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CHARLESTON, S.C. — Something big is on tap at the Port of Charleston.
Workers at the Port of Charleston have begun unloading 28 mammoth beer brewing tanks being shipped to a new Sierra Nevada brewery in North Carolina.
The tanks, some of them big enough to hold 3,200 kegs of beer, were lifted by a crane off a ship and loaded onto flatbed trailers. They were then moved to another part of the port for storage. The first will begin making their way to the Asheville area by truck later this week.
Sierra Nevada announced last year it is building a new brewery in Mills River, about 12 miles south of Asheville.
Bill Manley, the director of product development for the brewer, said the first North Carolina beer will be brewed later this year with the brewery open for tours next year.
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CHARLESTON, S.C. — Something big was on tap at the Port of Charleston on Tuesday as workers unloaded 28 mammoth beer brewing tanks for a new Sierra Nevada brewery near Asheville.
The tanks, shipped from Germany and some of them big enough to hold 3,200 kegs of beer, were lifted by an overhead crane off a ship, swung over the pier and then loaded onto flatbed trailers. They were taken to another part of the port for temporary storage and will be trucked to Asheville in a few days. Sierra Nevada announced last year it is building a new brewery in Mills River, about 12 miles south of Asheville.
Bill Manley, the director of product development for Sierra Nevada, said the tanks were ordered from Germany because tanks from there are also used to make beer at the company’s original brewery.
“Our brewery in Chico, Calif., has the same equipment, and we want to make sure with this new brewery that the dimensions of the tank and the make of the tank is the same that we have in California. We’re trying to match the flavor profiles of the beers from both breweries,” he said.
But the Mills River plant, where Manley said brewing is expected to start this fall, will be using North Carolina water, not that from California.
“The water on our site in Mills River is excellent, excellent brewing water,” he said. “We can adjust the minerality in the water so we can match the Chico water exactly from a chemical standpoint. So that should be no problem at all and the other raw materials are going to come from the same sources.”
He said the company decided to open the North Carolina brewery because it has been doing more business on the East Coast. Manley said it made sense from both a financial and environmental standpoint to save the shipping from Northern California.
The new brewery is expected to employ about 90 people, most from the Asheville area. It’s being built on a 90-acre tract and will have a restaurant and gift shop. The brewery is expected to be open for tours beginning next year.
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Catch-22 would be a good name for beer brewed at home in Mississippi.
The attorney general says home-brewing is legal in the state with a permit from the Department of Revenue. But here’s the catch: State tax officials say the law doesn’t allow permits specifically for home-brewers.
There are permits for commercial brewers and brewpubs, each running $1,000. And home-brewers arguably would also owe an excise tax of 42.68 cents for each gallon of beer brewed. Breaking the law is a misdemeanor that carries fines of up to $500 and jail time of up to six months. And here’s what would probably sting the homebrewers even worse: The police could seize the beer.
The upshot is that Rep. David Baria, D-Bay St. Louis, says he’s likely to introduce a bill in the 2013 Legislature to exempt homebrewers from permits and excise taxes.
“I was disappointed to learn you have to go through the Department of Revenue to do what I consider tantamount to cooking,” he said. “We’re not talking about a product that someone is taking and selling. My approach is to try to create an environment where people who want to brew at home, can.”
Craig Hendry, president of beer advocacy group Raise Your Pints, said his members are hopeful that legal issues around homebrewing will be cleared up.
Their lobbying would build on a victory earlier this year, when lawmakers passed a bill that allows beer with 8 percent alcohol by weight, or 10 percent by volume, to be sold in Mississippi.
It was Baria who requested the attorney general’s opinion earlier this year.
“For five years I have filed a bill to legalize homebrewing,” he said. “The reason I filed it was we were told it was illegal.” But then Baria began to hear that maybe it wasn’t, so he asked Attorney General Jim Hood’s office to research the question.
In August, Hood’s office said there was no difference between making beer at home or in a brewery. He said a homebrewer would need a permit, and the permit would have to be issued under the authority of the Revenue Department.
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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.
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3rd Wave counts Evolution, Burley Oak and Delaware’s Dogfish Head craft breweries among inspirations, and key players in making the lower Delmarva Peninsula a destination for craft beer. 3rd Wave intends to expand with more flavors of beer, extended operating hours, facility tours and, eventually, catching up with other local brewers, a bottling and distribution component, Clough said.
“We need to get down to a good routine before we expand,” she said. “We want to appeal to a wide range of people.”
Currently, 3rd Wave turns out about 20 weekly barrels of beer available on tap or by the growler.
A challenge for Panasiewicz was getting into the business side of a brewery that is starting, literally, from scratch.
“So far, so good,” he said earlier in the week.
After he steeps grains to extract sugar in the beer-making process, he fills large drums with discarded grains for pickup by area farmers.
On Tuesday, Panasiewicz processed 700 pounds of grain for a yield of 10-barrel batches of beer, equivalent to 320 gallons or 2,560 U.S. pints. Spent grain is renewable as free cow feed.
“It keeps me from dumping the grains, and it helps the farmer — we give it away,” Clough said.
Visitors at Saturday’s open house can expect “Good Times, Good Waves, Great Beer,” as the company logo announces on a large picture window.
The brewery currently is open Fridays through Sundays. A soft opening was last weekend, when a few curiosity seekers stopped in.
Mary Lee Pase, vice mayor on the Delmar Town Council, stopped in earlier this week with greetings. A brewery run by women is unique, she said.
“I’m happy they are here,” Pase said. “We felt there would be something (coming) here, and having two lady owners makes it interesting.”
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MONTGOMERY — Alabama craft beer loves got a victory with the passage of a bill to allow bigger brew bottles, but they’re still waiting action on a measure to make the state the 49th to allow home brewing.
The Legislature approved the bill to allow bottles up to 25.4 ounces last week. A spokeswoman for Gov. Robert Bentley says he hasn’t decided whether to sign it.
The bill to legalize home brewing has been passed by the House, but is still waiting on action by the Senate. Wednesday is the Legislature’s last regular day.
The Senate Rules Committee controls which bills reach the floor. Chairman Sen. Jabo Waggoner could not be reached.
Craft beer advocates say Alabama has some of the most restrictive regulations but has gotten better in recent years.
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With its location tucked away within H.W. Krauth and Son Plumbing on Mellwood Avenue, Apocalypse Brew Works seems like a place you might stumble onto as you try to escape zombies, nuclear meltdown or the Four Horsemen.
Running from doom, you take refuge behind the industrial lot’s chain-link fence, escaping to the electric red-painted “Fallout Shelter,” the microbrewery’s tasting room.
Inside you find not only brews to ease end-of-the-world jitters but also materials retrofitted to outlast Armageddon.
The mash tun and boil kettle are made out of modified 40-year-old stainless steel tanks. The water used to boil the ground malts is heated via solar panels. And eventually co-owner Leah Dienes would like to grind malt with a bicycle.
One way or another, Apocalypse — named because it is opening in 2012, the year some have predicted the world will end — will live past total annihilation, beyond its grand opening Friday.
“We were thinking about how people survive after the apocalypse and how they find materials and re-purpose them going into the future,” Dienes said.
Apocalypse grew out of Dienes and co-owners Paul Grignon and Bill Krauth knowing one another from the Louisville Area Grain Extract Research Society, or LAGERS, a local club for home brewers. Dienes is the president.
The three, who all have day jobs, have roughly 40 years of combined brewing experience and have gone on to win competitions with their beer and also judge contests.
“When you’re trained to judge, you’re trained to like everything,” Krauth said of the different styles of beer.
And each of them brings specialties to Apocalypse’s 10 taps.
Grignon prefers Indian pale ales and English ales, while Krauth typically brews stronger ales.
Dienes is more experimental. At the recent soft opening, Green Chili Wheat, one of her favorites, was on tap.
“It’s the aroma and taste of green chilies, but it’s not hot,” she said. “Pepper beers, fruit beers, gluten-free beer — I get turned on by mixing it up.”
Other concoctions included Hoptrocution, Atomic Amber, Pestilence Porter and Whirlwind Wheat.
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The House of Representatives approved a bill Thursday that would allow hobbyists to brew limited amounts of beer, wine and other beverages in their homes.
The legislation passed the bill 44 to 33 after a lengthy filibuster led by a handful of representatives who raised moral objections to alcohol consumption.
Sponsored by Rep. Mac McCutcheon, R-Capshaw, the legislation would allow home-brewers to make up to 60 gallons of beer, mead, cider or table wine a year without a license. The totals would be limited to 15 gallons a quarter. Products could not be sold on the market, but brewers could transport up to 10 gallons of their product to craft shows and competitions.
The legislation would not authorize private distilleries.
“The federal law allows you to have home-brewing, but the state must adopt the law in order to do it in each state,” McCutcheon said during the debate.
A lengthy filibuster against the bill was led by a trio of legislators — Reps. DuWayne Bridges, R-Valley, Richard Laird, D-Roanoke, and Kurt Wallace, R-Maplesville. All three raised moral objections to alcohol consumption, saying it was a sign of moral decline.
“There’s four of us who have been here the same length of time, who remember when it was unusual to bring a bill to the legislative arena concerning expansion of alcohol sales and brewing,” Laird said.
The bill includes provisions that forbid the home-brewing of alcohol in dry counties. McCutcheon insisted through the debate that the home-brewing legislation was not about consuming alcohol, but giving hobbyists the chance to pursue their craft. He noted that home-brewing equipment can cost hundreds of dollars.
“If they want to spend $500 to drink alcohol, they’re not going to spend it on a brew kit,” he said. “They’re going to go down to the store.”
Near the end of the debate, representatives chanted “Vote, vote,” with a few adding “Drink, drink” into the mix.
The legislation now moves to the Senate.
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Home-brewed beer is a local product that lives right at the intersection of local and Do It Yourself (DIY). While it might seem that a local brew would be easy, as we discussed last week, the ingredients for beer come from all over. Water is often the major local ingredient.
With the demand for “local” products growing, however, we are starting to see a market for more diversification in sources. You can find “locavore” ales in some places like San Francisco or Oregon where the market can support it. They locally source a large percentage of the ingredients. There are probably hops growing in more places today than in decades.
In this area, your source for home brewing is Home Brewery, located at 1967 W. Boat St. in Ozark. I spoke with Roger Wissbaum, who has been encouraging new brewers for years. It is a product that is definitely better fresh. It can be a totally different experience.
“It not only tastes better, but it is better for you,” he says. “There are lots of vitamins left in the beer.”
It is a business that has been growing. As American tastes in beer have expanded, it has meant just that much more demand and more options for the hobby brewer. It is also a business that has weathered the recent economy well.
“Overall, more people wanting to do things like this in the economic downturn helped,” Wissbaum says. “We benefit when times are good. People say ‘Let’s make some beer.’ When times are bad, they say ‘Let’s make a LOT of beer’. The self-reliance and DIY factor is popular; people are into that.”
The revival of DIY crafts has come at an opportune time for the home brewing industry. It used to be that to get diversity in beer, you either paid a lot for imports or made your own. Now there are large numbers of options, including many local brews. They are more affordable as well. Wissbaum says craft breweries are essentially reversing the trend from Prohibition onwards that saw local brewing decrease.
As diversity in commercial beer has grown, so has interest in home brewing. As a hobby, it costs about $100 to start. After that, there are a great number of options to explore. Home Brewery can even set you up to grow your own hops — just don’t expect them to do well in the Missouri summer.
“It has been an evolution in the way people make beer and the options of what to buy,” Wissbaum says.
For the locavore, it means one more product you can make yourself and the chance to explore an ancient art. It also puts you in closer touch to your community, and not just Wissbaum and your fellow brewers. Where community is concerned, if you brew it, they will come.
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Nine Fort Collins craft brewers will unite for the second time in April to brew a collaborative beer with a Colorado focus.
In 2011, C.B. Potts, CooperSmith’s Pub Brewing, Crooked Stave, Equinox Brewing Co., Fort Collins Brewery, Funkwerks, New Belgium Brewing Co., Odell Brewing Co. and Pateros Creek converged in Old Town to brew the limited- edition commemorative beer “Collusion Ale.” The beer was brewed at CooperSmith’s and Equinox’s facilities.
On April 9, the brewers will again unite, this time at Fort Collins Brewery, to brew another collaborative beer in honor of American Craft Beer Week on May 14-20.
This year, the aim is to keep the beer as local as possible by using Colorado ingredients, said Colin Westcott, owner of Equinox Brewing. A rough sketch of the recipe includes honey from Wellington, Colorado-grown hops, locally grown unmalted spelt and some snow from the high country.
The beer will again be released at the respective breweries May 14 to coincide with American Craft Beer Week.
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