the city’s most celebrated breweries. It was founded in 1996 as a spin-off of Home Brew Mart, a store dedicated to the home brewing process. Co-founder and Head Brewer and one-time UCSD student Yuseff Cherney told me more over email.
“When we opened the Home Brew Mart in 1992, there were only a handful of brewpubs operating in San Diego,” he wrote. “The home brewing scene was very strong with clubs like Quaff leading the charge to appreciate craft made beer. The late ’90s had a bit of a boom, with quite a few breweries opening. . .[but] it wasn’t really until a few years ago that craft beer really experienced a huge resurgence, completely eclipsing the boom of the ’90s.”
Ballast Point still maintains a specialty brewery at its original Home Brew Mart location, which “allows us to be very experimental with our beers and keep true to our roots as craft brewers,” Cherney said.
This dedication to home brewing culture is prevalent among nearly all the breweries in town — a fact made startlingly clear to me as soon as I walked into the Brewer’s Guild Festival at the Broadway Pier on Saturday Nov. 3. Faced with a crowd of hundreds of beer lovers and rows of colorful tents stocked with kegs, I felt more than a little out of my element. I’m from Livermore, Calif., a small town in the outer East Bay Area, known for being home to over 40 wineries and more than 5,000 acres of vineyards. I love beer, but I was raised on vino.
So after filling my complimentary tasting glass with Ballast Point’s rum barrel-aged “Victory at Sea” Imperial Porter, I was tempted to swirl and smell. Inspired by Cherney’s declaration, “I can’t wait for the day that we can fill our barrels with beer after we age our spirits,” this brew was made by aging Ballast Point Three Sheets Rum in a barrel for two years, filling it with Ballast Point’s limited edition Imperial Porter “Victory at Sea” and then aging it for two more years. Ballast Point emptied the barrel in June, but to continue the experiment, they refilled it with more of their Three Sheets Rum, and two years from now they’ll make 200 bottles.
It’s this kind of taste for experimentation that makes San Diego breweries so unique. I tried a number of odd flavors throughout the day, including a peanut butter cup porter from Karl Strauss, a coffee stout from Coronado Brewing Co. and a special version of Ballast Point’s Smoke Screen, a smoked Helles, that was infused with jalapeños. The latter was a fun experiment, but I’d rather not have my hops be so fiery. My personal favorite was a medium-bodied IPA with an easy-to-drink touch of pine, courtesy of Green Flash Brewing Co.
While the crowd at the event was mostly of the over-30 variety, (sorry) college students shouldn’t fear the craft beer. While the brewers encourage patrons to sip ale like wine, there’s no need to dissect the notes. Liking the beer seemed to be enough for everyone in attendance — not to mention the excellent food pairings supplied by Craft Commerce (meat ball sliders), Hamilton’s Tavern (spicy beer cheese soup), Swieners (sausage, of course) and more.
If anything, the craft beer scene is putting San Diego on the map, even at an international level. Just this week three San Diego breweries won top awards at the inaugural Brussels Beer Challenge in Belgium. Stone Brewing Co. and Green Flash Brewing Co. earned gold medals for their beers, while Ballast Point received a bronze. All three bested breweries from more traditional beer locales such as Germany, the United Kingdom and the host country, Belgium. Such successes recall the 1976 wine competition termed the “Judgment of Paris,” when California wine defeated French wine in a blind taste test. Perhaps, then, San Diego is now the Napa of beer.
If that’s the case, then Beer Week is just like Disneyland for the drunk.
“[It] gives all of our brewers the opportunity to interact, shake hands, talk their craft and bask in the adoration of the true beer fans,” Cherney said. “Consumer recognition goes a long way in reaffirming your goals to make the best beer in the world.”
Grizzly Peak in downtown Ann Arbor has been making a pumpkin beer since at least 2001, with the current version, Klevenkop Ale, featuring an unusual ingredient: candy corn.
“Klevenkop is Flemish for ‘severed head,’ appropriate for Halloween, and is actually our Biere d’Automne, an amber fermented with Belgian yeast, that we put in casks with roasted pumpkin and spices,” says head brewer Duncan Williams. “It’s one of those ingredients that’s subtle. If it’s done properly you should not be able to pick it out until someone tells you.” He expects Klevenkop to be on tap Oct. 29, just in time for Halloween.
A few blocks away, Tim Schmidt of Blue Tractor takes a more “traditional” approach by adding 50 pounds of pumpkin puree along with pie spices — nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, ginger — to a brown ale to produce Gourd to Death.
“This is the fourth year we’ve made a pumpkin beer, but for the first two years the base beer was a porter,” says Schmidt. “People expect it now; they’re already asking for it.” He says it should be on tap Oct. 29 and anticipates it will last no longer than a week and a half.
For years beer lovers noted how funny it was that, despite its name, Dexter’s Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales didn’t make a pumpkin beer. That all changed in 2008, when head brewer Ron Jeffries created La Parcela No. 1 Pumpkin Ale at the behest of Dick Cantwell of Seattle’s Elysian Brewing Co., which hosts a pumpkin beer festival every year.
“He really wanted to feature whatever our take on a pumpkin beer would be,” says Jeffries. “We brew with real pumpkin — a little over 5 percent of the mash by weight is pumpkin — add gentle spicing and make liberal use of cacao. The idea behind it was to create something special for a friend.”
La Parcela is a sour ale aged (with more pumpkin) in oak barrels, which makes it markedly different from other pumpkin beers. It’s available on draft and in 750 ml bottles at the Jolly Pumpkin Cafe Brewery in Ann Arbor and also distributed nationally beginning in mid-October.
On the west side of town, Wolverine State Brewing also offers a unique take on the style with Cucurbita Smiles Pumpkin Lager, which also uses vanilla. This is the second year Wolverine has put out the beer, and head brewer Oliver Roberts continues to fine tune the recipe.
“The philosophy was let’s try to get pumpkin flavor and balance it with traditional pie spices, but we’re not going for pumpkin pie,” he says. “This year we added more pumpkin puree with hot cinnamon sticks and nutmeg. We condition it for about two weeks in a tank with around 250 chopped up vanilla beans. Vanilla’s not something you find in a pumpkin pie recipe, but it’s a pretty common baking ingredient so we thought it fit.”
Roberts says he’s pleased with this year’s edition, which has some burnt candy sugar flavors from the caramel malt and a dry, crisp finish owing to the spices and use of Wolverine’s house lager yeast. It is currently on tap.
Arbor Brewing’s Night Stalker Pumpkin Cream Stout has been available around Halloween for only the last three years, but it’s been well received. Originally created by former head brewer Bill Gerds, it’s brewed with cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg plus lactose to give it body and sweetness.
“We do it for Halloween every year, and it’s gotten great feedback,” says manager Dave Clark. “What sets it apart from a lot of other pumpkin beers that have a ton of spices like nutmeg is you get a little of the spice up front — there’s actually no pumpkin in it — but it definitely finishes as a stout.”
Night Stalker is also on tap now, and Clark estimates it stays on for about nine days.
On my recent travels I was lucky enough to attend a beer pairing dinner at Long Valley Brewing in Long Valley, New Jersey. Beer pairing dinners are becoming more popular and if you ever get the opportunity you should definitely give it a shot. If done properly it’s every bit as good if not better than a wine pairing dinner. My wife and I have been to several and have always thoroughly enjoyed them. Nestled in the hills of New Jersey, Long Valley was settled by Germans and originally called German Valley. The name was changed to Long Valley during World War I. The brewery’s home is located in a stone barn built that was built in 1771. It has a wonderful ambience with stone walls, rough hewn beams and a high vaulted ceiling. For overall character it is one of my favorite brewpubs.
The Beer Tasting Dinner prepared by head chef Juan Mujica consisted of an appetizer, and 5 courses with a different beer pairing each.
The appetizer was a Brick Oven Pizza topped with hops, served with a cask conditioned IPA. The pizza was quite tasty with just a hint of hops. Loved the IPA. It was poured by the head brewer Joe Saia. I asked him what the ABV and IBU’s were, but he did not have the information with him. Great match. The IPA had great hop aroma and was smooth and balanced. While waiting for dinner to start I met Joe Freiday who at one time was an assistant brewer at Long Valley. We ended up sharing a table as he regaled me with stories of brewing on the east coast.
Sauteed Shrimp with bell peppers, onions and tomatoes cooked with their German Valley Amber in a lemon garlic aioli topped with fresh cilantro. Paired with the German Valley Amber. The moderate malt sweetness and hop bitterness in the German Valley Amber balanced well with and helped cut the spice of the shrimp Creole. Light roasted malts and low hop bitterness. Medium malt body and sweetness with low hop bitterness. ABV 5.75%, IBU’s 25
Baby Spinach, red onion, portabella mushroom, and roasted tomatoes served with a warm bacon vinaigrette made with their Hookerman’s Light. Topped with a deviled egg and paired with Hookerman’s Light. Hookerman’s light is named after a local legend who lost his arm in a railroad accident and wanders the tracks at night carrying a lantern looking for it. This beer is Long Valley’s lightest offering. An American wheat ale with a refreshing fruity aroma with a delicate flavor and body. The clean fresh floral finish went very well with the spinach salad. ABV 4.25%, IBU’S 15
Pan seared chicken, fresh buffalo mozzarella, fresh basil, roasted red peppers, topped with an American Pale Ale balsamic reduction. Served with American Pale Ale. The reduced balsamic vinegar added a very pleasing sweetness to the chicken, whereas the Pale Ale balanced agreeably with the mozzarella, basil and roasted peppers. Their American Pale Ale has a moderate hop aroma with low malt notes. Medium bodied with a refreshing hop bitterness, which lingers a bit. A very nice Pale Ale. ABV 5.25%, IBU’s 25
Braised Osso Bucco served with a white bean casserole, sautéed broccoli rabe with roasted garlic and topped with a Barleyville Rye sauce. The veal was very tender and fell easily off the shank. The broccoli rabe was a little bitter for my taste. With a moderate spice in the aroma and a medium full-bodied mouthfeel, the Barleyville Rye really enhanced the flavor of the Osso Busco. ABV 4.5%, IBU’S 12
This decadent cake was served with vanilla ice cream and paired with Long Valley’s award winning Lazy Jake Porter. Lazy Jake has won three medals at the Great American Beer Festival and one at the World Beer Cup. Try replacing a cup of coffee with a Stout or Porter for a real treat with your dessert. Full bodied, with a robust roasted malt, coffee, toffee and hints of chocolate. Lazy Jake went great with this desert and accented the hazelnut in the cake. Lazy Jake is named after a dog owned by the carpenter who did much of the work when the brewery was being built. ABV 5%, IBU’S 30
If you call in advance you might be able to schedule a tour of the brewery with brew master Joe Saia. This is definitely a brew pub I will visit again.
Long Valley Pub and Brewery
1 Fairmount Road
Long Valley, NJ 07853
Don Williams has been a home brewer since 2002. He is a recognized BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Program) judge, and has taught brewing classes. Don’s job requires extensive travel, and he enjoys visiting brew pubs in various parts of the country. He and his wife live in Cottonwood, CA.
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When Kevin Clark took up home brewing, he never imagined it would be the path to an entirely new career. But that’s exactly what happened and the south Salinas resident said he couldn’t be happier.
Sitting one foggy morning at a table in Peter B’s Brewpub, where he is the head brewer, Clark traced the series of events that brought him to this position at the relatively young age of 30.
Clark’s parents moved to Monterey County about 12 years ago. He explained that he “followed in his father’s footsteps” and went into construction after high school.
When the economy took a dive, Clark said he was “invited” to take some time off. Because he was working on his degree in humanities and communication at California State University, Monterey Bay, he needed to find another job.
“I ended up working at Passionfish [restaurant] in Pacific Grove and it was there that I learned about good wine and beer,” he explained. The more he learned about beer and its production, the more the young man played around with the idea of trying some home brewing.
In 2008 Clark’s wife, Corrie, bought him a starter’s brewing kit. It was a little too rudimentary, so Clark returned it for something that wasn’t using a can of extract to create the beer.
“I had more respect for beer than to do that, so we went to Seven Bridges, a home brew shop in Santa Cruz, and purchased something a little more hands-on,” he said. “The next day I brewed my first batch of beer. It was about a 10-hour process and it wasn’t the best beer I have ever made but it was consumable.”
Once he completed that first batch, Clark was hooked. It didn’t take long before his friends and family knew what he was up to and there were plenty of folks willing to sample the product.
The more he created his home brews, the more Clark wanted to know about the craft of beer making. “Once you get into it, you really want to know everything,” he said, explaining that he began building a home library on brewing.
About the time he was seriously getting into home brewing, Clark was also assessing what he wanted to do with his life after he got his college degree. At this point Clark told his wife he wanted to do “whatever it takes” to become a professional brewer.
Tamarack Brewing, Lakeside
Josh Townsley, owner of Tamarack Brewing Co. in Lakeside, has tried to create more than a place for beer lovers.
“Our mission statement is to create high-quality beer and food in a community-based atmosphere,” he said. “We wanted to get the feeling of a gathering place for people from all walks of life.”
Townsley and his family came to the Flathead Valley to start Tamarack when they were looking to move out of Arizona. Townsley had been part of the state’s largest brewing company, Four Peaks Brewery in Tempe.
He opened Tamarack as a full-service restaurant and brewery in July 2007. The establishment has 12 beers on tap, with eight staples and four seasonal brews.
“We try to keep things new and exciting and fresh,” he said of the rotating stock of beers.
Tamarack offers numerous community-friendly options, with trivia night on Tuesdays and a charity tap night on Wednesdys, when 75 cents from each pint sold is donated to a local charity.
Tamarack also has extended its reach to Missoula, opening a restaurant there, which also has 12 Tamarack beers on tap, in April 2011.
Tamarack’s flagship brew is the Yard Sale amber ale, which Townsley said can be found on tap throughout the valley.
He said that people generally start out on the lighter side in their first introduction to craft beer.
“People will try a blonde ale, it’s crisp and clean, and much more full-bodied than what they’re used to with mass-produced beer,” he said. “Then they try an amber and darker, then branch out and grow, the same way I fell in love with beer. You become more of a connoisseur.”
Flathead Lake Brewing, Bigfork
Flathead Lake Brewing Co. manager Sandy Clare attributes the recent escalation of the brewery’s beer sales to “a perfect storm” of circumstances.
First, she said, the beers produced by head brewer Tim Jacoby have generated and maintained a public following in the eight years since the business has opened in its current site in Woods Bay, 5 miles south of Bigfork.
Then she believes that publicity work by marketing director Blake Nicolazzo has attracted a great deal of recent attention.
“We’ve cleaned up our logo and renamed our beers, reintroduced our look,” she said. “It’s very new and different and our artwork is really bold and fresh.
“We’ve always had great beer and combine that with neat branding, and then we have a great sales director [Nate Willete] out pounding the streets.”
In about a year, Flathead Lake Brewing Co. expects to move to accommodate the extreme growth into the old home of the North Shore Lanes bowling alley in Bigfork.
The building will be split into a restaurant on one side and the production facility on the other. It’s a time-consuming project, in part because Flathead Lake Brewing Co. is going to be housed in a certified Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design green building project.
“We’re doing everything as environmentally friendly as possible,” Clare said. “We’ll be the second LEED brewery in the U.S. Hopefully we’ll be leading the way with innovative design that’s exciting. It’s taking some time because we have to do everything very specifically.”
Flathead Lake Brewing Co.’s most popular beers are the Centennial IPA and Two Rivers Pale Ale. The brewery makes around a dozen types of beer, from the light Wild Mile Wheat to the very dark 369 Stout.
“We think Flathead people and Montanans are hearing about our beer and demanding it,” Clare said.
Glacier Brewing, Polson
Glacier Brewing Co. owner Dave Ayers had years of experience at microbreweries in Colorado before opening his place in Polson 10 years ago.
He had dreamed of opening a brewery in Montana for years, starting with an epiphany during a drive from Fort Collins, Colo., to visit his girlfriend, who was working as a naturalist in Glacier National Park.
It was many years later, when he had married the girlfriend and had children and was working as the head brewer of a pub in Telluride, Colo., that he actually took the leap along with his wife and brother-in-law.
He found a used brewing system in California on the Internet, took it down there and installed it at the Polson site, which was an old racquetball facility at the time Glacier Brewing moved in.
That original brewing system is still in use.
“In the summer it’s working so hard that it becomes red hot,” he said. “It would be nice to have a bigger system in the summer. In the winter, we would like bigger demand.”
Ayers said Glacier Brewing calls itself a German alehouse, brewing all of its beers using the ale technique. The lagers and hybrids also are brewed in the manner of ales, “so we have a quicker turnaround time in the tanks,” he said.
“That’s absolutely necessary in the summer. Once a tank is packaged, it’s sold.”
Glacier Brewing has a good-sized tasting room, the Tap Room, with seats for around 100 people, and another 120 seats in the outdoor beer garden. Glacier Brewing at one time had the biggest tasting room in Montana, but with the growth of the industry, it has lost that distinction, Ayers said.
“I like it when people ask how business is going,” he said. “I tell them we are open 12 months a year, and for a small Montana retail and manufacturing business, it’s a neat trick if you can do that.”
Desert Mountain Brewing, Columbia Falls
Though Desert Mountain Brewing will be the smallest brewery in the valley when it opens, the selection will be anything but.
“Because we’re so small, we’re planning to do a lot of experimentation and brew a number of beers that are unique,” owner Kelley Christensen said. “We want people to come to our brewery and try something different they can’t get anywhere else.”
As well as brewing the standard beers — an India Pale Ale, stout, porter, amber and wheat — in their four-barrel system, Christensen and her husband, Shawn, plan to do some experimenting. They hope to make a heather beer (heather makes the beer purple), as well as fruit flavors such as cherry, huckleberry, pumpkin and apricot. They will also make a root beer for the younger clients of the tasting room.
“We want Desert Mountain Brewing to be somewhere people can bring children,” Christensen said. “We want it to be a family friendly establishment, not just a bar.”
The Christensens decided a brewery and tasting room would be a good way to keep themselves employed doing something they love.
A December opening is planned, though Christensen said at this point that date is a “moving target.” The business, which will have room for 20 to 25 customers in its tasting area, will be located next to Three Forks Grille on Nucleus Avenue. It is in the construction process.
“The reason we chose our location is we’re right off of Highway 2 and you can see us,” she said. “We want to be somewhere tourists come and have a good time, and at the same time, we understand the strength of any business depends on the local base.”
Christensen said Desert Mountain will be a community-oriented business, offering game nights, knitting nights and benefit brews.
Great Northern Brewing, Whitefish
The Great Northern Brewing Co. has stood out above the Whitefish city skyline since 1995.
The three glass-walled stories were designed for a unique architectural look, but also to house the brewery’s distinct gravity-flow brewing system.
“It’s a little old school and traditional,” according to Jessica Rucey, retail marketing manager at Great Northern.
The beer-making process starts after a bucket elevator on the ground floor carries the malt to a mill on the third story; it’s all downhill from there.
Tours are available for those who would like to see how Great Northern creates its popular Wheatfish and Going To The Sun IPA beers, among many others. (Head brewer Joe Barberis said the Good Medicine Imperial Spring Ale is also becoming a local favorite.)
The brewery has 11 beers on tap; Barberis said he creates 18 to 20 beers throughout the year. Black Star Draught House serves Great Northern beer, wine and food on the second level of the building.
Rucey said one of the biggest customer contingents is made up of the 75 or so people who are part of the “Great Stein Club.”
“People drink 50 steins, and they become part of the club and get a stein on the ceiling,” she said.
“They’re the heart and soul of the brewery.”
Great Northern is excited to have Pete Thomas, design director with the ZaneRay Group in Whitefish, designing new logos. Packages with the new Wheatfish logo were distributed in early September and more Great Northern packaging projects in collaboration with ZaneRay will be rolled out in the future.
“You’d like to think the product stands for itself, but it looks really slick when people make a decision to try a beer,” she said of the Wheatfish logos.
The brewery only distributes to Western Montana right now, sending kegs to bars in Missoula and Bozeman, and bottles to grocery stores and “quirky” convenience stores, Rucey said, with a lot of recent growth in the Helena area.
“We want to grow smartly and not too fast,” Rucey said.
The Double Tap, Whitefish
State Sen. Ryan Zinke, R-Whitefish, has no personal beer brewing experience, but he has a history with the people who do.
In his work with the Montana Legislature, he was a loyal advocate for the Montana Brewers Association. So he decided, upon leaving the Legislature, to join the state’s growing craft beer scene himself.
“I enjoyed the people and the industry,” he said. “They’re all hardworking and fun-loving, and they’re very serious about their beer.”
Zinke is currently going through the planning process to open The Double Tap, a tasting room and microbrewery on the western edge of Whitefish at 336 Second Ave. The new facility, planned to be about 2,000 square feet, is modeled on a Great Northern Railway grainery.
He wants his opening to coincide with the completion of road work on nearby stretches of U.S. 93, so he expects it will be about a year until The Double Tap serves its first customers.
A Pilsner, an India Pale Ale and a seasonal beer are foremost in Zinke’s brewing plans. He expects to be delivering kegs to local pubs, as well as serving his craft beers through two taps in his tasting room and on the patio.
“It excites me to be delivering a handcrafted ale,” he said. “To be a brewmaster is almost like being part of an old guild. It’s something locally made, produced with local Montana products. It’s a great way to employ local people and it’s a clean industry.”
Part of the attraction for Zinke is that his business add value to an area of Whitefish he feels deserves to be spruced up. His family has owned the property where The Double Tap will be located for 75 years.
“I was thinking of what little industries will work in Whitefish that will help certain neighborhoods that have seen better times,” he said.
It’s not every day that you get to compare the notes of a head brewer and a home brewer.
NewsWorks asked Paul Rutherford, head brewer at Iron Hill in Chestnut Hill, and Scott Wikander, home brewer and owner of Malt House, Ltd., a brewing supply store in Mt. Airy, about the craft of beer making.
Ramping up creativity
We’ve all seen our local watering holes change the taps before, but within the last several years, those drafts have become increasingly over-the-top and buzz-worthy.
Just consider Iron Hill’s “Pineapple Express,” a popular pineapple-flavored beer on tap at the brewery.
“Science is a part of the job,” explained Rutherford. “When we put a recipe together, we need to do research, especially with a novel ingredient like a pineapple.”
Wikander explains that time is what makes craft beers stand out against the Miller Lite’s of the beer world.
“The root of it is a commitment to quality, rather than mass-produced things,” said Wikander. “It’s taking the time to do it right.”
His interest in home brewing began at the age of 32 after learning from a friend.
“I was surprised when I learned how to home brew,” said Wikander, “I realized it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be.”
Rutherford says he gained interest in home brewing at the age of 19. “That was a hobby for me then,” he admitted, “now, it’s a career.”
While working in the restaurant business in California, he decided he wanted to enroll at the Siebel Institute of Technology and World Brewing Academy in Chicago. He graduated with a World Brewing Diploma and even spent a month studying in Munich at a pilot brewery.
“It’s like any other trade,” explained Rutherford. “The industry is growing. Now, it’s a viable career path.”
Hollywood names for hometown beers
Naming beer is essential to the craft. Wikander says one of his favorites is “Saison II: Tokyo Drift,” a spin on the movie of a similar name.
“Most home brewers come up with crazy names,” said Wikander, who currently has a “Maison Saison” on tap, meaning “house malt,” and an “East Coast Pale Ale.”
With names like “Cowabunga Porter,” “Chestnut Hill Cream Ale” and “Kryptonite Imperial IPA,” Iron Hill always has an array of unique beer names.
Breaking down the brewing process
During the NewsWorks visit, Wikander made a British Mild Ale that was brewed with pale and crystal malts, British hops called “Fuggles” and British ale yeast.
Rutherford brewed a Biere de Garde, a French farmhouse style ale that translates as “beer for keeping.” It was brewed with pilsner, aromatic and Munich malts, a lager yeast and cracked black pepper.
Wikander utilized a pot on his stovetop, while Rutherford used a mash tun, a brewing vessel that can hold up to 800 pounds.
Both brewers boiled water, with Wikander boiling 5 gallons and Rutherford boiling 2.5 barrels (about 82 gallons).
The processes were similar, including the hop addition. Both brewers explained that there are three fundamental hop additions that a brewer can add to their beer. The first addition adds bitterness, the second adds flavor and the third adds aroma.
While there were differences in the scale of the equipment being used, one stand-out item that the brewery did not have on hand was a “hop sock.” The sock or netted bag can hold a hop addition that is sunk into the brew.
“[It] is purely a home brewer item,” said Wikander. “It’s meant for small amounts of hops, commercial brewers use much larger quantities.”
Hazards of the trade
Both processes include a hazardous element because of Carbon dioxide (CO2) build up. The fermentation process itself converts sugars into alcohol and Carbon dioxide.
Rutherford says Carbon dioxide can cause a pressure build up that could essentially cause a small explosion.
“That’s why we have a blow-off tube that vents the CO2,” said Rutherford.
He surmised that home brewers could also have issues in a glass carboy. “They’d have a glass mess on their hands,” said Rutherford.
In a glass carboy that contains Wikander’s brew, an airlock releases Carbon dioxide and allows gas to escape the container, preventing a small eruption.
“For a home brewer, the stopper or lid would give-way before a fermentor actually exploded,” explained Wikander.
Losing money from botched batches
Wikander says if a batch of beer is bad or undrinkable, he loses about $40. “It depends on the ingredients,” he explained.
Rutherford agrees that ingredients are what determines the cost of a batch and says the brewery can lose thousands of dollars. “It depends on what the raw material costs.”.
Both brewers agreed that sanitation is a key part of making a good beer. Wikander even cleans the bottles and caps that he stores his beer in and Rutherford personally checks and shines the glassware at Iron Hill.
“Bad batches for home brewers are usually the result of improper sanitation that result in foreign or wild yeast entering the beer and adding off-flavors,” said Wikander.
“Eighty percent of the job is cleaning. It’s not that glamorous,” said Rutherford, “but mostly, it’s the best job in the world.”
Tuning in to the right timing
Both brewers watch a clock when brewing, with Rutherford using his cell phone and Wikander a wall clock. “Everything is time sensitive,” said Rutherford.
With 16 beers on tap at Iron Hill, Rutherford says a major part of his job is scheduling. He has six 10 barrel tanks and one 20 barrel tank filled with fresh beer ready-to-go at any one time. He described it as “a juggling act.”
“It’s better to have a second person to help on this level,” said Rutherford, who works alongside Derek Testerman, assistant brewer at Iron Hill, “usually we’re overlapping a lot of projects at once.”
Because he has a kegerator, a refrigerated container that dispenses beer, Wikander can keep four beers on tap at the same time. He typically has three to four batches ready to drink with “a few fermenting.”
A sense of camaraderie
Both brewers agree that brewing is something that has its own culture and community. They love that they’re able to share their craft with friends, family and beer lovers alike.
Wikander says he gives his beer as gifts. “I bring it to parties,” said Wikander.
Rutherford says he enjoys participating in the beer culture. “We plan events and have beer release parties,” he said, “we really try to keep people talking.”
In July, Iron Hill held a Wrestlemania-inspired event featuring two beers, “Ultimate Warrior IPA” and “Belgian Full Nelson.” They invited patrons to order one or the other until one was tapped out, making that beer the winner.
Much of the beer community starts at local home brew clubs like M*A*S*H (Mt. Airy Society of Homebrewers), the G.L.U.B. (General Lafayette Underground Brewers) Club in Chestnut Hill and the YTM (You The Man) Homebrew Club in Manayunk.
Whether they’re producing a few gallons or multiple barrels, both brewers agree that it’s creativity and community that keeps them loving the craft of beer making.
Two Beers Brewing Prepares for Early Release of Fresh Hop 2012; Pumpkin Spice and Heart of Darkness Imperial CDA to Hit Shelves Soon
SoDo-based Two Beers Brewing one of the first to offer craft beer enthusiasts their first taste of Fresh Hop for fourth year; Pumpkin Spice joins lineup of 22-ounce bottles
SEATTLE (August 22, 2012) – As the most highly anticipated beer on the growing brewery’s impressive tap list, Two Beers Brewing is excited to announce the early release of its 2012 Fresh Hop. Hop-enthusiasts can enjoy their first sip of this long-awaited beer beginning August 31 at the Two Beers Brewing tasting room – the earliest release for this beer yet – followed by its release in bars, restaurants and retail establishments throughout the Pacific Northwest beginning September 3. Adding to the excitement, Fresh Hop will soon after be accompanied by Two Beers Brewing’s Heart of Darkness Imperial CDA and Pumpkin Spice Ale – now both available in 22-ounce bottles.
“We look forward to this time of the year at the brewery and the flavorful beers that come with it,” said Joel VandenBrink, Two Beers Brewing founder and head brewer. “Plus, we’re excited to add Pumpkin Spice to our lineup of 22-ounce bottles, meaning more opportunity for our fans to enjoy the delicious flavors of fall.”
First brewed in 2009, Fresh Hop enters its fourth season on the brewery’s fall lineup. This Northwest-inspired brew’s strong citrus aroma – featuring hints of grapefruit and passion fruit – can be attributed to the freshly picked, Yakima Valley-grown Centennial hops used to create it. Copper in color with deep caramel malt tones, Fresh Hop 2012 settles in at 6.2 percent ABV resembling an aggressively dry-hopped mid-range IPA, but packing the punch only fresh hops can deliver. In addition to Centennial hops, this beer features locally grown Apollo, Cascade, Columbus, Super Galena, and Warrior hops, helping this popular beer achieve its bright and delightfully bitter flavor.
“This beer is a true demonstration of team work and our love for craft beer,” added VandenBrink. “Each year, we wait with anticipation for the call that the hops are ready. The moment we receive it, we drive to Yakima to pick them ourselves and that same day, we’re back at the brewery with staff and loyal fans handpicking the hops off the vines. There’s nothing else like it.”
“Two Beers Brewing does an amazing job capturing the flavor of the season with its Fresh Hop, which was voted top Washington fresh hop at our annual Fresh Hop Throwdown last year,” said Ellen Kelly and Rick Weersing, owners of The Noble Fir in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood, known for its outstanding craft beer selection. “It’s a true tribute to local beer and Washington-grown hops, and we couldn’t be more excited for its return.”
Adding to the excitement, another of the brewery’s popular fall seasonals – Pumpkin Spice Ale – will be available in 22-ounce bottles for the first time in the beer’s four-year history. Malt forward with a nutmeg and clove aroma, drinkers of this fall-focused brew will enjoy cinnamon lingering on the tongue, with allspice rounding out the back end of the palate. First released in the fall of 2009, this perfectly spiced, deep copper colored ale – brewed with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and allspice – makes its return in 2012 on September 7.
Also joining the Two Beer Brewing tap list in September is the brewery’s Heart of Darkness Imperial Cascadian Dark Ale (CDA). Coming in 67 IBUs and a 8.4 percent ABV, this beer was first brewed as a limited release in 2011 and quickly became a popular pick, both on tap and in a bottle. An imperial version of the emerging “Black IPA” style, the Heart of Darkness Imperial CDA mixes dark roasted specialty malts with highly citrus and floral hops, and is then dry-hopped with Columbus hops for a smooth finish. Featuring flavors of molasses, dark cherry, oak and chocolate, this noteworthy beer will be available in 22-ounce bottles at select retailers and on tap at The Woods tasting room beginning October 1.
Two Beers Brewing will continue to distribute its five year-round offerings this fall, as well as a host of packaged products. In addition to Fresh Hop 2011, Heart of Darkness Imperial CDA and Pumpkin Spice Ale, craft beer enthusiasts can pick up Persnickety Pale Ale and Evolutionary IPA in 22-ounce bottles. Also available is Two Beers Brewing’s popular line of 12-ounce aluminum cans – sold in six-packs at select retailers including Whole Foods and Central Market – featuring Evolutionary IPA, Immersion Amber, Panorama Wheat, Persnickety Pale Ale, Trailhead ISA and SoDo Brown.
Offering twelve beers – including five year-round, seven seasonal, and a host of intricate infusions and limited releases – Two Beers Brewing also offers pints, growlers and kegs-to-go in its 4,800-square-foot SoDo brewery and tasting room, dubbed “The Woods.” Packaged products can be found throughout Washington, Oregon and Alaska, in addition to being available on tap in more than 500 restaurants and bars in Washington and Idaho. For more information, be sure to follow Two Beers Brewing on Facebook and Twitter, or visit www.twobeersbrewery.com.
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